Mitchell D. W. [back in action]

Reviews 54
Soundoffs 131
News Articles 20
Band Edits + Tags 137
Album Edits 197

Album Ratings 2664
Objectivity 86%

Last Active 04-03-20 2:05 pm
Joined 03-01-15

Forum Posts 27
Review Comments 10,615

03.19.20 Mars2020: What to Listen For09.30.19 Update: Build-an-Album, Life, etc.
09.06.19 Sputnik Mafia: Trial Run07.30.19 MarsBro's Court of 2019
06.25.19 Build-an-Album R10: Weaving a Web06.05.19 Help a geriatric catch up on the times
04.17.19 Build-an-Album R9: To Salt a Wound02.10.19 Build-an-Album R8: Development, Oh Hell
01.26.19 Build-an-Album R7: Raise Yer Rhythms01.15.19 Build-an-Album R6: Burnin' Churches
01.04.19 Build-an-Album R5: Dad Bods Unite12.27.18 Build-an-Album R4: Flannel Time
12.19.18 Build-an-Album R3: Swine Surprise12.13.18 Build-an-Album R2: Off to Paradise
12.07.18 Build-an-Album R1: Clang-clang12.06.18 Rec Comp: Build-an-Album Madness [FULL]
08.21.18 Going Down04.06.18 Update #3/Synecdoche, New York Poem
More »

Build-an-Album R7: Raise Yer Rhythms

Going off the rails on a crazy train! For the seventh time!
1Deathspell Omega
Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum

The genre was BLACK METAL, the theme was VILLAINOUS, and the involved players had to construct 3-song EPs at lengths of 25 minutes or less. The dumb rule set the competition into a chaotic frenzy wherein the eliminated players were given a chance at redemption and the "living" players were faced with the prospect of double-elimination. Who was able to climb back on board, and who was shoved off to make room? Time for a look-see.
Astral Necromancy

Papa (E)'s album: Per his own comments, Papa was aiming for a brand of ‘cosmic’ villainy for this round. While the EP doesn’t reach the satanic heights it potentially could have, it certainly does give off an evil vibe, though the sci-fi aspect is what obtains the greatest prominence here. The riffs were aplenty, ranging from track 1’s dominating melodic tune to the explosive nature of track 2—a definite highlight with its orchestral elements, fierce drumming, synth work and strange-but-engaging cleans. The last track’s vicious vocals further cemented this as a record that flowed together very well and featured a variety of highlights throughout. VERDICT: 4.3
Pure Holocaust

bg's album: Moving through this particular EP was a stroll through classical lane, featuring artists that were all apart of the scene in its earlier days. This lends itself to an overall grittier presentation—no cleanliness to be found here—which suits the round’s theme. Track 1’s chaotic display from the get-go captured this characteristic aptly, and the central riff was, dare I say, groovy? Track 2’s heavier second half drives home the idea of an oppressive evil, while track 3 feels like a survey of the carnage. While its ominous ambiance is appropriate and enjoyable, I think this could have ended on a higher note rather than a slow-burning atmospheric entry. Still, this was able to mostly hit all the right notes. VERDICT: 3.9

Uzumaki (E)'s album: Once again, the EP involved a time-travel adventure to the past. Tracks 1 and 2 are both upheld by strong riffs from the guitar performances, which are complemented exceptionally well by vile vocals and hazy production qualities. There is a lot of aggression to handle in this one-two punch, and the end result is excellent. That being said, track 3’s much more muted presentation, both in terms of the disappointing vocal display and the muted production, truly kills off any momentum this had. The record was amounting to something, then the conclusion fell down like a brick wall. Close, but no cigar it would seem. VERDICT: 3.75
5Karyn Crisis' Gospel of the Witches
Salem's Wounds

Storm's album: There was an attempt at a balance here between going full-out, over-the-top and maintaining a degree of restraint. More often than not, it seemed like the latter won out, leading to tracks like the opener that were pretty enjoyable, but with such overpowering symphonic elements that it made the song difficult to stomach. This reoccurred on track 3, but there was an increased presence from the guitars. Track 2 was a weird one to approach; I can’t really say whether I liked it or not. The cleans were bad and the tune got repetitive over time, but it had a decent heavy bit. The main takeaway, however, is that any villainous undertones were thoroughly buried by bombastic orchestration or other odd additions. VERDICT: 3.2
6Der Weg Einer Freiheit

kalk (E)'s album: It seems appropriate that kalk once lived by Rabbit Junk and will now die by them. Because really, the track that was featured here was absolutely terrible. The spoken word sections that dominated the runtime were uncomfortably cliché and the lyrics were neither horrifying or comedic or shocking or anything of value. This really is unfortune considering just how amazing the opener was, from the terrific guitar harmonies to the masterful drumming performance. Closing out this EP was a track that was quite beautiful and pleasant to listen to—most certainly not evil in any way. This didn’t make the cut. VERDICT: 2.7
The Dreaming I

Zombie's album: Flow will always be something I look for in all submitted albums, and it seems like I never have to worry about that being an issue with Zombie. The opening track featured an ominous introduction shattered to pieces by a sizeable instrumental explosion, demonic vocals punctuating the onslaught. This ended up meshing very well with track 2 in a surprisingly natural way despite 2’s mournful clean singing; this was contrasted well by very great harsh demonstrations. Track 3 was able to wrap everything up in a villainous bow, cementing this EP as a solid, thoroughly-connected product that could bring forth heaviness and even display a bit of restraint at times to make the hard-hitting portions hit even harder. VERDICT: 4.2
8Deathspell Omega

Sint's album: Speaking of good flows, Sinternet delivered once again in terms of making a cohesive album. Everything here is kicked off with a dirty central riff with subtle ambiance lurking in the background, giving the track an eerie, offsetting vibe that suits the theme well. Of course, Deathspell Omega are an ideal choice: the dissonant, intricate guitar work brings a chaotic feel—impending doom, as it were—and the vocals sound akin to a Satanic preacher heralding the end of the world. While the final track had an enjoyable progression to an instrumental opening, I think this could have been much stronger, especially considering the relative brevity of said opening. However, the groundwork laid by the previous two tracks was able to cover for this shortcoming. VERDICT: 4.15
9The Elysian Fields
We...The Enlightened

Vuvuzela (E)'s album: Another batch of three songs that complimented each other very nicely. Everything here was brought together in a closely-knit flow that made the listening experience very easy to get in to. Melody prevailed here in the form of the clean-but-hazy guitars of the opening number and the second track. In the case of the intro, backing strings provided extra intrigue to the song. The last two tracks carried the villainous vibe the most—track 2’s heavier portion about 2/3 of the way in gave off a sinister vibe—which assisted in affirming the theme of the round. The conclusion, however, had a vocal performance that seemed off somehow; whether that was a technique or production woe, I’m not sure. But it didn’t sit right, and it made that song strand out in a negative manner. Everything else fell into place. VERDICT: 4.18

neek's album: Like a few others this round, neek had a bit of a concept around how exactly the villainous them was portrayed, outlining a sort of progression of an evil warmonger/demon/whateverIdunno. It works out brilliantly here; the unsettling chants of track 1, punctuated by a powerful driving riff, set the stage, while track 2’s slower tempo—like a battle march, it seems—serves to characterize the ‘conflict’ that is foretold. It even has a moment or two of restraint to make the violent outbursts much more impactful. What ties everything together, though, is the titanic final track. The previously discussed elements of restraint and heavy riffing are all present inside here, with a big boy distortion riff guiding the song, eventually erupting into an epic solo over halfway through the duration. That tune was absolute fire, and the EP as a whole kicked some ass. VERDICT: 4.35
A Blaze in the Northern Sky

Berry (E)'s album: Here is a case of when distortion is taken a little too far. The beginning of this EP starts off with a bang, but the production is so muddled and hazy that the song ultimately suffers for it. Sure, this can be considered the ‘aesthetic’ of black metal, but here the style outweighs the substance by a wide margin. The worst offender here, however, is track 3, where the vocal performance is lamentable. The harsh portions aren’t worth writing home about, while the clean/spoken word sections sound terribly childish and faux-dark. It sucks, since both of these mistakes make one forget that track 2 was actually cool. VERDICT: 2.9
Autumn Aurora

Phero's album: From just viewing this album before starting it, I was worried this would be going down a route far from villainous. Deafhaven are known for making beautiful soundscapes with lush, melodic guitar tones acting as brush strokes. Sounds pretty, right? And it sure as hell sounds nothing like the theme song to any manner of evil takeover. The following tracks encountered the exact same dilemma wherein they were certainly enjoyable and well-crafted, but they had absolutely no place being in this round. Seemingly ignoring the theme to this extent is basically asking for elimination, and from where I’m standing it unfortunately appears that such a fate is quite likely. VERDICT: 2.8
13Reverorum Ib Malacht
Im Ra Distare Summum Soveris Seris Vas innoble

butch's album: Most of the contestants opted to make the theme something up front and personal—an immediate attack. The EP presented here takes a much more atmospheric approach in comparison, aiming to craft an oppressive mood to convey the villainy. The incredible distortion of the opening track, unlike the previously-discussed Darkthrone track, feels appropriate here and is perfectly chaotic. With track 2, it feels like the evil is less epic in scale and more gritty, realistic; the darkness here paints a portrait of a serial killer embarking upon a murder spree. The vibe is carried all the way to the finale, whose droning guitar lines flow greatly alongside ambient additions that amp up the anxiety factor, sounding as though the culprit is sprinting down a dark hallway, gaining on another victim. Definitely nailed the villainy there. VERDICT: 4.33
14Deathspell Omega
The Synarchy of Molten Bones

Steak's album: It was hard to say too too much about the EP Steak concocted because it was just a solid record on the whole. What it did well it did pretty damn well indeed. The issue here is that it wasn't very notable among a crowd of fellow releases that reached for true glory. Above all else, this didn't have any sense of flow between the tracks, feeling moreso like a handful of excellent entries were tossed in a bin and then fingers were crossed to make sure they worked. Vocals were on point as were the instrumentals, so at least the theme was done service. Great, but nothing better than that. VERDICT: 3.8

Nero (E)'s album: The primary issue that affected this EP was one that cropped up through this competition: an excellent product was cut below the knees because one specific track very clearly did not pull its weight. Considering the entire context of the work here, Track 1 was entirely unnecessary; it was repetitive—made even more evident by the lack of elements in play on the song—and served only as a lead-in for track 2. It was basically elongated filler that prevented access to the other two tracks, which both jammed hard and fit the theme greatly. The concluding number dragged on too long towards the end, but the final result wasn’t as bad as expected. It was lacking, that is certain. VERDICT: 4.0
16Deathspell Omega
Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum

This ended up being the hardest round to judge by far, as it seemed every contestant brought their A-game with the stakes raised higher than before. Maybe I should do this more often? Anyways, after such a heated race, it's time to see who was able to ascend to a placement.
FIRST PLACE: neek (4.35)
SECOND PLACE: butch (4.33)
THIRD PLACE: Papa (4.3)
It was an incredibly contentious dispute at the top here, and nearly every single EP I heard was wonderful and built with care. Regardless, some among us didn't make it, and some among us made it back!
Phero (2.8) and Storm (3.2) are ELIMINATED.
Papa (4.3) has RETURNED. The gate to redemption is now closed.
17Macho Man Randy Savage
Be A Man

There you have it, folks: the eliminated players came back in a storm and scored pretty damn well here. One did so well that they got back in AND earned a placement! Considering how much I love to tease around with stuff, I won't guarantee that the eliminated players are not gone for good. They are, however, unable to get back in the competition proper. The time may come again to raise the dead, much like how we're raising a dead genre this round. Get it? Because everyone talks about how it's dead all the time? At least, I think they do. Who is they? Is I they? Someone save me.
18Kamasi Washington
The Epic

After proudly strutting around in our dad bods, it's time to light some cigars in a dark-lit club and tap our feet to some jazz... wait, no, the card here says JAZZ FUSION. I think it's the same thing? Not really, but hey, if you're not sold on whatever that means, you better become a genre authority soon, because that's where we're headed. I'll be somewhat lenient on where you take this since it can be a fairly malleable category.
19Macho Man Randy Savage
Be A Man

Don't talk too loud though, since you'd be compromising the theme. Mute your voiceboxes; we're in INSTRUMENTAL mode. The tracks you put in play here are all gonna have to feature absolutely no singing. I'm not letting any audio sample slide by either--lips are sealed! This is definitely a less abstract theme than something like 'bliss' or 'villainous,' so if you don't keep THIS one in mind, I might be inclined to rate at levels lower than you could possible imagine.
20Macho Man Randy Savage
Be A Man

We're bringing it back to album land, although this time the magic number is going to be seven tracks. That's a 7. The reason why I've chosen this is because. Instead of having a runtime cap, there is now a floor; make sure that the album you submit is GREATER THAN 40 minutes. Keep in mind that the "point of no return" rules are both still in effect.
21Macho Man Randy Savage
Be A Man

Our dumb rule for the week is really a dumb one that appeared out of the blue. See, I figure we're dealing with a lot of bad luck, so maybe some competitors are buying up magic rocks or dreamcatchers or other luck/peace/fuckinghippiesgetoffmylawn paraphernalia to give them a elg-up. No more! I hereby declare that the number 3 cannot be present in this round. Track times cannot have it, your album duration cannot have it, titles cannot have it. Hell, even when you submit, don't give me a 3. I don't want to see that number!
Q: But how do we list 7 tracks if we can't list the number 3?
A: Not my problem.
22Macho Man Randy Savage
Be A Man

Genre = Jazz Fuuusion
Theme = Instrumental
Requirement = 7-track album; must be > 40min.
"point of no return" = no repeat songs; can use an artist in your album once
"Dumb Rule" = the number 3 is banned
23Macho Man Randy Savage
Be A Man

Papa Universe | ZombieToyDuck | Sinternet | bgellesp | butherboy | SteakByrnes | neekafat
24Herbie Hancock

bg's album:
Track 1. Herbie Hancock- Rain Dance
Track 2. Chon- Fluffy
Track 2 and Heif. Mestis- Pura Vida
Track 4. Plini- Flaneur
Track 5. Miles Davis- John McLaughlin
Track 6. Niechec- Metanol
Track 7. Snaggle- Snaggle #7

Papa's album:
A. BADBADNOTGOOD - Speaking Gently
B. Kazumi Watanabe - Venetian
C. Eduardo Agni - Red
D. Gong - Master Builder
E. Soft Machine - Bundles
F. Isotope - Pipe Dream
G. Kamasi Washington - Truth
Sweet Nothings

Steak's album:
1. Plini - Opening
2. Chon - Continue?
-. Mestis - Menta
4. Animals As Leaders - The Woven Web
5. Owane - Saturday Ends
6. Sithu Aye - The Noticing
7. Polyphia - Crush
27John Coltrane

butch's album:
John Coltrane - Compassion
Tony Williams - Vashkar
Alphonze Mouzon - Macrobian
Donald Byrd - Emperor
Archie Shepp - Blues for Brother George Jackson
Alice Coltrane - Journey in Satchidananda
Pharoah Sanders - You've Got to Have Freedom

neek's album:
1. Shô! - “Just a Begining Part 1"
2. Christian Scott - “Videotape”
-. Kamasi Washington - “The Invincible Youth”
4. GoGoPenguin - “Window”
5. Mathias Eick - “Girlfriend” [YT version]
6. Miles Davis - “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down”
7. Chicago - “Aire”
29Brand X
Unorthodox Behaviour

Sint's album:
brand x - smacks of euphoric hysteria
herbie hancock - vein melter
miles davis - sanctuary
jeff beck - scatterbrain
niechec - niespokojny relaks
sun ra - door of the cosmos
buckethead - super human
30Billy Cobham

Zombie's album:
1. Billy Cobham- Stratus
2. Flying Lotus- Tesla
-. The Mackrosoft- First Bite
4. Return to Forever- The Romantic Warrior
5. Santana- Waiting
6. John Scofield- Chank
7. Herbie Hancock- Sly
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