Archive for the ‘2020 Metal reviews – January’ Category

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Fourteen

abrasive audio header gif

Another entry in the Abrasive Audio series which again finds me exploring a myriad of styles and albums both fresh and not so much. Heads up; I tend to waffle on a bit in this one, and there’s plenty of demos and obscure gems to discover. Again, I got excited by the quantity and quality on offer and I couldn’t help but scribble like one obsessed.

January Releases
BlackGuard - Storm
BlackGuard (Canada) – Storm

https://blackguardmtl.bandcamp.com/album/storm

Release- January/3/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 74

Something has torn through this landscape with zero remorse leaving only desolation and ash in its wake.

FIRST TRACK- 89

A medieval audio soundscape aided by an angelic chorus and a brilliant symphonic grandiose nature. The guitars kick in and Paul Ablaze’s trademark searing vocal approach and tje stage is set. This is Epic metal though drenched in darkness rather than the usual sound one might expect.

A fantastic reintroduction to an act whose future many pondered upon.

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

Ferocious vocals against searing melodies, symphonic arrangements and an overall undisputable epic nature.

This will keep the listener on their toes. Riffs aplenty support adrenaline spiking arrangements. Think Power Metal’s epic nature shaken in a goblet with the vicious vocal approach of Melodic Death, add the thick liquid of Symphonic majesty and wicked solos (which will make you want to go ‘air guitar’ silly) then you’ll be close to what this offers. Blackguard are back! And I’m going to spin this again!

Favorite Tracks; Exciting throughout.

FFO; Wintersun, Children of Bodom, Byrmir.

Reaper - Unholy Nordic Noise

Reaper (Sweden) – Unholy Nordic Noise

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/album/reaper-unholy-nordic-noise

Release- January/31/2020 (CD/Vinyl)
Iron Bonehead Productions

ARTWORK- 78

Is it just me or does this look like the entrance to an underworld ‘Rave’? The security is rather lacking though. It appears they’ve long since perished from (perhaps?) boredom.

FIRST TRACK- 82

Catchy a.f. riffs, a blackened speed attack and vicious vocals. A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

Occasionally cacophonous and often so damn infectious you’d hoped you’d lumbered up beforehand this offers a raw production which fits, rabid Heavy Metal rhythms, drum salvos which invite (nicely, with a gun to the head) the limbs to move along and vicious vocals akin to Toxine of vintage Witchery output and yet… so much more. Overall a stunning mix incorporating D-beat rhythms, blistering Blackened Speed along with an Industrial vibe fans of Psalm and Mind era Ministry will salivate over and a delightful sprinkle of Crust. It’s gonna be damn hard to keep still listening to this. You have been warned!

Favorite Tracks; Hero of the Graveyard Flies, Horn of Hades, The Birth of War, Ravenous Storm of Piss, De Kralande Maskarnas Kor.

FFO; early Bathory, in lieu of other acts to mention Reccd for fans of blistering Black Metal with diverse rhythmic tendencies.

April Releases
Abysmal Dawn - Phylogenesis
Abysmal Dawn (USA) – Phylogenesis

https://abysmaldawn.bandcamp.com/album/phylogenesis

Release – April/17/2020
Season of Mist Records

ARTWORK- 80

A being born of many, in a desolate neon landscape, ushering in a new age soon go be devoid of mankind’s interference.

FIRST TRACK- 77

Blast beats, a nifty intro, Brutal sweeping riffs and Technical fretwork shenanigans. It’s been a while since the bands last effort. This is a good start to get fans back into the mood.

INITIAL LISTEN- 79

Another release to add to the band’s discography. Admittedly, it’s been a while since their last and although this offering neither disappoints nor leaves me emptying the wallet in appreciation it boasts both high points and numerous instances which leave me wanting. Brutal Death with Djent tendencies and Tech leanings, this is a good jumping on point for those relatively new to the scene though will leave those eager for a release offering something to talk about little to discuss; other than the fact that Abysmal Dawn is back and scrambling to keep up with the fore-runners of the genre.

Favorite Tracks; The Path of the Totalitarian, A Speck in the Fabric of Eternity, Coerced Evolution, Soul-Sick Nation.

FFO; Hate Eternal, Origin, Suffocation, Decapitated.

May Releases
Black Pestilence - Hail the Flesh
Black Pestilence (Canada) – Hail the Flesh

https://blackpestilence.bandcamp.com/album/hail-the-flesh

Release- May/1/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 81

Yep I’m the creepy kind of bloke who likes this type of image. Honestly more into boobs than SnM shenanigans (TMI?). Regardless a black leather clad fellow surrounded by scantily clad naked fanatics, all strangely with skulls rather than faces. This has my attention.

FIRST TRACK- 82

Black Metal, D-beat and Crust with wicked rhythms and vocals. It doesn’t take long to get into this. A fantastic introduction!

INITIAL LISTEN- 80

An explosive accelerant for any gathering who appreciates Crust attitude in collision with melodic Black Metal values. Addictive melodies, rhythms and occasional pace breakdowns designed to tear the body limb from limb in spastic movement. Vicious vocals add to the fun for those warranting such. A fantastic package sure to alight interest in an act deserved of such.

Favorite Tracks; Clear the floor, this excites from beginning to finish.

FFO; WolfBrigade, Disfear, Martyrdod, Tragedy.

Mean Messiah - Divine Technology

Mean Messiah (Czechia) – Divine Technology

https://meanmessiah-sma.bandcamp.com/album/divine-technology

Release – May/5/2020
Slovak Metal Army

ARTWORK- 91

The art shows exactly what the album title states but in a brutally clever and inventive way. Even down to the phone’s logo. Bravo!

FIRST TRACK- 89

Boasting a fairy tale vibe complemented by a robust chorus makes for a curious start to any album. The guitar and drums intrude making for a sound which is grandiose, different but thoroughly captivating, though strangely familiar to those of us who’ve been introduced to the chaotic magnificence of SYL. What an opener! Djent, symphonic values and stellar progressive elements, who would’ve thought they’d play so well together?

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

Quirky, inventive and imaginative. It appears that Devin Townsend might have had a hand in this, he didn’t, but it has that definite feel. Varied styles intertwine to form a diverse and pleasing smorgasbord of an audio landscape which is both melancholic, energetic, atmospheric and immersive. Djent elements often frolic with thrash rhythms and a progressive dreamy nature is exhibited throughout resulting in a listening experience which is different, unique, enthralling and altogether highly infectious. No two tracks are alike and the album makes an impression from first to last note, even after repeated listens. This deserves to be noticed!!

Favorite Tracks; Intriguing, eye-opening and exciting throughout.

FFO; Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory, Meshuggah.

A Recc from @LFCMFighter

Nygmalion (Hungary) - Deluminate

Nygmalion (Hungary) – Deluminate

https://nygmalion.bandcamp.com/album/deluminate

Release- May/15/2020
Independent
ARTWORK- 84

The eternal balance of Ying and Yang, darkness and light mastered and performed by an all-seeing God. An intriguing image with plenty of details to delight the eye. An image which warrants discussion and dissection.

FIRST TRACK- 91

An apocalyptic cinematic soundscape complete with angelic choruses introduces gymnastic guitar riffs and stunning melodious death arrangements. A great start which leaves me more than intrigued for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

A delicate blend of Melodious Death, Grandiose Atmosphere and Epic Metal. Complete with biting vocals, Progressive passages, remarkable rhythms and exquisite arrangements the result is a collection of tunes which exemplifies the finest elements of the genres mentioned an effect that prefers not to drag the listener into any one stylistic realm for suffocating durations. The accompanying atmosphere and presence add cinematic values which are amplified by the albums stellar production. This is quite the feat, there honestly isn’t a moment here which feels out of place, the whole album is spectacular. And to think I may never have laid ears on this if it weren’t for the Recc.

Favorite Tracks; This excites the senses from start to finish!

FFO; Septic Flesh, At the Gates, (early) Arch Enemy, (early) Dark Tranquility.

Atavistia - The Winter Way

Atavistia (Canada) – The Winter Way

https://atavistia.bandcamp.com/

Release – May/29/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 81

A murder of excitable crows against a bleak wintry landscape consisting of a forest and a mountain range. Rather unassuming, though this makes me think of an Atmospheric, perhaps slightly Progressive release. But I’ve been wrong (many times before, just ask the wife).

FIRST TRACK- 93

A beautiful, wondrous, nature soundscape introduces the album. Tribal drums join the fray, an angelic chorus, chants and an atmosphere more commonly found in an Epica or Nightwish track. It all invokes a civilization somewhat in a state of tranquility. Until, that is, the percussion and (dark) vocals cut in to add an ominous nature. All is not well, there must be trouble in the kingdom (or something). A grand, epic start which is cinematic in both depth and texture. Power, Epic, Folk, Heavy, Viking Metal and Symphonic Black collide and I’m loving it!

INITIAL LISTEN- 95

To call this a sublime congregation of styles would be an understatement. Its movement and flow is outstanding, the seamless diversity awe inspiring. Much like the music the vocals (on offer) are also pleasingly varied. There’s a grandiose nature here which transcends the typical symphonic release based on the fact that this really isn’t genre conforming. Power Metal (don’t let the term put you off, else you’ll miss out BIG time) cavorts with Folk, Black Metal frolics with an angelic chorus and Progressive elements, there are plenty of other examples in between. Think Nightwish meets Amorphis meets Cradle of Filth minus CoF’s sometimes rabid ferocity. Rhapsody might come to mind also in moments Amon Amarth as well a slew of acts known more for their epic and/or atmospheric prowess. In short, there really isn’t a perfect way to describe what’s on offer here. A masterpiece comes close. The prowess, arrangement ingenuity and musicianship on offer is dazzling. This has all the markings of a release which will still be discussed years after its launching. And will most definitely be mentioned again at various length come years end.

Favorite Tracks; the whole album is ungodly hypnotic and utterly enthralling.

FFO; Cradle of Filth, Frosttide, Black Forest, Metsutan, Ensiferum.

WTF Lightning Reviews
A single listen to an album from a wide array of genres followed by a quick scribble (which sometimes isn’t all that brief).

Doomed Spirits -Last Reflections

Doomed Spirits (Brazil) -Last Reflections

https://doomedspirits.bandcamp.com/album/last-reflections

Release – May/30/2020

Independent

Artwork- 82

Ferocity- 73

Groove- 74

Originality- 79

Infectiousness- 85

Genre- Doom/Occult/DeathDoom/Atmospheric Black/Ambient/Gothic Rock/Stoner/Melodic Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 85

An undeniably grand atmosphere and ambience permeates this release as well unexpected sweeping rhythms and varied twists and transformations. Influences are wide-reaching (multi-genre) resulting in an audio collective which transcends categorization, though will definitely pull in appeal from an assorted fanbase (if given the proper exposure) based on the composition and arrangement caliber on offer. Open the mind, forget your genre biases, and jump in. This has a great deal to offer.

Nord/Sternklang (Netherlands) split

(courtesy of Rites of Pestilence on YouTube)

Release – 2020

Self-released (limited)

Artwork- n/a

Ferocity; Nord- 78

Sternklang- 70

Groove; Nord- 76

Sternklang- 72

Originality; Nord- 76

Sternklang- 74

Infectiousness; Nord-72

Sternklang- 73

Genre- Noise/Black Metal/Atmospheric Black/Raw Black/Folk

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks;

Nord- 73

White noise against a lulling atmosphere and melancholic rhythm that’s both somber and ominous. As if walking against the whims of a fierce storm with the warm embrace of a loved one in mind driving one onward.

Undeniable atmosphere, meditative quality at times, even soothing. Gothic/Folk melodies amidst the chaos (the guitars blistering foundation and snarling vocals) and a resulting sound which is intriguing (to me) on a criminal level. Cinematic depth.

Sternklang- 74

Oddly alluring and mesmerizing the band has only one track featured here, but it’s of sufficient quality (and length) to whet the appetite for more. An effective blizzard surrounding is manifested by the percussion added to by gentle folk melodies the effect is one that’s both chilling, dramatic and epic yet laced with fleeting instances of hope.

Overall- 73

Raw yet strangely soothing. BM is indeed a vast arena and this Split proves just that. Utilizing a winter backdrop this split takes the listener into frigid realms of the past; draped in mysticism, archaic melodies, atmosphere and beauty but fraught with all manner of enigmatic direction.

Frigid, emotion and haunting yet weirdly tranquil. A release one has to sink into slowly, without distraction.

The Crawling- Wolves and the Hideous White

The Crawling (UK) – Wolves and the Hideous White

https://thecrawlingband.bandcamp.com/album/wolves-and-the-hideous-white

Release – November/16/2018

Grindscene Records

Artwork- 81

Ferocity- 73

Groove- 85

Infectiousness- 83

Originality- 76

Genre- Doom/DeathDoom/Funeral Doom

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 85

Melodious, melancholic to the point of soul-wrenching and often hypnotic. A brilliant combination of lumbering Doom and rhythmic passages to pull the listener into a veritable trance. Fans of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Novembers Doom are likely to lap this up, only then to beg for more.

Carrion Vael - Resurrection of the Doomed

Carrion Vael (USA) – Resurrection of the Doomed

https://carrionvael.bandcamp.com/album/resurrection-of-the-doomed

Release – March/25/2017

Independent

Artwork- 85

Ferocity- 88

Groove- 84

Originality- 74

Infectiousness- 95

Genre- Deathcore/Tech Death/Tech Thrash/Melodic Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 95

Holy shit! My jaw is acting as a map presently, it’s in the dirt!

I believe I’ve happened upon a best of 17′ release (top five) which I can’t believe I’ve not heard of until now.

Think Tech Death/Deathcore in a similar vein to Black Dahlia Murder then crank up the ferocity, add sprinkles of a Progressive nature and a dusting of a Classical vibe and then this. Holy Shit! Whoops, I may have said that before! Suffice it to say… I. am. Floored! Jump on this stat!! (Then turn the ears towards their just released album courtesy of HorrorPainGoreDeath Production).

Disownency - Demosick MMXX

Disownency (Equador) – Demosick MMXX

https://disownency.bandcamp.com/album/demosick-mmxx

Release – 2020

Dismembered Records

Artwork- 85

Ferocity- 87

Groove- 68

Originality- 67

Infectiousness- 69

Genre- Brutal Death/Grindcore/Goregrind

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 67

(Barely six and a half minutes in length with two Tracks on offer.) Guttural (swallowing the mic) vox set against hyperfast drums and a machine gun unrelenting wall of sound.

The drums tend to overpower the mix which sounds raw but overall, this shows promise for those who prefer their audio fast, brutal and SICK.

Ande - Vossenkuil

Ande (Belguim) – Vossenkuil

https://ande-be.bandcamp.com/album/vossenkuil

Release – April/3/2020

Independent

Artwork- 64

Ferocity- 71

Groove- 68

Originality- 68

Infectiousness- 66

Genre- Atmospheric Black/Melodic Black/Doom/Drone

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 65

Epic BM with a diverse nature sporting repetitive rhythms and trance-like (somewhat meditative at times) passages which often wallow in tiresome lengths within Doom and Atmospheric realms. Not a horrid release, more an album to be enjoyed in a specific mood.

Larvae 4 track promo tape

Larvae (Romania) 4 track promo tape

https://stygianblackhand.bandcamp.com/album/4-track-promo-tape-2020

Release – March/2/2020

Caligari Records/Stygian Blackhand Records

Artwork- 76

Ferocity- 73

Groove- 81

Originality- 75

Infectiousness- 76

Genre- Goregrind/Sludge/Grindcore/OSDM/DeathDoom/Synth

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 73

Slow and filthy DM straight from the rankest part of the sewer complete with guttural vox, delightfully raw production, Gothic Classic horror soundbites and plentiful groove. Much like contagion this will fester and grow on your senses.

Coffinwood - Storm of Steel

Coffinwood (Poland) – Storm of Steel

https://coffinwood.bandcamp.com/album/storm-of-steel

Release – April/2/2020

Independent

Artwork- 78

Ferocity- 78

Groove- 77

Originality- 65

Infectiousness- 74

Genre- Death Metal/Blackened Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 75

Wicked addictive rhythms and venomous vocals keep this intriguing.

Though there is nothing ground-breaking in its style it’s pleasing to see another album cover WWI. Vintage era soundbites add to the albums allure, and although this is short it shows definite promise.

Koffin - Nailed into the Coffin

Koffin (Estonia) – Nailed into the Coffin (demo)

https://koffin.bandcamp.com/album/nailed-into-the-coffin

Release – June/5/2020

Stroke Records

Artwork- 77

Ferocity- 76

Groove- 84

Originality- 68

Infectiousness- 78

Genre- OSDM/Death/Raw Thrash

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 78

Diabolical menace, Old School tone and varied pace showcasing more than sufficient groove. Keep an eye out for these guys and their progress in the resurgence of the 90’s catacomb quality and early Scandinavian Death scene.

Your Last Wish (Canada) - Eradicate

Your Last Wish (Canada) – Eradicate

https://yourlastwish.bandcamp.com/album/eradicate

Release – February/23/2020

Independent

Artwork- 86

Ferocity- 74

Groove- 79

Originality- 78

Infectiousness- 83

Genre- Deathcore/Thrash/Melodic Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 83

The first track has me mouthing “How is it I’ve yet to hear of these guys” aloud. The album calms somewhat though still insists on offering wicked rhythms, busy somewhat technical arrangements, soaring leads, Progressive passages and mesmerizing solos. Strangely, nothing appears out of place although the music bears twists, turns, a smorgasbord of mood, and showcases intricate, complex, fret board manipulations aplenty. Fantastic atmosphere is also on offer (the album bears a Sci-Fi theme) as well my personal weakness, when it comes to extreme audio, vicious vocal cord manipulation from a lady which quite honestly puts a great many guys (in the same arena) to shame. Overall a package sure to delight those whose playlists include Arch Enemy and Soilwork.

Denied - Mental Budak Jiwa Penjilat

Denied (Indoniesia) – Mental Budak Jiwa Penjilat

https://deniedgrindcore.bandcamp.com/

Release – May/1/2019

Black Anje Records

Artwork- 82

Ferocity- 82

Groove- 78

Originality- 65

Infectiousness- 78

Genre- Grindcore/Brutal Death/Slam

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 81

Energetic (does that even need to be said?), groove-laden GC with lots to get excited about and from a location one wouldn’t associate with such. Broaden the horizons and take a chance on these guys. Support the underground and a scene which needs more discussion and exploring.

Recc for fans of Misery Index, Benighted.

Miscreance (Italy)- From Awareness to Creation

Miscreance (Italy)- From Awareness to Creation

https://miscreance.bandcamp.com/album/from-awareness-to-creation

Release – April/4/2018

Red Wine Rites Records

Artwork- 82

Ferocity- 74

Groove- 75

Infectiousness- 79

Originality- 74

Genre- Thrash/Technical Thrash

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 81

Riffs, riffs and riffs for days and often in all the same bloody song. This is Technical audio (bearing a slight familiarity to several prominent acts in the 90’s. Atheist chief among them!) with rhythms swirling around as if in a vortex which those of the instant gratification crowd might not like, especially on a first listen basis. Give it time, I’m sure it’ll grow on you as it is me.

Breeding Ignorance - Image and Likeness

Breeding Ignorance (Belarus) – Image and Likeness

https://breedingignorance.bandcamp.com/album/image-and-likeness

Release – May/1/2019

Coyote Records

Artwork- 80

Ferocity- 79

Groove- 78

Originality- 70

Infectiousness- 82

Genre- Brutal Death/Tech Death/OSDM/Grinding Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 83

Addictive, infectious rhythms are the order of the day here. Vocals which reside this side of the gutter coupled by arrangements which twist and writhe like a snake having a seizure (has that been used before?) Overall an album and act which shouldn’t be ignored. Support the underground scene and metal in locations you might not typically associate the genre with.

This is a release I will spin again!

Goreworm - Prodigy of the Grotesque

Goreworm (Canada) – Prodigy of the Grotesque

https://goreworm.bandcamp.com/album/prodigy-of-the-grotesque

Release – June/12/2020

CDN Records

Artwork- 75

Ferocity- 82

Groove- 83

Originality- 72

Infectiousness- 92

Genre- Tech Death/Brutal Death/Slam/Melodic Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 94

Fluid, fast-paced, seamless and unquestionably addictive top-notch Tech-Death which very nearly slipped by unnoticed. I was just not prepared for how impressive this actually is. And those ungodly impressive solos, just… DAMN-!

This grabs ahold and then refuses to diminish its hypnotic grip! Set ears upon it stat!

mix tape action

And that brings another mammoth installment of Abrasive Audio to a close. I have hopes that I’ve introduced some tunes here which will last in the playlists. I know I have my favorites! All that’s left to scribble is the customary; keep those ears open don’t fear that which is normally foreign to the senses.

I’m out!

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Twelve

abrasive audio header gif

Welcome to yet another AA installment. This one sees me attempting to catch up  (it’ll never happen!) with my feet up following surgery. But I’d rather all attention go towards that which I’m praising rather than myself. What can I say? I’m getting old and falling apart at an alarming rate. But enuf about me. Onward, to audio euphoric…

January Releases
Konvent (Denmark) – Puritan Masochism

konvent

https://konvent666.bandcamp.com/album/puritan-masochism

Release – January/24/2020

Napalm Records

ARTWORK- 74

Dark and ominous. I’m of the mind this is a body of water of sorts falling into an abyss watched over by a collective of forms and a low hanging moon. I’m sure there’s deeper meaning but I’ll spare my waffle and delve into the music instead.

FIRST TRACK- 86

Not at all what I was expecting, this offers both a familiar tone and rhythm from a glaring influence but with a twist which is difficult not to appreciate. An excellent introduction for those who adore mid-tempo death/doom drenched in dirge.

INITIAL LISTEN- 79

Plodding hypnotic riffs channel influence from a myriad of sources draped in a familiar tone. Effective drums, often with a tribal edge, add to the album’s depth and atmosphere. Although all of the ingredients are here, including feral female vocals (my weakness, admittedly) and pleasing rhythmic variation this often wanders into predictable drone territories leaving me wanting. I’m of the mind this will grow on me depending on the mood.

Favorite Tracks; Puritan Masochism, The Eye, Bridge, Ropes (pt. 1).

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Thorrs Hammer, Asphyx, Paradise Lost, Candlemass.

March Releases

Ovid's Withering (USA) – Terraphage

Ovid’s Withering (USA) – Terraphage

https://ovidswithering.bandcamp.com/album/terraphage

Release-March/20/2020

Self-Released

ARTWORK – 76

Fantastical elements abound in this image. An ominous sphere looms over the landscape and it appears to be consuming something leaving a splatter of crimson and a state of alarm in its wake.

FIRST TRACK – 84

Symphonic elements are an exquisite complement to arrangements which overflow with Djent and Deathcore elements adding depth and atmosphere aplenty. Further intrigue is sparked by the lyrics which have a narrative slant. A fantastic introduction to the band and their style.

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

This effortlessly transports the listener to realms forgotten by the dust of time. Sinister elements and atmosphere support a story line narrative within a concept album which mesmerizes with its intensity, emotion and flow. Arrangements embrace Djent, Technical and Blastbeat accoutrements as well a symphonic backdrop and a diverse vocal ensemble to lift this far beyond what many perceive as the traditional Deathcore moniker. The wide radius the styles here encompass (with a myriad of influences to get those wheels spinning) warrant applause, elicit intrigue, admiration and honestly several spins to fully appreciate. Fantasy, mystery, magick and arcane struggles collide in an album which is sure to incite movement and carve a smile on faces who appreciate brutality, intricacy and technicality wrapped in multi-layered epic arrangements.

Favorite Tracks; Hypnotic throughout.

FFO; Black Dahlia Murder, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Kull, Bal -Sagoth.

Nerve Saw (Finland) – Peril
Nerve Saw (Finland) – Peril

https://testimonyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/nerve-saw-peril

Release – March/27/2020

Testimony Records

ARTWORK- 76

A green hue, winged aggressive types and what appears to be an Elf in a spot of “Peril” (yep. I went there!) This has my attention, hitting play…

FIRST TRACK- 78

Catchy punk vibe, with a vibe bordering on HM2 sound, riffs which make the limbs twitch and wicked vocals. Short, blunt and to the point, a great start!

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

Mid-tempo Death with Punk attitude, groove to spare and Black influenced vocals. Sporting an overabundance of oomph and drive and feverishly (seemingly simplistic) infectious riffs this will incite the listener into movement.

Favorite Tracks; Limbs will be twitching spastically from start to finish guaranteed!

FFO; Toxic Holocaust, Entombed, Celtic Frost, (later) Satyricon.

April Releases

Benighted (France) - Obscene Repressed

Benighted (France) – Obscene Repressed

https://benighted.bandcamp.com/album/obscene-repressed

Release -April/10/2020

Season of Mist

ARTWORK- 83

All manner of wicked creatures cavort in this image. With a mother (?) protecting her offspring (?) front and center. But it’s the tones and little details which give the devilish little things nightmarish life.

FIRST TRACK – 87

Frenetic, blistering and sick! This is the Benighted I know. And based on the ferocity of this track they’re back in unforgiving ‘beast mode’.

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

Is this Brutal Death, or Grindcore? No matter your side of the argument Benighted truthfully incorporates elements of both. Executing their sound with abandon and zero regard for your safety they’ve carved another audio slab of “clear-the-room-before-you-hit-play”. If it’s not the crushing groove, the shredding flesh rhythms, the inhuman drum precision it’s the ungodly vocal talents of Julien Truchan which bludgeon the listener into submission. Perhaps it’s all of the above? There’s no doubt Benighted have dropped another cosmos disrupting salvo to again cement their position as undisputed standard bearers for the scene. Crank this to MAX and prepare to ignore the neighborhood’s pleas for audio reprieve.

Favorite Tracks; All of the above!

FFO; Dying Fetus, Misery Index, Aborted, Cattle Decapitation.

May Releases

Centinex (Sweden) - Death in Pieces

Centinex (Sweden) – Death in Pieces

https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/album/death-in-pieces

Release – May/29/2020

Agonia Records

ARTWORK – 78

A regal figure reduced to a skeletal form. The brilliant colors in this image lend it a certain sinister/ominous atmosphere hinting at audio of the Blackened Death variety. Hitting play.

FIRST TRACK – 73

Familiar rhythms, and a death/doom feel. Influence immediately screams Obituary especially with the riffs utilized. Infectious, though hardly original.

INITIAL LISTEN – 66

An altogether safe (traditional, predictable), chuggery-laden Death release which though enjoyable never really picks up to offer the oomph one would wish.

Favorite Tracks; God Ends Here, Human Torch.

FFO; Vomitory, Obituary, Grave, Six Feet Under, Bolt Thrower, Unleashed.

Mountain Witch (Germany) - Extinct Cults

Mountain Witch (Germany) – Extinct Cults

https://mountainwitch.bandcamp.com/

Release- May/29/2020

The Charming Man Records

ARTWORK – 75

Bold, striking imagery with a retro vintage edge with more than a splash of psychedelia.

FIRST TRACK – 81

Distortion oozing, riff laden, Heavy Metal dripping in Doom sensibilities; a plodding, rhythmic nostalgic audio with a timeless aura. This has me nodding my head and wondering why the genre is one I don’t explore more often.

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

Part traditional Heavy Metal, part NWOBHM and a whole ton of vintage Doom enshrouded in occult values and atmosphere to spare. The audio here caresses the senses with a sound rarely heard this side of the early eighties. With an aura partly plucked from vintage Hammer House productions and arrangements spread from across the spectrum of Hard Rock and the deepest roots of the Metal scene this collective has a great deal to offer and the musicianship to tie the ingredients together without causing complaint. For all those with noses buried deep in vintage vinyl with hopes for something fresh though familiar, bored with those attempting the same old, same old without success or inventive spark, I believe I’ve found the answer. This fits the bill, satisfies the cravings and should not, under any circumstances, be ignored!!

Favorite Tracks; Enthralling from beginning to end!

FFO; Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Old Man Wizard, Lord Slough Feg.

Witching (USA) – Vernal

June Releases
Witching (USA) – Vernal

https://witching.bandcamp.com/

Release- June/5/2020

Self-Released

ARTWORK- 83

A classical image comprised of both a bust (a head, not tits!) and a cathedral like construct with a ribcage at its center. The meaning is obviously up for interpretation as the building and ribcage are in place of the faces throat as if to say words (verbal abuse) can damage the heart/the psyche.

FIRST TRACK- 84

Sludge with surprising drive and movement complete with searing feral female vox (my all-time weakness). This makes me excited for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

Haunting and harrowing emotion laden vocals accompanied by diverse percussion which gleefully transports the listener to the furthest boundaries of Sludge then drops them ceremoniously from the precipice into even murkier, chaotic, raging waters.

This warrants attention. Set the ears on this pronto!

Favorite Tracks; Started to list tracks only to realize I was copying the whole damn tracklisting. Suffice to say this delivers throughout.

FFO; Damad, Black Tomb.

Ormskrik (Norway) album

Ormskrik (Norway) – s/t

https://ormskrik.bandcamp.com/album/ormskrik

Release- June/5/2020

Fysisk Format

ARTWORK- 86

Lightning, a bearded undead fellow wielding a sword wrapped in serpent joined by a horned comrade and goblets most likely filled with the nectar of the gods. Consider me intrigued!

FIRST TRACK- 87

Straight for the jugular riffs. Speed accompanied by a majestic rhythm and vocals to melt flesh from bone. A fantastic combination which leaves me moving around furiously. Fingers crossed the remainder of the album does the same.

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

Fast and furious sporting enough high-octane riffs to tear the head from the shoulders this is sure to please those whose penchants straddle the Aggressive Thrash/Death fence. Rabid vocals heighten the enjoyment. Blackened influence and a smidgen of Hardcore is found throughout separating this from the usual clone hordes and propelling it into interesting, must discover, arenas.

Favorite Tracks; Adrenaline spiking from start to finish!

FFO; Kvaen, (early) The Haunted, Amon Amarth, (newer) Kreator, (newer) Sodom, Slayer.

Death Courier (Greece) - Necrotic Verses

Death Courier (Greece) – Necrotic Verses

https://deathcouriergreece.bandcamp.com/album/necrotic-verses-death-metal

Release- June/5/2020

Transcending Obscurity Records

ARTWORK- 82

A tomb shrouded in shadow forgotten by time wonderfully captured in muted tones and intricate detail.

FIRST TRACK- 84

A swift pace, atmosphere and rhythms to keep the listeners on their toes. A touch of melodic Black, a sprinkle of OSDM and plenty of sinister. What’s not to like?

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

A surprisingly high energy foundation sports frenzied, but, controlled rhythms, a somewhat low key grizzled vocal approach and enough atmosphere to please even the most jaded DM fan. But the real power lay in the fact that this album has zero boring passages; it flows exceedingly well showing highly regarded journeymen of the scene in top form displaying that the passion is still there and that the arsenal has been greased, primed and recalibrated ready to take on all newcomers. To devastate a pun this fires on all cylinders and extinguishes all doubts which may have surfaced, reigniting the flames of interest for both the act and the scene, which many might argue has become stagnant, itself. I kid you not this slays and is sure to be mentioned plenty come year end.

Favorite Tracks; Top tier DM from first note to last.

FFO; Vomitory, Benediction, Vader.

WTF Lightning Round Reviews
A varied selection with a single listen which spurns a quick scribble!

Malignant Altar (USA) - Retribution of Jealous Gods (Demo)

Malignant Altar (USA) – Retribution of Jealous Gods (Demo)

https://malignantaltar-maggotstomp.bandcamp.com/album/retribution-of-jealous-gods

Release – March/11/2019

Maggot Stomp

Artwork- 83

Ferocity- 85

Groove – 86

Infectiousness – 85

Originality – 61

Genre – Old School Death/Dirge

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 83

Excellent production for a demo, drums are dominant in the mix adding weight. Seethes with nostalgia. Recc for fans of Morbid Angel, Funebrarum, Bolt Thrower and Incantation.

Sedimentum (Canada) - Demo 2019

Sedimentum (Canada) – Demo 2019

https://sedimentum.bandcamp.com/album/demo

Release – June/21/2019

Independent

Artwork – 62

Ferocity – 83

Groove – 78

Infectiousness- 85

Originality- 70

Genre – Old School Death/Atmospheric/Cavernous Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 87

Raunchy tone, guttural/underworld vox and arrangements which will leave you nodding your head as you ponder upon the box of vintage cassettes (collecting dust someplace) you really should rediscover. An excellent demo!

Undeath (USA) - Sentient Autolysis (demo)

Undeath (USA) – Sentient Autolysis (demo)

https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/sentient-autolysis

Release – July/29/2019

Caligari Records

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 74

Groove – 72

Infectiousness – 78

Originality – 71

Genre – Old School Death/Diabolical/Cavernous/Technical

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 82

Busy arrangements, both chaotic and maniacal, which hold the attention for those who prefer intricate unpredictability over speed and repetition.

Phobophilic (USA) - Undimensioned Identities

Phobophilic (USA) – Undimensioned Identities

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/undimensioned-identities

Release – September/13/2019

Blood Harvest Records

Artwork – 72

Ferocity – 86

Groove – 82

Infectiousness – 86

Originality – 79

Genre – Death Metal/Thrash/Technical/OSDM

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 86

Intricate, diabolical, even maniacal with arrangements designed to drag the listener into the abyss. And although it sounds familiar, even nostalgic, it’s unique and thoroughly entertaining in its complexities.

Black Passage (USA) - The Veil

Black Passage (USA) – The Veil

https://blackpassage.bandcamp.com/album/the-veil

Release – July/26/2019

Independent

Artwork – 64

Ferocity – 71

Groove –  74

Infectiousness – 76

Originality – 79

Genre – Hard Rock/Alternate/Groove/Progressive/Post Metal/Deathcore

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 73

Complex arrangements bearing stylistic diversity form varied soundscapes effectively conjuring a wide range of emotions. Its unpredictable sometimes ‘dreamy’ is one which is sure to grow upon repeated listens.

Mortiferum (USA) - Altar of Decay

Mortiferum (USA) – Altar of Decay

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/altar-of-decay

Blood Harvest Records

Release – June/30/2017

Artwork – 72

Ferocity – 81

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 89

Originality – 65

Genre – OSDM/DeathDoom

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 90

Enshrouded in excellent atmosphere and palpable presence this effectively transports the listener to the dankest/grimiest roots of the OSDM scene whilst also injecting sufficient creative juices to keep it exciting, intriguing, “fresh” (probably not a word which best fits in this stylistic context) and far from plagiarist arenas. Suffice it to mention; I give this a high Recc.

Wasteland Coven (USA) – Ruined

Wasteland Coven (USA) – Ruined

https://wastelandcoven.bandcamp.com/album/ruined

Release – June/26/2020

Transylvanian Tapes

Artwork – 81

Ferocity – 52

Groove – 84

Infectiousness – 88

Originality – 74

Genre – Doom/Traditional Doom/Occult/Stoner/Sludge

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 90

Honestly some of the best Doom I’ve heard in recent months. This is rhythmically pleasing, miles from stagnant, haunting and hypnotic complete with smoky vocals which take you to another plain entirely. Highly Recc.

Nostrum (Canada) - Infernal Tomb

Nostrum (Canada) – Infernal Tomb

https://transylvaniantapes.bandcamp.com/album/nostrum-infernal-tomb

Release – June/6/2017

Transylvanian Tapes

Artwork – 71

Ferocity – 77

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 78

Originality – 75

Genre – Death/Doom/Drone/Sludge

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 78

Diverse and unpredictable rhythms often with a grandiose nature crawl across a sludge landscape incorporating a plodding pace which occasionally transforms into a groove monolith. The myriad of styles ensure the resulting audio is far from monotonous. Complemented with both primal and passionate vocals bellowing angst, despair and desperation the total package is one which is sure to encompass the listener attentions with repeated experiences.

Iron Flames (Italy) - Eyes of the Megalith (EP)

Iron Flames (Italy) – Eyes of the Megalith (EP)

https://ironflames.bandcamp.com/

Independent

Release-May/13/2020

Artwork – 77

Ferocity – 85

Groove – 60

Infectiousness – 62

Originality – 54

Genre – Black Metal/Speed Metal/Bestial Metal

Revisit – No

Final Score/Remarks – 61

Raw, slightly chaotic black metal with little deviation and even less originality. Has its moments but not enough to keep a novice to the scene, like myself, wholly interested.

Make Them Die Slowly - Ferox

Make Them Die Slowly (UK/USA) – Ferox

https://makethemdieslowly.bandcamp.com/album/ferox

Release- May/1/2020

Independent

Artwork – 82

Ferocity – 83

Groove – 80

Infectiousness – 90

Originality – 77

Genre – Grinding Death/Symphonic/Blackened Death/Cult Homage/Deathcore/Djent

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 91

Insanely catchy cult celluloid homage audio complete with soundbites, symphonic elements, vicious/feral vocals and surprising rhythmic diversity. (Shit, it even includes a track based on my favorite film) It doesn’t get much better than this!

Double Cross - Obey Thy Master

Double Cross (Brazil) – Obey Thy Master (EP)

https://doublecrossbr.bandcamp.com/album/ep-obey-thy-master

Release- May/1/2020

Independent

Artwork – 80

Ferocity – 65

Groove – 68

Infectiousness – 68

Originality – 66

Genre – Heavy Metal/Hard Rock/Speed Metal/Stoner/NWOBHM

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 68

Gruff, rough n rowdy, vox with raw percussion for those who prefer their HM with a dark aura and bite.

Neocaeser - 11 11

Neocaeser (The Netherlands) – 11:11

https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/11-11

Release – December/5/2017

Xtreem Music

Artwork – 83

Ferocity – 78

Groove – 77

Infectiousness – 78

Originality – 64

Genre – Brutal Death/Thrash/Death

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 78

Four ex-members of Sinister (90’s lineup) here forge a style which isn’t altogether ground-breaking but it delivers (all one could wish for in a “meat and potatoes” manner) and is an absolute no-brainer to appreciate.

Wills Dissolve The Heavens are not on Fire

Wills Dissolve (USA) The Heavens are not on Fire

https://hypnoticdirgerecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-heavens-are-not-on-fire

(Re)release – July/29/2019

Hypnotic Dirge Records

Artwork – 76

Ferocity – 72

Groove – 75

Infectiousness – 90

Originality – 76

Genre – Progressive/Doom/Blackened Death/Ambient/Folk

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 91

Equally haunting, beautiful and ferocious. Five epic tracks here boast exquisite hypnotic arrangements with unbridled diversity and yet also a remarkable fluidity. Be warned for you will lose yourself in this! Recc for fans of earlier Opeth.

exhausted gif

And…that’s about it for the night!

And that brings us to the conclusion of an installment I congratulate you in reaching the end of. Hopefully you’ve discovered something new to tickle your fancy and have chosen to support the artists in these unprecedented times. With any luck everything will be going back to a state of somewhat normalcy within no time whatsoever and live shows will be a thing once more. Until then keep those ears to the ground and don’t fear that which is normally foreign to the senses.

Cult

 

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 Nine

black metal gif

It’s been a while, and for that I apologize. Between work, family and days off (where I haven’t much time in which to scribble) I’ve found it difficult to do much of anything. There are moments I wish I were in quarantine apart from the fact that the wife works from home. However, I’ve persisted and have managed to find a few albums which I deem worthy of attention. Obviously, there’s still so much more which demands respect and an immeasurable number of acts who warrant support in these unprecedented times. Admittedly, not only acts but others, individuals, the list is too long to mention here, who aren’t quite so fortunate. However rather than turn this into a diatribe I’d like to give thanks to those who toil, sweat and persist about their duties on the frontlines but also to those who continue to offer entertainment, invaluable distraction from that which burdens most everyone’s conversation. Seriously. Fuck Covid! This too shall pass, but until it does stay strong and metal.

A Few Plucked from 19′
Dissorted (Germany) – The Final Divide

https://www.facebook.com/BlackSunsetMusic/

Release- October/25/2019
Black Sunset

dissorted

ARTWORK- 77

Sonewhere between Lovecraftian lore and Biblical text this depicts definite sides. Whether Right or Left Twix has the advantage I’m not sure.

FIRST TRACK- 78

Thrash bordering on melodic Death with sufficient Hardcore in the vocal department to have one thinking of The Haunted, even in instances The Exploited. A great start to get one in the mood to keep the neighbors awake at an ungodly hour.

INITIAL LISTEN- 76

A wicked Thrash mixture which boasts infectious riffs, plenty of aggression, smattering of hardcore and crossover elements and varied, though quite obvious, influences. A varied vocal approach helps to keep the album exciting ranging from an Antheax Bush-esque approach to that heard upon the undeniable standout belter “Picasso Warhead” which sports closer to an Arraya vibe. Overall an album and an act wjo demand attention, especially for those whose genre interests are rooted in the more melodic Thrash arenas circa the late 80’s/early 90’s.

Favorite Tracks; Aggressor/Protector, The Plague, Leviathan, Bloodshed Divine, The Temple, Picasso Warhead.

FFO; The Haunted, (later) Anthrax, Exodus, (early) Flotsam and Jetsam, Annihilator, Armored Saint.

Dead Prophet

Dead Prophet (Poland) – Sounds of Enlightenment (EP)

https://deadprophet.bandcamp.com/

Release – December/12/2019
Independent
ARTWORK- 73

I’m honestly not sure what this is. Perhaps a machine of some sort which elicts a wide range of emotions. Perhaps the cogs of Government and the populace represented by the faces. None of them are happy, any surprises there?

FIRST TRACK- 86

With an introduction which sounds like a slow descent into the underworld this collection is off to a chilling start. However, what follows may be surprising. This isn’t audio of the Blackened Death variety but rather that of hellish fast paced and precise destruction. It’s rather difficult not to move to this. A great start to put one in the mood to get shit done. If “shit” includes destroying everything in sight.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

Eerily similar to Origin in boasting the same hyper speed approach there’s no deny that these guys bear some skill. This is tight and precise whilst also punishing. Much like being stuck in a tornado of razor wire this will shred the senses and leave one disoriented although it does slow in moments in order for one to catch their breath before the next bludgeoning. I can’t understand why these guys arent talked about more.

Favorite Tracks; Stunningly devastating throughout.

FFO; Origin, Kataklysm, Obscura, Abysmal Dawn.

January Releases

acid mammoth

Acid Mammoth (Greece) – Under Acid Hoof

https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/acid-mammoth-under-acid-hoof

Release-January/24/2020
Heavy Psych Sounds
ARTWORK- 92

With only three colors on display, each in stark contrast to the other, this could be called simplistic. It may be but with the focus of the image on a large fluffy mammal and several robed figures, milling about, the theme of the album becomes more than obvious. Heaviness and the Occult, or am I wrong in my assumptions here?

FIRST TRACK- 84

The opening riffs of this album pounces upon the senses like the mating cry (?) of Mammoth (or so I would assume); thunderous, forlorn, yet laced with soul. The track continues to offer head noddin’ melodies draped in fuzz and lyrics basted in the occult.

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

I’m not usually into (what some might call) “traditional” Doom however this has somehow managed to ensnare me in its spell. The term “traditional” is somewhat loose here as this showcase’s stoner, psych, and bluesy elements all of which are delivered in such a way as to give this an undeniably fluid nature. Huge riffs cavort with an undercurrent of flowing melodies invoking ominous landscapes and scenarios drenched in dread, all of epic cinematic quality. The vocal accompaniment adds brilliant narrative flair slathered in emotion. Overall, this album boasts a vintage aura and tone more than likely to please those already into the scene and entice those who aren’t, who might have been curious before, towards the fold. Admittedly it’s been a long while since an album of this ilk has had such an impact on me as this has (even on a first listen basis). Outstanding doesn’t even come close! Suffice it to mention this is the bar for me which all others in the genre will be judged.

Favorite Tracks; Captivating throughout.

FFO; Electric Wizard, Monolord, Sleep, Black Sabbath, Trouble.

March Releases

graveripper

Graveripper (USA) – Complete Blinding Darkness (3 track EP)

https://graveripper.bandcamp.com/

Independent
Release- March/6/2020
ARTWORK- 76

A primitive black and white skull complete with tombstones, a crow, coins and a flower (wait, what?) This has a slight crossover/hardcore vibe going for it ala The Exploited. I’m intrigued.

FIRST TRACK- 82

Rip-roaring, head bobbing arrangements, a slight Punk vibe as well nods to vintage Thrash and traditional Heavy Metal by way of the rhythms and the production’s tone. The inclusion of melodic Death/Black with the inclusion of maniacal elements make this a curious listen, leaving me eager for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 80

A varied mixture of styles keeps this interesting. The second track is an about face from what the first hints at and adds a blackened tone (with slight Industrial leanings) with groove to the mix. The third is the most aggressive of the three and ramps up the blackened speed element. The style heard here opens up a whole new influence smorgasbord making for a listen which is deliciously diverse yet not so much as to fracture the potential fan base. If anything with deftly mixed myriad of styles on offer this collection will turn eager ears towards genres which would normally remain unexplored (which is quite the feat in and of itself). Dynamic and exciting this triad of tunes keeps the listener moving and looking to the future for more of the same. Keep up the great work guys!

Favorite Tracks; The One Reborn, A Swift Kick to the Teeth.

FFO; Forbidden, The Exploited, SkeletonWitch, Celtic Frost.

angerrot

Angerot (USA) – The Divine Apostate

https://angerot.bandcamp.com/album/the-divine-apostate

Release – March/27/2020
Redefining Darkness Records
ARTWORK- 76

I’m honestly not sure what this is. It appears to be a subterranean landscape depicting a form conversing with a crab. Perhaps sizing up the appropriately sized tank for such a creature, perhaps contemplating which butter would work best?

FIRST TRACK- 88

Biblical in its grandiose nature and fashioned with considerable presence this is one hell of an opener. An expert crafting of Doom and mid-tempo death which harkens to both the Old School and HM2 worship with delicate touches

Overall a track which reminds me of “Damnation and a Day” era Cradle of Filth cavorting with a Septic Flesh nature.

INITIAL LISTEN- 87

Somewhere between Hypocrisy, Septic Flesh, Abysmal Dawn and Cradle of Filth (circa “Damnation and a Day”) lies the style wherein. Hardly Technical yet delicate and full of depth, precariously close to brutal realms, though miles from that which might traditionally come to mind. This boasts a style which is doused in a sinister shroud, excellent arrangements and exquisitely crafted atmosphere Death/Doom throughout rather than brutality or chuggery often associated with run of the mill Death, an epic narrative which conjures both biblical landscapes and Lovecraftian arenas. Better yet it carves a grin on the chops each time it invades the senses.

Don’t sleep on this one!

Favorite Tracks; Below the Deep and Dreamless Sleep, Vestiments of Cancer, Coalesced with Wickedness, Counsel of the Unholy, Thy Kingdom Burned.

FFO; Hypocrisy, Entombed, Dismember, Abysmal Dawn, Septic Flesh.

April Releases

traveler termination shock

Traveler (Canada) – Termination Shock

https://travelermetal.bandcamp.com/album/termination-shock

Release- April/10/2020
Independent
ARTWORK- 88

The reoccurring space entity theme/World Eater is wicked. This bears larger than life cosmic cartoon qualities, also a slight tongue in cheek element which cannot be ignored. An 80’s vibe which screams to be put on a wall, shirt or a denim jacket.

FIRST TRACK- 82

Unapologetic NWOBHM vibes here in an indisputably similar vein to Di’Anno era Maiden. Guitar harmonies, sweeping melodies and vocals of the somewhat falsetto variety, I’m not entirely sold yet but I am intrigued.

INITIAL LISTEN- 77

Comprised largely of traditional Heavy Metal, part Power, part Epic with traditional Doom elements tossed in to add depth and flavor this encapsulates that which made the Rock and Heavy Metal arena so damn enjoyable and fresh in the late 70’s early 80’s. Foot tapping dynamics, rhythms which invoke epic narratives with an abundance of eye opening leads and solos which add to the allure. Bass lines to make Steve Harris foam at the mouth, unexpected atmosphere, even at times a sound which brings to mind a concept aura. This offers a great deal for fans of the early years of Heavy Metal to get excited about, though personally (in moments) it wades too far into Power and Epic realms for my tastes. I’m of the mind this will grow to consume me with repeated listens, but for now I’m merely sinking lazily into its enchantment.

Favorite Tracks; Shaded Mirror, Termination Shock, Foreverman, Diary of a Maiden, Deepspace.

FFO; early Iron Maiden, Omen, early Queensreich, Dio, Angel Witch.

noroth

Noroth (USA) – It Dwells Amongst Us

https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/it-dwells-amongst-us

Release- April/10/2020
Caligari Records
ARTWORK- 81

Primitive Black and White art with an over-abundance of skeletons, skulls and an undeniable archaic/mystical nature. What’s not to like?

FIRST TRACK- 82

Old school bludgeoning rhythms, lazy growls of the death/doom variety (which aren’t at all a bad thing) and an overall style harkening back to the 90’s. Add noodles of groove, a few riffs reminiscent of early Gorguts and you have an intriguing start to any album.

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

Mid-tempo old school, dirgey, diabolical madness. This has shades of Bolt Thrower, as well Celtic Frost, a smidgen of HM2 worship but a whole ton of selling the soul to the old school. If the quality of this doesn’t have you sifting through your early 90’s music collection, albums which deserve revisiting often, I don’t know what to say. This has nostalgia written all over it, packaged in groove. It’s an audio parcel you’ll want smashing into your senses again and again. Don’t ignore this stunning debut!

Favorite Tracks; Shadow, My Patriarch, Cerberus, Extinction, Prisoner ov Splendor, It Dwells Amongst Us.

FFO; early Gorguts, Cianide, early Unleashed, Morgoth.

myth of I

Myth of I (USA) – s/t

https://mythofi.bandcamp.com/album/myth-of-i

Release-April/10/2020
The Artisan Era
ARTWORK- 87

A clearing in the forest bathed in the sun’s brilliance. Be it dawn, or dusk I’m not sure. Regardless the image is stunning perhaps hinting at I can only image audio of atmospheric black tendencies?

FIRST TRACK- 90

A tranquil introduction complete with pristine production and a nature soundscape is reminiscent of Tiamat’s “Wildhoney” album but more immersive. Its soon replaced by progressive chords, a tech death aura, albeit relaxed, and virtuosic fretboard manipulations slathered in a cosmic vibe. Technical but hardly brutal this is strangely relaxing and highly mesmeric.

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

Traversing a smorgasbord of arenas this take the listener across a vast audio landscape. Dipping into a myriad of stylistic territories the sound here ranges from as far afield as Djent and “angry jazz” (love that term) there’s even synth elements to break up the album some. But don’t let the word ‘Jazz’ fool you, as this is far from what you might assume it to be. Naturally, it’s intricate, technical, often dreamy but altogether enthralling in its brilliance. Far from brutal but encroaching upon the same grounds which many Tech Death bands reside this shows a musical collective in top form. Call this slightly different, call it a palette cleanser, label it with whatever moniker you wish there’s several thing’s which can’t be denied; it’s hardly Atmospheric Black, it shines with a absurd excellence and cannot (and should not) be ignored. Itd rare an slbumnif this ilk grabs me as ferociously as this, I’m hardly an instrumental fan, but this is something altogether different. The Artisan Era have done it again! Get this in the ears pronto but be prepared for it will whisk you away to realms both disorienting and sublime, and often in the track.

Favorite Tracks; The whole album delivers, strangely entertaining even without a vocal accompaniment.

FFO; Blotted Science, Athiest, Hannes Grossmann, Howling Sycamore, The Devon Townsend Project.

RECC by Demnuts (via Twitter)

nightshock

Nightshock (Italy) – Battlefield Necromancer (EP)

https://nightshock.bandcamp.com/album/battlefield-necromancer

Release -April/10/202
Unsigned/Independent
ARTWORK- 60

Raw and primitive. This gives little away in relation to what’s in store for the listener with a simplicity which harkens to the tape trading days of the 80’s. The bands logo and font is a tad ‘odd’ putting me in mind of audio releases with Synth values. I’m not sure what to expect but I’m stramgely intrigued.

FIRST TRACK- 88

An introduction of a Dungeon Synth ilk opens this audio collection and much like the cover gives little away in relation to what’s to follow. It soon comes to an end, replaced by jugular tearing riffage of a type which nods towards both blackened speed realms and Crust territories. Wicked accented vocals add to the tracks blunt appeal. This is a tad primitive, in a Venom type way, and seethes with a DIY primal nature an overall approach which is difficult not to appreciate, especially for those who prefer their tunes with little preamble, at maximum volume.

INITIAL LISTEN- 87

Overall a listen which is sure to get the pump pumping and the limbs twitchin. A release which explores both Blackened Speed sensibilities though also tinkers with melodic majesty ala Storm era Dissection. Crust and D-beat elements add to the fun making this a collection of tracks which although quite simple, occasionally veers towards repetitive, in their arrangement are hard to ignore. Just try not to move with this in the ears.

I’m eager for more, this is just too damn short.

Favorite Tracks; The whole damn thing!

FFO; Witchery, WolfBrigade, Hell Ripper, Whiplash, Whipstriker.

archaic vanity

Archaic Vanity (Turkey) – Deformed and Disfigured (EP)

https://archaicvanity.bandcamp.com/album/deformed-and-disfigured

Release- April/13/2020
Independent
ARTWORK- 92

I’m a sucker for black and white art. But this is ridiculous! Fractured mind, internal turmoil, cosmic entity in disguise caught off guard, or is this a bonus scene from “The Void”, alternatively John Carpenter’s “The Thing”? If the audio is anywhere near as impressive one is in for a sinew shredding workout. If the band is reading this, I want this image on a shirt (where might one be able to sate the desire for such?)

FIRST TRACK- 91

Merciless multi-faceted rhythms, technical leads, harsh vocals and melodies. I’m quite taken aback. This is my first experience of the band and I’m in shock. This is damn good audio.

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

Vicious, fast paced, intricate and dynamic showcasing technical florishes and rhythms likely to send a corpse into convulsions. Brutal and tight but miles from merely sensorial devastating noise pollution this overflows with an exemplary sinister nature and palpable menace and yet tetters on the delicate balance of both atmosphere and maelstrom force of pissed off nature assault. I’m astounded that this is the first I’m hearing of these guys. Set the ears upon this and prepare to have the jaw hit the floor. Seriously this Fn’ rules!!

Expect to hear me rave about this again as year-end approaches.

Favorite Tracks; Blistering audio throughout and I have zero qualms.

FFO; Pestilence, Atheist, Hath, (mid era) Death.

cemetery filth

Cemetery Filth (USA) Dominion

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

Release-April/13/2020
Boris Records/Unspeakable Axe Records
ARTWORK- 88

Masterful Dan Seagrave art, scratch that, it has that vibe but is actually penned by the multi-talented Jaunjo Castellano. Vivid, mesmerizing, sinister. Lovecraftian otherworldly with archaic secret society undertones. I could use a bunch of words here but I wouldn’t even come close to describing the undeniably brilliant aura. Just awesome!

FIRST TRACK- 82

Much like a persistent alarm (and sleep function) the beginning of this track warns the listener to get ready for that which is about to unfold. In this case the audio on offer, not the day ahead. And bot does it unfold! Tumbling chaotic rhythms, an enveloping sinister audio blanket, maniacal flourishes and cavernous vox. Overall a vibe ripped from the old school ala Suffocation wrestling Terrorizer for arrangement superiority. Suffice it to mention…I’m awake and paying attention.

INITIAL LISTEN- 87

Old school in temperament boasting superb production and clarity with every instrument clear in the mix. This is an undeniable nod to the forebears of the scene but with an added certain something which brings the past barreling to meet fans of the current. A touch of Grindcore and a dash of Crust aid the albums allure but it’s the drums and groove backbone which have me bouncing around like a maniac. The arrangements harken to influence from across the extreme board and Cemetery Filth aren’t afraid to prod the maliciousness of Death towards the harrowing nature of Doom add to that diabolical sprinkles and maniacal passages and you have a release which only gets better with each spin. This is likely to appear on a plethora of lists come years end, for good reason.

Favorite Tracks; Exhumed Visions, Aeons in Dis, Devoured by Dread, Dominion.

FFO; Terrorizer, Suffocation, Misery Index, Disincarnate.

Werewolves

Werewolves (Australia, UK) – The Dead are Screaming

https://werewolvesdeathmetal.bandcamp.com/

Release- April/24/2020
Prosthetic Records
ARTWORK- 82

This has a vibrant medieval vibe. However, I’m not sure if this giant fellow is the leader of a merry troupe or if he is being attacked by them. Alternatively, whether he/she is forming from the amassed crowd. Regardless, an intriguing image which demands closer inspection.

FIRST TRACK- 79

An intriguing Hammer-esque introduction leads into Hyper-speed drumming accompanied by straight for the throat no nonsense brutal riffs and zero BS. Groove as well a driving dirge approach aided by blunt, hammering, rhythms. If this isn’t the soundtrack to incite carnage in a mosh pit I’m not sure what is.

INITIAL LISTEN- 90

It’s as if this release is a melting pot, a boiling receptacle, a container of sorts which combines Grindcore, Brutal, traditional and Blackened Death into a concoction somehow without any of the elements losing their stylistic identities. The varied maelstrom of probable influences assaults the listener in an intensity which is nearly as forceful as the audio itself. Churning, evolving, transforming and hardly static this gains momentum as the album progresses, and only widens the eyes as it inexorably reaches its conclusion. Blistering, yet technical and pleasingly diverse this is one hell of a way to introduce the labors of many a mind from across the extreme audio spectrum, with the same varied arenas of interest showcased exquisitely throughout. Be prepared for the audio here will spark frenetic, spastic, movements without apology or permission. This will drop on the senses like a ton of bricks followed by the wayward impact point of an aircraft carrier. Grab that wallet!

May Favorite Tracks; I honestly started to list tracks only to realize I was listing the whole damn album. Fk this is godly!

FFO; Vital Remains, Dying Fetus, The Berserker, Cannibal Corpse, Terrorizer.

May Releases

resent crosshairs image

Resent (Canada) – Crosshairs

https://resent1.bandcamp.com/

https://nervealtar.bandcamp.com/album/crosshairs

Release – May/1/2020
Dry Cough Records/Nerve Altar/Rope or Guillotine
ARTWORK- 73

This image is fuzzy, raw and I can hardly make it out. But there’s obviously something going on. As if this is something which shouldn’t be seen, a forbidden ritual perhaps or an atrocity which should probably never been photographed in the first place. Suffice it to say, I’m just a little curious.

FIRST TRACK- 82

Tell me how much it hurts…

It hurts alot!

I can’t feel it!

It hurts…A LOT!

And then it begins. Distortion, huge riffs and industrial grade groove. However, this is raw, universes from clean and it has undeniable bite. A ferocious abrupt snapping of, the foaming at the mouth, jaws from a rabid animal which one might approach as it appears at first dead. A laziness which is all enveloping. Quicksand qualities to the Nth degree.

INITIAL LISTEN- 81

Prepare to enter a world of anguish. This is heavy duty sludge, grindhouse sludge in fact. Naturally, it helps this description that introductory soundbites are also yanked from the same unapologetic arena. Add elements of Crust, an unmerciful raw bludgeoning harsh nature, riffs akin to scratching nails down a chalkboard, snarled vokills and sufficient groove and you have a collection of tracks which is sure to get the speakers shaking and the neighbors pulling their hair out in appreciation. Recommended more for those who prefer unbridled chaos and unhinged angst and brutality rather than traditional rock arrangements and melodic compositions this leaves a mark and in fact fits the moniker of this article as if it were designed specifically for such.

Favorite Tracks; Miserable, Crosshairs, Victimized.

FFO; EyeHateGod, Acid Bath, Meth Drinker, Fetish 69.

ara

Ara (USA) – Jurisprudence

https://arawi.bandcamp.com/album/jurisprudence

Release- May/15/2020
Independent
ARTWORK- 76

A collection of skulls affixed to a table (?) by their tongues there’s definitely something archaic and barbaric going on here.

FIRST TRACK- 74

Brutality and bludgeoning chaos beats out melody and groove here. This is an all- encompassing introduction sure to leave the listener in disarray.

INITIAL LISTEN- 76

Hardly traditional but undoubtedly brutal this album strays from what one might expect and keeps groove and melodies at a minimum. Choosing instead to concentrate on overlapping riffs and constantly evolving rhythms it showcases a chaotic, unpredictable and unmerciful approach aided by vocals with considerable angst in a similar vein to EyeHateGod. Not recommended for the casual listener, the weak or those with a penchant for epic introductions often bathed in symphonic qualities this is blunt, harsh and uncompromising with an atmosphere which screams sensorial punishment.

Favorite Tracks; Mythos, Excursus Praestinguo, Pounded into the Multiverse.

FFO; Anata, Gorguts, Atheist, Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal.

godless truth

Recommended by Drew

This release comes courtesy of my globe-trotting friend. He found this in a street market in Hungary and, apparently, immediately thought of me. What say we give it a spin?

Godless Truth (Czechia) – Arrogance of Supreme Power

https://laceratedenemyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/godless-truth-arrogance-of-supreme-power

Release – October/15/2004 (remastered in 05′ w. an added bonus track)
Lacerated Enemy Records
ARTWORK (based on the remastered 05′ edition) – 71

Moody crimson splattered across a landscape littered with the impaled dead with a horned fellow front and center (most probably itching to ask “What you looking at?”) It’s rather obvious what’s on offer here, this certainly isn’t a Top 40 release.

FIRST TRACK- 73

The introduction sounds like a hybrid consisting of a narrated introduction to a low budget horror/fantasy dystopian epic (chunk of celluloid) and a horror themed shoot-em-up platform game. It gets one in the mood leaving little question as to what’s about to assault the senses. And there’s little surprise when Brutal Death starts to blare from the speakers. However, it isn’t only that, there’s several other elements tossed in to mix up the listening experience. A smidgen of Slam, flourishes of Technical with plenty of passages showcasing the drumming skill and bass manipulation. All in all, an intriguing start.

INITIAL LISTEN- 74

I’ve yet to hear an album in which Vin Diesel stars as the introduction. This is a first. More surprisingly yet is that the track in question is rather impressive, in fact the album as a whole isn’t at all shabby. Close to what Dying Fetus albums offer the listener this adds Slam, Grindcore elements and a little experimentation. Guttural as well tradition Brutal Death utterances are prevalent accompanied by the percussions unmerciful brutality resulting in an experience which delivers, in fact, gets better as the album progresses. Minor qualms include naff translation and the fact this isn’t as melodic as I would like. But it’s minor and I understand that tastes vary. With that in mind is guaranteed to please a great many into the more chaotic, Brutal arenas.

Favorite Tracks; Mission: Fuck You, Reprobate Intention, Instructed to Degrate, Embraced to Void.

FFO; Dying Fetus, Benighted, Suffocation, Job for a Cowboy, Malignancy, Crytopsy.

And that brings this gargantuan installment to a close. Hopefully I’ve introduced an album or two you might not otherwise have heard of and are currently enjoying. As always feel free to suggest that which I might have missed or something you have an especial fondness for. Feel free to comment and please share in order that others might discover that which might normally be foreign to the senses.

Your slave to audio extreme,

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