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Album Reviews Reviews Short Sharp Shock

Short Sharp Shock #55: In Challenging Times

Welcome to the latest edition of Short Sharp Shock, where we take a look at some of the shorter metal releases that are out there.

In these challenging times, music can be a great comforter to many, so without further ado, I present you with five EPs for your consideration.

Savage Annihilation - Soumises à la ProcréationBand(s): Savage Annihilation
Title: Soumises à la Procréation
Style(s): Death Metal
Duration: 23 minutes
Release date: April 10, 2020

With six tracks, the first half of the latest EP from this French act are new originals. Once the intro part of the first song is over, the band’s death metal is revealed as brutal and unforgiving but restrained in places with a sense of songwriting tunefulness that’s quite appealing. In other places, it’s shamelessly rhythmically barbaric.

The fourth track is a tribute to Slayer’s Jeff Hanneman and is a new creation constructed by parts of Slayer songs. It’s both surprisingly good and surprisingly nostalgic. The final two songs are covers of Deicide and Helloween tracks, both of which hit the spot quite nicely.

A strong EP from Savage Annihilation.

Khemmis - Doomed Heavy MetalBand(s): Khemmis
Title: Doomed Heavy Metal
Style(s): Doom Metal
Duration: 38 minutes
Release date: April 17, 2020

A new Khemmis release is a big deal in certain parts of the metal world, and I certainly frequent one such part. This new EP contains six songs, three of which are studio recordings, and three which are live songs. This is an album-length release that strains the boundaries of a Short Sharp Shock, but it’s classed as an EP, so here we are. Besides, the studio songs are what most people will be interested in, and these last a mere 15 minutes.

The first song is a Dio cover and is as energetically fun as you would expect. The second is a hard-to-get Khemmis track from 2017 and enters more doom-friendly territories. The third is a modern re-imagining of a traditional song, originally released as a split with Spirit Adrift in 2017. Of the live songs, these are taken from each one of the band’s albums and are professionally recorded and well-delivered.

This EP collects a few different things together and offers fans a chance to get them all in one place, as well as offering a few new treats as well.

Ironstone - ProphecyBand(s): Ironstone
Title: Prophecy
Style(s): Progressive Metal
Duration: 27 minutes
Release date: May 29, 2020

The debut EP from this Australian band is enjoyable and impressive, let’s get that out of the way immediately, lest there be any doubt.

Ironstone play mostly modern progressive metal, with djent and technical metal influences. This contemporary approach to metal finds them offering up distorted djent guitars alongside reflective atmospheric aspects, resulting in songs that visit both ends of the heavy/light spectrum. Importantly, the band have clearly taken some inspiration from classic metal songwriting, however, and this bedrock serves them well in avoiding many of the pitfalls inherent to much djent-style music.

The vocalist has a strong singing voice and has a much more traditional delivery than most bands of this ilk, much to his credit. Screams and harsher backing vocals also appear here and there, but it’s the clean singing that’s the main event certainly.

There’s a lot of talented promise here. If the band can refine their songwriting further, while maintaining the delicate balance between old and new influences, then Ironstone’s future could be very bright indeed. Ones to watch for sure.

A Day in Venice - LightsBand(s): A Day in Venice
Title: Lights
Style(s): Indie/Alternative Rock
Duration: 17 minutes
Release date: April 20, 2020

A Day in Venice appears to essentially be a solo act with a couple of guests.

This EP explores a few different avenues, touching upon various incarnations of rock along the way. This includes the alternative, indie, psychedelic, and acoustic varieties, all combined to produce a collection of songs that are relaxed and heartfelt.

Well-written and delivered with obvious skill, each of these tracks offers the listener something a bit different, but all fit together quite nicely. It’s the sort of release that would fit the end of a lonesome summer’s day when the light is dying and feelings of melancholy abound.

Check this out for when you’re in a contemplative mood.

Reptilium - AdrenochromacyBand(s): Reptilium
Title: Adrenochromacy
Style(s): Death Metal
Duration: 15 minutes
Release date: April 17, 2020

Reptilium’s first EP was very enjoyable, and this new one finds the band further solidifying their sound. Full of brutal slamming guitars, belligerent deathcore grooves, withering blast beats, and savage intensity, these songs brutalize and terrorize the listener into submission. Making less use of melody and blackened mood than previously, this release makes more of the band’s Vulvodynia influences, and tones down the blackened components, (although it should be said that aspects of these remain, usually in the faster parts of the songs).

I’ve really enjoyed Reptilium’s output this far, and hope they continue to flourish moving forward.

Find more information on Reptilium here.

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