Archive for the ‘Abrasive Audio’ Category

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses –

Part Eighteen (July 2019)

head explosion cavity colors

Image courtesy of Cavity Colors.com the best place to purchase a genre themed shirt

 

It’s been awhile. For that I apologize. I’d like to blame a myriad of things for the reason, though I shall refrain from doing so. It’s seriously all down to laziness and a lack of motivation due to a work schedule which is substantially far and beyond that of a traditional/typical forty-hour week and the kids are in town for the summer. There, I guess did blame most everything, except myself. Fair enuf.

 

 

Now, on to the metal…

dialith

Dialith -Extinction Six
(USA)
Release – August/16/2019
Independent
Dewar PR
https://dialith.bandcamp.com/album/extinction-six
ARTWORK – 7.5

Aftermath of an apocalypse type imagery with an undeniable spark of hope (perhaps a few years on) an image which has a slight cartoon vibe to it. I’m of the belief that the audio therein isn’t going to be of the rabid, ferocious large animal, vocal style variety, but I’ve been wrong before.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

A symphonic backdrop meets driving, often galloping, rhythms aided by (Dream Theatre-esque) gymnastic guitar passages and an angelic vocal accompaniment. A fantastic start!

INITIAL LISTEN -8

The style brings to mind Evanescence, Within Temptation, Nightwish, Rhapsody and Epica with at times a slightly heavier Iced Earth/Dragonforce epic speed metal edge there’s even, at times, a dash of melodic death. The style works, is diverse and exhilarating enough to remain captivating, (even the albums seventeen-minute opus finale) and is complemented by stunning vocals courtesy of Krista Sion which might put one in mind of the lighter side of Theatre of Tragedy. If you’re looking for something which the significant other might also enjoy (who perhaps usually turns their nose up at extreme tunage) this is a worthy compromise, he’ll it might even open the doors to the arena which you can then bask in together.

Favorite Tracks; The Sound of Your Voice, Where Fire Dwells, Catalyst.

cult of sorrow

Cult of Sorrow – Invocation of the Lucifer
(USA)
Release – September/20/2019
Black Doomba Records
Dewar PR
https://cultofsorrow.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 9

Vivid imagery with a folksy vibe and an amazing color palette. Even the goat looks amused. This needs representation on a shirt!

FIRST TRACK – 8

Undeniable influence oozes from every huge riff the vocalist could be confused for Ozzy upon first experience. A great start and introduction to the band and their style.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Traditional, melodic, riff heavy with just the right amount of fuzz, keyboard laden, passionate doom with heavy metal leanings. Think The Obsessed with vocals of an Ozzy era Black Sabbath slant. This has undeniable staying power, shows experience beyond this only being a second full-length and is extremely difficult not to instantly appreciate. And this only gets better with repeated listens.

FFO; The Obsessed, Black Sabbath, Candlemass.

Favorite Tracks; Come Infernal, Souls of the Damned, The Mirror.

the odious

The Odious – Vesica Piscis
(USA)
Release – June/21/2019
Independent
Mind Eraser PR
https://theodious.bandcamp.com/album/vesica-piscis
ARTWORK – 8

This is odd, leaning towards hypnotic and rather ‘out there’, but it has got my attention leaving me more than merely a little curious.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

The introductory track, “Scrape”, starts out one way then abruptly veers towards another tangent entirely as if the ‘player’ needs motivation, or a break. An interesting start hinting at, perhaps, a release which doesn’t contain the word “predictable” in its lexicon. “Repugnant” lays the groundwork for the audio to follow. Technical, progressive, frenetic in nature and slightly experimental, incorporating a slew of different styles which often tumble over each other, but it works and I’m left eagerly awaiting what direction, in how many, and how the remainder of the album will play out.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Borrowing heavily from the most impressive elements from a slew of genres The Odious have somehow managed to expertly fuse audio in a way which brings forth a myriad of emotion as it passes through the senses, incorporating rock and extreme metal elements, brutal face-crushing riffs, melodic passages and a slew of rhythms which have the listener pondering in which direction they should turn next. Should they sit back, relax, let the music take them to a tranquil locale or get up and move around, letting their frustrations pour from their body in a torrent? In one moment, rhythms accompany vocals of the harrowing, angst, screaming, pulse-elevating, variety, in the next the pace drops considerably leaving the listener in a state of what the fuck is going on right now. Strangely the music has a fluidity and although the audio tapestry is considerably detailed and intricate in its composition the flow remains mesmerizing. Tempestuous and fickle much like the oceans tide this will transport the listener, in no hurry, to a wide variety of realm both calm and chaotic.

Impulsive and unpredictable is the name of the arena in which this release resides and it has a great deal to offer those who are willing to step outside of traditional audio realms. And to think I was going to give this a pass. Go into this with an open mind and you’ll have fun and will only want to spin it again in order to pick out what you might have missed the first time around. Highly recommended!

FFO; Between the Buried and Me, Opeth, Devin Townsend, Faith no More.

Favorite Tracks; Arbiter of Taste, Glowjaw, Vesica Pescis, Heavy Rhetoric, Fix

sorcery

Sorcery – Necessary Excess of Violence
(Sweden)
Release – August/20/2019
Xtreem Music
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/necessary-excess-of-violence
ARTWORK – 8

Flames, an apocalyptic sky, zombies (?!) brandishing more than a lust for warm flesh and a cathedral sporting an inverted cross. Something is definitely afoot here and it isn’t pretty. Hide your goats!

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

HM2 sound speaker caressing Dismember/Entombed worship with a rawness to its production. Vocals are low in the mix but it only makes one want to listen ‘harder’ (whatever that means). A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

Crunchy, melodic yet brimming with malevolence. Though this is nothing nee fans of the same style (listed above) will gladly eat this up! My only gripes are that the production is a little muddy at times and this doesn’t offer more than is already ‘in the market’.

FFO; Grave, Entombed, Dismember, Vomitory, Amon Amarth and Unleashed.

Favorite Tracks; The Stellar Circle, Illuminate.

Cruickshank

Cruickshank – s/t
(USA)
Release – August/16/2019
Independent
Dewar PR
ARTWORK – 8

I’m not even sure what this is, although it looks deep, dark and depressing. Is this gent about to plummet? Further investigation is necessary. Where’s my microscope?

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

Starts off with a Therapy (“Troublegum”) type rhythm which soon transforms into a sludge type driving force accompanied by frenetic drums and angst fueled vocals. I have an idea this is going to be somewhat of an unpredictable release.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Driving rhythms, which often fight for supremacy in chaotic standoffs, traipse through a slew of styles offering the listener a great deal to discover. Grindcore cavorts with hardcore amidst a backdrop of sludge draped in a tapestry weaved with frenetic and often groove laden passages. Overall a release which will please fans of Kyuss, Olde, Tool, EyeHateGod, Acid Bath and a slew of others acts who refuse to conform to a style that defined by any one genre. Someone is going to have to pull me away from this with considerable force, it’s growing on me like a ravenous parasite. Don’t let this pass you by.

Favorite Tracks; Clouded, Hard Damage, To Swine, Nothing Survives.

desecresy

Desecresy – Towards Nebulae
(Finland)
Release – July/23/2019
Xtreem Music
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/towards-nebulae
ARTWORK – 7.5

Mystical and cosmos elements combine in a Geiger-esque image depicting, what might have once been, a person gazing deep into an orb swirling in mist. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the logo it reminds me of colorful block lettered graffiti often found emblazoned across subways, circa the 1980’s.

FIRST TRACK – 8

Dirge laden riffs, growly vocals and a plodding ominous grumbling pace that’s highly reminiscent of Bolt Thrower and Nile’s discography aided by another presence which I can’t quite describe just yet. This leaves me intrigued.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Crushing, heavy machinery, sonic barbarity with unmistakable influences aided by a suffocating atmosphere and an occasional cavernous doom presence which teases dragging the listener through grindcore waters. Highly effective and evocative audio with a vast cosmos conflict type narrative.

Favorite Tracks; Only Mist Drifts, Fringes of Existence, Sediments of Blood, Unbeknownst to Mortals.

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Cthelist, Nile and other death acts whose audio is slathered in dirge sensibilities.

Baleful abyss

Baleful Abyss (F.K.A Zombieslut) – Death Propaganda
(Germany)
Release – July/26/2019
Black Sunset/MDD
Against PR
https://balefulabyss.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 8

Obviously, a political statement, albeit tongue in rotten cheek, but fun imagery nevertheless.

FIRST TRACK – 8

Slow moving brutality with groove. This will put many in mind of death metal circa the early 90’s.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Dirge driven groove that’s highly nostalgic of the 90’s. An album which delivers high caliber audio throughout, that which a fan of the band (fka Zombieslut) would expect based on their history. Regardless of the fact that this really doesn’t offer anything substantially new to the genre it still demands respect and makes a fantastic addition to any collection bursting at the seams with death/doom laden dirge and death bordering on grindcore.

FFO; early Gorefest, Napalm Death, Commit Suicide, Benediction, Jungle Rot and the 90’s bass driven plodding ‘chuggery’ style which often flaunts with, teasing, grindcore sensibilities.

Favorite Tracks; Gates of the Cheribum, Spitting out the Dead, Satanophobia, Web of Soulless Horror.

Plucked From Metal Past

nuclear assault handle with care

Nuclear Assault – Handle With Care
(USA)
Release – November 1989 (Reissued 2011 by Century Media Records)
In-Effect
 Thoughts –

“Handle With Care” was the first thrash album which really grabbed me by the ‘short and curlies’ (what better way to celebrate this fact than by laying down a few words in appreciation) and this was even after I’d had the first experience with vintage Metallica, even now as I’m revisiting (for the first time in years) It remarkably has the same effect. “New Song” heralded by Connelly’s distinct vocals is the first up. Driving rhythms, straight for the throat riffs and diabolical themed leads leave the listener stunned. This ain’t no San Francisco ‘Bay area’ thrash, nope this is from new York and these folks mean business. “Critical Mass” is up next, the rhythms are infectious, not altogether technical and the production isn’t altogether polished, but it doesn’t matter, the strength of this track propels the listener straight to the snap yer damn neck in head bangin’ fury mode.

(courtesy of Thrash Central)

And it continues; “Inherited Hell” elevates the album to another level entirely, in essence it’s as fast as unholy fuck! This track is one of my all time faves, always demands my full attention, gets it and never fails to get a reaction albeit sometimes as small as a fist pump and a loud “Fuck yea” to my wife’s astonishment (Honestly dear, where did that come from?) Further brilliance comes in the form of “Emergency” a vocal frenzied attack and breakdown worthy of note. “F# Wake Up” with its meth amphetamine riff introduction. “Search and Seizure” sporting most probably metals most famous burp. I’ve always wondered if its a take on the more infamous “Search and Destroy” though I know which leaves me more bruised once its through. The chaotic, grindcore leaning, “Mothers Day” certainly leaves an impression and will most definitely leave a first time listener dazed. “Trail of Tears” boasts Testament leanings with its interspersed melodic qualities and is a fantastic way to bring a frenzied album to a close especially when based on whats gone before the audience was most probably expecting audio of the variety to tear the final ligament connecting their vertebrae to their skull resulting in its toppling to the dirt. A limited edition release includes bonus tracks plucked from a 1988 legendary show recorded live at the Hammersmith Odeon.

However one slices it this this is an album which demands respect and placement in any discerning metalheads collection, I know i have it someplace. I’ve dropped a link above, enjoy, and as always feel free to tell me your thoughts, recommendations and or suggestions.

That’s about it for this installment. And it’s been quite the mixed bag, genre definition be damned!!

Until our paths of audio interest cross again,

Cult

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Wizard-Rifle band

Abrasive Audio – Another Interview.

A few words with Wizard Rifle

Recently I had the pleasure of laying ears upon audio which is diverse to say the very least, familiar yet stunningly different and warranting of at least a few dozen spins to be able to fully digest. Wizard Rifles newest is the type of album one can’t easily forget, it leaves an impression, an instant glorious appreciation which led me to this, and honestly my words cannot come close to explaining the audio, perhaps the band can help. Without further ado…

Howdy Guys,

First off, thanks for the consideration and taking the time to ponder over what I’m hoping are a few questions which will serve to introduce your unique brand of audio to those who are otherwise ignorant of its captivating qualities.

Let’s start at the beginning, for it seems like as good a place as any, from where did the name, “Wizard Rifle”, and the bands origins stem?

Sam and myself (Max) were both going to school in Portland, and were both trying to start a band, and we were both finding it hard to get people to commit and keep a practice schedule. We were introduced by our mutual friend, and we quickly started jamming together for hours a day, every day we possibly could. Having just one person to coordinate with made it easy to stay on the same page and just spend a lot of time writing and developing our style. The name was something my roommate said while I was playing Super Mario World on SNES.

the SNES

for all those wondering this is the SNES

How would you describe the style which characterizes the audio for which Wizard Rifle is renowned?

We both developed playing styles to fill up the audio spectrum that normally is divided into 3+ people. My riffs and gear are set up to sound big. Having just one guitar allows Sam to play really busy at times which is exciting.
Our songs go through a whole roller-coaster of different styles and ideas and we try to make it like a journey with different distinct movements or whatever. Basically, we just write to keep people on their toes and surprise them.

wizard rifle in the woods

Wizard Rifle chillin’ in the woods

I’ve seen the terms ‘Art fuck scrap metal’ and ‘Scuzzy spaz rock’ used for those who might be confused (including myself) could you better explain these terms?

I think those are some tags we just came up with on our Bandcamp back in the day. We’ve never been able to properly categorize our music, so I guess those are just combinations of words that somehow capture our feeling of what the music is like, and also that we think are funny. “Art fuck scrap metal”: like a welded together sculpture of garbage and scraps made by some wierdo paying 50k a year to express themselves in some dumb-ass BFA program.

Within your newest audio collection, I detect a number of, what I can only presume to be, influences. In instances a certain familiarity, in others passages which bring to mind acts who are also not easily genre categorized, defined by a willingness to experiment somewhat with that which fans already know but have never thought/expected to have grace the ears in such a well-choreographed ensemble. Are there any acts or albums in particular (an example which immediately leaps to mind is “Mutilation Makes Identification Difficult” by Brutal Juice) which have helped shape how the sound and style of the album came to be?

We pull from everything we listen to, and never are like “okay for this track we’re only doing Sleep and E.Wizard”. We find tropey bands boring. Yes Black Sabbath are the greatest band to exist probably. No I don’t wanna hear your direct Iommi ripoff set.
People are always coming up to us like, “Oh you guys obviously love this album or band” and often neither of us have ever even heard it, and that is very pleasing to us that people hear different things. For instance I have never heard Brutal Juice. There have been some very pivotal bands, albums, shows that we have experienced which set us off. Far too many to mention.

WizardRifle

The newest release in all of its seafaring, trash laden collage glory

The image on “Speak Load, Say Nothing” may suggest what to expect from the album (though it doesn’t even begin to hint at its unpredictable exuberance). What did/do you wish to portray/convey with the upcoming (self-titled) albums art?

Well all our album covers (aside from the EP) are photographed sculptures and collages. This cover is a collage of trash and plants and sea creature parts sam put together. We never want our covers to look like a run of the mill metal cover, so we always try to make something that grabs your eye and isn’t as expected. I think the cover Sam did is just really pretty and abstract and has awesome colors. I liked it right away.

Staying on topic of release related queries; It’s been a while since your last album (2014’s “Here in the Deadlights”) with two years separating that from (2014’s) “Speak Loudly, Say Nothing” following on from (2010’s) “Kitties and Pie” were you ever at any point concerned that the new record might not ‘see the light of day’?

It was a long process to finish up the album for many reasons, one of which being that we didn’t want to half-ass it at all. We wanted the songs to be precisely composed and practiced and we wanted it recorded really well. The finished product sounds exactly as I have imagined it should for these past few years so that is pretty cool.
We are always figuring it out along the way in terms of how the band operates, and so there were periods where it took some perseverance to not fall into a hopeless state of mind. Ultimately if our support network fell apart and no one was interested in putting out the record we would have made it happen anyway just because we put the work into the songs and want them out there no matter what. Even if we had to sell our plasma for the next decade or something

The new album is out (August 30th) via Svart Records, a move which might make many wonder – why the split with Seventh Rule Recordings? Can you tell us more?

Scott Flaster over at Seventh Rule was an awesome guy to work with and took a chance putting out our first records. After “Here in the Deadlights” he had a lot going on and just wasn’t putting out new records for a while, so there wasn’t further discussion about the 3rd record.

The first single, and track, (“Rocket from Hell”) from the new album recently premiered on Decibel Magazine (August 30th can’t come fast enough!) and has gotten quite the reaction. Following a brief recording hiatus was it more than expected?

It is hard for me to quantify the magnitude of reaction to content on the internet, maybe because I suck at internet and mostly just try and figure it out for the band. Seems like it’s been pretty amazing thus far, and we definitely have really good people working on it who are killing it. The true barometer will be if people come out to the shows, and if people buy the record.

Acid king wizard rifle tour

 

A US tour is currently underway supporting Acid King (I’m hoping to catch you as you pass through the heartland). Are there any past dates/cities which have stood out for any particular reason?

I mean Portland is always an amazing amazing time, full of old friends and hugs. Sometimes the smaller cities go off and its rad. I feel like it’d be unfair to shout out specific places too much because we’ve met super cool people who have really taken care of us and showed us a good time all over this dang country!

If given ‘free rein’ and choice from artists past or present/living or not who would you wish to tour alongside? For any particular reason?

The Stooges back in the day.

Thanks!

 

And with that the interview comes to an end, my thanks again go out to Curtis (Dewar PR) and Wizard Rifle for responding.

The bands discography is as follows;
Kitties and Pie!!!! (2010) EP

https://wizardrifle.bandcamp.com/album/kitties-and-pie

Speak Loud, Say Nothing (Seventh Rule Recordings) 2012

https://wizardrifle.bandcamp.com/album/speak-loud-say-nothing

alternatively

https://releases.seventhrule.com/album/speak-loud-say-nothing

Here in the Deadlights (Seventh Rule Recordings) 2014

https://releases.seventhrule.com/album/here-in-the-deadlights

Their latest, self titled opus, will drop on August 30th via Svart Records

my review of which is here (please excuse the pool of drool that comes with)

https://cultmetalflix.wordpress.com/2019/06/13/abrasive-audio-to-soothe-the-senses-part-16/

Cult

Abrasive Audio – Reccd’ by Void (special edition)
Incantation – Onward to Golgotha

Incantation onwrd top golg

Relapse Records 1992 recently re-release as part of the twenty-five years celebration of the Relapse Records label

It’s come to my attention recently that I have a great deal of catching up to do. Although I’ve been neck deep in extreme tunage since the time I first discovered hairs grow in strange places you’d wish they wouldn’t (whoa – what’s that?) I’ve, for some reason, chosen to ignore or avoid certain bands and or releases. Admittedly it took me some time to leap from the thrash arena into darkened death realms (but…I’m scared. Does it bite?) Slayer, Witchery, Speed Kills compilations and a slew of acts of similar ilk certainly helped in that regard (oftentimes, depending on the audio, it was less than a leap more than a shift in stance). Pestilence was one of the first to caress my senses, then came Benediction (I had “Subconscious Terror” on CD before I owned a player) and a certain Peaceville compilation. It took forever for me to trust a friend’s judgement to lay my ears upon Cannibal Corpse (“Tomb of the Mutilated”) but when I did it was all over. I could see audio avenues opening before me which I’d never considered (only recently have I dipped my fleshy audio catchers into more blackened realms, although I’ve always appreciated Dissection‘s catalog). Relapse alongside Earache are titans of the extreme scene, especially in its infancy, but for some reason I’ve avoided acts from their stable (in the past) as if they carried the plague and I would be infected within an earshots radius. Enough’s enough, I owe it to myself (and a small collective of readers who chose to punish their senses with my rambling, often non- sensical, thoughts on audio) to dive deep, to experience that which could well have diverted my listening habits that much sooner. But enough about me, onwards to the matter at hand (try to avoid the vision that invokes, it isn’t pretty).

Onward… (to Golgotha)

https://incantation666.bandcamp.com/album/onward-to-golgotha

A single glance at the track list is all it takes for one to realize they’re about to be plunged into a seething cauldron of diabolical audio. Tracks with titles like “Blasphemous Cremation”, “Christening the Afterbirth”, “Rotting Spiritual Embodiment” and “Delivery of Horrific Prophecies” though are far from the blunt gore-soaked titles found on other albums from around much the same time. And they wouldn’t be far wrong. Incantation have an air which places them into a different arena, a realm inhabited by a rare few with much the same impact felt today, namely Morbid Angel, Carcass and Gorguts.

gorguts then comes...

One can’t ignore the covers image, rather than opt for sheer shock value the artist has chosen another route. Naturally, there’s certain religious connotation but the vivid in your face gore and blatancy is absent replaced by an image which is more ‘art’ in theme, showcasing tones, hues and shading which make one want to dive deeper to dissect the image over time.

Pressing play an instant assault takes the listener aback. There’s no introduction, no soundbites to grace the ears and certainly no acoustic presence to help lower one into catacomb like surroundings. Golgotha pounces straight for the throat. In effect it serves as a fantastic introduction, in and of itself.

For those who’ve been listening to this arena of audio for a while the album, upon an initial listen, obviously sounds familiar. But to properly understand its impact one must consider that this was originally released back in 1992, not last month, last year, or even last decade but now over twenty- five years ago (that’s a quarter of a century for those still not paying attention). “Onward to Golgotha” has a tone, a brilliant catacomb like quality (which many have failed to recreate even to this day) which adds to its nature. The rhythms and riffs are miles from what some might consider mere ‘chuggery’ but instead showcase an unpredictable nature saturated in undeniable diabolical qualities. Whirlwind passages serve to keep the listener on their toes where occasional slower moments only up the infernal ante and add to the album’s overall mood. This isn’t a speed metal opus, a fretboard melting thrashfest, or an album which attempts to break the sound barrier, or even a release which could be classed as a wall of sonic unrelenting brutality but rather a carefully crafted, exquisitely constructed collective of tracks, each boasting an identity of their own amidst varied rapidly transforming elements of old school death, black, funeral doom and diabolical audio.

incantation EP 91

Deliverance of Horrific Prophecies Ep art

“Devoured Death” and “Blasphemous Creation” are early standouts for those who prefer an unrelenting attack with a slightly European aura (in the Gorguts bending guitar string vein). “Rotting Spiritual Embodiment” is an early favorite, adds elements of doom into the outing with its menacing, plodding, approach, echo vocals and suffocating diabolical atmosphere and takes the album to another level entirely even this early on.

The album continues with an unpredictable playfulness, a flirtatious element which frequently hints at what’s to come only to pull away and take one on a different journey altogether. “Unholy Massacre” is an example of this depicting passages of brutality intersected with a somber nature.

“Onward to Golgotha” could be described using many words; harrowing is one I haven’t used, blasting fits and uncompromising is another that embodies the while affair. However, to be frank (“don’t call me Frank!”) ground-breaking and genre-defining are the ones which grab the attention the most. As the music is many things but the impact the album has had is undeniable even today.

Incantation diabolical conquest

One of my favorite images from the Incantation cover archives

Obviously, I have my favorites (though every track grabs the attention in its own way) and have attempted to keep this far from a track by track narrative article although its quality often demand that it be so. I must mention that giving this a listen on headphones (or audio equipment worthy of praise) is going to be quite the eye-opening experience far from what one might have initially assumed based on the albums vintage. The climax of “Entrantment of Evil” (and the albums production overall, to be honest) separates this from typical genre affairs and shows an act who go all-out for overall effect. Arguably at the top of their form here, a stunning achievement based on this being their full-length, Incantation lead the charge and have carved a style (which they continue to add nuance to) which countless others have adopted, played around with and added to. And needless it will continue. An audio collection which, though now over twenty-five years young, closer to thirty now in fact, stands proud surrounded by its peers and amassed acolytes (a crowd which grows larger by the hour) worshipping upon its undeniable impact and continued influence (a style which has found somewhat of a resurgence as of late) continually making the extreme world of audio such an exciting and wonderful place to explore no matter where one starts.

For those who wish to delve deeper into the Incantation discography

 Studio albums

profane nexus

Onward to Golgotha (1992)

Mortal Throne of Nazarene (1994)

Diabolical Conquest (1998)

The Infernal Storm (2000)

Blasphemy (2002)

Decimate Christendom (2004)

Primordial Domination (2006)

Vanquish in Vengeance (2012)

Dirges of Elysium (2014)

Profane Nexus (2017)

EPs

the forsaken mourning

Entrantment of Evil (1990)

Deliverance of Horrific Prophecies (1991)

The Forsaken Mourning of Angelic Anguish (1997)

Blasphemous Cremation (2008)

Singles

Thieves of the Cloth (2006)

Scapegoat (2010)

Degeneration (2012)

Splits

relapse singles vol 2

Relapse Singles Series Vol.1 (2002)

Relapse Singles Series Vol.3 (2004)

Afterparty Massacre (2011)

Reh & Live 1990 / Jesus Spawn (2013)

Live albums

Tribute to the Goat (1997)

Live Blasphemy in Brazil Tour 2001 (2001)

Void Reccs

Rotting Spiritual Embodiment (2017)

My thanks again go out to Void for introducing me to audio I would have not otherwise have explored

Cult

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses Part Seventeen

head explosion cavity colors

It’s been a while folks. Please excuse the absence. The kids are in town, it’s the summer holidays, so admittedly my attention is divided. Alas, the word of metal must be spread so I find myself making time (stealing it if you will just like those vertically challenged folks from Time Bandits) in order to preach on my most recent of stellar audio procurements.

 

 

 

Freighter – the Den
freighter the den
(USA)
Release – July/12/2019
Self-Released
Dewar PR
https://freighter.bandcamp.com/album/the-den
ARTWORK – 7.5

A secluded shack/cabin (that really doesn’t look like so) surrounded by a copse (like that word!) of trees with a Post It (trademark name right there) note attached to the image. There’s something going on here folks and this art really doesn’t give much away in regards to that which might grace the ears when the PLAY button is pressed. Regardless I’m intrigued.

FIRST TRACK – 8

Hard to describe, even harder not to instantly like. There’s truly something unique and utterly mesmerizing about the style, or rather the mixture of styles here. To be honest I was thinking I was about to be introduced to college rock of sorts but this threw for a complete loop. The lyrics are comic book-esque and fantastical in their scope with a style that’s somewhat comical and the audio is a hodge-podge of styles which are familiar yet hard to instantly place. Riffs here and there leer at the listener with an air of arrogance as if to say I dare you to pair me with an act, track and album. I dare you to tackle the quest. I’ll try my damndest to do so as I let the remainder of this album frolic between my ears.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Like the result of a head on collision between coaches leaving a musical festival of sorts transporting SOD, Mr Bungle, Polkadot Cadaver, Meshuggsh, Gojira and SOAD with a sprinkle of Mike Patton creative genius and the experimental madness of Crotch Duster the audio here is rather hard to effectively define though incorporates elements of punk, alternative, nu-metal, djent, thrash/hardcore crossover and a slew which haven’t even been truly defined yet. Varied and assorted vocal styles bring to mind Billy Milano (“Bigger Than the Devil” era SOD), Serj Tankian (SOAD) added to by a plethora of growls, grunts and bellowed passages. Get ready, though truly nothing can really prepare you as this is an orgy of audio which is wild, frenetic, dynamic, unpredictable, often chaotic but always a truck load, a freighter full (to coin a phrase) of fun which one will only want to repeat again and again. Suffice it to say one will need a rather large notebook, a whole lot of time on their hands and an encyclopedic knowledge of metal, rock and similar genres to even begin to tackle the quest set forth.

Favorite Tracks; Future Duke, Hot Car Death Dad, King Pigeon, Harbor of Dieppe.

Don’t sleep on this album as you will hear a great deal upon it following its release.

dogbane

Dogbane – Idylls of Woe
(USA)
Release – July/19/2019
Heaven and Hell Records
Clawhammer PR
https://dogbane1.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 7

A tad simplistic. A dog’s skull and a barbed wire crown. This really doesn’t do much for me, it feels more like a sticker, perhaps the music will…?

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

The audio’s tone instantly struck me. A definite late 70’s, early 80’s feel with a style to match. This is traditional heavy metal with a heaping helping of doom accompanied by clean vocals. Melodious and vintage in aura I have a feeling this is going to garner a great deal of attention.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8

Think early Iron Maiden, Candlemass with carefully woven Paradise Lost melodies, soaring leads and song structures all ingredients that combined will alight a grin on any traditional metal fans visage. Paired with passionate/dramatic (love them or hate them) traditional vocals this is a treat for those who welcome the resurgence of traditional heavy metal with open arms.

Add to the album an introduction (“Blood in the Snow”) that’s reminiscent of “Fast as a Shark” by Accept minus the yodeling and riffs which recall the earliest of Rainbow (With Dio) material and you have all the makings of audio which will delight while making the listener reminisce upon albums they should most probably save from the ravages of being lost to merely memory alone.

Favorite Tracks; Blood in the Snow, Land of Shadows, Sin Eater.

anticosm call of the void

Anticosm The Call of the Void
(USA)
Release – August/16/2019
Hell Kill Destroy Records
Clawhammer PR
https://anticosm.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 8

Quite the dramatic departure from their last efforts art (which depicted the band traversing a lava field in heavy machinery with their logo emblazoned upon its blade) This is more an exercise in optical illusion territory an approach which hopefully doesn’t turn/drive long-time fans away. Am I to expect audio of an experimental nature, only one way to know for sure…?

FIRST TRACK – 9

Undeniable is that Anticosm have significant chops in the rhythm department. This track encompasses atmosphere and blackened values whilst also offering riffs which produce instant appreciation. For some reason this track also puts me in mind of Atheist output lyrically not so much technically although this track is miles from mere ‘chuggery’. A fantastic commencement and introduction to the album and the band.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Dynamic, ever evolving, melodic, passionate and draped in atmosphere yet miles from what could be termed traditional, both in rhythm and vocal departments. This is thrash (bordering on death) and shrouded in traditional heavy metal values (especially the albums final track, “Never Enough” which showcases inciteful melodies with undeniably more a ‘rock n roll’ leaning) with a decidedly darker approach and it works, tainted by melodic black nuances this is sure to appeal to a wide audience. And for those who aren’t quite wiling to fully immerse themselves fully in any one genre this is great location to start a life-long exploration drenched with realms of amazement and wonder which is guaranteed to set the senses on fire.

Favorite Tracks; Viral, Scorched Earth, Call of the Void, Never Enough.

pestis inferos

Pestis Inferos – Beyond the Veil of Light (EP)
(USA)
Release – June/24/2019
Self – Release
Clawhammer PR
https://pestisinferos.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-veil-of-light
ARTWORK – 7.5

It took me a while for me to understand, or gather an assumption as to what, might be going on here. I believe angelic forces are taunting earth bound spirits as Eve (?) in all her uncovered glory (she’s nekkid!) looks on somewhat amused. Archaic somewhat primitive black and white imagery which doesn’t give much away as to the audio within, although I’m of the believe that this isn’t going to be traditional heavy metal in the slightest but something ‘slightly’ darker in tone.

FIRST TRACK – 9

Clear production bolsters a style which is firmly staked in the blackened death arena, albeit with an added gothic aura (by way of the tracks introduction). Furious drumming, of the somewhat technical variety (think Misery Index), stands out in the mix, rhythms which are sure to make one want to move as well the riffage which is somewhat Morbid Angel in nature though drip with wicked intent of the blackened variety. Traditional ‘clawing at the air’, snarling, black vocals add to the mix making for a track which has my attention and bodes extremely well for the remainder of this release.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Chock full of majesty, fury and an overall style which borders on black metal meets punk meets death meets speed metal (what a mouthful) with oodles of atmosphere tossed in for effect this is sure to drum up some attention (I’m surprised it hasn’t yet!) The black element is front and foremost here and though this is far from primitive in its production it still drips with an archaic nature and familiarity fans (can and will instantly fall ass over tits for) which only adds to the overall listening pleasure. On a personal note it’s the drum sound and style in the mix which makes me a salivating fool who hits the repeat button like a hopeless addict.

Don’t miss out on this!

Favorite Tracks; From Throne to Funeral, Invoking the Sigil, Poison Falling Star.

VHS were gonna need some bigger riffs album

VHS – We’re gonna Need Sime Bigger Riffs
(Canada)
Release – July/26/2019
Rotten Roll Rex (CD) Horror Pain Gore Death (Digital)
Anubi Press
https://vhshorror.bandcamp.com/album/were-gonna-need-some-bigger-riffs
ARTWORK – 8.5

Fun, and obviously a tongue in cheek nod to everyone’s favorite prehistoric California beach terrorizing, boat chomping, Spielberg creation complete with other iconic imagery which evoke the 80’s. I’m sold! (Did I mention I’ve been following these guys since their first release?)

FIRST TRACK – 8

A whole sixteen seconds dedicated to a nonsensical scene in a Fulci classic like only theses guys can pull off! I don’t believe anyone’s going to argue this album’s track list proves this to be a release firmly rooted in grindcore values, VHS are known for the style. This, folks is going to be a bumpy ride. But you can forget the seatbelts, it’s more fun that way!

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Leaping from the more traditional into more murkier depths finds VHS concentrating more on sea creatures (Jaws, Lake Placid, etc.) and the carnage they often evoke rather than land-bound knife wielding maniacs and the like. Another change comes in the form of a number of tracks lasting more than a single minute. Truthfully the bands style truly hasn’t evolved much since their earlier output. If anything, it’s been polished some, but thankfully not too much. Grindcore is the audio foundation and still frolics, cavorts and playfully teases a number of other genres to great effect. Punk is front and center also as too is undeniable humor (which could well be called “splatstick” if this were the celluloid equivalent) that’s difficult not to appreciate, obviously this style, and the bands output, would look rather silly without it being present. The production is still a tad muddy but it fits the style perfectly and I don’t believe the fans would want it any other way. I certainly wouldn’t! I’m excited for where the band will turn their attentions to next, perhaps the unfathomable vast expanse of space?

Favorite Tracks; Voracious and Violent, An Old Lady and her Crocodile, Death and Carnage, From the Murky Depths, Marine Monstrosity.

 This installment is a tad shorter than normal (it’s cold here what can I say?) my apologies though I did manage to sneak in some audio which I deemed deserved of attention in the time I’ve managed to put aside. Now back to chores, the demanding brats and gardening. Summer, how I loathe thee.
Until our paths of audio interest intersect again,
Cult

head explosion cavity colors

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses –

Belzebubs – Pantheon of the Nightside Gods (2018)
Release – April/26/2019
Century Media Records

When one conjures images of elements which they believe would and could never mix with great results I could well imagine black metal and comic books being a pairing amidst many others on offer. Apparently, Belzebubs have gone and done the implausible. Incorporating comic book imagery, animation and humor originating from a web comic, by Finnish artist J.P Ahonen, they have done that which many could argue has been tackled before.

Why not give this a listen as you continue to read (courtesy of Spotify)

Belzebubs book

The book/graphic novel (in English) is available at Backstage Rock shop

Obviously, similarities exist to Cartoon Network’s Metalocalypse and (the band) Dethklok (who have since split-up largely due to the cancellation of the show), a project born of the mind of Brendon Small. But I would argue that this was based more on melodic death values (they referred to themselves as ‘Ragnarok metal’) and poking fun at the genre and the fantastical lives of the inhabitants therein itself rather than the blackened realm which the corpse painted visages here largely suggest. Another stylistic similarity which bears mentioning is the ‘virtual band’ Gorillaz (created by musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett) an act who enjoy notoriety based on the fact that it was created as a comment on watching MTV for too long, “it’s a bit like hell…” the creators commented …”there’s very little substance”.

Belzebubs album art

 

Belzebubs are from realms unknown, their formation and origins are also rather mysterious as is too their full lineup (although Niilo Sevänen, of Insomnium and Watch Me Fall fame, is known to handle vocal duties). As well as sporting a slightly comical moniker (a play on words) they’ve gained significant attention and popularity from utilizing animation in their videos, a style that’s rare especially in the metal spectrum but most especially in the blackened realm where skulls, spikes, forests, the use of “V” instead of “U” is of the upmost importance and for some reason the significance of goats holds dominance over all else.

(videoclip courtesy of Century Media Records

Front and foremost in the two animated videos (a lyric video exists for “Nam Gloria Lucifer” also) thus far released in support of the album, “Blackened Call” and “Cathedrals of Mourning”, is the fact that the band sports significant talent, they can compose, articulate with their instruments, the symphonic Gothic element accompanies the guitar play exquisitely and the music fits pleasingly between the ears even after numerous listens. The style manages to straddle several genres but most dominantly melodic realms supported by symphonic elements with rhythms which bring to mind Amon Amarth, Dissection, Immortal and a slew of material from acts from both the melodic death arena and blackened territories, albeit of the lesser archaic variety where production is important. But, let us not forget that the animation isn’t half bad either, in fact it’s pretty fn’ decent. Humor plays a large part, an element which is, more often than not, absent from the majority of releases in the same arena, the band appear to revel slightly in a smattering of tongue in cheek attitude upon the genre itself, note the chainsaw of “Black Metal” Venom studio antic fame below though thankfully the comic relief aspect stray from the elevation seen in films such as Spinal Tap. The humor element rather shows the band as human and fallible in their attempts to reach notoriety whilst trying their damnedest to stay ahead of the competition.

(videoclip courtesy of Century Media Records)

‘Pantheon of the Nightside Gods’ track list is as follows;

Cathedrals of Mourning ^

The Faustian Alchemist

Blackened Call ^

Acheron

Nam Gloria Lucifer

The Crowned Daughters

Dark Mother

The Werewolf Bride

Pantheon of the Nightside Gods

Nuns in the Purgatory*

Maleficarum*

(^ indicates animated video clips)

(* indicates bonus tracks)

Kicking the album off on a symphonic footing “Cathedrals of Mourning” boasts a Gothic nature and undeniable atmosphere which lasts the length of the entire track though never overpowers. Entwined around blast beats and rhythms, which are sure to place a smirk on the majority of melodic black metal fans visages, the vibe bolsters a track which veers from what many might assume into melodic waters sporting an array of impressive solos making for an opening which might surprise many though doesn’t disappoint in the slightest those whose tastes aren’t stagnant. For others who’ve pressed play based on traditional black metal album assumptions (whatever they may be in this day and age of rapidly transforming/shifting genre boundaries) this might not quite hit the mark, although it does still bear indications of major, and quite obvious, influence plucked from the same arena.

Belzebubs the band

Introducing the band itself complete with various accompanying hardware

The album isn’t without a myriad of moments which seem to stray from the ‘blackened path’ (I would normally say “Left Hand” but I fear it’s been overused). “The Crowned Daughters” is a great example, though most flaunt a diverse nature if truth be told, and makes me think upon progressive output from both Amorphis and Opeth with a slight Old Man Wizard edge however its feel soon transforms back to what fans would likely expect based on the albums art, a fantastic break showcasing the diverse attributes and the bands ability to think outside of the box in bringing together a wide variety of styles with seamless transition in a style which oozes absolute confidence.

Other tracks hint upon influence that’s found far and wide across the extreme metal spectrum. “Dark Mother” at nine minutes is the longest track on the album and also traverses progressive realms while also sporting rhythms of undisputable cinematic caliber all the while boasting (that which makes the album stand out from others of a similar nature) a brilliant atmosphere and all under an undeniable shroud of darkness draped in occult values. Quite the feat and yet another easily appreciated slice of audio, even on an initial listen basis.

(videoclip courtesy of Century Media Records)

For those demanding more a traditional, yet melodic “black” feel, “Nam Gloria Lucifer” hits the mark, at least for the opening minute, and then proceeds to offer spoken word passages, a diabolical touch, which complement the tracks aura even though like many others found here it also employs a detour through realms which makes this an album deserved of praise even from the ranks of fans who might not normally frequent the murky waters many might predict this to wallow in.

The title track, “Pantheon of the Nightside Gods”, is the albums climax (unless one is lucky enough to have a release which boasts the above mentioned bonus cuts) and although it may take a little while to warm up it showcases elements which makes this an unforgettable audio experience from start to finish; powerful, excellently crafted atmosphere and passages of an orchestrated nature alongside progressive melodies which combine to evoke imagery which is spectacular in scope. The bonus tracks, both instrumental, only add heighten the same effect. “Nuns in the Purgatory” is especially haunting; angelic choruses and chants laid against an apocalyptic synth veil which unhurriedly builds to a crescendo.

Belzebubs-band performing

In their natural habitat

In conclusion, “Pantheon of the Nightside Gods” is a release which will surprise a few, will undoubtedly stun others and stands as a testament to the fact that audio of this type need not suffer from archaic production to get its point across. The album’s diverse nature adds to its overall effect, executed with precision and flair the resulting audio is familiar yet pleasingly different enough to not comfortably fit into any specific genre categorization although many deem it as melodic blackened death it has so much more to offer the listener.

Recommended for fans of Cradle of Filth, Emperor, Kull, Bal-Sagoth, Amon Amarth, Immortal and for fans who have yet to dip their toes into unfamiliar fathomless enigmatic depths. The question remains; what are you waiting for? Go ahead, this is a great release to submerge your senses and to start an audio journey into regions which offer a damn sight more than one might initially think.

 

Belzebubs Logo

The band pondering upon their logo

To quote a well-known cartoon character …” Welcome to the dark Side, we have cookies.” (and riffs aplenty – I added that part as it seemed appropriate – Ed*)

Pantheon of the Nightside Gods is available to purchase in most respectable media outlets (even some shady ones I would imagine) and is also available in most formats here;

https://belzebubs.com/

as well more information on the band itself.

Cult

Abrasive Audio (Part Sixteen)

black metal burgers

Could these be considered Black metal sandwiches?

Introducing the sites first “Black Metal Split” sandwich

(Aka; sandwiching my usual diverse content between two split releases I should have gotten to much earlier (my apologies to those concerned)

Nihtwintre/Albanach ar Dheis (split)
Cassette/Digital format
Release – May/14/2019
Epicurus Records

nihtwintre split

https://nihtwintre.bandcamp.com/

(Note – this is the running order of the cassette, the digital order is reversed)

ARTWORK – 7

Strangely this image reminds me of the movie Trollhunter. Is this an ice giant or merely a perturbed mature gent awoken from a night’s rest to realize someone has trodden all over his freshly planted vegetable garden?

Side A; Albanach ar Dheis (Canada)
(Tracks 1,2)

Epic values drench the first track (as if its length didn’t give it away?) alongside a narrative lyrical approach, dualistic male and female vocals, keyboard atmosphere and undeniable melodic qualities, the effect makes for an overall pleasing introduction. The second track is longer still (coming in at close to eleven minutes) and boasts atmosphere aplenty, a synth folk vibe as well a slew of somewhat traditional (genre) majestic riffs. Managing to hold the attention throughout with its undeniable fluid and mesmerizing qualities it has the attention of a fan who usually doesn’t dwell in black metal (realms) enrapt.

Symphonic black metal which invokes images of epic battles, forests and melancholy, all in all, audio I can subscribe to without reservation or regret. A quite brilliant slice of audio which could well provoke abrupt exploration into audio realms enigmatic and undiscovered.

9
Side B; Nihtwintre (USA)
(Tracks 3,4 and 5)

Stabbing riffs, with an ice-cold aura, accent a drumming salvo to incite vivid imagery of an unforgiving realm draped in antiquity and menace. Narrated by a snarling vocal accompaniment the overall effect is a promising introduction. The second track is the highlight of Nihtwintre’s trio. Complete with groove (yes, groove) and majestic qualities its rhythms strangely invoke chilling atmosphere, a stunning combination. The trio climaxes in much the same manner, an undisputable frigid aura complemented by underlying groove (though not as pronounced as the track before) and riffs that tell of both medieval ancestry and eternal conflict (the harsh element of nature as well the nature of man).  A stunning trio which rounds out a mesmerizing split, showcasing how diverse the genre of atmospheric black metal is, which is deserved of much attention.

8.5

pathetic

OVERALL INITIAL LISTEN – 9
Pathetic – Rat King
(Canada)
Release – July/12/2019
Independent
Qabar PR
https://pathetic666.bandcamp.com/
 ARTWORK – 8

An intriguing image (a creature of sorts compiled of those it’s ‘consumed’, some albeit partially) which offers a myriad of intricate details and grotesqueries. Warranting closer inspection this image hints at brutality, menace and activities of similar ilk therefore I imagine audio of the same variety. Color me intrigued!

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

A distortion laden introduction recalls Acid Bath while the music itself, once it gets started, is accompanied by a soundbite, reeks of the old school with a touch of southern melody, and mid-tempo groove

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

A glorious mixture of influences keeps this album rolling. D-beat rhythms cavort with old school values and plodding riffs akin to that of the earliest Grave material. The word even comes to mind from time to time. Lyrics often reek of a deliciously jaded Pungent Stench vibe, add this to an occasionally wicked soundbite, a dirge-laden tone ripped straight from the basement of the underground 90’s (think Bolt Thrower, Terrorizer) and a pace which often picks up frequently offering groove one cannot sit still to and you have all the right ingredients for an album which feels like it might have been released twenty-something years too late though manages to offer an aura that’s instantly enjoyable and so damn easy to appreciate it borders on criminal. A sublime combination in short which pleases the senses and demands constant attention.

Highly recommended and sure to please those with a penchant for the extreme and values deeply rooted in the old school death/grind department.

Favorite Tracks; The Fatal Charade, Going Postal, Shetani, Defecating Upon the Grave of the Grand Wizard, Empty Threat.

WizardRifle

Wizard Rifle – s/t
(USA)
Release – August/30/2019
Svart Records
Dewar PR
https://wizardrifle.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 7.5

Newsflash; Reports claim that a bright bold logo is seen rising from the earth at an alarming rate alert the authorities, call the National Guard but most of all prepare thyself…

FIRST TRACK – 9.5

Its been awhile but I do believe I’ve found an act who can finally compare to the overall indescribable nature of Brutal Juice. For those who aren’t in the know they boast a sound that’s a wicked mixture of others styles much like what Wizard Rifle offer. A fantastic track I could scribble upon at length though shall refrain from doing so until the release has reached its climax.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9.5

Every once in a while, a promo lands in the email with a description so wild that it demands attention, as promos tend to do. This is another such instance. And being the ever-curious type I pounced. And was not disappointed in the slightest. The sound is altogether mesmerizing, even from the albums first notes, while wholly unclassifiable. The exuberance and energy are undeniable and infectious whilst the rhythms and tempo are ever evolving, shifting like an amorphous beast the likes of which you’d kindly invite in from the cold for a spot by the fire. Brutality and menace are far from what’s on offer here. Doom values meld with punk attitude while the word alternate is bounced around like a circular blur in a championship hockey finale (you were expecting a nod to a certain team? Not here, mate!) Dense riffs collide with sacrificial drum salvos and plodding rhythms transform into galloping frenzied moments all accented by a diverse vocal tirade which incorporates melody, shouting and angst in equal measures. An epic feel underscores the whole shebang though its hardly given much heed as the music whisks the listener away to undiscovered realms, vistas and valleys frequented by constructs which are non-sensical yet accepted as easily as a birthday check, in the mailbox, from a long lost relative.  An atmosphere permeates this same location, a thick smoke hazy with indistinct, fleeting, influence which is familiar yet hard to pinpoint as another replaces its spot within seconds. The album does however have its share of trance/drone moments, instances in which the style doesn’t flutter like the wings of a butterfly, the conclusion to “Funeral of the Sun” is a fantastic example. Fitting is the final tracks moniker, the fifth track known as “V”. The tempo within this is decidedly upbeat bringing to mind Slayer in the first few bars but then late dwindling to a tempo which could best be described as adrenaline infused stoner rock which later changes again to bring to mind Jesus Lizard albeit with a pace that’s not associated with them in the slightest.

Album of the year contender right here, folks. And this is purely based on a first listen basis, I’m of the mind that this will only get better with age.  My only gripe is that this has a street date of late-August, sure I can enjoy it courtesy of the promo package which came my way but I want others to be able to also. The wait is killing me. In the meantime, I’ll let this parade its way through my senses again and do my best to let the smile which is contorting my features not take total control of my faculties.

katechon

Katechon – Sanger Fra Auschwitz
(Norway)
Release – March/1/2019
Saturnal Records
Qabar PR
https://katechon.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 6

Dark, depressive and dreary. Is this an indication of that which I’m about to hear, I can but only wonder?

FIRST TRACK – 7

I’m getting (mid-era) Satyricon vibes again (and this appears to be a constant throughout this piece) this track plods along complete with an ominous tone, unmistakable menace and a familiar traditional vocal style which isn’t at all out of place within its surroundings.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

From early on I deciphered that I wouldn’t be able to understand a bloody word and I was correct, regardless this is intriguing audio indeed, given more an enigmatic/archaic feel based on the fact (that again) I can’t understand the lyrics and their context ( I seriously need to find time to do some research). Furious paced yet moody. Traditional black yet doom laden. Melodic yet vicious. This typifies the variety within the genre which most people still continue to shun. Much like the genre this has a great deal to offer, over and above what those with closed minds, who continue to spawn ignorance, assume. Rhythms are varied as too are the moods and atmosphere making for a release which most fans of the scene will be able to appreciate and easily consume, perhaps even a few who have little knowledge of the scene but who are steadily becoming more accustomed to it, like myself.

Favorite Tracks; Eloi, Ankomst, Davids Skjold.

overt enemy possession

Overt Enemy – Possession
(USA)
Release – August/9/2019
Confused Records
Dewar PR
https://overtenemy.bandcamp.com/
 ARTWORK – 7

Lady, lady. Hey lady. I wouldn’t swallow that if I were you.

We’ll I guess it’s too late, I’m outta’ here before this broad starts to spray the town in split pea soup, a vomitous odor and utilize a crucifix in an unsettling, though deviantly erotic, manner.

FIRST TRACK – 9

Aggressive thrash in a style that’s criminally addictive, infectious, movement inducing but most of all eerily recognizable. This tosses me back to when I first laid ears upon ‘Hell Awaits’ and it’s that far off of the same caliber.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Slayer worship through and through (there’s even a ripping cover of ‘At Dawn They Sleep’ and the bassists name even has a decidedly “Slayer” slant to it) of that there’s no doubt but Overt Enemy execute the style so damn well that odds are they’ll take the vacated throne without a qualm and little complaint. My only issue with this is that’s it’s too damn short, I want more!! I guess I’ll be forced to spin this again, again and again (or even ‘piece by piece’).

This is the type of thrash which I can subscribe to, it’s vicious, fluid, fast but most of all wicked Fn’ great!

I’m eager for a full length!

portada

Concilivm – The Veiled Enigma (EP)
(Chile)
Release – January/18/2018 (limited edition cassette)
Von Frost Records
(reissue on CD; May/31/2019 via Dawning Septic Productions)
https://concilivm.bandcamp.com/album/the-veiled-enigma
ARTWORK – 7

Classical in tone; St George and the Dragon shenanigans I’m thinking, though it could be anything, a preying mantis lighting a torch perhaps, or is he/she balancing a spear on their nose? Do they even have a nose…? I give up!

FIRST TRACK – 8

An effective introduction leads into a bout of old school riffing ala vintage Gorguts tinged by diabolical melody and vocals of the death doom variety. This is tight and executed with flair. So why is it that I haven’t heard of this until now?

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

I honestly have no idea how it is that I haven’t heard this until now (I seem to have stated that before) this is impressive audio showcasing a mid-pace with death doom sensibilities, groove and enough menace to incite nightmares for an entire kindergarten class, including the teacher. Influence is varied from the above mentioned to Gorefest, Divine Eve, Bolt Thrower and a slew of other European acts around the explosion of the death scene circa the early 90’s. Dirge cavorts with a diabolical nature with often intriguing rhythms, the vocals fit like a tailor made suit for the icing on the cake.

Give this a moment of your time and I believe you’ll be impressed also.

Favorite Tracks; Dark Zenith, Breaking of the Return, Epistemology of Darkness (bonus track).

goregang

Goregäng – Neon Graves
(USA)
Release – May/20/2019
Transcending Obscurity Records
https://goregangband.bandcamp.com/album/neon-graves-death-metal-crust
ARTWORK – 8

Vivid and eye opening, much as the title suggests. I’m left to wonder what’s leaking from the grave and will the resulting malformation find itself walking down main street in search of a signed copy of the first season of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. Yuck, stay away, keep back! Stay away!

FIRST TRACK – 7

The introduction has a definite ominous edge boding towards one would imagine (based on the law of averages) audio of brutal death/atmospheric nature. The first track however has undeniable hardcore leanings, gang vocals and a stabbing approach bordering at times on a style Fear Factory are known for. A diverse mixture for sure which although I’m not totally falling ‘ass over tit’ for, still makes me curious as to what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

Considerable oomph and surprising production values give this release eye-opening appeal. The style herein is varied, though familiar throughout, spanning a wide radius of the extreme metal arena tipping its hat from one track to the next to a slew of ground-breaking acts including Entombed, Grave and Bolt Thrower. A thick style Dirge frolics hand in hand with the “buzzsaw” HM2 sound and groove often jumps into the fold to join in on the fun to play a huge part in the overall mix. Rhythms are predominantly mid-paced and occasional atmosphere is used effectively (especially in the case of “Neon Graves”) keeping the predictability level at a minimum. Overall this is a release which will have listeners reminiscing on a slew of albums (the type everyone should revisit on a regular basis) albeit injected with the production values and exuberant tone which sets this apart from the hordes of others also vying for attention in much the same manner.

Favorite Tracks; Silence is Consent, Neon Graves, Plague of Hammers, The Era of Human.

vokonis

Vokonis – Grasping Time
(Sweden)
Release – September/6/2019
The Sign Records
Dewar PR
https://vokonis.bandcamp.com/album/grasping-time
 ARTWORK – 7

Nice kitchen. But, oh dear. I believe you got shafted on the vaulted ceiling request.

FIRST TRACK – 8

There’s zero introduction with this track, the listener is immediately whisked away to epic doomsville. An unscheduled stop on the outskirts brings them to a dusty location where sludge and melodic rock values converse over coffee, edibles and a raspberry filled ‘Danish’.

A great start which effectively introduces Vokonis and their specific brand of non- traditional down tuned audio.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Amazingly enough Vokonis have created audio which bridges the gap between Kyuss and Mastodon, liberal sprinklings of psychedelia and a myriad of progressive passages are gleefully companions along for the ride. Featuring riffs with enough distort to shake the Great Wall to dust and an epic nature boasting melodic yet always heavy undertones, the album makes for quite the multi layered audio journey which many might be initially skeptical about. However, somehow, Vokonis manage to pull this mammoth feat off without a hitch. In a seamless manner that’s both entertaining and enthralling (often hypnotic) the band utilize an assortment of brilliantly executed moods aided by shifting rhythms and several vocal styles to keep the senses alight with intrigue. The result is an album which garners the attention instantly though somehow still demands several listens to fully appreciate.

Favorite Tracks; Sunless Hymnal, I Hear the Siren, Embers, Fading Lights.

Darkhorse_OldStar

Dark Throne – Old Star
(Norway)
Release – May/31/2019
Peaceville Records
http://peaceville.com/bands/darkthrone/
ARTWORK – 9.5

Intricate black and white imagery with a definite medieval style. The more one looks closer the more details become apparent. Demons cavorting with nature or an orgy of grotesqueries? Whatever it is this is mesmerizing!

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

Please note that this Is my first full album experience with Dark Throne. Admittedly black metal was never my thing but now I’m finding myself warming up to all it has to offer due in most part to continued prods and “Reccs” from Void (whom I continue to curse and thank continuously, and often at the same time).

Whoa, this Is not entirely what I was expecting. This is melodic, mid -tempo and it has rhythm to spare. I’ve heard dissent among long-time fans that this isn’t what they were expecting and reviews are split down the middle, but I’m finding myself liking this…a lot! The production isn’t what I as expecting either based on I guess my own assumptions, this is clean, far from primitive. The instruments are distinct and the sound, if truth be told, reminds me in part of Sartyricon (newer material not the older, faster audio) mixed with groove tinged Celtic Frost. A fantastic start which leaves me intrigued for what surprises and the remainder of the album will bring to my ears.  

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

This continues to enthrall me from track to track. From the first to the epic and traditional heavy metal riff polluted (though not in a horrid sense) and doom laden second through to its final track; a groove infested doom opus “The Key is Inside the Wall”. This isn’t in the slightest what I was expecting (think I’ve mentioned that before) it’s slower, moody and powerful. But this is something I will definitely spin again, and often if given the chance. I’d suggest keeping the mind open, and the preconceived notions at bay before you spin this especially if you’re at all familiar with their past discography.

Favorite Tracks; I Muffle Your Inner Choir, The Hardship of The Scots, The Key is Inside the Wall.

detherous

Detherous – Hacked to Death
(Canada)
Release – August/16/2019
Redefining Darkness Records
https://redefiningdarknessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/detherous-hacked-to-death
ARTWORK – 9

I’m a little bias here, I’ll admit. As a ‘gorehound’ this image hits all the right notes, recalls VHS covers from the “Video Nasty” era (even puts me in mind of Cancer’s ‘The Gory End’) but is likely an image plucked from the Hatchet franchise. Admittedly I’m more than a little excited, and the music hasn’t even started yet!

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

If the immediate influence which comes to mind isn’t the obvious (and the first word in the genre in which this resides) then I’m honestly not sure what to say. A fantastic track that grabs the attention and gets the adrenaline spiking. I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to be a ‘banger’ (whatever that means!)

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Channeling Malevolent Creation, Death and Asphyx, Detherous have managed to create a style that’s exuberant, furious (boasting exquisite time changes and abrupt mosh frenzy changes in pace) and technical. Familiar, with nods to the fury of early Kreator and the rhythm transformations of Slayer, easily appreciated and nostalgic yet a breath of fresh air to a scene that’s recently become overcrowded with atmosphere. This is audio which unceremoniously pulls one back to the old school (both European and American) and does a great job of doing so. Call it homage, call it what you will but there’s no doubt this is executed with passion, flair and precision. This is an album which will be in heavy rotation, mark my words!

Keep an eye out for these folks for if this is any indication, they’re going places!

Favorite Tracks; Smoldering Ashes, Ridden, Monstrosity, Brain Death.

vault dweller

Vault Dweller – Existence at a Distance (EP)
(USA)
Release – June/7/2019
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/existence-at-a-distance
ARTWORK – 8.5

A vicious knife assault from all corners, who’s the assailant? A Poltergeist, and for what reason? This is obviously up for discussion but there’s no doubt that this is a wicked image.

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

An ‘old timey’ soundbite as an introduction, it works brilliantly to set the scene telling of spilling blood for all manner of things, however trivial. The audio soon transforms into grinding whirlwind riffage with distinct punk leanings added to by howling vocals.

A decent introduction to the band and their version of the grind style.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

An Ep which lasts barely more ten minutes, one would immediately think of audio in a grind realm and they wouldn’t be far wrong for have no doubts this is what this is.

Brutal, to the point salvos (though running epic lengths for tracks under the grindcore moniker) completed by surprising melody and gale-force vocals make for a foray that’s a tad different than most in the same genre. Add to that a variety of 60’s movie sci-fi synth explorations and you have a release that’s a refreshing step (albeit a small one!) away from the norm.

Favorite Tracks; Ego Beast, Somebody Blow me Up, Bad Gateway.

ov lustra

Ov Lustra – Tempestas
(USA)
Release – June/7/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR
https://ovlustrablacklion.bandcamp.com/album/tempestas
ARTWORK – 8

A definite fantasy edge is prevalent here. With the lone figure in the center one could also imagine a quest of sorts, which leads one to believe this might be a concept album.

FIRST TRACK – 9

Symphonic, though not overly so, with an undeniable blackened death aura of the technical/melodic variety. An overall concoction/effect which works brilliantly, aided to by way of top-notch production values, adding depth and a cinematic aura.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

A concept album (which hardly feels like such) based on fantastical narrative aided by orchestral brilliance originating from Francesco Ferrini (Fleshgod Apocalypse) and technical leanings with melodic undertones sounds like an intriguing premise, right? In this case the premise is so much more than merely that… the idea has paid off. Showcasing exquisite musicianship, a powerful symphonic backdrop, rhythms which constantly shift and a vocal accompaniment which fits the style Ov Lustra have managed to capture the delicate balance needed to keep the listener intrigued and the audio far from being overwhelming in its intensity. The overall audio is fluid, seamless in its approach and bears unmistakable cinematic scope which only aids in its appeal and invokes vivid imagery along with the sinuous fantastical narrative.

The inclusion of orchestral editions of the first four tracks lends an edge which is not typically seen, a fantastic touch and nod, appreciation, to fan support. The reissue of four tracks (‘I’, ‘Felle’, ‘Ov Lustra’ and ‘Arrival’) serves to spark interest in the bands past work and shows maturity, precision and development from past to present material.

Favorite Tracks; Tempestas, Ov Delicate Rage, Felle, Ov Lustra.

Highly recommended for fans of Inferis, Vale of Pnath, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septic Flesh and Cradle of Filth.

Recc from Fistful of Doom (@flatulentfuzz on Twitter)

fistful of doom

Archaic Tomb – Persecution Paraphenalia/ / Cryptworm – Putrefactive Regurgitation (7” split EP/Tape)
Release – April/19/2019
Cassette/Digital
Blood Harvest Records
https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/persecution-paraphrenalia-putrefactive-regurgitation

 

ARTWORK – 8.5

blood harvest split

Gnashing teeth, a demon, wings and sublime archaic black and white imagery, nuff said!

Archaic Tomb (Portugal)

Cavernous, dense and sporting intricate rhythm nuance. Hardly melodious and yet there is definite rhythm to be found amidst the dirt-laden brutality and a certain diabolical nature, the smoldering, sizzling finale is a great touch. Overall, an intriguing track which has me salivating for a more definite illustration of what the band can spawn.

8  
Cryptworm (UK)

Gargling, guttural, vocals accompany a sickening tone which has me tumbling back to the brutality I first encountered when discovering the scene many moons ago (around the early 90’s in fact) within a Peaceville, “Deaf Metal”, sampler (which if one is unfamiliar with should check into immediately).

Groove-laden madness slathered in vintage death values, the influence is easy to see (for those paying attention) and tracks title about says it all in regards to what tom expect though doesn’t describe how infectious this is if one’s past is checkered with much the same audio. I’m grinning from ear to ear, though I understand I‘m of the minority who remember music stores, vinyl, compilations rather than YouTube for discovering new tunage and Tipper Gore’s attempts at censoring music.

8
Overall Initial Listen – 8

If brutality and down tuned sickness with melody, rather than noise, is your thing wrap your ears around this!

Plucked from Metal Past

witchburner

Witchburner – Bloodthirsty Eyes
(Germany)
Release – February/22/2013
High Roller Records
https://www.discogs.com/Witchburner-Bloodthirsty-Eyes/release/5349624
Thoughts –

Occasionally I’ll dip into metals past. Often, I’ll reflect upon an album I have fond memories upon, in this instance I’m going to drop a few thoughts upon an album and a release I stumbled upon quite by accident. Recently I went to a show (the first in a few years) and happened to set eyes on a band entitled WitchRipper. For some reason however, I referred to them as Witchburner and this ladies and gents is where my quest began. Is there a band with such a name, indeed there is, and what do they have to offer? Here are my thoughts…

‘Bloodthirsty Eyes’ is the bands seventh full-length, and their most recent, in over a twenty-year span, if the album art (a collective of undead types clamoring for attention from a hooded mysterious type seated upon a throne) doesn’t make you want to spin it you’re obviously not into everything undead in theme as much as yours truly. The album is quick to make an impression with both its wicked pace and venom-fueled vocal attack. The beats are incendiary in nature and often quick to get to the point. If you’re not moving when “Possession” caresses the senses odds are you have little, to zero, appreciation for frantic head bangin’ mayhem and the finest the genre has to offer. Naturally it’s a high point in the album alongside the albums stunning acoustic introduction and opener, “Sermon of Profanity” which sports somewhat of an Exodus vibe albeit ‘Tempo of the Damned’ era in feel. Other standouts come fast, furious and often and include the frantic paced “The Path of the Sinner”, “Apocalyptic Visions” which boasts a Master and Slayer vibe, “Never Surrender” with an undeniable foot tapping vibe, “Bloody Countess” (bonus track) after all who can’t appreciate a track about a blood thirsty, pasty faced, beauty stuck in a castle sans the glory of the internet to waste away those rainy days (*wot another? I don’t care!) and a classic from their first LP “Possessed by Hellfire”.

Stick some ears on this and discover what you’ve been missing. Unless you already have, in which case why didn’t you tell me about it?

cult of osiris split

Daemonibus Inita Vigilia (3-way split)
Release – June/10/2019
Digital
Cult of Osiris
https://cultofosiris.bandcamp.com/album/daemonibus-inita-vigilia
ARTWORK – 8

I’m intrigued by this primitive wicked imagery. Naturally black and white art is one my weaknesses and this immediately puts me in mind of underground old school values.

Apothecary (USA) – Insect Vigil

A swift, spiraling, descent into madness. An experimental outing which combines elements of grindcore, black metal, ambient and avant Garde’ for an overall dizzying experience. Chaotic, archaic, primal, often confusing but always disorienting there appears to be no semblance of order. Non-traditional in its construct and absolutely non-conforming this is recommended for the brave, for those who can see past what is often perceived as normalcy, and what’s easily accepted by the senses.

6
Crossburner (Spain) – Guland I

Unforgiving and primal, this track strangely sports a smidgen of punk influence within its pitch sensibilities. Assaulting the senses with a whirlwind of industrial grade riffage it bears more a traditional black metal approach albeit one that’s basted in archaic production values. A wickedness, a menace that’s melodic though malicious in intent heralded by rasped vocals which only adds to the effect.

7
Uten Håp (Svalbard) – Inner Demons

Cacophonous and blasting in intensity, the rhythm herein is unrelenting and soon builds to a hypnotic state. Snarled vocals add to an effect akin to being in the eye of a storm. A furious slab of pitch darkness delivered on a bed of menacing pace sure to alight the intrigue of the more traditional black metal community. A fitting finale to split which shows Cult of Osiris sticking to his guns and the label showcasing talent which depicts the genre as it was always meant to be, extreme, far from popular with only the darkest of audio intentions, not monetary reward, in mind. Musical expression which cares not for cultural constructs or borders but rather freedom of expression through audio tainted by pitch values and an often DIY primitive nature.

7.5
OVERALL INITIAL LISTEN – 7

 Well there you have it, the sites first ‘sandwich review’ piece!

As always feel free to tell me your thoughts, comment, recommend and please share. Let’s keep the word of metal, in all of its various disguises, alive and thriving for the next generation to enjoy no matter its ‘form’ at that point in time.

Cult

Abrasive Audio (part the fifteen)

Bad-taste-Header Introduction

Fifteen? Why, how time flies. But where have all the others gone?

Enough with the question (but what is it with this week’s batch of mainly Finland and USA originating albums?) let’s get into all this edition has to offer, a new (to me anyway) batch of raw and extreme audio. With a few surprises tossed in for extra points, recognition, or…something. (Did I mention that Void recently tossed me his thoughts on the latest Possessed album?)

hive night cats

HIVE – Nights Cats
(Canada)
Release – June/21/2019
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/night-cats

ARTWORK – 6

What should one think when this image sits in front of the retinas? I’m not entirely sure, I’m merely hoping this doesn’t put off the crowd who base book purely on its cover, as this albums description intrigues me to no end.

FIRST TRACK – 6.5

Sludge rhythms set against soundbites depicting atrocious acts set against a chorus of “Halleluiah praise the Lord!” This even showcases lines by Danny Devito, one has to appreciate that, although I can’t imagine his squat form parading in the slightest to what this audio offers.

INITIAL LISTEN – 6.5

Raw (this honestly sounds like it was recorded into a boom box in someone’s basement) primitive and bursting with attitude this is certainly not a typical genre release but more the maniacal wranglings of an act who care not for production values but rather the point they wish to convey. A hybrid of sludge, raunchy rock, humor and roll and grindcore an overall concoction which harkens back to the days of GG Allen and the real punk scene rather than the commercialized one many fell ‘ass over tit’ for.

Recommended for those who care not for production values and music which appeals to a larger audience but rather the undeniable passion behind the audio.

Favorite Tracks; Capitalistas, Smashing the Bylaw, K4S.

all hell

All Hell – The Witches Grail
(USA)
Release – June /7/2019
Prosthetic Records
https://allhell.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 9.5

Innocence with a seething, brooding, Gothic nature. Sacrificial vibes (a chalice offering) complete with the moon, nature and a scowl as if to say “It’s your turn, do your part”. Am I to expect audio of a doom tinged nature? Only one way to find out.

FIRST TRACK – 8

Light rainfall complements an aura of “something wicked this way comes” (to quote Bradbury). With the introductions conclusion the music offers a mid-paced thrash, punk, Exploited vibe complete with Celtic Frost undertones and a vocal accompaniment which brings to mind Chance Garnette of SkeletonWitch fame. A delightful concoction with a splash of darkness leaving me eager for whatever else this album might offer.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Amidst all a myriad of influence on offer I was somewhat surprised to hear a track which brought to mind the Asgardian shenanigans of Unleashed, albeit with a blackened thrash edge. Other styles (which can’t be ignored) border on D-beat territory, vintage black metal ala Bathory, speed metal of the blackened variety which is enjoying a recent revival of sorts (with the likes of Hellripper and Bastardizer) and a Gothic nature which shrouds the whole affair. Though one can’t ignore the undeniable groove on offer throughout, there’s also a celebration of the roots of many a blackened influence, as well homage to recognizable greats within its ranks. A celebration that’s added to with a slew of identity and breakneck rhythms keeping this current, intriguing, exciting and far from copycat realms.

Favorite Tracks; Into the Trees, Where Devils Once Danced, The Witches Grail.

black frat

Black Rat – Dread Reverence
(Canada)
Release – November/23/2018
Shadow Kingdom Records
https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dread-reverence
ARTWORK – 7.5

Midnight in the vaults; Alfred is hungry. He wants some food. He has an establishment in mind, but he had nobody to go with.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

What an introduction to Black Rat!

A Gothic hammer horror esque soundtrack opens the proceedings and within no time the listener in stumbling in the darkness, tripping, falling, surrounded all the while in a pitch aura that’s claustrophobic in its vicious intent. Barks and snarls come from every direction with menace poised to pounce, its fangs dripping in venom and crimson.

Excuse the prose ladies and Gents this has me excited, stimulating my creative glands (nope, not those!) I can’t help myself. Imagine if you will black metal colliding with crust, speed and heavy metal. It sounds rather messy, but this works!

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Call this what you will; filthy, raunchy, rock and roll with a blackened attitude, encrusted speed metal with a dash of blackened influence? It doesn’t matter. One thing’s for certain; these guys know how to raise the pulse. Riffs are ferocious, delivered with intent and underscored by a Gothic majesty a celebration of all manner of things sinister. But let us not forget the tone, a dense punk vibe, a carpet of filth awaiting its cargo. A load which appears by way of chains, studs, spikes and denim, an undeniable celebration of speed and traditional metal adorned by an atmospheric cloak the likes of which has yet to see the light or feel the warmth of the sun.

In short, this album is raw, boasts intriguing melodies, surprisingly atmospheric slower paced interludes and yet overflows with attitude and malice the likes of which will sate those with yearnings for both vintage pace and blasphemous venom.

(And no mention of moose, maple or Molson anywhere. Whoops!)

Favorite Tracks; Into the Ebony, Coffin Rock, Headless Countess, Haunter of the Threshold.

shades of deep water

Shades of Deep Water – Death’s Threshold
(Finland)
Release – July/8/2019
Dunkelheit Produktionen
https://dunkelheitprod.bandcamp.com/album/deaths-threshold
ARTWORK – 7.5

This is another cover up for discussion in regards to its meaning. I see a cavalcade of monks parading alongside a ruin of some sort cradling a myriad of skulls. But why? Are there auditions, en masse for Shakespearian plays in which the Paul Yorick part needs nailing? I have no idea and will attempt to hide my ignorance and apparent shortcomings in the psychology field with humor as I normally do.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

Hunting and eerie, this grabs ahold instantly and puts one in a hypnotic daze, a trance where the listener falls ever deeper into melancholy. An excellent start that’s enthralling to say the least!

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Although this doesn’t seem that complex in rhythm or composition (at times it appears to dive deep into drone waters) it has a certain undeniable quality, a power, a captivating quality which is difficult to ignore. An unfathomless depth of a sort which summons the listener much like a Siren begging them to ignore, forgo all of their responsibilities in order that they might fall under this album’s spell.  Excellent use of string instruments only adds to the overall experience making this a release which is hard to step away from. An album is only made even more impressive based on the fact that it was composed, mixed, recorded and mixed by a single soul, a talented individual indeed, J.H.

Highly recommended and a fantastic mood accompaniment.

evil angel

Evil Angel – Unholy Evil Metal
(Finland)
Release – May/31/2019
Hells Headbangers
https://evilangel.bandcamp.com/album/unholy-evil-metal
ARTWORK – 8.5

Upside down crosses, horns, cryptic scribbles and that tone of green. I believe I would have to be someone of the highest order of ignorant to not be of the understanding that this is going to be an audio outing of the most deliciously dark and tasty. I’m excited already.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

Seconds in and I’m already of the thought that is going to be filthy, grimy, blasphemous but most of all bloody enjoyable. Hail Satan, Stan, Irene, Terry or any other demonic deity who might, or might not, be doubling as a Wal-Mart greeter. This obviously isn’t audio that’s groundbreaking but this is damn good!!

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Blackened speed and a sense of humor. With a track titled like an audio issuance from the main face, the “warrior”, behind Celtic Frost how could they not be charged with such? Sounding like true homage to the South American scene of yore but with an added energy surge only bathing in the waters, which make up the source, of Red Bull could possibly induce Evil Angel offer a sound that’s akin to bestial metal on steroids. Huh? But, wait, there’s more, this has discernible rhythm. Riffs which’ll make you want to slap your Granma and drag a newborn into the pit (sorry, that was uncalled for!) The production is pumped, the raw nature (strangely) exemplified and the attitude, well it’s hard to argue against the fact that these guys are back with vengeance after an extended hiatus (following 2007’s ‘Unholy Fight for Metal’ release). Silly me I would’ve never though Finland a breeding ground for types who might bring bestial metal back into the fore. But it appears it is! This will be on repeat loud, in traffic, even in line at the nearest Government office, the location of which I’m not sure why I’d bother to visit to be honest! This deserves to be shared. And Evil Angel warrant praise!

Favorite Tracks; Necro Black Mass, Nuclear Hammer, Sacrificial Slaughter, Ritual Sacrifice.

skelator

Skelator – Cyber Metal
(USA)
Release – June/21/2019
Gates of Hell Records
Clawhammer PR
https://trueskelator.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 8.5

Graphic comic book carnage complete with a samurai, flashing blades and plenty of spraying crimson. This looks fun!

FIRST TRACK – 8

Channeling Helloween, Skelator deliver infectious riffs, solos aplenty and tolerable falsetto vocal range. Speed/heavy metal draped in undeniable fantasy/sci-fi influence. I’m surprisingly intrigued based on the fact this isn’t normally my go-to genre.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

Homage of ‘nerd culture’ (sorry, couldn’t think of another way to put it) from the 80’s is rife here. Including nods to Akira and Fists of the North Star (both Anime/Manga), Highlander (“There can be only one!”) and a slew of other shows and movies which I know I greedily consumed whenever possible in my freckle faced, innocent years. The style herein is eerily familiar especially to fans of vintage Judas Priest, Riot and older Helloween. Think melodies and gymnastic vocals with a style that’s decidedly German power metal and you’ll be in the ballpark in regards to what this offers. I listened all the way through without skipping, that’s admittedly quite the feat for me. And I’ll probably do so again.

Favorite Tracks; Cast Iron, The Hammer, Seven Scars.

howling sycamore

Howling Sycamore – Seven Paths to Annihilation
(USA)
Release – June/21/2019
Prosthetic Records
https://howlingsycamore.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 9

A storm brews, lightning strikes but the meditating fellow is undisturbed. I wonder what he’s listening to.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

Dramatic, passionate and not at all what I’d expected but wholly intriguing. Bordering on epic traditional heavy metal values with undeniable progressive elements this offers a rhythm and vocal style which at first doesn’t appear to be cohesive at all, strangely it works with a captivating allure.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8

Complex and progressive the style often brings to mind Nevermore albeit with more gymnastic traditional vocals and a style which rarely dips into thrash or death realms. Rhythms are technical, unpredictable, bringing to mind Dream Theatre even Rush. In moments chaotic and often far from any one traditional genre (though closer to epic, power and traditional heavy metal), in instances this dips into avant garde’ arenas, and often gives the audio a ‘weird that it meshes as well as it does’ vibe. The combination remains intriguing throughout offering instruments whose placement seems odd (jazz accoutrements) and an audioscape that’s vastly different than the norm but thoroughly entertaining. Think progressive, technical, doom with an emphasis on a lyrical narrative and emotion. The inclusion of, ‘sticksman’ extraordinaire, Hannes Grossmann takes this to another level adding intricacies only repeated listens will uncover.

This is most certainly an album which will grow on the listener even if it doesn’t immediately ‘stick’.

Favorite Tracks; Departure, Second Sight, Raw Bones.

atlas entity

Atlas Entity – Beneath the Cosmic Silence
(USA)
Release – June/14/2019
Independent
Mind Eraser PR
https://atlasentity.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 8.5

The tones within this image hint at many things but chief among them moodiness and plenty of atmosphere. Color me intrigued!

FIRST TRACK – 9.5

Intricate, classical, beautiful acoustic mastery. I am at a loss for words. Exquisite is another good one to use (and I utilize it entirely too much!) A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 9.5

A fluid, precise and intricate marriage of progressive elements, technical rhythms and a style which is closer to death metal than most anything else within the extreme audio universe. The resulting effect is akin to an audio eargasm which lasts close to forty-two minutes. Think the beauty and classic nature of Opeth entangled with the often, flowing like a river, mesmerizing rhythmic brutality of Inanimate Existence (audio that moves so effortlessly that it often, oddly, doesn’t seem brutal at all!) add to that solos which are blistering, a nature which has more facets than my infants personality and elements which are often associated with atmospheric blackened affairs and you have a release which is unpredictable, surprisingly agile and altogether fathomless in its depth. A mix of clean and traditional genre type vocals add to the overall experience.

This is astoundingly good; one simply cannot afford to let this pass them by. Suffice it to say this will feature in my end of year list (If I ever get my lazy arse around to composing one!)

phobia

Phobia – Generation Coward (EP)
(USA)
Release – August/9/2019
Willowtip Records
Clawhammer PR
https://phobia.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 7.5

Skeletons, chaos, goat horns and hiding behind the anonymity of a computer screen. Those with knowledge of the band will know what to expect, for those that don’t, two words; blasting grindcore.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

These guys don’t fuck around! This track goes straight for the jugular and brings with it nostalgic tones, dueling vocal attacks and bludgeoning riffs which’ll leave any fan of the scene grinning from ear to ear. A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 8

Since 1990 these Californians have been blasting away and speaking their mind against all manner of social ill and injustice. With a discography which sports splits and EPS aplenty. surprisingly there are only five full lengths under their collective belts.

This release sees them blast their way through thirteen tracks in just under sixteen minutes (par for the grindcore course) with the same amount of energy which earlier output sports these guys have not slowed down in the slightest! The angst levels are at an all time high and this is sure to incite moments of spastic movements with break shit ramifications throughout its length. In conclusion, if you’re a fan of the scene and have fear that Phobia have lost some of their old magic, fear not for this is an outstanding example of what one of the pioneers of the scene still has to offer!

Favorite Tracks; Cynic Bastard, Imbecile, Internet Tough Guy, Excretion, Cut Throat, To be Convinced.

ashbringer

Ashbringer – Absolution
(USA)
Release – June/28/2019
Prosthetic Records
https://ashbringermusic.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 7

Vibrant, vivid and not what one would assume an album cover in the extreme metal arena to look like. I believe this album might surprise me with its content, though with this in mind the art gives little, if anything, away.

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

Acoustic melodies, often beautiful in tone, cavort in a crescendo with tempestuous rhythms and a vocal accompaniment writhing in angst. Not what I was expecting though intriguing audio nevertheless.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8

This is melodious, beatific, invocative, a tad experimental in tone, full of emotion, even at times hinting of moments of brutality, drenched in palpable atmosphere and undeniably epic, though strangely quite different than the type of audio I would normally subject myself to (all in the name of extreme music). Hard to categorize as this isn’t really DSBM based on its melodies and vocal style, it lies, nestled, somewhere between genres (black, doom, heavy metal, progressive) and thus should appeal to a great many who prefer audio which doesn’t subscribe to predictability, boundaries and/or limitation.

I’m of the mind that it will grow on me over time as its many intricacies unfold and its style develops from utterly foreign into that which I’ve become more accustomed to.

For fans of Opeth, Nuerosis and Amorphis.

Favorite Tracks; Wilderness Walk, Dreamscape, Eternal Separation pt. 2, Spiritual Architecture.

heaviest of art

Introducing a new Section; Reccd’ by…

Recc’d by @HeaviestofArt (Twitter)
“How does each record hold up a year after its release?”
Uada – Cult of a Dying Sun
(USA)
Release – May/25/2018
Eisnewald
https://uada.bandcamp.com/

uada

Thoughts –

From its opener, ‘The Purging Fire’, there’s no doubt that the listener is in for one wholly unpredictable audio experience. Ranging from melodic death (bordering in something one could actually dance to, a beat Moonspell often utilized with their follow up to ‘Wolfheart’) through a style bordering on grindcore with splashes of black in between, upon and over Uada certainly don’t play things by the genre conformity book, and that’s what makes this intriguing and as the album plays out an altogether outstanding audio experience.

A blackened death vibe takes ahold as the album plays out. Discernable melody woven around blast beat chaos gives the album more a melodic feel albeit with a blackened aura; interactions with outstanding consequences. Dissection, Swallow the Sun come to mind in moments as too a slew of other acts (whose names escape me at the moment) who also incorporate melody into their pitch audio. Tracks bearing epic lengths and rhythms which are constantly evolving hold the listener enrapt though it’s also Uada‘s ability to think outside of the box. ‘The Wanderer’ is a fantastic example, an instrumental with mystical qualities, ceremonial beats, enchanting presence and atmosphere to spare. A spot of Pink Floyd nature (if you will) if only they were ever to grab the extreme audio reins and gallop forth.

‘Sphere (Imprisonment)’ is where the album finds its most devastating assault on the senses. The vocal department is abruptly charged with venom and spite, the riffs more furious than before accompanied by an abundance of blast beats but the melody is still there, bordering on progressive in instances, making for another track that’s wholly satisfying (throughout its epic length) no matter the listeners extreme audio preference.

Nearly an hour in length, sporting seven tracks and boasting the art which this does might make anyone wonder at what lies within, but have no fear for Cult of a Dying Sun delivers. Audio encompassing a wide radius of genres with the talent to pull this feat off exquisitely. Forget any preconceived notions and dive in!

Again, this is the first I’m hearing this (a year on) but I can honestly say based on a first, second and third listen this has the chops to entertain even a year on.

wayfarer-worlds-blood

Wayfarer – World Blood
(USA)
Release – May/25/2018
Profound Lore Records
https://wayfarercolorado.bandcamp.com/
Thoughts –

From the albums cover image an enigmatic pitch-black rider set against a vivid dusty background and the albums introduction a galloping (myriad of hooves?) crescendo opening one instinctively knows that this will lead down a path which is rarely travelled. As opposed to the traditional thoroughfare which has become more of a highway that threatens domination of the entire genre.

Further audio invokes images of dust devils and tumbleweeds traversing deathly silent streets (albeit of the kind seen in film outings of the decidedly Western kind), a landscape shrouded with desolation, surrounding vistas echoing with ancient victory, a celebration of the land before its inevitable destruction and the white man’s arrival.

This, ladies and gents is audio of the type which consumes an evening. The accompanying description states atmospheric black, though I’m of the leaning that there is so much more to enjoy here. Doom plays a huge part in setting the scene. There’s atmosphere aplenty, fantastic build up (veering towards drone realms) of the type which brings to mind epic cinematic affairs before blackened sensibilities heave melancholy onto the mix. For those with traditional black metal yearning have no fear as majestic, cresting riffs, are also front and center, but what come as a little of a surprise is that the drums boast center stage as opposed to their traditional position in the background. The effect is astounding, complete with a raw, primitive, aura it lends the music an overall vintage quality which only adds to the appeal of the sound and I can only imagine further solidifies Wayfarers’ initial vision; a style that’s familiar, celebrated, yet intriguingly different in its approach.

For fear of giving this a track by track narrative (I’m guilty of this in many an instance) I’ll merely state that this delivers throughout only then to climax in an acoustic track of undeniable brilliance and palpable emotion which only makes the listener want to repeat the process over again. An album which, although I was never privy to upon its initial arrival, is a pleasure to place between the ears and an experience which is a refreshing multi- layered detour from the norm.

Wholeheartedly recommended!

UHF on Twitter

Recc’d by @Uniquehifi (Twitter)
BattleRoar – Age of Chaos
(Greece)
Release – October/2005
Black Lotus Records
https://battleroar-epic.bandcamp.com/album/age-of-chaos
Thoughts –

Having enjoyed Battleroar’s 2018 release ‘Codex Epicus’ I was more than intrigued when Emil (UniqueHiFi) suggested I check into their earlier material.

battleroar age of chaos

‘Age of Chaos’ starts out on an acoustic footing with ‘The Wanderer’. Thus far I’m intrigued. This is a great, albeit mellow, start bringing to mind vintage Iron Maiden. But then epic power metal values step in and my interest wanes somewhat. Obviously, my audio penchants spends considerably more time in the more extreme end of the metal spectrum though it has been known to wander. Perhaps it’s the vocal style, I’m not altogether down with it, (the traditional falsetto range gymnastic assault) I recall their newest having a slightly ‘different’ feel. The music isn’t altogether far from what would expect from the genre, in fact it’s fluid and melodic to the point where it makes me reminisce upon when I first found interest in the scene and the energy I spent collecting various releases in the same arena. I can see why many might like it; harmonizing guitars, rhythms which are somewhat classic heavy metal in nature, riffs that make one want to pump their fist to the heavens in appreciation, epic values with narrative styled lyrics and atmosphere. It’s all here! And I’m sure these guys put on one hell of an arena show to audiences who travel from far and wide to marvel at epic metal of this caliber.

The fantasy element appeals to me and the albums cover holds definite interest, though at this point honestly, the audio is far from what I need in my earholes. With that in mind, my tastes have changed so perhaps therein lies the reason why this really isn’t doing much for me, strange then that their newest is an album which I vividly remember enjoying.

Album highlights include The Wanderer, Sword of Crom and Calm Before the Storm.

I have no doubts that I’ll revisit when I’m in a frame of mind where this might be more pleasing to my senses.

Void Reccs

Recc’d by Void
Nerlich – Defabricated Process
(Finland)
Release – January/2007
Old School Metal Records
https://nerlich.bandcamp.com/album/defabricated-process
Thoughts –

Immediately upon laying eyes upon the vivid vicious nature versus man artwork (accompanying this release) I was put in mind of older material from Gorguts (the ‘Erosion of Sanity’ in particular). Odd then that the audio within also reminds me of such. Rather than mere ‘chuggery’ riffs stumble upon each other often vying for supremacy. A diabolical nature shrouds the whole affair and the occasional solo tells of obvious influence ala genre giants Morbid Angel. Other influence comes to mind; Morgoth might arise for those with knowledge of such within ‘Entity of Sickness’, whereas Montrosity and other acts of American origin pop up from time to time, be it from familiarity by way of a riff, passage or the way in which the pace shifts suddenly.

nerlich

No matter how one slices it this is an album which obviously slipped under the radar, is criminally underrated, is far from what many might consider the typical run of the mill death metal, isn’t of the ‘meat and potatoes’ play it safe genre variety but most of all deserves attention. And for that I thank Void, yet again.

Highlights include Defabricated Process, Entity of Sickness, Mask for the Faceless, On Sarcastic Impact.

Well there you have it, another stumbling foray into all things of a decidedly extreme audio in nature.

Until our paths of interest cross again,

Cult