Scorching the Retinas – Another Avlanche of Indy entry

Devils Acid (2017)
(USA)

devils acid movie.jpg

Writer – Eric Gibson, Garrett Kruithof, Finch Nissen
Director – Garrett Kruithof
Runtime – 89 minutes
Gorilla Tree Film Company
Dale Beasley Products
Neon Bridge Films
High Octane Pictures

Facing his child’s ability to sneak around like a ninja and inability to sleep, a parent is asked to tell a scary story.

“You want me to tell you a scary story? I’m trying to watch the game.”

“…Please-”

And thus, it begins…

“Once upon a time there was a guy named Johnny…Johnny is an asshole!”

(trailer courtesy of YouTubeMovies)

And, he really is. He’s about the most demanding, entitled, racist character you are likely to ever meet. It doesn’t help that he lives alone and oozes cash. He has a plan, it isn’t as extravagant as taking over the world, he likes to party and hopes an abandoned prison will suffice for his “requirements” The “Haunted Hot Girl (and one black bitch) Challenge”. The narration is brought to a halt (bringing to mind an obvious nod to the timeless classic The Princess Bride) to explain that it’s OK, as Johnny is an asshole!

the Princess Bride

A timeless classic

Another child joins the fray and numerous beers are consumed by all (Insert shaking head antics here). Back to the prison…

This year is different than the last Johnny has brought “treats”; the Devils Acid and combined with the normal rules the evening’s festivities are about to begin. A small collective gather in hopes to ease the vertically challenged douche bag of some of his funds. Some have understandable reservations but after seeing the prize (wads of cash) they’re quickly forgotten. After they all go on their merry way, separate rooms they’re instructed to spend the night in, Johnny encounters a slight hiccup, a mutiny of sorts and a gun he believed wasn’t loaded.

Meanwhile. Brittany who likes to spout her inner stream of consciousness aloud, with a Valley girl twang, has started to prep her room for the night. She’s brought sheets (“How thoughtful of you Brittany”) but no instructions. How will she ever manage?

brittany - devils acid

Hi. I’m Brittany and I act exactly as my name might suggest.

Delilah is having a great time (it appears she’s done this type of thing before) but she has a secret. The revealing of which only makes Johnny’s evening that much better (think a successful ad campaign ran in years past by Wrigley’s Spearmint gum and you’ll be close).

An uninvited guest makes a sudden appearance suggesting to the participants (in turn) that a change in this year’s rules was his idea and that the game itself isn’t Johnny’s, but his. This understandably mixes things up.

Hidden cameras throughout the facility are a nice touch in showing each participants reaction to that which makes this game unfathomably more interesting than the last. The films various psychedelic touches are well-crafted and thankfully don’t veer deep into silly realms, as I’m they might have if Troma were at the helm. Humor elements are decidedly dark in tone, especially jaded and won’t be to everyone’s liking (snowflakes be prepared to be offended!!) but they are surprisingly well executed, especially for a film of this caliber, it’s budgetary restrictions and the genre in which it resides.

devils acid the father.jpg

The inappropriate Father figure/narrator

The Princess Bride vibe is surprisingly well done, cuts away at opportune moments, even adds alternate scenarios to fit the audience’s fantasy, showcasing a parent’s inability to use a filter or common sense in toning down a story for his audience.

Standout scenes are plentiful (my favorite is a quazi-birth scene. Remember, all the participants are ‘trippin balls’) and although the gore quotient is low (there’s plenty of blood, if nothing else) and nudity is nil, both staples of the B movie genre I might add, the film plays out with an unexpected quality which keeps the attention throughout. Some great song choices including an instrumental rehash of The Eagles “Hotel California” are well placed and add a certain class to the whole proceedings. Of the characters on screen the father figure, who is uncredited, although I have a hunch it’s Garrett Kruithof (also the narrator, one of three responsible for the writing of this feature and the director) stands out as he attempts to entertain his offspring, through various sidebars and interruptions, as well Johnny (played by Drew Rin Varick) who exemplifies a douche excellently. Brittany, Ashley Dulaney, is unforgettable portraying a character who one can’t help but like but would love to dislike (hate is too strong a word) for all the wrong reasons.

misty and kim-ormiston

Misty and Kim Ormiston in their natural habitat

Misty and Kim Ormiston (The Hunger Games) play a stunning pair of twins, both Delilah (which doesn’t make sense to the audience in attendance either) yin and yang, opposites; carefree and dominant personalities exemplified. And their appearance towards the films finale truly warrants inclusion in a sword and sorcery epic.

 

The film ends, eventually, as the Father intended (I won’t spoil it) and…shit. I said I wouldn’t spoil it and I won’t. Suffice to say it ends and the viewing experience was unexpectedly entertaining. With that in mind this isn’t a huge budgeted Hollywood affair, it isn’t an Oscar contender and it probably won’t make it to Redbox or even garner a spin off series. But it was hugely entertaining and prompted me to put digit to keyboard in appreciation.

Devils Acid its Johnny

And this… is Johnny!

If you have a soft spot for lower budget movies and enjoy laughing at content you probably shouldn’t, this is a feature you do not want to pass up.

Support the scene and let’s hope the crew response for this decide to do another, in a similar genre. I’ll be waiting.

Bravo.

Cult

 

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Scorching the Retinas – An Avalanche of Indy

Pumpkins (2018)
(UK)
pumpkins

 

Writer/Director – Will Metheringham/Maria L Metheringham
Runtime – 90 minutes
High Octane Pictures

A pair of teens terrorize a pumpkin patch and its elderly owner. You can probably guess the rest, especially when the liquid he uses to grow prize pumpkins has a bio-hazard label emblazoned around its neck.

A ragtag collective (of ramblers) find themselves in the same area in which Dog Soldiers might have been shot. Trees, trees and bugger all else seriously. But for the screaming tirade of one who cannot put his pop-up tent back in its bag, and the audible sounds of disappointment when rations are discovered to be less than palatable. ‘Camp counselors’ have their hands full when one of their own finally finds base camp and tells of finding a body in the woods. “That girl is mental” about puts everyone’s mind at ease. But with heavy synth drenching the proceedings and a pumpkin headed gent wondering around with a bloodied knife and a head in his grasp things are not quite as they should be. And this certainly isn’t a Disney movie although one might be remiss in thinking so as some of the early kills are a tad on the PG rated side of things with enough shadows and darkness shrouding the entire proceedings as to ensure all that’s needed for an FX budget is enough to purchase a few buckets of blood. An animals POV shot adds uniqueness to a scene which doesn’t play out quite as one might imagine. Though later scenes play out exactly as one might.

venom carved pumpkin

Yes, this is a pumpkin! An excellent example of a carved one, but a pumpkin nevertheless.

“Wait, is that a pumpkin?”

“Fuck. It’s got blood on it!”

Obvious nods to An American Werewolf in London with mention of ‘The Moors’ are to be expected given the location but the homage to European cult affairs and John Carpenters output with the films use of (often eerily familiar) exaggerated synth is a nice touch and adds to the tension.

The film is occasionally (unintentionally) humorous with characters spouting lines such as “I’ll go out there and give him a bit of a… poke” and a collective of hardened drunkards allowing themselves to be domineered by an unassuming barkeep brandishing an attitude and a weapon which appears to be too large as to be of any use to anyone (there’s a pun to be found in here someplace to do with gender reversal and wot not. But, I’m not smart enough to be able to word it correctly). The humor doesn’t really work and it’s as if the film can’t decide what it wants to be known as. I’m confused is this a horror or a horror comedy.

(trailer courtesy of Wicked Thrilling Freaks)

Barring the obvious worship of Halloween and Friday the 13th and it’s use of anxiety inducing synth the film still managed to do very little for me. It was rather silly, predictable, none of the characters really stood out as memorable, the kill scenes weren’t in the least original and the ending was abrupt, as if the bank suddenly had pulled their funding. I wanted to like this. I really did, especially as it was made in a location not normally known for its slasher output.  Sadly, it just wasn’t enough, in any department, even though early lingering shots of the English countryside hinted at an atmospheric romp, it never materialized leaving me wanting. You can give this a miss even though it is rather topical for the season.

-Cult

Abrasive Audio – Part Thirty (October 2019)

headbangin gif

To quote Beavis and Butthead, or someone equally as silly, “Metal, metal, metal”. It’s what I’ve got in store and what I’ll preach upon, as per usual. So, grab your favorite beverage, sit back, strap in and open those ear holes for another extreme audio invasion. Be warned – this is another especially mammoth affair (11 bands/albums at last count) with a veritable avalanche of diverse new tunage to discover, jump in!

Please note that ratings here are usually on the high side this is due the fact that I leave audio which I can’t get into (for one reason or another) for someone else to lay words upon. Naturally tastes vary, yours may not be the same as mine for this reason I try to impart a wide spectrum of styles within the titles I place my ponderances upon. Without further ado what say we get this started with…

necronomicon

Necronomicon – Unus
(Canada)
Release – October/18/2019
Season of Mist
Asher Media Relations
https://necronomiconbm.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 78

Serpents, lions, reptiles, flames and an overall motif many may well confuse for a stamp of royalty. Black Metal by order of Her Royal Highness, or something… close.

FIRST TRACK – 89

In short, this is symphonic, atmospheric blackened metal with an epic nature. And it’s a damn impressive commencement.

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

There’s no doubt whatsoever that these guys know exactly what they’re doing. This album drips with excellence, wisdom, atmosphere and an epic audio landscape drenched in master craft-execution of archaic qualities one cannot possibly ignore. Chants, synth interludes and angelic voices add to the albums blackened death par excellence (combining infectious rhythms, ranging from sweeping melodies to hyper speed pacing, and inhuman drum precision) and an undeniable captivating allure. There’s even an addition of old school stylings (by way of the last two tracks “Cursed MMXIX” and “Vox Draconis”) tossed in to perk the interest of those whose interests lay more in the death, rather than blackened death, side of the metal spectrum. If blackened death is the area of the metal arena upon which you spend most of your time you would be negligent not to place this within the ears. If this is a scene which is new to you and you’re curious this is a great place to start your exploration. Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Infinitum Continuum, Paradise Lost, Singularis Dominus, Ascending the Throne of Baator, Vox Draconis.

FFO; Septic Flesh, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Rotting Christ, Behemoth.

algebra

Algebra – Pulse?
(Switzerland)
Release – September30/2019
Unspeakable Axe Records
Clawhammer PR
https://unspeakableaxerecords.bandcamp.com/album/pulse
ARTWORK – 82

Not usually what one would expect to find on a ‘thrash’ album (again I’ve spoilt the fun and perused the promo materials) this hints at an album with progressive death leanings, the logo hints at the same. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK- 92

An acoustic intro that’s part Sepultura (BtR), part Annihilator (AiH) certainly perks up the ears but it’s the cavalcade of riffs both intricate, precise and technical which warrants praise. I can’t honestly say I’m a huge fan of thrash, a few albums here and there. This however has my complete and utter undivided attention leaving me more than intrigued as to how the remainder will play out. (On a personal level the vocal approach took a few listens to fully appreciate although it doesn’t take away from the genius of the music itself).

INITIAL LISTEN – 93

‘Precise’ is a fantastic descriptive word. And I’ll attempt not to overuse it as I continue. Admittedly it might be easier said than done. The audio found here isn’t face melting pace for the sake of it, neither is it merely too technical, a style which might only appeal to those who aspire to be the next Vai, Rhodes or any number of guitar virtuosos who leave audiences around the world in awe. There’s an undeniable fluid nature here. Timing changes are exquisite, rhythms infectious and dynamic. Melodies are plentiful and change enough to keep a listener on their toes (ranging from galloping, ‘old school’ aggressive, stoopid fast to melodies which evoke all manner of emotions) but not too much as to be over the top. A sense of familiarity abounds, leaves one scratching their heads as to which band or album this or that part sounds like, but it doesn’t take away from the listening experience in the slightest. Oftentimes an epic narrative unfolds by way of the music alone complementing the (far removed from the run of the mill) thought-provoking lyrical content. The vocal approach appears at first like it doesn’t fit. But then, after a few listens, slips comfortably into the ‘perfect complement to the percussion’ folder. In short, a winning combination which if someone could bottle it would most probably be titled something along the lines of ‘Excuse me for a second while I blow your mind’, or ”Forget the Remainder of your day you’re about to be Unfathomably Distracted”. Naturally words, as they often do, fail me as I attempt to imprint my appreciation upon the flashing screen beneath my hands. To top it off this has one of the finest “Dead Embryonic Cells” covers I’ve ever had the pleasure to put between the ears. Don’t, DON’T, don’t, allow this to go unnoticed. It really is that damn impressive and seriously appeared from out of the ether itself to entangle my whole afternoon in audio I wish to play again, again and again.

Favorite Tracks; Inner Constraints, Addicted to Authority, Stimulated Mind, Manipulated Soul, Pulse?

FFO; Deathrow, Vektor, Coroner, Slayer, Sepultura.

coldclaw

ColdClaw – Anti Martyr: Decades to Suffer
(USA)
Release – September/27/2019
Ritual Sounds Records
BDWE Media
https://ritualsoundrecords.bandcamp.com/album/anti-martyr-decadess-to-suffer
ARTWORK – 86

Black and white imagery complete with a sun-bleached effect (this might have been shot in Arizona, anyone?) depicting an unfortunate soul stuck within the confines of a suspended cage with his only companions the birds which have, most probably, been pecking away at his torso for millennia.

FIRST TRACK – 89

A ritualistic introduction, of sorts, dissolves into a drum heavy salvo with a dissonant guitar complement. This soon transforms again into dangerously addictive rhythms channeling both crust, death and black metal leanings. A fantastic combination which grabs the attention and opens the eyes to Coldclaw’s style whilst yanking control of the torso into uncontrollable spasms of frenetic movement. An excellent opening leaving one eagerly salivating for the remainder of what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

With the quality of this release in mind I expect Coldclaw to be a name on most lips throughout the arena of extreme metal within the coming months (of course ‘justice’ doesn’t always prevail). Theirs is a style which captures the essence of black metal (via rasped vocal stylings), crust as experienced throughout the album in various passages featuring dominant drum salvos; which are difficult not to move to and death metal as heard within various chugging riff approaches and the brutality which is displayed dominantly throughout. Undeniable atmosphere is a fantastic accompaniment to the angst on offer and will please those with blackened metal penchants regardless of what the atmospheric element accompanies. A mid-tempo is customary, though occasionally Coldclaw take the leap into hyper drive realms (bringing to mind 1349 and Necronomicon) as heard within the excellent “Zephyrs” and “Stillness” track (why isn’t there more tracks with this in the title? My spell check device is about to remove me from its Xmas list mailing).

In conclusion, as if one hasn’t already come to the same conclusion as I, this album is one which deserves ears upon it and praise slathered all over it. Its composition is one that’s not altogether new though sounds unique on account of the quality it’s been created by. The result is a collection of tracks which has the potential to appeal to a wide audience, some who are curious about arenas they perhaps haven’t discovered before and others whose interests lay within the styles mixed with such passionate precision here. No matter where your compass lie do yourself a favor and set the senses upon this then add it to the collection and support the blossoming talent within the scene.

Favorite Tracks; The Deafening, Into the Mirror (Visceral Self-Loathing), Bring Down the Hammer, Searing Wings Through Zephyrs, Stillness and Devine Rivalry, Crippling Dementia.

FFO: Dark Throne, Mayhem, 1349.

come back from the dead album

Come Back from the Dead – Rise of the Blind Ones
(Spain)
Release – September/13/2019
Transcending Obscurity Records
https://comebackfromthedead.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 82

Teal on an album cover. It’s quite the risk, but it works. And this collective of corpses shot through with wicked looking tendrils certainly catches the eye.

FIRST TRACK – 89

Huge riffs lead into a groove -laden landscape complemented by a Barney-esque vocal approach. Early The Haunted in feel accentuated by thrash sensibilities. This isn’t your Father’s death metal! A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

With melody and groove throughout this rarely let’s up in the infectious department. Maniacal passages, ala early Slayer, lend an edge and elevate this far above what one would find upon the same old traditional, tried and true, death release. Occasional familiarity (especially in the case of “Restless in Putrescence”) puts one in mind of an old school style, an influence no doubt though this is far from merely just that. Think a hybrid of 90’s European death, old school British grind/death with a complementary sprinkle of doom and a maniacal essence. A mixture no doubt which has been perpetrated before but, in this case, somehow it feels fresh and leaves quite an impression.

Favorite Tracks; Outcast of the Light, Martyrs of a Gruesome Demise, Restless in Putrescence, Darkness Abominations, Possessed by the Death.

FFO; Morgoth, Dismember, The Haunted, Vomitory, Bloodbath.

And, wait for it…it’s Split Time

swampbeast void terror split

Swamp Beast/Void Terror split
Holocaust of Terrestrial Empires
(USA)
Release – November/14/2019
Me Saco Un Ojo
(note; the Split is represented as of this publication date)
https://mesacounojo.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 78

This looks as though it could be from the same pencil as the person responsible for the last Drawn and Quartered album (I could be wrong, and most probably are). A diabolical, subterranean image which blossoms with more details as the viewer digs deeper.

INITIAL LISTEN –
Swampbeast – 86
https://swampbeastca.bandcamp.com/releases

Unrelenting death grind complemented by suffocating catacomb-esque atmosphere. A mesmerizing soundscape combining Napalm Death touches, passages of groove and a brutal whirlwind chaotic attack. The climax of their ‘set’ utilizes an excellent militaristic/ritualistic drum salvo which morphs into an all-consuming, blazing, fire motif. An excellent climax to a fantastic introduction to the band and their audio.

FFO; Morbid Angel, Tomb Mold, Blood Incantation, Ch’thelist.

Void Terror – 92
https://voidterror.bandcamp.com/releases

Utilizing more a majestic and atmospheric black metal approach as an introduction Void Terror’s initial portion (of this split) initially brings to mind what Bolt Thrower “Realm of Chaos” might have sounded like if it had decidedly black metal undertones. Dirge laden and wickedly dark, yet chaotic and shot through with diabolical essence. Gothic elements are a great addition and add to an already undeniable hypnotic effect. A swirling maelstrom of audio madness one doesn’t wish to escape.

This is easy to lose oneself within, extreme fans will be left pleased indeed!

FFO; Drawn and Quartered.

An excellent split with plenty on offer from two acts ripe for discovery. Keep an ear out for these guys they are poised for greatness.

Favorite Tracks; Chant of Bolotnik, Multiversal Extract, Second Death.

Overall – 90
Back to our regularly scheduled programming…

meth fetish.jpg

Meth Fetish – Meth Fetish EP
(Sweden/USA)
Release – November/1/2019
Dry Cough Records/ Pissed Gargler Records
(Note; the Split isn’t represented as of this publication date)
https://drycough.bandcamp.com/
https://pissgarglerrecords.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 65

What is it with album art which is perplexing? I somewhat get it, the artist and band want you to look closer, paying more attention to hidden intricacies as you try to work out what it might be. Perhaps I’m old school and require (scratch that; ‘demand’) instant gratification rather than an image I need a degree and an impressive IQ to utilize in order to get somewhat of a clue. The jury’s out. If I were to guess I’d say this is a representation of a torso shot through with a substance making its way through the vital organs. Meth perhaps? Pressing play.

FIRST TRACK – 72

Hypnotic and dense this is sludge oozing with an unmistakable dirge nature and subterranean qualities.

INITIAL LISTEN – 73

With strings so loose it’s an OSHA hazard, Meth Fetish choke the listener in a dirge nature so vile, thick and heavy you’d think it might have recently exited the bowels of a pachyderm freed from worrisome constipation. Complemented by distortion so blatant it could clear the cobwebs from an abandoned Gothic mansion, a bludgeoning nature, vocals spewed lazily from a pestilent throat and an overall nature which drips with underworld atmosphere. This about ticks all the boxes for the requirements a seasoned vet of the filthiest arena of extreme tunage demands. Give it a listen and prepare to put a down payment on a brand spanking new subwoofer. You’ve been warned!

Favorite Tracks; Wasted, Incurable.

FFO; Fetish 69, EyeHateGod, Cathedral, Acid Bath.

cleric.jpg

Cleric – Serpent Psalms
(USA)
Release – October/25/2019
Raw Skull Recordz/Redefining Darkness Records
https://cleric-us.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 92

There’s a great deal going on here. An alien landscape, a sacrificial Aztec-esque altar, effigies watching over all and coitus in what appears to be mud of one type or another. Intriguing indeed. It’s as if doom has collided with sci-fi laden grindcore.

FIRST TRACK – 81

Traditional HM2 action meets old school British death/grind complemented by a Barney-esque vocal approach, catchy as fuk mid-tempo groove and an atmosphere one might not expect bearing in mind the above-mentioned combination.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

The familiarity here for those of us with tastes for the old school and mid-tempo infectious silliness is undeniable. This is worship at the altar of both HM2 and the early 90’s British death scene. Above and beyond that this offers little touches (synth interludes hinting at cosmic/foreign landscapes,  as well a fluidity which hard to deny) which add to the homage keeping the attention and plenty of groove passages to make one want to take this from wired headphones to blue tooth or even a speaker system setup which the neighbors will more than likely hate you for, but it’s worth it. Boasting a seething dirge nature complemented by riffs and rhythms which are difficult to ignore this, though not altogether ground-breaking, is a release which demands further attention and might well male one take a trip down nostalgia brutal ville to revisit that which is most probably collecting dust. Highly Recommended, but be prepared for the limbs to move of their own volition.

Favorite Tracks; Maw of Absolution, Possessed in Congress, All Death Unseeing, Destroying Eye of the Self.

FFO; Benediction, Bolt Thrower, Carnage, Entombed, Dismember.

andralls.jpg

Andralls – Bleeding for Thrash
(Brazil)
Release – October/11/2019
MDD Records
Against PR
(Note; this is an earlier release as of this publication date the album isn’t represented yet)
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/andralls
ARTWORK – 83

With the recent background of the band, more specifically the lead singer, in mind odds are this could well be imagery, and the albums aptly named title, depicting his overcoming thyroid cancer.

The image certainly grabs the interest and piques the curiosity and is miles from what one would expect to find adorning the cover of a thrash album, a melodic or doom/death affair but hardly thrash.

FIRST TRACK – 76

Heavily accented vocals (with a hardcore slant) atop aggressive driving rhythms which bear undeniable early Exodus ‘bounce’, maniacal riffage ala Slayer and also old school go all out tendencies.

INITIAL LISTEN – 80

This collection of tracks is testament to a band’s dedication, perseverance and passion for the craft. Rarely letting up this album showcases driving rhythms, a style which incorporates a slew of influences across the extreme spectrum and dynamic pace channeling Sepultura, Overkill complemented by the maniacal riff fashioning of Slayer. Feast your ears on this and support an act who prove that hard work, perseverance and patience pay off.

Favorite Tracks; Bleeding for Thrash, Imminent Cancer, Acid Rain.

FFO; Sodom, Exodus, Slayer, Sepultura.

in mourning.jpg

In Mourning – Garden of Storms
(Sweden)
Release – October/4/2019
Agonia Records
https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/album/garden-of-storms
ARTWORK – 88

An amorphous plant, a force of nature running amok or merely an artist’s interpretation of a transformative hybrid force within the wild? Regardless, this is certainly eye-opening and not what one would expect to find on an album cover in a genre in which I can only presume this resides. I’m ready to be set to rights, hitting play.

FIRST TRACK – 97

A stunning mix of melodic death, doom and progressive elements supported by an excellent fluidity and rhythms which are criminally infectious. A clean, hoarse vocal trade off works superbly and only serves to make this a track which is most certainly up there with the finest of the year (need I say IMO?)

INITIAL LISTEN – 96

What we have here folks is another example of an act which I’m amazed I haven’t discovered much sooner. The audio here is about as varied as one can imagine without it running into ridiculous territories, Avant Garde, or experimental realms. Growling vocals (of the highest order if there is such a thing) complement shifting rhythms, sweeping, soaring melodies and progressive passages which otherwise wouldn’t fit but, in this instance, based on their setting and the music’s composition and the tracks nature, are exquisite. The styles herein tumble over each as though puppies at play without once resorting to brutality, the fluidity here is astounding. In fact, overall this is an album I’m itching to recommend to the wife if only it wasn’t for the fact that she has an aversion to growling vocals I believe she’d be as excited about it as I. Without running into diatribe lengths I’ll leave this here and hope my fanciful words have made an impression. Hopefully I’m not the last to jump on this it deserves praise from the highest of peaks. Suffice it to say the name of both the band and the album are sure to be heard until well into next year even after year end lists have been exhausted. (If I get around to compiling one, there’s no doubt it’ll be high on the podium.)

Favorite Tracks; This album flows so damn well and offers so much stylistic diversity at such an elevated level that its hard to pick only a few tracks. Suffice it say it delivers throughout.

FFO; October Tide, Opeth, Katatonia, Between the Buried and Me, Be’lakor, Insomnium, Swallow the Sun.

the deathtrip.jpg

The Deathtrip – Demon Solar Totem
(United Kingdom/Norway)
Release – November/15/2019
Svart Records/Profound Lore Records
https://the-deathtrip.bandcamp.com/album/demon-solar-totem
ARTWORK – 72

I’m not quite sure what to make of this to be honest. It looks as if it could have Oriental occult origins; the shape of the face, the flowing mass of hair. Though I’m still perturbed as to what it could be. One thing’s for certain though, there’s plenty of crimson and the person has wicked sharp looking talons. Pressing play.

FIRST TRACK – 83

Ominous indeed. Atmosphere drenched in dread and menace collides with tradition hyper speed chaotic, blasting, black metal which oozes undeniable majesty. Occult qualities, as well mystical elements are front and center and cavort in an epic nature. Within its length hypnotic rhythms are commonplace aided by chants making for a varied vocal approach and hinting at a release which could well be quite the auditory experience.

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

Adding upon a harsh, primal, oftentimes raw groundwork with epic themes, a grandiose template which incorporates screams, howls, chants and undeniable majestic The Deathtrip have created an album which has the potential to garner appeal from across the BM landscape. Varied in both scope and approach raw audio (with an intensity to appeal to traditionalists and those acclimatizing themselves to the variety the scene offers; aka me) cavorts alongside melancholic atmosphere hypnotic, trance inducing, rhythms and surprisingly melody drenched under occult skies an effect which holds the attention from first to last. And the more one sinks into the experience (aka repeated listens) the greater detail and intricacies it provides. This boasts an appeal which cannot be argued, begs to be repeated and often.

Favorite Tracks; Demon Solar Totem, Angel Fossils, Surrender to a Higher Power, Enter Spectral Realms, Abraxas Mirrors.

FFO; Mayhem, Darkthrone, Thorns, Beherit, Dissection, Emperor, Burzum.

psychomancer.jpg

Psychomancer – Shards of the Hourglass
(USA)
Release – October/31/2019
Orchestrated Misery Recordings
Clawhammer PR
https://psychomancer.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 56

The imagery (as well the bands logo) bears somewhat a dark hip-hop vibe, the effluent green glow and font are to blame, thankfully the audio isn’t (I’ve perused the accompanying promo materials) and honestly, I’m not a fan, fingers crossed it doesn’t turn a potential listener away.

FIRST TRACK – 70

Thrashy death with a familiar HM2 Buzzsaw dirge vibe showcasing plenty of rhythm changes with a sound bolstered by commendable production values. The drum sound and bass twang is distinct, the vocals are of the death doom variety.

INITIAL LISTEN – 74

Melodic death, bordering on the more aggressive spectrum of thrash, boasting mid-tempo rhythms and a cavalcade of riffs which are difficult not to appreciate. Quality production values, clear sound and plenty of groove passages help keep this from forgettable realms. Though the style is truthfully far from ground breaking this offers a style and execution fans of the Entombed, Grave and Dismember movement will likely appreciate more than most.

Favorite Tracks; Red Poetry, As Your Vital Signs Decline, Deto-Nation, Myrmidons.

FFO; Benediction, Gorefest, Malevolent Creation, Vader, Grave.

It’s “Recc’d by” Time

fistful of doom

Recc’d’ by Fistful of Doom; @FlatulentFuzz (on Twitter):
Cycles of the Damned – A Time to Survive
(USA)
Release – October/12/2019
Incendiary Ceremony Recordings, D.H.U Records
Mettle Media
https://cyclesofthedamned.bandcamp.com/album/a-time-to-survive
Thoughts –

It’s hard what to expect from audio with the album’s art in mind; A skull within chainmail and helmet set against a background ablaze in flames. Better just to clear the mind and let the audio itself do the “talking”.

cycles of the damned.jpg

Immediately noticeable is that the albums six tracks run sixty minutes (one runs over fifteen minutes in length, the first three run close to forty-two minutes). I’m of the mind that this can only go one of only two ways; sheer boredom (resulting in my attention diverting elsewhere and damn quick) or audio which captivates with its brilliance, leaving me in awe with my attention rapt. I’m glad to report that the latter is the case. This is drenched in doom sensibilities as well sludge qualities and a certain amount of unquestionable angst. Cinematic soundscapes are introduced often, showcasing psychedelic moments amidst unbound atmosphere, and make up a great deal of the albums playing time adding considerable depth, an element one might normally expect to find upon an album within the same genre, and a narrative one can easily lose themselves in depending on of course their ‘state of relaxation’ (if you catch my drift). A plethora of emotions are guaranteed to be evoked as this plays out as the listener is dragged from one destination to another in a journey comprised upon a spectrum of landscapes formed from the unlikely coalescing of a myriad of styles. Fluidity is uncommonly commendable and I would suggest an afternoon free from distraction to be able to let the power of this release (as a whole, not track by track if avoidable) sink in. Thanks for the Recc Sir. I’m adding this to my playlist for those long road trips where conversation is dull and the surroundings muted by sparseness.  Recommended for those who have an open mind and are willing to allow a release to breathe rather than assault the senses immediately.

Recc’d by Void; @Voidhanger2 on Twitter

Void Reccs

Scaphism – Perpetual Torment
(USA)
Release – August/27/2019
https://scaphism.bandcamp.com/
Thoughts –

Within the last year I’ve laid thoughts down upon Scaphism’s last album (“Unutterable Horrors” released in January of last year through Horror Pain Gore Death Productions), I liked it but was left wanting more, I wondered when their next might drop. Void surprised me one day by asking if I’d ever heard of them (doesn’t he read my inane ramblings upon all things metal I thought briefly) and continued by stating that he was going to a show (I’m still jealous, dammit!) A few hours after the show in question he dropped me a brief video which left me perplexed; had the vocalist changed? (regardless he stated that he loved them) Which prompted me to seek out and lay a few thoughts upon this, a two-track demo leading up the bands third full length (which I’m also willing to promote if the band is reading this – hint, hint).

scaphism - perpetual torment

As is typical I’ll ponder upon this releases art before I dissect the audio. I’m all up for gruesome art especially if it reminds me of a standout, and quite unexpected especially grisly FX laden, scene from the original Poltergeist movie (which is usually omitted when it airs on TV).

Old school and groove come to mind when I hit play. The vocalist may have changed but the style hasn’t, for which I’m thankful, Lovecraftian lore and a story type narrative oozes from the lyrical content and for the most part it’s actually decipherable (which is rare in the genre) which in no way takes away from the quality. This is a lady who can growl (anyone else into that sort of thing?) And hers is a style which fits the audio leaving no doubt or concerns whatsoever. Riffs are far from technical, but I’ve no complaints, this is undeniably more ‘meat and potatoes’ style death with breakdowns and the occasional abrupt galloping pace transformation tossed in for effect.

If this is any indication of the quality on offer from album to follow, I’m all ears. And Void likes it so who’s to argue ‘his’ logic.

exhausted animal

That’s about it for this, yet another monstrous installment, in the series, I only hope you made it to the end (I’m tired). Until our paths of audio interest cross paths again, don’t fear discovery of that which would normally not grab your attention.

Cult

Abrasive Audio – Part Twenty -Nine

Drowning in an avalanche of metal and there’s no end in sight.

A special edition because sometimes you just have to…

The Scourge.jpg

The Scourge – Warrant for Execution
(USA)
Release – October/25/2019
Seeing Red Records
https://thescourge-us.bandcamp.com/album/warrant-for-execution
ARTWORK – 92

I’m a sucker for black and white imagery, and this is no exception. Call this blatant homage to the Giallo genre, 80’s slasher movies or something else, there’s no doubt that it’s rendered with style, sports intricate details giving the image depth, has an instant effect and grabs the attention immediately.     Can you see me? I’m camouflaged in curious nature.

FIRST TRACK – 93

What initially caresses the ears as progressive soon transpires into snap the neck thrash. Rhythms of a galloping transformative nature are complemented by perhaps some of the finest vocals, sporting quite the impressive range, that I’ve heard grace the arena in quite some time. This isn’t fast for the sake of speed either; graced by intricate rhythms though isn’t overly technical rhythms weave their way through passages draped in melody and then back again hinting at influences (hard rock and NWOBHM) which aren’t normally invoked in this genre or even this early on in an album giving any new listener a chance to warm to a new acts style. Regardless this works, I’m all ears and about to plunge face first into a realm, which admittedly, I don’t frequent that often anymore. It took me a while but now I can say this reminds me, in part, of early Flotsam and Jetsam.

INITIAL LISTEN – 95

Rare is it that a release from outside of my comfort zone (currently black, death and atmospheric dark metal) will pierce my ears and grab my attention as much as this has. And it happened instantly! Between the albums delicate balance and masterful combination of a slew of styles (namely hard rock, NWOBHM, Southern groove and thrash among others) there lies utter undeniable brilliance. Swift pace cavorts hand in hand with melodies which would otherwise seem foreign, though somehow The Scourge have managed to syndicate the two much like PB n Jelly (who woulda’ thunk it?) and then topped the concoction off with stunning musicianship, creative genius and a vocalist whose skills I can’t believe haven’t been discovered and utilized up until this point. Naturally there are tracks which will appeal more to thrash fans and others more so to fans of vintage metal, more specifically NWOBHM, though overall the meshing and molding of the styles is exquisite bearing a fluidity which is erratic and rarely witnessed across the metal cosmos. Don’t let your friends tell you about this, be the first on the block to preach!!

This will top a myriad of best of lists if there’s any justice. I certainly have it bookmarked to do so!!

exhausted animal

This will leave you exhausted but more than willing to hit play again and again!

Favorite Tracks; Put a high velocity projectile launcher against my head and I still wouldn’t be able to pick a few out above others, this album shreds at a stellar level from start to finish!

FFO; vintage Flotsam and Jetsam, Iron Maiden, Annihilator, Anthrax, Forbidden, Exciter (at a stretch; vintage Wolfsbane).

Why the special edition? Well this knocked me on my arse that’s why and I couldn’t wait to preach!

Cult

Scorching the Retinas; Crimson Splattered Martial Arts

kung fu cinema

The Night Comes for Us

Every once in a while, a movie comes along which a great many people talk about. A movie which garners quite the buzz that it’s hard not to be intrigued. This is the case here. When I hear the words martial arts, blood, violent and comparisons to Raid 2 my synapses start firing. But is it warranted? Does this have what it takes to keep one’s interest? Is it worthy of all the accumulated hype? I’ll cut this short right here, spoil the review and say yes, yes, yes and YES!

(trailer courtesy of Trailer City)

The Night Comes for Us (2018)
Indonesia
Director/Writer – Timo Tjahjanto
XYZ Films
Screenplay Infinite Films
Runtime – 121 minutes

the night comes for us

 

I’m not going to fib and say that I’m an expert on the genre. Sure, I’ve seen a myriad of films within it and I can rattle off a few titles which I deem “must watch” and even a few others I consider especially “blood thirsty”. I could even name a couple which I personally deem classics and (this is exciting) then even at a stretch, this is pushing the limits, a few actors whose output (probably not all, mind you) is mandatory viewing. Naturally, this is just my opinion, I’m no expert. I just know what I like and I believe I know the difference between a good and not so good film. Back to the film in question. The Night Comes for Us boasts a great deal going for it. The pace is frenzied and relentless, the acting is spot on and the story line is easy to follow. That’s a good start, right? But it gets better. The on-screen action pulls no punches (welcome to ‘pun city’ folks) and is unflinching in both its depiction of violence and the damage given and taken by all combatants involved. More often than not a gang mentality is front and center. One on one only occasionally takes center stage here. Think a video game within which you have to fight your way through hordes to make your way to the big boss. In a nutshell that’s what also transpires here albeit showcasing a higher level of gratuitous bloodshed, an upped ante of limb snapping, lacerations galore, gouging’s aplenty and a requisite soundtrack to accompany making the tableau that much more effective to the point where one might squirm or jump witnessing such well-executed brutality.

(The Butcher fight scene courtesy of oPix nurizal)

Huge props to the stunt people. The feats herein are plentiful, too numerous to keep tabs upon, excellently produced and a wonder to set eyes on.

ouch my fingers

Ouch, my fingers!

There’s a myriad of scenes I wish to mention, I know I should but fear I would run out of space, leaving my prancing digits in need of ice.

 

Throughout the film there is undeniable cinematic wizardry on display. The fight scenes are ungodly and the fighter’s masters of their craft. Several are recognizable, depending on of course your level of submergement within the genre. Iko Uwais, who plays Arian, (The Raid, The Raid 2, Stuber, Beyond Skyline) stands out and is mired in indecision; does he help his friends, or does he ‘bend at the knee’ to the Triads wishes and stay alive and financially thrive (it’s quite the quandary). Joe Taslim, Ito, is another whose role is prominent (his face might stand out on account of his roles in The Raid, Star Trek Beyond and The Fast and Furious 6). The two are old friends but within the time they’ve been separated a great deal has changed resulting in boiling resentment and a grudge which might only be resolved through combat (or so they believe) making for a crimson splattered fight scene which will resonate with fans and be remembered, and remarked upon, for some time to come.

crazy white man bobby

Another who stands out is ‘White Man Bobby’, played by Zach Lee, on account of his crazed demeanor. Not to mention that his false foot falls off in an early scene which made me laugh even though I knew it wasn’t appropriate and wasn’t intended to add dark humor to the film itself.

girl fight

The film isn’t without surprises however. The “fairer” (it’s in quotation marks, please don’t comment with vitriol) sex also manage to widen the eyes and heighten the senses within scenes of high velocity combat one might not predict based on that which they might have already seen within the genre. I won’t ruin it suffice it to say that the characters here are on much the same pedestal as the ‘Hammer girl’ in The Raid 2 though get significantly more screen time in which to bludgeon, slash, shot and stab their way through various foes.

hammer girl

Excuse me Sir but you appear to have a little something,. Here, let me help.

A testament to human endurance and the highest caliber of fight choreography this delivers to sate both discerning and casual fans. Even a great many, I will state without reservation, who rarely visit the genre. The effects, much like the fighting, are also outstanding. There isn’t merely crimson on offer here there’s trauma resulting from chopping, dicing, stabbing, gunshots and high velocity flesh and blunt instrument contact. Truthfully this trumps many a film I’ve seen in the horror arena in terms of gore and brutality and the sheer amount shown in unflinching detail. Staying on topic TNCfU (obviously an abr.) ironically sports occasional passages of synth which bring to mind European cult affairs in which on screen, over the top, carnage is a staple ingredient but let us not forget; “You can’t kill what’s already dead.”

confused zombie

Confused zombie says “Huh”

 

A quote towards the end of the film, in a show stopping finale, that’s been utilized ad nauseum in a certain genre as to be beaten to death as much as, as, the genre in question itself (to not put so fine a point on it.)

 

Four words will help to summarize the storyline (without me running into diatribe lengths); Triads, Honor, Respect and Friendship. And that’s about all one needs to know. Don’t let assumptions get in the way of your enjoyment here; this overflows with bone crunching action, plenty of it and an unrelenting flow of crimson and thus will satisfy both fight fans and gorehounds alike. I believe this likely won’t be rivaled any time soon and I for one can’t think of anything which comes even remotely close.

Set this before your peepers, I’ve kept this brief as not to spoil the enjoyment, you can thank me later. Did I mention this was first adapted into a graphic novel, and to quote wikipedia “Tjahjanto confirmed he was working with Indonesian artist hub Glitch Network to adapt his original screenplay into comic form”. I, for one, can’t wait.

the-night-comes-for-us

Comments, thoughts, concerns, suggestions? (Yes I know I’ve added more than the normal amount of gifs in this one, and even a few nods to metal and horror, you’re welcome) Feel free to drop me a line. Until then, your slave to the extreme (in audio and visual form),

Cult

 

Abrasive Audio (Part twenty – eight)

headbangin gif

The juggernaut of metal rolls on, unstoppable, crushing everything and everyone in its path. In other news my Inbox is overflowing and I’ve just returned from a vacation. I guess it’s about time to don the suggested attire in order that I dive right back in. Damn, this suit is tight! I’m guessing gaining weight and vacations go hand in hand. Sans further, obvious, observations which have very little to do with the audio under scrutiny…

torpor

Torpor – Rhetoric of the Image
(UK)
Release – September/20/2019
Truthseeker Music/Sludgelord Records/ Moment of Collapse Records/Smith’s Food Group/Medusa Crush Recordings
Dewar PR
https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/album/rhetoric-of-the-image
ARTWORK – 72

Unless one had knowledge of what this image is or what it may mean they might be confused, I am. But after learning of a Japanese art which restores beauty to the broken through a process which includes materials one might not expect one might have an idea of where the music might lead. Or one can only assume. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 82

Here’s one hell of an opener! Both brutally crushing yet shot through with passages of undeniable beauty. An audio journey which drags the listener from mammoth distortion saturated riff sludge laden depths through cinematic plains drenched in minimalistic tones and then back under again. An epic trip to say the least. Wholly unpredictable and quite unlike what one might initially expect. I’m impressed and eager for more!

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

Ambient, nuanced and soundtrack-esque in scope though utterly absorbing and captivating this is hardly what one could/would or should consider ‘run-of-the-mill’ but rather an immersive experience. A bass driven doom/sludge hybrid, a temperamental beast against a dystopian, apocalyptic soundscape which demands respect and attention. Suffocating in times, harsh in others, yet wholly enveloping throughout this runs varied depths of sparked emotion leaving the listener dazed, enlightened, bludgeoned and overwhelmed but yet strangely, in moments, oddly relaxed. Dive in and discover for yourself why this album is not to be missed!

Favorite Tracks; Benign Circle, Enigmatic Demand, Mourning the Real.

FFO; Nuerosis, Isis, Boris, The Ocean.

profanation

Profanation – Into Cascades of Blood and Burning Soil
(Germany)
Release -April/26/2019
Hostile Media
https://profanation.bandcamp.com/album/into-cascades-of-blood-and-burning-soil
Against PR
ARTWORK – 84

The Pope, “Jesus” with a demonical look upon his visage (who yields a hatchet rather than a fish), a sacrificial offering, demons in the smoke and a city burning to the ground, is that Hitler in the background? Awesome art which leaves little to the imagination regarding what to expect. There’s no sparkles and unicorns to be found here folks!

FIRST TRACK – 80

A spoken word introduction alongside ominous, powerful, riffs open the scene. A prophecy talking of an Apocalypse and rebirth. Fading to black this is replaced by a Cannibal Corpse-esque approach (hints of technicality) and tone aided by a wicked thrash aura the stage is set for an album which should invoke a few grins, incite impressive ‘pit’ activity and snap a fair few necks as it plays out (if this is any indication of what’s to follow).

INITIAL LISTEN – 75

Showcasing breakdowns, groove, galloping thrash pacing and an approach hinting at technical leaning and influence the nine tracks here show definite promise and a delicate balance which works well. Undeniable is that Profanation are an act who know how to compose and create tracks with a proven formula and an air of familiarity to garner interest. My only qualms are that a few tracks could be shorter, for much the same effect, and that although commendable and pleasing to most, this unfortunately isn’t a style which breaks any new ground.

Favorite Tracks; Into Cascades of Blood and Burning Soil, Bloodbath in Heaven, Unholy Brutality Unleashed, A Place to Pray.

FFO; Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation.

Byzanthian Neckbeard

Byzanthian Neckbeard – Extinction (EP)
(Guernsey)
Release – September/27/2019
Independent
Dewar PR
https://byzanthianneckbeard.bandcamp.com/album/extinction
ARTWORK – 60

Primitive yet blunt and to the point. An image which showcases what I can only assume to be a large mass/rock (?) colliding with ‘something’ resulting in obvious devastating effect.

FIRST TRACK – 73

Doom with considerable pace and weight complemented by growling vox and significant groove. I could move to this!

INITIAL LISTEN – 73

Nothing here in the way of technical rhythms or anything complex in the slightest but these tunes are so seductively addictive that one cares not one iota. Death/doom, groove/doom call this what you will, but there’s no doubt whatsoever that this is infectious audio. Three tracks are way too short; this only leave me wanting more (which thankfully comes by way of “Minator” on November/1st and it can’t come fast enough!)

Favorite Tracks; Coffin Bomb, Extinction.

FFO; Mid-era Pungent Stench, Doom with undeniable groove qualities with a darker than normal vocal accompaniment.

xoth

Xoth – Interdimensional Invocations
(USA)
Release – October/18/2019
Self-Released
Clawhammer PR
https://xoth.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 91

“I asked for extra meat on my pizza, but a small city will suffice”. Seriously, who do I tip for this amount of generosity. Humans are delicious!”

Humor and Sci-fi elements collide in this comic book-esque imagery. If the audio is as impressive the listener is in for a treat!

FIRST TRACK – 89

Thrashy death with technical and progressive elements draped in maniacal values. An injection of well-executed Lovecraftian horror and sci-fi result in this holding the attention throughout.

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

Infectious melodies, technical intricacies and progressive passages combine with a soundscape that’s part brutal death, part technical and slightly traditional metal in tone add to this lyrical content slathered in cosmic elements and a little levity and the result is a release which (if there’s any justice) should garner a great deal of attention. The shredding quotient in this is damn impressive the style dynamic yet diverse, suffice to say this releases appeal has the potential to turn a great many heads. With this quality in offer I’m surprised this is the first I’ve heard of Xoth (I expect that to change very soon). Highly recommended and did I mention criminally addictive?

Favorite Tracks; Exceptional quality throughout, I refuse to pick a few to mention.

FFO; Death, Pestilence, Abysmal Dawn, Aborted.

A Break in the Regular Schedule for “Something Completely Different”

witchwood

Witchwood – Litanies from the Woods
(Italy)
Release – May/4/2015
Jolly Roger Records
https://jolly-roger-records.bandcamp.com/album/litanies-from-the-woods
ARTWORK – 79

One might have immediate assumptions based on the music with this image in mind, it’s dangerously close to what one might expect to find on an atmospheric doom-laden black release. I’ll ruin it, because I’ve perused the promotional materials, this isn’t in any way extreme audio. I’m intrigued, let’s move on.

FIRST TRACK – 80

Southern ‘easy’ groove with a decidedly Cosmic tinged edged introduction leads into ‘Zeppelin’ esque melodies with ‘Skynard’ and vintage ‘Priest’ undertones. Toss in alternate instruments, keyboards and a definite seventies feel and you have a track which exhibits a myriad of influence. This isn’t what I normally place betwix the ears but I’m finding it difficult not to appreciate the audio on offer.

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

Soulful, passionate, laden with folk elements, remarkable presence (by way of acoustic brilliance and melodies which bring to mind times of yore and banquets in a forest setting featuring an eye-popping cleavage motif) and huge seventies rock influence this offers epic soundscapes to lose yourself within and a vocalist whose range and skill are a fantastic accompaniment. Certainly, far from what I usually lay my thoughts upon this offers audio which an open mind can easily embrace especially when there’s a little smoke in the air and in the system (if you catch my drift. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Fans of early prog rock, hard rock and alternate (vintage) heavy metal will most probably grin as the acts undeniable talent works its way through the senses. As a huge fan of vintage Rainbow this hits the spot whilst also offering enough rhythmic and stylistic variety to entice discovery of similar releases from around the same time (with the same label attached) which I’ve yet to give the time of day to. Naturally this isn’t for everyone but for those whose tastes run to the acts mentioned below this will serve to lighten the mood and spark interest in an act who are more than worthy of the attention.

Favorite Tracks; Shade of Grey, Farewell to the Ocean Boulevard, A Place for the Sun, Golden King

FFO; Jethro Tull, Lord Weird Slough Feg, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Allman Bros Band, Dio fronted Rainbow.

ghost;hello

Ghost:Hello – Sound of Color in Space
(USA)
Release – September/20/2019
Self-Released
Dewar PR
https://ghosthello.bandcamp.com/album/the-sound-of-color-in-space
ARTWORK – 80

Either that Octopus is emitting fumes or those astronauts have been dining at a dubious intergalactic establishment and are experiencing the unprecedented after-effects. Is that a ‘space taco’ in the foreground? Who else is thinking Douglas Adams and/or “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”?

FIRST TRACK – 70

Cosmic bells introduce the album and the stoner rock infused with definite psychedelia undertones which follow. Synth blanketing melodic stoner rock/doom sans vocals at this time.

INITIAL LISTEN – n/a

If the track listing alone isn’t enough to inform you that you’re about to enter into surreals-ville then perhaps the album’s title or art will. This album is (to put it bluntly) an exercise in how much diversity one can handle in an album. Tracks dipped in angst are side by side with others undeniably the opposite. Spoken word soundbite affairs drenched in synth accompanied by a drum beat percussion and others displaying more a Marilyn Manson aura with crawling pace. A Cosmic vibe permeates the whole affair, varied vocal aesthetics and experimental effects are commonplace resulting in a listening experience for the brave, those with a taste for the off the beaten path, an album, to be blunt, many might not be able to fully consume. An eclectic taste for sure much like cinematic output which begs to be dissected and discussed. To be honest this isn’t suited to my tastes though I can understand how it might appeal to those who yearn for more in their sensorial consumption.

Favorite Tracks; The Mouth of the Gift Horse, Poison Swan.

FFO; The more theatrical rather than audio which delivers instant gratification.

And, Returning to the Regular Broadcast

netherbird

Netherbird – Into the Vast Uncharted
(Sweden)
Release – September/27/2019
Eisenwold
Carcosa PR
https://netherbird.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-vast-uncharted
ARTWORK – 80

Classic imagery (known as “Älvalek” to those in ‘art circles’) depicting a tranquil landscape at dusk. A ‘familiar’ setting yet not so much in this light, this is otherworldly showcasing a parade of spirits frolicking, cavorting, in a realm many might consider they have an intimate knowledge of. Perhaps this isn’t the case at all. This leaves me curious as to the audio itself.

FIRST TRACK – 87

A thunderous mix of melody and blacked death with unexpected passages bringing to mind stylistic elements one might not expect additions which elevate this far above the jostling genre hordes. A fantastic introduction to the band and a unique spin on a genre which is fast becoming overcrowded

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

Rather than rely upon symphonic accompaniment Netherbird accentuate their audio with, among other things, sweeping, passionate, melodies. An element far removed from what one might expect in a traditional melodic death outing; a pigeonhole in which this act doesn’t comfortably reside. It is this touch which shrouds the release at just the right moment in exquisite emotion. A stunning companion to the other stylistic elements found throughout resulting in an album which instantly makes an impression and only grows the more it’s allowed to caress the senses. A remarkable invocation of the blackened death style crafted with precision showcasing passionate guitar leads, acoustic brilliance and sweeping evocative melodies. A veil of doom, a definite well-executed presence, accentuates the palpable emotion throughout making for a release one will only want to experience again and again.

Favorite Tracks; Harvest the Stars, Eventide Evangel, Obsidian White, Nexus of Unlight.

FFO; Dissection, Stortregn, Vagrant, October’s Tide, Be’lakor, Swallow the Sun.

unfathomable ruinantion

Unfathomable Ruination – Enraged and Unbound
(United Kingdom)
Release – November/22/2019
Willowtip Records
Clawhammer PR
https://unfathomableruination.bandcamp.com/album/enraged-unbound
ARTWORK – 90

A tad reminiscent of Cannibal Corpse’s “The Bleeding” this image showcases manifested demons resulting from all manner of emotion. A rendition which is certainly striking.

FIRST TRACK – 88

Wicked adrenaline spiking rhythms, plentiful timing changes, groove and a vocal style which will place a grin on any genre fans face and all within a package which incorporates Slam, technical brutal death and grindcore elements. I wasn’t expecting audio of this caliber to be honest, it’s difficult not to be suitably impressed.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

Regardless of whether one believes these guys to be Britain’s answer to (Americas) Misery Index or (Frances) Benighted there’s little doubt that they play with blazing intent, exhibit stunning talent and know how to strike a chord (pun) with fans and new listeners alike (it’s my first time. Be gentle and please don’t put it ‘there’). Track structures, although longer than most in the same genre, are infectiously contagious showcasing abrupt pace transformations, frenzied and maniacal moments and technicality the likes of which precariously straddles the fence between technical death and grindcore arenas, occasional Slam and infrequently progressive realms, though rarely dwells for too long in one forum. In short, this audio depicts an act who have no desire to fuck around. It’s straight down to business and these guys are bringing all the requisite ingredients to make a lasting impression, albeit one which will leave a mark whose after effects will require meds and most probably a trip to the ER. Limber up before this one folks!

Favorite Tracks; An Obsidian Perception, Enraged and Unbound, Maniacal Disillusion, Protoplasmic Imprisonment.

FFO; Misery Index, Dying Fetus, Ingested, Benighted.

aggressive perfector

Aggressive Perfector – Havoc at the Midnight Hour
(UK)
Release – November/22/2019
Dying Victims Productions
https://dyingvictimsproductions.bandcamp.com/album/aggressive-perfector-havoc-at-the-midnight-hour
ARTWORK – 82

This screams adoration of cult European genre celluloid. Guts worn as neck adornment, a wild-eyed man of the cloth wielding an ax, a barely dressed maiden witnessing a mansion go up in flames (as if it’s an everyday event) and front and center a visage engulfed in an undeniable possessed motif. Be it Fulci, D’Amato or Bava there’s undeniable similarities afoot which have grabbed my attention.

FIRST TRACK – 77

Draped in a style plucked screaming from the early eighties (metal scene) this is neither speed, thrash nor anything instantly appearing to fit comfortably in any extreme genre by today’s standards, but it is an intriguing concoction complete with a vocal style that makes an impression which is neither traditional nor harsh (think death, black metal and grindcore) for those who need an act for comparison think a more melodic Venom for it nears a similar raw tone and style.

INITIAL LISTEN – 75

The similarities to a (bonus) Slayer track end at the title alone, this is decidedly more heavy metal in tone with complementing sides of diabolical speed and blackened values. Channeling melodies of a ‘Maiden’ and Blitzkrieg ilk and unarguable NWOBHM stylings this is certainly not for everyone. But for those with a penchant for the acts mentioned this is a great album harkening to the ground-breakers within the scene (whose influence is still heavily commented upon even in today’s heavy hitters) yet charged with attitude and a vocal style closer to that sported by Cronos (Venom).

Favorite Tracks; Chains of Black Wrath, Into the Nightmare, Vengeful One,

FFO; Raven, Venom, Judas Priest, Exciter, Dokken, early Bathory.

zarraza.jpg

Zarraza (meaning “infection” or “unbearable person” in Russian) – Rotten Remains
(Kazakhstan)
Release – November/29/2019
Self-Released
Dewar PR
https://zarraza.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 72

An undead type (which appears to be a Mummy of one type or another in this instance) doused in glow in the dark green nuclear liquid (complete with fallout mask) although this has been done many a time before I’m left, nevertheless, curious as to what audio lies within.

FIRST TRACK – 73

Driving rhythms, shifting tempos and gruff vocals, a style which is perilously close to brutal death territories though remains firmly attached to the extreme thrash arena. An intriguing style which incorporates familiar influences, the origins of which I haven’t quite figured out just yet.

INITIAL LISTEN – 73

Huge props first off to the band who’ve persevered through various difficulties and the hardships their geographical location affords them in order that this might grace our ears. Obviously, when one discusses metal (in any way, shape or form) the location of Kazakhstan rarely, if ever, appears in the same sentence, unless of course Sasha Cohen has donned another disguise if only to cover an unlikely track under the moniker of “Borat” (this might not be so strange seems as goats, I’ve heard they are commonplace in the area are associated largely with a specific genre of extreme audio) This however, might soon change. This is dynamic audio, multi genre styled and angst ridden, familiar yet refreshing but better yet delightfully more polished than what one might expect. If you enjoy audio from any of the bands listed (below) in the FFO section by all means give this a listen your interest will be perked just in time for fresh material which (fingers crossed) should be released in the near future.

Favorite Tracks; Grudge, Chaos, wRRong Song.

FFO; Hatebreed, modern Sepultura, Pantera, Machine Head.

body harvest.jpg

Body Harvest – Parasitic Slavery
(United Kingdom)
Release – May/3/2019
Comatose Music
Imperative PR
https://comatosemusic.bandcamp.com/album/parasitic-slavery
ARTWORK – 81

Rabid, werewolf/alien hybrid in appearance, alien’s intent on cosmic domination by way of putting people in pods and draining their life force (or something along those lines). I have the feeling this has been done before, under many guises. But I’m diggin’ it. Hitting play.

FIRST TRACK – 82

Unrelenting and straight for the throat audio. Diabolical and unmerciful this is a tsunami of sound which is menacing, Sci- fi laden and all-consuming in its intensity. Do I have your interest yet? I should, this is quality stuff.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

Devoid of frilly bits, progressive interludes and moments of reflection this is primal death metal shrouded in technical prowess sporting an intensity which is palpable. Utilizing an all-out approach (for the most part) Body Harvest have somehow managed to create an album which is mesmerizing in its undeniable brutality. A rare feat far removed from ‘harsh noise’ realms the audio herein boasts maniacal values, diabolical surges, pummeling salvos and moments of ear screeching (controlled) chaos (excellently placed to provide added atmosphere and depth) as well apocalyptic heights. A fantastic combination which somehow flows exquisitely and is all bathed in delicious dirge qualities fellow countrymen Bolt Thrower would be jealous of (if they were still “grinding”) Funfact; this is from Bristol, not Birmingham. Void states (for the record; his metal knowledge is far superior than anyone else’s I know of) that this is Morbid Angel worship taken to the extreme and mentions the band Eskhaton also.

Intrigued? I’d be surprised if you weren’t. This audio floored me with its stellar caliber and though it’s a little off-center from what I normally place between the ears I’ll admit it floored me. Highly Recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Hierarchy of Grief, Consumed by Tyrants, Darkness Descends, Apocalyptic Abomination.

FFO; Nile, Hate Eternal, Krisiun, Immolation, Vader, Eskhaton.

the flaying

The Flaying – Angry, Undead
(Canada)
Release – March/2019
PRC Music
Asher PR
https://theflaying.bandcamp.com/album/angry-undead
ARTWORK – 78

Chaos, carnage, crimson and the marauding undead what more could you ask for upon a metal release, seriously?

FIRST TRACK – 83

Audio from what could well be a torture porn opus kicks this album off and it quickly transforms into go-for-the-throat riffage a mix of black and technical death complemented by a vocal style which most every fan of the scene will instantly be able to appreciate. Just me, or does anyone else hear slight Nuclear Assault (“Handle with Care” era) and or Xentrix (“For Whose Advantage”) riffage here. This isn’t in anyway a complaint, not in the slightest, merely an observation. A great start. Hold my calls!

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

This release about has it all! There are progressive passages (bringing to mind, in instances, Atheist and Cynic) technical prowess (with enough bass presence to leave fans of the instrument salivating), enough breakdowns to please the Slam crowd, groove to keep those limbs a flailing. Also, brutality and melody in equal measure, a delicate balance. More exciting yet is that the production is top-notch and the compositions are intricately curated with zero moments which appear ‘out of place’ or awkward in their place and setting. The bass is accentuated more than is usually heard within the genre adding considerable weight to the rhythms and drive to the tracks structure. Overall, for a debut this is stunning offering considerably more than any debut is expected to.

The horizon looks bright indeed if this is any indication of what’s to follow.

Highly recommended and deserved of a nomination for Quebec GAMIQ (“Gala alternatif de la musique indépendante du Québec”) Awards “Metal Album of The Year” and “Artist of The Year”.

Favorite Tracks – Disloque, Genuflect, Elegy of Emptiness, Angry, Undead.

FFO; Benighted, The Black Dahlia Murder, Suffocation, Archspire, Pestilence, Alterbeast, Ingested.

atomic cretis.jpg

Atomic Cretins – Spiritual Cancer
(USA)
Release – October/26/2019
Suicide Bong Tapes
Qabar PR
https://atomiccretins.bandcamp.com/album/spiritual-cancer
ARTWORK – 76

There’s a fire in the Basilica and corpse painted musicians from Norway are nowhere in sight. Is this an alternate reality, or is there mutiny amongst the upper echelon of the holy?

FIRST TRACK – 77

Raunchy audio, groove (think early Exodus in a blender with crust anarchists Disrupt) and blackened rasped vocals are introduced by introductory instrumental passages (by way of old school crossover thrash) and soundbites which state that which everyone should already know.

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

Mid-tempo old-school thrash values and plentiful groove collide with crust and extreme punk attitude resulting in a filthy listening experience which is surprisingly infectious. This isn’t what I was expecting but it woke me up and put considerable oomph/get-up-and-get-em’ in my morning.

Favorite Tracks; Out of the Coffin, Spiritual Cancer.

FFO; Hellripper, Wraith, Bastardizer, Disrupt.

A brief look at singles and/or ‘Official track premieres’

infected dead - the rache

Infected Dead -The Rache
(United Kingdom)
Release – September/27/2019
Hostile Media
Future PR
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uw4-5mkqVdA
Thoughts –

Within the last couple of years, I’ve been fortunate to be able to review this act’s last release. It actually featured on my ‘best of’ year-end list in account of its fluidity and all-round eye-opening brilliance. But then, nothing. I honestly it could be the end, but I was hoping it wasn’t. I needed more. Then from out of the blue, an email, a summons, a spark of hope. Infected Dead are back! They had a single and wanted me to share my thoughts upon it. I pondered for a moment, then went on vacation, then went back to my day job then remembered that I couldn’t forget. And now here I am sharing the video (above) in support of the new audio.

For those who need an introduction here’s a link to their eye-opening full length

Infected dead Archaic maloevolence.jpg

https://hostilemedia.bandcamp.com/album/archaic-malevolence

The first thing to strike the senses is that this has rhythm, riffs with instant effect (this far in I’m glad to report that the act haven’t lost any of their previous brilliance) and atmosphere. The vocals do naught but complement the percussion. And then, part way through, technicality and progressive elements yank control away from the infectious, inciteful, rhythms. This isn’t at all a complaint as it works alongside the atmosphere (which isn’t at all overpowering but rather only makes itself known in the most opportune of instances to add weight) and serves to add depth and presence to a track which already has the full attention. As “Rache” comes to a climax the symphonic shroud is ramped up to take on more of a darker tone and dominance. A fantastic conclusion to a track which again introduces Lovecraftian elements to the listener and only leaves me salivating, rather than hoping, for a future full length. And if it’s to be anything near the quality of the last, “Archaic Malevolence”, then I can foresee myself travelling to the nearest peak to shout its praise.

Suffice it to say I am suitably impressed and ecstatic that this band are back.

#BestofBritishMetal

And… the Reccd’ segment is back (it’s about time!)

he11fir3-on-twitter.jpg

Reccd by He11fir3
1349 – Hellfire
(Norway)
Release – October/2005
Candlelight Records
https://candlelightrecordsuk.bandcamp.com/album/hellfire

1349 - hellfire

Thoughts –

In recent weeks I’ve started to tackle laying thoughts upon singles and/or ‘official track premiers’ naturally the inclusion all depends on whether I can find the time to do so. Of the very first ones I laid to the site 1349 was one of the acts featured. Following a brief discussion, I was directed to their past output (I was pleased to discover they have quite the impressive history, discography and undeniable imprint on the scene itself no matter how diluted and fractured it might seem in recent years) and I decided, why the hell not? I’m game!

From its opening, abruptly barked, “I am fire” this captivates. With a blazing melting the face off approach which incorporates black metal in many of its forms this doesn’t sport a dull moment but rather instances of jaw dropping intensity, musicians in full on beast mode and a myriad enstumblement (huh, I just invented a word!) of thoughts such as “how is it that it’s not until now that I’ve discover 1349?” Truth be told I’m not normally a black metal fan, though recently I’ve warmed to the black flame this could well be what my curiosity has been hankering for. A full submergence of that which the genre offers from an act who are undeniably masters of the craft and aren’t afraid of tinkering with their representation of it. If you have yet to discover 1349 this is most probably a great place to start, I only say ‘most probably’ as this is my introduction to them and I am contemplating taking another vacation in order that I can dive into their discography and give it the attention it deserves. #ScrewThosePeskyBills

Void Reccs

Reccd by Void
Verdugo – Perversión y Destrucción
(Chile – not the similar titled act from Spain)
Release – January/2010
https://verdugometal.bandcamp.com/album/perversi-n-y-destrucci-n
Thoughts –

(Before I start, I’d like to point out that this isn’t what Void Reccd. *Insert howls of disappointment here. But it is from the same band. My reasoning is that I couldn’t find but two tracks from the album he pointed me towards. So rather than do a half assed job I’d rather tackle a full release, in this instance a four-track introduction of sorts.)

verdugo - perversion

 

Well, if you aren’t intrigued by the primitive artwork alone, I’m not sure what to say. A dungeon, an executor and an “attached” lithe female who appears to wearing part of a Nuns habit. But one can’t forget the goat looking gent in the corner who’s probably more than aroused at the sight, or alternatively the sharpened ax in the hooded fellows grasp. I must mention he looks like he appears to have a genius level sense of balance too what with the activities taking place and his considerable ‘girth’.

In regards to the music on offer there’s no denying that this is old school thrash with a decidedly wicked jaded edge (and to answer a query from Void; Yes. This is, “right up my alley”) Apart from the fact that it’s old school it’s also catchy as a vintage baseball mitt and offers twice the enjoyment (no matter how soft that gloves ’embrace’ might be). The drum salvo has the effect of making the limbs twitch with uncontrollable spastic movements, the rhythms and pace are enough to sate even the most discerning of fan and the vocals enough to raise goose flesh. Odd that the language is one I’m not native to but it matters not the while effect is one to send a fan into a frenzy. This might be raw; it might not sport the production qualities one desires but there’s no doubt it fits perfectly. In short, this contains four tracks any speed freak with old school leanings which warrant attention.

verdugo - altar del rencor

In regards to that which Void Reccd “Altar Del Rencor” if I can find a full-length copy, I’d be happier to review it also (if Verdugo is reading this. I’m up for it. Hint, hint.)

 

For those of you who are still intrigued this is the link that Void originally sent https://verdugometal.bandcamp.com/album/altar-del-rencor

It contains a teasing two tracks, which only leaves one wanting more.

 

Well that’s about it for this installment, my apologies for the wait, I only hope this was worth it and will suffice until the next entry (whenever that might be). Until our paths of audio interest meet again, don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the senses.

Cult

Abrasive Audio…Wacken 2020

Battle for Wacken; W.O.A 2020’ (USA)

Wacken metal battle 2020

Who here has no idea what “Wacken” is? I believe there are scant few (though I could be mistaken). Obviously, the word in question is more than merely that, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wacken,_Schleswig-Holstein it’s a location (near the town of Izehoe which, rather useless fun fact here, is twined with a town in England where I used to reside many moons ago). Wacken is also the annual site of one of the world’s largest metal gatherings. That however is not all that it is famous for. Other than having a coat of arm which appears to contain naught but an angry, hungry (“Hangry”?), frogs face, Wacken is known for farming. This however barely beats out the economic boom which metal (in all of its various guises) brings to the region. Every year, for over thirty years, locals have been gladly putting up with (barely) collective hordes sporting various attire, a noise level at decibel levels which could level nearby Swiss mountains, the road sign being stolen and a common greeting (though it’s used for far more than merely that) which far surpasses the pleasantries heard in most languages. Commonly referred to as “Horns” the figuration has recently been showcased to help sell cereal though is more widespread in showing one’s appreciation of the audio on offer. The next festival (July 30th through August 1st 2020) is already sold out and is scheduled to feature, among others, Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, Amon Amarth, Sodom, Annihilator, Overkill, Venom, Sick of It All, Nervosa, U.D.O., Hypocrisy, Death Angel, Beast in Black, and At the Gates.

(Wacken Open Air 2019 – Official Trailer)

So, why the history and geography lesson? Well, its time for another. And I’ve just been gotten word that its time for those interested to apply for a chance to appear next to their idols. What many might be unaware of is that there are various ‘Wacken shows’ around the world (what?)  Allow me to explain.  As well as those mentioned above various others will also appear on stage. The complete lineup has not been confirmed yet and will comprise of ‘combatants’ from around the world. Select cities across the US host qualifying rounds with a national champion set to be crowned at the festival itself. For over a decade now this tournament has been added to the festivals roster. So how does one apply, and why wouldn’t one honestly want to? Seems as I’m here to help I have the address to check out and a little information on the festivities themselves. Without further ado here’s a spot of ‘cut and paste’ action.

BnB cut n paste

Cut n paste! Cut n Paste! CutnPasstte-!

“2020 battles will be held in Phoenix, AZ, Tucson, AZ, Inland Empire, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Oakland, CA, Sacramento, CA, San Diego, CA, San Francisco, CA, Atlanta, GA, New Orleans, LA, Las Vegas, NV, New York City, NY, Portland, OR, Austin, TX, Fort Worth, TX, San Antonio, TX, Houston, TX, Seattle, WA with more to be announced.

Concert promoters interested in hosting a Wacken battle in their city can apply at this link: https://metalbattleusa.com/promoter-application-for-wacken-metal-usa-battles/

How it works (*this is the interesting part)

Participating cities will host qualifying rounds plus a city final organized by a local city concert promoter where one band will move forward to the American national final (date and city to be determined). The winner of the national final will move on to perform at the 31st edition of Wacken Open Air and compete against the winners of 29 other countries in a final global battle.  All bands will be judged during battle rounds by respected local music industry representatives.

Rules: https://metalbattleusa.com/rules/

toxic ruin

https://toxicruin.bandcamp.com/album/subterranean-terror

https://dissentience.bandcamp.com/

https://horsemenrecords.bandcamp.com/track/spark

https://violencesystemga.bandcamp.com/

Last year’s 2019 national final was hosted in Los Angeles, CA and featured Dissentience (Winners, East Coast), Monarch (Winners, West Coast), Nahaya (Winners, Texas), Toxic Ruin (Winners, Chicago), Violence System (Winners, Atlanta) whom were selected from over a hundred bands that participated in battles across the USA.

monarch

Previous winners have included;

2019 – WMBU Winner

https://monarchmetal.bandcamp.com/releases

Monarch (San Diego, CA)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXiU078YKM0

(Video – Live at Wacken 2019)

2018 – WMBU Winner

https://voicesofruin.bandcamp.com/

VOICES OF RUIN (Anaheim, CA)

voices of ruin

2017 – WMBU Winner

https://corpsehoarder.bandcamp.com/

CORPSE HOARDER (Philadelphia, PA)

Sponsors/Partners (for this event and the lead up to it include):

MetalAssault.com

MetalDevastationRadio.com

corpse hoarder

MetalMasterKingdom.com

Metal-Rules.com

PureGrainAudio.com

PureRockRadio.net

Dungeon Works Productions

Asher Media Relations

Fatal Illness Management

Come and Take It Productions

Mosh Pit Army

Masquerade Atlanta

Saint Vitus

Huge thanks go out to Asher Media Relations for sending over the relevant information so that I could compose this.

excited animal gif

Yep Yep Yep! Do It!!

Dammit, what are you waiting for? Apply already so that your ideas, talent, composition brilliance and completed audio might reach those and the heights which it deserves to. #SupporttheScene #KeeptheSceneAliveandThriving

 

Cult