Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses
Attack of the Compilation 12

APÓFIS

Release – August/23/2019

Against PR

apofis compilation

Well hello again. It’s been a while, but I’m back and in rare form, ready to tackle another task Cult has left (unknowingly) for me to ponder and wax poetic upon. This week I’ll bag tackling another of the many compilation pieces he has in backlog.

How I love these little slices of short and sweet introductions a collection of how-dos, “here’s what we’re all about and that’s my time… “ Forget the invention of this ‘interweb’ thing, this was and is still my favorite way of discovering new audio and from reading through the slew of other similar articles here I can see it is also Cults (what a predictable chap).

This installment finds me pondering upon the newest Against PR (out of Portugal) compilation. The artwork offers a giant sea serpent, a boat in distress and a huge red moon all of which combine to perk the interest some. Slightly different than normal label releases (in the same manner) this collection encapsulates bands from all over the world, from several different labels with several of which who remain unsigned (usually for no reason other than they haven’t been discovered yet). Quoting from the press release… (Entitled “APÓFIS”,) this new release will present 14 tracks featuring several sub-genres from the metal spectrum and will offer an opportunity to all metalheads to discover new bands. I’m intrigued at the prospect, so what say we dive straight in. But not before of course adding the usual; the all too important rating system parameters. Obviously as this is my time to shine, I’ve added my own flavor, a spiciness which I’m sure everyone will be able to consume with only minor irritation. Onwards…

confued Orc

Err, umm, nope I’m still a little confused. What’s a compilation?

Abysmal.

Not in the good way. Toss this in the ocean and punch the nearest passerby to let out all the frustrations of spending money on schiite such as this. Jesus might like this. But I still believe it has the potential to do naught but line the birds cage. Seriously, Jesus loves everything, which in my opinion is rather silly. Jesus, you’re an utter prat!

Hrrrrrhhhhh-!

Better, this shows potential. Much like, I’d imagine, your mother on a first date. But it still leaves me wanting. Teasing the good stuff, nearly there. All this needs is a little practice. Did I mention that she left me with ‘blue balls’?

The Goblin are going crazy!

Admittedly the annoying green bastids like most things and get excited at the drop of a turd but occasionally they have the occasional suggestion which turns heads. And if the whole collective, much like an obnoxious stench-ridden green tide, agrees there must be something worth giving, at least, a cursory glance towards.

Time for a Crimson Splattered Moshpit!

Now this is worth sharing, break out the goblets, the fiery liquid, the unwilling, let’s break some limbs and party till the Dark Lord yells at us to get back to work!

All Mine!

I’m a selfish bastid. And this is too fkn’ good to share, it’s all mine!! Sod off, hold my calls!

excited animal gif

Let’s do this!

The track list contains fourteen chunks of audio and is as follows;

Komatsu – Prophecy

Astral Silence – siriuS

Negative Wall – Torquemada 71

Heavy Justice – When Inmates Run the Asylum

Barbarian Prophecies – Beyond the Threshold

Carrion – Defiled Sanity

2 Wolves – Strange Patterns

Piranha – Target Failed

Forever Autumn – Tír na nÓg

Necrotombs – DISSOLVED IN ACID

Hate by Hate – Justice to Careli Case

H1Z1 – S.S. Departed (Silent Convictions)

Fallen Man – God of Black

River of Souls – Prometheus Unbound

With all these boring details of the way let me discuss what flowed between my malformed clumps of head hugging flesh and wax poetic on that which may have otherwise passed us all by.

moneybags

 

Naturally there are tracks here which I preferred more than others and others still which forced me to drop everything and prance around like one who’d just realized that a banking error had been made in his/her error (A Monopoly board game pun – how quaint!)

Without further ado here are some which grabbed my attention prompting me to lift my gaze from the porn site I was/or was not browsing at the time.

Note; I’ve added Bandcamp links (if not available other ways to listen) so that one might be able to discover the artist under scrutiny that much easier.

H1Z1 – S.S Departed (Silent Convictions)

https://h1z1.bandcamp.com/

In a similar vein to Soulfly these cats manage to combine groove and thrash in a way that makes one just want to get up and move.

forever autumn

Forever Autumn – Tír na nÓg

https://foreverautumn.bandcamp.com/

An acoustic affair with vocals which seem to emanate from an elderly person’s throat. With that being said this is oddly intriguing and the approach perfectly fits the tracks narrative. A track which borders on Black Metal boundaries, certainly Avant Garde’ and is slathered in ominous folk values. Love it or hate it you’ll want to play this strange lil’ ditty again and again.

Heavy Justice – When Inmates Run the Asylum

https://heavyjustice.bandcamp.com/

Oozing with riffs which are ultra-catchy this track feels as if plucked from the early late 80’s/early 90’s thrash catalog archives. In a similar vein both vocally and musically to Flotsam and Jetsam (whatever happened to those dudes?) this hits hard with reminiscent qualities as well melodies which instantly take ahold of the damn this is decent audio receptors.

Necrotombs – Dissolved in Acid

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_ksx-hpAq5o9a9dEm8tV_iAQh_bciqS52Y

“Meat and potatoes” style death metal which sounds eerily similar to the style Obituary peddles. With that being said this hits the spot and hailing from a one-man outfit is especially impressive. (Rumor has it Cult covers this release in its entirety in his next Abrasive Audio piece).

piranha first kill album

Piranha – Target Failed

https://piranha4.bandcamp.com/track/target-failed

With the obvious nod to Exodus in their moniker these guys are surprisingly far from the style one might expect. Instead choosing to utilize a venom dripping vocal approach and music which is a combination of thrash and NWOBHM for an overall effect which encompasses gang chants and rhythms which are criminally catchy/infectious.  This only makes me want to spin their newest (and first full length) due September/6/ 2019. Hey guys if you’re reading this, I’ll give it a few words and a little space!

Barbarian Prophecies – Beyond the Threshold

https://barbarianprophecies.bandcamp.com/track/reincarnation

Atmospheric death/doom, epic qualities with sprinkles of progressive nature = SOLD!

This track shifts constantly to stay intriguing throughout. I don’t think I’d be far wrong in saying that this should appeal to a large percentage of both the death and death/doom crowd.

Now, onto the tracks which managed somehow to hold me enthrall…

Carrion – Defiled Sanity

https://carrionbe.bandcamp.com/

Death with thrash elements featuring somewhat electronic rhythms. A tad simplistic and repetitive in places but it works and I’m prancing around like a clown drenched in cocaine in silly town.

2 Wolves

2 Wolves – Strange Patterns

https://2wolves1.bandcamp.com/album/our-fault

Is there any wonder that this rocks as hard as it does being from Global metal central Finland?

Incorporating death, doom and Gothic elements this has at times Rotting Christ qualities and yet so much more. Hard to categorize, as it has Black metal, death metal and doom elements as well Avant Garde’ qualities why bother? Sit back, relax, and let the beauty of this audio flow over your prone form. Outstanding doesn’t even come close!

Astral Silence – siriuS

https://astralsilence.bandcamp.com/

Ambient, synth laden, atmospheric. There are a few dozen ways I could choose to describe this track, an epic affair which bursts at the seams with cosmic and melancholic qualities. Incorporating a black metal back-drop it also showcases menacing tones as well surprising melody. Here is yet another example of just how far and wide the term black metal doth reach. This isn’t your parent’s black metal (if only they were cool enough) but it will most probably be your children’s! These guys are from Switzerland which only makes me wonder what the hell is in the water there and if there’s possibly a way I could bottle it to perhaps make some cash.

river of souls

River of Souls – Prometheus Unbound

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHzh62qTAMY (the above – mentioned track)

https://riverofsouls.bandcamp.com/album/the-nihilist

Unfortunately, these guys won’t be releasing a full length in the foreseeable future. However, they have left us with this as a teaser and what a fookin’ tease they are! Basted in a style which is a slew of styles wrapped into one exquisite package this offers a great deal to like especially for those who prefer their metal slathered in epic doom/Avant Garde’/black qualities. Think Akercocke colliding with My Dying Bride and then you might be close but probably not as close as someone who has a better understanding of the metal universe and a memory that serves them well, mine is shattered. This by far caps off this compilation, is the icing on the cake and only wants me to play the whole thing again as a lead up to this track itself.

My overall rating for this compilation Time for a Crimson Splattered Moshpit! Although, if truth be told there are a few tracks represented here which are far removed from that arena based on their style, this is after all a varied compilation and it does exactly as it says in offering sub genres and a slew of talent all ripe for discovery.

Thanks again to Against PR for the opportunity and the compilation to ponder upon.

against pr logo

I’m out, I need to place that River of Souls tracks betwixt my ears yet again, it’s so damn good!

-B  

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Musing for a Minute on Metal (part the second)

Well, the first went down without complaint, so what say we try this again?

stopwatch

This installment sees Drew and myself pass judgement, yet again, on a release with only one solitary minute being played. Naturally one can’t really get a taste for an album from the first minute alone. With this in mind Drew and myself will also tackle separate tracks with the same premise in mind. Is it possible to get an accurate representation of an album from its first minute? Perhaps not, but we’ll have a blast trying.

As is the tradition with reviews of this type (huh, this is only the second one!) and much in the same way I tackle the Attack of the Compilation pieces I’ve devised a cunning rating scheme for this (exact) purpose.

the one minute review confused header

Nope, I’m still perplexed

Worst/Avoid this like the proverbial plague – I’d rather spin a vintage Judas Priest album backwards in an insane asylum but not before letting the inmates loose and arming them with bendy straws and plastic sporks.

Ugh – This is like that one jug of milk in the fridge which you can’t for the life of you decide whether it has an odor or not (the date is indecipherable), it’s best not to drink it and you won’t if you have an alternate nearby.

Has Potential – There’s a certain something which elevates this above ignorable. It’s not great but, with a little work, future efforts could well be. “Mmm, suck you do not. Potential you have” in my finest Yoda voice (which isn’t that good).

Impressive – There’s no doubt about it, like a train full of hardened criminals (rapists, murderers, politicians) careening off the tracks into the gaping maw of a smoldering volcano, this is going places (whatever that means!)

Fuck me, this is Good! – Like finding a $50 note on the ground, stop what you’re doing and grab that shit, before it’s gone!

This week sees us laying our ears on a release from the Unique Leader stable. Straight off the bat I’d assume, based on the ‘traditional’ output from the label, that this is better suited to this style of reviewing. But I’ve been mistaken before (…and often. Just ask the wife!) Without further preamble the second victim is;

Organectomy

Organectomy – Existential Disconnect
(New Zealand)
Release – June/ 21/2019
Unique Leader Records
https://uniqueleaderrecords.bandcamp.com/album/existential-disconnect

However, before I wax poetic and try to describe that which you cannot see, a few words on the accompanying artwork. After all talent deserves recognition whether its audio, art or otherwise (and they call me uncivilized).

Damn, there’s a lot going on. The image here depicts what could be described as a struggle between otherworldly forces. Although no conflict is shown a form is depicted plugged into some device or another in an alien landscape overrun with nature amok (but not the type we might be familiar with) all within a terrain which is utterly foreign and undeniably predatory in nature. A trio (or the otherworld forces) looks on from above in the proverbial heavens). The image screams wear me and has the eye- catching appeal to make others ask who is that band? It’s certainly up there with some of my favorite pieces of the year. If I were to make this short, I would say it’s close to being some kind of hybrid between the art seen on recent Inferi and Inanimate Existence releases. Vivid, bright and detailed an air of fantastical seethes from its every pixel. Before I get carried away and traipse deliriously into diatribe-ville a few words on how we’ll approach this release and no special attention based on it originating from the birthplace of my favorite director (Peter Jackson and New Zealand) either.

First off, the introduction/otherwise known as the First Track; Severed from Humanity

drew infared avi

Drews Thoughts – An album that gets right to the Goddamn point. No sound effects, chimes, eerie piano solos, or soliloquy’s to be had here. It hits right out the gate and hits hard. Brutal death style in all manners of production particularly in the vocal department.  Just going off the first minute establishes what this album has to behold and where I’m guessing it’s going to stay. This type of band isn’t one to switch gears and grind to a disappointing slowdown as too often many do. I’m just going to go out on a limb here and rate this with a nice Fuck me, this good!

This album was also released on my birthday, so it’s got that going for it.

Here’s hopping to the next track.

My Thoughts –

Within the first second alone I’m impressed. Who I can only assume is the vocalist can be heard clearing his throat then taking a breath readying for his part in what’s to follow. Then the audio kicks in. Fast, intricate and technical a brutal death/slam style incorporating a tsunamic cavalcade of notes, rhythm changes and a myriad of riffs. Then there’s the drumming. Precise, on point and force of pissed off nature in its intensity. Undeniable chops in the production department takes the sound to another level entirely, unlike many other similar albums in the same genre (based on that which I can only assume thus far in) every instruments role and part in the overall audio combination is crisp and clear making for audio which is pristine. And, wait for it I’m damn impressed even though I’m not usually a fan of the slam genre there’s something about this (even a minute in) that I have a fondness for. I’m going to put the boat before the deluge here and say Fuck me, this is Good!

The Final Track (Drew’s Thoughts on); The Infinite Witness

I chose this track simply because it was the last one and wanted to see how this whole thing held up. It starts out much the same as the first track maintaining straight up destruction of all guitars, drums, and vocal cords for the foreseeable future. It’s not quite the same pace but still a familiar one nonetheless. This is death metal. Nothing more and nothing less. And for this reason alone, it still impressive as all hell for me. In a display of just pure stubbornness, I’m sticking to my guns with this one and holding steady at Fuck Me, this is Good! Just by the fact I want to hear more. Which is exactly what I am going to do now with no listening constraints placed up me.

Track Five (My Thoughts on); Claustrophobic Intent

I’m going into this with a little bias if truth be told, my experience of the first track has left me eager for more of the same. I’m intrigued to put it mildly. Stabbing “springy” riffs start this track off, a more relaxed paced than the track heard before, a tad djent in nature (think Meshuggah). The ‘jump up and down’ style changes with the addition of melody of sorts and guttural vocals (is it just me or is there a playful edge to them?). Galloping riffs join the fray and the track has taken on a brutal death slam style albeit slower than previously heard, add a spot of technicality some guitar techniques which make screeching noises, a break which is sure to plummet the track into absolute chaos (if only for a few seconds) and you have a track which isn’t quite as intriguing as the first (need I say IMO?) the drums aren’t as prominent here, the style isn’t as frenetic, but it still holds the interest and promises fretboard shenanigans and blistering insanity on the menu in the foreseeable future.

ingested album art

Insane art for the Ingested release entitled “The Architect…”

I’ve downgraded my initial assessment to Impressive. My intrigue is perked the vocals and drumming are especially impressive and there’s something about the style (detectable within even the merest of submergement) which screams decidedly ‘not just slam’. Much like my initial experience with a similar band (again I’m making an assumption here, as I’ve not heard this all the way through) in the form of (Britain’s) Ingested, I’m left wanting more!

 

Well there you have it, another entry in the books. Feel free to tell me what you think. If you’ve heard the album in its entirety how does it compare with our assessments? Is it better, worse, is it worth a complete listen, three, six? A purchase and placement in the amassed audio library? Who should we cover as a future “victim”?

Until next our paths of audio interest meet,

Cult

Scorching the Retinas – Brain Damage

Brain Damage  (1988)

Brain damage poster

Writer- Frank Henenlottet
Director – Frank Henenlotter
Runtime – 86 minutes
Palisades Partner

 

As a child I watched a mountain of cult celluloid affairs as I descended deeper and deeper into an obsession with depraved cinema to last a lifetime. Many of these films I instantly forgot, there are a few however which stood out for one reason or another. “Brain Damage” is a film that has, and for some odd reason I have never chosen to revisit it, even though I think fondly of it often, until now. So is it worth the bother, was there a reason why it should have stuck with me for so long when I’ve forgotten much everything else of importance as I’ve aged, turned gray and fallen steadily into inevitable physical decline. Only one way to know for sure. Now where’s that remote?

(trailer courtesy of HD Retro Trailers Youtube)

Brain Damage opens with a “Weird Science”/Yuzna/Lovecraftian theme, a quirky chilling soundtrack, similar to that seen/heard in “Re-animator” and “From Beyond” (several years previous) with medical texts and pictures abound.

Following the credits centering on various archaic tribal figures and that mentioned above, an elderly couple open up a paper wrapped deli package whilst bitching about how hard it is to procure without answering various questions. Once the package is open the lady is seen happily bouncing through the house with a chorus of Elmer. Then she screams. He’s gone! And a furious search begins, but not before a sleepy Brian has been introduced, awakened by a phone call.

Brain damage wheres Elmer

Where’s Elmer?

Elmer is obviously very important to the couple and they’re seen knocking on various doors asking to look at bathtubs. Meanwhile, Brian is missing a concert with his girl, he’s feeling under the weather, discombobulated, strange and out of sorts. When he finally drags his ass outta bed he finds the sheets covered in blood. Crimson slathered across both his neck and the back of his head. It isn’t long before he finds the comfort of his bed again but not before a period of dizzying spells and strange visions bathed in underwater qualities (accompanied by a jazzy synth soundtrack) which leave him less than slightly sure of his reality.

Brian awakens in a far better state of mind and well-being. He enters the bathroom (which is surprisingly clean based on the fact that two bachelors share the apartment) and upon seeing a bathtub full if water demands that whomever else be present show themselves. He feels a rumble in his gut and within moments cones face to face with “Elmer”.

Brain Damage an introduction

Well. Hi! I’m your friendly neighborhood parasite

Smooth talking Elmer, a parasite who looks strangely like a petrified healthy sized turd complete with a shit eating grin, promises euphoria on one condition. He wants to go out for a walk. Brian brightens at the word, he’s a youngster living in New York/Chicago/New Jersey (the location is unspecific; perhaps I’m just not paying attention!?) why wouldn’t he? And takes Elmer up on his offer. A local junkyard showcases Elmer’s promise and Brian is seen jumping up and down in ecstatic joy surrounded by a wide variety of shimmering lights and hazy visuals, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the accompanying soundtrack; a brilliant synth addition which complements hugely the films vibe and mood.

Brain damage visions

Now imagine them breathing.

But Elmer isn’t at all what Brian presumed he might be. He has ulterior motives and a hunger, the first introduction a scene dripping in both practical and Claymation effects.

“Is he ok?”

“Not bad, a bit underdone!”

Sans spoilers, later scenes see Elmer (or “Aylmer” an old English word meaning infamous; noble and famous) and Brian build quite the budding relationship. They hit the town, share a romantic moment (in a scene which has been previously cut for release in the UK, no surprise there) which encompasses two words starting in “Blow” and ending in “Job” with quite the messy climax. However, Brian is missing chunks of time and has questions.

Brain Damage Fellatio

Whoops, now this site has officially been banned in the UK

A confrontation with Elmer’s former ‘handler’ showcases the creature’s colorful history, exotic journeys and its myriad of companions; All who’ve perished in mysterious circumstances.

The friendship however, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, both have a reliance on one another. One is an addict (falling into delirium fast) the other hungry and needs a ride, sustenance and brains to feast upon (this is starting to sound like a zombie film, right?)

Without adding further spoilers, someone cracks. Bloodshed ensues as does a glorious spat of OTT acting (which strangely suits this film’s vibe to a tee). An intriguing scene takes place in a bathhouse and Brian’s sleaze ball brother finally pounces. Mike’s got the girl and Brian euphoria on demand (but at a price) which begs the question; which would you prefer?

Brain damage euphoria

Ah – to be submerged in toilet water

Towards the films climax the obvious predicament occurs (there’s a blatant nod to the director’s earlier film “Basketcase”) and it’s up to Brian to maintain control. But will he, won’t he, can he? I won’t spoil it. Suffice it to say the scene is bathed in vibrant colors and onlookers are left quite perturbed, for a moment at least until they realize they live in a locale where it’s commonplace to see F-ed schiite on a regular basis.

In conclusion, for I could narrate this play by play, Brain Damage is one hell of a cult effort even some thirty years after its initial release. It still holds up and creates quite the reaction, its commentary is poignant and relateable and even though it’s a glaring example of a B movie (Troma are probably still pissed they didn’t snatch this one up!) it remains criminally watchable and infectious much like the euphoric state Elmer provides. It has several scenes which are cringe worthy, the pulling the brains from the ear scene is timeless, and showcases effects which are both silly and outstanding and ahead of their time too I might add.

Brain damage pulling brains gif

This beats that pulling a colored handkerchief trick by a mile.

The soundtrack is synth, unrelenting, beyond commendable, and offers a fantastic complement to the on-screen action. Reminiscent of ‘Bad Taste”, “Re-Animator”, “From Beyond” and others it showcases audio which fits perfectly and only emphasizes wonderfully with its quirky, frolicking, nature the bizarre antics which flow continuously across the retinas.

 

Theo Barnes and Lucille Saint- Peter portray the odd obsessed elderly couple with panache adding to the whole affair an undeniable B movie flair. Brian, portrayed by Rick Hearst (who features in a slew of popular long running daytime soaps), captures beautifully a role mired in obsession and addiction whilst Elmer created by Gabe Bartalos and David Kindlon and brilliantly voiced by the velvet tongued John Zacherle (unaccredited for some reason) encapsulates the essence of all the worst properties a drug exhibit. It’s cunning luring, the unrelenting, inescapable temptation, it’s payoff and the ramifications of addiction to the addict and those around him/her.

Brain damage Elmer

Don’t listen – drugs and getting wasted are both Elmer approved!

So much more than merely a film Brain Damage is a statement, obviously bathed in the darkest of humor to ‘take the edge off’ and a glaring warning on the dangers of doing drugs (which is a damn sight more impactful than the frying pan, egg and angry teenager ad). Did I mention that I could watch this again and again. I could, and without reservation I wholeheartedly recommend “Brain Damage” to others. Why not add it to “Street Trash” for a truly unforgettable double billing?

“Brain Damage” demands inclusion in any fans collection is available on Blu-ray (from Arrow Films) and in a myriad of other formats and is easy to locate online. So, whatcha’ waiting for? I’m adding this to my Xmas wish list.

Cult

Brain Damage-Blu-ray Arrow Films

Quite the package.

Abrasive Audio – Part Twenty – two

head explosion abrasive audio header

Not much clever to say or add this week, other than I wish I had more time to offer up in support of those worthy of recognition. (Ever feel like you wanted to add a few words on metal releases and or genre themed cinema? Drop me a line). Onwards, to that which has graced my ears in the past few days.

Void King – Barren Dominion
(USA)
Release – September/13/2019
Off the Record
Clawhammer PR

void king

https://voidking.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 79

Vivid and a little chilling. The Grim Reaper against a crescent moon, and those piercing eyes.

FIRST TRACK – 88

Huge riffs, drums and a voice that pierces the soul with its range and power. A splash of Danzig and something else against a distortion amplified doom/stoner rock backdrop. I didn’t know what to expect to be honest, but I’m diggin’ this more than I thought I would.

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

Took me a while but now I’m thinking the raw, unbridled, emotion-laden vocal style is a hybrid of Staind (Aaron something or other) Channel Zero (although my only experience is the album “Unsafe”) and Danzig it’s highly effective against the slow to mid-tempo rhythms (which change direction more than one might assume) presence, the combination is nothing short of powerful and utterly mesmerizing. The fact that this is radio friendly should not deter one from giving it a fair few spins. An altogether brilliant slab of doom/stoner rock with Southern rock touches. Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; A Lucid Omega, Burnt at Both Ends, The Longest Winter.

FFO; Danzig, Staind, Soundgarden, Corrosion of Conformity.

dead sould alliance

Dead Soul Alliance – Slaves to the Apocalypse (cassette)
(Canada)
Release – August/16/2019
Dawning Septic Productions
Dewar PR
https://deadsoulalliance.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 72

Raw black and white DIY imagery (with a dystopian, Sci-fi, oppressive societal, edge) reminiscent of art from the earliest days of the scene. I’m detecting a grind/crust vibe here, anyone else?

FIRST TRACK – 82

Intriguing pace (which adds presence) combining death and doom and stylistic elements (old school European in nature) with an initial soundbite that grabs the attention makes for a track which bodes well for the album ahead. This is far from mere chuggery and blast beat mania.

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

Only six tracks here but that’s more than enough to comprehend that these guys know what they’re doing. Combining ‘Meat & Potatoes’ (I can’t claim that, the phrase is courtesy of Void but probably isn’t trademarked) styled death, mid pace, maniacal passages and a death doom aura rather than all out brutality. DSA (an obvious abr.) have created audio which manages to toss the listener gleefully back to when death was simpler, sans progressive and technical elements complete with nods to vintage Skinless in regards to the effective utilization of soundbites. Obvious is the bands disdain for religion but rather than simply state such they have inserted thought-provoking snippets in effect adding another level to an audio collective which is a fantastic introduction to the band.

Favorite Tracks; Act of the Sycophant, Forged in Forfeit, Slaves to the Apocalypse, Formula Misanthropia.

FFO; Benediction, Gorguts, Deeds of Flesh, Morgoth.

Casket Robbery-The-Ascension-rerelease

Casket Robbery – The Ascension (EP) (expanded edition; signed, hand numbered. Tour/online only) (USA)
Release – September/6/2019
Independent
Dewar PR
https://casketrobbery.bandcamp.com/album/the-ascension
ARTWORK – 64

This looks like a freshly plowed field. However, with that in mind it also has an undeniable menacing aura about it too.

FIRST TRACK – 73

I’m getting a Slipknot mixed with Gossow era Arch Enemy vibe with more than a liberal splash of Djent, with a sprinkle of atmosphere. The whole shebang is a little less heavy on the skin pounding (this term sounds darkly erotic, right?) action than the aforementioned style but not by much. An intriguing start.

INITIAL LISTEN – 72

Bouncy, energetic and exciting the rhythms here are crushing, bordering at times on Slam sensibilities. Accompanied by surprising atmosphere and slightly abrasive vocals this is one which’ll get the listener moving though isn’t quite brutal enough to be far from the interest of thrash/death enthusiasts.

Favorite Tracks; The Ascension, Lillith.

FFO; Suicide Silence, Arch Enemy, Meshuggah, Slipknot.

Horror God

Horror God – Cursed Seeds
(Russia)
Release – September/27/2019
Lavadome Productions
Mind Eraser PR
https://lavadome.bandcamp.com/album/cursed-seeds
ARTWORK – 92

Influence and pressure come in many forms and this image depicts many of those. From a loving matriarch (who seems to be hiding something behind her thinly veiled guise) through horrific demons spiked with weaponry and spite. An exquisite image which hints at audio with intricacy and many facets. I’m intrigued!

FIRST TRACK – 92

Dissonant, spiraling, riffs lead the listener gently into an engulfing storm, a full-on assault of the senses. Brutal though controlled the nature swirls with technical elements yet never delves too far into wizardry depths for the sake of it or gets away from the main theme. Infernal audio with plenty of directional changes which instantly grabs ahold and keeps it. An amazing introduction.

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

Brutal with just the right amount of black elements, atmosphere to spare and chaotic technical passages to keep the listener enthralled. Melody and groove take a backseat to the menace and furiosity on display though it’s still apparent albeit in frenetic doses. The constant timing and rhythm shift as well the musicianship on offer and the booming vocal cadence elevate this above the herd. A dark nightmarish, punishing, narrative is what’s on offer here and I’m taking the trip again.

Highly Recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Cursed Seeds, Age of Madness, Sunset, Face of War.

FFO; Gorguts, Nile, Origin, Vital Remains, Deathspell Omega.

apokalyptic raids

Apokalyptic Raids – The Pentagram
(Brazil)
Release – October/11/2019 (re-release)
Hell’s Headbangers
https://apokalypticraids.bandcamp.com/album/the-pentagram
ARTWORK – 77

A goat’s skull entwined around a pentagram with a pair of swords spiking the whole shebang in (not quite so) perfect symmetry. Simplistic yet vivid.

FIRST TRACK – 81

Celtic Frost worship is obvious, front and center. This seethes with a wickedness, a raunchy nature, part NWOBHM (obviously Venom in tone) and part old school roots of the black scene (though this should come as no surprise to those who have knowledge of this band), overall this is criminally infectious. And it’s hitting the spot!

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

Undeniable groove runs rampant throughout alongside a mid-tempo which hints at doom sensibilities, a playful mischievous nature and undeniable homage. The inclusion of atmosphere and breaks from an all-out assault (which one might expect) are surprising though work well to add to that which the album offers. CF and HH worship yes but there’s something else to be found here amidst the album’s raw nature A maturity? Probably not, perhaps more an exploration. Incorporating the same rock-solid foundation (a raw dirge vibe) only adding to it with a smorgasbord of other influence, a radius that blankets Bestial, War, traditional heavy metal, thrash and speed metal realms, molded to the bands specification. It works!! But I can’t shake the feeling that Paul Speckmann (Master, Death Strike) is pulling vocal duties.

If you’ve yet to submit your senses to Apokalyptic Raids this is an ideal place to start.

Favorite Tracks; Necromaniac (is back), Victory Beyond Imagination, My Triumph, Keep my Grave Open, The Story of Pope Joan.

FFO; Celtic Frost, Hellhammer, Whipstriker.

ingested filth album cover

Mutilatred – Ingested Filth (EP)
(USA)
Release – August/30/2019
Redefining Darkness Records
https://mutilatred.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 86

A medieval grotesquery image depicting an unlucky gent literally losing more than merely his shirt. Poor fellow. I’m left wondering if those angel types are Govt. tax agents or something entirely more sinister altogether.

FIRST TRACK – 77

Dense and filthy. This isn’t crisp and clear but rather dirty and “gutteriffic” (I do believe I just invented a word). A tone which is suffocating with drums that add a grindcore bounce of sorts and well-suited vocals which add to the fun. A great package!

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

Pummeling, punishing, obliterating death is what’s on offer here. Whirling dervish in intensity and uncompromising in assault these six tracks deliver with an axe to grind to leave the listener dazed and the genre reignited. Barely short of fourteen minutes of ferocity to carve a smile on any (old school) fans face who’s left furious by the invasion of “melodic” into a realm which by moniker alone should be, by nature, far from it.

Favorite Tracks; Fuck Everything, Ingested Filth, Tortured, Scooping out the Brains.

FFO; Suffocation, Skinless, Defeated Sanity, Immolation.

superterrestrial

Superterrestrial – The Void That Exists
(United Kingdom)
Release – August/16/2019
Green Flaw Productions
Dewar PR
https://greenflaw.bandcamp.com/album/the-void-that-exists
ARTWORK – 81

A cold stark landscape with two moons… wait what-? It looks familiar, yet not so much. There’s definitely something going on here, and I’m about to investigate.

FIRST TRACK – 87

Majestic yet tinged with a foreign nature of a definite bleak, yet epic, cosmos leaning. The riffs here are striking with instant effect, infectious, unforgiving, intense, yet frigid. The vocals are low in the mix, a howling effect which strangely suits the audio. A fantastic start and introduction.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

Familiar, yet not so much. “The Void That Exists” exhibits a certain fluidity about it which is captivating. Varied dark synth interludes add stunning atmosphere to the mix (an industrial audio landscape breathing with alien menace) and serve to break up that which might turn monotonous; rhythms which are unforgiving, often suffocating, yet seethe with undeniable primal nature. Not being a huge fan of the genre, an opinion that’s changing the more I’m allowing my senses entry, I can honestly say this held my attention rapt throughout, although I will mention it felt like some of the same riffs and rhythms were a tad over-utilized.

Favorite Tracks; Collapsar, Tidal Disruption Event, The Morton Wave.

FFO; Emperor, Dissection, Satyricon.

IATT

IATT – Nomenclature
(USA)
Release – September/27/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR
https://iattblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/nomenclature
ARTWORK – 87

This overflows with an ancient ritualistic vibe. The awesome use of colors give this a bronzed effect as well lend it leathery textures to give off an aged persona.

FIRST TRACK – 76

IATT lay it all out in the line within no time whatsoever, within the first minute in fact. Theirs is a blackened style shrouded by progressive elements, which the cover art might not suggest, spoken word elements and frequent rhythm transformations oozing in melody are plentiful here. An epic track to start things off one that’s draped in raw emotion and ferociousness.

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

Truthfully, it’s taken me several listens to get into this one. It wasn’t what I expected. But once over the initial foreign aura its nature has grown on me, starting its enthralling conquest of my senses. ‘Progressive Black’ isn’t honestly a genre I hear that much of, usually more black or blackened death/speed though this is a fantastic amalgamation of both combining the unbridled ferocity of black and the sweeping emotional qualities of progressive. Epic tracks are to be expected with the genre moniker in mind and this album doesn’t disappoint in that regard. Nor does the style; taking the listener through landscapes both sweeping majestic and horrifying. An unpredictable journey with a great deal to delight the senses, a tableau showcasing a myriad of vistas one might not expect, passages flirting with folk and heritage rhythms as well traditional heavy metal stylings and naturally the obvious; a darkness which glues it all together. Classical elements are a fantastic part of this release too, Gothic and synth natures can’t be ignored and fit the albums narrative perfectly. In short, this will appeal to those with an open mind whose penchants run to blackened realms as well arenas which are often referred to as a tad experimental. Though fear not as this stays this side of ‘too much’ and offers that which will delight though warrant several spins in order to fully digest. With over an hour of audio on offer this is far from what one might have initially assumed, but be prepared for you’ll want to lose yourself in its grandeur again and again. Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Realm of Dysthymia, Molynexus Problem, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Yersenia Pestis, Blade of Trepanation.

FFO; The Faceless, later era Death, Between the Buried and Me, Atheist, The Odious.

That’s it for yet another extreme drenched audio installment. Until our paths of audio interest cross again, keep those ears open

Cult

sheep skin dvd art

Sheep Skin (2013)

USA

Director/Writer – Kurtis M. Spieler

Runtime – 80 minutes

Invasive Image

Unearthed Films

 

“Sheep Skin” adds to a genre already bursting at the seams, so what does it offer? The film opens on a sleazy, scum bag, corporate type whose work centers around an office in which his family photos face away from him (is he really that ashamed of them?) His day ends and he discovers that, apparently, the elevator is out isn’t that always the case? (“Big Bang Theory” nod here) so he takes the stairs but not before being shot down by a temp whom he invites out for a drink and a spot of accelerated corporate ladder climbing shenanigans. His descent down the stairs is fraught by a collective of pig mask wearing types and an abrupt bag over the head motif. Credits roll, a montage of slashed up victims lying about the woods flashes across the screen and the movie “begins”.

(Trailer courtesy of Invasive Image)

The corporate scumbag is hastily transported to a warehouse environment, placed in a comfortable chair, placed in front of a big screen, offered treats, beverages and a choice of movies from which to choose. Ha! I jest. An interrogation commences and he’s obviously the prime suspect in a series of local grisly murders. But it doesn’t stop there.  The collective donning the pig masks soon reveal themselves and the reasons to believe him to be a killer and possibly something else. There, I haven’t spoiled anything, this is all ‘on the box’ though obviously my own twist (and prose) is that which just flashed across the retinas.

sheepskin scene

“I don’t know man, he could just be a scumbag corporate type”

Even early on one might notice that this is a low budget affair (it was supposed shot in eight days for $25,000). There’s a small cast and the locations used are minimal. Undeniable too is that the audio is a tad low in the mix. This results in the volume turned higher than normal in order to fully comprehend the myriad of character interaction which the film thrives on in its infancy. There’s a great deal of ‘talkie bits’, a few scuffles and not much else unless you count confusion, frustration, regret and trepidation. The story is kept interesting by the addition of added elements and the premise of a ‘whodunit’. There’s an air of mystery shrouding the while affair, as if someone is holding something back and antagonizing an original premise to its ‘inevitable’ conclusion. As the movie plays out and incidences occur which add an added excitement element assumptions and predictions run rampant as to who (or what) might be holding back as the tension level elevates exponentially.

sheepskin scene 2

Man, I’m scared. I feel like I’m about to have my blood drawn like in “The Thing”

For a low budget affair, the acting is surprisingly competent, huge kudos to actors who are trying their best to get their foot in the industries door, the movies flow and feel easily consumable. “Sheep Skin” also boasts surprisingly good effects (great throat slashed effects) a passable creature effect which you don’t see much of but when you do its shrouded in shadows (trying to keep the spoilers at a minimal here) and more than enough nods to cult Lycanthrope cinematic affairs (“The Howling” and “An American Werewolf in London”) to keep the fanatics of the genre happy.

just the tip

Just the tip

Shit, this movie even has a chainsaw (are there any in the genre which don’t nowadays?) and enough crimson to give the local butcher a stiffening in the groin area (wait wha-?) Naturally, the films budget forbids an effective splatter effect every minute (based on the films feel comedic cheaper, silly looking, effects would feel out of place) but the creators did well with the budget they had to work with. Add to that an ending which doesn’t fall in the Hollywood category and you have a film which is curiously watchable ( I only wonder if this might transform into another long eared, fang toothed, franchise, did i just spoil it?) and far surpasses that which a mountain of other films with a similar budget offer. Obviously, those going into this with exceedingly high expectations, who believe all the hype the blurbs often promise, might be disappointed but for those whose penchants run to Indie productions this will be a fun viewing experience. Based on this and the caliber on offer here I’m expecting a bright future for the director. I have my eyes peeled.

For added fun the DVD offers a punk rock soundtrack and a montage of pictures during the credits to further emphasis the fact that the pig mask wearing collective were in fact in a band (as if the one guy talking about being ambidextrous which helped being out as being the drummer wasn’t enough). Also it offers two viewing options; the movie can be witnessed in either color or BnW if this isn’t a homage to roots of the scene/Universal cinema I don’t know what is, a fantastic added touch.

unearthed films sheep skin

 

For other Unearthed cinematic treasures from across the globe visit https://www.unearthedfilms.com/ and tell them I sent you, as if that makes a difference.

Cult

Abrasive Audio – Part Twenty – One

head explosion abrasive audio header

Well, look at that, my creation is old enough to drink alcoholic beverages now. What better way to celebrate than with a metal soundtrack to forget one’s daily woes to? Grab a cold one and dive in, I’ve made this a longer than normal installment to celebrate the occasion.

Trench Warfare – Hatred Prayer
(USA)
Release – August/9/2019
Transcending Obscurity Records
https://trenchwarfaremetal.bandcamp.com/album/hatred-warfare-black-death-metal
trench warfare
ARTWORK – 80

A diabolical, somewhat cheeky, image with obvious spit in the face of religion undertones.

FIRST TRACK – 78

A cinematic quality, futuristic landscape of conflict opens the scene complete with the approaching footsteps of what I can only assume is a robotic killing machine. Seconds later the dirge kicks in, incorporating a somewhat “pulsing” beat”, and I’m Instantly reminded of Terrorizer a brutal chaos with a splash of maniacal nature complete with a heavy drum sound with early Grindcore esque vocals to match. A great start.

INITIAL LISTEN – 74

Vocals are eerily similar to Martin van Drunnen whereas the music wears its influence on its sleeve and there’s a great deal to ponder upon. The mixture is somewhat a mash up of vintage Bolt Thrower industrial styled dirge, old school brutal death/grind ala Terrorizer, a splash of Repulsion at times a punk element and a maniacal nature which doesn’t quite attain Morbid Angel realms, all draped in a raw nature which fits the concoction perfectly. I honestly hear very little to do with anything black metal here. Tracks are short and sweet (unpredictable in their overall nature) in the most part and take little time to get to their climax although there is of course the plodding exception, scattered throughout to throw the listener off, draped in catacomb-esque qualities. Overall this is barbaric and unrelenting with a brutal old school death vibe throughout to please those who prefer chaotic over melodic audio.

Favorite Tracks; Spare no Wrath, Axioms, Young Lord, Hatred Prayer.

FFO; Terrorizer, vintage Bolt Thrower, vintage Morbid Angel and metal draped in bestial warlike qualities.

darkened

Darkened – Into the Blackness
(International)
Release – August/23/2019
(Physical copy available October 18th through Chaos Records)
Edged Circle Productions
https://edgedcircleproductions.bandcamp.com/music (as of this juncture it’s not included yet)
 ARTWORK – 87

Highly impressive intricate and detailed black and white imagery depicting an unearthed skull amidst nature running amok (or something)

FIRST TRACK – 89

A fantastic mixture of Bolt Thrower (the drummer is Andy Whale, so this might come as no great surprise), melodic era Hypocrisy (along with the often-associated atmosphere and presence) and Bloodbath. An impressive start with an excellent introduction bursting with an evoking aura.

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

This is a stunning example of what might happen when like-minded individuals pool their talents and attempt something a little different than what they’re otherwise known for. Although the familiarity is undeniable there is also something else which makes this stand apart. Presence, subtle atmosphere or the audios leaning toward death/doom territories. Whatever it is it works and I’m eager for more.

Favorite Tracks; The Offering, Darkening of my Soul.

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Hypocrisy, Bloodbath, Morgoth, Abysmal Dawn, Infected Dead.

witch ritual

Witch Ritual – Death: Beyond
(Germany)
Release – May/20/2019
DHU Records (Vinyl)
Against PR
https://witchritual.bandcamp.com/album/death-beyond
ARTWORK – 81

Simplistic yet chilling. Highly reminiscent of the cover art to “Blood Tide”, a respected ‘Creature Feature’ cult affair with a big name cast from the late 70’s.

FIRST TRACK – 84

Exactly as it states the introduction is an Invocation ritual of sorts with a distortion backdrop, this leads into the first track which offers huge riffs, a Gothic soundscape, distortion and an overall style which is doom laden with stoner rock groove. But, let’s not forget the sultry vocals the icing on the cake which elevates this to far beyond intriguing realms.

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

Mid-tempo and often lazy paced, mesmerizing, invocative, traditional, occult doom (far from death and funeral realms) with just the right amount of “fuzz”. Excellent vocals with a range that includes smoldering, sultry and a little something close to frustrated howling make this a fantastic palette cleanser, especially if one is wont to bathe themselves in brutality a great deal of the time.

This is a release you can lose yourself in, an amazing debut which demands attention.

Favorite Tracks; Behind Me, The Earth Rises Up, Those I Haunt, Ruins.

FFO; Candlemass, early Black Sabbath, Witch Mountain.

antichrist siege machine

Antichrist Siege Machine – Schism Perpetration
(USA)
Release -August/26/2019
Krucyator Productions/Stygian Black Hand
Qabar PR
https://stygianblackhand.bandcamp.com/album/schism-perpetration
ARTWORK – 86

Exquisite smoky Black n White imagery, which demands inclusion on cotton, depicting a conqueror of sorts (exiting an other-worldly dimension) traipsing across a landscape strewn with impaled corpses. Vivid and intricate.

FIRST TRACK – 78

Thunderous, furious, unmerciful and exactly what the bands moniker suggests. A landslide of brutality has been tripped, prepare the ears!

INITIAL LISTEN – 76

Enveloping, immerse and suffocating with a similarity to “Realm of Chaos” which is at time uncanny Antichrist Siege Machine have carved an album which is unrelenting, force of nature in its intensity and pulverizing in its approach. Groove passages are few and far between allowed to breathe infrequently between the punishing, rampaging, onslaught of chaos. Recommended for the brave!

Favorite Tracks; Incinerated Enemy, Schism Perpetration, Apocalyptic Despair.

FFO; Realm of Chaos era Bolt Thrower, Mortician, Conquerer, Revenge.

beastmaker

Beastmaker – Eye of the Storm (EP)
(USA)
Release – July/26/2019
Shadow Kingdom Records
https://beastmaker.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 81

Alright, alright. I get it. She-Ra kicked your ass and Evil Lynn prefers flesh over bone. But that’s no reason to…

No, Skelator. No-!

FIRST TRACK – 87

Wicked solos, infectious melodies and a style that’s part “Bark at the Moon” era Ozzy and early Iron Maiden makes this extremely difficult not to instantly like.

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

Rumor has it that this is the last Beastmaker album (on;y time will tell), the mind behind it, a talented fellow indeed; Trevow Willia,m Church, is also the genius behind Haunt (and they’re getting crazy popular), and although it’s short, barely four tracks I can honestly say this is dangerously infectious audio. Which only makes me wonder how it is I haven’t dived headfirst into their catalog before now. Think traditional heavy metal with speed metal tendencies draped in fine shroud of occult doom. This flows so damn well it should be criminal, and that voice. Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; The whole EP!

FFO; Early Ozzy albums, Iron Maiden, Dio, Haunt, Iced Earth, Candlemass.

abominism

Abominism – s/t
(USA)
Release – July/26/2019
Black Market Metal
FullBlast! PR
https://abominism.bandcamp.com/album/abominism
ARTWORK – 67

I’m not even sure what this is. Is this an x-ray image or a blur or a creature the conscious mind cannot fully grasp the dimensions of? I’m sure that’s it, it makes more sense.

FIRST TRACK – 86

Slightly technical, though thankfully not over the top, with just the right amount of progressive nature and brutality basted in groove and varied tempo rhythms accompanied by hyper speed drums. Venom fueled vocals fit the style perfectly. Doom Death stylings with a liberal dosage of black to perk the interest and that it does. A fantastic start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 89

Occasionally, albums and artists come from out of nowhere to kick one on their ass. And this did just that! With no prior knowledge of the band or their style I was suitably impressed with that which caressed my ears. Only six tracks on offer here but they are more than enough with their epic qualities to whet the appetite and leave the listener wanting more. Atmosphere is rampant as too dissonant rhythms, technical passages and progressive elements concocted and woven with such creativity and professionalism as too only draw the listener into the album’s entrancing spell the deeper in the listener gets. Brutality is commonplace though not overpowering, rhythms are varied and transform from wicked infectious to blast beat frenzy to a crawl and often in the same track. There’s a great deal for everyone to enjoy here as the style blankets a wide radius of the extreme metal spectrum, never once dwelling for too long in pone arena as to become predictable, ranging from Slam, deathcore, brutal death, death doom and a great deal in between all balanced delicately with absolute precision.

Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Burn Them Slowly, To Life, Dream and Yet Die as Nothing, Abominism, Famine of Hope.

FFO; Aborted, Nile, Suffocation, Deeds of Flesh, Abysmal Dawn.

nomas last laugh

No/Mas – Last Laugh
(USA)
Release – August/30/2019
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/last-laugh
ARTWORK – 91

This certainly makes an impression, and as a gore fiend places a huge smirk on my face.

FIRST TRACK – 78

Fast as unholy F and catchy as hell. If you have yet to discover No/Mas this is a great place to start and this is a fantastic opener!

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

Six tracks and perilously close to eight minutes in length. Yep, this is grindcore! And these fellows have an axe to sharpen and senses to obliterate. Plenty of groove and brutality here to put a ‘spark in the step’ (whatever that means, I obviously fucked up the adage somewhat!) and I can honestly say I believe this to be their best work to date, as it makes an instant impression and is criminally infectious/inciteful from its nuclear powered launch. (Note; “Rabia” opens much like “Suffer the Children” by Napalm Death for the win!)

Favorite Tracks; Verbal Abuse, Police Brutality, Rabia, Burden.

FFO; Insect Warfare, Brutal Truth, Napalm Death, Human Cull, Disrupt.

unburnt

Unburnt – Arcane Evolution (EP)
(Canada – not to be confused with the similarly named sludge/post-metal outfit from France)
Release – August/16/2019
Independent
Mind Eraser PR
https://unburntmetal.bandcamp.com/album/arcane-evolution
ARTWORK – 65

A shrouded figure with obvious third-degree burns trauma stands before a window which demands blinds to be placed in front of it. Take note kids; sunscreen is a must if you’re to be under the suns gaze, or staring directly at it, for a prolonged period of time.

FIRST TRACK – 81

Infectious rhythms drive this track displaying a galloping pace alongside riffs which are dangerously addictive. A dual-pronged vocal attack lends a deathcore edge coupled with atmosphere, boasting a mystical nature of sorts, this is a great introduction to the band and their style.

INITIAL LISTEN – 78

Melodic death with deathcore and slam tendencies with surprising technical flourishes amidst rhythms which are often far beyond infectious make for a release which can be easily instantly appreciated. Add to that lyrics which are intriguing and decipherable (which is somewhat of a rarity in this genre) and you have an EP which deserves attention and bodes well for the band’s future. I only hope they can find their niche within an overcrowded genre, that which might help them stand out.

Favorite Tracks; Superiority Through Wisdom, Arcane Evolution.

FFO; Whitechapel, Black Dahlia Murder.

cropsy maniac

Cropsy Maniac – Carnage
(USA)
Release – September/6/2019
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/carnage
ARTWORK – 91

Who doesn’t love some well executed Savini Fx film inspired fan art? Bonus points for anyone who can name the film.

FIRST TRACK – 80

Grinding death with phlegmy vocals, wicked rhythms and obvious cult/horror film influence, and it’s a damn sight better than I was imagining it might be. I’m intrigued as to the remainder of this release, with high hopes based on the quality of this track.

INITIAL LISTEN – 78

With each track centered around a specific movie, some more obvious than others, this is obviously part homage and not altogether a fresh idea. With that being said however, this is impressive audio. Part grinding, part crust, part brutal death with undeniable respect given to old school death values. Groove aplenty and gutter values will carve a grin on the face of those who have their penchants in the sick and grotesque side of the metal arena and on a first experience basis I can honestly say this is an act to watch in this genre as this genuinely delivers from start to finish.

Favorite Tracks; Brainscan, Slaughterhouse, The Beast Within, Rabid.

FFO; Impetigo, VHS, Necrophagia, Blood Freak.

excuse

Excuse – Prophets from the Occultic Cosmos
(Finland)
Release- August/2/2019
Shadow Kingdom Records
https://excuse-finland.bandcamp.com/ (link for “Goddess of Injustice” EP, the newest offering isn’t up yet! Use this as a teaser)
ARTWORK – 75

This has a phosphorus Four Horsemen vibe, as well enigmatic mystical/supreme being leanings. Is one to therefore assume this might be audio with doom qualities?

FIRST TRACK – 74

One might be left wondering during the introduction where this might lead. Once it gets warmed up however there’s no doubt, this is frantic thrash with traditional Heavy Metal sensibilities, melody breaks, accompanied by a lyrical style which is might take a little getting used to.

INITIAL LISTEN – 76

A vinyl production feel lends this an 80’s edge, a factor which is also added to by the albums style and undeniable epic heavy metal qualities. The vocals at times however feel disjointed as if they don’t fit the music. Strangely overall the style works and this might just be something which needs getting used to. Frequent echo effects elevate the epic aura (bringing with it an air of mystery) a vibe which is hoisted aloft by galloping rhythms and melodies which boast at times a fantasy and folk feel.

Favorite Tracks; Blade of Antichrist, Prophets from the Occultic Cosmos, Sworn to the Crimson Oath.

FFO; early Iron Maiden, Helloween, Iced Earth.

prostitute disfigurement

Prostitute Disfigurement – s/t
(The Netherlands)
Release – March/22/2019
Rising Nemesis Records
https://risingnemesisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/prostitute-disfigurement
ARTWORK – 92

Ol’ Jack in all his gut ripping glory. You can virtually hear the screams and smell the stench, the vomit of the back alleyways, the fould odor associated with one’s insides and vinegar the type for dousing newspaper cradled portions of chips (they call French fries “chips” over there, right?) Gloriously grotesque and wickedly vivid in its depiction, what’s not to salivate over?

FIRST TRACK – 92

P.D are back! I couldn’t be happier and this is a stunning example of what they are known for. Foul despicable, lyrics, rhythms I would eagerly snap my neck to and an overall theme which would make Mary Whitehouse roll over in her grave and send Tipper Gore into convulsions. This only makes me wonder why one of their CD’s isn’t the one stuck in my car’s audio equipment. Outstanding opener!

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

This flows like a river and is equally as vicious in its temperament. Riffs, rhythms, track titles and even the covers artwork tosses me back to when I first encountered the death metal arena and I couldn’t be happier. No progressive nature, little atmosphere just solid death pure and simple with zero gimmicks, perhaps a soundbite here and there but that never hurt anyone.

Few can keep up with the quality of this act when it comes to brutality basted in rhythms which could incite even the most lethargic into movement. And I’m ecstatic they are back in the limelight. If they aren’t, why the hell is this not the case? Seriously, who forgot to tell me these gents released a new one? I had high hopes and these guys delivered! This is certainly up there with their earlier efforts; most especially “Descendants of Depravity” and “Deeds of Derangement”.

Favorite Tracks; Fight a Transvestite, Happily to the Gallows, Force-Fed Death, The Way of all Excrement, Penile Tumescence.

FFO; Cannibal Corpse, Infected Dead, Malevolent Creation, Vomitory, Jungle Rot, Gorgasm, Bloodbath.

And that brings a mammoth installment to a close. Don’t be afraid to open the mind to new arenas of the metal spectrum, discovery often leads to *insert insightful, life altering, prose here. Until our paths of audio interest cross again,

Cult

Musing for a Minute on Metal; The One Minute Review

stopwatch

This is either going to work, or die a horribly, screaming, painful death very early on. There’s no doubt that any album needs to prove itself in its infancy so that it may be played continuously until it’s final notes. A popular consensus is that three tracks is what it takes for a yay, nay, eject or continue to play. For me the first track is very important, although I have given up on an album if the second, third and fourth track leave little to no impression, even following a blow my mind initial introduction. Imagine if you will a world in which you have a single minute to make the decision. Naturally, there are some genres in which this won’t work well at all and others where it will suit the music’s style. Take Akercocke’s “Praise the Name of Satan” (the opening track to ‘Choronzon’) for example, if I were base my opinion of the album on a minute of its intro alone then I would be hearing zero actual music (unless you count an angelic chorus as the backdrop against the talkie bit) and all soundbite about some guy droning on about witchcraft this, sacrifice that and who the hell knows the other. By this point I’ve lost interest completely. And have little to zero indication how the music will play out for the remainder of the album. Naturally, there will be elements that will need playing with in this particular the format. But, what the hey, let’s go with what we have for now. I’ve left the best news for last – I’m joined in this exciting venture by a close friend who has similar interests.

Without further preamble…

Much like the Attack of the Compilation pieces I believe a quite specific rating system would work for this format.

the one minute review confused header

Yea, I’m still confused and unsure

Worst/Avoid this like the proverbial plague – I’d rather spin a vintage Judas Priest album backwards in an insane asylum but not before letting the inmates loose and arming them with bendy straws and plastic sporks.

Ugh – This is like that one jug of milk in the fridge which you can’t for the life of you decide whether it has an odor or not (the date is indecipherable), it’s best not to drink it and you won’t if you have an alternate nearby.

Has Potential – There’s a certain something which elevates this above ignorable. It’s not great, but with a little work future efforts could well be. “Mmm, suck you do not, potential you have” in my finest Yoda voice (which isn’t that good).

Impressive – There’s no doubt about it, like a train full of hardened criminals (rapists, murderers, politicians) careening off the tracks into the gaping maw of a smoldering volcano, this is going places (whatever that means!)

Fuck me, this is Good! – Like finding a $50 note on the ground, stop what you’re doing and grab that shit, before it’s gone!

Naturally a decision cannot be made on the first minute of the first track alone. Let’s not be hasty here. Albums are often diverse and more often than not open up as the running order progresses showcasing the bands diversity, talent, and often a willingness to adapt and/or experiment in order to carve a niche of their own. What better way then, than to get a feel for this than by giving a few tracks a listen. Another two (as well as the initial one) to garner a better understanding of where this album might be headed.

The First Victim

As of late I’ve been struggling to keep up with the vast number of promos which have somehow found themselves in my Inbox. Admittedly it’s been a while since I’ve tackled a release from the Satanath stable, I’d like to rectify that. So, with dart in hand and blinder across eyes I throw the dart, smash the computers screen (what an ignoramus way to pick randomly) but come up with a name; the first victim of the very first One Minute Review Segment (it remains to be seen if there will be another?)

vehementor

Vehementor – Dungeons of Grotesque Symmetry (cd limited to 500 copies)
(Macedonia)
Release -June/24/2019
Satanath Records (Russia)/MurdHer Records (Italy)
https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat252-vehementor-dungeons-of-grotesque-symmetry-2019

In the grand tradition of the other review pieces on this site (talent needs to be recognized) I’d like to commence this with a few words on the albums art.

Crimson. Lots of crimson, candles, steps and a foreboding figure in the background. But what is his purpose? Is he the “Vehementor”? And just what is this abode fashioned from? It appears as though it’s a living breathing entity, perhaps it’s a giant creature or a vast vagina this fellow has somehow stumbled onto and in. And cannot find his way out? We might never know. All queries aside, outrageous or not, this is a rather impressive image, one that hints at audio with ominous, perhaps Gothic, most undeniably evil, qualities.

For the purpose of this review I’ll tackle the third track. Entitled “Notorious” which strangely has nothing to do with a similarly named scallywag, an Irish M.M.A fighter, but more to do with…Hell I don’t know (I guess I need to give this a listen). And Drew will tackle the eighth track entitled “The Stronghold is Yours”.

Onwards. (setting the stopwatch)

“Reaper” (Track One; the introduction to both the band, the album and their style)

drew infared avi

Drew – Exactly what I was expecting based on my first track, at least in the vocal department. Nice, solid tempo but the music definitely isn’t straight up death. Nothing in the blast-beat department so far. Production is clean in both music and vocals. The artwork is just begging to be thrown on a t-shirt. A nice glimpse into what kind of looks like one of the many rooms of hell.

Really digging on it so far and have upgraded to an Impressive rating.

Cult – This isn’t at all what I expected. There are riffs here, of the infectious variety, clean production and a thrashy vibe with a mid- tempo, rather than an out and out brutal death and or blackened nature played at hyper-speed. Vocals hit at the thirty second mark and they’re of a raspy type, heavier than traditional thrash though not quite of a growling nature one usually associates with death realms, reminding me or the earliest of Witchery style (“Restless and Dead, “Dead, Hot and Ready”). Stranger still is that they are of the decipherable variety and that they fit the groove the guitars and drums provide. Although a break in pace hasn’t happened yet I’m left wondering if it might, as the track bears definite ominous qualities.

witchery dead hot and ready

In case you were wondering

I’d gladly give this an Impressive rating as this leaves me beyond curious as to what the remainder of the album offers.

Drews pick; “The Stronghold is Yours” (the eighth track)

I actually jumped straight to my track first without listening to anything for no other reason as to not skew my view of the band…and to be difficult. A screeching guitar effect blends seamlessly into what feels like a slowed down jam session. Shockingly, I really can’t get a feel for what this band is like based on 60 whole seconds of this track alone. But right around the one-minute mark is exactly where the vocals begin to kick in leaving me with a death impression.

So far, I’m leaning heavily on Has Potential.

 Cults pick; “Notorious” (the third track)
sepultura beneath

It goes without mentioning that this is a must own album! 

Classical, acoustic, guitar (electric) opens this track, much in the same vein of Sepultura’s “Beneath the Remains” though not quite with such the same epic vibe. An introductory vibe which lasts for a good fifteen seconds. The drums join at this point, then at forty-five seconds the oomph of another guitar and an interesting rhythm (which sadly this one-minute format will not allow this listener to hear the climax of) again, at a mid-tempo pace which sounds surprisingly clean. This isn’t the audio one might assume based on the cover art, but it is catchy. Only the smallest snippet of a vocal accompaniment accompanies the track before the (one-minute) buzzer goes off and I have to fashion this with a rating.

Impressive is again my opinion and I’m intrigued as to how the album might play out, but that’s for another day. I’m interested as to Drew’s thoughts (I scribbled and finished mine before reading them).

Well, there’s the first entry in the One Minute Review (Musing for a Minute on Metal) segment in the bag, it wasn’t perfect, but we tried! It’s best to remember that our opinions are based solely on one minute of audio and not the whole album so the final verdict could go either way, and could be light years removed from our verdict. Feel free to share, comment and/or suggest other albums which might be suitable for similar scrutiny.

 

Cult