Abrasive Audio (Part the Ninth)

the rough seas of metal


I’ve been riding the rough seas of metal and I’ve survived to tell of my exploits.

Keeping it basic this week. Onward to audio extreme…


Chevalier – Destiny Calls
Release – April/26/2019
Gates of Hell Records
Clawhammer PR



Artwork – 8.5

A detailed, intricate medieval-esque image boasts a somewhat mystical religious aura. Imagery which drips in mystery, treachery and an enigmatic agenda.

First Track – 8.5

A guitar crescendo immediately brings to bear thoughts of audio of a NWOBHM leaning as too do the tracks rhythms, vibe production and tone. Speed metal with an epic unpredictable nature, and an intriguing vocal style, meets power and epic metal. Quite against my opinions on the genre, I’ll admit I’m rather liking this.

Initial Listen – 8

Sporting a nature that’s part traditional heavy metal, part speed metal with splashes of avant-garde amidst a lyrically heavy fantastical setting “Chevalier” have managed to carve their own niche, albeit one that’s somewhat familiar to fans with a hankering for audio which whips up nostalgia from the very roots of the scene. Classical and baroque folk touches alongside narrative-esque introductions add depth, separating this from the majority of other releases all vying for attention in the exploding revival movement. Strangely several passages had me thinking upon the ‘Princess Bride’ movie (due partly because of the similarity to Andre the Giants voice, though also due to the tone of the audio itself). As with any releases within this genre the vocals of of a love it or hate it, break it or make it style. Oddly they’re growing on me with each and every revisit. Undeniable too, is this releases ‘vinyl vibe’ if that’s not a nod to the early scene and a treat for fans from around the same era, I honestly don’t know what is.

Recommended for fans of vintage Helloween, Iron Maiden, Candlemass, Voivod and Sabbat (UK) and those with a penchant for epic metal drenched in infectious rhythms and fantastical themes.

Favorite Tracks; The Curse of the Dead Star, Stormbringer.

Crestfallen Queen – Queen of Swords
Release – May/25/2019
Church Within Records
Against PR



Artwork – 8

Classical imagery with an occult and slightly macabre twist.

First Track – 8.5

Listening to the introduction is like being plunged into a pitch-black abyss where ominous sounds converge, striking, from every angle. This effect disappears, to be abruptly replaced by an acoustic doom soundscape that transforms into a galloping traditional heavy metal pace complete with smoldering vocals which occasionally reach a surprising feral intensity. A varied track which climaxes in surprisingly melody an effect which only heightens the intrigue for the remainder of the album to come.

Initial Listen – 8

Moody with definite rhythm, groove, and atmosphere this release bursts with varied influence, undeniable nostalgia, and covers a wide stylistic radius. Epic tracks showcase interwoven melodies and galloping riffs to form a constantly shifting doom/heavy metal landscape dotted with a myriad of emotion. The exemplary vocal range adds another layer to an album that slightly different, reeks of 70’s progressive somewhat “fuzzy” hard rock, yet utterly captivating.

Favorite Tracks; Queen of Swords, Eurydice’s Lullaby.

Nocturnal Witch – A Thousand Pyres
Release – March/25/2019
Evil Spell Records/Undercover
Against PR


nocturnal Witch

Artwork – 7.5

Anyone up for the immolation of a collective of undesirables?

…There’ll be pizza!

*Sudden rush of hurried footsteps.

(I knew that would work!)

First Track – 7.5

An unrelenting mixture of black n’ thrash metal that’s reminiscent of the S. American scene with an intensity which screams familiarity. Intriguing indeed.

Initial Listen – 8

Chock full of unmerciful rhythms (albeit sometimes simplistic – verging on D-beat) and crescendo type riffs result in limbs moving of their own accord. Although, overall, it boasts nothing new to add to the scene it’s easily appreciated.

Perhaps not for true traditionalists/ Kvltists, but rather for those who, like myself, are slowly submerging themselves into a genre which offers considerably more than one might originally assume.

Favorite Tracks; A Thousand Pyres, Scorn and Wrath, Raise the Swords.

Bastardizer – Dawn of Domination
Release – April/30/2019
Evil Spell Records/Undercover
Against PR



Artwork – 8.5

There’s definitely something arcane and evil afoot here. Perhaps a sacrifice  to the gods of rock n roll? This bears somewhat of a mid-era Morbid Angel vibe, perhaps that’s an indication of the audio on offer?

First Track – 8

A militaristic introduction, of sorts, doesn’t give much away (as to the genre, this could be speed, thrash or epic metal at this point) unlike the opening guitar rhythms and the venomous vocals slide into the mix. This is blackened speed metal folks, and I’m bobbing around like a buoy in a raging tsunami.

Initial Listen – 8.5

Falling neatly into the Motorhead, Venom and the blackened speed dynamic this album offers nothing stunningly new to the genre (however, it does waver from the traditional formula on occasion to great effect). But, with that in mind, this is a top-notch example of that realm. The rhythms are tight, addictive and inciteful, the vibe one of wickedness, and the vocals drip with an attitude that’s reeks of a South American bestial, blackened speed influence.

The audio concoction here is fantastic and when through will leave the listener sweating, panting, but eager for more.

Fans of Hellripper, Whipstriker and Venom will not be left disappointed!!

Take note – the Land Down Under is famous for more than merely the obvious, in fact it offers a delicious array of metal which fans of audio such as this are sure to devour greedily.

Favorite Tracks; Demons Unleashed, Whiskey till Death, A Dose of Vengeance, Midnight in Hell, Mongrels Wrath/The Depraved Nazarene.

Frust – Recurring Dreams
Release -April/4/2019
901514 Records DK
Against PR



Artwork – 7.5

Complete with the title, and the style of the band’s logo, the artwork could mean several things. I’m leaning towards a guppy flushed down the toilet, out for vengeance (is this a Troma title? If not, Why?). Though the album’s title text suggests something, perhaps, a bit more classical in tone.

First Track – 7.5

Bleak, cavernous and suffocating. Black in tone and drenched in an industrial tone with a synth dressing and dreamy atmosphere certainly makes for an interesting start.

Initial Listen – 7

The varied tone, pace and atmosphere of this album makes for a real mixed audio bag and quite a listening experience.

An industrial audio landscape drenched in cinematic synth elements often makes itself known, occasional black metal rhythm duck in for quick how-de-dos whilst more folksy classical elements frolic alongside guitar rhythms and an angelic voice to make up the softer side of the album keeping the listener unable to predict which direction this might take next, and whether they should let loose with a neck snappin’ impromptu dance routine or merely let allow the music to wash over them as they relax in a semi- inebriated state.

This is rather hard to categorize but delivers a smorgasbord of familiarity amidst a sonic bombardment which hints at mid-era Bathory worship as well a love for the symphonic and atmosphere by way of a synth accompaniment.

Favorite Tracks; Sfrawd Dica, Frei im Traum, Verfall.

War Curse – Eradication
Release – May/10/2019
Svart Records
Dewar PR



Artwork – 8

A lone crow/raven perched in the remains of a tree kaws over a desolate landscape. The palette of this image is exquisite, moody and bears undeniable ominous qualities.

First Track – 8.5

Polished, in your face, aggressive thrash with infectious rhythms, fantastic pace and a vocal approach which’ll excite those you just can’t get enough of the style proudly displayed by (in particular) Chuck Billy and also that heard within mid-era Annihilator.

For some reason the thrash arena suddenly appeals to me again.

Initial Listen – 8.5

This burns with a tone which screams instant acceptance for fans of aggressive, high energy thrash. Those within the frenzied following of Forbidden, Overkill, Testament and Annihilator will have no problem whatsoever in allowing this entry into both their ears and prized audio collections. A fantastic introduction to the band and their brand of top notch, dynamic, riff heavy, thrash.

Favorite Tracks; Asylum, Eradication, Polluted Minds.

BAT – Axestacy
Release – April/26/2019
Hell’s Headbangers



Artwork – 7.5

Raw and crude yet this seethes with a wicked vibe which makes one think of “demos” from decades past and audio of an underground origin.

First Track – 8.5

It isn’t long until one realizes this is unadulterated raunchy rock n’ roll dipped in speed metal values. And there’s no complaints here. This, ladies and Gentlemen is going to be a fun ride. Break out the beers and prepare to loosen up.

Initial Listen – 8.5

So, what does a release with a length of under fourteen minutes and six tracks offer someone who’s unfamiliar with the moniker ‘BAT’?

“You can’t stop what we came here to do, and you know our intentions are crude!” About nails it! Channeling Motorhead, Anthrax and Venom rhythms with a certain Raven cheekiness with no two tracks alike makes for a head bangin’ good time and BAT does not disappoint as they expertly careen across a myriad of styles, leave necks sore and leave no pulse unraised.

Highly recommended!!

Favorite Tracks; Wild Fever, ICE, Axestacy.

Appalling – Inverted Realm
Release – May/3/2019
Redefining Darkness Records



Artwork – 8

Based on the brilliant artwork here

there’s really no doubt what the listener might be letting themselves in. The question remains, however, where does the audio lay in the extreme metal spectrum?

First Track – 7.5

Hardly typically death metal chuggery, this track offers the same chaotic-type approach favored by Morbid Angel and then builds on it with melodic Gothic passages. Vocals are of the rare variety, where every word is clear and concise, a style which Goatwhore fans will find familiar and might instantly appreciate.

Initial Listen – 8.5

For a debut this tells of infinitely more experience. Tracks are of an applaudably condensed length, as if all the fat has been shed leaving only the ‘prime cuts’ remaining for listening to eagerly devour.

An exquisite audio mixture sporting grandiose death stylings, smattering of black metal atmosphere, evocative passages and sprinkles of doom all overlaid with arcane/medieval sensibilities.

This is an act which needs tabs kept upon. If this is any indication of what’s to come their future is indisputably akin to staring at the sun through a microscope. My only qualm is that this is woefully short, 27 minutes and only seven tracks. I want…need, more!

Favorite Tracks; Hot Coals for Branding, A Mutilation at Large, Critical Thinking, Templar.

Necrosexual – The Gory Hole Overture in F#
Release – May/17/2019
Dewar PR



Artwork – 6

I’m honestly not even sure what I’m looking at here. A tombstone with an eye dripping pus from its center. And a coffin wrapped in chains in the middle of that. One thing’s for certain this is crude, hinting at, perhaps, audio of the same nature…?

First Track – 7

Traditional heavy metal rhythms, complete with crescendo wailing guitars and the occasional, abrupt, high pitched scream, doused in an 80’s style speed metal vibe. I can’t help but think of GWAR, though the similarity is slight, not in the least overpowering.

Initial Listen – 7

Akin to Gothic, sexually-charged hard rock/heavy metal seething with 80’s speed metal attitude this is certainly not a run-of-the-mill release, I honestly believe it wouldn’t have been thought of such decades ago either when a style such as this was more ‘in vogue’. An intriguing mixture of styles (recalling acts, in instances as far afield as The Misfits, Venom on account of the vocals in particular the Cronos era and the exuberance of early Raven) which might take someone like myself, unaccustomed to the style, some getting familiar with.

Favorite Tracks; The Gory Hole Overture in F#, In Ancient Daze (Black Widow).

Cabrio – Devotion and Hate
Release – April/5/2019
Against PR



Artwork – 8

Like a twisted version of the Holy Mother Mary in which instead of kindness, compassion and love, destruction and wrath exude from her embrace.

A wicked image indeed!

First Track – 8

With a title which could be a nod to the infamous metal cruise of the same name Cabrio deliver pulverizing riffs and an assault akin to that of Overkill colliding with Soulfly. A heavy accented vocal approach complements the aggressive riff aplenty, in-your-face, thrash style that drips with a certain South American flavor.

Initial Listen – 8

High-energy aggressive thrash, bordering on melodic death (in moments aggressive hardcore), channeling a myriad of influences (Machine Head, Soulfly, Suicidal Tendencies, Hatebreed, Fear Factory among others) seething with unmistakable exotic flavor, atmosphere and attitude.

This audio that’s sure to incite a frenzy in a live setting.

Favorite Tracks; I Have Become, The Rapture, Dios Sin Fe.

Sxuperion – Endless Spiritual Embodiment
Release – May/3/2019
Bloody Mountain Records
Clawhammer PR



Artwork – 7.5

A ghostly apparition, a wraith of sorts, in angelic form in limbo with its arms spread in an all-inviting gesture. But, there’s something amiss. An air of menace lies over this image like a shroud.

First Track – 8.5

Whirling hyper-speed rhythms and blast-beats conspire to form a Cosmic-esque fury. This transforms into an audio soundscape akin to slipping into the unknown and then again into chaos.

An intriguing start prompting me to search for a thesaurus so that I might get close to describing the audio experience which beckons.

Initial Listen – 8.5

An unrelenting tapestry of brutality interspersed with passages of doom- laden cinematic atmosphere and intriguing soundbite snippets which suggest a science fiction setting akin to discovering the unknown and plunging into mysterious, often tempestuous, occasionally suffocating, realms. A varied vocal assault consisting of wails, screams, growls and grunts add depth and invoke a smorgasbord of mood making for an unpredictable audio journey. Overall an intricate composition, an audio experience which demands several listens to fully appreciate but captivates from the first.

Favorite Tracks; Sacred Chamber of the Enlightenment, Phallic Point of Periapsis, Infinite Ethereal Vault.

Kull (formerly Bal Sagoth) – Exile
Release – April/30/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR



Artwork – 8

Classical yet too dark and moody for a Running Wild release (it has a Pirate ship). Boasting an ominous title like ‘Exile’ one knows there’s something ominous afoot and I’m criminally intrigued.

First Track – 8.5

I’ll admit the introduction threw me for a loop. It plays like a fantasy platform game and bears a glorious, grandiose, militaristic nature, as if a battle and enemy has just been vanquished and all is on glorious display. The music itself at first sounds like it doesn’t mesh. However, as the track progresses the elements come together. A symphonic backdrop against epic melodies with a certain underlying menace yet undeniably fluid in nature. An overall infectious combination complete with snarling vocals. A concoction which puts me in mind of ‘Damnation and a Day’ CoF material and the first (and my favorite) Black Guard release.

Initial Listen – 9.5

I don’t honestly know why I haven’t taken the time to listen to Bal Sagoth, I’ve seen the logo a few times. As if this is any indication of what’s on offer, I’m missing out.

Grandiose in tone and scope Exile offers that which many have tried, in vain, to capture. Exquisite rhythms, thundering riffs as well passages of beauty complement a symphonic backdrop, epic in scale. The vocal department is varied and ranges from narration like accents to wails, screams, whispers and growls. Suffice it to say I’m a long- time fan of Cradle of Filth and I’m blown away with what this release offers!

I’m tempted to say that this careens into power metal realms, it certainly carries the ‘weight’ though has a black feel to it which I would only imagine will make many fans of the aforementioned scene run for the hills (how’s that for a tip of the hat?) Hardly traditional of any one genre this overflows with menace, majesty and at times a certain viciousness, even a narration of sorts, a fantastical concept unfolds if you will. This might at first make heads spin. As it progresses, however, confusion is sure to translate into admiration, appreciation and frantic research into a back catalog which demands attention based on the brilliance of this alone. I’m floored!!

Prepare to scoop your jaw from the floor, this will make waves!

Sins of the Damned – Striking the Bell of Death
Release – March/3/2019
Shadow Kingdom Records


sins of the damned

Artwork – 8.5

This art reeks of a 90’s thrash/death crossover vibe. Zombies, skeletons a Grim Reaper, a militaristic vibe and crimson soaked carnage. I’m loving it!

First Track – 7.5

Rapid paced thrash/speed which’ll raise the blood pressure and make those limbs a twitch. Injected with a splash of heavy metal ala Iron Maiden and a vocal style which is easy to get behind.

Initial Listen – 8

Fans of European thrash from the late eighties will lap this up. Similarities to Sodom, Vendetta and a slew of other acts which strive to be the fret board-melting fastest come to mind. And although this really adds nothing new to expand upon the genre it showcases an act who know how to create pleasing audio and also have an understanding of which buttons to pummel to keep the listeners attention. Enjoyable throughout, this sports a cavalcade of riffs and rhythms sure to spark abrupt movement into the most exhausted of torso, deserving placement among others in any self-respecting speed metal fans audio arsenal.

Favorite Tracks; They Fall and Never Rise Again, The Outcast (Rise of Cain), Death’s all Around You.

That’s it for this mammoth installment, until next time our paths of audio interest meet.


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