And. It’s that time again.

The moment when you realize there’s more metal that you can actually lay an ear on and there’s just not enough time in the day to be able to do so.

Smells like charred vertebrae.

Well, I’m here to help. In scribbling upon the releases which have caught my ear I’m hoping to do several things; keep the scene alive, support talent, direct attention to those who normally wouldn’t garner such but most of all promote music which puts a smile on my face in hopes that it does the same to someone else’s. Hey, if you’re wishing to throw me a buck for taking the time to do so I’ll gladly accept it!

It goes without mention that the Extreme Audio landscape is a diverse and unfathomably large place, dive in with both ears and start exploring. Here’s what I’ve recently discovered. (This installment is sponsored by laziness, depression, “Laffy Taffy”, passion for scribbling upon that which I enjoy, copious amounts of coffee and last, but certainly not least, procrastination. Enjoy).

Second to Sun (Russia)- Leviathan

Independent

https://azuregraal.bandcamp.com/album/second-to-sun-leviathan

Release- September 2020

Genre – Atmospheric/Melodic/Symphonic BM

Artwork-

Simplistic yet terrifying. There’s little doubt as to what audio is encompassed within.

Thoughts-

Post BM and that of the traditional variety collide in this offering. Atmosphere is plentiful (cinematic and chilling in instances) and a symphonic aura blankets the whole adding considerable depth. Each track offers something different to elevate the albums appeal showcasing epic qualities and polished styles spread wide across the BM spectrum. I’m not sure why I’ve avoided these guys before now as this is truly a stunning audio tableau for the senses. (An instrumental version is also available).

Final Score- 87

Pneuma Hagion (USA) – Voidgazer

Nuclear War Now!

Release- December 2020

https://nuclearwarnowproductions.bandcamp.com/album/voidgazer

Genre – OSDM/Dirge/Blackened Death/DeathDoom

Artwork-

I believe this is the worst Fn’ migraine I’ve ever had. And what the F-! Why is my crimson leakage boiling?

Thoughts –

Rumbling and chaotic this boasts an element from many an influence yet strays from the ‘meat and potatoes’ arena to rely on slow, dense and dirge showcasing movement and the occasional groove passage to perk the interest of those who demand such complemented by crushing atmosphere the whole is somewhat akin to Incantation and later rather Morbid Angel. The vocals are of a Willettes timbre with the lyrics ranging from run of the mill cosmic Lovecraftian lore to summoning demons. Overall, this was an astonishing listen and to think that it was created and conceived by a single person is fascinating. Quite the debut well worthy of slapping betwixt the ears.

Final Score- 85

Flame (Finland) – Ignis Spiritus

Primitive Reaction

https://primitivereaction.bandcamp.com/album/ignis-spiritus

Genre- Black/Death/Thrash Metal

Artwork-

A sinister looking fellow who sports brimstone fiery hair and horns is seen here practicing sign language. A veritable mountain of skulls sits behind him, perhaps of those who have attempted to teach or converse using the same form of communication?

Thoughts-

Blunt, straight to the point, pounding riffage accompanied by a throat assault of such ferocity and abrasive nature it could strip flesh from livestock. A diabolical element shrouds the whole affair with an aura somewhere between Bestial South American Thrash and early Venom. The combination; a style which pulls zero punches, relies not on production gimmicks and wastes little time in spiking the adrenaline.

Final Score- 77

Malokarpatan (Slovakia) -Krupinské ohne

Invictus Productions

https://malokarpatan.bandcamp.com/album/krupinsk-ohne

Release- March 2020

Genre- Folk/Heavy/Speed/Black Metal

Artwork-

A lone figure strides through the forest. A sickle moon hangs low behind him (?) A haunting glare leads the way.

An ominous image indeed. Who is he (?) What are his plans? …Does he lift? (Haha)

Thoughts-

This starts out on an epic note with a hybrid of a Disney movie and a Hungarian Gothic play (?) introduction. Following this, arrangements take a sharp dive into atmospheric realms drenched in equal part BM and Folk sensibilities. The album continues showcasing a style which is neither fully this nor that but a fantastic blend of inciteful rhythms, infectious riffs, synth additions (chilling atmosphere invoking fairy tale woodland arenas, age-old practices and mythical deities) and raw menace made all the more enigmatic by way of the gruff vocal style, accent and language. Although the occasional passage tends to linger and the final track contained stretches of audio which did little for me, I’ll still recommend this to those whose penchants stretch to the exploration of audio which stylistically encompasses multi-genres.

Final Score- 78

Cult Burial (UK) – S/T

Independent

Release- November 2020

https://cultburial.bandcamp.com/

Genre – Black/Death/Industrial/Doom Metal/Sludge/OSDM

Artwork-

Although this bears unquestionable archaic qualities, to be honest I’m not really sure what I’m looking at. I’m thinking flames (monochromatic in appearance, although it could also be waves) devouring a recently deceased form. Nevertheless, this is intriguing to the point where it warrants closer inspection. Hey, while you’re doing that why not just pop the album on? That’s a fantastic idea. I think I’m going to do just that. Won’t you join me?

Thoughts-

To have a first full length featured as an exclusive stream through Decibel magazine is no mean feat. However, these guys managed it and there’s little argument as to why. Not to dwell on the obvious but this release seethes with a know-how and experience beyond the bands relatively short existence. One might think based on anyone’s description that this might seem muddled, disjointed and haphazardly cobbled together. It isn’t! Although diversity is scrawled across this much like rice within the continent of Asia this bears a definite flow. And it needs mentioning also an aura of enshrouding, enveloping, archaic darkness. Stylistic influences weave, frolic and cavort in intricate, often playful, choreography dropping intentional, plentiful, nods to varied, yet familiar, output from far across the extreme audio landscape albeit drenched in a palpable denseness. Melodic, melancholic, dissonant and devastating though that doesn’t even half cover what’s being showcased here. Suffice it to mention this is pleasingly “different”, yet not in the slightest (different that is, not pleasing) as it encompasses most, if not all, of the ingredients one demands in their ear candy of choice. This might well be the surprise EoY entry to turn heads. Don’t be the last to discover that which the initiated are gleefully discussing.

Final Score- 90

And… It’s “SPLIT” time!

Inhuman Nature (UK) /Road Mutant (UK) SPLIT – Master of Souls

Nuclear Family Records/Night Rhythms

https://roadmutant.bandcamp.com/album/inhuman-nature-road-mutant-split

Release – October 2020

Artwork-

Two quite different brutes depicted in glorious Black and White hack away at the unsuspecting populace. If this is any indication of the music on offer, I’m expecting quite the messy cleanup.

Thoughts-

“Other Realms ” is among six other release to be found on the bands Bandcamp page

Inhuman Nature

Genre – Aggressive/OS Thrash

A synth laden introduction brings this collaboration to life, it’s broken by early Exodus-esque, straight for the throat, riffage and a vocal assault with a harsh edge. Rhythms meander with a menacing lead piercing a flow which slows considerably as the track nears its climax adding a chilling edge reminiscent of “Reign in Blood” era Slayer. A great introduction for those yearning for a style with considerable influence plucked from the aggressive arena of the Old School.

80

https://inhumannature.bandcamp.com/

A sparse discography thus far, lets hope they change that soon!

Road Mutant

Genre- Thrash/Crossover/Death Thrash/Grindcore

An irresistible drum beat drives this track as well an aura which will definitely tugs at the familiarity sensors. Again, Slayer is an obvious influence although this veers towards Grindcore realms whilst still firmly grasping Thrash reins of the Old School variety. Slight Hardcore leaning are doused in menace and an infectiousness which nears criminal levels. Delicious groove is guaranteed to get those limbs a flailing and the head a bobbin’ at a dangerously frantic rate.

https://roadmutant.bandcamp.com/

91

Final Thoughts

Only two tracks here but this is a fantastic way to rekindle the adoration of a style which is seeing somewhat of a resurgence as of late. With a quality such as this on offer these guys are set to hoist the standard for the British contingent. Highly recommended!

Final Score- 85

Scaphoid (US) – Absent Passages

Shunu Records

https://scaphoid.bandcamp.com/album/absent-passages

Genre – Post Rock/Progressive/Instrumental/Doom

Release- October 2020

Artwork-

A glowing sphere glows in the background (the horizon?) enlightening a landscape with a sickly green hue. The image makes me ponder upon audio of a Death Doom nature.  Only one way to find out. Hitting play.

Thoughts-

As the album commenced, I was floored by the bands approach; the audio spins a weaving narrative with its hypnotic allure and this is without a vocal accompaniment. Rhythms twist and frolic, often courtesy of exquisite piano and guitar interaction. They also flow and sway in such a manner that a storyline might develop within the listeners mind (it is in mine). Rare that an instrumental album has this effect as much impact on me as this does. Perhaps not for everyone, this is sure to delight those open for melodies and enlightenment over brutality and carnage. Ideal for a road trip with an overall aura which is relaxing yet hypnotic. Do not sleep on this!

Final Score- 90

Nyktophobia (Germany) – What Lasts Forever

Independent

https://nyktophobia.bandcamp.com/album/what-lasts-forever

Release- August 2020

Genre- Death Doom/Melodic Blackened Death

Artwork-

A stunning image. The forces of Light and Darkness collide with cataclysmic results. This is a wonderous depiction boasting numerous details which appear upon closer inspection. If I was none the wiser I’d say this hangs in a museum someplace. It doesn’t but it demands a wall upon which to be showcased upon.

Thoughts-

Exquisite dark melodies, blast beats and monstrous vocals combine to form an album which garners the attention from the very first. I would be amiss not to mention the outstanding evocative violin/cello introduction. What an opener! And the album continues to provide darkness, depth and emotion throughout. An ecstatic smorgasbord of fluid Doom passages, cresting Black rhythms and an atmosphere one can lose themselves within. Powerful melodies burst at the seams with passion to enthrall the listener until the albums finale whereupon a limb will undoubtedly move of its own accord to prompt the same experience again. If you’re anything like me and this was your introduction to the band, odds are you have a grin which threatens to consume your face also.

Final Score- 91

Demonstealer (India) -And This too Shall Pass (EP)

Self – Release

https://demonstealer.bandcamp.com/

Release- December 2020

Genre – Melodic/Tech Death/Progressive/Industrial

Artwork-

This is odd, this Kaiju looks somewhat human (insert topical political comment here). He/She/It also looks to be in somewhat of a daze. Where’s Godzilla to save us? Is it too late?

Thoughts –

There’s plenty of groove here and rhythms which instantly warrant movement. There are also occasional pace hikes, dips into Kataklysm realms of hyperspeed to keep the listener interested, busy, and on their toes. For a self-release the production is commendable lending considerable oomph to perhaps a teaser of a style which the band, in this case down to only the one member; Sahil Makhija, might employ in the foreseeable future? One hundred percent crowd-funded this is sure to please a great many more than those who had faith and donated towards the cause.

Final Score- 80

Ignitor (US) – The Golden Age of Black Magick

Metal on Metal Records

https://metalonmetalrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ignitor-the-golden-age-of-black-magick

Release- October 2020

Genre – NWOBHM/Heavy/Power Metal/Hard Rock/Thrash

Artwork-

At a glance I’d guess this was a Heavy Metal release from Europe circa the 90’s. And we all know what they say about assumptions? Hitting play.

Thoughts-

This starts out with a strong Haunt vibe sporting criminally infectious rhythms. It soon develops an identity which channels Maiden, Iced Earth and even at times Halen. The vocals add a grandiose nature akin to that which Dio is renowned. The gymnastic, wide ranging, vocal approach veers towards Warren Dale (Sanctuary, Nevermore) realms though stops short of growls and grunts. Overall this has a great deal to offer, energetic arrangements, high octane rhythms and a style which is varied enough to keep the album from the depths of boredom. The vocalist talents are applaudable; thankfully this side of the falsetto fence.

Final Score- 82

Crosssspitter (US) – Dry and Grinding Mouth (Demo)

StigianBlackHand

https://crossspitter.bandcamp.com/album/dry-grinding-mouth

Release -October 2020

Genre – Aggressive Thrash/Blackened Thrash/Bestial Metal

Artwork-

Inverted crosses everywhere. A sepia tone and a moniker with three “S”es. I wonder what manner of audio these fellas will be serving up?

Thoughts-

With only three tracks on offer and barely seven-minutes in length one might wonder what this could possibly offer to grab the attention. Well, nods to the Old School are plentiful as well a decisive Black Thrashing style. Rhythms here are inciteful and there’s a certain familiarity, be it the South American Bestial vocal assault (should I use three S’es?) or the percussion is up to the individual listener naturally, a nature which is added to with occasional groove and raw intensity. Overall, to answer the question, this does indeed capture the attention, enough so in fact to leave one wanting more.

Final Score- 83

Cryptworm (UK) – Reeking Gunk of Abhorrence

Pulverized Records

https://cryptworm.bandcamp.com/album/reeking-gunk-of-abhorrence

Release – June 2020

Genre – Brutal Death/OSDM/Grindcore

Artwork-

Black and White inked grotesque imagery of the highest order. I’m intrigued!

Thoughts –

Groove, gutter vocals and rhythms dripping in chaotic, sludge-infested nightmares. This is Old School madness folks and this is of an amazing quality. Riffs, movement, pace and cavernous menace what else could one possibly ask for? This demands respect.

Jump on this pronto, close your eyes and you’d swear you were back in the 90’s bathing in the glory of when the scene exploded.

Final Score- 92

Gorephilia (Germany) – In the Eye of Nothing

Me Saco Un Ojo Records

https://mesacounojo.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-eye-of-nothing

Release- October 2020

Genre – Brutal/Tech/OSDM

Artwork-

The landscape has a crimson hue and there are eyeballs everywhere. What could this possibly mean? Am I a menstruating embarrassed teenager all over again? (Well. That would be a miracle of modern science)

Thoughts-

It doesn’t take long for this to trip the nostalgic switches. In fact, it reeks of vintage Gorguts. This isn’t all a bad thing, in the slightest, in fact I’m rather diggin the menace, ominous factor and overall disdain of mere ‘meat and potatoes death’ (I believe Void has trademarked that expression?) chuggery. The style on offer here isn’t constricted by just that influence however, it wavers. Several other nuances are added, I can hear Disincarnate elements (“Stench of Paradise Burning” anyone?) as well a slew of other stylistic factors which immediately make one think upon one or two acts in particular (Morbid Angel, Incantation). In short, these guys know the scene, how to garner attention and how to fashion a track to widen the eyes, have the sweetest of extreme audio recollection come flooding back at an alarming rate and make the flapping audio catchers moist (wait what?) Make time for this and prepare to get cozy with the replay icon.

Final Score- 86

Begrabnis (Japan) – Izanaena

Weird Truth Productions

Release – October 2020

Genre – Funeral Doom/Avant Garde

Artwork-

I have the feeling I would probably understand this more if I were from the Eastern region. Ignorance aside, it looks like a seal of some kind with a plentiful array of surrounding symbols.

Thoughts-

This is dense audio indeed. Riffs are unhurried and crash with grandeur importance. Melodies are interwoven, boasting a Novembers Doom and Paradise Lost feel, a seething melancholy amidst the gargantuan riff assault. The vocal approach is what sets this apart; a low growl/groan with a distinct incantation aura attached. It might take a few minutes to get accustomed to but it certainly adds presence to the percussion. Overall, the four tracks on offer here offer a great deal for those willing to take the plunge into familiar waters with an astounding depth and viscosity.

Final Score- 86

Old Mother Hell (Germany) – Lord of Demise

Cruz del Sur Records

https://oldmotherhell.bandcamp.com/album/lord-of-demise

Release- October 2020

Genre – Power/Heavy/Doom/Speed Metal/NWOBHM

Artwork- 74

A glimpse into the rat race which is the life of many. Residences stacked to the heavens. This appears to be taking on the appearance of Judge Dreads Megacity ‘haunt’ faster than anyone could have predicted. And if this isn’t Hell, I don’t know what is.

Thoughts –

Fans of Helloween, Iced Earth and melodic European metal rejoice. What we have here is a rousing reminder that Europe, more specifically Germany, is still delivering the goods when it comes to Power and Traditional metal. Pacing here is varied, touching upon Speed Metal waters in instances and Doom landscapes in a great many more (Candlemass, anyone?) The vocals are front and foremost, a powerful timbre carries the percussion and the lyrical narrative to please those who demand prose (falling within the tradition genre parameters) they can follow without breaking out the albums insert. Overall, this is pleasing to the senses, and bears a fantastic flow, even to someone like me who dives quite infrequently into what the arena offers. Expect these guys to pack stadiums showcasing raised fists and tankard of ale in the near future.

Final Score – 78

Disrupted (Sweden) – Pure Death

Memento Mori

https://disrupted.bandcamp.com/album/pure-death

Release- October 2020

Genre – OSDM /HM2

Artwork-

This image about says it all. And it’s even stained in crimson. The ol head chopper thingy. (Thanks, now I have that Kreator track stuck in my noggin.)

Thoughts-

Ever wondered what Entombed or Grave might have sounded like if they didn’t have “hiccups ” in their style and discographies? This might be close. ‘Buzzsaw and Battery’ with an edge of pre-Entombed (aka Carnage) this is all a fan of HM2 could wish and hope for. Old school deliciousness, top of the heap Death Metal to drag you down the “Clandestine Left Hand Path”. If you’re not a fan of this, I really don’t know what to say. Not a bad note to be found here. Lik, these guys and Burial Remains battling it out for the top of the year in this category. 2020 is a shit sandwich of a year, thank the Dark Lord for the glorious tunage.

Final Score – 94

From the Vastland (Norway) – The Haft Kahn

Satanath Records/Iron Blood and Death Corporation

https://ironbloodanddeath.bandcamp.com/album/the-haft-khan

Release- April 2020

Genre – Atmospheric/Traditional BM

Artwork- 78

There’s plentiful detail to decipher here and most definitely nods to mythology aplenty I have no understanding upon (I really should do some research). A horned entity, flying horses and acolytes are only a few of the elements comprising this image.

Thoughts-

This is most certainly not a release I would believe could be conceived, produced and performed by a solitary person. But it is, and it’s quite simply amazing, though not just for that fact alone. The atmosphere/aura is enveloping and the arrangements are a wicked, sensorial caressing, mixture of blistering and evocative, a combination sure to put the attention of most BM fans in a vice grip. I’m honestly unsure as whom to add as a “Recc for fans of” here (I was hoping Void would give me a few suggestions) though I’m quite confident based on the quality herein and the ease with which this is consumed that this will perk the attention of long-time and ‘newbie’ fan alike. As per usual I’m interested as to anyone’s thoughts, comments or suggestions.

For the record Void weighed in and added that this reminded him (following a quick scan) of a more Swedish melodic style, with similarities to Dawn, Sacramento, Lord Belial and early Naglfar. (Thanks Void)

Final Score – 87

Blackevil (Germany) – Forever Baptized in Eternal Fire

Dying Victims Productions

https://dyingvictimsproductions.bandcamp.com/album/blackevil-forever-baptised-in-eternal-fire-2

Release – September 2020

Genre- Blackened Thrash/Heavy Metal

Artwork-

Ominous and thought-provoking. A fantastic rendition of what the future might bring? Perhaps. Along with the words ” We told you so” sneered by hordes of hooded Bible thumpers.

Thoughts-

A wicked combination of influences and the sheer intensity within this release makes it one that cannot possibly be ignored. Dissection, 3 Inches of Blood and a variety of Old School European Thrash standouts (Sodom, Kreator, Destruction) wrestle for attention as the release plays out and even a few passages which invoke more tradition Black and Heavy Metal leanings. Shit, this is rather diverse though thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. Yes, it’s a little different, the vocals are somewhat unique (some might even say gymnastic in tone) though on the whole it comes together well to evoke a strong feeling akin to placing the final piece in an epic puzzle. This is sure to sate a great many extreme audio yearnings for those who have a palette whose colors encompass many a genre.

Final Score- 88

Frostvore (Japan) -Drowned in Blood

Testimony Records

https://testimonyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/frostvore-drowned-by-blood

Release – August 2020

Genre- OSDM/HM2/Death Metal

Artwork-

This is high up there with my favorite cover art of the year and why not? An Ash (Bruce Campbell; Evil Dead) type character (possibly in fancy dress as a Michael Jackson esque Jason Voorhees incarnation?) wading in a sea of crimson surrounded by legions of vanquished foes. Just brilliant! I’d buy the shirt if it didn’t come with a hefty postage accompaniment.

Thoughts-

For those, like myself, who have yet to give these guys a listen may I suggest you change that, and soon. This is the acts first full length. And damn, does it tell a tale. Rhythms are infectious, instantaneously spreading tendrils of an addictive nature as the hooks sink deeper into the pleasure sensors. A tip of the hat to both OSDM and HM2 is more than evident with drums leading the charge. The production bears a strange quality as if At the Gates (vintage) and Dismember, circa “Massive Killing Capacity”, conceived a love child with prodigy mixing abilities. A Tardy-esque (Obituary) vocal similarity is unmistakable perking the interest. In combination with a style which blossoms as the album unfolds; a slight smidgen of Punk becomes detectable. This makes for an interesting listening experience indeed. This isn’t the typical Old School homage release seeped in sewage, pus and (gastric juices a Pungent Stench nod there!) gutter values this boasts injected melody, I for one am especially appreciative of.

This is certainly a step in the right direction, I expect these guys to turn a few heads as their style develops, labels show interest and their discography builds. I have my ears to the ground.

Final Score- 78

Dune Sea (Norway) – Moons of Uranus

All Good Clean Records

https://dunesea1.bandcamp.com/ (as of this writing there are still no samples or page available to sample for this release)

Release- November 2020

Genre – Hard Rock/Psychedelia/Sludge/NWOBHM/Stoner Rock

Artwork-

A chasm formed from the raging caress of Lavas passage. The image gives off an alien landscape vibe especially with the low-hanging moon peering between the towers of rock.

Thoughts-

Universes from the usual ear-fodder this incorporates shifting audio landscapes, atmosphere and a style Hawkwind (early Lemmy material based on the works of Fantasy author Michael Moorcock) fans will appreciate. Synth manifestations against stoner rock guitars evoke imagery of ancient kingdoms, cosmic realms and archaic mysteries which might never be fully explained. There’s definite groove here slathered in audio which leans heavily toward the fantastical and dare I say “trippy”. Quite the find for those who’re willing to explore.

Final Score- 78

Decayed Flesh (Indonesia) – Eternal Misery

Brutal Mind

https://brutalmind.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-misery-2

Release- June 2020

Genre- Brutal/Tech Death

Artwork-

A maelstrom of souls in torment… and ectoplasm? This usually a wicked image.

Thoughts-

A stunning atmospheric and evocative introduction leads the listener into Brutalsville; bludgeoning chuggery and whirlwind skin pounding percussion. The album continues in much the same manner exhibiting proficiently and surprising movement sans pig squeals and a rapid descent into Slamsville. I hate to be the one to state this but I seriously did not expect this level of quality from a country whose main exports are largely deprived of anything even remotely related to extreme audio in nature. Perhaps that’ll change? This is quite simply tickling my ears in the most brutal of manner and I’m diggin it immensely. Fans of Dying Fetus and Misery Index need to keep tabs on these guys and labels need to prepare for combat in order to sign the talent on offer.

Final Score- 83

Hath (US) – Hive (reissue)

Willowtip Records

https://hathnj.bandcamp.com/album/hive-remastered-with-brand-new-track

Re-release- October 2020

Genre- Progressive/Blackened Death

Artwork-

That’s certainly a creature I would not want to think about crawling around in my basement (attic, or crawlspace). Looking at this just gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Thoughts-

There’s plenty going on here and it’s plainly obvious from the opening passage that these guys aren’t fn’ around! A strong dark fantastical narrative, percussion with depth, atmosphere and definite presence and a vocal approach which the vast majority of the DM crowd are sure to appreciate. Add menace, classical elements, sublime progressive passages, a splash of Djent, Deathcore and Slam and the ingredients are complete. Have a chiropractor on speed dial for this will cause both digit sprain (from hitting repeat) and vertebrae damage. With this preceding the game changer which is “Of Rot and Ruin” the future looks as bright as the sun’s surface.

Final Score- 91

And what would this (somewhat belated) installment be without a few “Reccs”?

Recc from @DarkAng67390046

Draconian (Sweden) – Under a Godless Veil

Napalm Records

https://draconian.bandcamp.com/album/under-a-godless-veil

Release- October 2020

Genre- Gothic/DeathDoom

Artwork-

Purity and innocence in repose, received by experienced hands. Is this a representation of forces teasing the soul from its shell or something more? Either way, this is a stunning Renaissance image slathered in Gothic tones and a palpable ominous nature which only prods incessantly at my curiosity.

Thoughts-

For those of you who lost hope for the genre following Theater of Tragedy’s change of ‘tone’ fear no more. Obviously, the mentioned act features heavily in this as well shades of The Gathering, Lacuna Coil, Moonspell and even Paradise Lost. And with all these being mentioned this had better be good, else I’d be wasting your time. Well, I’m not and this is. In fact, it doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. Clean (angelic) vocals and gruff play off each other in a stunning fashion (a polished Beauty and the Beast approach) against an audio backdrop which (the word) mesmerizing doesn’t even come close to describing. This album has presence, grandiose melancholy and a spellbinding aura which is rare. In short, a combination which is both refined and familiar and yet (also in instances) evocative and fresh. This was my first experience with the band, it won’t be the last!

Final Score- 95

Recc by @DrMeh

Make Them Die Slowly (US/UK) – The Bodycount Continues

FETO Records

https://makethemdieslowly.bandcamp.com/album/the-bodycount-continues

Release- October 2020

Genre – Symphonic/Black/Death/Grindcore/OSDM/Synth

Artwork-

Much like the last, this features a familiar motif. I only wish I knew his (her? What, it’s possible) name. And as with any great product this is fast becoming a trademark, an easily recognizable icon for fantastic audio. I only hope my words don’t proceed me. Diving in.

Thoughts-

Another album released in the same year? It’s true and I have high hopes for this based on the outstanding quality of the first, and the quality of an album with shared members by name of Werewolves. Hitting play.

It doesn’t take long to realize that this could quite possibly be the perfect balance of Synth and Brutality. Chilling atmosphere combined with spittle flying vocals and a foundation of criminally infectious rhythms. What’s not to love? Seriously? The respect and adoration these guys have for both genre (cult) films and extreme audio shines with every note and I’m literally awe stricken that they have managed to so exquisitely mesh these factors in their compositions thankfully far removed from the merely cataclysmic noise side of the fence. Hints of Anaal Nathrakl are evident as well slight notes of a Gothic nature fans of Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth are sure to eagerly devour. To a lesser degree The Berserker and their specific brand of Old School Grindcore madness. Naturally, the strain of influence will depend upon the listener their thoughts and experience of the genre. I believe however that one element will remain far from the argument arena. This being the fact that this is another banger which won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Need it be mentioned that the production is top- notch? Of course, it does, and it is. Final words; Stop what you’re doing and seek this out. Support talent and the scene. #BestofBritish

Final Score- 96

A Recc from Void (because, seriously, an installment wouldn’t be complete without one)

Nyrst (Iceland) – Orsök

Dark Essence Records

https://nyrst.bandcamp.com/album/ors-k

Release – April 2020

Genre- Atmospheric BM/BM

Artwork-

I’m not entirely sure what “Orsök” means. Is it somewhat close to window within a glacier formation in an ominous landscape of frozen menace and soul shredding desolation dripping blood? Yea, I thought not. But… Is it close?

Thoughts-

Depth, atmosphere, varied vocal approaches, sinister tinged melodies and biting cold rhythms. I should be enjoying this more than I am. But it’s just not hitting the spot at the present. Is it that its not quite as melodic, traditional wise, as I’m used to? Perhaps. Or has Void chosen this instance to toss me farther than usual into unchartered BM depths? I’m not sure. Hardly horrid, and it sure has its share of moments though at this instance it just hasn’t my complete “you have to buy this stat!” attention. After a few listens, when I’m more comfortable, perhaps. But for now, I’ll give a “to be returned to” score.

Final Score- 71

And to close things out an album graced by (yet more) fantastic Juanjo Castellano art;

A step away from the traditional black and white art

Soulskinner (Greece) – Seven Bowls of Wrath

Xtreem Music

https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/seven-bowls-of-wrath

Release – October 2020

Genre- DeathDoom/Melodic/Blackened Death

Artwork-

When the seas are angry, boiling with flames, the clouds are encrusted with skulls and seraphim (sp.) are busy emptying bowls of sin (in this case Wrath) there’s little hope left. Add to this a familiar face orchestrating the whole shebang and the writing is on the wall. Did I (need I?) mention that 2020 has been a shit year, all apart from Extreme Audio output and art such as this? Thanks for putting a smile on face in times such as these Juanjo. Onward…

Thoughts-

From the very first this encaptivates (did I just make up a word?) Utilizing a style which is part mid-tempo, part Kataklysm (the trademarked fast riffage) combined with plentiful atmosphere, a splash of BM and an aura of ‘not quite’ HM2 this traverses many paths and yet still manages to tease ‘meat and potatoes’ styled Death which is familiar to us all. For some reason I’m also picking up on both vintage Hypocrisy and Unleashed vibes, though there’s a great deal more on offer as well enough groove to sate those who have a hankering to throw caution to the wind and exhibit their appreciation with interpretive movement. In short this is somewhat diverse (though not so much as to steer fans away), energetic and unpredictable with an epic edge I wasn’t expecting. In essence a description one might assume wouldn’t work. But it does! In this instance warranting exploration and discovery.

Give this an ear, you won’t be disappointed!

Final Score- 83

The End.

*add “Discover that which…” blah, blah, blah.

Support, share, comment, shred, laugh, yell aloud “what the F did I just read”. Whatever suits the mood.

I’m taking a break, I am exhausted!

Cult

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