Archive for the ‘2020 Metal releases – February’ Category

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Ten

fuk covid

…or listening to Metal!

At present these entries have transformed to a few and far between affair. And for that I apologize. It’s frustrating I’ll admit; not being able to scribble upon that which interests me and brings a spot of shining brilliance to an otherwise humdrum existence. But it’s become the norm as of late and I’m having to ‘steal’ time in order to correlate, compose and post anything. However, I’m dedicated and determined to keep this thing going, to get the word out to praise audio which, I believe, demands discovery.

Without further ado…

Plucked from Metal Past
Drontheim (Germany) Down Below

drontheim

https://wraithproductions.bandcamp.com/album/down-below

Release – February/22/2019

Wraith Productions

ARTWORK – 70

Shadows, more shadows and what could possibly be either water or an outcropping of rock. I’m not even sure. However, if the music is as dark as the image, we’re in for some gloomy, doomy audio.

FIRST TRACK – 90

This could well be the resulting mash up of Paradise Lost and Katatonia if only David Bowie were to take the vocal duties. Then add some 90’s Goth Pop, Abstract lyrics and you’re even closer to what this provides. This is miles from my usual wheelhouse of interests but I’m finding myself strangely drawn to its Alternative, Post, Progressive, Doom allure.

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

With no two Tracks here alike this (album) offers a great deal to discover and get excited about. Industrial tones, progressive arrangements and melancholy all filtered through a veil of a palpable ominous, cinematic, atmosphere. Far from harsh this provides quite the distraction from the norm and offers rhythms to sink within accompanied by a certain nostalgia whose origins only seems to escape from the tip of the tongue as the audio evolves from one track to the next. Simply put if you enjoy the unpredictable diversity of Faith No More and are open to the occasional dip into Industrial Goth and murky Doom waters this is a release you need between the ears. Keep the assumptions at bay and the mind open and this will serve excellently to break up the day’s woes adding a spark to the normalcy of the day’s playlist.

Favorite Tracks; Varied, exciting and hypnotic throughout.

FFO; Rammstein, The Prodigy, Seigmen, Zeromancer, Ljungblut, NIN, My Dying Bride, Ulver, Red Harvest, DHG, Faith No More, Peeping Tom, Anathema, Katatonia, Kent, Ved Buens Ende, 3rd & the Mortal, The Soundbyte, Calmcorder, KkoagulaA, Manes, Atrox. (This is cut and pasted from promotional materials as I fear I couldn’t quite nail its wide influence radius and promote it to the audience it deserves).

Degenerate

Degenerate (The Netherlands) Devastation Ahead

https://band-degenerate.bandcamp.com/

Release – November/15/2019

Independent

ARTWORK- 76

Simple, vivid and to the point. I like it!

FIRST TRACK- 91

It takes a few seconds to realize this is neither Grindcore, nor Tech Death, though it displays elements of both it soon finds its rhythm. This is Thrash, aggressive have no doubt of that, bordering on Melodic Death it has bite, a rabid intensity and a flow which will have the listener up and on their feet in no time. An awesome start!

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

I’m not normally a fan of thrash, unless it makes an instant impact. And this does just that! Razor wire vocals, searing riffs, amazing solos, heritage flavor and vertebrae snapping rhythms, this is just the start of the list which makes this album stand out. I cannot for the life of me wonder why this didn’t feature on a plethora of year end lists, it’s that impressive (and my neck hurts so good).

Favorite Tracks; Adrenaline spiking from start to finish!

FFO; Sepultura, (newer) Exodus, Machine Head.

Interrupting the Normally Scheduled Broadcast for Something Completely Different.

folian

Folian (USA) -Blue Mirror

https://folian.bandcamp.com/album/blue-mirror

Release- January/31/2020

Anima Recordings

ARTWORK – 72

A little artsy, but I get the point; someone has perished, possibly at sea. But is the kelp or seaweed (or is that hair?) to blame or something entirely more sinister still?

FIRST TRACK – 86

“Post Metal”, “Shoegaze”, “Doomgaze”, “Noise Rock”, “Drone”. I’m honestly not sure what either of these terms means but this has an undeniable appeal, a curious start if truth be told, and has somehow managed to capture me in its allure even though at first the track appears rather relaxed and unassuming it slowly builds into a magnificent cinematic arrangement seething with a grandiose nature.

INITIAL LISTEN – 89

Far from what I would normally place in my ear this still has an undeniable charm, a familiarity if you will which is distorted, slightly jaded, taken into Ambient and Drone realms then delivered, repackaged, slathered in each of the aforementioned elements to envelope the listener in (“spacey”) tones which effectively cover a wide radius of the emotional spectrum. There’s an aura here, a strangely relaxed one that wavers, which surpasses atmosphere, an all-encompassing vibe which transcends the typical listening experience transporting the albums audience across transcendental landscapes dotted with passion, intrigue, daunting lows and exhilarating heights. Admittedly, this is a release I had second thoughts about discovering (especially after reading the genres listed as descriptions) however after doing so I’m glad I took the plunge. This is quite simply brilliant, but keep those assumptions at bay, go into this blind without prejudices and make time for a complete listen without distraction. Guaranteed to make more of an impression the more it’s experienced.

Favorite Tracks; Enchanting throughout, this collection is downright hypnotic even though it’s far from “the usual”.

FFO; Somali Yacht Club, NIN, Oasis, Stone Roses, Nuerosis.

March Releases
Reccd by @LFCMFighter

raider

Raider (Canada) Guardian of the Fire

https://raiderofficial.bandcamp.com/album/guardian-of-the-fire

Release- March/20/2020

Independent

ARTWORK- 74

Am I about to plunge my ears into Power Metal, or audio with an Epic feel with a possible fantastical edge? Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK- 83

Well, this is hardly Power, or even Epic, metal. It’s definitely Thrash. The bang yer head wicked variety complete with breakdowns, solos and venom dripping vokills. Suffice it to say I’m diggin the shit outta this thus far.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

Who says one can’t have a kick ass Thrash album sporting cover art which might hint at more melodic arenas, perhaps audio of a more Epic nature? But that’s not to say that this isn’t. It is most definitely guilty of having riffs (for days) and rhythms you can most certainly without any doubt lose the last vestiges of your sanity too. Also, surprisingly, leads and solos which inspire air guitar aplenty, the air of old school Heavy Metal influence is distinct yet never an element which is utilized too often. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t let the cover steer you astray. Sure, this bears fantastical elements, lyrics hinting at conflict, menacing forces and the like. If truth be uttered this precariously teases jumping the boundary of the Death fence, though manages somehow to remain firmly rooted upon the Thrash side. This is inarguably audio which incites frenetic movement, sweat and exhaustion, for this makes one move and doesn’t let up till the digit moves against all restraint to hit the play button again.

Favorite Tracks; Blistering throughout!

FFO; Sodom, Annihilator, Crusadist.

Aodon

 Reccd by @uniquehifi
Aodon (France) – 11069

https://aodon.bandcamp.com/album/1-1-0-6-9

Release – March/27/2020

Willowtip Records

ARTWORK- 70

The onset of decay or time, I’m not sure which. This gives little away as to the audio within.

FIRST TRACK- 93

A dissonant nightmarish backbone complemented by evolving rhythms and ferocious vocals. A little different than most in the same arena but it certainly makes an impact.  This is rather hard to describe easier to enjoy. An unfathomable impressive commencement.

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

This is my first experience of these guys and just… wow! Honestly, I’m always a little put off by an album which might not make sense to me on first glance, seriously what’s up the title? But after a little proddin’ (thanks to @uniquehifi on Twitter) I allowed this entry into the ears. Fuck me (I never swear, just ask the Fn’ wife) this produced an instant reaction. It’s hardly traditional, actually rather hard to describe without making people shake their heads in confusion, but it works. The style is as equally as ferocious as one is lily to hear but the accompanying rhythms which set this apart from the pack, the feel, the atmosphere, the aura. This is different, you can be sure of that but it’s not so wildly obscure as to be totally out of left field (what, a baseball reference?) Give it a chance and feel free to thank @uniquehifi too.

Favorite Tracks; Astounding throughout!

FFO; Atmospheric Black Metal with a slight Avant Garde aura and a Post/Progressive edge.

Temple of Void

Temple of Void (USA) -The World that Was

https://templeofvoiddoom.bandcamp.com/album/the-world-that-was

Release- March/27/2020

Shadow Kingdom Records

ARTWORK- 94

Exquisite inks, oozing with detail and life, displaying an arcane location, a landscape painting which seethes with ominous atmosphere. I’m left to wonder is this the bands rehearsal space?

FIRST TRACK- 92

Slow, crushing, ritualistic with an atmosphere which is palpable. Albums don’t start any better than this. Death Doom of the highest order which makes me wonder why I haven’t laid ears on this band before now.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

At times the audio sounds as if Grotesquery and Paradise Lost got together and decided to combine their most notable talents. The vocal approach is a brilliant narrative (ala Grotequery) whilst the melancholic aura and arrangements of Paradise Lost (“Shades of God”/”Icon” era) is undeniable. This combination works superbly for the first few tracks offering a depth and aura which is quite simply astounding, but the album somewhat peters out, trudging into Groove Death depths, losing some of the magic the first half exhibited (although to be fair the bar was set extremely high from the get go). Climaxing with the near ten-minute title track the album reaches near the brilliance it started with to leave the listener hungry for another listen. Overall, this is a stunning effort sure to widen the eyes of anyone unfamiliar with how the band tackle the genre they choose to manipulate. Fans of Death/Doom take note this traipses into territories, both rhythmic and arrangement, one might not predict whilst still managing to return to familiar realms without alienating the audience, only one of many reasons why this deserves a slot in the collection amidst other greats. Make room!

Favorite Tracks; The Beast Among Us, Self Schizm, The World that Was.

FFO; Paradise Lost, Grotesquery, Novembers Doom.

Razgate

Another Reccd by @LFCMFighter
Razgate (Italy) – After the Storm…the Fire

https://razgatethrash.bandcamp.com/album/after-the-storm-the-fire

Release – March/27/2020

Punishment 18 Records

ARTWORK – 89

I’m all about Fantasy. Fantasy and Horror. Combine the two, in this case a questing Barbarian confronting an enigmatic entity perched upon a mountain of skulks, and I’m a salivating fool. Such is the case here!

FIRST TRACK – 91

A classical, Baroque, introduction sets the scene for pummeling, domicile obliterating, rhythms and a vocal style which is…wait for it…eerily similar to a certain Tom Arayas. This is my introduction to the band admittedly; Consider me sold!

INITIAL LISTEN – 94

This might ruffle a few feathers (keep in mind it’s my opinion) but experiencing this for the first time is akin to my virgin experience with Slayer audio. Daaammmmnnnn-! About covers it! This checks all the boxes I require checked to be able to enjoy a Thrash album (not all Thrash is the same, no matter what your parents tell ya). And then it rips the list from my hands and sets it on fire! This seethes with Ill-intent, with no consideration for the listeners well-being, seriously else why would those responsible make this so GD infectious. There’s even slivers of traditional metal and Speed influence in here and sufficient tempo changes to make one think for a brief moment that the punishment is through (but no-!) To make matters worse (just take my wallet!). Bastids the lot of em’, here I am spinnin’ this like one possessed and the day is just slipping away. You know, I’m sure I had things to do today. Ah, well. I can see my digits reaching for the Play button, again, I have zero control. Don’t get caught in the same trap. Save yourself!

Favorite Tracks; I’m going to burn this album before I lose my sanity, my job, my marriage and did I mention control of my appendages? I probably should have started with that, have a spotter when you listen to this and ear plugs for them so they might be about to hit Stop, every once in a while, but not too often.

FFO; Slayer, Nuclear Assault, Havok, Annihilator, Sodom, Three Inches of Blood.

April Releases

Carnal Savagery

Carnal Savagery (Sweden) – Grotesque Macabre

https://carnalsavagery-chaos-records.bandcamp.com/album/grotesque-macabre

Release- April/1/2020

Chaos Records

ARTWORK – 72

It’s as though someone ripped a page out of Seagraves book, blew up the image and added a Zombie, with a few scavenging companions, with his insides falling out. There’s little doubt as to what’s on offer here.

FIRST TRACK – 82

Filthy, mid paced madness with flourishes of abruptly inciteful rhythm (to send one into a moshtastic orgasmic salivating state) oozing with the trademarked genre’s HM2 menace, enough atmosphere to sate and unhurried commanding growls. All in all, a great combination with excellent delivery. A fantastic start to get one in the old school mood.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

As the title of the album suggests the feel of the album is one of blood, bone, carnage and obliteration. Obviously, this concept isn’t fresh, new, or even ground-breaking but is delivered here in such a way as to make the listener sit up and take note (shit, it even comes complete with atmosphere). Carnal Savagery aren’t another dime a dozen copycat act, these guys have been around (since the scenes inception). Add to that the fact that a certain Dan Swano decided to ‘help out’ and it means be prepared, as he most definitely knows his stuff and the myriad depths of the genre itself. The album itself benefits from a fantastic tone, a dirge, an electric charged distortion which recalls the heyday of the scene and the audio itself? Well, it could well have been recorded in the same era as it reeks of professionalism, wisdom and a quality which will be instantly accepted. Hardly a parody of, and miles from plagiarist material but rather an addition to that which has already left its mark. Jump on this as I can only imagine if these guys stick around, they will stand alongside Entrails, LIK and Nocturnal Hollow to hold the standard for the scene into the new decade.

Favorite Tracks; Not a single one but the whole damn thing.

FFO; Bloodbath, Vomitory, Ribspreader, Dismember, LIK, Entrails.

 Grieve

 Grieve (Finland) – s/t (12″ MLP)

https://werewolfrecords.bandcamp.com/album/grieve

Release – April/3/2020

Werewolf

ARTWORK- 86

Black and white ink mastery. A form, a ghost, a wraith looks toward the storm laden distance for meaning, as He/She does so it parts welcoming his arrival. This is my take. I could be miles away but it’s impressive nevertheless.

FIRST TRACK- 92

Malicious blizzard riffs complementing a somewhat Folksy/Viking aura with slightly Cosmic undertones. Howls and snarls makeup up the vocal accompaniment. Blanketed in atmosphere the track makes for an amazing introduction to the band and their style.

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

Only two tracks on offer here, barely ten minutes but it’s more than enough to whet the appetite for more of the same. Blistering frigid riffs, snarled venom, epic narrative lyrics and melodic majesty. This is Black metal with bite, emotion, rhythm and a smidgen of D-beat combined to leave an undeniable mark.

Favorite Tracks; Both tracks are unfathomable impressive.

FFO; The Abyss, Dissection, Emperor.

Graveir

Graveir (Australia) – King of the Silent World

https://graveircult.bandcamp.com/album/king-of-the-silent-world

Release – April/17/2020

Impure Sounds/Brilliaint Emperor Records

ARTWORK – 78

I’m honestly not sure what to think of this. An excellent shadow heavy image with hidden meaning. Guessing I need to break out my thinking cap. A skull is front and center draped in a shroud of sorts with a plethora of crosses hanging from his/her(?) neck. Perhaps she skull is surveying its domain; “The silent kingdom”. And everyone is also of the not breathing variety, thus incapable of making a sound.

FIRST TRACK – 72

Grandiose Post meets Atmospheric Black metal with wailing vocals and a rumbling dirge nature. Not entirely what I was expecting but I remain intrigued.

INITIAL LISTEN – 76

Hardly tradition Black or even Death or the “assumed” combination of the two this relies more on ritualistic dirge and borders on an industrial tone. Rhythms are often an undercurrent rather than a driving factor and cavort playfully within the arrangements. Post and Progressive properties are dominant as too an undeniable ominous nature though overall this isn’t too far from the ‘norm’ as to alienate fans of either Black or Death, although as it stands  it should appeal to those more with Cavernous penchants perhaps even Grindcore and Crust tastes as this shows slight elements from each realm also, rather than that of the straightforward chuggery variety. This has grown on me over several listens, and has blossomed to show a wide swath of influences, so I don’t expect an instant downright appreciation.

Favorite Tracks; The Fetch of Crooked, Immacolata,

FFO; Akercocke, Aodon.

Kurnugia

Kurnugia (US) – Forlorn and Forsaken

www.reverbnation.com/kurnugia

Release -April/27/2020

Momento Mori

ARTWORK- 78

I can’t get over the fact that the face reminds me of the ‘witch’ creature from the “The Dark Crystal”. Otherwise a nice image with excellent colors and details.

FIRST TRACK- 82

With an intro with sounds like a soundtrack which accompanies the money shot scene to a later day Gothic shocker questions arise as to what might be on offer. But fear not, the first real track on offer displays melodies of a remarkable nature any fan will be able to instantly appreciate. Classic Death metal ripped from the 90’s playbook strangely somewhat both American and European in tone. Chuggery and atmosphere and a vocal approach akin to that of “Corpsegrinder”. I’m all ears; this is quite the opener!

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

Grinding, rumbling Death with enough movement in its arrangements to stray from the realm of boredom. A classic of all that works merging the old school ala Bolt Thrower with a dynamic approach, barely this side of technical bordering on at times Grindcore sensibilities, and plenty of groove to carve a grin on any fans chops and keep it there. This is quite the find for any bored with the plethora of acts sounding the same ole and bringing little to the scene. These fellas know how to play, compose and deliver an album which delights.

Favorite Tracks; Top notch Death metal throughout.

FFO; Angerot, Grave, Unleashed, Benediction, Vomitory, Bloodbath, Gorguts, Morgoth.

And a new segment, because I’m literally drowning in Metal (not time) I wish to promote. Introducing; The “WTF Lightning Review”.

TUUNBAQ

TUUNBAQ (Russia) – Graves of Ice

https://tuunbaq.bandcamp.com/album/graves-of-ice

Release – September/13/2019

Artwork – 74

Ferocity – 88

Groove – 87

Infectiousness – 88

Originality – 76

Genre – Grindcore/Crust

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 87

Atmosphere, Grind, Sludge and Groove…Hell to the yes!!

Legendry

Legendry (USA) – The Wizard and the Tower Keep

https://legendry.bandcamp.com/album/the-wizard-and-the-tower-keep

Release – November/1/2019

Artwork – 74

Ferocity – 24

Groove – 72

Infectiousness – 83

Originality – 76

Genre – Heavy Metal/NWOBHM/Folk/Prog/Doom/Epic Metal/

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 84

Exquisite fantastical themed Traditional Metal bursting with nostalgia, diverse styles and an undeniably fluid nature.

Embodiment

Embodiment (UK) – Palingenesis

https://embodimentofficial.bandcamp.com/album/palingenesis

Release – April/24/2020

Artwork – 86

Ferocity – 89

Groove – 83

Infectiousness – 92

Originality – 65

Genre – Tech/Prog Death

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 91

Ungodly impressive tech/prog death w. classical elements and a hypnotic allure which is unfathomable.

Divine Chaos

Divine Chaos (UK) – The Way to Oblivion

https://divinechaos.bandcamp.com/album/the-way-to-oblivion

Release – April/24/2020

Artwork – 84

Ferocity – 75

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 84

Originality – 60

Genre – Aggressive Thrash/Melodeath

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 83

Insanely catchy, dynamic arrangements with wicked vocals topped off by impressive production.

Destroyed in Seconds

Destroyed in Seconds (USA) – Divide and Devour

https://destroyedinseconds.bandcamp.com/album/divide-and-devour

Release – April/24/2020

Artwork – 89

Ferocity – 86

Groove – 89

Infectiousness – 92

Originality – 70

Genre – D-beat/Crust/Hardcore/Thrash/Dirge-laden Death metal.

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 91

Top of the heap D-beat with varied influence which demands ears upon it!

It is impossible to sit still while listening to this!

exhausted animal Well shit, this turned into a Thrash lovefest, I didn’t intend for it to be the case but I just so happened upon a few Releases in the genre worthy of praise. I’m still hurting from Razgate (damn you @LFCMFighter!) And I suspect it might be the case for a great many others whom stumble upon its charm unsuspectingly. Again, this has taken a while, I only wish I could do more but alas thing while Covid thing has me working and babysitting (Can I call it that if it’s my child…?) rather than working and scribbling. Although I have inserted another segment in order that I might be able to promote more albums in a timely manner.

Until next time, don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the senses.

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 Part Eight

black metal gif

Tis perilous and uncertain times in which we live. Most things have become uncertain, we are reminded to wash our hands on a constant basis (seriously who doesn’t do this anyway?) and give a six-foot berth to those we are unsure of. Isn’t this behavior dictated by manners alone. Regardless with all that’s transpiring we still have distractions. Thankfully metal is still one of them and artists are still busy composing, creating and carving that which makes out senses tingle in excitement. I’d like to dedicate this installment to them and their tireless, ceaseless dedication. Thank you! I cannot seriously cannot write those words in a large enough font. It goes without saying therefore to support your local artists and those who continue to brighten your day with the eventual realization and maturation of their endeavors.

Without further ado may I drop you abruptly into grammar atrocious as IO attempt to put into words my appreciation of that which has delighted my senses in the last week.

February Releases

Angellore

Angellore (France) – Rein ne Devait Mourir
https://thevinyldivision.bandcamp.com/album/rien-ne-devait-mourir-2
Release- February/14/2020
Finisterian Dead End/The Vinyl Division

ARTWORK- 91

A touch of Gothic, a touch of SM and a flourish of Avant Garde. Just what is it I’m letting myself in for? Regardless this is a stunning image with makes the mind wander.

FIRST TRACK- 94

A twenty-minute opener. Yes, you read that right. And this isn’t Doom. Well it is, but there’s infinitely so much more on offer that it can’t be classed as merely that. Atmosphere aplenty, Gregorian chants, a smorgasbord of vocal approaches, strings and the occasional dip into Black waters make this an audio landscape one can truly get lost within. Think early Theatre of Tragedy but amp up the emotion and classical elements, only then will you be somewhat close. Outstanding doesn’t even come close.

INITIAL LISTEN- 94

Whoa. This collection of Tracks runs quite the extensive gamut. In one instance symphonic majesty in another an uptempo Gothic rock outing of sufficient godliness to place a smile on Pete Steel’s face, in others yet a folk vibe is unmistakable. Often landscapes are drenched in melancholy and the emotion produced takes the listeners to depths rarely attained, no matter the genre. Although this is hard to truly categorize the quality on offer is far superior to that I would ever think possible in a release which exhibits as much varied influence as this. The composition is sublime, the flow exquisite and the arrangements breath-taking. This is quite the achievement, one which I can only image will be celebrated for years to come setting the bar for others to strive for. The minutes will fly when this envelops the senses, bathe in the glory of Angellore.

Favorite Tracks; Hypnotic throughout.

FFO; Moonspell, Theater of Tragedy, HIM.

March Releases

Shadowkillers

Shadowkiller (USA)- Dark Awakenings
https://shadowkiller.bandcamp.com/album/dark-awakening
Release- March/3/2020
Stormspell Records

ARTWORK- 88

Flinging open the doors a Dark Elf sees carnage and readies him(her)self for conflict. Awesomeness. An epic fantasy image hinting at audio of the same nature. Is it too early to say I’m sold?

FIRST TRACK- 90

A fantastical introduction and an Epic/Power metal style minus the falsetto vocals I was expecting. Top notch arrangements and a lyrical narrative I’m wholly intrigued by. I believe I’ve found a rarity here, but only time will tell…

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

Admittedly, this is the first I’ve heard of the band. The genre really isn’t my go to audio arena of choice. However, with that being said this offers a great deal to pique my interest. A stunning blend of Epic/Power/Speed and traditional Heavy Metal and lyrics basted in a fantasy vibe which only makes me wish I’d have tried harder at penning fiction of the same ilk. Shit, it even contains keyboard passages reminiscent of vintage Dio fronted Rainbow (my weakness). The vocals are thankfully more gravelly than falsetto though still firmly rooted in the traditional and are easily decipherable to the point of drawing the listener into the story which unfolds as the album progresses. The arrangements here are superb, complete with cinematic atmosphere which only adds depth to the albums lyrical concept. Rhythms and riffs are fluid and convey a wide variety of emotions effectively. I never thought I’d say this but I believe I’ve found an album in this arena I can preach about, honestly the first since Riot’s “Thundersteel”. If the genres mentioned above are to your liking you cannot allow yourself to miss out on this! As a non-genre fan, I’m loving it. I can’t imagine how much of an impact it’ll make on one whose penchants run to more the melodic and epic than extreme.

Favorite Tracks; Hypnotic and enchanting from the first to the last

FFO; Magnum, Iron Maiden, Rhapsody, Ancient Empire, Primal Fear, Savatage, Blind Guardian.

dopelord

Dopelord (Poland)- Sign of the Devil
https://dopelord.bandcamp.com/album/sign-of-the-devil
Release March/10/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 85

A gloriously archaic/medieval styled image depicting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse but dressed in their everyday garb sans disguise.

FIRST TRACK- 88

Dangerously infectious Doom with Cathedral, Trouble and obviously Sabbath undertones. Drenched wickedly in classical horror themes this gives off a delicious vintage aura. I’m hooked where’s my Lazeboy at?

INITIAL LISTEN- 87

Pulsating, throbbing riffs with seemingly a life of their own, fuzz dripping, spesker shaking distortion and a smidgen of psychedelia. Sounds like most Doom releases, right? It does, but this is surprisingly varied in its approach whilst still hanging onto traditional parameters. Ranging from melodic, to synth laden to a track with a somewhat industrial motif and saturated in occult themes this has a great deal to offer both the Doom aficionado, newcomer and casual listener alike. I’m not typically a fan of the doom genre this however is heavy in my playlist rotation.

Favorite Tracks; infectious and varied throughout.

FFO; CoC, Cathedral, Black Sabbath.

Venator

Venator (Austria) – Paradiser EP
https://venatorsteelcity.bandcamp.com/releases
Release-March/19/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 76

Just me or does the cover have a slight Quiet Riot struck by lightning vibe? Or Iron Giant (inhuman form) going slightly bonkers? This screams late 70’s early 80’s without any doubts whatsoever

FIRST TRACK- 89

Hard rock meets NWOBHM meets mid- era Judas Priest. This is addictively melodic with some wicked twitch the limbs riffs. But let’s not forget the delicious production which lends this a nostalgic edge.

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

This checks all the boxes I would hope for in a release slathered in vintage values. The rhythms on offer are ungodly infectious, the instruments clear, the leads and solos passionate but not overly so and the vocal style has just a hint of falsetto (in the right places, to mynliking anyhow) without going into overly dramatic realms and without losing any of its manly bravado. The tracks are offer we a fantastic taster for what’s to come, hinting at both fantastical lyric narratives and other themes which are more easily identifiable to those of us without a unicorn parked in the shed or a tattered DnD rulebook close at hand.

Favorite Tracks; Paradiser, Blind Ambition.

FFO; Judas Priest, Blitzkrieg, Tank, Dokken.

Virocracy

Virocracy (Germany) – Irradiation
https://virocracy.bandcamp.com/album/irradiation
Release- March/20/2020
Black Sunset/MDD

ARTWORK- 84

Strange that the sky and landscape are the same color. Chem trails, Pesticides, is that a mushroom cloud, or slightly perturbed smiley faces ? Insert your theory here but there’s definitely something afoot in this vivid apocalyptic themed image.

FIRST TRACK- 77

A typical of the genre ominous intro opens this album then it’s into familiar waters. Atmosphere and melody collide along with a progressive aura and rhythms ala Arch Enemy (this also sports impressive feral female vocals). Moving with dynamic twists and turns sans repetitive chuggery this track bodes for an impressive collection of Tracks in store. an impressive start.

INITIAL LISTEN- 77

The intro to “Rane” is an album highlight, sounds as if lifted from a ‘moneyshot’ scene in a Sci-Fi film and is, in part, eerily topical. The remainder of the album cannot truly be comfortably pigeonholed. It runs with a Progressive nature, arrangements which transform constantly to aid a concept narrative. The style also dips into Thrash realms and occasionally into Tech and Djent arenas based on its not relying on typical chuggery but rather melodies which are dynamic, exciting and rarely stagnant. Give this a shot, it’s a fantastic debut and bodes well for an act starting to find their niche.

Favorite Tracks; Rane, Solitude, Void of Heart.

FFO; Angela era Arch Enemy, mid era Death.

black phantom

Black Phantom (Italy) -The End is Near
https://blackphantom.bigcartel.com/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgaySL5pP9M
Release- March/20/2020
Punishment 18 Records

ARTWORK- 78

A fantastical sludge-like monstrosity is depicted against a background drenched in an ominous nature (yellows and greens of a hue which brings to mind imminent doom). A vintage hourglass in the foreground, in the creature’s grasp, adds weight to the album’s title. Is he the Grim Reaper or merely a “Stranger in a Strange Land” without a battery-operated torch? Perhaps the music will help to answer these questions? Perhaps not. But I’m hitting play regardless.

FIRST TRACK- 81

Galloping rhythms, a traditional NWOBHM aura and a style which brings to mind both vintage Maiden and Wolfsbane. Add to that a vocal style akin to that which Bruce Dickinson boasts and you you have the start of a release which is promising indeed. Though might turn some off based on its approach.

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

Distinct bass, a familiar vocal style pulled off with significant ant range and an aura which screams Iron Maiden worship, but also that of others making waves around the same time. Dynamic rhythms, soaring leads, solos and undeniable fluidity throughout. At times Maiden esque, in others more akin to Dickinson’s solo material in feel, in others yet more a hard rock rather than a traditional metal approach. Whatever the case; this delivers. It shows creativity in its composition (this is familiar yet not to point of riff for riff plagiarism), sports intelligence in its lyrics and is sure to make an impression for those yearning for audio of undeniable quality with a distinct Maiden ‘edge’ (did I say Maiden enough here?)

In closing, I find it somewhat strange that an Italian act would make a German version of a track featured in the album but this seriously only adds to the intrigue this album sports. Did I mention I’ve listened to thus six times already? Nope? Well, it’s good. Discover it for yourself and tell me your thoughts.

Favorite Tracks; Redemption, Hordes of Destruction, The Road, Either You or Me, Hands of Time.

FFO; Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson (solo material), Iced Earth.

Graceless

Graceless (The Netherlands) – Where Vultures Know Your Name
https://rawskullrecordz.bandcamp.com/album/where-vultures-know-your-name
Release- March/27/2020
Raw Skull Recordz

ARTWORK- 78

This has an archaic apocalyptic vibe, Pompeii perhaps? And brings to mind Immolation (for one reason or another) complete with a smoldering lava aura the image invokes both despair, destruction and desolation. I’m left intrigued… hitting play.

FIRST TRACK- 86

The introduction seethes with a tribal and readying for war tone which soon transforms into a pulsing dirge. However, veins of melody and effective atmosphere add considerable depth to make this different than most. An intriguing start which although in tone is familiar is also oddly a mixture of influences making it quite unique.

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

It would be simple to merely label this as Bolt Thrower-esque material and be done with it; the unmistakable aura is there, the tone, the war motif. But this is slightly different and that’s what separates it from the herd (who apparently all seem to be riding the same coat tails). There’s undeniable presence (love that word!) here, a depth which only a rare few have managed to effectively capture. An epic nature only occasionally experienced in audio of this nature. And it’s the ease of execution which captures the senses, this doesn’t seem forced. Familiar, strangely so in some instances, yet flowing with a life of its own. And there’s even a spot of diversity, passages of groove, amidst a track designed to shake things up, to send the limbs a twitching. Prefer mid-tempo to face searing speed? Like a little sludge with your growling? It honestly doesn’t get much better than what’s on offer here. Sink in, allow this time and you might find it difficult to eject it from the playlist. You have been warned!

Favorite Tracks; Much like spending a distracted moment in quicksand this will eventually swallow your being. Nope. I can’t pick one, two or even, three tracks as favorites; this whole album rips!

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Vital Remains, Deicide, Memoriam, Hail of Bullets, Vallenfyre, mid era Slayer.

perdition temple

Perdition Temple – Sacraments of Descension
https://perditiontemple.bandcamp.com/
Release- March/27/2020
Hell’s Headbangers Records

ARTWORK- 89

I don’t think this is a meeting of the minds so much as a weekly event. A tabletop RPG convention of sorts perhaps or the Underworld Book Club? I’m only left wondering who’s left looking after the wee cherubs.

FIRST TRACK- 93

This track goes straight for the jugular, no glitter intros no atmospheric submergence into cinematic realms this hits hard, aims for the nearest major artery and grabs the attention instantly. Writhing rhythms complemented by bestial vocals and evolving galloping passages topped off by abrupt dousings of diabolical essence but my words don’t come anywhere near to doing this justice. Strap yourself in folks this is gonna be a bumpy ride!

INITIAL LISTEN- 96

Churning riffs and a mischievous diabolical nature sees one initially think vintage Morbid Angel worship slathered in an Incantation aura yet it isn’t just that and it isn’t quite that simple. Vicious intent rhythms put one in mind of Vader whereas maniacal solos and leads bring to mind early Slayer, vintage Witchery, as well the undeniable influence mentioned above, a prancing impish maniacal nature is injected throughout to the point that when playing this you can literally smell Sulphur and hear the tippy tap of cloven hoofs on hard packed dirt. An air of cloying menace blankets the experience and its one the listener will only want to punish their senses with again and again. This is top notch archaic elevator music (naturally it’s nothing like the drone elevator tunage most of us are accustomed to) wicked, unrelenting, maniacal and instantly appreciable this could well be the soundtrack to the decent into the office of the ‘Horned One’ himself. Honestly, this is hands down my favorite release of the year so far, each time this plays my torso is sent into spastic movements, which isn’t a pretty sight in the slightest.

Favorite Tracks; Blistering throughout this will not disappoint!

FFO; Incantation, Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel, Immolation, Goatwhore, Gravehill, Vader.

Left over from 19’

Remission

Remission (Australia)– The Tether’s End
https://remissionband.bandcamp.com/
Release – November/15/2019
Self-Released

ARTWORK – 68

I’m honestly not sure if that’s the Earth (I’m not sure how it could be) or the Moon in the Hangman’s noose, regardless it tells a great deal of what the band wish to convey. A primitive image which makes one think though doesn’t necessarily give much away in relation to the type of audio within.

FIRST TRACK – 81

Zero introduction here, this commences with rocket fuel propulsion straight from the gate. Wicked infectious rhythms coupled with melodic breakdowns and vocals typical of the ‘thrash drenched in death sensibilities’ genre. On its description alone this sounds similar to what the remainder of the genre offers though it has a certain something, a blistering and well-executed riff meets technicality element, which elevates it from the masses. A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

Think Thrash meets Death balanced precariously on the Deathcore border and you’ll be close to what this offers. Aggressive blistering rhythms, technical phrasing within dynamic arrangements which any fan of the genre is likely to fall ‘ass over tit’ for in appreciation. Complex and tight are key elements here although this is only partly Technical it hints at a style which could well transform that way completely at any given moment (in the future perhaps?) Flourishes of other styles are evident throughout this album also; Djent rears its head, Crossover influence pops up via gang vocals choruses as well Post (whatever that in fact is). Another element is the albums atmosphere, which is plentiful, alongside the other mentioned factors as well the fitting though strangely discernable vocal style it makes a fantastic companion to the albums (Thrash) foundation. Overall, and although this style isn’t really anything new the band have obviously done their homework for this delivers what fans of the genre demand; it has excitement, unpredictability, expertly-placed breakdowns and passages of abrupt whirlwind ferocity one can lose their shit too. This does more than entertain, it makes a bold statement (especially based on the fact it’s the band’s first full-length outing) Remission aren’t fukin’ around. Sit up and take note as if they progress in this fashion these guys might well be the next big thing.

Favorite Tracks; Mother War, Temples, Black Scorched Earth, The Tether’s End, Transcending Chaos, Forced Entropy,

FFO; Sylosis, Black Dahlia Murder, Trivium, Psycroptic.

And Now for Something Slightly Different

Rodrigo Y Gabriella

I’m not usually into acoustic music. However, after experiencing the first track listed here, I was of the mind that I should write a few words in appreciation.

Rodrigo Y Gabriella – Mettal (Ep)
https://rodrigoygabriela.bandcamp.com/album/the-mettal-ep
Track listing;
Battery (Metallica)

Undistorted acoustic guitars can indeed be heavy and this proves it. Add a little Latin flavor, plucking, picking, fretboard manipulation godliness and a little creativity and this classic now has the presence to appeal to a new audience, one that possibly would’ve never heard this track otherwise. The perfect timing, phrasing and arrangement is what holds the attention here but it’s the talent and ingenuity (which more than make up for the absence of vocals) which makes this mesmerizing. An outstanding homage to the original though strangely with added oomph.

megadeth holy wars

Holy Wars (Megadeth)

Intricate, passionate and overflowing with energy whilst still remaining faithful to the original. I’m not sure how the pairing did it but this seems infinitely more grandiose than the original, this shines with an added sheen, a depth, a western aura but also a frenetic nature adding to the Tracks narrative (for those familiar, for those not do much it’s easy to figure out as the caliber showcased here invokes vivid tableaus) which is altogether hypnotic. Words fail me. Much like the ‘source material’ this demands discovery and showers of praise.

slayer seasons in the abyss

Seasons in the Abyss (Slayer)

It appears that I’m mentioning this more than I thought I would, however this is again an amazing example of the presence, power, depth and emotion one can bring to an already established track with only using acoustic instruments. In this case the air of sinister and ominous is palpable. As well as using traditional means the musicians here implement hands on the body of the guitar for added weight and boy does it work invoking images of dimly lit subterranean passages, flickering candles and archaic ceremonies (obviously “South of Heaven” in tone but I’ve always thought this track reminded me of that album). Again, there’s a certain Latin flavor here but it adds flair and bite making for another track which is undeniably astounding.

This three track EP showcases the brilliance and awe-inspiring adaptability of two seasoned musicians. In somewhat adapting (minutely to be fair) the three Tracks on offer they’ve undoubtedly introduced a whole new generation to acts they might never have heard otherwise and reminded long-time fans why the tracks chosen are so important to the genre. I honestly can’t say good things about the audio on offer here, I’m enthralled and can’t help but sing along. Admittedly it’s the first I’ve heard of the dueling guitar duo but it won’t be the last. Apparently, there’s more to discover, and I’m up for the challenge.

Animal - music is meant for sharing

Becus’ great music is meant to be shared!!

And that concludes another foray into the extreme audio realm. Stay safe out there folks. As always feel free to comment, share and/or suggest anything you think I might be interested in covering.

Yours, virus free (for now)

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 Part Seven

black metal gif

As the world nears total lockdown and a possible zombie apocalypse looms, we can all rejoice in the fact that we still have audio to lift the spirits and transport us to a better place. However, before I continue, I’d like to mention that artists are some of the folks hit hardest during these times of uncertainty, obviously close behind those who work in a serving capacity in restaurants, bars and similar establishments. Be  good neighbor, support others in these times of need and help out whenever you can. As a nation, as a people we will make it through this and only be stronger because of the adversities and instances of silliness we are currently enduring. Without further ado and preamble may I present a handful of audio treats which delighted my senses. I have hopes they might do the same for the listener.

Note; As much as I’ve tried to keep this brief it’s somehow worked its way into diatribe lengths and for that I apologize. However, for all those willing to dip their retinas in my atrocious grammatical (lack of) skills may I present this week’s findings.

January Releases

vernon of persia

Vernon of Persia (USA) – Ascend
https://vernonofpersia.bandcamp.com/
Release- January/10/2020
Self-Released
ARTWORK- 82

Who I can only assume is an astronaut stares longingly at a planet in the distance? I can also only assume the planet he/she’s on is Mars as it’s red whereas the other planet is blue. Is it Earth? Why would he/she want to go back? Questions, questions and more questions all leading up to the all-important one…what about the quality of the album itself?

FIRST TRACK- 76

Djent and Technical Death leanings with sparse Progressive breakdowns aided by vocals (hardly traditional grunts, growls or shrieks) dipped in angst. This is hardly Brutal Death but rather Deathcore, an intriguing start with significant ‘bounce’ and I’m curious.

INITIAL LISTEN- 78

Surprisingly diverse this release encompasses elements from a variety of genres (namely Djent, Progressive. Tech and Melodic Death) whilst adding a twin-pronged vocal approach to add depth. The tracks on offer are pleasingly different and showcases the bands willingness to inject a little experimentation into the mix. However, with that being said this most probably won’t appeal to those whose penchants run to Brutal Death and traditional Tech or even Prog Death but rather to those who prefer their breakdowns just short of Slam territories and audio which is just barely too extreme for traditional/terrestrial radio airplay. Honestly, I’m liking this more than I thought I would (admittedly it has its moments) it’s growing on me. But then again, I have a soft spot for other audio in much the same vein; ie, vintage Beartooth which most don’t understand. My recommendation is; if you’re adventurous, give this a listen & decide for yourself. It might surprise you?

Favorite Tracks; Weightless, Ascend, Inner Sleep, Sea of Trees,

FFO; (vintage) Beartooth, Killswitch Engaged, Between the Buried and Me.

incinerator

Incinerator (Norway) – Awakened by Evil
https://incinerator-norway.bandcamp.com/releases
Release (digital) – January/17/2020
Self-release
ARTWORK- 82

The art here is dominated by a large logo, obviously the band’s name, and with what it includes there should be no doubts as to what to expect in regards to the audio within. There’s an inverted cross and an ancient torch with a blazing pentagram at its center. But that’s not all. There’s also a skull held aloft by a hand and wrist encased in a studded wristband. The skull looks none too happy being engulfed in flame but it all makes for an intriguing image.

FIRST TRACK- 85

An intriguing introduction (taken from “Awaken” by NORDVARGR) leads the listener into exquisite black speed/thrash territories (draped in nostalgic qualities) to snap the spine. Heavy accented vocals top the unholy concoction off leaving me rabidly eager for the remaining three tracks to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

Only four tracks here. Surprisingly each boasts more than enough to keep the listener sated. Atmosphere is plentiful thankfully invoked through percussion rather than keyboards. Swifter than-something-quite-fast rhythms alongside an impressive drum salvo and wicked vocals make for a hypnotic audio experience. But that’s not all this offers, this isn’t merely thrash nor speed (with at times a decidedly South American flavor) for within the four tracks here is a distinct homage to the blackened spectrum though it’s not until the final track, “In the Dead of Winter”, that this becomes neon sign bright. Crisp production with a raw edge elevates this into stellar realms.

If you’re a fan of the acts mentioned below do not let this pass you by unheard.

Favorite Tracks; Intoxicating from start to finish.

FFO; (vintage) Slayer, Hellripper, Wraith, Bastardizer, (vintage) Bathory, Venom, Bewitcher.

February Releases

Karnivore

Karnivore (Sweden) – Dodsriket
https://southcoast-productionssweden.bandcamp.com/album/d-dsriket
Release- February/13/2020
South Coast Productions
ARTWORK- 77

Classic bronzed and somewhat archaic statue-esque art. Puts me in mind of blackened death audio, but I could be mistaken (it’s happened before).

FIRST TRACK- 78

An over two-minute instrumental, I’d say this would normally be a risk but this is surprisingly upbeat audio complete with rhythms and a somewhat epic melodic vibe which hints at perhaps that which is to follow. Color me curious.

INITIAL LISTEN- 80

It isn’t often that a release touted as ‘Death Metal’ from Sweden surprises me as much as this. And it didn’t take long for it to do so either! One might expect the olde tried-and-true HM2 approach, but it isn’t here. This boasts melodies (not rare in and of itself in the genre) and a certain infectious nature but it’s how it gets there which is the kicker. Think a Viking touch ala Amon Amarth mixed with the rhythms usually associated with ‘Storm’ era Dissection and you wouldn’t be far off. Add to that certain traditional Heavy Metal passages, a spot of Sodom worship amidst the albums thrashier moments, rough accented vocals and the hypnotic effect is complete. Barring a few hiccups, the album is a great find and introduction to both the band and their style.

Favorite Tracks; Empire of Filth, Slice n’ Dice, No Freak, Black Flames, Disfigured Man.

FFO; Amon Amarth, Dissection, (vintage) Arch Enemy.

March Releases

pestifer

Pestifier (Belgium) – Expanding Oblivion
https://pestifer-band.bandcamp.com/
Release- March/13/2020
Xenokorp
ARTWORK- 72

Blues, greens and a most unmistakable aura, that of seething menace amidst towering spires. I’d swear this was a black metal release if I didn’t know better.

FIRST TRACK- 88

Complex rhythms, multi-layered riffs and amidst it all a purpose, a story to tell, woven intricately throughout. Fantastical passion invoked by undeniable hypnotic qualities and captivating melodies. A stunning mix of chaos and precision.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

Impressive, unpredictable and bursting with a mischievous sense of boisterous adventure, a spiraling narrative (which puts one in mind of Atheist as well, in instances, Voivod but also Testimony era Pestilence) and a varied progressive approach thankfully miles from the brutal assault many others offer. However, this still offers a technical pace and sublime precision, which most will be able to instantly appreciate, to keep the listener on their toes while offering nostalgia for those who have been around the extreme audio block. Give this a couple of spins, its grown on me and continues to do so.

Favorite Tracks; Exciting from start to finish.

FFO; (mid) Pestilence, Necrophagist, Atheist, Obscura.

 

 

Wolf (Sweden) – Feeding the Machine

Release- March/13/2020
Century Media Records

wolf feeding the machine

ARTWORK- 94

A little girl nonplussed at having to walk upon a landscape of shattered bodies (if that’s what this depicts) There’s something going on here. Is this a deleted scene from “Soilent Green”? Is she the harbinger of doom in sheep’s clothing? Regardless this is probably my fave album art of the year thus far.

FIRST TRACK- 88

Melodic Heavy Metal bordering on Speed metal with Halford-esque vocals. With solos and leads also of the Priest ilk, though this is a tad darker I’m liking it.

INITIAL LISTEN- 77

An impressive vocal range, rhythms and melodies which are highly infectious and a style which is perilously close to Thrash. The leads and solos are what separates this from the crowd but for me there’s still something missing as it didn’t live up to the initial excitement the first track provided and only a few tracks grabbed me. Perhaps a few more listens are in order?

Favorite Tracks; Shoot to Kill, Midnight Hour, Mass Confusion, Feeding the Machine.

FFO; Judas Priest, Primal Fear, Iced Earth.

Aronious

Aronious (USA) – Perspicacity
https://aronious.bandcamp.com/
Release- March/13/2020
The Artisan Era
ARTWORK- 84

A burst of color. Reds, pinks, grey and darkness and even a splatter of green. I believe I see a tree, there’s definitely a moon in there, apart from that I’m not sure what I see, apart from the bands logo. A little confusing, but I like it. Perhaps the image is a nod to the style of audio within; the melding of one color into the next, the ominous approach of night and the transforming glory of nature (?) Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK- 91

From its slight Middle Eastern/Sci-Fi themed instrumental opening one instinctively knows this will soon twist, transform and lead the listener into unpredictable waters, and it does. Cut to octopus-esque drumming abilities (an obviously well-trained creature) intricately carved guitar rhythms (I can only imagine a smoking fretboard) and a constantly evolving arrangement; flourishes of an intricate nature, frenetic galloping movements, melodious breakdowns and the scene is set. Add brutal death vocals and every Prog/Tech Death fans interest is piqued, as well it should be! A fantastic opener setting the stage fur what’s about to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 90

Tech/Prog Death is a fantastic genre, however it’s a little tricky to write upon if truth be told. One can only say “intricate”, “tight”, “fluid”, “precise” and “inhuman instrument manipulation” only so many times and I’m pleased to say those phrases all fit perfectly within the parameters of this review. I’ll state that The Artisan Era are certainly expert in choosing talent for inclusion within their stable, and they’ve done so again with Aronious. I only find it strange that they aren’t from Californian soil (as most appear to be). In regards to this album, and without trying to sound repetitive, it entertains from its opening note to its last. Perspicacity stays far removed from predictable, remains exciting and careens through a myriad of genres as it transports its listener into dizzying heights, brutal arenas and landscapes both serene and surreal. And often all within a few seconds of each other. This is in short, an excellent example of what the finest of the genre has to offer. And yet another winner for The Artisan Era stable. Need I say make room for this in the collection? Probably not. But I just did!

Favorite Tracks; Within an album of this quality, forget it!

FFO; Inanimate Existence, Equipoise, Obscura.

neorhythm

Neorhythm (Russia)- Terrastory
https://neorhythm.bandcamp.com/
Release- March/20/2020
Self-Released
ARTWORK- 88

Can you depict the history of mankind in an image, a diorama, perhaps trapped in a bubble?

– You bet

Schweet. Great job. But where’s the Queen mum and the cast of the Jersey Shore?

FIRST TRACK- 72

A wide ranged vocal approach, crunchy guitars, varied pace, riffs for days and an aura overflowing with passion. This boasts a rainbow of elements and promises that the remainder of the album is going to be quite different.

INITIAL LISTEN- 83

I wasn’t honestly sure what to think when presented with an album, concept of sorts admittedly, on the history of mankind. I sure as hell wasn’t expecting it to be as impressive as this. Promo materials state “Dark Groove” and it’s close, for wont of a better term. As the album rolls out certain passages bear a distinct Moonspell Gothic Rock vibe, others a Rotting Christ grandiose feel, while others yet a bouncy mix of styles I’d associate with Gojira. In short, this is quite unique, Avant Garde could well be used in its description (hopefully it wouldn’t scare potential listeners away) as well a slew of other genre monikers though not a single umbrella to cover that which is on offer. It becomes more consumable as it matures though that might be based on the fact that the listener is merely becoming more familiar with the style on offer? One thing is undeniable; this has a great deal to offer those with patience and an open mind. With that in mind I’m rather surprised I like this as much as I do.

Favorite Tracks; Fight for Fire, Zeus Rules, Empire Glory, Sapere Aude, Information Age.

FFO; Soulfly, Sepultura, Gojira, Meshugga.

April Releases (Why? Because I just couldn’t wait)

grim fate

Grim Fate (The Netherlands) – Perished in Torment
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/perished-in-torment
Release – April/7/2020
Xtreme Music
ARTWORK- 75

A Bull, twisting human souls, a Jason looking fellow, an Eagle, even a few tombstones, there’s probably a few more details in there if you peer hard enough. Intriguing art with a bronzed effect and a myriad of intricate details leaves me curious as to the audio on offer.

FIRST TRACK- 79

Mid-paced infectious dirge with carefully injected Doom elements and a certain familiarity which nods to old school sensibilities. This leaves me eager for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 76

Death Doom driven by unmistakable dirge qualities. Old school influences are front and center with plenty of bludgeoning groove, galloping passages and tempo changes to spare. Not much that’s genre defining or ground-breaking here but this is guaranteed to make one move and will please the ominous mid-paced chuggery crowd. Is it just me or does the ten-plus minute closer bring to mind “Shades of God” and “Icon” era Paradise Lost?

Favorite Tracks; Pile of Corpses, You Will Rot, Perpetual Anguish.

FFO; Grave, Benediction, Asphyx, Bolt Thrower, Gorefest.

 

khora

KHÔRA (International) – Timaeus
https://soulsellerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/timaeus
Release- April/17/2020
Soulseller Records
ARTWORK- 91

Undeniable boner material for those into Lovecraft themed chaos and otherworldly cosmic Sci-Fi themed shenanigans.

FIRST TRACK- 88

Dropped unceremoniously into a cosmic landscape via cinematic synth mastery the listener is soon pummeled with a style akin to Death meets Black with Symphonic elements to spare. A dizzying introduction if truth be told which overflows with intricate details and nuance hinting at an album with a great deal to offer those who have the willingness/patience to allow it to do so.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

It becomes clear within the first couple of tracks that this isn’t a traditional, run of the mill, extreme audio affair. It’s neither comfortably Black, Death or even Progressive though it does utilize elements of each, with a more than liberal helping of atmosphere, within its epic, sprawling arrangements. As one listens the description Avant Garde might come to mind for this is slightly ‘different’ in its composition and approach. Unmistakable however, is the underlying dark/ominous nature aura throughout (even in the tracks with a remarkable Progressive Devon Townsend feel) though highly polished in its production. Balanced is a term which I believe fits in describing this album. Progressive themes are evident as well the majesty, coldness and harrowing nature often associated with Black metal. This isn’t all that’s evident but amongst the styles here these are the most prevalent and effective in making this a listening experience which leaves an impression, fits the cosmic narrative and warrants further exploration to fully digest. In conclusion I’m of the mind that this is an album which demands repeated listens to fully appreciate. Much like consuming a Pringle; one just isn’t enough.

Favorite Tracks; Noceo, l’Annihilateur, Existence, The Occultation of Time.

FFO; Septic Flesh, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir,

Something a little Different

Askvader

Askvader (Sweden) – s/t
https://askvader.bandcamp.com/album/s-t
Release-March/13/2020
The Sign Records

The artwork for this release depicts various instruments piled upon a minuscule island (of sorts) with a storm raging, lightning pierces the sky, in the background. Miles from the imagery which would normally appeal to my refined (ha-ha) tastes this album boasts what I can only imagine is more a rock and roll/traditional heavy metal vibe. However, after playing it for the first time with my daughter in attendance and having witnessed the look of sheer joy spread across her features, and her little legs and digits twitching in time with the music I came to the rapid conclusion that it deserved a few words.

Cheshire Cat

Similar to the grin on my daughters face

Undeniable is the fact that this isn’t what I would normally have pounce between the ears. The lyrics aren’t based upon anything dark, morbid, the apocalypse, shenanigans in the Underworld or any other manner of perversion humans or other biped abominations are capable of. The lyrics here are based on happier, more relatable everyday things. In fact, this is radio friendly audio if only the majority of stations would ever give it a chance. The music has rhythm but again is oceans removed from that which I would normally allow entry into the senses. This isn’t Thrash, it isn’t Death it certainly isn’t black nor Grindcore or any variation or mixture of those already mentioned. It’s obviously classed as a pallet cleanser but for those who let their ears frequently wander into such realms, I would venture to say this is very good. It overflows with melodies, both acoustic and otherwise, all of the instruments are clear, the vocals are instantly likable, in a fresh, youthful, kind of way. The style however, is varied, ranging from Doom, Brutal Death and Dirge. Ha, I jest! In actuality this is Blues laden Rock and Roll with an emphasis on passion and emotion. A retro vibe is prevalent throughout and it’s here that I should really mention a plethora of acts (from the era in question) which this style sounds like. But, I’m at a loss. Suffice to mention this has an air far removed from modern rock and more an aura which The Black Crowes and Old Man Wizard have more recently captured and probably a slew of other acts I’ve yet to discover (perhaps even a smidgen of vintage Wolfsbane). This shines with leads, solos and riffs one can’t help but appreciate be it through spastic limb movement or the smirk which continues to spread across the chops as this plays out. I’ll admit I’ve listened to this more than I thought I ever would and I delight in playing this whenever my youngest joins me in the car as I much prefer to either of the “Frozen” soundtracks, surprisingly I’m actually coming around to it but more importantly it makes my daughter ‘light up’. And that seriously is all that matters (it’s the little things in life) and the reason why I’ve just spent more than a few minutes scribbling these words.

mix tape action

Keep it up old man. Hopefully you’ll make at least one persons day slightly better.

In closing, give this a chance. It isn’t “extreme” in any way, I believe I’ve mentioned that before, but it is well- crafted, infectious and addictive.

And, that’s about it for this week’s extreme audio exploration.

Stay safe out there.

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – The Sixth

March on! March!! March on!!!
march on header

Are you afraid of a virus named after a beer? Pussy!

This is the mantra of the oncoming tidal wave of metal about to be released, I’m sure of it. I’m taking cover, this month is set to showcase quite the audio onslaught, if only we could use it to our advantage against the approach of that which is a virus and is named after a South American lager (I could be wrong it could be manufactured in Boston). But before I do, I’m grabbing a few supplies; my headphones, a few titles which I believe looked rather interesting, hand sanitizer, butt wipe (for some weird reason all the stores I’ve visited lately appear to be out) among other things. Without further ado here are my thoughts on a few ‘audio treats’ I’ve already spend a great deal of time sampling.

Slipping Through the Cracks/Left Over from 19′

phantasmal

Phantasmal (Finland) – Ansaan Syntyneet- Ansaan Kuolleet
Release – May/31/2019
Self-Released

https://phantasmal.bandcamp.com/releases

ARTWORK- 83

Dark, ominous and dismal. I’m left wondering if the figure in the foreground is happening upon this place by accident (in an exploratory jaunt through the unknown) or returning to it; their home?

FIRST TRACK- 82

Commences with riffs which would make Messiah Marcolin (vintage Candlemass frontman, as if you need informing!?) grin. But the vibe soon changes to channel both later era Chris Barnes Cannibal Corpse mixed with shades of Celtic Frost. An interesting start and fantastic use of mid-tempo and transforming rhythms against a brutal vocal approach.

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

Hardly traditional of the genre this melds Doom, complex riffs, groove and passages of progressive quality folk and even delves into majestic black realms. The lyrics are in Finnish (as far as I can tell, with my limited language skills) a fact which adds intrigue and a slight archaic element if truth be told. The vocals themselves sound akin to Chris Barnes “The Bleeding” era bringing a familiar aura to an album which is deliciously different and only truly unfolds the more it’s allowed entry into the senses.

Favorite Tracks; Aseeton, Ansaan Syntneet, Ruumis,

FFO; Unleashed, Cannibal Corpse, Opeth.

January Releases

Rat King

Rat King (USA) – Vicious Inhumanity
Release – January/17/2020
Within the Mind Records

https://ratkingband.bandcamp.com/album/vicious-inhumanity

ARTWORK- 81

For some reason this reminds me of an early Gorguts release (same artist perhaps?) There’s definite horror/sci fi themes here, the giant hypnotic slug from the Italian cult celluloid gem Contamination is what pops to mind instantly,  but is this for cloning purposes or for sustenance? Regardless this is a fantastic and vibrant image which only makes one ponder upon what’s “going down” within it.

FIRST TRACK- 78

This commences with Doom/Sludge grandiose horror undertones but it soon changes, (much like the transition from their last albums style to what follows here) transforming into scorching riff, blast-beat laden Grindcore. Aggressive and surprisingly well-structured for its ilk. An impressive start complete with intriguing garbled messages to put one in mind of black web/secret society nefarious activities.

INITIAL LISTEN- 78

I’ve had this on the backburner for a while. Admittedly when I see the word “experimental” in a promo release I get a little nervous as it can go one way or another (which might mean wildly into ‘left field’ territories). Thankfully this stays this side of that boundary. Sticking to the grindcore, colossus/crushing riff foundation the album veers into many a realm to leave one with purely grindcore assumptions scratching their head. However, and rather surprisingly, “Vicious Inhumanity” delivers. Galloping riffs are frequent, expertly inserted and groove is commonplace, even the more “experimental” passages keep the interest level high and usually showcase either the bassists dancing digit talents or the ability of the guitarist to pull one from spastic brutal realms into something entirely different and then back again without the whole endeavor seeming that out of sync. Doom and Sludge elements are present (to please fans of their past release) as too, in instances, Nuerosis-esque tendencies, in short this isn’t a non-stop blasting traditional Grindcore affair but rather one which will please fans who prefer their audio from scattered influence.

Favorite Tracks; Matanza, Soledad, Zero, Rotting from Inside.

FFO; Terrorizer, NoMas, Wizard Rifle.

February Releases

Arcaine

Arcaine (Switzerland) – As Life Decays
Release- February/14/2020
Black Sunset/MDD

https://arcainemetal.bandcamp.com/album/as-life-decays

ARTWORK – 91

Stunning art with fantastic colors and plenty of detail. Here’s a few words from the PR firm in explanation; “The band also wants to make the listeners aware of their responsibility for the actions of mankind. People’s decadent way of life, their development and their handling of nature is in the foreground and is taken up by the graphic concept of Polish artist Xaay and visually implemented on the cover artwork”.

FIRST TRACK – 77

A sinister toned introduction complete with an angelic chorus and acoustic guitars leads into the first track. A Deathcore style slathered with Djent, Groove and Technical elements takes over. As well as infectious rhythms there’s plenty of ‘bounce’ to get the listener moving. The production is top-notch, crisp and allows every instrument to breathe. A great start to get anyone (this is the first I’ve heard of them!) unfamiliar with the band, interested.

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

Utilizing a style which is part Djent, Metalcore with plenty of melody thrown in, enough breakdowns to keep those excited by such happy and a smidgen of added Technical nature, Arcaine have managed to release an album which is damn catchy from start to finish although honestly doesn’t add anything ground-breaking to the surrounding scene. With that being said however, the album delivers from start to finish. There’s a certain vibrancy and exuberance which can’t be ignored, the talent is undeniable, the composition brings everything a fan of the scene could want, the vocals fit perfectly and it has repeat play written all over it. Tiny qualms if truth be told for this is a highly addictive example of what the finest within the genre offers. Add this to the collection, you won’t be disappointed!

Favorite Tracks; As Life Decays, Still Alive, Tyrants, Rebuild,

FFO: Arch Enemy, At the Gates, Dark Tranquility, In Flames, Soilwork, Darkane, Devildriver.

banisher

 Banisher (Poland) – Degrees of Isolation
Release – February/29/2020
SelfMadeGod Records

https://selfmadegod.bandcamp.com/album/degrees-of-isolation

ARTWORK- 76

There’s definitely something tearing this fellow apart. Stress? Family? His relationship? Or all of the current political coverage everywhere one seems to look? Regardless this is an intriguing image with highly effective dizzying qualities.

FIRST TRACK- 82

Grinding death/thrash which transforms within no time into tech death/grindcore with infectious driving rhythms, striking melodies and a vocal style which is uncannily similar to anyone which I can’t pinpoint at the moment.

INITIAL LISTEN- 78

Most might believe this is merely a Thrash/Death outing with the way it starts out, for first few seconds anyway. However, it soon shows its diverse coat of ‘colors’ in displaying Technical prowess, Djent properties, Deathcore tendencies, Grindcore-esque elements, Hardcore tendencies and truckloads of angst. Shit, there’s even a smidgen of Progressive and Post in here also. All this amidst rhythms which tumble over each other, collide with vicious intent and continually fight for superiority. As the album hits its stride a familiarity takes ahold, a style heard before, although it might take a few moments to nail down its a style associated with the Cavalera Bros, aka Soulfly and that heard in mid era Sepultura. Overall this provides an interesting mix, refusing to settle in one arena for too long.

Favorite Tracks; Actors Accomplices, Extradition, Lockdown, Apothesis, Echoes.

FFO; Benighted, Dying Fetus, Decapitated, Mortuary, Soulfly.

March Releases

absentation

Absentation (Syria/Damascus) – Antimatter Rites
Release – March/1/2020
Independent

https://absentation.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK- 88

Why does this cover make me think of Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, a painting with a regal figure sporting a scowl and… where the hell did I put my keys?

FIRST TRACK- 85

Technical, brutal and hyper fast (similar in style to Kataklysm) sporting enough rhythm transformations, and influence nods to intrigue most across the Death spectrum. The eyes should be wide open by now and the body primed for movement.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

Hard to fathom that this is another example of a ‘we don’t need more than one person to make a band’. This is complex, displays a slew of influence ranging from the above-mentioned through Dirge, Djent and Thrash with sprinkling of Progressive tossed in for good measure, yet throughout it sticks to its “fast as f” guns. And somehow it remains exciting with an undeniable aura of never let up. Although at times a little hit and miss (some parts drag while others feel a little “samey” and the drums are obviously computer generated. Minor qualms if truth be told which shouldn’t turn any away in discovering what this has to offer), it obviously requires extra points based on the fact that it was all conceived, created and produced by a single person, huge props must be given. Overall, I’m fascinated that one fellow is capable of such as this, of the belief this will grow on me over time and will happily praise this to all who’ll give it a chance. This deserves attention!

Favorite Tracks; Quantum Nothingness, Echoes of Distant Astronomical Giants, The Velocity of Relativity Talisman, Gravitational Singularity.

FFO; Kataklysm, Behemoth, Origin.

trauma ominous black

Trauma (Poland) -Ominous Black
Release- March/6/2020
SelfMadeGod Records

https://selfmadegod.bandcamp.com/album/ominous-black

ARTWORK- 89

From the same artist responsible for Bell Witch and the latest Abigail Williams this is stunning, harkening perhaps to an album with atmosphere and melancholy aplenty? I guess we’ll see.

FIRST TRACK- 78

Melodic Death, bordering on Djent at times, with a multitude of choppy galloping rhythms, a few interesting riffs/note passages and a myriad of breakdowns. However not quite so many, thankfully, as to have it enter Rings of Saturn or Slam territories. An intriguing start that’s a little, though not wildly, different from the traditional Death entry.

INITIAL LISTEN- 82

A varied mix of melodic death showcasing a variety of stylistic elements plucked from a variety of extreme genres, namely Brutal Death, Tech Death, Slam and Djent with a smattering of atmosphere and Arch Enemy esque passion tossed in for good measure. It takes a while for the album to warm up but once it does it’s a fantastic introduction to an experienced act (who unfortunately have fallen to the wayside, left in the shadows of others, a few in particular come to mind) who really should garner more attention. I’m surprised it took me until their eighth outing to discover them if this is any indication as to what’s on offer a little “digging” is in order. A great effort which really doesn’t sound like what might expect given the covers art.

Favorite Tracks; Inside the Devils Heart, Among the Lies, I am Universe, The Black Maggots, The Godless Abyss.

FFO; later Decapitated, Meshuggah, Grave.

Sutrah

Sutrah (Canada) – Aletheia (EP)
Release- March/13/2020
The Artisan Era

https://sutrahmetal.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK- 88

“Go on, take a peek.”

“What in the Holy F is that?”

“Well, some have described it as a kaleidoscope of inner turmoil, the gradual descent into one’s own abyss of madness. Many have commented it’s what might transpire from watching “The Kardashians” on an endless loop for days straight. Others merely know it as art from the “Aletheia” album from the band Sutrah. It is what you make it.”

“Ah, for a moment there I thought you were going all physiotherapist on me…?”

“Nah, I’m a veterinarian. It’s not my field of specialty. Now, what seems to be the problem with Fred?”

FIRST TRACK- 77

An instrumental for an Introductory track? Now there’s a gamble. Though there are possible indicators of how this album might turn so far it bears definite atmospheric/post/progressive elements with a dense audio, somewhat frenetic, background to leave me curious.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

Broken in four parts (variations if you prefer) this release showcases the bands stellar abilities to transport the listener from outright Progressive realms into Brutal and Tech- Death arenas all the while displaying top-notch musicianship, vocal prowess and composition ingenuity. Ranging from a dreamy, somewhat relaxed classical, soundscape with heavy Middle Eastern influences to audio slathered in ferocity this isn’t for those demanding instant gratification. Although it does offer a variety of whirling dervish and incendiary rhythms combined with vocal “exchanges” which are sure to delight. In short, it’s a collection of tracks to melt into, a progressive treat for those wishing for a slow burn with a catastrophic payoff. The epic fifteen-minute closer is sure to turn a great many heads. This might take a few spins to get fully comfortable with, but once you’re there it’s a fantastic destination well worth revisiting and frequently

Favorite Tracks; Variation I.ii – Lethe, Variation II.ii – Genese.

FFO; Howling Sycamore, Between the Buried and Me, Cynic.

necrogusto

Necrogusto (Brazil) – Ancestral Bestiality
Release -March/15/2020
Nuclear War Now! Productions

https://nuclearwarnowproductions.bandcamp.com/album/ancestral-bestiality

ARTWORK- 71

A wicked, raw and depraved black and black archaic ink invocation. Is this really a true representation of Sunday lunch at the In-Laws in days gone by?

“Dammit son. You forgot the goat”.

FIRST TRACK- 75

Primal thrash with maniacal South American roots. Think a collaboration between Venom and Sarcofago and you might be close. The introduction leads the listener towards the unfathomable depths whilst the guitar and drum percussion are what prods them over into the pitch unknown. Barked vocals add a diabolical edge this isn’t “clean” in the slightest but it still has an eerie appeal which has me very much intrigued.

INITIAL LISTEN- 74

Without regard for trend or keeping to genre stereotype Necrogusto deliver 6 tracks of “Satanic Black Noise” (using their own words). Thrash, black and definitely not for the faint of heart or those pussy footing around genres to pick something which might be slightly off kilter from the traditional and to their liking. This isn’t nice, it certainly isn’t polished, in fact raunchy is a great word to use here, with plenty of homage to those acts who coined the term ‘deathcore’ in Brazil (important not to be confused with the same term tossed around today) and seething in menace and intent. Recommended for the brave.

Favorite Tracks; Baphometic Noisy Cult, Intoxication and Ecstacy.

FFO; Sarcofago, Holocausto, Venom, Sex Thrash.

Upon Request

Occasionally I have recommendations tossed in my direction with the words “you have to hear this” attached. In this case however @AtomicHeartbeep mentioned this was the best he’s heard and asked me to give this the “full treatment”. I’m left intrigued. Seriously, how can I resist?

Epiphany from the Abyss

Epiphany from the Abyss – s/t
Release – May/24/2018 (digital)
Self-Released

https://epiphanyfromtheabyss.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK- 89

An obelisk in the middle of nowhere about sums this stunningly detailed, black and white, rendition up. Intricate details and an enigmatic aura makes the mind whirl. But what about the audio encapsulated within?

FIRST TRACK- 92

Jaw-droppingly impressive technical precision with undeniable deathcore tendencies and a touch of darkness. This is bloody good, hold my calls. I. do. not. want. to. be. disturbed!

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

Whipping neck ferocious intensity, fretboard inhuman flourishes, riffs aplenty, frenetic pace transformations and genius progressive breakdowns from seemingly out of the ether. And yet there’s so much more to wrap the ears around, it blows me away that I haven’t heard this or the acts name (in this case the same thing) circulate around the metal message boards and social media with a rabid fanaticism even years after its initial unleashing. The arrangements and composition showcased here boasts an undeniable fluidity and expert melding of styles I can’t help but instantly appreciate. As the album winds down it blossoms, displaying the bands stellar abilities and willingness to branch out with stylistic diversity. The effect only adds to a listening experience which is captivating pushing further into realms of godliness. In conclusion the metal community at large need this in their collection if only in respect to an act who could’ve been so much more if they were praised that much earlier for their utter brilliance. (For sadly, they are no more.)

Favorite Tracks; Blisteringly impressive all the way through.

FFO; Black Dahlia Murder, Alterbeast, Allegaeon, Arsis, Inferi.

A Guest Spot
He11fir3 Returns!

This week I am in deep debt to the great CultMetalFlix for keeping my interest in mind when selecting this long-awaited installment for me to indulge on. That gem being Thy Dying Light’s debut self-titled full length.

thy dying light debut album cover

(The album is not yet up on BC so I’ve included a few links to others alongside pertinent links to be able to contact the artist and label – Ed*)

https://pestproductions.bandcamp.com/album/forgotten-by-time

https://deathkvltproductions.bandcamp.com/album/cold-in-death

https://wulfhereproductions.bandcamp.com/album/the-last-twilight

www.facebook.com/thydyinglight

www.purity-through-fire.com

Knowing not everyone is going to be familiar with this bands work I’m going to attempt to cover it as best as I can for new listeners. What Thy Dying Light (UK) offers with their debut is a pillar of tradition. A paragon to the strongest, most powerful virtues of black metal’s true form. Classic second wave elements make up the plinth of their sound, being naturally cold, tortured, emotionally hollowed, and hopelessly dark. The band also deliver a very unique form of utterly antisocial sounding attitude, something like a quiet hatred from somewhere unknown. A feeling of unwelcome and discomfort for both messenger and onlooker poison these shrieks and tones like a bad omen.

Thy dying light raw BM

Now as a fan of the bands previous work, one of the first things I noticed when getting a look at this track list was there were some familiar titles on it. It’s not uncommon at all for bands to take previous material they may have not felt content with and give it one final reworking, and I myself was equally eager to hear these songs in their new trve form. Not only are these tracks beefed up with the new fuller, richer, and cleaner sound quality, you can also tell these reworked songs have been rehearsed, practiced, and experienced over and over, through live performance and constant tweaks self-critiquing to be presented here.

The overall album features an evolutionary step forward for the band in the sense that these new tracks and rerecording’s give us something the previous releases needed more of. Hostility and pure aggression. TDL have always wrote songs with a fine tension of hatred, but this time around the ferocity became a big part of the focus, and the result is the evillest sounding TDL yet. The vocals are no longer static-like and entwinned to the background due to raw production (which don’t get me wrong, worked fantastically well before) Now they are truly a fist in the face of god. It’s not just on the vocals either. Every note is played harder, angrier, faster and full of warning. Stay out of the way.

corpse painted dude yielding a candelabra

I give this 8 out of 10 corpsepainted dudes with candelabras. I will be preordering (Available on Worship Tapes Facebook page)

The highest of thanks to CultMetalFlix for not only allowing me to chime in on #AbrasiveAudio but also gifting me this album to review knowing it was something I was already getting pumped for.

And this brings yet another exciting, diverse, Abrasive Audio installment to a close. For fear of sounding repetitive don’t fear discovery of that which would normally sound foreign to the ears.

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 Part Five

black metal gif

And its time for yet another instalment in the ongoing series which explores the spectrum of Extreme Audio showcasing releases both fresh and not so much (obviously this would have been the ideal place to add “rotting” but I felt it cliched so left it out). This installment is shorter than most due to other duties I’ve put off until the very last moment but have demanded completion. Without further ado I present a few releases which I consider worthy of praise.

February Releases

primeval mass nine altars

Primeval Mass (Greece) – Nine Altars

https://primevalmass.bandcamp.com/album/nine-altars

Release – February/21/2020

Katoptron IX Records

ARTWORK- 90

There’s certainly something sinister going on here. An altar, or nine, human debris and plenty of skulls. I’m left wondering though what or whom is he/she hoping to invoke?

FIRST TRACK- 92

Grin inducing silly paced riffs, mischievous rhythms, passionate solos, an undeniable diabolicalism (that’s a word now!) and a venom dripping vocal approach. Every blackened speed metal fan’s wettest dream come to fruition. Now, where are my wet wipes?

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

One moment you’re being dragged through murky blackened speed waters, the next crystal clean on the back of a vehicle propelled by a fuel garnered from the finest Maiden esque rhythms and solos. And then, when you start to feel comfortable, a chaotic narrative takes ahold, technicality in a blender, and whips you around to the point of utter disorientation. And then… Well I’m not gonna ruin it, apart from to say that the fourteen-minute closer will leave the listener panting for more. Black, Power, Speed, hypnotic atmosphere it’s all here but molded in such a way to keep the entire collective grinning with the digits poised on the repeat button. Expect to see this mentioned a great deal more (based on unmitigated reasoning) as Year End approaches.

Favorite Tracks; Delivers frequent stings (in this instance, and the purpose of this analogy, a good thing) much like I would imagine an unwanted caress of the “hair” of Medusa. “Fuckn’ ouch! But it stramgely felt good, I think I’m gonna do it again!”

FFO; Hellripper, Wraith, Inculter, Hellish.

asarhaddon

Asarhaddon (Germany) – Reysa

https://geisterasche.bandcamp.com/album/reysa

Release- February/29/2020

Geistarasche Organisation

ARTWORK- 85

Those poor birds. I’m guessing they were in the wrong place at the wrong time but at least now they won’t be cursed anymore for spreading discontent through aerial fecal assaults.

FIRST TRACK- 90

Grandiose yet majestic, ferocious yet atmospheric. A wicked concoction of styles here resulting in audio which is downright mesmeric and (it gets better yet) it’s topped off with my weakness (in the extreme audio world); feral female “vokills”. A fantastic start. I’m all ears!!

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

I have a weakness for female “throats” (hopefully that doesn’t sound wrong, though it might sound “funny”) and thankfully this wasn’t promoted as that, else it receive/garner special attention based on that factor alone. As honestly this deserves attention based on its caliber. It delivers! Riffs are melodic yet harsh and the lyrics although in German (?), delivered in a feral approach, add an enigmatic archaic quality which elevates this to another level entirely. In part it reminds me of vintage Katatonia, Dissection while also boasting numerous other elements from across the blackened spectrum, including passages of what could be described as “post” sporting surprisingly hypnotic rhythms. Doom is present as well plenty of atmosphere making this at times menacing, often ferocious and thoroughly ominous. The production is clean though there still remains a primal edge to the audio’s composition to sate those with more the “traditional” yearnings. Overall a stunning release with a quality I wasn’t expecting in the slightest. This is black metal I, truthfully a newbie to the scene, can subscribe to!

Favorite Tracks; This delivers throughout!

FFO; vintage Katatonia, Dissection, (Columbia’s) Lucifera, Mist of Misery, newer Satyricon.

March Releases

nexorum

Nexorum (Norway) – Death Unchained

https://non-serviam-records.bandcamp.com/album/death-unchained

Release- March/6/2020

Non -Serviam Records

ARTWORK- 86

A nest of snakes cradles a bronzed skull.

Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the details and colors which makes this image pop.

FIRST TRACK- 77

Grandiose riffs, groove and a touch of darkness. This is undeniably Blackened Death shot through with veins of melody and mischief. A utilized sound bite seems to be, at first, an odd touch though soon feels more comfortable as the track wears on. An intriguing start.

INITIAL LISTEN- 83

Undeniable dirge, ala Bolt Thrower, drives this beast. A creature with a blackened soul spawned from the melding of many minds and influence. This is sure to please many this showcases a style whose radius covers both Death and Blackened arenas with a splash of Thrash and diabolical nature tossed in for effect. And it works; the atmosphere is superb and the overall feel isn’t one that depends on keyboards and reeks of over-dramatic/anti-Christian silliness. Overall this is a fantastic debut sure to whet the appetite of those with a penchant for a style that’s neither Death or Black but both drenched in top notch archaic qualities.

Favorite Tracks; Saligia Moralis Codice, Antidiluvian Purification, The Luciferian Descent.

FFO; Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth, Abysmal Dawn, Bolt Thrower, Septic Flesh, Noctem.

medium (argentina)

Medium (Argentina) – s/t

https://mediumgrind.bandcamp.com/album/self-titled-grindcore-crust

Release – March/6/2020

Transcending Obscurity Records

ARTWORK- 78

Blunt, somewhat simple though at the same time hypnotic, but eye-catching.

Is this the Sun, the Moon, an eyeball? Or a combination of all three? A stunning image which hints at perhaps multi layers of audio for the listener to lose themselves in. However, this gives absolutely zero away in relation to the type or style of content within.

FIRST TRACK- 90

Whoa, just whoa! This is a wicked mash- up of genres bound together by angst fueled vocals, rhythm and a Grindcore/Crust undercurrent which isn’t at all overwhelming but is utterly present. A fantastic start for those who haven’t yet taken the plunge to fully immerse themselves in any one extreme genre.

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

Under twenty minutes in length and boasting seven tracks, this certainly has a Grindcore/Crust aura to it, although it’s admittedly longer than most it still delivers all the aggression one would assume. But wait, there’s more. Each track boasts its own identity, though not so wildly as to make this a release that hurtles without care toward Avant Garde territories. This is carefully constructed, meticulously crafted with plentiful nods to a wide radius of genres without over-saturation of any one in particular. In instances “Medium” yields a comfortable, hardly brutal approach while in others it displays a more in your face assault all the while rooted upon a dark foundation which only adds to the albums appeal. Not to fret however as this isn’t too different, or experimental as to be foreign, it’s strangely familiar in fact and will most definitely appeal to those with a wide array of audio interests, one might even call this a pallet cleanser of a type for those not fully committed to stepping away completely from their extreme audio realm of choice. Prepare the body for movement for this will yank you around like a marionette at the whims of a drunken puppeteer.

Favorite Tracks; Incites an immovable grin throughout its length. There’s not a dull moment to be found here.

FFO; Illivilja, NoMas and a plethora of acts who experiment with the boundaries of Grindcore and Crust.

holiday drumming animal

Bang the drum, bang the drum, bang the drum and keep a happy face

And much like something frustratingly short this is done, and I’m heading back to other duties which collectively leer at me, impatiently, from across the room. Until next time, don’t fear discovery of that which would normally be foreign to the ears,

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020- Part Four

black metal gif

As the year blossoms as too does the onslaught of extreme audio. At this point I’ve given up trying to keep track of it all, it’s a worthless endeavor (well it’s not worthless) lest all else; responsibilities, family and career, falls to the wayside. So rather than try I’ll merely report on that which I recently found to be entertaining and worthy of praise. Without further waffling on all manner of things which one doesn’t wish to be made aware of let’s just say we get started…

January Releases-

faidra

Faidra (Sweden) – Six Voices Inside

https://faidra-northernsilence.bandcamp.com/album/six-voices-inside

Release- January/26/2020

Northern Silence Productions.

ARTWORK- 83

A classic image which puts me in mind of Archaic Decapitator’s EP (I’m thinking a little research is in order here) wizened monks, Greek philosophers and bearded doomster peddlers. A bronzed effect only adds to its intrigue.

FIRST TRACK- 89

Atmosphere aplenty and an undeniable doom malevolence all topped by a hypnotic black metal majesty. I’m still a stranger to this realm but this is oddly comforting much like unexpectedly finding a blanket on a cold winters night when the heater has abruptly decided to go on strike.

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

Exquisitely crafted arrangements and hauntingly deep rhythms accompanied by atmospheric choruses, synth effects (in instances, and in part, described by “blips and bloops” which in fact isn’t that far off) and an undeniable (somewhat traditional) black metal aura. The description sounds somewhat odd, in fact as though all the ingredients shouldn’t interact, even in protest. But they do, and this is astoundingly impressive. Mesmeric is a good word but it doesn’t come close to what the all-encompassing experience here offers. An audio package complemented by commendable production values far from what fans of the mentioned influences (below) might expect, however this element only serves to heighten the experience resulting in an album which delivers each and every time its placed into the senses. More impressive still is that this is yet another example of what a single, solitary, mind can visualize, produce and bring to full realization. Do not miss out on this!

Favorite Tracks; Not a bad passage from start to finish, prepare to sink into atmospheric black depths which will result in the minutes passing and days woes dissipating.

FFO; Burzum, Hermodr, Mist of Misery.

proscrito

Proscrito (Spain) – Llagas Y Estigmas

https://proscritoyolvidado.bandcamp.com/album/llagas-y-estigmas

Release- January/27/2020

Momentous Mori

ARTWORK- 83

“Hey Mabel, would you look at this. Some silly bugga has flipped this cross over.”

– Yea, it was a bitch getting it to behave and stand up straight.

“…Mabel!!”

FIRST TRACK- 88

A melodic otherworldly doom introduction leads the listener into realms they might not expect. Throaty vocals, at times seeming to issue from more than a single orifice, somewhere between death and black metal (with an obvious similarity to a vocalist any fan of the roots of the genre will instantly be able to name), elevate this far and beyond traditional Doom territories and spiralling across what many perceive as the boundaries of death/doom. The music and vocals combined form a soundscape that’s both harrowing and nightmarish though is unique in that it strays from utilizing the more familiar vehicle in order to get there. An intriguing introduction to both the band and their ‘take’, their invocation, of a genre which has become stale as of late.

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

The cover might scream Black Sabbath (taken to the extreme) but this most definitely isn’t. Obviously, the influence is there. This is mammoth riddled riff Doom, though it’s what’s “added” that might not appeal to the traditional purists. Think plodding menace in a blender with Tardy throat issuances from Obituary. Add to that undeniable groove, a thick ominous nature occasionally traipsing into cinematic depths, nods to traditional heavy metal influences, distortion laden rhythms which touch upon sludge waters, atmosphere melodies to leave any old school fan of Paradise Lost in need of a new pair of pants and an overall infectious nature and you’ll be close. The vocals here aren’t for everyone; this is death /doom with an emphasis on vocals plucked from the cavernous death arena. Although for those with an appreciation for the slightly different, in effect audio which clings to familiar structures whilst adding/embellishing upon their dimensions, this will about hammer home all the nails! With that I’m mind stay tuned to the album’s final moments for the cherry on the proverbial cake. Huge thanks must be given to @gregorywjkelly on Twitter for reminding me of this (when I only remembered the covers image) He has an infinitely better memory than my own!

Favorite Tracks; Delivers throughout!

FFO; Obituary, Paradise Lost, Novembers Doom.

malignament

Malignament (Finland) -Demo I

https://malignament.bandcamp.com/releases

Re-release January/31/2020 (originally October/21/2019)

Purity Through Fire

ARTWORK- 80

Another image which panders to my weaknesses; the macabre and black and white inks. (Yea I know it’s not white but rather ‘open space’ and I also know the artist isn’t pandering to my whim, but this sounds good. I’m going with it!)

FIRST TRACK- 88

Majestic yet melodic with a splash of folk, discernable rhythms which are downright infectious all complete with surprising production values which showcase each instruments role. This is Black Metal I can subscribe to without even trying. A fantastic opener!

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

(Note; Originally released with the first two tracks, the third was added for the tape fornat and this unleashing). For a demo this shines with a wicked, undeniable, appeal. The production is surprisingly decent, it fits the genre perfectly, and the tracks highlighting the musician’s knowledge (of the scene) and stellar abilities both in the composition and talent department. Cold, somewhat traditional, riffs are complemented by atmosphere, groove (yes “groove”) to incite movement and lyrics which make one want to dive into the physical releases accompanying text/lyric sheet. All in all an outstanding offering which should leave fans eager, salivating for more. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the scene but this made an impression instantly.

Favorite Tracks; Call to Arms, Wolf and the Moon.

FFO; Arctos, Dissection.

February Releases –

plague album

Plague (Greece) – Portraits of Mind

https://plague-gr.bandcamp.com/album/portraits-of-mind

Release – February/14/2020

Redefining Darkness

ARTWORK- 91

A wicked collage of skulls, eyeballs, bones and rot with exquisite colors to boot. An amazing image. If the audio is half as good as this, we’re in for a treat!

FIRST TRACK- 91

A typical introduction including Doom laden riffs, a little piano tinkering and a few bass chords leads into what I’d like to term “utter old school bliss”. Familiar yet fresh this channels riffs, phrasing and arrangements those of us who have a rabid hankering for the roots of the scene will instantly be able to appreciate. Melody, pacing, even the vocal cadence and delivery evokes the golden era of the genre – I’m hooked! Suffice it to mention if the remainder of the album plays out like this my headphones will most probably have to be forcefully pried from my head come days end.

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

Trust those (talented) Greeks to take something good and add upon its appeal. This does just that! Manipulating the familiar, twisting it and tossing in composition genius this album serves up an experience which might divide the camp. I for one appreciate its ability to make me reminisce upon that which brought me into the arena of extreme audio while others might comment that it’s too much like celebrated releases I can see part of this argument though I’ll also add that its becoming increasingly more difficult to be 100% original and or unique without the fear of acceptance.

With this release Plague have somehow managed to insert old school values, sensibilities and stylings into the foundation of a framework which might at first appear all too (instantly) recognizable but upon further inspection is a new take on a vintage design, utilizing talent, ingenuity and obviously undeniable homage as the mortar of said structure. Expect to see this mentioned again, multiple times, as the year draws to a close.

Favorite Tracks; An (old school) eargazm from start to finish!

FFO; mid era Death, mid era Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower, Pestilence, Immolation, early Gorguts.

invocation

(A last-minute entry)  Invocation (Chile) – Attunement to Death (EP)

 

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/album/invocation-attunement-to-death

Release – February/21/2020

Iron Bonehead Productions

ARTWORK – 80

An array of forms left to wither to dust. From this image one might wonder if the last vestiges of life are seeping away in the form of smoke. An interesting image which invokes bleakness and a dismay aura making great use of grays, black and white to highlight certain areas.

FIRST TRACK – 82

A bout of heavy breathing (a meditative concentration state deep in diabolical predicament I’m thinking) brings about the first riffs and the album begins offering a rolling suffocating dirge assault with a vocal accompaniment which seems distant thought equally as sinister as the musical style employed. There’s groove here too but it’s the aura which is impressive; cavernous and saturated in occult themes. An impressive start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

Hardly the typical chuggery many might think when the genre comes to mind this utilizes a constant pulverizing assault. Though not the type employed by either Origin or Nile but rather an aura which seethes with an underworld motif; a highly-effective cavernous saturation bringing about images of ancient locales forgotten by humanity at large, though still employed by robed denizens of the underworld for ritualistic purposes one would rather remain ignorant of. In short, an excellent representation of doom/death drenched in pitch darkness and slathered in an ominous nature that’s palpable. Hardly audio for the whole family but I’m over this like white on rice (does that sound right?)

Favorite Tracks; Impressive from first to last note!

FFO; Tomb Mold, Incantation, Krypts, Funebrarum.

theophagist

Theophagist (Luxembourg) – I Am Abyss

https://theophagist.bandcamp.com/album/i-am-abyss

Release – February/22/2020

Independent

ARTWORK- 87

A hand reaching for help. Look closer and you’ll soon discover this hand is much like a Siren bringing many to their doom. This image can be interpreted many ways to include several mental conditions and possibly the word “toxic” but seems as I don’t wish to write a dissertation, I’ll leave my thoughts brief.

FIRST TRACK- 82

A fantastic build leads into pummeling riff territory and an intriguing introduction to the bands style. Providing many layers, multiple twists and turns and a variety of tempo changes, far from one trick pony/genre chuggery ville, this bodes well for the remainder of the album and certainly tips the hat to a smorgasbord of influence plucked from a wide radius of genres. An execution bolstered by top notch musianship and production values.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

When I think of Luxembourg honestly nothing comes to mind.  But in experiencing this, that will now be brought to a screeching halt. For my virgin foray into what the country offers by way of extreme audio I left with a sizable smirk upon my chops. “I Am Abyss” provides a myriad of mixed styles, primarily melodic death sporting a decipherable vocal style (occasionally a twin pronged attack much like what Trevor from Black Dahlia Murder provides) but also other elements, exquisitely interwoven, plucked from genres as wide afield as Deathcore, thrash, melodic black and even groove with pinches of Djent tossed in for good measure. The addition of cellos and bass as an instrumental is a great touch putting me in mind of the brilliance supplied by Apocalyptica. I was left wondering if Ville Valo might add his trademarked sultry voice at any moment. Overall, this provides more than one might assume, boasts great production, plentiful riffs and terrific rhythms to make even the most stubborn of head bob in appreciation. A damn good debut, even if it did take four years to come to fruition but I’m glad it finally did and it only leaves me eager for more.

Favorite Tracks; Cannibal Preacher, The Awakening, Terrors from the Deep, R.I.S.E, Apocalypse (redux).

FFO; Black Dahlia Murder, Abysmal Dawn, Amon Amarth, Gojira.

But let us not forgot that which we may have missed (Huh?)

Short Sharp Bursts of 19′

Kharma

Kharma (Venezuela) – Chronicas Deletereas I (of 2!) EP

https://kharmagrind.bandcamp.com/album/cr-nicas-delet-reas-l

Release-July/13/2019

Independent

ARTWORK- 92

Lady Liberty, tentacles and a bunch of skeletons writhing in eternal torment. What’s not to like? But seriously, the tone and colors here are quite amazing. If you’re reading this guys, where can I pick up the shirt?

INITIAL LISTEN- 88

Grinding death, groove and lyrics I can’t understand one word of. But it works and this near twelve-minute slab of brutality is one I’ll gladly recommend to fans of grindcore mixed with brutally melodic death… and did I mention groove? There’s plenty of it and plenty of excellently orchestrated rhythms to move to. These guys need more attention!!

subservience

Subservience (UK) -Ascending from the Abyss (EP)

https://ukemrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ascending-from-the-abyss

Release- May/25/2019

UKEM Records

ARTWORK- 75

Something is making itself known, slowly but undeniably, but will it ever make it way to the shores of mankind? And of it does will it be mistaken for z loofah and sold by the thousands? This remains to be seen, until then I’m hitting play…

INITIAL LISTEN- 87

Clocking in at under nineteen minutes these Brits show us that, although they don’t add much to that which has gone before, they can still deliver audio of a caliber which shouldn’t be ignored. This EP provides rhythms, riffs and passages which take instant hold of the listener proving that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, especially if your brand of the wheel is of such a high quality as this. Surprisingly there’s a slew of influence here at varying degrees which doesn’t in the slightest detract from the composition on offer, but rather adds to its appeal. Suffice it to say I’m eager for a full-length as too should fans of brutal melodic death which keeps the excitement of the genre alive.

infernal conjuration

Infernal Conjuration (Mexico)- Infernale Metallum Mortis

https://infernalconjuration.bandcamp.com/album/infernale-metallum-mortis

Release- June/6/2019

Iron Bonehead Productions

ARTWORK- 88

Grandiose and classical. I’m of the belief this is a depiction of the landscape of a birthday cake for a God, an entity for which the number of candles cannot equal the amount of years. It’s a losing battle, how about a gift card instead?

INITIAL LISTEN- 94

Like the most wicked mashup of vintage Morbid Angel, Pestilence, Death (and to a lesser degree a few others) sans the all too frequently utilized and all too obvious copycat vibe. Executed with precision, diabolical flair, savage fury and undeniable revenance resulting in a slab of audio whose appeal should be akin to the ravenous onslaught of a populace devastating virus (sans the boils, general listlessness, hemorrhaging, seepage from every orifice, loss of life and grieving loved ones) if there’s any justice! Old school dipped in diabolical menace draped in homage to the chaotic black. Call it what you wish, but it’s best not to disagree on semantics rather enjoy the brilliance and talent on offer here. I’ve had this lined up for some time (since early 19′) but up until now haven’t hit the play button, I can’t for the life of me fathom why. Don’t be like me, leap upon this, ears first, at the next given opportunity, you can thank me later! This is a top of the year list addition for sure. Is it too late to perform a “last minute edit”?

allagash

Allagash (Canada) – Cryptic Visions

https://allagash.bandcamp.com/album/cryptic-visions-2

Release – May/6/2019

Independent

ARTWORK- 84

A fantastic image depicting a cave in which Neanderthals encounter aliens. It’s like a mashup of Nell and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I only wonder who would stand victorious in a (best of three) game of Checkers.

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

The music on display here is fluid. Reminiscent of traditional heavy metal yet with more a speed metal approach putting me in mind of a slew of German acts under the Power/Speed genre umbrella. The vocals are a little harder to get into. Various online comments have likened them to those associated with Brocas Helm but not being a fan of their work, I can’t tell whether I fully agree with this. They do however take a little getting used to, but once ‘over the hurdle’ this develops into an album which puts the listener in an entrancing spell, whether it be through admiration of what’s on offer or the album’s nostalgic qualities, a slew of albums/acts/tracks, attached to names which might not quite reach the tip of the tongue, will pass through the memory banks as this plays out. Sound bites add to the albums intrigue (good old Ronny Reagan pulls in the listeners from the get go) and the theme interwoven throughout, (strangely Blood Incantation comes to mind during the albums more mystical passages) which the covers illustration covers sublimely. In conclusion this was a damn sight better than I expected, to be honest I was thinking black metal at first based on the bands moniker (explained much later in the album via a soundbite), it delivers throughout, supplies a great more than merely I can incoherently gush about and should not be missed especially for those of us with a soft spot for traditional Heavy Metal accompanied by pace (sans brutality) and atmosphere of remarkable scope. Do not let this pass you by undiscovered, I’m in awe even to the point of stating that the final track “Eagle Lake”, a fourteen-minute instrumental, is one of my fave tracks from 19′ (albeit belated).

warbound

Warbound (Brazil) -Behind the Unreal

https://thrashordeathrecords.bandcamp.com/album/behind-the-unreal

Release – September/21/2019

Thrash or Death Records

ARTWORK- 84

Raw black and white imagery depicting savagery and all manner of sin, suffice it to say I’m left curious as something that’s quite curious indeed!

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

Energetic old school thrash coupled with heavily accented vocals. If only it were that easy to summarize. Truth be told this has more to offer than just that as the riffs showcased here are both ferocious and melodic. The album’s atmosphere is surprising, a great addition, remember this is thrash and not death or black and the result; an album I’m surprised isn’t talked about more. This isn’t a ground-breaking feat but it does its job damn well and will spark interest in the vast majority of thrash fans where aggression reigns supreme in their listening habits! Add to this to your high energy playlist, alongside Whiplash, Destruction, Kreator and Sodom. But before hitting play put away all the breakables, this will make you move!

mix tape action

Keep it up Cult, at this pace you’ll drive yourself into an early grave!

And that brings another mammoth installment to its climax. I’ve barely managed to get this out in time. Hopefully I’ve succeeding in including diverse enough audio for most tastes, as always feel free to drop me a line with any comments, queries, suggestions or with any wishes to contribute. Seriously your grammar can’t get much worse than mine. And this is usually where I say “Don’t fear discovery” and there it is.

Your slave to audio (and celluloid) in many of its extreme guises,

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part the Third

black metal gif

It’s that time again. The earth has span enough to warrant my having a little time off in which to spew my thoughts on a myriad of audio (I’ve already posted a few film reviews in the past couple of days, what say I take a stab at a few audio outings?) Without further ado here are a few releases which garnered my attention. (Please stick around to the end there’s something of note If like to impart upon all whose eyes alight upon this.)

Left over from January

porta nigra

Porta Nigra (Germany) – Schöpfungswut

https://soulsellerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/sch-pfungswut

Release – January/17/2020

Soulseller Records

ARTWORK- 86

I’m honestly not sure what this is, even upon closer inspection (I probably need my eyes checked). But from what I can gather it’s a huge chalice of sorts overflowing with lifeless forms dripping crimson. Intricate, vivid and stark full of detail it leaves a lot for interpretation and isn’t typical if what one might imagine faced with a description which includes the words black metal. Although the words Avant Garde are also included, so there’s that!

FIRST TRACK- 92

It’s rare that a track has my complete attention as fast and as unwavering as this and to boot this isn’t even in a language I can understand. My German is rudimentary at best. Undeniable is that this seethes with brilliance, rhythms which are both majestic, ice cold and remarkably hypnotic. In effect the arrangements mesmerize nodding to remarkable knowledge of that which the scene offers but yet added to with ingredients which are hard to pinpoint.

An amazing start. Hold my calls!

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

Admittedly I balk at the merest mention of Avant Garde, in this instance however with the caliber of audio on offer I’ve somehow embraced the term. There’s no arguments here that this bursts at the seams with the darkest of metal influence (I don’t wish to type “Black Metal” adnauseum in this) but it also brims with a variety of other styles carefully interwoven in the mix as not to overpower in the slightest that which is on offer. Atmosphere is plentiful as too an ominous/sinister narrative (which I need to take the time to Google translate to make sense of). What might be surprising is that the concoction at times translates to a style which could easily fill the confines of a Gothic nightclub, I sense that fans of Rammstein and even early works by Moonspell might take more than a cursory glance towards this. Folk elements are also apparent as too a blend of styles which often brings to mind the more melodious side of blackened death outings. To keep this short, as my words fail me, this is an epic outing which sees time fly by as the listening experience enfolds. Without reservation I’d state it warrants curious ears upon it and all the praise it has amassed. In conclusion, occasionally a release comes along which shatters the misconceptions of what a certain genre offers whilst opening the eyes to insane diverse talent which seamlessly encompasses and incorporates a slew of styles into a fluid nature. This is one such release. Just bravo! This is sure to make an appearance again come end of year, I’d bet on it!

Favorite Tracks; outstanding and entrancing from start to finish!

FFO; Ruins of Beverast, Emperor, Moonspell and all manner of top-notch black metal outings which incorporate Doom and atmosphere into the mix.

February Releases

life taker

Life Taker (Germany) – Night Intruder

https://lckr.bandcamp.com/album/lifetaker-night-intruder

Release – February 2020 (digital)

March/13/2020 (physical)

Lower Class Kids/Black Omega Recordings

ARTWORK- 79

Menacing and certainly ominous. There’s someone (or something) lurking in the shadows with most probably dubious intents in mind. I’m thinking that’s a knife in his/her hand and not a flowerpot or a blank check.

FIRST TRACK- 81

Chaotic, menacing and multi directional. Grindcore colliding head on with extreme punk. If you’ve ever dropped a 2 liter of soda (fizzy drink, pop, soft drink for those across the pond or in different States) on its “head” and its top has come off it looks as this sounds, spinning erratically with undeniable pressure behind it affecting everyone in its wake (quite the comparison which I’m only hoping makes something of sense).

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

Much like a traditional grindcore/extreme release this sports tracks of brief length (a blunt and brutal approach reigns supreme here) which more often than not blend together with nary time for a breather in between. Vocals are fierce, force of nature/strip siding from the houses in the neighborhood vicious (there’s perhaps two throats involved but I’m not absolutely sure). The accompanying percussion is dense, dirge laden and often cataclysmic in its ferocity. What deserves mentioning, in every review I’d state, is the skill in the drumming department. Paired with both the guitars and vocals it serves to add another layer to the audio. Rarely settling down, it’s a whirling dervish, unpredictable salvo to say the least and I’d assume a marvel to witness in a live setting. Surprisingly the album displays a variety of emotion and pacing (even in instances groove and a pitch doom aura) and even steps away from the expected some might say traditional genre approach. But this is hardly traditional, rather an exquisite melding of a myriad of extreme styles to form a different beast entirely (reminiscent in part of the early British extreme scene) One which can ravage my ears whenever it wishes. Shit! I don’t even require a ‘safe’ word. I’m loving the way in which this tosses my form around like a possessed ragdoll!

Favorite Tracks; The whole album delivers!

FFO; Terrorizer, Brutal Truth, Between the Buried and Me (vintage) Chelsea Grin, No/Mas, Napalm Death.

starving for death

Starving for Death (China) – s/t

https://cultofosiris.bandcamp.com/album/starving-for-death

Release- February/3/2020

Cult of Osiris

ARTWORK – 60

Who is this frustrated fellow and who is he yelling at? A raw black and white image possibly showing the artist attempting to catch varied winged beasts with his mouth agape.

FIRST TRACK- 72

A classical and luxuriously ominous introduction leads the listener into raw and undeniably primal production realms showcasing melodious black metal, a touch of folk, with an underlying and rather unassuming malevolent synth accompaniment. An interesting mix leaving me curious for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 74

Yet another release from the mind behind Winter Dynasty and Star Devourer this sees the artist delve into more depressive (DSBM) waters incorporating emotion laden classical introductions, choruses, synth and epic soundscapes against a doom drenched black metal incantation bolstered by archaic production values, which (wait for it) strangely fit. The pace is varied throughout ranging from languid to swift with the vocal style adding to the dense atmosphere blanketed heavily in melancholia and hopelessness.

winter dynasty logo

This definitely isn’t a soundtrack to play at a family gathering and it probably won’t appeal to most within the metal scene looking for instant gratification. But for those who appreciate that which the genre offers it will hit the spot. It does however build (for those like myself unfamiliar with what the genre offers) in appeal the more its epic nature is allowed entry into the senses.

Favorite Tracks; Dark Winter Queen, Your Funeral, Embracing the Darkness.

FFO; Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal.

kings never die ep

Kings Never Die (US) – Raise a Glass (EP)

https://upstaterecords.bandcamp.com/album/kings-never-die-raise-a-glass-full-release

Release- February/7/2020

Upstate Records

ARTWORK- 65

Blunt and to the point there’s no doubt who this is by as the moniker is plastered all across the image itself.

FIRST TRACK- 84

It’s been a while since I’ve listened to anything in this arena of the metal universe, but thankfully I took the leap here. This is a fist pumpingly infectious hardcore track which is difficult not to instantly appreciate even for those who are most recently strangers to the scene like myself.

INITIAL LISTEN- 82

Simplistic at times but hard-hitting this supplies a barrage of riffs which instantly connect. Gang vocals and the trademarked style traditional of the NY scene will perk the attention of any fan of the aforementioned leaving them eager for more.

Favorite Tracks; Before my Time, The Juice.

FFO; Pro-Pain, Agnostic Front, Sick of it All.

amorphia

Amorphia (India) – Merciless Strike

https://amorphiathrash.bandcamp.com/album/merciless-strike-digital-album

Release- January/15/2020 Physical (Digital – February/15/2020)

Awakening Records

ARTWORK- 86

There’s a maniac at the Doomsday keyboard. Apparently hes clone himself either thatbor he has an evil super soldier army in mind. Ed Repka art? Regardless, this is awesome.

FIRST TRACK- 90

Vintage Sodom in tone even down to the “Angelripper” vocal similarity but with Vader on the throttle. Fast, aggressive and tight much like a meth addled nun in a Ferrari with the pedal to the floor. I’m all in!

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

Exactly what the Doctor ordered, thrash with attitude, pace and diabolical seasoning, most would call this “old school” and I would agree. No ballads just walk to wall neck crackin’ rhythms. Thrash the way it was meant to be!! Do not miss out on this!!

Favorite Tracks; the whole album rips!

FFO; Sodom, Slayer, (“Power and Pain”) Whiplash.

And a closer look at a couple of 7” (Keep that mind outta the gutter!)

orphan devil 7

Orphan Devil (Finland) – Victims of the Night/Drifting Away 7″

https://orphandevil.bandcamp.com/releases

Release- February/21/2020

Gates of Hell Records

ARTWORK- 78

Black and White imagery depicting a robed figure cradling an infant (with horns…what?) and a lighted staff. Is this an alternate opening to a film starring a sword wielding Emperor defying fellow wandering the countryside with his infant. Hmm…

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

First track (Side 1; to be technical) is criminally melodious and oozes with a brilliant NWOBHM aura ala vintage Maiden, Thin Lizzy and Blitzkrieg. Twin harmonious guitar melodies, strong bass lines, an unpolished traditional vocal approach (which makes up a large part of this releases charm) distinct drum rhythms and even the tone screams undeniable influence. Climaxing with the trademark late 70’s cataclysmic finale this bodes well and has me tapping my foot like one with restless leg syndrome to the nth degree. The second track (Side 2) has somewhat a Highland jig feel to it and sports more the raw, unpolished vocal approach than the track before but is no less addictive. Overall this is growing on me like an intestinal bacterium which is most probably the cause of last night’s hasty horrid gas station snacking decision. If a full length is anything comparable to what’s on offer here fans of NWOBHM should be clamoring for the pre-sale order deets.

FFO; Di’anno fronted Iron Maiden, Blitzkrieg.

gravebreaker road warrior split

Road Warrior (Australia)/Gravebreaker (Sweden) Death in Heels on Wheels/Death Promise Split 7”

https://cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com/album/road-warrior-gravebreaker-split-7

Release – February/21/2020

Gates of Hell Records

ARTWORK- 88

Larger than life characters, a mafia boss, huge guns, scars, skulls, a biker with a “I’m on a mission, nothing can stop me” look on his face and an explosion at an apartment block. This is gloriously Grindhouse complete with a comic book vibe all the way. I’m lovin’ it!

INITIAL THOUGHTS-
Gravebreaker – “Death Promise”

https://gravebreaker.bandcamp.com/

Hard rockin’ heavy metal with a dash of speed, rhythms which will leave the listener tapping their limbs, solid pairs with s 80’s electronic vibe, gruff vocals (aka “Carnage City State Mosh Patrol” Decimator) and the inclusion of brilliant synth soundbites plucked from a variety of raunchy cult celluloid. Think Carpenter’s “Assault on Precinct 13” and “The Warriors” mixed with a Bronson character out for blood and justice.

What’s not to love? I could honestly listen to this all day and not get bored. How is it this is the first I’m hearing of this band? This is downright criminally infectious audio!!

88
Road Warrior – Death in Heels on Wheels

https://roadwarrior-metal.bandcamp.com/

Is it really that hard to conceive that these guys are from Australia with a moniker like “Roadwarrior” …Not really? Moving on. Imagine if NWOBHM and traditional Doom collided, add theatrical vocals, a truckload of chugging riffs and a narrative seemingly yanked from a sexploitation flick doused in biker shenanigans and black magic elements.

At times this reminds me of King Diamond’s output on account of both the music and the vocal style. An intriguing track sure to garner the attention of those who have a penchant for a varied vocal range and the dramatic.

78

I’ve included links to each of the artists involved, as I was of the mind, I couldn’t find the release in question, alas at the last moment I uncovered its location.

winter dynasty ancient creatures of the east

The newest addition to the Winter Dynasty catalog of releases

In closing this installment my thoughts alight upon those less fortunate. In particular those ravaged by a virus which is sweeping its way across the globe at a faster pace than the insane appeal of the cute little package better known as Baby Yoda. My thoughts go out to Winter Dynasty at this time (who lives in China; one of the worst affected locations) as should yours and I’d like to dedicate this installment to him. Feel free to support him in his time of need to ensure his and his family’s safety and well-being. His Bandcamp is here https://winterdynasty.bandcamp.com/music and currently most of the releases therein are of a ‘Name your Price’ status so there’s no reason not to take the plunge and discover something that might normally be foreign to the senses (I’ve even imparted thoughts upon his newest release further up the page).

#SupporttheScene and those who create keeping it alive and thriving.

Cult