Quick Reviews: Letters From the Colony, Tengger Cavalry, Harms Way

I’ve been slacking off quite a bit recently (SLACKING, you fucking perverts) when it comes to my reviews, but I have two excuses: 1) I done bought a house, and there’s quite a bit of packing/moving/unpacking that goes along with that process, and 2) I’m kinda lazy. But because you people want, nay, DEMAND music reviews from the one and only Emperor, here’s a few quick hitters to tide you over until I have more time to throw a proper review together.

Letters from the Colony – Vignette

Just because these are some afterthought reviews doesn’t mean that this album is an afterthought. Oh no, my simple companion, you can expect to see Vignette on many aLetters from the colony year-end list for the best albums of the year. With the heaviness and technicality of Meshuggah and a dash of the atmospheric tech-death feel of Fallujah, Letters from the Colony’s sound may not be wholly original, but they borrow only the best parts of all of the bands that inspire them. Imagine a slightly more accessible Meshuggah (for better and worse) and voila, you’ve got Letters from the Colony.

Vignette starts out with a bang, pummeling you with a fantastic blend of tech death, djent, and prog that will keep you coming back again and again. The record loses a little bit of its luster over the last three tracks, but the first six are more than enough to warrant a high grade.

GRADE: B+

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS

“Galax”, “Erasing Contrast”, “Terminus”

Tengger Cavalry – Cian Bi

Sure, it might be gimmicky. Sure, it falls into many of the same pitfalls that most TenngerEuropean folk metal falls into. But dammit, Cian Bi may well be one of the most fun albums of the year. And be honest, all I have to say is “Nomadic Folk Metal” and you’re going to be intrigued enough to give it a chance.

While part of the allure is certainly the pure absurdity of hearing these traditional folk instruments (not to mention Mongolian Throat Singing!!!) in a heavy metal setting, Cian Bi will keep you coming back because it is a legitimately good metal album. And if “Cian-Bi (Fight Your Darkness)” doesn’t make you want to jump on your trusty steed and go fuck up some dude from the 15th century, then you need to check your pulse.

GRADE: B-

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS

“Cian-Bi (Fight Your Darkness)”, “Ride into Grave and Glory (War Horse II)”

Harms Way – Posthuman

Will Posthuman win any of my prestigious year-end awards? No, no it will not. But that’s okay. Sometimes you just want to put on a really angry album and rage the fuck out for aHarms Way bit. Well folks, Posthuman is just the album for that. Harms Way won’t wow you with any technical wizardry or operatic vocals. They know one gear, and that gear is kicking you straight in the teeth.

Posthuman does so many things right (at its best, it sounds eerily reminiscent of God Forbid) that it makes it pretty easy to ignore the places where it missteps (which I would list here if I weren’t afraid of the lead singer tracking me down and crushing my skull with his bicep. Seriously, let’s just call him a car with a flat tire, because the dude is JACKED).

GRADE: B-

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS

“Human Carrying Capacity”, “Become a Machine”

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