Abrasive Audio – Part the Eleventh

(fuck me! It’s May, already!)
too much metal

Mind literally blown from an overload of metal!

Join me as I traipse into waters unknown in my quest to flood my senses with audio exquisite, brutal, all-consuming but most of all praise-worthy.

gates to the morning

Gates to the Morning – Return to Earth
(USA)
Release – July/19/2019
Independent
Dewar PR

https://gatestothemorning.bandcamp.com/album/return-to-earth-ep

ARTWORK – 9

Two opposites are displayed in this vibrant image, side by side. Heat and cold, beauty and darkness, Ying and Yang. One can only imagine what audio waits within, color me intrigued.

FIRST TRACK – 9

What many might perceive as a nod to an instrumental Metallica track soon transforms. Classical acoustics accompanied by unmistakable bass and ‘something’ else lurking beneath. An enigmatic presence. My curiosity only develops further.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9.5

Odd how Jazz and Metal are two genres so vastly separate from each other yet they come together so amazingly well.

The reason for my mentioning this is that this composition is a creation of a jazz trained mind and at times a collective of similarly themed minds. Obviously, the comparison to works by Akercocke needs mentioning yet this is also somewhat akin to the works of Opeth and Amorphis also, as varied as this is in its approach and exquisite delivery. Beauty amidst an abrupt forest of menace; the theme of many a Grimm tale? Which certainly fits here. Melody intertwines with majesty; brutality cavorts with the innocence of beauty accompanied by rhythms which are soothing yet shot through with an undeniable sinister air. Close to an hour in length this is so much more than merely an album, it’s far from traditional in any senses, more a journey through an audioscape which offers an experience demanding the undivided attention. A sojourn through a wilderness fraught with melancholy, bliss and exhilaration.

Recommended for those who prefer audio which is far from being able to be placed in merely one category.

Though be warned as repeated listens are in order to be able to fully grasp the myriad of intricacies on offer!

nuclear revenge

Nuclear Revenge – Let the Tyrants Rise
(Spain)
Release – April/30/2019
Evil Spell Records/Undercover
Against PR

https://nuclearrevenge.bandcamp.com/album/let-the-tyrants-rise

ARTWORK – 7.5

Feral hounds on a chain, winged demons and various characters on executioner garb, this could mean only one thing, it’s a book club ‘special event’ at Franks.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

This wastes no time in getting to the point and that point is vicious, faster than something really fast (Thanks SYL) and tainted with an adoration of the raw, diabolical and the old school arena.

A great start which makes me think I should have thoroughly stretched before I hit play.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Shredding flesh from the bone fast riffage accompanied by wicked lyrics and an undeniable blackened edge makes this an album I could spin all day. Add to that Vocals which sound eerily similar to Mille’ (Kreator) nods to the same band, Sodom, vintage Sepultura, even Tankard and Celtic Frost. With tips of the hat towards the Bestial arena and you have a debut which can’t be ignored showcasing a style which, though mainly feverishly fast, also sports surprises in store for those who believe they can predict where this might go next.

This derives from Spain but one could so easily be mistaken thinking it’s of South American origins.

Favorite Tracks; Ancient Rites, Nuclear Revenge, Cursed are our Marks, Lucifer’s Slave Burn the Holy Cross.

gravefields

Gravefields – Embrace the Void
(USA)
Release – June/7/2019
Redefining Darkness/Seeing Red Records

https://redefiningdarknessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/gravefields-embrace-the-void

ARTWORK – 9

Ominous yet classical brooding with an air of fantasy and desolation. What awaits in the void? I’m eager to find out…hitting PLAY to discover my fate.

FIRST TRACK – 9.5

Immediate presence, power and riffs to tear the face off with vocals to match. Orchestrated brutality, not noise, shot through with blunt riffs and menacing atmosphere lurking in the background.

A fantastic start that bodes extremely well for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9.5

Riffs with pulverizing intent, atmosphere and plenty of brutality with a “presence” rarely heard, though often attempted by bands with a longer history (discography) behind them. Epic tracks with plenty of movement and rhythmic transformations and a varied vocal approach to keep the listener on their toes and eager.

For a debut this shows stellar promise, offering a vibe which brings to mind Abysmal Dawn mixed with Nile and Black Dahlia Murder toss in a sprinkle of hardcore and the mix is complete. This is an album deserved of a prominent position in both a fans collection and inclusion in a multitude of end of year lists.

A phenomenal talent appearing as if from nowhere, play this loud and level the neighborhood.

Highly Recommended!!

pulver

Pulver – Kings Under the Sand
(Germany)
Release – May/10/2019
Gates of Hell Records
Clawhammer PR

https://pulverheavymetal.bandcamp.com/album/kings-under-the-sand

 ARTWORK – 7.5

Embellishing upon the character first seen in the band’s debut EP this shows him/her/it within a desert landscape showcasing a mysterious tableau in the background. This bursts with a 70’s/80’s power metal, epic heavy metal vibe.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

Thin Lizzy twin guitar harmonies, a unique Danzig meets Lemme (Motorhead, doh!) voice complete with gang vocals and an aura that screams NWOBHM and the era. This is certainly different from the norm, but oh so addictive. Excuse me while I shut out the outside world and prepare to sink into the music of the past.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Channeling Judas Priest, Saxon, Di’Anno era Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy and a myriad of other styles (which are oh so 80’s) makes this more than merely intriguing. Doom, power, epic, heavy with hints of speed metal and plenty of heart. A bare bones production approach only makes this that much more appealing.

Recommended for fans of metal minus the brutality with the melody knob twisted to ’11’ then promptly broken off.

Favorite Tracks; Kings Under the Sand, Alpha Omega, Curse of the Pharaoh.

lvcifyre

Lvcifyre – Sacrament (EP)
(UK)
Release – May/24/2029
Dark Descent Records
Clawhammer PR

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/sacrament-3

 ARTWORK – 7.5

Doused in playful shadow and light and drenched in flames this is a hellish vision indeed.

FIRST TRACK – 8

An intriguing introduction makes the imagination run riot. Is this what working in a Chinese kitchen during rush hour sounds like (aka Hell)? A blanket of audio breaks the spell to smother the listener in a suffocating embrace. A vicious, unrelenting, pulverizing assault with a formidable density to knock the unsuspecting on their derriere.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

Archaic, diabolical and unrelenting Sacrament sports introductions and occasional interludes which boast epic cinematic proportions.

The style herein is varied hinting at influence ranging from Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal and a wide array of acts dwelling under the ‘theatrical’ (bordering on slightly experimental) black metal banner. An intriguing audio concoction which thankfully stays on track (often offering industrial-esque tattoo rhythms) and doesn’t stray too far into chaotic realms.

Favorite Tracks; The Greater Curse, Sacrament, Morderca (Kat cover).

hell bent

Hell Bent – Apocalyptic Lamentations
(USA)
Release – June/14/2019
Horror Pain Gore Death/Armageddon Label/Atomic Action/Metal Swarm
Dewar PR

https://hellbentri.bandcamp.com/releases

ARTWORK – 7.5

Father Frank, Father Frank. What happened? Oh, A rabid critter tore your face off in a moshpit which abruptly appeared after you stepped through a portal to the very depths of Satan’s lair…

Fair enuf!

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

This isn’t pretty, it’s thrash with a touch of D-beat, with definite grindcore influence (especially in the vocal department, think Terrorizer and the like) and sports in-your-face aggressive. Rough and abrasive it has surprising rhythm and I can already tell this is going to be an infectious release.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

Non-stop pin you against the wall audio within a feverish dynamic environment. Frenetic paced and raw, again this isn’t at all pretty. It pummels at the grindcore fences with a myriad of crossover implements and because of this many won’t like it as it’s what many might consider ‘typical’ thrash. Regardless, it will flip the abrupt limb twitch/spasm switch and get the listener moving. Blunt, straight to the point tracks are exactly what the style demands, and the approach works excellently. Recommend more for fans of aggressive metal and not those pining for ballads and/or slower melodic audio ala In Flames/Dark Tranquility.

Favorite Tracks; Oppression, Enslavement, Coercion, Prey for War, Scythian Hordes.

sacrilegia

Sacrilegia – The Triclavian Advent
(Ireland)
Release – April/12/2019
Invictus Productions

 https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/album/the-triclavian-advent

ARTWORK – 7

An armor-plated gent looks down in disdain as he overlooks a pair of hammer wielding fellows going about their daily task of nailing an unfortunate to a cross in preparation of the first advent of Easter (or something).

Skeletons on either side of the main image make certain that the listener would never confuse this with a release which would ever see the light of day on terrestrial radio or popular television.

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

Thrashin’ madness coupled with raw energy draped in black metal sensibilities plucked from the late 80’s. Strap in folks, this is gonna’ be a rough ride!

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Think the rawness of ‘Pleasure to Kill’ Kreator, the speed of ‘Invisible Force’ Destruction, splash a little maniacal ‘Altars of Madness’ Morbid Angel then liberal dose the whole shebang with an archaic raw nature, a disdain for current trends and a tip of the hat to the almighty Celtic Frost then you’ll be close to what we have here. Probably not for those with a penchant for symphonic, epic, melodic thrash or nu-metal but for those who yearn for the days of yore when metal had bite, viciousness and raised a defiant middle finger to conformity and organized religion. I’m diggin’ this more than I thought I ever would to be honest.

Favorite Tracks; Beyond the Foulers Snare, On Herding of Swine, Armoured Angel, As with Spears we Come.

fodelsen

Murdryck – Fodelsen
(Sweden)
Release – May/1/2019
Leviaphonic Records/Growls from the Underground
Qabar PR

https://murdryck.bandcamp.com/album/f-delsen

ARTWORK – 9

Haunting and wraithlike. An excellent image perhaps portraying the Shepard of lost souls going about his important duties? However, it’s all up for discussion. Regardless, a damn impressive visual.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

A powerful classical, menacing, intro opens the proceedings. Busy black metal takes the baton and offers a beat which is majestic, atmospheric and sinister yet not truly ‘traditional’. Featuring a drum heavy mix this track is a delightful change from the norm. I’m awash in intrigue!

INITIAL LISTEN – 8

(Note; The album’s title, translated, means ‘birth’).

Unpredictable and varied in tone. Throughout its length, a myriad of differing styles and influence change prominent position. Ranging from atmospheric through menacing and melodic black (think Dissection) and slower, moodier moments the album is a veritable buffet of extreme audio. In the title track there’s definite Slayer-esque qualities. Whereas, ‘Blood Sacrifice’ has a black n’ roll vibe, it’s as if Ian Astberry of The Cult might step in at any time to lend a vocal accompaniment alongside rhythms reminiscent of Moonspell’s ‘Sin Pecado’. The dualistic language approach aids in the albums intriguing appeal, and the applaudable snarling vocal approach is enough to bring in those with a penchant for the style. Overall, an album which has the presence to pull in those which normally might not dip their toes in the murkier waters the arena usually offers.

Favorite Tracks; Valnad, Sea Spirit, Blood Sacrifice, Shadow Beings.

critical defiance

Critical Defiance – Misconception
(Chile)
Release – February/7/2019
Unspeakable Axe Records

https://unspeakableaxerecords.bandcamp.com/album/misconception

ARTWORK – 7.5

Anyone else believe this could be a missing Sodom album cover. The homage is undeniable. A definite crimson aura, gas masks and troops, all that’s needed is the logo.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

Fast, furious and tight thrash sporting a cavalcade of overflowing riffs and plentiful nods to the ‘old school’. A fantastic start which has me sweating from frenetic exertions already.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Adrenaline spiked from the first to the last with surprising interludes of melody and rhythms which occasionally veer towards the punk arena. In short, this is a release fans of aggressive thrash will not want to miss. Sporting a myriad of furious rhythms and obvious influence, albums prominent from genre past and a slew of varied acts will jump to the forefront of the mind. Released twenty years ago this may well have been heralded as a classic. As it is today it stands proud as a shining achievement in the thrash resurgence. And… this might be the one to pull me back into the fold!

Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Spiral of Hatred, What About you, Misconception.

bewitcher album

Bewitcher – Under the Witching Cross
(USA)
Release – May/10/2019
Shadow Kingdom Records

https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/under-the-witching-cross

ARTWORK – 9

This art screams homage to the old school, a spot of Moon and (vintage) Bathory worship anyone? (clothing is, as always, optional.)

FIRST TRACK – 8

Blackened rock n’ roll, or blackened speed metal? It’s a close call. But I won’t spend much time deliberating over the points of each, instead I’ll merely let this audio wash over me and let nostalgia take ahold. Bewitcher are back!

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

I can only wonder if this might have been what Venom (‘Heathen Woman’ and ‘Hexenkrieg’ being the earliest of examples showcasing a Cronos-esque vocal approach and similar riffage) sounded like if they were more melodic and/or talented (a point that’s obviously up for debate) there’s more than obvious nods to vintage Blitzkrieg in here too (think the earliest of demos) and an air that’s decidedly NWOBHM draped in the worship of the crimson horned, hoofed, one. Overall this is a release which shows Bewitcher tightening up their sound (a little, though not too much, else this wouldn’t be as much fun as it is!) though thankfully ‘sticking to their guns’ (and the production tone with an aura of vinyl fuzz) in regard to a style that works oh so damned well. This is in effect blackened heavy metal with speed sensibilities with an air of doom tossed in to shake things up a little. Make room for this in your collection, continue to search Bandcamp for the full release and part with the greenery as this will make you move and reminisce. Be prepared to search through the belongings for that one denim jacket with the patch emblazoned across the back that you just can’t part with.

Favorite tracks; Hexenkrieg, Too Fast for the Flames, The Sign of the Goat, Frost Moon Ritual.

Until next our audio paths of interest meet again,

Cult

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