Abrasive Audio (Part Sixteen)

black metal burgers

Could these be considered Black metal sandwiches?

Introducing the sites first “Black Metal Split” sandwich

(Aka; sandwiching my usual diverse content between two split releases I should have gotten to much earlier (my apologies to those concerned)

Nihtwintre/Albanach ar Dheis (split)
Cassette/Digital format
Release – May/14/2019
Epicurus Records

nihtwintre split

https://nihtwintre.bandcamp.com/

(Note – this is the running order of the cassette, the digital order is reversed)

ARTWORK – 7

Strangely this image reminds me of the movie Trollhunter. Is this an ice giant or merely a perturbed mature gent awoken from a night’s rest to realize someone has trodden all over his freshly planted vegetable garden?

Side A; Albanach ar Dheis (Canada)
(Tracks 1,2)

Epic values drench the first track (as if its length didn’t give it away?) alongside a narrative lyrical approach, dualistic male and female vocals, keyboard atmosphere and undeniable melodic qualities, the effect makes for an overall pleasing introduction. The second track is longer still (coming in at close to eleven minutes) and boasts atmosphere aplenty, a synth folk vibe as well a slew of somewhat traditional (genre) majestic riffs. Managing to hold the attention throughout with its undeniable fluid and mesmerizing qualities it has the attention of a fan who usually doesn’t dwell in black metal (realms) enrapt.

Symphonic black metal which invokes images of epic battles, forests and melancholy, all in all, audio I can subscribe to without reservation or regret. A quite brilliant slice of audio which could well provoke abrupt exploration into audio realms enigmatic and undiscovered.

9
Side B; Nihtwintre (USA)
(Tracks 3,4 and 5)

Stabbing riffs, with an ice-cold aura, accent a drumming salvo to incite vivid imagery of an unforgiving realm draped in antiquity and menace. Narrated by a snarling vocal accompaniment the overall effect is a promising introduction. The second track is the highlight of Nihtwintre’s trio. Complete with groove (yes, groove) and majestic qualities its rhythms strangely invoke chilling atmosphere, a stunning combination. The trio climaxes in much the same manner, an undisputable frigid aura complemented by underlying groove (though not as pronounced as the track before) and riffs that tell of both medieval ancestry and eternal conflict (the harsh element of nature as well the nature of man).  A stunning trio which rounds out a mesmerizing split, showcasing how diverse the genre of atmospheric black metal is, which is deserved of much attention.

8.5

pathetic

OVERALL INITIAL LISTEN – 9
Pathetic – Rat King
(Canada)
Release – July/12/2019
Independent
Qabar PR
https://pathetic666.bandcamp.com/
 ARTWORK – 8

An intriguing image (a creature of sorts compiled of those it’s ‘consumed’, some albeit partially) which offers a myriad of intricate details and grotesqueries. Warranting closer inspection this image hints at brutality, menace and activities of similar ilk therefore I imagine audio of the same variety. Color me intrigued!

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

A distortion laden introduction recalls Acid Bath while the music itself, once it gets started, is accompanied by a soundbite, reeks of the old school with a touch of southern melody, and mid-tempo groove

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

A glorious mixture of influences keeps this album rolling. D-beat rhythms cavort with old school values and plodding riffs akin to that of the earliest Grave material. The word even comes to mind from time to time. Lyrics often reek of a deliciously jaded Pungent Stench vibe, add this to an occasionally wicked soundbite, a dirge-laden tone ripped straight from the basement of the underground 90’s (think Bolt Thrower, Terrorizer) and a pace which often picks up frequently offering groove one cannot sit still to and you have all the right ingredients for an album which feels like it might have been released twenty-something years too late though manages to offer an aura that’s instantly enjoyable and so damn easy to appreciate it borders on criminal. A sublime combination in short which pleases the senses and demands constant attention.

Highly recommended and sure to please those with a penchant for the extreme and values deeply rooted in the old school death/grind department.

Favorite Tracks; The Fatal Charade, Going Postal, Shetani, Defecating Upon the Grave of the Grand Wizard, Empty Threat.

WizardRifle

Wizard Rifle – s/t
(USA)
Release – August/30/2019
Svart Records
Dewar PR
https://wizardrifle.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 7.5

Newsflash; Reports claim that a bright bold logo is seen rising from the earth at an alarming rate alert the authorities, call the National Guard but most of all prepare thyself…

FIRST TRACK – 9.5

Its been awhile but I do believe I’ve found an act who can finally compare to the overall indescribable nature of Brutal Juice. For those who aren’t in the know they boast a sound that’s a wicked mixture of others styles much like what Wizard Rifle offer. A fantastic track I could scribble upon at length though shall refrain from doing so until the release has reached its climax.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9.5

Every once in a while, a promo lands in the email with a description so wild that it demands attention, as promos tend to do. This is another such instance. And being the ever-curious type I pounced. And was not disappointed in the slightest. The sound is altogether mesmerizing, even from the albums first notes, while wholly unclassifiable. The exuberance and energy are undeniable and infectious whilst the rhythms and tempo are ever evolving, shifting like an amorphous beast the likes of which you’d kindly invite in from the cold for a spot by the fire. Brutality and menace are far from what’s on offer here. Doom values meld with punk attitude while the word alternate is bounced around like a circular blur in a championship hockey finale (you were expecting a nod to a certain team? Not here, mate!) Dense riffs collide with sacrificial drum salvos and plodding rhythms transform into galloping frenzied moments all accented by a diverse vocal tirade which incorporates melody, shouting and angst in equal measures. An epic feel underscores the whole shebang though its hardly given much heed as the music whisks the listener away to undiscovered realms, vistas and valleys frequented by constructs which are non-sensical yet accepted as easily as a birthday check, in the mailbox, from a long lost relative.  An atmosphere permeates this same location, a thick smoke hazy with indistinct, fleeting, influence which is familiar yet hard to pinpoint as another replaces its spot within seconds. The album does however have its share of trance/drone moments, instances in which the style doesn’t flutter like the wings of a butterfly, the conclusion to “Funeral of the Sun” is a fantastic example. Fitting is the final tracks moniker, the fifth track known as “V”. The tempo within this is decidedly upbeat bringing to mind Slayer in the first few bars but then late dwindling to a tempo which could best be described as adrenaline infused stoner rock which later changes again to bring to mind Jesus Lizard albeit with a pace that’s not associated with them in the slightest.

Album of the year contender right here, folks. And this is purely based on a first listen basis, I’m of the mind that this will only get better with age.  My only gripe is that this has a street date of late-August, sure I can enjoy it courtesy of the promo package which came my way but I want others to be able to also. The wait is killing me. In the meantime, I’ll let this parade its way through my senses again and do my best to let the smile which is contorting my features not take total control of my faculties.

katechon

Katechon – Sanger Fra Auschwitz
(Norway)
Release – March/1/2019
Saturnal Records
Qabar PR
https://katechon.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 6

Dark, depressive and dreary. Is this an indication of that which I’m about to hear, I can but only wonder?

FIRST TRACK – 7

I’m getting (mid-era) Satyricon vibes again (and this appears to be a constant throughout this piece) this track plods along complete with an ominous tone, unmistakable menace and a familiar traditional vocal style which isn’t at all out of place within its surroundings.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

From early on I deciphered that I wouldn’t be able to understand a bloody word and I was correct, regardless this is intriguing audio indeed, given more an enigmatic/archaic feel based on the fact (that again) I can’t understand the lyrics and their context ( I seriously need to find time to do some research). Furious paced yet moody. Traditional black yet doom laden. Melodic yet vicious. This typifies the variety within the genre which most people still continue to shun. Much like the genre this has a great deal to offer, over and above what those with closed minds, who continue to spawn ignorance, assume. Rhythms are varied as too are the moods and atmosphere making for a release which most fans of the scene will be able to appreciate and easily consume, perhaps even a few who have little knowledge of the scene but who are steadily becoming more accustomed to it, like myself.

Favorite Tracks; Eloi, Ankomst, Davids Skjold.

overt enemy possession

Overt Enemy – Possession
(USA)
Release – August/9/2019
Confused Records
Dewar PR
https://overtenemy.bandcamp.com/
 ARTWORK – 7

Lady, lady. Hey lady. I wouldn’t swallow that if I were you.

We’ll I guess it’s too late, I’m outta’ here before this broad starts to spray the town in split pea soup, a vomitous odor and utilize a crucifix in an unsettling, though deviantly erotic, manner.

FIRST TRACK – 9

Aggressive thrash in a style that’s criminally addictive, infectious, movement inducing but most of all eerily recognizable. This tosses me back to when I first laid ears upon ‘Hell Awaits’ and it’s that far off of the same caliber.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Slayer worship through and through (there’s even a ripping cover of ‘At Dawn They Sleep’ and the bassists name even has a decidedly “Slayer” slant to it) of that there’s no doubt but Overt Enemy execute the style so damn well that odds are they’ll take the vacated throne without a qualm and little complaint. My only issue with this is that’s it’s too damn short, I want more!! I guess I’ll be forced to spin this again, again and again (or even ‘piece by piece’).

This is the type of thrash which I can subscribe to, it’s vicious, fluid, fast but most of all wicked Fn’ great!

I’m eager for a full length!

portada

Concilivm – The Veiled Enigma (EP)
(Chile)
Release – January/18/2018 (limited edition cassette)
Von Frost Records
(reissue on CD; May/31/2019 via Dawning Septic Productions)
https://concilivm.bandcamp.com/album/the-veiled-enigma
ARTWORK – 7

Classical in tone; St George and the Dragon shenanigans I’m thinking, though it could be anything, a preying mantis lighting a torch perhaps, or is he/she balancing a spear on their nose? Do they even have a nose…? I give up!

FIRST TRACK – 8

An effective introduction leads into a bout of old school riffing ala vintage Gorguts tinged by diabolical melody and vocals of the death doom variety. This is tight and executed with flair. So why is it that I haven’t heard of this until now?

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

I honestly have no idea how it is that I haven’t heard this until now (I seem to have stated that before) this is impressive audio showcasing a mid-pace with death doom sensibilities, groove and enough menace to incite nightmares for an entire kindergarten class, including the teacher. Influence is varied from the above mentioned to Gorefest, Divine Eve, Bolt Thrower and a slew of other European acts around the explosion of the death scene circa the early 90’s. Dirge cavorts with a diabolical nature with often intriguing rhythms, the vocals fit like a tailor made suit for the icing on the cake.

Give this a moment of your time and I believe you’ll be impressed also.

Favorite Tracks; Dark Zenith, Breaking of the Return, Epistemology of Darkness (bonus track).

goregang

Goregäng – Neon Graves
(USA)
Release – May/20/2019
Transcending Obscurity Records
https://goregangband.bandcamp.com/album/neon-graves-death-metal-crust
ARTWORK – 8

Vivid and eye opening, much as the title suggests. I’m left to wonder what’s leaking from the grave and will the resulting malformation find itself walking down main street in search of a signed copy of the first season of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. Yuck, stay away, keep back! Stay away!

FIRST TRACK – 7

The introduction has a definite ominous edge boding towards one would imagine (based on the law of averages) audio of brutal death/atmospheric nature. The first track however has undeniable hardcore leanings, gang vocals and a stabbing approach bordering at times on a style Fear Factory are known for. A diverse mixture for sure which although I’m not totally falling ‘ass over tit’ for, still makes me curious as to what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

Considerable oomph and surprising production values give this release eye-opening appeal. The style herein is varied, though familiar throughout, spanning a wide radius of the extreme metal arena tipping its hat from one track to the next to a slew of ground-breaking acts including Entombed, Grave and Bolt Thrower. A thick style Dirge frolics hand in hand with the “buzzsaw” HM2 sound and groove often jumps into the fold to join in on the fun to play a huge part in the overall mix. Rhythms are predominantly mid-paced and occasional atmosphere is used effectively (especially in the case of “Neon Graves”) keeping the predictability level at a minimum. Overall this is a release which will have listeners reminiscing on a slew of albums (the type everyone should revisit on a regular basis) albeit injected with the production values and exuberant tone which sets this apart from the hordes of others also vying for attention in much the same manner.

Favorite Tracks; Silence is Consent, Neon Graves, Plague of Hammers, The Era of Human.

vokonis

Vokonis – Grasping Time
(Sweden)
Release – September/6/2019
The Sign Records
Dewar PR
https://vokonis.bandcamp.com/album/grasping-time
 ARTWORK – 7

Nice kitchen. But, oh dear. I believe you got shafted on the vaulted ceiling request.

FIRST TRACK – 8

There’s zero introduction with this track, the listener is immediately whisked away to epic doomsville. An unscheduled stop on the outskirts brings them to a dusty location where sludge and melodic rock values converse over coffee, edibles and a raspberry filled ‘Danish’.

A great start which effectively introduces Vokonis and their specific brand of non- traditional down tuned audio.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Amazingly enough Vokonis have created audio which bridges the gap between Kyuss and Mastodon, liberal sprinklings of psychedelia and a myriad of progressive passages are gleefully companions along for the ride. Featuring riffs with enough distort to shake the Great Wall to dust and an epic nature boasting melodic yet always heavy undertones, the album makes for quite the multi layered audio journey which many might be initially skeptical about. However, somehow, Vokonis manage to pull this mammoth feat off without a hitch. In a seamless manner that’s both entertaining and enthralling (often hypnotic) the band utilize an assortment of brilliantly executed moods aided by shifting rhythms and several vocal styles to keep the senses alight with intrigue. The result is an album which garners the attention instantly though somehow still demands several listens to fully appreciate.

Favorite Tracks; Sunless Hymnal, I Hear the Siren, Embers, Fading Lights.

Darkhorse_OldStar

Dark Throne – Old Star
(Norway)
Release – May/31/2019
Peaceville Records
http://peaceville.com/bands/darkthrone/
ARTWORK – 9.5

Intricate black and white imagery with a definite medieval style. The more one looks closer the more details become apparent. Demons cavorting with nature or an orgy of grotesqueries? Whatever it is this is mesmerizing!

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

Please note that this Is my first full album experience with Dark Throne. Admittedly black metal was never my thing but now I’m finding myself warming up to all it has to offer due in most part to continued prods and “Reccs” from Void (whom I continue to curse and thank continuously, and often at the same time).

Whoa, this Is not entirely what I was expecting. This is melodic, mid -tempo and it has rhythm to spare. I’ve heard dissent among long-time fans that this isn’t what they were expecting and reviews are split down the middle, but I’m finding myself liking this…a lot! The production isn’t what I as expecting either based on I guess my own assumptions, this is clean, far from primitive. The instruments are distinct and the sound, if truth be told, reminds me in part of Sartyricon (newer material not the older, faster audio) mixed with groove tinged Celtic Frost. A fantastic start which leaves me intrigued for what surprises and the remainder of the album will bring to my ears.  

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

This continues to enthrall me from track to track. From the first to the epic and traditional heavy metal riff polluted (though not in a horrid sense) and doom laden second through to its final track; a groove infested doom opus “The Key is Inside the Wall”. This isn’t in the slightest what I was expecting (think I’ve mentioned that before) it’s slower, moody and powerful. But this is something I will definitely spin again, and often if given the chance. I’d suggest keeping the mind open, and the preconceived notions at bay before you spin this especially if you’re at all familiar with their past discography.

Favorite Tracks; I Muffle Your Inner Choir, The Hardship of The Scots, The Key is Inside the Wall.

detherous

Detherous – Hacked to Death
(Canada)
Release – August/16/2019
Redefining Darkness Records
https://redefiningdarknessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/detherous-hacked-to-death
ARTWORK – 9

I’m a little bias here, I’ll admit. As a ‘gorehound’ this image hits all the right notes, recalls VHS covers from the “Video Nasty” era (even puts me in mind of Cancer’s ‘The Gory End’) but is likely an image plucked from the Hatchet franchise. Admittedly I’m more than a little excited, and the music hasn’t even started yet!

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

If the immediate influence which comes to mind isn’t the obvious (and the first word in the genre in which this resides) then I’m honestly not sure what to say. A fantastic track that grabs the attention and gets the adrenaline spiking. I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to be a ‘banger’ (whatever that means!)

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Channeling Malevolent Creation, Death and Asphyx, Detherous have managed to create a style that’s exuberant, furious (boasting exquisite time changes and abrupt mosh frenzy changes in pace) and technical. Familiar, with nods to the fury of early Kreator and the rhythm transformations of Slayer, easily appreciated and nostalgic yet a breath of fresh air to a scene that’s recently become overcrowded with atmosphere. This is audio which unceremoniously pulls one back to the old school (both European and American) and does a great job of doing so. Call it homage, call it what you will but there’s no doubt this is executed with passion, flair and precision. This is an album which will be in heavy rotation, mark my words!

Keep an eye out for these folks for if this is any indication, they’re going places!

Favorite Tracks; Smoldering Ashes, Ridden, Monstrosity, Brain Death.

vault dweller

Vault Dweller – Existence at a Distance (EP)
(USA)
Release – June/7/2019
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/existence-at-a-distance
ARTWORK – 8.5

A vicious knife assault from all corners, who’s the assailant? A Poltergeist, and for what reason? This is obviously up for discussion but there’s no doubt that this is a wicked image.

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

An ‘old timey’ soundbite as an introduction, it works brilliantly to set the scene telling of spilling blood for all manner of things, however trivial. The audio soon transforms into grinding whirlwind riffage with distinct punk leanings added to by howling vocals.

A decent introduction to the band and their version of the grind style.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

An Ep which lasts barely more ten minutes, one would immediately think of audio in a grind realm and they wouldn’t be far wrong for have no doubts this is what this is.

Brutal, to the point salvos (though running epic lengths for tracks under the grindcore moniker) completed by surprising melody and gale-force vocals make for a foray that’s a tad different than most in the same genre. Add to that a variety of 60’s movie sci-fi synth explorations and you have a release that’s a refreshing step (albeit a small one!) away from the norm.

Favorite Tracks; Ego Beast, Somebody Blow me Up, Bad Gateway.

ov lustra

Ov Lustra – Tempestas
(USA)
Release – June/7/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR
https://ovlustrablacklion.bandcamp.com/album/tempestas
ARTWORK – 8

A definite fantasy edge is prevalent here. With the lone figure in the center one could also imagine a quest of sorts, which leads one to believe this might be a concept album.

FIRST TRACK – 9

Symphonic, though not overly so, with an undeniable blackened death aura of the technical/melodic variety. An overall concoction/effect which works brilliantly, aided to by way of top-notch production values, adding depth and a cinematic aura.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

A concept album (which hardly feels like such) based on fantastical narrative aided by orchestral brilliance originating from Francesco Ferrini (Fleshgod Apocalypse) and technical leanings with melodic undertones sounds like an intriguing premise, right? In this case the premise is so much more than merely that… the idea has paid off. Showcasing exquisite musicianship, a powerful symphonic backdrop, rhythms which constantly shift and a vocal accompaniment which fits the style Ov Lustra have managed to capture the delicate balance needed to keep the listener intrigued and the audio far from being overwhelming in its intensity. The overall audio is fluid, seamless in its approach and bears unmistakable cinematic scope which only aids in its appeal and invokes vivid imagery along with the sinuous fantastical narrative.

The inclusion of orchestral editions of the first four tracks lends an edge which is not typically seen, a fantastic touch and nod, appreciation, to fan support. The reissue of four tracks (‘I’, ‘Felle’, ‘Ov Lustra’ and ‘Arrival’) serves to spark interest in the bands past work and shows maturity, precision and development from past to present material.

Favorite Tracks; Tempestas, Ov Delicate Rage, Felle, Ov Lustra.

Highly recommended for fans of Inferis, Vale of Pnath, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septic Flesh and Cradle of Filth.

Recc from Fistful of Doom (@flatulentfuzz on Twitter)

fistful of doom

Archaic Tomb – Persecution Paraphenalia/ / Cryptworm – Putrefactive Regurgitation (7” split EP/Tape)
Release – April/19/2019
Cassette/Digital
Blood Harvest Records
https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/persecution-paraphrenalia-putrefactive-regurgitation

 

ARTWORK – 8.5

blood harvest split

Gnashing teeth, a demon, wings and sublime archaic black and white imagery, nuff said!

Archaic Tomb (Portugal)

Cavernous, dense and sporting intricate rhythm nuance. Hardly melodious and yet there is definite rhythm to be found amidst the dirt-laden brutality and a certain diabolical nature, the smoldering, sizzling finale is a great touch. Overall, an intriguing track which has me salivating for a more definite illustration of what the band can spawn.

8  
Cryptworm (UK)

Gargling, guttural, vocals accompany a sickening tone which has me tumbling back to the brutality I first encountered when discovering the scene many moons ago (around the early 90’s in fact) within a Peaceville, “Deaf Metal”, sampler (which if one is unfamiliar with should check into immediately).

Groove-laden madness slathered in vintage death values, the influence is easy to see (for those paying attention) and tracks title about says it all in regards to what tom expect though doesn’t describe how infectious this is if one’s past is checkered with much the same audio. I’m grinning from ear to ear, though I understand I‘m of the minority who remember music stores, vinyl, compilations rather than YouTube for discovering new tunage and Tipper Gore’s attempts at censoring music.

8
Overall Initial Listen – 8

If brutality and down tuned sickness with melody, rather than noise, is your thing wrap your ears around this!

Plucked from Metal Past

witchburner

Witchburner – Bloodthirsty Eyes
(Germany)
Release – February/22/2013
High Roller Records
https://www.discogs.com/Witchburner-Bloodthirsty-Eyes/release/5349624
Thoughts –

Occasionally I’ll dip into metals past. Often, I’ll reflect upon an album I have fond memories upon, in this instance I’m going to drop a few thoughts upon an album and a release I stumbled upon quite by accident. Recently I went to a show (the first in a few years) and happened to set eyes on a band entitled WitchRipper. For some reason however, I referred to them as Witchburner and this ladies and gents is where my quest began. Is there a band with such a name, indeed there is, and what do they have to offer? Here are my thoughts…

‘Bloodthirsty Eyes’ is the bands seventh full-length, and their most recent, in over a twenty-year span, if the album art (a collective of undead types clamoring for attention from a hooded mysterious type seated upon a throne) doesn’t make you want to spin it you’re obviously not into everything undead in theme as much as yours truly. The album is quick to make an impression with both its wicked pace and venom-fueled vocal attack. The beats are incendiary in nature and often quick to get to the point. If you’re not moving when “Possession” caresses the senses odds are you have little, to zero, appreciation for frantic head bangin’ mayhem and the finest the genre has to offer. Naturally it’s a high point in the album alongside the albums stunning acoustic introduction and opener, “Sermon of Profanity” which sports somewhat of an Exodus vibe albeit ‘Tempo of the Damned’ era in feel. Other standouts come fast, furious and often and include the frantic paced “The Path of the Sinner”, “Apocalyptic Visions” which boasts a Master and Slayer vibe, “Never Surrender” with an undeniable foot tapping vibe, “Bloody Countess” (bonus track) after all who can’t appreciate a track about a blood thirsty, pasty faced, beauty stuck in a castle sans the glory of the internet to waste away those rainy days (*wot another? I don’t care!) and a classic from their first LP “Possessed by Hellfire”.

Stick some ears on this and discover what you’ve been missing. Unless you already have, in which case why didn’t you tell me about it?

cult of osiris split

Daemonibus Inita Vigilia (3-way split)
Release – June/10/2019
Digital
Cult of Osiris
https://cultofosiris.bandcamp.com/album/daemonibus-inita-vigilia
ARTWORK – 8

I’m intrigued by this primitive wicked imagery. Naturally black and white art is one my weaknesses and this immediately puts me in mind of underground old school values.

Apothecary (USA) – Insect Vigil

A swift, spiraling, descent into madness. An experimental outing which combines elements of grindcore, black metal, ambient and avant Garde’ for an overall dizzying experience. Chaotic, archaic, primal, often confusing but always disorienting there appears to be no semblance of order. Non-traditional in its construct and absolutely non-conforming this is recommended for the brave, for those who can see past what is often perceived as normalcy, and what’s easily accepted by the senses.

6
Crossburner (Spain) – Guland I

Unforgiving and primal, this track strangely sports a smidgen of punk influence within its pitch sensibilities. Assaulting the senses with a whirlwind of industrial grade riffage it bears more a traditional black metal approach albeit one that’s basted in archaic production values. A wickedness, a menace that’s melodic though malicious in intent heralded by rasped vocals which only adds to the effect.

7
Uten Håp (Svalbard) – Inner Demons

Cacophonous and blasting in intensity, the rhythm herein is unrelenting and soon builds to a hypnotic state. Snarled vocals add to an effect akin to being in the eye of a storm. A furious slab of pitch darkness delivered on a bed of menacing pace sure to alight the intrigue of the more traditional black metal community. A fitting finale to split which shows Cult of Osiris sticking to his guns and the label showcasing talent which depicts the genre as it was always meant to be, extreme, far from popular with only the darkest of audio intentions, not monetary reward, in mind. Musical expression which cares not for cultural constructs or borders but rather freedom of expression through audio tainted by pitch values and an often DIY primitive nature.

7.5
OVERALL INITIAL LISTEN – 7

 Well there you have it, the sites first ‘sandwich review’ piece!

As always feel free to tell me your thoughts, comment, recommend and please share. Let’s keep the word of metal, in all of its various disguises, alive and thriving for the next generation to enjoy no matter its ‘form’ at that point in time.

Cult

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Abrasive Audio (part the fifteen)

Bad-taste-Header Introduction

Fifteen? Why, how time flies. But where have all the others gone?

Enough with the question (but what is it with this week’s batch of mainly Finland and USA originating albums?) let’s get into all this edition has to offer, a new (to me anyway) batch of raw and extreme audio. With a few surprises tossed in for extra points, recognition, or…something. (Did I mention that Void recently tossed me his thoughts on the latest Possessed album?)

hive night cats

HIVE – Nights Cats
(Canada)
Release – June/21/2019
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/night-cats

ARTWORK – 6

What should one think when this image sits in front of the retinas? I’m not entirely sure, I’m merely hoping this doesn’t put off the crowd who base book purely on its cover, as this albums description intrigues me to no end.

FIRST TRACK – 6.5

Sludge rhythms set against soundbites depicting atrocious acts set against a chorus of “Halleluiah praise the Lord!” This even showcases lines by Danny Devito, one has to appreciate that, although I can’t imagine his squat form parading in the slightest to what this audio offers.

INITIAL LISTEN – 6.5

Raw (this honestly sounds like it was recorded into a boom box in someone’s basement) primitive and bursting with attitude this is certainly not a typical genre release but more the maniacal wranglings of an act who care not for production values but rather the point they wish to convey. A hybrid of sludge, raunchy rock, humor and roll and grindcore an overall concoction which harkens back to the days of GG Allen and the real punk scene rather than the commercialized one many fell ‘ass over tit’ for.

Recommended for those who care not for production values and music which appeals to a larger audience but rather the undeniable passion behind the audio.

Favorite Tracks; Capitalistas, Smashing the Bylaw, K4S.

all hell

All Hell – The Witches Grail
(USA)
Release – June /7/2019
Prosthetic Records
https://allhell.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 9.5

Innocence with a seething, brooding, Gothic nature. Sacrificial vibes (a chalice offering) complete with the moon, nature and a scowl as if to say “It’s your turn, do your part”. Am I to expect audio of a doom tinged nature? Only one way to find out.

FIRST TRACK – 8

Light rainfall complements an aura of “something wicked this way comes” (to quote Bradbury). With the introductions conclusion the music offers a mid-paced thrash, punk, Exploited vibe complete with Celtic Frost undertones and a vocal accompaniment which brings to mind Chance Garnette of SkeletonWitch fame. A delightful concoction with a splash of darkness leaving me eager for whatever else this album might offer.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Amidst all a myriad of influence on offer I was somewhat surprised to hear a track which brought to mind the Asgardian shenanigans of Unleashed, albeit with a blackened thrash edge. Other styles (which can’t be ignored) border on D-beat territory, vintage black metal ala Bathory, speed metal of the blackened variety which is enjoying a recent revival of sorts (with the likes of Hellripper and Bastardizer) and a Gothic nature which shrouds the whole affair. Though one can’t ignore the undeniable groove on offer throughout, there’s also a celebration of the roots of many a blackened influence, as well homage to recognizable greats within its ranks. A celebration that’s added to with a slew of identity and breakneck rhythms keeping this current, intriguing, exciting and far from copycat realms.

Favorite Tracks; Into the Trees, Where Devils Once Danced, The Witches Grail.

black frat

Black Rat – Dread Reverence
(Canada)
Release – November/23/2018
Shadow Kingdom Records
https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dread-reverence
ARTWORK – 7.5

Midnight in the vaults; Alfred is hungry. He wants some food. He has an establishment in mind, but he had nobody to go with.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

What an introduction to Black Rat!

A Gothic hammer horror esque soundtrack opens the proceedings and within no time the listener in stumbling in the darkness, tripping, falling, surrounded all the while in a pitch aura that’s claustrophobic in its vicious intent. Barks and snarls come from every direction with menace poised to pounce, its fangs dripping in venom and crimson.

Excuse the prose ladies and Gents this has me excited, stimulating my creative glands (nope, not those!) I can’t help myself. Imagine if you will black metal colliding with crust, speed and heavy metal. It sounds rather messy, but this works!

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Call this what you will; filthy, raunchy, rock and roll with a blackened attitude, encrusted speed metal with a dash of blackened influence? It doesn’t matter. One thing’s for certain; these guys know how to raise the pulse. Riffs are ferocious, delivered with intent and underscored by a Gothic majesty a celebration of all manner of things sinister. But let us not forget the tone, a dense punk vibe, a carpet of filth awaiting its cargo. A load which appears by way of chains, studs, spikes and denim, an undeniable celebration of speed and traditional metal adorned by an atmospheric cloak the likes of which has yet to see the light or feel the warmth of the sun.

In short, this album is raw, boasts intriguing melodies, surprisingly atmospheric slower paced interludes and yet overflows with attitude and malice the likes of which will sate those with yearnings for both vintage pace and blasphemous venom.

(And no mention of moose, maple or Molson anywhere. Whoops!)

Favorite Tracks; Into the Ebony, Coffin Rock, Headless Countess, Haunter of the Threshold.

shades of deep water

Shades of Deep Water – Death’s Threshold
(Finland)
Release – July/8/2019
Dunkelheit Produktionen
https://dunkelheitprod.bandcamp.com/album/deaths-threshold
ARTWORK – 7.5

This is another cover up for discussion in regards to its meaning. I see a cavalcade of monks parading alongside a ruin of some sort cradling a myriad of skulls. But why? Are there auditions, en masse for Shakespearian plays in which the Paul Yorick part needs nailing? I have no idea and will attempt to hide my ignorance and apparent shortcomings in the psychology field with humor as I normally do.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

Hunting and eerie, this grabs ahold instantly and puts one in a hypnotic daze, a trance where the listener falls ever deeper into melancholy. An excellent start that’s enthralling to say the least!

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Although this doesn’t seem that complex in rhythm or composition (at times it appears to dive deep into drone waters) it has a certain undeniable quality, a power, a captivating quality which is difficult to ignore. An unfathomless depth of a sort which summons the listener much like a Siren begging them to ignore, forgo all of their responsibilities in order that they might fall under this album’s spell.  Excellent use of string instruments only adds to the overall experience making this a release which is hard to step away from. An album is only made even more impressive based on the fact that it was composed, mixed, recorded and mixed by a single soul, a talented individual indeed, J.H.

Highly recommended and a fantastic mood accompaniment.

evil angel

Evil Angel – Unholy Evil Metal
(Finland)
Release – May/31/2019
Hells Headbangers
https://evilangel.bandcamp.com/album/unholy-evil-metal
ARTWORK – 8.5

Upside down crosses, horns, cryptic scribbles and that tone of green. I believe I would have to be someone of the highest order of ignorant to not be of the understanding that this is going to be an audio outing of the most deliciously dark and tasty. I’m excited already.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

Seconds in and I’m already of the thought that is going to be filthy, grimy, blasphemous but most of all bloody enjoyable. Hail Satan, Stan, Irene, Terry or any other demonic deity who might, or might not, be doubling as a Wal-Mart greeter. This obviously isn’t audio that’s groundbreaking but this is damn good!!

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Blackened speed and a sense of humor. With a track titled like an audio issuance from the main face, the “warrior”, behind Celtic Frost how could they not be charged with such? Sounding like true homage to the South American scene of yore but with an added energy surge only bathing in the waters, which make up the source, of Red Bull could possibly induce Evil Angel offer a sound that’s akin to bestial metal on steroids. Huh? But, wait, there’s more, this has discernible rhythm. Riffs which’ll make you want to slap your Granma and drag a newborn into the pit (sorry, that was uncalled for!) The production is pumped, the raw nature (strangely) exemplified and the attitude, well it’s hard to argue against the fact that these guys are back with vengeance after an extended hiatus (following 2007’s ‘Unholy Fight for Metal’ release). Silly me I would’ve never though Finland a breeding ground for types who might bring bestial metal back into the fore. But it appears it is! This will be on repeat loud, in traffic, even in line at the nearest Government office, the location of which I’m not sure why I’d bother to visit to be honest! This deserves to be shared. And Evil Angel warrant praise!

Favorite Tracks; Necro Black Mass, Nuclear Hammer, Sacrificial Slaughter, Ritual Sacrifice.

skelator

Skelator – Cyber Metal
(USA)
Release – June/21/2019
Gates of Hell Records
Clawhammer PR
https://trueskelator.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 8.5

Graphic comic book carnage complete with a samurai, flashing blades and plenty of spraying crimson. This looks fun!

FIRST TRACK – 8

Channeling Helloween, Skelator deliver infectious riffs, solos aplenty and tolerable falsetto vocal range. Speed/heavy metal draped in undeniable fantasy/sci-fi influence. I’m surprisingly intrigued based on the fact this isn’t normally my go-to genre.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

Homage of ‘nerd culture’ (sorry, couldn’t think of another way to put it) from the 80’s is rife here. Including nods to Akira and Fists of the North Star (both Anime/Manga), Highlander (“There can be only one!”) and a slew of other shows and movies which I know I greedily consumed whenever possible in my freckle faced, innocent years. The style herein is eerily familiar especially to fans of vintage Judas Priest, Riot and older Helloween. Think melodies and gymnastic vocals with a style that’s decidedly German power metal and you’ll be in the ballpark in regards to what this offers. I listened all the way through without skipping, that’s admittedly quite the feat for me. And I’ll probably do so again.

Favorite Tracks; Cast Iron, The Hammer, Seven Scars.

howling sycamore

Howling Sycamore – Seven Paths to Annihilation
(USA)
Release – June/21/2019
Prosthetic Records
https://howlingsycamore.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 9

A storm brews, lightning strikes but the meditating fellow is undisturbed. I wonder what he’s listening to.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

Dramatic, passionate and not at all what I’d expected but wholly intriguing. Bordering on epic traditional heavy metal values with undeniable progressive elements this offers a rhythm and vocal style which at first doesn’t appear to be cohesive at all, strangely it works with a captivating allure.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8

Complex and progressive the style often brings to mind Nevermore albeit with more gymnastic traditional vocals and a style which rarely dips into thrash or death realms. Rhythms are technical, unpredictable, bringing to mind Dream Theatre even Rush. In moments chaotic and often far from any one traditional genre (though closer to epic, power and traditional heavy metal), in instances this dips into avant garde’ arenas, and often gives the audio a ‘weird that it meshes as well as it does’ vibe. The combination remains intriguing throughout offering instruments whose placement seems odd (jazz accoutrements) and an audioscape that’s vastly different than the norm but thoroughly entertaining. Think progressive, technical, doom with an emphasis on a lyrical narrative and emotion. The inclusion of, ‘sticksman’ extraordinaire, Hannes Grossmann takes this to another level adding intricacies only repeated listens will uncover.

This is most certainly an album which will grow on the listener even if it doesn’t immediately ‘stick’.

Favorite Tracks; Departure, Second Sight, Raw Bones.

atlas entity

Atlas Entity – Beneath the Cosmic Silence
(USA)
Release – June/14/2019
Independent
Mind Eraser PR
https://atlasentity.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 8.5

The tones within this image hint at many things but chief among them moodiness and plenty of atmosphere. Color me intrigued!

FIRST TRACK – 9.5

Intricate, classical, beautiful acoustic mastery. I am at a loss for words. Exquisite is another good one to use (and I utilize it entirely too much!) A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 9.5

A fluid, precise and intricate marriage of progressive elements, technical rhythms and a style which is closer to death metal than most anything else within the extreme audio universe. The resulting effect is akin to an audio eargasm which lasts close to forty-two minutes. Think the beauty and classic nature of Opeth entangled with the often, flowing like a river, mesmerizing rhythmic brutality of Inanimate Existence (audio that moves so effortlessly that it often, oddly, doesn’t seem brutal at all!) add to that solos which are blistering, a nature which has more facets than my infants personality and elements which are often associated with atmospheric blackened affairs and you have a release which is unpredictable, surprisingly agile and altogether fathomless in its depth. A mix of clean and traditional genre type vocals add to the overall experience.

This is astoundingly good; one simply cannot afford to let this pass them by. Suffice it to say this will feature in my end of year list (If I ever get my lazy arse around to composing one!)

phobia

Phobia – Generation Coward (EP)
(USA)
Release – August/9/2019
Willowtip Records
Clawhammer PR
https://phobia.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 7.5

Skeletons, chaos, goat horns and hiding behind the anonymity of a computer screen. Those with knowledge of the band will know what to expect, for those that don’t, two words; blasting grindcore.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

These guys don’t fuck around! This track goes straight for the jugular and brings with it nostalgic tones, dueling vocal attacks and bludgeoning riffs which’ll leave any fan of the scene grinning from ear to ear. A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 8

Since 1990 these Californians have been blasting away and speaking their mind against all manner of social ill and injustice. With a discography which sports splits and EPS aplenty. surprisingly there are only five full lengths under their collective belts.

This release sees them blast their way through thirteen tracks in just under sixteen minutes (par for the grindcore course) with the same amount of energy which earlier output sports these guys have not slowed down in the slightest! The angst levels are at an all time high and this is sure to incite moments of spastic movements with break shit ramifications throughout its length. In conclusion, if you’re a fan of the scene and have fear that Phobia have lost some of their old magic, fear not for this is an outstanding example of what one of the pioneers of the scene still has to offer!

Favorite Tracks; Cynic Bastard, Imbecile, Internet Tough Guy, Excretion, Cut Throat, To be Convinced.

ashbringer

Ashbringer – Absolution
(USA)
Release – June/28/2019
Prosthetic Records
https://ashbringermusic.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 7

Vibrant, vivid and not what one would assume an album cover in the extreme metal arena to look like. I believe this album might surprise me with its content, though with this in mind the art gives little, if anything, away.

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

Acoustic melodies, often beautiful in tone, cavort in a crescendo with tempestuous rhythms and a vocal accompaniment writhing in angst. Not what I was expecting though intriguing audio nevertheless.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8

This is melodious, beatific, invocative, a tad experimental in tone, full of emotion, even at times hinting of moments of brutality, drenched in palpable atmosphere and undeniably epic, though strangely quite different than the type of audio I would normally subject myself to (all in the name of extreme music). Hard to categorize as this isn’t really DSBM based on its melodies and vocal style, it lies, nestled, somewhere between genres (black, doom, heavy metal, progressive) and thus should appeal to a great many who prefer audio which doesn’t subscribe to predictability, boundaries and/or limitation.

I’m of the mind that it will grow on me over time as its many intricacies unfold and its style develops from utterly foreign into that which I’ve become more accustomed to.

For fans of Opeth, Nuerosis and Amorphis.

Favorite Tracks; Wilderness Walk, Dreamscape, Eternal Separation pt. 2, Spiritual Architecture.

heaviest of art

Introducing a new Section; Reccd’ by…

Recc’d by @HeaviestofArt (Twitter)
“How does each record hold up a year after its release?”
Uada – Cult of a Dying Sun
(USA)
Release – May/25/2018
Eisnewald
https://uada.bandcamp.com/

uada

Thoughts –

From its opener, ‘The Purging Fire’, there’s no doubt that the listener is in for one wholly unpredictable audio experience. Ranging from melodic death (bordering in something one could actually dance to, a beat Moonspell often utilized with their follow up to ‘Wolfheart’) through a style bordering on grindcore with splashes of black in between, upon and over Uada certainly don’t play things by the genre conformity book, and that’s what makes this intriguing and as the album plays out an altogether outstanding audio experience.

A blackened death vibe takes ahold as the album plays out. Discernable melody woven around blast beat chaos gives the album more a melodic feel albeit with a blackened aura; interactions with outstanding consequences. Dissection, Swallow the Sun come to mind in moments as too a slew of other acts (whose names escape me at the moment) who also incorporate melody into their pitch audio. Tracks bearing epic lengths and rhythms which are constantly evolving hold the listener enrapt though it’s also Uada‘s ability to think outside of the box. ‘The Wanderer’ is a fantastic example, an instrumental with mystical qualities, ceremonial beats, enchanting presence and atmosphere to spare. A spot of Pink Floyd nature (if you will) if only they were ever to grab the extreme audio reins and gallop forth.

‘Sphere (Imprisonment)’ is where the album finds its most devastating assault on the senses. The vocal department is abruptly charged with venom and spite, the riffs more furious than before accompanied by an abundance of blast beats but the melody is still there, bordering on progressive in instances, making for another track that’s wholly satisfying (throughout its epic length) no matter the listeners extreme audio preference.

Nearly an hour in length, sporting seven tracks and boasting the art which this does might make anyone wonder at what lies within, but have no fear for Cult of a Dying Sun delivers. Audio encompassing a wide radius of genres with the talent to pull this feat off exquisitely. Forget any preconceived notions and dive in!

Again, this is the first I’m hearing this (a year on) but I can honestly say based on a first, second and third listen this has the chops to entertain even a year on.

wayfarer-worlds-blood

Wayfarer – World Blood
(USA)
Release – May/25/2018
Profound Lore Records
https://wayfarercolorado.bandcamp.com/
Thoughts –

From the albums cover image an enigmatic pitch-black rider set against a vivid dusty background and the albums introduction a galloping (myriad of hooves?) crescendo opening one instinctively knows that this will lead down a path which is rarely travelled. As opposed to the traditional thoroughfare which has become more of a highway that threatens domination of the entire genre.

Further audio invokes images of dust devils and tumbleweeds traversing deathly silent streets (albeit of the kind seen in film outings of the decidedly Western kind), a landscape shrouded with desolation, surrounding vistas echoing with ancient victory, a celebration of the land before its inevitable destruction and the white man’s arrival.

This, ladies and gents is audio of the type which consumes an evening. The accompanying description states atmospheric black, though I’m of the leaning that there is so much more to enjoy here. Doom plays a huge part in setting the scene. There’s atmosphere aplenty, fantastic build up (veering towards drone realms) of the type which brings to mind epic cinematic affairs before blackened sensibilities heave melancholy onto the mix. For those with traditional black metal yearning have no fear as majestic, cresting riffs, are also front and center, but what come as a little of a surprise is that the drums boast center stage as opposed to their traditional position in the background. The effect is astounding, complete with a raw, primitive, aura it lends the music an overall vintage quality which only adds to the appeal of the sound and I can only imagine further solidifies Wayfarers’ initial vision; a style that’s familiar, celebrated, yet intriguingly different in its approach.

For fear of giving this a track by track narrative (I’m guilty of this in many an instance) I’ll merely state that this delivers throughout only then to climax in an acoustic track of undeniable brilliance and palpable emotion which only makes the listener want to repeat the process over again. An album which, although I was never privy to upon its initial arrival, is a pleasure to place between the ears and an experience which is a refreshing multi- layered detour from the norm.

Wholeheartedly recommended!

UHF on Twitter

Recc’d by @Uniquehifi (Twitter)
BattleRoar – Age of Chaos
(Greece)
Release – October/2005
Black Lotus Records
https://battleroar-epic.bandcamp.com/album/age-of-chaos
Thoughts –

Having enjoyed Battleroar’s 2018 release ‘Codex Epicus’ I was more than intrigued when Emil (UniqueHiFi) suggested I check into their earlier material.

battleroar age of chaos

‘Age of Chaos’ starts out on an acoustic footing with ‘The Wanderer’. Thus far I’m intrigued. This is a great, albeit mellow, start bringing to mind vintage Iron Maiden. But then epic power metal values step in and my interest wanes somewhat. Obviously, my audio penchants spends considerably more time in the more extreme end of the metal spectrum though it has been known to wander. Perhaps it’s the vocal style, I’m not altogether down with it, (the traditional falsetto range gymnastic assault) I recall their newest having a slightly ‘different’ feel. The music isn’t altogether far from what would expect from the genre, in fact it’s fluid and melodic to the point where it makes me reminisce upon when I first found interest in the scene and the energy I spent collecting various releases in the same arena. I can see why many might like it; harmonizing guitars, rhythms which are somewhat classic heavy metal in nature, riffs that make one want to pump their fist to the heavens in appreciation, epic values with narrative styled lyrics and atmosphere. It’s all here! And I’m sure these guys put on one hell of an arena show to audiences who travel from far and wide to marvel at epic metal of this caliber.

The fantasy element appeals to me and the albums cover holds definite interest, though at this point honestly, the audio is far from what I need in my earholes. With that in mind, my tastes have changed so perhaps therein lies the reason why this really isn’t doing much for me, strange then that their newest is an album which I vividly remember enjoying.

Album highlights include The Wanderer, Sword of Crom and Calm Before the Storm.

I have no doubts that I’ll revisit when I’m in a frame of mind where this might be more pleasing to my senses.

Void Reccs

Recc’d by Void
Nerlich – Defabricated Process
(Finland)
Release – January/2007
Old School Metal Records
https://nerlich.bandcamp.com/album/defabricated-process
Thoughts –

Immediately upon laying eyes upon the vivid vicious nature versus man artwork (accompanying this release) I was put in mind of older material from Gorguts (the ‘Erosion of Sanity’ in particular). Odd then that the audio within also reminds me of such. Rather than mere ‘chuggery’ riffs stumble upon each other often vying for supremacy. A diabolical nature shrouds the whole affair and the occasional solo tells of obvious influence ala genre giants Morbid Angel. Other influence comes to mind; Morgoth might arise for those with knowledge of such within ‘Entity of Sickness’, whereas Montrosity and other acts of American origin pop up from time to time, be it from familiarity by way of a riff, passage or the way in which the pace shifts suddenly.

nerlich

No matter how one slices it this is an album which obviously slipped under the radar, is criminally underrated, is far from what many might consider the typical run of the mill death metal, isn’t of the ‘meat and potatoes’ play it safe genre variety but most of all deserves attention. And for that I thank Void, yet again.

Highlights include Defabricated Process, Entity of Sickness, Mask for the Faceless, On Sarcastic Impact.

Well there you have it, another stumbling foray into all things of a decidedly extreme audio in nature.

Until our paths of interest cross again,

Cult

The Eldritch Truth Interview

(Would the “Great Old Ones”, and/or the” Elder Things” approve?)
The Eldritch Truth album art

Release date May/17/2019

 I recently had the pleasure of being able to listen to, and put a few words upon, a release which is drastically different than what could be considered a normal run-of-the-mill extreme audio affair. Sanguinary Origins is an EP consisting of only two tracks and runs barely eight minutes in length. Eight minutes? One might ponder; that’s hardly enough time to whet the appetite. And that’s where one would be wrong. That amount of time is more than sufficient to leave the listener dazed, disoriented and flummoxed (what a wonderful word!) I’ve attempted (in my own words) to describe what can only be experienced when hitting PLAY; “A kaleidoscope of styles assaults the listener instantly inciting disorientation, discombobulation, a state leading to madness I would only predict following a slew of repeated listens.” But mere words alone cannot come close to what the audio offers. What better way then, than to delve into the minds of those responsible to get a better understanding of the audio, of what it is they hope to achieve, and what the future might bring.

Let’s start things off;

Tell us a little about yourselves and how The Eldritch Truth came to be?

The Eldritch Truth consists of myself (Caleb Johnson, Guitar player/Bass/Drum & Synth programming) and Justin Cook who handles all lyric writing and vocals. I had a previous project that was moving too slow for my liking, so I took it upon myself to start something new. I whipped up a 20 second clip to share and posted in a couple Facebook groups looking for a vocalist. Justin was one of the first to comment and seemed super enthusiastic and we hit off immediately and have been 100% on the same page ever since.

(Justin Cook- vocals, lyrics): I’ve always been a huge fan of the most extreme styles of metal. I used to do throat percussion for a band when I was younger. I eventually went full-time into the cannabis industry and didn’t make music for ~10 years. The urge to create had gotten to a boiling point a few months back. I found Caleb’s post on FB and liked the sound immediately!

Lovecraft by Hartman

Lovecraft by Hartman

 

Why the fascination with all manner of things Lovecraftian in tone?

(Caleb): This one is hard to put in to words. I loved Lovecraft before I even knew who he was. The concept of extra dimensional cosmic horrors living in the same space as us but beyond our mortal sights intrigued me. Though I should mention the music is also very inspired by Bloodborne the video game which itself is heavily inspired from the works of Lovecraft.

(JC): I am an avid reader, and Lovecraft was among my favorites, so when Caleb presented the theme, I was excited to have an excuse to re-re-re-read a lot of Lovecraft’s writing! I have to say that studying the video game, Bloodborne, has been fascinating too!

 How about your influences? Those of us who have laid ears upon your audio can attest to your music channeling influence from across a huge radius of extreme genres. Can you elaborate on your decision to adopt the ‘unconventional’ style which you have?

(Caleb): To be honest the most thought I put in to what style I wanted to make was basically “I want to make technical metal with breakdowns and Lovecraft”. Other than that, I listen to a wide range of music, and have never been one to learn other bands songs so I don’t have a singular underlying influence. My music taste leans heavily on the prog/experimental spectrum so I’m sure that’s where the quirkiness comes from.

(JC): My influences are a kaleidoscope. I listen to everything from Coltrane to Disgorge, etc. I like music that is challenging in terms of structure and play-ability, so as soon as I heard what Caleb was brewing up, I was 100% in!

Lovecraft The Great Old One

This is not an artists rendition of SLC. Or, is it?

 The obvious elephant in the room; your location. The area has quite the rap based on its founding and undeniable religious elements how is the ‘scene’ in Salt Lake (Utah)? Wouldn’t it just have been easier to don a shirt, tie and go door to door preaching the ‘good book’?

(Caleb): You’d be surprised actually. SLC has a great music scene that is ruined by the laws and religion of the land. People don’t go to bars so great bands in the area will go unheard, but I could find a “sub”-scene for every genre of metal from deathcore to doom. Where there’s oppression there’s also rebellion and Utah is rife with it.

(JC): I actually live in Boise, ID.

 What have you planned for the future, anything you might be able to tease? Where might you want to be in like say a years’ time?

 (Caleb): We don’t plan on waiting too long to release a 2nd two-track E.P. which is gonna’ have a surprise or two that we are sure people are gonna’ lose their shit over, and that’s planned for a mid-August release. As for a year or more? Man, who knows. The reception we’ve had has already exceeded our expectations considerably, all I can say is we won’t stop releasing music.

(JC): Wherever we organically end up in a year is exactly where I’d like to be! Just as long as we’re making music, I’m happy!

Lovecraft The Deep Ones

“We’re gonna need a bigger boat”

 

 If you had the chance to set up an ideal tour or collaborating artist(s) who would you include and why?

 (Caleb): A sick tour which won’t ever happen unfortunately would be Rings of Saturn, Infant Annihilator, Berried Alive (sp?), and us. For maybe obvious reasons, but these bands were a clear inspiration for the project.

(JC): What Caleb said.

Let’s try a Quickfire round:

Favorite Black metal Album?

(Caleb): Enslaved – RIITIIR

(JC): Naglfar- Harvest

Naglfar- Harvest

Thrash Album?

(Caleb): Rust in Peace (Megadeth)

(JC): Seasons in the Abyss (Slayer)

Death Album?

(Caleb): The Sound of Perseverance (Death. Perhaps I should have phrased the question better? *Ed)

(JC): Anomalous – Cognitive Dissonance

Movie?

Yoda-Quotes

Because no article is complete without the inclusion of the wise ‘old green one’

(Caleb): Star Wars in general

(JC): There are too many movies in my

favorites list to say definitively, but 2001 A Space Odyssey, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Into the Wild are definite standouts for me

Book?

(Caleb): Does my complete works of Lovecraft count?

(JC): Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted, Palahniuk’s Rant, and Jeffery Lowenfel’s “Teaming With” series (yes, I’m a nerd).

Happy! Comic

Need it deserve mention that the series kicks ass too

Comic book?

(Caleb): I could talk your ears off all night about my favorite comics so best not get me started (ha-ha). Though it’s the cosmic stuff that I read more than anything.

(JC): Happy! By Grant Morrison (Author) and Darick Robertson.

 

Insult?

(Caleb): I can’t say I’ve got an answer for this one. If I insult someone it usually has something to do with the context of the conversation.

(JC): I don’t have a favorite. It’s definitely an “in the moment” type of thing for me.

That’s about it, I’ve tried to keep this as painless an experience as able, what better way to finish an interview than by” handing over the mic”. The floor is all yours; Is there anything you wish to add; anyone you’d like to thank or anything you’d like to promote?

(Caleb): Words cannot express the level of gratitude we have for anyone who listens to our music. It is truly surreal and humbling to say the least.

Love craft indeed

Indeed!

(JC): I’d like to reiterate what Caleb said already, words aren’t capable of scratching the itch that is my desire to shower our listeners with gratitude! I’d like to thank Caleb as well. He’s an open-minded guy who writes amazing music that I get to place obnoxious noises and words on, and for that I am grateful! I’d also like to throw out a quick “Thank You!!!!” to my wife, too! She’s very supportive of our project and allows me the time and space to write/record/promote any time I need to!

Thanks again for your time guys. All the best for the future, I’m excited for where it might lead.

The Eldritch Truth (audio and assorted goodies) can be found on many social media platforms including twitter @EldritchTruth

on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/album/1Ju6x4EUKOAQNqr4nUUQjX?si=ms6iPbeOQGO5lY97-9japw

Bandcamp – https://theeldritchtruth.bandcamp.com/album/sanguinary-origins

And YouTube https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLycUdrBq-bDtsfSTN8mwDj51nTVAssgAn

 Cult

Hopefully my adoration of Lovecraft themed art wasn’t too obvious.

 

Scorching the Retinas – Rondo – worthy of the title of American Grindhouse? A Cult Gem or merely another forgettable Indy Feature?

 

Rondo (2017)
USA
Writer/Director – Drew Barnhardt
Runtime – 89 minutes
A Barnhardt Picture
Artsploitation Films

Rondo DVD cover art

Recently the kind folks at Artsploitation Films supplied me with viewing materials the likes of which I’ll admit I usually don’t bother with. Although in this instance based on their stellar record of delivering cinematic gems, I figured why the hell not, give it a shot. Much like my last viewing experience from them, D.I.Y (from Greece) it could also serve to surprise me warranting a few words and perhaps another entry in the dusty little corner of the WWW I like to refer to as a location I place my various ‘droppings’, ponderances and grammatical diatribe-esque rant on all manner of things I have little experience with.  Enough with my B.S onto the matter at hand.

Rondo offers “red hot piping revenge”, sights worthy of “cult status” and a slew of other things stated in a manner to cause more eyeballs to fall upon it, but is this merely hype? It’s happened before and I’ve been left more disappointed than a Frat party entourage without a paddle to utilize. Suffice it to say, I’m here to investigate.

(Teaser Trailer courtesy of Rondo The Movie)

The film’s stylized opening credits give hints as to the films content. A glass of bourbon, next to a gun, opens the scene. The scene plays backwards and shows bullets and cigarettes dropped within the glass causing obvious ruckus and movement, stirring, of said liquid (I would imagine of crystal origins). Alongside text of a Victorian font this hints at a classical, sensible, regal nature hiding perhaps menace, intrigue and nefarious deeds aplenty, or is this just my mind moving ahead of itself and jumping to conclusions.

Rondo opening credits

A still from the opening credits, or close.

From the opening scene it’s obvious that this is a B movie but made with undeniable profession flair. Another element which instantly makes an impact is the films complementary soundtrack. A narration, with a hint of dark humor, accompanies the story excellently and gives a running commentary of Paul, played by Luke Sorge, a returning vet with a mysterious past, a dishonorable discharge to his credit and nights plagued by nightmares resulting from the mysterious circumstances by which he was discharged. Paul, finds himself living with his sister, after suffering a short bout of homelessness, he has rules to follow, a sofa on which to sleep and a ‘bottle’ whose temptation he has to try to ignore.

Finding himself in front of a therapist Paul confronts his demons, though hears some strange advice, a few thoughts on fetishism and receives a prescription which seems more than a little intriguing. Unpredictable dialogue in this scene makes an instant impression and draws the viewer in, the conversation herein is predictably one-sided though not what one would imagine a typical therapist to recommend in the situation. The intrigue level bar is suddenly raised high.

Choosing to ‘fill his Prescription’, which admittedly he finds a little strange, Paul finds himself within the confines of a luxury apartment surrounded by a myriad of personalities and a host.

Rondo yea you can put it anywhere

Yeppers, do as my husband instructs; use me as a dumpster!

An abrupt deadpan commentary, by way of the host Lurdell, portrayed brilliantly by Reggie De Morton (The Mentalist, The Bold and the Beauitiful), on where to place one’s ejaculate comes from out of nowhere, is rather shocking, reminiscent of Guy Ritchie London Gangster series of films (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch) in its delivery and hints at what hopefully transpires into a riotous cinematic experience. “Keep it on the Plastic” is a quote that sticks (to the mind) like pesky white bread to the roof of the mouth in a sandwich experience one hopes to enjoy rather than have stick to their fingertips in a messy exploration one would rather not perform in a public place.

The deadpan delivery continues and the mood of the movie changes; “Anal is of course wonderful, it is of course permitted and is encouraged often”. “A little blood never hurt anybody, but keep it on the plastic.” After vividly describing all of the sexual activities which are permitted (and in fact encouraged) it’s further stated that “Mrs Timm (the “plaything” for wont of a better term) is a lady!”

Entering into this foreign world Paul encounters odd, eccentric types and delves into interactions which leave his mouth agape “fucked six women this week, only had to pay for two!” The movie flows, Paul explores his surroundings some, a pounding of the non- traditional sense takes place and Paul is abruptly sober looking for a way to GTFO and quick! A “pumping” (is that a term cool kids use nowadays?) rave/techno score (?) serves appropriately as the soundtrack to Paul’s exodus.

Rondo Paul

Why did I bother?

And Paul is back to square one. Depressed, drunk and in fear. Calling the authorities leaves Paul feeling worse than he did before, compounded with helplessness, although they did comment it was the best call they’d received in weeks.

Paul has a sudden epiphany (And I’m doing my best not to give too many spoilers away!) perhaps the scenario was a set up. Perhaps Mr. Timm was being cheated upon and Mrs. Timm needed to be shown a lesson in the most blatant, brutal way. He tells his landlord, his sister,  portrayed by the lovely Brenna Otts (Westworld, S.W.A.T) this and she scoffs (perhaps she’s in on it too? After all, it was she who supplied the therapist’s number!)

Rondo-cat n mouse

Meow-!

Enter the crooks. Paul awakes from a dream to be informally introduced to the business end of a crowbar and a cat and mouse scene ensues in which exquisite suspense music makes the tension level close to palpable.

A following scene displaying the chops of the filmmakers, includes the introduction of the police to the crime scene. A sprinkler system berates a window behind the victim’s position and their ‘interrogation’ sounds much like the water hitting the glass, it’s background static, undecipherable between the accumulating thoughts of revenge, grief and something else fighting its way to the surface. The camera moves back and forth, and back again making way for the intrusion of the officer an intrusion in the tangled thought processes of the victim.

scarface chainsaw

An argument exists that there’s an X-rated Scarface  with this scene complete and uncut.

Details are soon made to avenge a wrong, but even the best laid proposals do not always go according to plan. A shocking turn of events transpires into a scene including a bathtub which I’m sure the most hardened of gorehounds among us would’ve liked to have seen included in Scarface. With a queasy shock effect which far surpasses a similar crimson splattered scene in Reservoir Dogs and even one featuring Vinny Jones and a hammer swung expertly with vicious intent. “Honey, be a doll and remove all the batteries from the smoke detectors and open all the windows” adds a little levity and shows the killers to be somewhat relatable as (slightly) normal.

The inclusion of a ‘femme fatale’ is somewhat of a refreshing change, her role one which might not have been initially imagined though her every appearance steals the screen. I’m not going to say who it is (for fear of ruining the film) though I shall mention the actress, Gena Shaw, for the stellar role which she portrays and the way her inclusion and ‘just get down to it’ attitude drastically alters the course of the film when it’s least expected.

irreversible japanese poster

An Irreversible poster from Japan

A later scene incorporates dizzying camera effects for a disoriented feel (bringing to mind the explicit, scarring the cortex cinematic fest which is Irreversible) to bring the viewer that much closer to the tumbled cacophony of thoughts which must be whirling around inside the confines of the victim’s head. Yet another, amongst a myriad of others, displays somewhat of a family gathering with the victim as a centerpiece following a bungled attempt at “turning the tables”.

The films finale is, not surprisingly, claret soaked unflinching in its glory and deliciously slow in its delivery or one could say “execution”. A fitting end which is glaringly O.T.T, vicious and wicked (not to mention up there with the original Robocop for the effective use of squibs, and a great many of them!) making for a feature one won’t soon forget and will be talking about for months to follow. A spin on the traditional revenge thriller, Rondo offers a great deal to enjoy and proves it’s not what you show it’s how you depict it, how you nestle the ‘atrocity’ within the story and the flair with which you pad it with. Showcasing family core values and morals Rondo is a movie one might possibly imagine seeing on a Disney roster, but obviously never will. But best of all the hype is deserved, Rondo is the real deal! And the gauntlet has been thrown – Beat his Tarantino!!

RONDO_OneSheet_YouWillNeverUnseeIt_Small

 

 

It goes without mentioning, though I shall, that one should catch this at their earliest convenience. Feel free to comment, tell me what you think or even suggest another title I should lay eyes and my ponderings upon.

Rondo will be available on all platforms, to rent and purchase on June 4th 2019.

 

Cult

It’s been a while folks but you’ll be pleased to hear that Void has finally given up on saying no to my requests that he submit a few of his knowledgeable words to my tiny corner of the internet. Void Reccs

For those who know not, his encyclopedic knowledge of the scene is astounding so it should come as no surprise that I become silly excited when he asked if I’d like a handful of his words, or his ponderings really, on the newest audio affair by Possessed (some 33 years on from their last!) Without further ado or a further avalanche of grammatical diarrhea on how pleased I am that Void chose to send his thoughts my way; I give you…

 

Possessed – Revelations of Oblivion (CD, Nuclear Blast Records, 2019)

Possessed_Revelations-of-Oblivion

When Possessed had its final spasm of life with a pair of demos in the early 90’s, I don’t think anyone really expected to see them to pop up again.  When Jeff Becerra (who wasn’t involved in the 1990-1993 incarnation of the band) began reactivating Possessed as the sole original member in 2007, there was an understandable level of skepticism, although the fact that most members of cult death legends Sadistic Intent were his backing band lent the reanimation some level of credibility.  Flash forward another 12 years and here we are, Possessed have unleashed their third album, a whopping 33 years after their last LP “Beyond the Gates.”  I went into “Revelations of Oblivion” ready to hate it; not due to any desire to do so, but by simple expectation.  Rare is the band that can come back after so long and do justice to their legacy albums and, based on the mathematics of probability, I expected Possessed to just be part of that majority.  I was wrong.

possessed logo

Jeff sounds like he hasn’t aged a day since their 80’s output.  Sounding every bit as gruff while remaining intelligible, it’s easy to pick out the lyrics. And honestly, the simplicity of the lyrics is refreshing.  In this day and age of increasingly obscure occult references in extreme metal (are some of these even real anymore?), it’s nice to have straightforward lyrics that are easy to remember and shout along to.  Go ahead, I dare you not to scream “shadooooooowcult.”  The vocals are right up front and a bit of reverb might’ve been nice to give them a bit more depth, but that’s a minor qualm.

 

The similarities don’t end there.  I understand Jeff was the principal songwriter for “Revelations of Oblivion,” and it completely echoes Possessed’s 80’s output in every way.  It’s easy to hear the same style of riffing and drumming that peppered those early classics, the style and even vocal patterns that heavily influenced Death’s “Scream Bloody Gore” (those who believe otherwise are deluding themselves).  I’ll be damned if tracks like ‘Abandoned’ don’t sound like they were ripped right out of “Seven Churches,” that opening riff made me an instant believer.  The sound is clean and heavy and keeps a nice mix of old school roughness with modern clarity, while the performances are exact and frenetic.  But over and above the sound and style being there, the quality is there, and that’s what we really wanted.

possessed 7 churches

complete with Mrs Gore’s warning sticker!

Can I just mention I love that cover artwork?  It’s fantastic; an intricate and ominous cranium-esque structure whose details are easy to get lost in.  We even have a guest appearance by Pazuzu at the bottom doorway, a great little Easter egg reference to the opening track from “Seven Churches.”

 

Much like the sequel to an revolutionary movie will almost always pale in comparison to the original simply due to the fact that a radical concept can only be introduced once, “Revelations of Oblivion” will always be destined to dwell in the shadow of “Seven Churches” and “Beyond the Gates” no matter how good it is because it’s not a creator.  So I ask you to do yourself a favor and be fair to “Revelations of Oblivion” by checking your expectations of a genre-defining album so you can enjoy the fantastic cuts created in the very style Possessed helped define.

I know I did! – Cult

(Words – Void

Pictures “stolen” from around the W.W.W. and lovingly placed wily-nily herein by Cult)

Thanks again to Void for his wisdom on the subject. 

 

 

head explosion cavity colors
Abrasive Audio to soothe the Senses (part the Fourteenth)

Yet another in the ongoing series showcasing fresh, extreme, tunage to “Soothe the Senses”.

Without further ado here is the varied assortment which has pleased my senses in the not so distant past.

(I’d like to thank Cavity Colors for the use of this image. The wife bought me the shirt for Fathers day. I am chuffed! Shop their amazing array of genre shirts and marvel at the quality and customer service standards. https://cavitycolors.com/ )

The Lord Weird Slough Feg – New Organon
(USA)
Release – June/21/2019
Cruz Del Sur Music
Clawhammer PR

the lord weird slough feg

 

https://thelordweirdsloughfeg.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK – 7

Honest and simple; The title in cursive font against a green background.

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

Not normally one to delve into depths far from my normal stomping grounds; extreme audio. I was surprised to find myself quite enjoying that which graced my ears upon hitting play. A grandiose drum tattoo heavy style in a vein similar to that heard within the late 70’s early 80’s. Rock tinged with doom sensibilities, a splash of folk, driven by both melody and lyrical content. With a progressive nature and direction which can and does change on a whim. Grandiose, traditional, Heavy Metal would be a simpler way to put it if I were so inclined.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

NWOBHM styled hard rock bursting with progressive elements, doom passages, folk melodies and a few instances of audio which is beyond destination ‘mellowsville’. Narrative based, boasting intriguing fantastical lyrics a stunning vocal accompaniment (up there with Bruce Dickenson and Ronnie James Dio), melody driven with galloping riffs and twin harmonies. This will certainly grow in you as it plays out, again and again and again (if you’re anything like me). This is my first experience of the band which is growing on me, I’m leaving impressed and curious enough to dive into their past works.

Recommended for fans of Blind Guardian, Dio fronted Rainbow, Magnum, Rhapsody, early Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy.

Favorite Tracks; The Apology, Being and Nothingness, The Cynic.

Mispyrming Algleymi

Misþyrming – Algleymi (translated as “Oblivion”)
(Iceland)
Release – May/24/2019
Norma Evangelium Diaboli

https://misthyrming.bandcamp.com/album/algleymi

ARTWORK – 7.5

Triumphant, a celebration of the earth and mother nature. A sacrifice to the storm which approaches. This could be discussed ad nauseum but there’s no doubt it screams a release that promises audio of the black metal variety.

FIRST TRACK – 9

 A fantastic, blistering, pace to start off my first encounter with the band. Bursting with atmosphere, by way of a synth accompaniment, the resulting effect is mesmerizing and has me glued to my headphones eagerly awaiting what else the band has to offer next, color me intrigued with corpse paint.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Obviously, I couldn’t understand a bloody word spoken throughout this release. But that matters not as the experience is one I relish (and Encyclopedia Metallum offers a track list translation if one so desires.) Melodious yet majestic, triumphant yet atmospheric, and epic in tone this is far from what many might expect if given the moniker of black metal to ponder upon. This sports exquisite atmosphere, rhythms which incite movement and an edge which is decidedly arcane in nature though far from the raw production which, again, many might expect. Think doom laden black metal, think black metal with production values which doesn’t sacrifice what the genre stands for, think a release you shouldn’t ignore… seriously. For this is damn good and it came out of nowhere, Iceland if truth be told and that’s a little surprising in itself.

(Did I say the word “Triumphant” enough in this review? Please excuse my limited lexicon.)

Favorite Tracks; Orgia (With Whips Aloft), Með svipur á lofti (Iceland, Castrated Dump), Og er haustið líður undir lok (And When Autumn Ceases), (Fuck this…I believe I might write every track down complete with translation, the whole album captivates from start to finish! Enough said!)

haunt if icarus

Haunt – If Icarus Could Fly
(USA)
Release – May/17/2019
Shadow Kingdom Records

https://hauntthenation.bandcamp.com/album/if-icarus-could-fly

ARTWORK – 7.5

A statue esque representation of a fellow pondering “what if”. Perhaps his wings aren’t strong enough for his weight or the sun, seen smirking from behind, is just too damn persistent in melting the glue that holds his feathered creation together. Icarus is in quite the predicament indeed.

FIRST TRACK – 9

An immediate response from me. At first, I’ll admit, I started to think of vintage Dokken then rhythms and solo work representative of Randy Rhoads from earlier Ozzy releases. But it’s the glue that holds it all together which is so spellbinding; the aura, the voice, the melodies. I can tell this is going to be another release (from Haunt) which people will not want to miss out on.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

I was correct, barely a year after their last full length, and following on from ‘Mosiac’ (an Ep from March of this year), this makes much the same impact and leaves the same impression. Blending 80’s and 70’s hard rock with speed and epic metal elements this showcases the power of Trevor William Churches’ (Beastmaker) voice combined with the melodious enchanting rhythms and eye-opening solo mastery which are hard to ignore the criminally infectious nature of. Fluid and limb-tappingly inciteful this is a release that’s hard to ignore. With this one must ponder; with the bar set so high where does/or can Haunt go from here?

For fans of vintage Iron Maiden, Dokken, earlier Ozzy output and anyone who still yearns for bands who precisely execute the distinct NWOBHM vibe.

Favorite Tracks; Run and Hide, It’s in my Hands, Clarion, If Icarus Could Fly.

stygian crown

Stygian Crown – Through Divine Rite
(USA)
Release – August/2/2018
Independent

https://stygiancrown.bandcamp.com/releases

ARTWORK – 7

A crown fashioned from serpents against a serpentine backdrop, this really doesn’t say much about the enclosed audio but I’m intrigued just the same.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

Female fronted doom – I’m sold! The crooning styled voice fits perfectly and only adds to the exquisite nature of the music. This is doom folks, raw in nature and somewhat traditional in style but better yet this is executed with passion.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Overflowing with excellent atmosphere and riffs (both plodding and galloping), which aren’t foreign to the genre but rather bring about a certain reminiscence/nostalgia element, and rhythms which exemplify the finest the (more traditional arena of the) genre has to offer, this release stands proud as an introduction to an act who know exactly how to press the right buttons and incite interest in a genre which is passed over and still isn’t fully appreciated.

I for one can’t wait for what comes next as this is an outstanding introduction. Bravo!

With only three tracks on offer, it doesn’t seem a great deal but when you consider that many albums run barely the same length in time and the quality within this release it transpires into quite the teaser and value for money. Especially when you can “name your own price” (remember to support talent folks, so that they might continue to create and produce) on the above Bandcamp link.

bleeding utopia

Bleeding Utopia – Where the Light Comes to Die
(Sweden)
Release – March/22/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR

https://bleedingutopia.bandcamp.com/album/where-the-light-comes-to-die

ARTWORK – 8.5

It looks as though one could break a whole lot more than merely their phone on those rocks too. Foreboding, moody, dark and treacherous and that’s just what I look like with a mustache. All jokes aside this is much the same but minus the look of a 70’s porn star ‘gone to seed’.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

An At the Gates vibe with significant oomph and an emphasis on drum rhythms which do naught but incite movement. I’m eager for what’s to follow, although I will state that the Hellraiser soundbite is a tad over-utilized in the genre; otherwise brilliant audio

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Think Eucharist, as this is similar in tone and riff structure, and a Stockholm melodic style but with considerably more punch and energy. The injection of mid-era Grave is hard to ignore based on the combination of the vocal style and music.

In short this rips, melodies are pounding, energetic, the production is spot on (with an emphasis often on the drums) and the style is fluid, oftentimes bringing to mind Amon Amarth (“Already Dead” could have been plucked from one of their albums and no one would be any the wiser as similar as it sounds) and newer Unleashed audio. The listener will want to move as this fills the space between the ears. A damn fine slab of melodic metal indeed!

FFO: Unleashed, Amon Amarth, Eucharist, Graveworm and (Souless, Hating life era) Grave.

Favorite Tracks; Ascendant of Hate, Enhance my Wrath, Crown of Thorns, Heralds of Hate and Defiance.

kavara

Kavara – Weathered and Lost
(Canada)
Release – May/31/2019
Self-Released
Clawhammer PR

 https://kavaraofficial.bandcamp.com/album/weathered-lost

ARTWORK – 7.5

Crow, headstone, graveyard, gloomy atmosphere and a full moon highlighting the whole tableau; check! And, a ‘Scrarecrow’…wait wha-! Isn’t this where the artist would normally place a nod to a religious element. Such as an unfortunate strung up by his hands and feet. Perhaps the listener is in for something a little off center with disregard for the norm.

FIRST TRACK – 8

The introduction boasts a dark fantastical element and more than enough creepiness to go around. The music bursts with riff after riff and an air of unpredictability, ala Arsis. Slightly technical Rather than traditional. I’m beginning to see how it is that these guys won an award for their talents. A fantastic start which isn’t what was at all expected though isn’t too far from the genre to be able to instantly relate to and appreciate.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8

Shred-tastic death in a similar vein to Arsis as opposed to acts who offer mere chuggery and depend on formulaic structures.

Gotta give em’ props they have a track entitled “Lawn Care” how against the grain is that, seriously?

Favorite Tracks; Tormentor, The Reaper, Lawn Care, Walk of Shame.

plague of carcosa

Plague of Carcosa – Ocean is More Ancient than the Mountains (EP)
(USA)
Release – July/19/2019
Sludgelord Records
Dewar PR

https://plagueofcarcosa.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK – 8

An image which showcases the oceans, its depth and tempestuous nature. I’m intrigued as to how the audio rolls out (pardon the pun!).

FIRST TRACK – 7

Plodding riffs, a thick sludge-laden distorted aura, varied tempo and a definite ominous nature. An unrelenting nature which appears to be sublime in its approach though bears a definite menace boiling beneath the surface.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

Only two tracks in this instrumental doom opus, though this bears enough riffs and atmosphere to please most fans of the genre.

Invoking a myriad of emotion, the instrumentation herein is varied ranging from calm to raging, from a mellow texture to more one embroiled with a surface which is precarious to traverse. The second track depicts a descent into madness exquisitely utilizing white noise elements as frothing waters against palm muted effects to illustrate an abrupt break from reality. Of course, that is merely my take on this. Decide for yourself and support the scene by clicking on the above link.

Favorite Track; Madness at Sea.

nihility

Nihility – Thus Spoke the Antichrist
(Portugal)
Release -May/24/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR

https://nihilityblacklion.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK – 8.5

Renaissance, Dante-esque in aura. An intricate grey tone print which may or may not speak volumes about the music itself.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

An Entombed buzzsaw texture, with an At the Gates feel. Melodic death with punch, complete with a blackened ominous nature and plenty of atmosphere.

A fantastic introduction to the band and a fantastic way to set about showcasing a debut release.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Oftentimes thus makes me wonder if this might have been Bolt Thrower if they’d developed a darkened edge, the style is dirge laden and often laced with black majesty.

Favorite Tracks; Shallow Ataraxia, Thus Spoke the Antichrist. Prophecy of Denial.

the eldritch truth

The Eldritch Truth – Sanguinary Origins
(USA)
Release – May/17/2019
Independent

https://theeldritchtruth.bandcamp.com/releases

ARTWORK – 8

Quite the mystical palette of colors here, an enigmatic/otherworldly aura completed with the inclusion of one of the Great Old ones complemented by a font which might make one take a closer look in order to decipher. I am intrigued.

FIRST TRACK – 7

A kaleidoscope of styles assaults the listener almost instantly within a mix that incites disorientation, discombobulation, a state of nauseum of sorts leading to madness I would only predict following a slew of repeated listens. Synth dances erratically with gore grind sensibilities against a growling backdrop bringing to mind the more experimental works of The Berserker.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7

Only two tracks in this one, a teaser if you will, a mere sampling of the audio lunacy on offer. This is certainly different than the normal, uhh… anything. It can’t be classed in any one genre though it does have elements from a wide radius within its ranks.

Recommended for those who like to traipse into realms of the audio obscure, the brave and those who demand audio to tug at their curiosity.  I’m interested as to where these guys will venture next and how their style/audio vision will be received.

Favorite Track; Frenzy.

descendency

Descendency – Generate the Genocide
(USA)
Release – June/28/2019
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/generate-the-genocide

ARTWORK – 7.5

A skull motif superimposed on an industrial site. I have good reason to believe these chaps have a great deal to say about something, and a cause to rally upon. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

Gritty and energetic sporting go for the throat riff attacks broken up by breakdowns leading into swirling rhythms. This is thrash boasting riffs aplenty bordering on death metal boundaries and I’m liking what I’m hearing!

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

An undeniable Slayer influence (newer styled) comes through strong in both the vocal (Tom Araya’s aggression mostly devoid of melody) and rhythm departments in instances sporting a diabolical, maniacal, solo rendering, which isn’t at all a horrid thing. Thankfully, other influences weave around the obvious, there’s a little hardcore and punk splashed around liberally, to make this a release which rarely stands still, will often grab one by the titties and proceed to toss them around like ragdoll, never wanders into boring territories and will surely appeal to a wide variety of fans across the thrash genre.

Favorite Tracks; Arduous March, Hate Prop 1.98-4, Extinguish, Island off the coast of Earth.

UHF on Twitter

Another Recc from @uniquehifi (Twitter)

Praise the Plague – Antagonist
(Germany)
Release – September/13/2018
Black Omega Recordings

https://praisetheplague.bandcamp.com/album/antagonist

praise the plague

Initial Thoughts

Based on the albums artwork one knows, deep down, that this is going to be an audio affair drenched in either black metal values or a vibe that’s unmistakably doom in nature. Well, as it happens, this album sports both. Fantastic build up adds to the albums atmosphere to draw the listener deeper. Whilst plodding and majestic riffage exchange leading roles resulting in an album that’s a delicate balance of black and doom but an exquisite example of how the two can play so well together if handled with care.

Conclusion

An atmosphere that’s cloaking, majestic riffage, cavernous (death metal styled) vocals and an epic aura combine to produce an album that’s grandiose in nature and quite simply captivating. Six tracks run close to twenty-nine minutes but the album boasts a damn sight more depth than one might, at first, imagine based on those figures. An intoxicating blend of harrowing black and doom metal cavorts displaying at times a suffocating atmosphere and often oozing with a melody which makes one want to sway rather than destroy their immediate surroundings. Add this to the list of albums you probably missed out on though need to definitely check out! Thanks again tom Emil for this Recc.

Void Reccs

 

 

Another Recc From Void

Marduk – Viktoria
(Sweden)
Release – June/22/2018
Century Media Records

 

https://www.centurymedia.com/artist.aspx?IdArtist=275

http://marduk.nu

marduk viktoria

Initial Thoughts

Many in the metal community will want to stone me for the following revelation…This is the first I’ve heard a complete Marduk album. (I believed them to hail from Norway too!) There, I’ve said it. Although I’ve always admired their album covers, I’ve never taken the plunge. Take my credentials away, banish me to the wastes, do what you may. Truth be told I’ve never really been into ‘black metal’. Until recently that is, when I discovered for myself that the genre is a lot more diverse than I had originally imagined (in effect blasting its stereotype to smithereens!) Hitting play, I realize immediately that I should have jumped on the ‘M-Panzer’ (I would normally say ‘train’ but ‘Panzer’ seems more fitting in this context!) years before now. This is exactly what I demand/wish my extreme audio to be. Blistering, vicious, wicked with an emphasis on sharp riffs, speed, insane drumming and snarling venom-fueled vocals to match.

Conclusion

Well, would you look at that! I apparently now have a thing for Marduk.

From its opening passage I was intrigued but it didn’t take long until I was bouncing around in my chair like one possessed. Naturally the child chorus and industrial tone in ‘Werwolf’ are a tad odd but they strangely fit. From that point on I was transfixed, the opening bars of ‘June 44’ made me wish I had hair in order that I might flail it around like a madman (with hair). The album continued and my love affair blossomed in full radiant bloom. ‘Equestrian Bloodlust’ bears a rhythm which keeps me from sitting still, a majestic aura accompanied by the occasional effect which is a tad science fiction in tone. Weird though unconventional is a better term but again, it works and I don’t care one iota. ‘The Last Fallen’ and ‘The Devils Song’ are examples of other tracks which only make me wish I would have gotten into the genre that much sooner. I’m going to spin this again and again this goes without saying. Damn, I’m outta’ shape! Perhaps I need a nap in between future, repeated, listens?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3V1I9XyB4-E

Marduk ‘Viktoria’ video for your retinal pleasure.

Though I’m of the understanding that this album is a tad more polished in terms of production than their past efforts I’m still of the inkling to want to delve deep into their discography to discover what exactly it is that I’ve been missing out on; the delicious audio that lay beneath the wicked nature of the artwork I have taken such a shine to in the past though have never taken the next step to get past.

Suffice it to say I recommend this album wholeheartedly and I am only that much closer to full immersion into the waters of the dark side.

 

Cult

kung fu cinema

Sword of the Assassin (Aka Blood Letter) 2012

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2187149/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Vietnam

Director – Victor Vu
Runtime – 100 minutes

Shenanigans in the royal court, revenge, love, a web of betrayal, wire work, exquisite scenery and an epic soundtrack that just won’t let up. This could only mean one thing, well several but lets’ rule out the obvious and concentrate instead on a martial arts epic from Vietnam.

sword of the Assassin

In short, the synopsis is as follows; A lone survivor of a massacre trained in martial arts (in a monastery far up in the picturesque mountains) joins with a sister team for much the same cause, revenge, vengeance, call it what you will. The Queens, Thai Hau, “has gone apeshit” (to quote a line from a favorite movie of mine) and believes everyone is a rebel conspiring to usurp her from her ill-begotten throne and sends assassin teams wily-nily into the surrounding countryside to quell threats before they’ve even oftentimes begun.

(trailer courtesy of Epic Pictures Group)

Apparently, a transcription of sorts, a ‘blood letter’ written by one of the Kings favorite eunuchs, exists which would light a fire under the Royal court. Telling of concubine visits and other secrecies pertaining to the rightful heir (of the throne). Its possession holds great power for whoever grasp it happens to fall into. But it it’s existence merely a hoax to place confidence in those who wish to challenge the Queens seat of power?

here hold my sword

Do you mind awfully if I look at you longingly whilst I instruct you in the ways of holding a sword?

For want of dropping spoilers like breadcrumbs in a Brothers Grimm Fairy tale I’ll refrain from a scene by scene narrative. What must be said however is that S.o.t.A. (an abbreviation I must use to save wear and tear on my fragile digits) impresses right from its opening scene. A display of special effects features a monasteries ornate guardian of sorts a Chinese dog (whose title I can’t remember or bother to do the research upon at this time) break from its stand to rear up and bark its discontent at the resident monk.  The monk, obviously surprised, manages to bind a spell on the over-sized pooch only to find that the nearby lake has deposited a little something upon his doorstep. Fast forward twelve years, the ‘surprise’ has developed into a flexible lad able to project a power he cannot control from his fingertips and devastating blows from pretty much everywhere else. And the story unfolds (and I’ve started doing what I promised I would not) a past narrative, his origins, overflowing with beheadings, pointed fingers and a hierarchy the viewer can’t help but find instant disagreement with.

an unlikely herpo

Hmmm…

The film flows form this moment on at an incredible rate offering dynamic energy, high kicking antics, weapon utilizing eye widening action and a myriad of other elements which combine to place Vietnam on the list of places one needs to add to the list of locations which make a martial arts epic worthy of placing before the eyes.

Only partway through and I’m quite literally blown away. Disregarding the fact that I picked this movie up at a price which is roughly the same as that of a candy bar (Snickers, anyone?) this still astonishes. The opening credits are a fantastic indication of what the movie offers, a POV shot of the picturesque mountains and location surrounding a secluded monastery all set against a grandiose score, an uplifting orchestration which brings to mind epic platform RPG affairs.

aka blood letter

The cast ensemble (not a Slayer track, but close)

The camera work and direction are nothing to scoff at either. Character movements and the storyline are fluid and the dialogue makes sense, even if like me you struggle with subtitles in instances, and the style has undeniably more in relation with a Shaw Brothers production than a modern day effort.

No expense is spared in regards to lavish production values in scenes depicting the Royal court in direct contrast to that of the sets used to depict the daily lives of normal, everyday, folk. And the interaction between the two is as one might expect. However, our hero, Nguyen Vu, soon finds a friend of similar ilk following his intervening in an assassination attempt. Much to his chagrin the two hit it off and are seen later sharing a tray of scones with butter and a stunning array of jams (that’s a lie, Sake and dumplings is closer to the truth).  Details emerge and apparently the two have more than a few things in common. Enter intrigue.

Hi I'm intrigue

HI. Someone asked for Intrigue! Well here it is!

Cut to the throne room and the introduction of another of the film’s villains. Complete with a face splitting scar and a smirk (one only wants to wipe clean with a baseball bat) he makes quite the imposing figure a statement made more concrete by the fact that he’s a wizard with his wrist blades (my Kung-Fu is better than yours!) Therefore, it should come as no surprise that his later appearances are rife with flowing crimson, lacerated torsos and spats of diabolical laughter (but thankfully not the petting or purring of a white lap cat).

There are many elements which make ‘Blood Letter ‘(I can use an aka also) appealing. Undeniable is the care used to produce its fight sequences (Thank the Dark Lord), the wire work is invisible, the gymnastic ability is eye opening and the epic values make the film more than praise worthy. But what should come as a surprise is that it also utilizes dream sequences to great effect. The director’s ability to be able to stitch the two ‘realities’ together with them still making a modicum of sense is stunning. Fantasy is also an element which is front and center. Mystical powers lurk in the background, coming to the fore only with training and emotion, never used to the point of making this a comic book affair. Often the films scenery looks foreign, far from that we’re used to, bringing a certain beauty in a land rife with danger, tragedy and oppression.

the immortal movie Vietnam

Alongside the score, a brilliant orchestration addition which only adds to the viewing experience, the films scenery, breathtaking doesn’t even come close, character portrayals, interactions and personalities and fast paced story ‘Sword of the Assassin’ is a film which propels its creative team and director to the realms of people to keep tabs on in the very near future. The Immortal (2018) is certainly a film I will traipse through relevant websites to find (but only if it comes complete with SUBS)

I’ve tried to keep this short, and to the point (thanks for your patience) fingers crossed I’ve enchanted you to the point where you’d wish to give this a peek, it certainly made an impression on me. What started as a foray into ‘relaxationville’, a distraction, transpired into a scribbling event which I honestly never thought would actually happen. Sometimes celluloid surprises you, and this was one of those times.

 

Cult