Archive for the ‘Abrasive Audio’ Category

Abrasive Audio- Turbo Edition #1

abrasive audio turbo edition header

I can’t fathom why I didn’t think of this earlier. The onslaught of Extreme Audio much like a raging tsunami is unforgiving. There’s no keeping up. I doubt even if I made this an obsession (more than it already is) I would still be behind. With this in mind I must give thanks to the metal community on Twitter for their Reccs, suggestions and their ability to pluck from the past that which I never knew existed

(Emil, Jay and Demnuts I’m looking in your direction here). Obviously, I’d like to mention each and every person who continues to make me feel like I belong and those who continue to allow me to continue to bug them with random Reccs, suggestions and offers. There are others yet who continue to bedazzle me with their knowledge on the scene (I have a hard time remembering what I ate for dinner yesterday!) Void is slowly pulling me into the BM fold, against my initial judgement I find myself resisting less and less.

I would be remiss not to mention Kman. His dedication, knowledge and determination seriously know no bounds and his FFF each week leaves me unfathomably frustrated as I understand there’s no consuming every release he’s promoting. I can but try, but to no avail. In between striving to ensure my bills are paid, various family duties and other not so important adult stuff (don’t grow up kids, it sucks!) I just haven’t the time.

Without further ado I’d like to present a new approach; multiple albums, multiple genres, both new and not so much. Each gets a few important details, a single listen and a couple of words. For those needing a FFO I’m sorry, much like my introduction to most of the bands/albums here like myself you’re also be going in blind. Let’s call it exploration!

Simple. What say we put on our spelunking helmets and get started?

WVRM - Colony Collapse

WVRM (USA) – Colony Collapse

https://wvrmgrind.bandcamp.com/album/colony-collapse

Release- April 2020

Genre – Grindcore/Brutal Death/Crust/Hardcore/Sludge

A Grindcore album with a handful of tracks over two minutes in length? Yeppers, it’s rare but this is what we have on display here. Untraditional for sure, but WVRM manage somehow to pull it off. Ragin’ brutality, lyrical angst, mature arrangements, humorous soundbites, grinding rhythms, a little bit of “noise” and a varied style which thankfully exists this side of the “bree-bree-bree” vocal (silliness) spectrum. Shit, there’s even a violin passage. This is ‘Grindcore’ I can subscribe to! Slightly different (but nowhere near experimental to the realm where it’s unfamiliar), angst ridden, groove-laden and exhilarating. In short, a twenty-four-minute workout which will exercise muscles you never knew existed.

Final Score – 83

The Antichrist Imperium

The Antichrist Imperium (UK) – Volume II; Every Tongue Shall Praise Satan

https://apocalypticwitchcraft.bandcamp.com/album/volume-ii-every-tongue-shall-praise-satan

Release – June 2018

Genre – Black Metal/Thrash/Avant Garde/Progressive/Blackened Death/Post BM/Atmospheric BM

The similarities to Akercocke here cannot be ignored (the two bands share a member). Much like the aforementioned TAI (an abrv.) compose sans a genre framework in mind. Theirs is a style much like the movement of a rock in a maelstrom. It changes direction at the drop of a hat producing considerable damage as it does so. Unlike that rock its movement is surprisingly fluid oftentimes transporting the listener to realms one might not consider (unless of course they’d previously heard of Akercocke) see above for the variety of genre descriptions. A wide array of vocal styles fitting the mood amp up the album’s enjoyment. Blistering speed bursts are a huge part of the albums appeal (for me) it also provides passages akin to a Brutal Death assault with an Industrial edge (in a style fans of The Berserker will enjoy) more so than the aforementioned act. Between the two I cannot pick a favorite, I guess it depends on the mood. One could perhaps think of this as a logical progression for Akercocke if they had stuck to themes revolving around Satanism. I will state this is an album I will place in a constant rotation playlist. It has quite literally blown me away. This is far beyond impressive…and diverse. Have I previously mentioned that?

Final Score – 94

Devil to Pay

Devil to Pay (USA) – Forever, Never or Whenever

https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/forever-never-or-whenever

Release – November 2019

Genre – Doom/Stoner Rock/Southern Rock

I must be living under a rock. I can’t believe this slipped by unnoticed (it dropped late last year).

Occasionally you come across an album with a flow, a collection of tracks which place the listener in a certain place, far from everyday woes and concerns. An album which captivates and doesn’t try too hard to be that which it’s not. This is one such release. A wicked mix of Doom and Stoner Rock, boasting an aura which is strangely both vintage and fresh. With plentiful riffs to spare and a powerful vocal accompaniment which completes the package this results in a release, much like their 16′ effort, that’s undeniably a strong top of the year contender. It’s difficult not to fall under a spell as these caresses the senses.

Final Score – 91

Heiligen

Heiligen (Chile) – Shadows in the Church

https://heiligen.bandcamp.com/

Release – June 2020

Genre – Heavy/Epic/Speed Metal

Energetic rhythms, great pace and exciting arrangements result in a familiar aura fans of traditional HM (Iron Maiden and Helloween) will find difficult not to instantly appreciate. One of my only qualms is that the vocal department needs tidying/polishing up, otherwise a fantastic listen.

Final Score – 73

Solothus

Solothus (Finland) – Realm of Ash and Blood

https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/realm-of-ash-and-blood

Release – March 2020

Genre – Death/Doom/Sludge

Despair, misery, endurance and determination are four words which come to mind when this assumes eventual dominance of the aural cavities. Slow and deliberate this rolls like a tank in low gear; trudging riffs, formidable presence and ominous atmosphere evokes vivid flashes of crimson soaked quests, carnage, desperation and loss which, much h like the finest fiction tome, leave a lasting impression. “Realm of Ash and Blood” is slightly different than the run of the mill Doom/Death affair but nevertheless impactful in its grandiose, unhurried, approach. As a bonus the album is enveloped by fantasy/Conan inspired artwork which slays.

Final Score – 87

Monolith

Monolith (South Africa) – The Lord Conspirator

https://mmdrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-lord-conspirator

Release – April 2020

Genre – Death Metal/Tech Death/Thrash/Melodic Death

Surprisingly agile and diverse this offers a variety of pace and style over and above what one might have initially assumed based on the accompanying cover art. With an aura of ominous which is palpable whilst refraining from the traditional tropes of the genre Monolith have etched an album which is no less impactful. Part Tech in its approach, sporting evolving rhythms rather than mere chuggery, a well-executed narrative which nods towards concept and benefiting from sufficient, calculated, atmosphere this is an audio collective that puts South Africa on the Extreme Audio map. A fantastic debut worthy of discovering.

Final Score – 84

Runemagick

Runemagick (Sweden) – Into Desolate Realms

https://runemagick.bandcamp.com/album/into-desolate-realms

Release – October 2019

Genre – Death/Doom

A delicate balance and marriage of movement, melody, melancholy and groove exists here. Epic qualities abound, occasionally to the overkill point.  Think Candlemass qualities combined with dirge elements courtesy of Bolt Thrower and Unleashed vocal sensibilities with a splash of the almighty Black Sabbath and you might be close, although there’s another presence in the mix I can’t quite put my finger upon (for the record similar artist comparisons have been made to Hooded Menace and The Chasm). This is guaranteed to grow following several listens and their discography is dense, it appears I have a little homework to do.

Final Score – 83

Human Infection

Human Infection (USA) – Gravesight

https://hiband.bandcamp.com/album/gravesight

Release – December 2019

Genre – Brutal Death/Grindcore

Tight arrangements which often border on Technical Death territories. Plenty of complex and swift rhythms with enough wicked transformation to make fans of (earlier era) Cannibal Corpse salivate.

Final Score – 87

Arcane Dread

Arcane Dread (Greece)- Mist and Marshes

https://arcanedread.bandcamp.com/album/mist-and-marshes

Release – April 2019

Genre – Death Metal

A mid-paced, one-person outfit showcasing agility, atmosphere and movement. Small qualms include one dimensional vocals, a “manufactured” aura and instances which tend to drag on. However this remains quite listenable.

Final Score – 72

Deathsiege

Deathsiege (Israel) – Unworthy Adversary

https://deathsiege.bandcamp.com/album/unworthy-adversary

Release – April/2020

Genre- Death/Black/Bestial Metal/Grinding Death/OSDM

Pummeling, bludgeoning and unquestionably unapologetic. Blunt, to the point, tracks with an early Vader feel. The outstanding drums are the highlight of the production which still seethes with a fitting raw edge.

Eleven minutes of audio sure to scramble the braincells and get the torso a twitchin’.

Final Score- 89

Lucifungus

Lucifungus (Australia) – Derek

https://lucifungus.bandcamp.com/album/derek

Release – April 2020

Genre – Stoner Rock/Doom/Sludge

Huge riffs, enough groove to sidetrack a speeding train and an ungodly infectious vibe cavorting with just the right amount of sinister. All drenched in a viscose sludge which only makes for an amplified raunchy experience. Did I mention the album’s art? I want it… I need it! Seriously how can I resist an album named after my favorite character in a movie?

Final Score – 88

The Holy Flesh

The Holy Flesh (UK) – Emissary and Vessel

https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/emissary-vessel

Release – March 2020

Genre – Black Metal/Post Rock/Ambient/Doom/Progressive

With the above description one might avoid this like the plague. I’m here to suggest you do the opposite. Obviously, this sounds, and is, slightly off the beaten path but it delivers. Rhythms overlaid upon ambient soundscapes (occasionally creating a mixture of produced effects akin to rapidly fading dreams and underwater auras) ensure the listening experience to be one that’s unmistakably off-kilter, often alienesque, though nevertheless providing for an enjoyable listen for those with an open mind and penchants that exist far from instant gratification realms. With all this in mind this still provides nods to various influences from Blackened realms resulting in an album which might be easier to digest than first imagined.

Final Score – 82

Shards of Humanity

Shards of Humanity (USA) – Cold Logic

https://unspeakableaxerecords.bandcamp.com/album/cold-logic

Release – April 2020

Genre – Thrash/Death/Tech Death

Invigorating, energetic and yes… somewhat fresh. This is Death Metal with an emphasis on leads and solos throughout. In essence – Thrash infused Death with a smidgen of Tech Death thrown in to mix things up. Think South American Aggressive Thrash bordering on Death with a sprinkle of Grindcore tossed in. Ha! This review is a mess but this album kicks major arse. The vocal style isn’t what’s expected (a tad ‘Barney’ at times) but it seeps in toward albums end to feel less foreign. If you prefer your Extreme audio energetic and less plodding, moody or Doom inspired this is for you.

Jump on this stat. But stretch first!!

Final Score – 89

Northern Crown

Northern Crown (USA) -In a Pallid Shadow

https://music.northerncrownband.com/

Release – July 2020

Genre – Traditional Doom/Heavy Metal/Vintage Doom/Epic Doom

To be honest this was not what I expected based on the albums cover art. The inclusion of a keyboard/organ in the sound elevates this from mere run of the mill Doom into more a vintage realm. Another aspect which places it in the same territory is the lyric heavy approach also the hard rock emotional vocal style (all of which often putting me in mind of early Rainbow and Deep Purple). An epic aura throughout with plentiful progressive passages makes for a listening experience which the listener can easily sink into when the mood demands audio of a mellower stance. Don’t sleep on this, especially if the physical collection (vinyl most probably) bursts at the seams with a wide range of rock albums from the late seventies/early eighties.

Final Score – 89

Descend

Descend (Sweden) – The Deviant

https://descend.bandcamp.com/

Release – June 2020

Genre – Melodic Death/Progressive/Doom

From the very first note this propels the listener to another realm. A landscape in which beauty teases the beast and nature cavorts openly with technology. The influences here are neon bright obvious (Opeth, Devin Townsend, among others) however it’s how Descend chooses to handle and manipulate them which makes this so special. Instrumental bliss, melodies which will leave fans of Melodic Death salivating and a vocal range which fits the albums transforming moods perfectly. This manages to check all the boxes and then obliterate them completely; it doesn’t get much better than this! This has Album of the Year potential written all over it!

The art grabs the attention, the music keeps it in rapture. This admittedly came out of nowhere to knock me on my hind quarters (what? Do I identify as being a horse now?)

Final Score – 94

Infer

Infer (Slovakia) – Aeon of Deathless Blight

https://tryznaproduction.bandcamp.com/album/aeon-of-deathless-blight

Release – June 2020

Genre – Blackened Death/Black/Dirge/Death Metal

Grandiose and unrelenting boasting maniacal flourishes this packs an unholy whollop which will leave one grinning from ear to ear. Heavy Black and Death influences and tendencies (from past and present) give this a huge appeal, and I’m glad to report this delivers from start to finish!

Final Score – 88

...And Oceans

…And Oceans (Finland) – Cosmic World Mother

https://andoceans.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-world-mother

Release – May 2020

Genre – Black Metal/Melodic BM/Symphonic BM

It’s been a while since this collective last released a full-length, eighteen years in fact. They’ve been through experimental stages and have traversed many an audio landscape in their time. This however, is a return to form to the more generally ‘accepted’ arena of BM; the blistering, melodic kind which instantly perks the attention (on a first listen basis, none of this slowly sinking it all it offers nonsense) and the bands talents and expertise shine. Majestic rhythms reign supreme accompanied by an often-icy ferociousness and grandiose atmosphere, an aura which rarely let’s up. Bolstered by hyper-precise lightspeed skin pounding (that might sound ‘naughty’ depending upon how far your mind descends into the gutter) and a vicious vocal attack – the result is stunning. A combination sure to alight many a fans passion and an album which I can’t believe I’m just now laying senses upon. This could well be the album to pull many into the BM fold. It really is that impressive!

For those needing a FFO think a combination of Emperor, Dissection, Satyricon and Enthroned.

Final Score – 90

Tethra

Tethra (Italy) – Empire of the Void

https://tethrablacklion.bandcamp.com/album/empire-of-the-void

Release- March 2020

Genre – Death/Doom/Melodic Death/Avant Garde/Gothic Rock/Funeral Doom

Combining the melody and grandiose nature of Paradise Lost and the devastating emotion of Novembers Doom and My Dying Bride as well touching upon the diverse nature of the Doom spectrum Tethra have carved an album which demands several listens. The arrangements are transfixing, the vocals range outstanding (the combined talents within “A Light Years Breath” makes for a track which is unforgettable) and the cover of Bowie’s A Space Oddity a great addition. In short this is sure to be played till years end and praised again when all those damn lists start to appear.

Final Score- 92

Nekropsie

Nekropsie (Germany) – Prophecies of Decay

https://nekropsie.bandcamp.com/album/prophecies-of-decay

Release – March 2020

Genre – Black Metal/Melodic Black Metal/Atmospheric

Biting cold riffs, atmosphere and depth. Far from what some might call traditional however this kept me entertained and tapping my limbs for its entire length.

Final Score – 85

Cracked Machine

Cracked Machine (UK) – Gates of Keras

https://crackedmachine.bandcamp.com/

Release – June 2020

Genre – Doom/Stoner Rock/Psychedelia/Progressive/Instrumental

A hypnotic, calming, multi-layered blend of Stoner Rock sensibilities, fuzz adorned riffs and a cosmic soundscape which is easy to lose yourself within. And although this is instrumental it still checks all the boxes. Prepare to drift away to unfamiliar realms in a vehicle whose dimensions are obscured by smoke (if you catch my drift?)

Final Score – 90

Necrovault

Necrovault (Germany) – Totenzug; Festering Peregrination

https://nekrovault.bandcamp.com/album/totenzug-festering-peregrination

Release- March 2020

Genre – Cavernous Death Metal/OSDM/Doom

Enveloping audio with depth and epic scope. Plenty of atmosphere, movement and even occasional groove to keep the listener on their toes.

Final Score – 86

Valdrin

Valdrin (USA) – Effigy of Nightmares

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/effigy-of-nightmares

Release – June 2020

Genre – Melodic Black Metal/Symphonic BM/Raw BM

Atmosphere collides with ferocity. Melodic yet still primal this offers qualities both traditionalists and those with Atmospheric penchants can appreciate.

Final Score – 80

The Great Old Ones

The Great Old Ones (France) – Cosmicism

https://thegreatoldones.bandcamp.com/

Release – October 2019

Genre – Black Metal/Post Black/Avant Garde/Doom

I’m not even sure how to convey the adoration of tentacles and unfathomably ancient cosmic beings into audio form (obviously Lovecraft’s work is more than merely that). However, I’d state that TGoO (an abrv.) have done a bloody good job! The mix of palpable atmosphere, dizzying arrangements and raging chaos here evokes abrupt terrifying scenarios, unimaginable forces at work (‘behind the scenes’ as it were) and factors far beyond the understanding of a mere mortals grasp of/on reality. Admittedly, this is an album one will want to give repeated listens to fully appreciate. However, even on a first listen basis it leaves an incredible impression opening the gates of intrigue for everything Lovecraftian.

Final Score – 89

exhausted animal

 And that brings another installment to a close, it’s taken me longer than I’d like. I’d usually drop my excuses here but I shan’t not bore you with my life details this time around. Suffice it to say I’ve tried to keep this varied and as informative as I can without diving into diatribe lengths (obviously in some instances I got excited as you can probably tell). There are twenty – three releases here to whet the appetite, all of which I quite liked (thus the generous ratings). Feel free to drop me your thoughts, comments, suggestions or queries. Shit, if you wanna’ scribble a few words on a release which has caught your fancy drop me an email.

And, as is traditional…don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the senses.

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Fourteen

abrasive audio header gif

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

January Releases
BlackGuard - Storm
BlackGuard (Canada) – Storm

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

Release- January/3/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 74

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

FIRST TRACK- 89

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

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

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

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

Favorite Tracks; Exciting throughout.

FFO; Wintersun, Children of Bodom, Byrmir.

Reaper - Unholy Nordic Noise

Reaper (Sweden) – Unholy Nordic Noise

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

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

ARTWORK- 78

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

FIRST TRACK- 82

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

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

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

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

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

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

Release – April/17/2020
Season of Mist Records

ARTWORK- 80

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

FIRST TRACK- 77

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 79

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

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

FFO; Hate Eternal, Origin, Suffocation, Decapitated.

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

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

Release- May/1/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 81

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

FIRST TRACK- 82

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 80

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

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

FFO; WolfBrigade, Disfear, Martyrdod, Tragedy.

Mean Messiah - Divine Technology

Mean Messiah (Czechia) – Divine Technology

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

Release – May/5/2020
Slovak Metal Army

ARTWORK- 91

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

FIRST TRACK- 89

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

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

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

FFO; Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory, Meshuggah.

A Recc from @LFCMFighter

Nygmalion (Hungary) - Deluminate

Nygmalion (Hungary) – Deluminate

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

Release- May/15/2020
Independent
ARTWORK- 84

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

FIRST TRACK- 91

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

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

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

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

Atavistia - The Winter Way

Atavistia (Canada) – The Winter Way

https://atavistia.bandcamp.com/

Release – May/29/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 81

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

FIRST TRACK- 93

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 95

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

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

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

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

Doomed Spirits -Last Reflections

Doomed Spirits (Brazil) -Last Reflections

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

Release – May/30/2020

Independent

Artwork- 82

Ferocity- 73

Groove- 74

Originality- 79

Infectiousness- 85

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

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 85

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

Nord/Sternklang (Netherlands) split

(courtesy of Rites of Pestilence on YouTube)

Release – 2020

Self-released (limited)

Artwork- n/a

Ferocity; Nord- 78

Sternklang- 70

Groove; Nord- 76

Sternklang- 72

Originality; Nord- 76

Sternklang- 74

Infectiousness; Nord-72

Sternklang- 73

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

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks;

Nord- 73

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

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

Sternklang- 74

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

Overall- 73

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

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

The Crawling- Wolves and the Hideous White

The Crawling (UK) – Wolves and the Hideous White

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

Release – November/16/2018

Grindscene Records

Artwork- 81

Ferocity- 73

Groove- 85

Infectiousness- 83

Originality- 76

Genre- Doom/DeathDoom/Funeral Doom

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 85

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

Carrion Vael - Resurrection of the Doomed

Carrion Vael (USA) – Resurrection of the Doomed

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

Release – March/25/2017

Independent

Artwork- 85

Ferocity- 88

Groove- 84

Originality- 74

Infectiousness- 95

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

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 95

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

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

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

Disownency - Demosick MMXX

Disownency (Equador) – Demosick MMXX

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

Release – 2020

Dismembered Records

Artwork- 85

Ferocity- 87

Groove- 68

Originality- 67

Infectiousness- 69

Genre- Brutal Death/Grindcore/Goregrind

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 67

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

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

Ande - Vossenkuil

Ande (Belguim) – Vossenkuil

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

Release – April/3/2020

Independent

Artwork- 64

Ferocity- 71

Groove- 68

Originality- 68

Infectiousness- 66

Genre- Atmospheric Black/Melodic Black/Doom/Drone

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 65

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

Larvae 4 track promo tape

Larvae (Romania) 4 track promo tape

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

Release – March/2/2020

Caligari Records/Stygian Blackhand Records

Artwork- 76

Ferocity- 73

Groove- 81

Originality- 75

Infectiousness- 76

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

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 73

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

Coffinwood - Storm of Steel

Coffinwood (Poland) – Storm of Steel

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

Release – April/2/2020

Independent

Artwork- 78

Ferocity- 78

Groove- 77

Originality- 65

Infectiousness- 74

Genre- Death Metal/Blackened Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 75

Wicked addictive rhythms and venomous vocals keep this intriguing.

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

Koffin - Nailed into the Coffin

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

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

Release – June/5/2020

Stroke Records

Artwork- 77

Ferocity- 76

Groove- 84

Originality- 68

Infectiousness- 78

Genre- OSDM/Death/Raw Thrash

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 78

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

Your Last Wish (Canada) - Eradicate

Your Last Wish (Canada) – Eradicate

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

Release – February/23/2020

Independent

Artwork- 86

Ferocity- 74

Groove- 79

Originality- 78

Infectiousness- 83

Genre- Deathcore/Thrash/Melodic Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 83

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

Denied - Mental Budak Jiwa Penjilat

Denied (Indoniesia) – Mental Budak Jiwa Penjilat

https://deniedgrindcore.bandcamp.com/

Release – May/1/2019

Black Anje Records

Artwork- 82

Ferocity- 82

Groove- 78

Originality- 65

Infectiousness- 78

Genre- Grindcore/Brutal Death/Slam

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 81

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

Recc for fans of Misery Index, Benighted.

Miscreance (Italy)- From Awareness to Creation

Miscreance (Italy)- From Awareness to Creation

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

Release – April/4/2018

Red Wine Rites Records

Artwork- 82

Ferocity- 74

Groove- 75

Infectiousness- 79

Originality- 74

Genre- Thrash/Technical Thrash

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 81

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

Breeding Ignorance - Image and Likeness

Breeding Ignorance (Belarus) – Image and Likeness

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

Release – May/1/2019

Coyote Records

Artwork- 80

Ferocity- 79

Groove- 78

Originality- 70

Infectiousness- 82

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

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 83

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

This is a release I will spin again!

Goreworm - Prodigy of the Grotesque

Goreworm (Canada) – Prodigy of the Grotesque

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

Release – June/12/2020

CDN Records

Artwork- 75

Ferocity- 82

Groove- 83

Originality- 72

Infectiousness- 92

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

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 94

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

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

mix tape action

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

I’m out!

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Thirteen

abrasive audio header gif

I’m at it again! Metal from all across the globe and from wide across the varied spectrum which makes up the extreme audio realm. In this installment you’ll find Doom, Black and Death and a few things in between. Hopefully I’ve found something to tickle those pleasure receptors. Feel free to drop me a note and tell me which one(s) “did it” for you. I’m intrigued.

March Releases

Dawn of Ouroboros album

Dawn of Ouroboros (USA) – The Art of Morphology

https://dawnofouroboros.bandcamp.com/album/the-art-of-morphology

Release – March/30/2020

Rain Without End Records

ARTWORK – 82

Classical with a splash of cosmic nature yet overlaid with ominous tones perhaps an indication of the music within? Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 88

Drenched (literally) in haunting atmosphere this track transforms the listen to a stormy day environment invoking the mood to match. Ambient tones, emotion and ferocious black metal. An excellent mixture guaranteed to leave any listener mouth agape eagerly awaiting what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

Epic effective atmosphere encased in a variety of vocal approaches; spoken word (poetry), angelic singing and a ferocious assault makes for an intriguing listen that’s far from traditional. Progressive elements (including a hypnotic instrumental outro of sorts) and a whirlwind, blistering, percussion cavort playfully amidst the arrangements adding depth and the desire to dig deeper within future experiences. DoO (which is an obvious abbreviation) have managed to rein in a fluid approach here which others only attempt with unfruitful results. Transitions are masterful and the flow exquisite a testament to the bands vision, a stellar spin on the Beauty and Beast approach with a myriad of elements one might not expect resulting in an album which one can find themselves lost within. Major props go out to Chelsea Murphy who’s solely responsible for the stunning vocal range exhibited throughout.

Favorite Tracks; Hypnotic from beginning to end.

FFO; Gates of the Morning, Akercocke, Emperor.

April Releases

Caustic Wound

Another Void Recc
Caustic Wound (USA) – Death Posture

https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/death-posture

Release – April/10/2020

Profound Lore Records

ARTWORK – 78

A raw BnW image of a face stripped of flesh shattered like a mirror. Makes an impression and leaves little to Imagination as to what to expect from the audio.

FIRST TRACK – 78

Pulverizing OSDM with a deviant raunchy tone and gutteriffic vox.

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

Blast beats, chaotic dirge riffs, tumbling over each other, fighting for supremacy, enough diabolical groove to start a Goblin mosh pit in the catacombs, a gargling sewerage vocal approach and a nostalgic aura part Crust, part Brutal Death which tosses one gleefully back to the late 80’s/ very early 90’s extreme underground scene. There’s plenty to get excited about here!

Favorite Tracks; Cematary Planet, Black Bag Asphyxiation, Blast Casualty, Uranium Decay, Acid Attack, Guillotine, Catackysmic Gigaton.

FFO; Fetid, Repulsion, Terrorizer.

But wait for it…Void has a few words to share on this one

Spawned mostly from members of Mortiferum and Cerebral Rot / Fetid, Caustic Wound’s debut “Death Posture” is one hell of a throwback, nailing its claim that it sounds like it was recorded no later than 1992.  Worshipping at the altar of Nuclear Death, Defecation (a personal favorite), Terrorizer, Napalm Death, early Carcass and of course the mighty Repulsion, “Death Posture” blows by in a furious cyclone of grinding death metal that doesn’t hold back.  The sound on this thing is perfection, thick and moldering and so, so nasty.  The bass is just thundering, you can feel the twanging of those strings booming through your speakers in those slower, grinding doom parts between the frenetic blasts. Consisting mostly of songs that don’t breach the two-minute mark doesn’t hold “Death Posture” back from having catchy tracks without being ridiculously heavy.  Albums like this are what gets me out of bed in the morning.

90

Abduction

Abduction (France) – Jehanne

https://abductionfr.bandcamp.com/

Release -April/29/2020

Finisterean Dead End

ARTWORK – 78

A classic portrait of Joan of Arc, on whom, incidentally, this album is based.

FIRST TRACK – 83

A Baroque introduction ripped in Twain by the arrival of malicious blast beat laden Black metal. The vocal presence is unique, showcasing three distinct styles, and the track soon calms to offer rhythms of an undeniably addictive nature which are melodic, triumphant and powerful. A great start and introduction to an album which appears thus far in rather unique in its approach.

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

There’s over an hour of Atmospheric, (slightly Avant Garde in instances) and Melodic Black metal with a thin veil of melancholic Doom to get lost in here. Sweeping rhythms coupled with both fierce and majestic arrangements accompanied by a diverse, multi-faceted vocal lineup adds depth to the albums eye-opening allure. An epic thoroughly immersive audio journey with plentiful movement, epic sonic-scapes and even in instances passages which are oddly relaxing. This boasts the grandiosity, flow and diversity to appeal to a large audience across a wide radius within both the Black and extreme arenas.

Favorite Tracks; Top notch Black Metal dotted with fluid diversity flowing throughout!

FFO; Angellore, Schammasch, Sigh, Blut Aus Nord, Aodon.

May Releases

Naglfar Sweden - Cerecloth

Naglfar (Sweden) – Cerecloth

https://music.apple.com/us/album/cerecloth/1499904426?ign-gact=3&ls=1

Release- May/8/2020

Century Media Records

ARTWORK – 86

An exquisitely rendered ominous image. Is this a procession of the dead about to wreck vengeance? Or spirits merely out for a leisurely wander? Either way it’s a fantastic piece of art which has revved up the curious part of me to dangerous levels.

FIRST TRACK – 83

Blistering pace, majestic rhythms, venomous vocals and a familiar Blackened Death/Melodic Black vibe. Although this isn’t a new style it’s hard not to appreciate.

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

This is my introduction to the band. Many have commented this is the bands weakest effort to date, but not having heard them (yet) I will comment on this release alone (then most probably dig into the acts past work, depending on my appreciation of this).

Classically melodious and overflowing with swift rhythms and a sense of menace the style here is downright sinister and utterly recognizable. Overall, the album sports a great many arrangements to get excited about and is a pleasure to listen to throughout, though I can’t help but think it’s somewhat ‘safe’ with rhythms occasionally existing in the realm of strikingly predictable. The production is a little muddy and could be better but for as introduction to the band I’m left impressed and will definitely revisit again. I will also take a moment to discover their past work.

Favorite Tracks; Delivers throughout!

FFO; Dissection, Old Man’s Child, Sacramentum, Necrophobic.

barrenwomb

 Barren Womb (Norway/Finland) – Lizard Lounge

https://barrenwomb.bandcamp.com/

Release -May/22/2020

Loyal Blood Records

ARTWORK – 84

It might take a few glances and exploration of this image to work out what’s going on. To me it appears to be an image plucked from the mind of someone who contributes to AdultSwim on a regular basis. Teeth are flying everywhere and the person in the foreground appears to be holding a fork, or is a tiny hammer? (Is that an ear on the fork or a tongue?) This is strange indeed, perhaps an indication of the music on offer? Hitting play.

FIRST TRACK – 89

Not sure if this is Punk, Noise, Rowdy Rock and Roll or all of the above mashed together. It’s certainly interesting and I’m all ears.  What a curiously infectious start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

Once in a while I come across a collective of audio which is quite indescribable. Such is the case here. A few genres and styles come to mind while this tears its way through the senses but they soon dissipate as the unpredictability takes hold, moreover in some Tracks than others. This might be easier to describe if it wasn’t so addictive, infectious and humorous. It just grabs ahold and doesn’t let go. Frenetic is a good word to use here, distortion is rampant and the vocals are spat with punk attitude. However, there are calmer, slower moments to make for a breather. All in all, a diverse slab of surprising wrapped in odd, bizarre and enigmatic. As if the track titles don’t suggest such.

Favorite Tracks; Delights throughout!

FFO; Freighter, Wizard Rifle, Faith no More, Dog Fashion Disco, Polkadot Cadaver.

Red Mesa (USA) - The Path to the Deathless
June Releases
Red Mesa (USA) – The Path to the Deathless

https://redmesaband.bandcamp.com/album/the-path-to-the-deathless

Release – June/12/2020

Desert Records

ARTWORK – 92

Vibrant, vivid and striking.

Exquisite colors and details (courtesy of Joshua Mathus) make this image stand out and catch the eye. So much so that I honestly couldn’t resist a listen. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 83

Palpable desert ambience leads into distortion-laden melodies with a violin accompaniment. Color me intrigued.

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

It would really be untoward for someone to call this merely “Stoner Rock”. For it’s so much more than merely that. This album sees a merging of many styles; namely Psychedelia, Blues tinged Rock, Heavy Metal (and even in instances Sludge). The resulting creation has a heavy Western sounding, passion fueled, slant which goes far beyond intriguing. “Chilling” is a word which works well in instances, “Ghostly” fits too. The band make the most of the injected Psych moments for atmosphere (of which there is plenty courtesy of violins and steel guitar guest players) while also adding momentum into their arrangements to keep unpredictability levels high and the listener on their toes. Overall, this is a fantastic album for anyone interested in the scene to take the plunge. This is neither this nor that, but a great many things interacting on many levels for a fully subversive listening experience one needs to explore over several listens.

Favorite Tracks; Delivers a hypnotic aura from start to finish.

FFO; The Sword, Baroness, High on Fire, Conan.

 Stygian Crown

 Stygian Crown (USA) – s/t

https://stygiancrown.bandcamp.com/album/stygian-crown

Release- June/26/2020

Cruz delivers Sur Music

ARTWORK – 79

A skull, snakes and swords embossed upon a leather clad volume or tome (of sorts) this leaves me intrigued as to what type of audio this album might contain. Pressing play.

FIRST TRACK – 82

An introduction dripping in presence offers the listener their first glimpse of the vocalist here although it’s more an angelic chorus. It’s not until the music actually kicks that her pipes are displayed in all their magnificence. The percussion oddly fits although it’s more distorted dirge (Bolt Thrower comes to mind) rather than the clean sweeping melodies one might expect (ala Candlemass; Snowy Shaw and Messiah Marcolin whom her voice is comparable to). Oddly, the combination works. A certain remarkable grandiose nature results from the combined mixture of styles and it’s surprisingly fitting for the term “Doom”.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

This could well be called traditional Doom. All the ingredients are there; the exquisite, passionate vocals and the catchy af rhythms (guitar and drum based) though there’s one small difference. The fact I’ve mentioned before, and although this ‘presence’ does seem to wane somewhat towards albums end the aura is still there. The impression has been made and it’s a formidable mark. “CandleThrower” (as the band term the style) is one hell of a spin on the traditional take and it’s not so wildly inventive as to scare potential listeners away, traditional elements still exist, solid are invocative and plentiful. This feels right, comfortable even. And this is album is downright fire which only spreads out of control as it starts anew, again and again and…

Favorite Tracks; Devour the Dead, Up from the Depths, Flametongue, When Old Gods Die, Trampled into the Earth.

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus.

 Shed the Skin (USA) - The Forbidden Arts

 Shed the Skin (USA) – The Forbidden Arts

https://shed-the-skin.bandcamp.com/

Release – June/26/2020

Hell’s Headbangers Records

ARTWORK – 93

Courtesy of James Bullock this gloriously grotesque BnW image highlights the dire consequences of dabbling in “The Forbidden Arts”.

Brilliant inks but I’m left wondering how difficult it’s now going to be to get his (?) pants on.

FIRST TRACK – 82

Plenty of groove and diabolical nature in this track. Mid-paced madness with maniacal maelstrom tendencies and vicious throaty vocals.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

With constantly shifting arrangements offering a myriad of styles ranging from Thrash laden Death, Melodic Death and Maniacal Death complete with groove passages, sinister solos/leadwork and palpable atmosphere this is an altogether accessible style. And honestly a few steps away from what I was imagining with term “Satanic DM” in my mind (which conjures the words raw, blistering paced, blackened chaos). However, this delivers throughout with its twisting somewhat unpredictable melodic approach to keep me intrigued and my whims pleasingly sated (with my limbs tapping of their own accord).

Favorite Tracks; Delivers throughout!

FFO; Deicide, Asphyx, Incantation, Grotesquery.

Dark Tranquility (Sweden) - Skydancer

Plucked from Metal Past
(In this case revisiting a classic to evaluate if it still leaves an impression)
Dark Tranquility (Sweden) – Skydancer

https://darktranquillity.bandcamp.com/

(Re)release – August/30/2013 (original release – August/30/1993)

Independent

ARTWORK – 78

An image depicting a moody sky. Rays of light break through the clouds to fall upon the forest below. Gives little away in regards to the music.

FIRST TRACK – 88

Highly infectious, exuberant and energetic structure. Rhythms incite movement and harsh, venom dripping, vocals add a vicious edge to propel this from a merely melodic (albeit swift and multifaceted) audio landscape into one that straddles both Technical and Aggressive Thrash and Death territories. A fantastic start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 89

Simply put… a stunning feat! One of the forerunners of the Stockholm melodic movement. A perfect balance of harmonies and melodies (draped in an array of invocative folk and classical auras) and swift paced rhythms (utilizing exciting riff combinations which are far from repetitive to the point of boredom) resulting in an unpredictable, often frenetic, though altogether fluid audio collection which is difficult not to appreciate. For Thrash and Melodic Death fans alike. This still makes an impression even close to some thirty years after its initial release. Fingers crossed a rerecording/reworking doesn’t appear to leave a stain upon long-time fans admiration of a classic.

Favorite Tracks; Inventive, energetic and enjoyable throughout.

FFO; At the Gates, (early) In Flames, Insomnium, Sabbat (UK), Eucharist, Omnium Gatherum, (early) Arch Enemy.

WTF Lightning Fire Reviews
A single listen of an album from a diverse selection complemented by a quick scribble.

Cursed be Thy Flesh - The Ritual

Cursed be Thy Flesh (USA/Slovenia) – The Ritual

https://cursedbethyflesh.bandcamp.com/album/the-ritual-album

Release – April/30/2020

Necrotic Records/Wrought Records/Anti // all forever

Artwork – 77

Ferocity – 76

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 75

Originality – 64

Genre – Black Metal/Symphonic Black/Raw Black/Melodic Black/Blackened Death/Blackened Speed/Dungeon Synth

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 81

Covering a pleasingly diverse radius of the BM genre this offers audio newcomers and traditional fans of the genre can (and will) enjoy. Raw yet polished in its production with applaudable, plentiful, nods to familiar influences there’s a great deal here to entice the first footstep within an unfamiliar realm without suffocating the listener in an absolute and unforgiving nature many associate with the BM genre.

Cryptic Brood (Germany) - Outcome of Obnoxious Science

 Cryptic Brood (Germany) – Outcome of Obnoxious Science

https://rottedlife.bandcamp.com/album/outcome-of-obnoxious-science

Release – November/22/2019

War Anthem Records/Rotted Life

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 77

Infectiousness – 68

Groove – 72

Originality – 65

Genre – Grinding Death/Death/Doom/OSDM/Crust

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 74

Varied pace displayed throughout each track (from plodding, sinister, Doom to blast beat-laden ferocity and stomping groove passages making for an unpredictable listen) slathered in putrescence and grime evokes a dismal, bleak surrounding where hope has long since faded replaced by inevitable dread and longing for a final release. Recc for those with preferences far from mere chuggery realms.

 Demonomancy (Italy) - Poisoned Atonement

 Demonomancy (Italy) – Poisoned Atonement

https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/album/poisoned-atonement-2

Release – February/23/2018

Invictus Productions

Artwork – 76

Ferocity – 78

Infectiousness – 71

Groove – 72

Originality – 72

Genre – Blackened Death/Melodic Black Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 71

A grandiose affair utilizing chants, choruses, tribal drums and a slightly different approach in the vocal department; a style which appears more spoken than sang. Percussion is akin to ‘light’ Grinding Death with a darker slant. The result is a sound boasting both depth/presence but an overall aura which might take a few listens to fully appreciate.

Excuse the Interruption… but Void has an album he wishes to share
Death Mask – Split the Atom

Release – July/1986

Killerwatt Records

Sometimes digging into the deep underbelly of metal you retrieve some unknown gems.  And other times… well you’re not as lucky.  Not to say that Death Mask is necessarily bad, but let’s just agree there’s room for improvement here.  Sounding like Motörhead b-sides got a low-dosage injection of thrash metal with a vocalist doing their best to sound like a cross between Tim Baker (Cirith Ungol) and John Stewart (Slauter Xstroyes), there’s nothing tremendously noteworthy here.  Sure, there are some cool tracks like “Lust for Fire” where the energy is palpable and all the ingredients come together properly, but you also have some half-baked duds like the cringey, mid-paced self-declaration of badassery in “Walk Alone.”  But hey you can’t win em’ all.  Death Mask isn’t a total waste, there’s a bit of a good time on here, but they’re definitely not in the upper echelons of any genre of metal they touch here.  An obscure curiosity to check out on a rainy day.

60

Drakonis (UK) - Blessed by Embers

Let us return to our normally scheduled programming
Drakonis (UK) – Blessed by Embers

https://hostilemedia.bandcamp.com/album/blessed-by-embers

Release – April/3/2020

Hostile Media

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 79

Infectiousness – 82

Groove – 76

Originality – 65

Genre – Blackened Death/Symphonic Black/Industrial/Doom/Melodic Black/Viking Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 80

Although the description (above) is varied the music here flows uninterrupted by transformation hiccup with varying degrees of menace, melody and ferocity to keep the listener entertained. And thankfully no over-indulgence in any one factor. Mood and majesty combine superbly with just the right amount of atmosphere alongside a vocal approach which has bite and should be instantly acceptable for most genre fans. For a debut full-length this bodes well for the bands future hinting at avenues which could well separate them from the herd. Keep tabs on these guys!

 Power Theory (USA) - Force of Will

 Power Theory (USA) – Force of Will

https://powertheory.bandcamp.com/album/force-of-will-2

Release – December/6/2019

Pure Steel Records

Artwork – 73

Ferocity – 64

Infectiousness – 83

Groove – 78

Originality – 64

Genre – Heavy Metal/Power Metal

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 86

I’m not usually a fan of the genre. However, for some reason this grabbed my attention and held it! Fluid melodies, epic arrangements, intriguing lyrical content and top- notch musicianship accompanied by an impressive vocalist sporting a range minus falsetto elements which usually keep me away from the genre. If like me you thought you were done with the genre, give this a shot, it might well reverse your opinion.

Apostasy (USA) - Accuser of Brethren (demo)

 Another Void Recc
Apostasy (USA) – Accuser of Brethren (demo)

https://pathologicallyexplicit.bandcamp.com/track/accusser-of-brethren

(Re)release – April/1/2020 (originally released in 93′)

Pathologically Explicit Recordings

Artwork – 71

Ferocity – 76

Infectiousness – 76

Groove – 73

Originality – 65

Genre – Brutal Death/Death/Grinding Death/OSDM/DeathDoom

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 80

Maniacal and diabolical flourishes abound as well arrangements which sport effective sinister atmosphere and rhythms to transport the listener to the edge of the abyss. Raw production fits the style perfectly. Tragically, this is all the band (or any of its members) released, perhaps it was released too soon and/or didn’t reach the circles it needed to. There’s no doubt this boasts an easy to appreciate level of quality. Who knows what the future may have manifested?

obedmarsh

 Obed Marsh (Australia) – Dunwich

https://obedmarsh.bandcamp.com/

Release – January/8/2019

Independent

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 76

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 74

Originality – 76

Genre – Funeral Doom/Atmospheric Black/Sludge/Ambient/Drone

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 83

Ethereal quality hypnotic audio suffocates the senses conjuring an as if being propelled by the body working of its own accord through a thick fog towards “something” sensation. Vocals bear a’far off’ element which somehow adds depth to the already remarkable palpable ominous vibe throughout. This is meticulously crafted Lovecraftian Doom which channels elements from a variety of genres to evoke an atmosphere rarely experienced. Sit back, give this the time it requires and let the mind wander into realms both enigmatic and fascinating though altogether unfathomable.

 Torture Tomb (USA) - Killing to See How it Feels

 Torture Tomb (USA) – Killing to See How it Feels

https://transylvaniantapes.bandcamp.com/album/torture-tomb-killing-to-see-how-it-feels

Release- June/6/2020

Transylvanian Tapes

Artwork – 75

Ferocity – 83

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 81

Originality – 65

Genre – OSDM/Blackened Death/Crust/Brutal Death/Sludge

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 74

Cavernous, sick, OSDM with plenty of groove and a myriad of pleasing influence.

 Wartooth (Australia) - Programmed Dichotomy

A Recc from Demnuts3  (on Twitter)
 Wartooth (Australia) – Programmed Dichotomy

https://wartooth.bandcamp.com/album/programmed-dichotomy

Release – April/9/2020

Independent

Artwork – 81

Ferocity – 78

Infectiousness – 92

Groove – 89

Originality – 75

Genre – Thrash/Technical Thrash/Crossover/Aggressive Thrash

Revisit – It goes w.o saying.

Final Score/Remarks – 94

How is that only after three tracks Wartooth have managed to exhibit screamingly neon signed influence from more than a handful of ultra- recognizable acts and so brilliantly executed with such fluid precision? Also, in the vocal department, I’m not usually one for vocal gymnastics. But the effect works so remarkably here that it manages to widen the eyes in stunning appreciation rather than prompt pen to keyboard in complaint.

In fact, the album seethes with a level of enthusiasm, energy and exuberance that’s off the charts. I can only imagine what a spectacle the live show must present. In short, I can understand why so many are touting this as AoTY material (and so early on). This offering from Wartooth is undeniably a damn good reason to get excited about Thrash again! Be prepared to praise the genre again. This, moreso than anything else recently released, has given it the kick in the ass it so desperately warrants. And the bands “message” is refreshing also (that of waving the flag of individuality), yet another reason to jump on this and support the band (as if one needs another reason?)

Thrashin’ mad Koalas and Kangaroos. Are they a thing? (Did I just go there? You betcha’). Probably not, but with this in mind it’s now most certainly a possibility.

Altar of Rot (USA) - Altar of Rot

 Altar of Rot (USA) – Altar of Rot

https://altarofrot.bandcamp.com/album/altar-of-rot

Release – March/15/2020

Independent

Artwork – 85

Ferocity – 82

Infectiousness – 86

Groove – 84

Originality – 75

Genre – Blackened Death/Blackened Speed/Black Metal/Crust/Doom/Thrash.

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 86

Surprisingly versatile mixture of styles executed with flair. Raw production adds to the albums allure. Addictively infectious throughout!

With this quality on offer I’m sure labels will fight amongst themselves to pluck this act from obscurity.

Wretched Fate (Sweden) - Fleshletting

 Wretched Fate (Sweden) – Fleshletting

https://wretchedfate.bandcamp.com/album/wretched-fate-fleshletting

Release – February/22/2019

Redefining Darkness Records

Artwork – 86

Ferocity – 86

Infectiousness – 88

Groove – 85

Originality – 79

Genre – HM2 Death/Brutal Death/OSDM

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 87

Just when one begins to think the HM2 sound was exhausted along comes Wretched Fate. They give the familiar a twist, add their unique stamp, inject an atmosphere which showcsses their adoration for the horror genre then execute the whole with a reverance, precision and skillfull devastation a samurai swordmaster would be jealous of. In short, this is the arena I wished Dismember, Bloodbath or Entombed might have taken, as their styles  progressed, but never did. And to think I missed this ragin’ beast last year. Is there still time to add to the EoY lists?

Kryptograf (Norway)

Kryptograf (Norway) – s/t

https://kryptograf.bandcamp.com/album/kryptograf

Release – June/12/2020

Apollon Records

Artwork – 68

Ferocity – 53

Infectiousness – 69

Groove – 84

Originality – 72

Genre – Fuzz/Doom/Stoner Rock/Psychedelia/Vintage Rock/Progressive

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 72

Honestly, this is a lot mellower audio than I usually divulge my senses in but it boasts a certain something to keep the finger from the skip, and/or eject button. It bears definite flow, a dreamy fluidity, cosmic elements (which bring to mind Hawkwind), tons of “fuzz”, haunting atmospheres, melodies you can drift upon, but also an aura which recalls early Black Sabbath. This is probably not for everybody (admittedly I’m warming to the inner most circle of what the Doom genre offers) but it’s making an impression on me as somewhat of a pallet cleanser. A relaxing step away from that which usually brutalizes my senses.

Aeons Abyss (Australia) - Impenitent

 Aeons Abyss (Australia) – Impenitent

https://aeonsabyss.bandcamp.com/album/impenitent

Release – November/1/2019

Independent

Artwork – 79

Ferocity – 78

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 82

Originality – 68

Genre – Death/OSDM/Brutal Death/Atmospheric/Melodic Death/Black Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 78

Far from mere chuggery this is pleasingly diverse. Each track boasts a unique identity with a myriad of styles, auras and pace showcased within the album’s length. A superb vocal range, occasionally nodding at the theatric, adds to the intrigue as well unpredictable, often intricate, arrangements hinting at a wide range of influences.

 Sanctifying Death Ritual (Germany)

 Sanctifying Death Ritual (Germany) – s/t

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/album/sanctifying-ritual-s-t

Release- June/5/2020

Iron Bonehead Productions

Artwork – 81

Ferocity – 83

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 91

Originality – 68

Genre – BlackThrash/Bestial Metal/Death/Speed/Black Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 92

A jaw dropping audio cauldron of cavernous Death, Blackened Speed Metal and arrangements which will turn the ear of even the most casual genre fan. The albums raw production only bolsters its (masterfully controlled) chaotic approach and appeal which seethes with both nostalgic elements and present-day frenetic attitude. Expect to see this mentioned again come years end.

Heads for the Dead (International) – Serpent’s Curse

 Heads for the Dead (International) – Serpent’s Curse

https://headsforthedead.bandcamp.com/album/serpents-curse-death-metal

Release – September/24/2018

Transcending Obscurity Records

Artwork – 83

Ferocity – 77

Groove – 76

Infectiousness – 78

Originality – 72

Genre – Death Metal/DeathDoom

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 82

An unsettling audio landscapes smoky with the haze of dread and unquestionable sinister intent accompanied by an enveloping swath of amorphous percussion boasting varied degrees of ferocity invites the listener into its fold. Draped in a heavy pitch, all consuming, blanket of ill intent this is not the typical DM release but rather one relying on dense atmosphere than bludgeoning riff brutality. Aided by the echoed vocal attributes of (Revel in Flesh’s) Ralf Hauber and the mesmerizing drumming of Erik Bevenrud (Hail of Bullets) the spell is cast. And the audience is consumed by a delirious fog resulting from the masterful manipulation of the finest elements of Doom, Death and Crust.

Sangre de la Luna (USA) - Stirrings (demo)

Sangre de la Luna (USA) – Stirrings (demo)

https://bloodmoonproductions.bandcamp.com/album/stirrings

Release – November/5/2019

Blood moon Productions

Artwork – 72

Ferocity – 88

Groove – 71

Infectiousness – 65

Originality – 66

Genre – OSDM/Grind/Black Metal

Revisit – No

Final Score/Remarks – 64

Classical interludes break up a hyper-speed collision involving raw Black Metal and Grinding Death vehicles. Incomprehensible vocals and atmosphere adds to the mix making for a dismally, pitch, uncompromising brutal affair which, I’m assuming, only the extremists among us are likely to fully appreciate.

But wait for it, Void has a few words on this release also…

Black metal hailing from Portland, Oregon, I’ll admit this is not what I was expecting.  The acoustic intro led me astray in expecting an album with a heavier emphasis on an atmospheric approach.  Not quite, as the black metal contained herein is heavily distorted and blown out; the tone and drumming are very overbearing and give “Stirrings” a very mechanical feel, one that I don’t think does Sangre de la Luna justice.  The drums pummel out the guitars, who in turn drown out the vocals, and there’s simply too much going on at once, but not in the over-the-top chaos way that bands like perhaps Teitanblood have mastered.  There are good ideas lurking around in here and I can appreciate what they were aiming for, but the execution isn’t quite fully realized yet.

65

Woe Betide (UK) - Throne of Spines

 Woe Betide (UK) – Throne of Spines

https://woebetide.bandcamp.com/album/throne-of-spines

Release – May/24/2020

Independent

Artwork – 74

Ferocity – 82

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 82

Originality – 72

Genre – Symphonic Death/Deathcore/Tech Death

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 81

Oozing with atmosphere and wicked, often intricate, riffs and rhythm transformations this one manages to capture the attention throughout warranting addition to a heavy rotation playlist.

 Henry Kane (Sweden) - Age of the Idiot

 Henry Kane (Sweden) – Age of the Idiot

https://henrykanecrust.bandcamp.com/album/age-of-the-idiot-death-metal-grind-crust

Release- May/22/2020

Transcending Obscurity Records

Artwork – 83

Ferocity – 78

Groove – 71

Infectiousness – 75

Originality – 74

Genre – HM2 Swedish Death/Brutal Death/Grinding Death/Industrial/Grindcore/Doom/Crust

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 79

Surprisingly diverse for a “Grindcore” release, this sports individual sounding tracks with varying lengths as well the traditional under-a-minute type. Levels of ferociousness are varied as well pace and rhythm arrangements. All in all, somewhat a mature, ‘out of bounds’ effort that’s well worth discovery and a few listens to fully appreciate.

tired zombie

Done. Now I’ll sleep like the dead!

And that’s about it for another monstrous entry in the Abrasive Audio series. Thanks for reading this far, hopefully I’ve introduced a few albums/acts which delight the senses.

I’ve tried to keep this installment diverse and have even added a few Recc’s I was most curious about. As always, I’m finish this by imparting the customary spot of sagely advice – don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the ears.

Cult

Whoops, nearly forgot. A huge thanks to Void for the Reccs and stepping in with his wisdom and insight at the last minute.

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Twelve

abrasive audio header gif

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

January Releases
Konvent (Denmark) – Puritan Masochism

konvent

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

Release – January/24/2020

Napalm Records

ARTWORK- 74

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

FIRST TRACK- 86

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 79

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

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

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

March Releases

Ovid's Withering (USA) – Terraphage

Ovid’s Withering (USA) – Terraphage

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

Release-March/20/2020

Self-Released

ARTWORK – 76

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

FIRST TRACK – 84

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

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

Favorite Tracks; Hypnotic throughout.

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

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

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

Release – March/27/2020

Testimony Records

ARTWORK- 76

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

FIRST TRACK- 78

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

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

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

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

April Releases

Benighted (France) - Obscene Repressed

Benighted (France) – Obscene Repressed

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

Release -April/10/2020

Season of Mist

ARTWORK- 83

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

FIRST TRACK – 87

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

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

Favorite Tracks; All of the above!

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

May Releases

Centinex (Sweden) - Death in Pieces

Centinex (Sweden) – Death in Pieces

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

Release – May/29/2020

Agonia Records

ARTWORK – 78

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

FIRST TRACK – 73

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 66

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

Favorite Tracks; God Ends Here, Human Torch.

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

Mountain Witch (Germany) - Extinct Cults

Mountain Witch (Germany) – Extinct Cults

https://mountainwitch.bandcamp.com/

Release- May/29/2020

The Charming Man Records

ARTWORK – 75

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

FIRST TRACK – 81

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

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

Favorite Tracks; Enthralling from beginning to end!

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

Witching (USA) – Vernal

June Releases
Witching (USA) – Vernal

https://witching.bandcamp.com/

Release- June/5/2020

Self-Released

ARTWORK- 83

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

FIRST TRACK- 84

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

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

This warrants attention. Set the ears on this pronto!

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

FFO; Damad, Black Tomb.

Ormskrik (Norway) album

Ormskrik (Norway) – s/t

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

Release- June/5/2020

Fysisk Format

ARTWORK- 86

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

FIRST TRACK- 87

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

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

Favorite Tracks; Adrenaline spiking from start to finish!

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

Death Courier (Greece) - Necrotic Verses

Death Courier (Greece) – Necrotic Verses

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

Release- June/5/2020

Transcending Obscurity Records

ARTWORK- 82

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

FIRST TRACK- 84

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

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

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

FFO; Vomitory, Benediction, Vader.

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

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

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

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

Release – March/11/2019

Maggot Stomp

Artwork- 83

Ferocity- 85

Groove – 86

Infectiousness – 85

Originality – 61

Genre – Old School Death/Dirge

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 83

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

Sedimentum (Canada) - Demo 2019

Sedimentum (Canada) – Demo 2019

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

Release – June/21/2019

Independent

Artwork – 62

Ferocity – 83

Groove – 78

Infectiousness- 85

Originality- 70

Genre – Old School Death/Atmospheric/Cavernous Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 87

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

Undeath (USA) - Sentient Autolysis (demo)

Undeath (USA) – Sentient Autolysis (demo)

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

Release – July/29/2019

Caligari Records

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 74

Groove – 72

Infectiousness – 78

Originality – 71

Genre – Old School Death/Diabolical/Cavernous/Technical

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 82

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

Phobophilic (USA) - Undimensioned Identities

Phobophilic (USA) – Undimensioned Identities

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

Release – September/13/2019

Blood Harvest Records

Artwork – 72

Ferocity – 86

Groove – 82

Infectiousness – 86

Originality – 79

Genre – Death Metal/Thrash/Technical/OSDM

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 86

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

Black Passage (USA) - The Veil

Black Passage (USA) – The Veil

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

Release – July/26/2019

Independent

Artwork – 64

Ferocity – 71

Groove –  74

Infectiousness – 76

Originality – 79

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 73

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

Mortiferum (USA) - Altar of Decay

Mortiferum (USA) – Altar of Decay

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

Blood Harvest Records

Release – June/30/2017

Artwork – 72

Ferocity – 81

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 89

Originality – 65

Genre – OSDM/DeathDoom

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 90

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

Wasteland Coven (USA) – Ruined

Wasteland Coven (USA) – Ruined

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

Release – June/26/2020

Transylvanian Tapes

Artwork – 81

Ferocity – 52

Groove – 84

Infectiousness – 88

Originality – 74

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 90

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

Nostrum (Canada) - Infernal Tomb

Nostrum (Canada) – Infernal Tomb

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

Release – June/6/2017

Transylvanian Tapes

Artwork – 71

Ferocity – 77

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 78

Originality – 75

Genre – Death/Doom/Drone/Sludge

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 78

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

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

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

https://ironflames.bandcamp.com/

Independent

Release-May/13/2020

Artwork – 77

Ferocity – 85

Groove – 60

Infectiousness – 62

Originality – 54

Genre – Black Metal/Speed Metal/Bestial Metal

Revisit – No

Final Score/Remarks – 61

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

Make Them Die Slowly - Ferox

Make Them Die Slowly (UK/USA) – Ferox

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

Release- May/1/2020

Independent

Artwork – 82

Ferocity – 83

Groove – 80

Infectiousness – 90

Originality – 77

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 91

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

Double Cross - Obey Thy Master

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

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

Release- May/1/2020

Independent

Artwork – 80

Ferocity – 65

Groove – 68

Infectiousness – 68

Originality – 66

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 68

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

Neocaeser - 11 11

Neocaeser (The Netherlands) – 11:11

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

Release – December/5/2017

Xtreem Music

Artwork – 83

Ferocity – 78

Groove – 77

Infectiousness – 78

Originality – 64

Genre – Brutal Death/Thrash/Death

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 78

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

Wills Dissolve The Heavens are not on Fire

Wills Dissolve (USA) The Heavens are not on Fire

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

(Re)release – July/29/2019

Hypnotic Dirge Records

Artwork – 76

Ferocity – 72

Groove – 75

Infectiousness – 90

Originality – 76

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 91

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

exhausted gif

And…that’s about it for the night!

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

Cult

 

Abrasive Audio Part Eleven

black metal gif

Yea, yea. It’s been a while. Life and a myriad of other things have again managed to place obstacles in my path which have made it difficult to function as I might normally. However, I’ve managed to squeeze out a few reviews and a bunch of WTF quick ones. Some are better than none… right? I’m promoting where I can and hoping to spark interest in artists/albums which have managed to slip under my radar until now. Without further ado. May I present that which has garnered my interest as of late.

March Releases

subtype zero

Subtype Zero (USA) – Ceremonious Extinction

https://subtype-zero.bandcamp.com/

Release- March/27/2020

Seeing Red Records

ARTWORK- 74

An undeniable old school vibe within a black and white image slathered in skulls and a setting which seethes with ill intent.

FIRST TRACK- 94

Sometimes you just get a “feeling”. This is one just moment and this is an opener which is both ferocious and aggressive, making one to think this is the likely hypothetical result of Dark Angel cohabitating with Slayer.

INITIAL LISTEN- 94

One can argue Subtype Zero wear their influence on their sleeve, there’s really no denying that or the fact that this audio collection is absolute ragin’ fire. Brash, unapologetic and too GD short. Add a spot of maniacal riffery and vocals which might not fit anywhere but here and you have all the makings of a release which, alongside the newest by Razgate, is sure to be mentioned adnasium come years end. I cannot get enough of this. I will need to be forcibly pulled away this is that damn good!

Favorite Tracks; “metal thrashing madness” from beginning to end.

FFO; Slayer, Nuclear Assault, Sodom, (vintage) Pestilence, Dark Angel.

walk through fire

Walk Through Fire (Sweden) – Var Afgrund

https://walkthroughfire.bandcamp.com/album/v-r-avgrund

Release – March/27/2020

Wolves and Vibrancy Records

ARTWORK- 66

An image with what appears to be a form with prison bars taking place of a ribcage. Naturally, the meaning of this is up for discussion and really doesn’t give much away as to the style within.

FIRST TRACK- 74

Suffocating, dismal, bleak and torturous. This is sludge for those who prefer their audio from the seedier side of the tracks. Gargantuan all- consuming riffs overtop melodies hinting at everyday “wearing blinders” normalcy.

INITIAL LISTEN- 70

Bludgeoning, unmerciful and experimental in places, seriously who would expect a saxophone in the mix? But it works adding a smoky layer to a soundscape (which has multiple layers though never really hits a rhythm which many might hope, especially based upon a diet of Thrash, Death and Black metal) akin to plunging into a seemingly endless abyss.  Instances seem as if plucked from 70’s cult celluloid specifically Giallo, whereupon a menace is always present though shrouded in unmistakable enigmatic qualities. Overall, this is not for those who require instant gratification but rather for those who prefer a slow, ponderous, burn dripping in palpable atmosphere.

Favorite Tracks; Den Utan Botten, Vzgar Mot Slutet, Till Intet Gjord.

FFO; Neurosis, Fetish 69.

April Releases

the Hyss

The Hyss (USA) – Extraterrestrial

https://thehyss.bandcamp.com/album/extraterrestrial

Release- April/20/2020

Independent

ARTWORK – 73

I’m of the mind this could be a motley crew of costumed revelers doing the “Monster Mash” if it wasn’t for the strange vehicle in the background picking up victims for potential probing purposes.

FIRST TRACK – 70

Mammoth limb twitching groove, humorous lyrics with a touch of Hardcore in the vocal department. Far from the norm but I’m intrigued.

INITIAL LISTEN – 67

Plenty of hooks, groove and riffs to keep one entertained here with somewhat a ‘party vibe’ prevalent throughout. Although miles from what I would normally lay ear upon this is growing on me. A diverse stoner/rock/fuzz laden treat for those who enjoy exploring the many avenues rock has to offer.

Favorite Tracks; Extraterrestrial, In Shadows.

FFO; The Misfits, Rob Zombie, Monster Magnet, Byzantine Neckbeard.

May Releases

devangelic

Devangelic (Italy)- Ersetu

https://devangelic.bandcamp.com/album/ersetu

Release- -May/15/2020

Willowtip Records

ARTWORK- 89

Archaic, biblical, with a classical theme which grabs the attention and perks the intrigue.

FIRST TRACK – 86

Blasting, unmerciful and unrelenting. Need I add ‘brutal’? Probably not. I’m honestly not usually into Brutal Death but this introduction manages, somehow, to hit the spot.

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

Balanced precariously on the Grindcore/Brutal Death fence this collection offers blast beats aplenty, swirling chaotic rhythms, menace and diabolical essence. All channeling a dirge tone which is oddly familiar, remarkable atmospheric breaks, a production which is a little muddy (though I believe fits) and vocals which are both guttural and ferocious. Overall a fantastic introduction to a band bearing a quality which warrants undivided attention and obvious exploration of their back catalog.

Favorite Tracks; Punishing throughout!

FFO; Disgorge, Disintomb, Nile, Origin.

witnesses

Witnesses (USA) – Doom II

https://witnesses-nyc.bandcamp.com/

Release – May/31/2020

Independent

ARTWORK – 88

A vessel at sea amidst turbulent waters which seem even more than just that. With a pallet of colors which portray moodiness, sickness and a certain unmistakable menace.

FIRST TRACK – 90

Immersive, powerful and emotional. A stellar beginning to any album.

INITIAL LISTEN – 92

Imagine the vast metal spectrum as an ocean and this release a craft which sails upon it (pun intended) with no presence at the wheel. The album is much like that although controlled in a masterful way, utilizing many an element from a diverse radius of styles, as to convey a myriad of emotions whilst invoking grand cinematic imagery depicting misery, desperation, lingering hope and despair. Pianos, cellos, violins and an exquisite vocal approach, deliciously different than what’s expected, adds to the albums allure delivering anguished and melancholic tones along the way. This is a listening experience which demands the full attention!

Favorite Tracks; Haunting, grandiose and powerful throughout.

FFO; Morning Beloveth, Paradise Lost, Opeth, Novembers Doom.

violent hammer

Violent Hammer (Finland) – Riders of the Wasteland

https://violent-hammer.bandcamp.com/album/riders-of-the-wasteland

Release – May/29/2020

Hell’s Headbangers

ARTWORK- 92

An image draped in a veil of crimson depicting a brute with weapons in each hand, or body parts he’s just ripped from the surrounding mountain of inert flesh.  One could well imagine they’ve been recently utilized, or he’s (perhaps a she?) fresh from the kill, thus the reason for the claret tinted image.

FIRST TRACK- 79

There’s enough old school influence here to smack the listener back a few decades. A tone which seethes ill intent and an undeniable cavernous aura which conjures underworld ritualistic shenanigans.

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

The image about says it all. This is raw, primitive and unrelenting. Old school values are doused in Crust attitude, slathered in D-beat repetition, dipped in Grindcore sensibilities and set aflame with blackened influence. Add to these ingredients maniacal flourishes and you have a release which though certainly not for everyone (this isn’t fad metal, melodic or easy on the ears for any novices amongst us) is devastating, uncompromising and nostalgic of extreme metal from yesteryear which is just that, not in the slightest polished and sans symphonic accoutrement.

Favorite Tracks;

FFO; Sarcofago

Plucked from Metal Past

crooked horns

Crooked Horns (Sweden) – The Metamorphosis

https://crookedhorns.bandcamp.com/album/the-metamorphosis

Release-May/31/2019

ARTWORK – 88

Classical in theme the image depicts a landscape under the scrutiny of a hovering moon, a shimmering globe which reflects another (similar) identity in the water beneath.

FIRST TRACK – 90

Melodic black metal which oozes grandeur and depth complemented by a familiar vocal style and cadence (which I cannot quite place at the moment). A stellar introduction to the band.

INITIAL LISTEN – 93

Equal parts menace, ferocity and majesty with an injected classical nature this is exquisitely composed and executed Blackened Death which fans of “Storm” era Dissection are likely to accept without complaint. I’ve “placed” the familiar vocals, they’re eerily similar to that of Fernando Ribeiro (Moonspell) and give this that bite which most in the same genre are missing. Fans of the genre might dwell far longer than expected here. I know I’m finding it hard to hit eject.

Favorite Tracks; This is top notch Blackened Death which delivers throughout!

FFO; Dissection, Emperor, Behemoth, Moonspell, Satyricon, Dimmu Borgir.

WTF Lightning Round Reviews.

In no particular order (of title, or date) here are a handful of varied releases I’ve found myself listening to which I believe deserve more attention.

Battalion (Brazil) - Bleeding till Death

Battalion (Brazil) – Bleeding till Death

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tilsRdZ9jg

Release – March/13/2020

Artwork – 66

Ferocity – 36

Groove – 77

Infectiousness – 74

Originality – 50

Genre – Heavy Metal/Speed/Thrash/NWOBHM

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 74

Fluid rhythms, heavily accented and infectious. Boasts rough edges, primitive nature, love them/hate them vox but oozes that certain “something”.

Witchspëll

Witchspëll (Mexico) -S/t

https://witchspell.bandcamp.com/album/witchsp-ll

Release – April/30/2020

Artwork – 71

Ferocity- 30

Groove – 85

Infectiousness – 88

Originality – 60

Genre – Heavy Metal/Rock/Speed Metal/NWOBHM

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 88

Top tier Heavy Metal w. obvious influences to delight fans of the traditional roots of the scene.

Theories (USA) – Vessel

Theories (USA) – Vessel

https://corpseflowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/theories-vessel

Release – Apr/12/2019

Artwork – 72

Ferocity – 84

Groove – 73

Infectiousness – 67

Originality – 65

Genre – Deathgrind/Grindcore/Death Metal

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 68

Surprising “movement” and direction for an entry in the genre, varied rhythms and a multitude of blastbeats. Seethes with a primal nature and angst to please traditionalists.

Atarka

Atarka (UK) – Sleeping Giant

https://atarka.bandcamp.com/

Release – March/27/2020

Artwork – 71

Ferocity – 74

Groove – 82

Infectiousness – 84

Originality – 72

Genre – Melodic Death/Doom/Thrash

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 84

Fans of Killswitch Engaged and Paradise Lost will find plenty to like here. A wicked vocal range complements a delicious mash of styles, tracks with identity and a quality that’s surprisingly listenable throughout.

Dragon Knight

Dragon Knight (USA) – Red Mountain

https://dragonknight.bandcamp.com/album/red-mountain

Release- May/7/2020

Artwork – 76

Ferocity – 78

Groove – 75

Infectiousness – 75

Originality – 60

Genre – Grinding/Atmospheric/Cavernous/Old School Death

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 74

A welcome and abrupt dip into the early 90’s extreme audio arena complete with raunchy tone and depraved soundbites.

Mutilated by Zombies

Mutilated by Zombies (USA) – Scripts of Anguish

https://mutilatedbyzombies.bandcamp.com/album/mutilated-by-zombies-scripts-of-anguish

Release- October/5/2018

Artwork – 76

Ferocity – 78

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 84

Originality – 60

Genre – Brutal Death/Death/Technical/Progressive Death Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 84

A mix of European and American death with intelligent arrangements and plenty of movement, light years from mindless chuggery.

Satan's Taint

Satan’s Taint (USA) – Destruction Ritual

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7sg1JEBnyo

Release – August/2/2019

Artwork –

Ferocity – 65

Groove – 72

Infectiousness – 74

Originality – 65

Genre – Thrash/Groove/Heavy Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 76

Not wholly original, in times eerily familiar, but this does hit the spot and boasts surprising dexterity for an album which one might, at first, label typical thrash.

Fall of Rauros (USA)- Patterns in Mythology

Fall of Rauros (USA)- Patterns in Mythology

https://gileadmedia.bandcamp.com/album/patterns-in-mythology

Release- July/19/2019

Artwork – 66

Ferocity – 61

Groove – 65

Infectiousness – 66

Originality – 64

Genre – Post/Progressive/Folk/Atmospheric/Black Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 72

A hypnotic blend of flowing rhythms, arrangements and ferocious black passages. Given time this is sure to climb its way to the top tier of the favorite’s playlist.

Metal Disease (Ukraine) - Deadly Attack

Metal Disease (Ukraine) – Deadly Attack

https://metaldisease.bandcamp.com/album/deadly-attack

Release – May/16/2020

Artwork – 35

Ferocity – 67

Groove – 71

Infectiousness – 76

Originality – 60

Genre – Speed/Thrash/Crossover

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 76

I didn’t expect much, especially with the middle school, heavily influenced cover art but this is surprisingly catchy, hits the spot and hints at a myriad of influence. Although it’s not too original it begs to be replayed.

 Acid Leather (USA) - Baptized in Acid

 Acid Leather (USA) – Baptized in Acid

https://acidleather.bandcamp.com/album/baptized-in-acid-2

Release – March/20/2018

Artwork – 86

Ferocity – 81

Groove – 73

Infectiousness – 68

Originality – 64

Genre – Speed/Black/Crust/Heavy Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 72

Rabid vocals complement raw percussion. A blackened tone coupled with abrupt pace transformations and a maniacal nature.

 Road Warrior (Australia) - Mach II

 Road Warrior (Australia) – Mach II

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

Release – April/24/2020

Artwork – 68

Ferocity – 64

Groove – 77

Infectiousness – 76

Originality – 72

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 76

Dramatic vocals set against a rough and ready rock soundtrack sporting catchy hooks aplenty which sounds much as one would imagine given the bands moniker. This will grow over repeated listens guaranteed!

Dog Fashion Disco (USA) – Committed to a Bright Future

 Dog Fashion Disco (USA) – Committed to a Bright Future

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IIy6ckQQd4

(Re) release – June/ 28/2019

Artwork – 65

Ferocity – 63

Groove – 74

Infectiousness – 78

Originality -82

Genre – Stoner/Experimental/Synth/Avant Garde/Metal/Bizarre

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 82

Stylistically diverse, unpredictable and surprisingly humorous yet thought-provoking throughout. Its difficult to aptly describe what’s on offer here, much easier to praise this brilliance with an open mind. Don’t let the genre descriptions turn you away this is palette cleansing highly infectious audio indeed Recc for fans of Faith no More and the like.

 Ancestral Shadows (USA) – Wolven Mysteries of Ancient Lore

 Ancestral Shadows (USA) – Wolven Mysteries of Ancient Lore

https://ancestralshadows.bandcamp.com/album/wolven-mysteries-of-ancient-lore-album-2019

Release – August/23/2019

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 83

Groove – 74

Infectiousness – 77

Originality – 73

Genre – Black Metal/Atmospheric Black Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 79

Equal part atmosphere and ferocity this is sure to please those who delve in the ‘rawer’ waters of the genre; shallows which also provide a certain amount of presence to go with. Melodies and classical interludes make for a listen which perks even my interest and I’m not normally a fan of the genre.

mix tape action

scribblin’ like a maniac when I’m able!

And that brings this installment to a close. For those who still read my scribbles, however belated they may be, thank you. Hopefully you’ve discovered something new with this installment. I’ll attempt to add to the site whenever able with various “Brain Droppings” (thanks to George Carlin for that description) when I get the chance to. Hopefully everything goes back to a state of somewhat normalcy in the coming months.

As always don’t fear discovery of that which might normally be foreign to the senses.

Cult

Far from the Everyday…Grind

grindcore band logos

So, here I am pondering upon a new segment. Admittedly, it takes me a minute to write even the smallest article so why not comment on something brief, blunt, honest and straight to the point while using the same criteria as the audio under scrutiny? I’ve enlisted help on this one. It comes in the form of the editor of Sixintheheadzine. Why, because apparently the genre in question is one of his favorites also. As if you haven’t guessed yet, the ‘arena’ in question is “Grindcore”. Bursting with releases which are short though overflowing with a laundry list of tracks it seems the ideal pool in which to dip the senses and base a new segment upon if you’re anything like me and wish to get something done quick(er than normal). Naturally a brand spanking new ratings system for a new segment seems appropriate, it makes sense (why rehash the same old crap, seriously). And after much mulling (Paul’s word not mine, though I like it) we think we’ve happened upon a few criteria which fit:

Artwork – I can’t not include a few words here; this is part of my “schtick”.

Initial Impact (obviously – does this grab you from the get go?)

Viciousness – Does this seem like it’s performed by a bunch of relaxed Grannies in their wheelchairs in the local OAP home or by a collective of seemingly rabid, fiery, angst-ridden individuals with something to say?

Melody/Groove – Do I really need to explain this?

Darkness – Just how diabolical, raw and wicked is this? For example; is it closer to Black Metal or as easy going as Ambient/Post -Metal.

Sickness – I’ve included sub headings here to make this easier to comprehend:

1 – Sparkles, Fairies and Rainbows. Nothing ominous going on here in the slightest.

2 – A Walk in the Park. Whoops. I think I stepped in something

3 – It’s dark, I think something is following me. I’ve fallen and my heel just broke. Fug!

4 – Apparitions. Imps. Goblins and evil looking dwarves. It doesn’t sound too horrific but I’ve just realized they’re in my parent’s bedroom invoking something else to join in on the orgy.

5 – I’m scarred. Listening to this makes me look at the world in a different light.

Humor – similar to most other genres, though often more prevalent, this genre has a great many acts who prefer to add a little silliness to their style be it through percussion or the lyrical content. And I’m of the mind that this element might be the ‘turning away point’ for many.

Final Thoughts – Exactly as it sounds.

Ratings are on a 1 through 5 basis. With 5 being the highest; the most vicious, the darkest, the sickest, the most melodic, the most humorous. You get the point. What say we mention we tackle this on a trial run basis (this is the first in the series after all). And to make it more interesting Paul will pick three acts and I’ll pick three. we’ll comment first on our own and then on each other’s picks.

Paul’s Picks;

Onisirige

Onisirige – कयूटनेस से मर रहे हैं (dying from cuteness)

https://onisirige.bandcamp.com/album/dying-from-cuteness

There are several reasons why I chose this album as one of my picks to review. I’ll come onto them in more detail shortly but pretty much all of them are bad. In fact, they’re worse than bad. They’re completely and utterly fucked up in the head… But that’s what we want from Grind is it not? Politics or porn. There is no middle ground. Eat the rich or eat… Actually, I won’t finish that sentence I’m scared where it might end up.

Here we have, कयूटनेस से मर रहे हैं (dying from cuteness – in English apparently), the 18-minute debut album from, “Groovy Goregrind/Cybergore one-man band from Japan since 2016”, Onisirige. What is Cybergore? I have no idea but they say that this release is recommended for fans of, “S.C.A.T, Hentai, Nintendo and dogs”. I’m quite partial to two of the things on that list so I might like it. I’ll let you decide which two. (Thank must be given to the Goregrind channel on YouTube for the inspiration and quotes here).

Artwork – The cover artwork on the album’s YouTube video is blurred out but I have looked up the original online and all I can say is that I highly recommend you don’t look it up (all respect due to the artist Nyakyagawa). If flaunting social media terms of service were a dance then this front cover would be the Macarena. Horrific and disgusting in the, “cutest”, way possible – it is done in the bright and garish hand drawn style that I generally love. So, I’m giving this a 4/5.

Initial Impact – See-sawish guitars fuse with fairground melodies like something out of a nightmare/bad acid trip, juxtaposed with traditional old school “rock n roll” elements and weird samples from foreign (to me) films and cartoons. It sounds something like Chuck Berry being pushed through a meat grinder by Cartman. Or, imagine that bit at the end of Back to Future when he plays Johnny B. Goode, except everyone is chopped to pieces on the floor and Marty’s lost his fucking mind. Nevertheless, there are some very nice and groovy sections on the first half of this. 3/5

Viciousness – I wouldn’t say this is vicious as much as garish, gory and all in the worst possible taste. The music sounds vicious to the untrained ear of course. But I don’t think you can take song titles such as, “C**shotting In Your Bible”, and, “Does My D*ck Smell”, as serious threats. 2/5

Melody/Groove – There’s an overtly childish sense of melody on this that I don’t really know how to score…  I suppose it is Nintendo-esque in places but I’m pretty sure if Nintendo ever heard about their connection with this album, they would cease trading immediately. A lot of it is like something out of children’s television programming gone bent. If that is the kind of genre you like then you’ll like this. There are a couple of sniffs of Vaporwave here and there which I find odd frankly… I’m not sure whether I think this is novel and interesting or simply irritating… In the latter half everything loses its way a bit and becomes like Atari Teenage Riot produced by an actual circus clown smashing cymbals together… Also, there is what seems to be incessant preset pig snorting and dog barking being triggered all over the last few songs, which led to me being triggered also. 2/5

Darkness – Uhhh… I think I’m going to have to say, “No”, to this category from a musical point of view. However – the places my mind goes to when I think about what may well have been the “niche” Internet inspirations behind this makes my mind go to very dark places indeed so I’ll give it a 4/5

Sickness – Considering that everything about this album, from the artist’s logo to the artwork to the tracks themselves, would be considered unacceptable anywhere in a civilized society I’m going to have to give this category a high score. Although surprisingly I don’t think they really went as far as they could (or should) have done on this, which is somewhat disappointing based on what I assumed was in store. Almost a 4/5 but actually a 3/5

Humor – I can’t really laugh at this to be honest because I’m genuinely concerned for the mind behind it. The reason 4chan should be shut down basically and I suppose I mean that as a compliment 2/5

Final Thoughts – The main reason 4chan should be shut down basically and I suppose I mean that as a compliment. 3/5

Cults thoughts;

I can see the allure with this. Childlike animation juxtaposed with unapologetically deviant and jaded adult context. I’m curious.

Artwork – Tits, penises, pot plants, a hand floating in a to go lunch sack, severed appendages, a logo comprised of spilt semen, a crushed kitty and a huge smile affixed to a face slathered in man chowder. This is Hentai bordering on the extreme and most definitely not wholesome family entertainment in the slightest (although I guess it all depends to which family we’re referring). If the music is even somewhat as close to being as bizarre as this it’s time to grab a bucket and ensure the seatbelts are securely fastened. Here’s to diving in blindly… 3.5/5

Initial impact – This isn’t half as bad as I imagined it might be with the assumption of Goregrind and Pornogrind floating around in my head. Although the vocals are an assortment of burps, squeals, grunts, bree’s and other throaty issuances making little sense there’s a playfulness here which is tickling my curious bone. I believe I might even be able to sit through this until its climax (pun intended). 3.5/5

Viciousness – Hardly malicious in its intent this is more satirical and bizarre and not to be taken at all seriously. Although I’m sure it’ll offend most. 0/5

Melody/Groove – Blast beats aplenty amidst rhythms to make any dance floor jelly (the kids are saying this instead of jealous. I’m only left to wonder where peanut butter fits in?) in rage. Admittedly this isn’t designed to move to but it bears a spastic frenetic aura I’m falling for…hard, (again with the puns!) Against my initial presumptions. 4/5

Darkness – This is as bright as a picnic on the sun’s surface. Rainbows, unicorns, sparkles and fuzzy bits everywhere. Too damn much of everything if truth be told, to the verge of nausea. You get the point. It isn’t dark, in the slightest. 0/5

Sickness – Playful as this is it boasts a no holds barred, anything goes approach (which one has to admire if not appreciate) and pokes fun upon/embraces with a filthy embrace pretty much everything in Japanese Pop culture. Manga, Nintendo, Cutesy and most everything else I’ve yet to learn the name for, it’s all here and lovingly basted in either synth or extreme beats and a myriad of vocal emissions to scare the elderly. 4.5/5

Humor – This is a word which about sums this release up. Obviously, it’s undeniably extreme audio bordering on experimentational with most nods and references which demand research but it seethes with an aura which screams Over the Top zany, bonkers and unabashed silliness (I’ve used that word one too many times here, I apologize). Whether you get it or not, this overflows with a sense of juvenile which yanks the corners of the mouth upwards. 4/5

Final Thoughts – As much as I’d love to hate this, it’s actually grown on me. Sure, it’s silly, and makes little sense as my Pop culture lexicon is severely limited, but its fun, oozes absurd silliness and for some reason makes me smirk like a loon. And we all need a little something of that in our lives, don’t we? 3.25/5

piss shtter

Piss Shitter – Beef the Meanness

https://pissshitter.bandcamp.com/album/beef-the-meanness

Piss Shitter is a name that hugely appeals to me because I think if you’re going to be offensive then you should be as offensive as possible. So, this is from the school of thought that I like. Take two swear words and smash them together. Doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. I won’t give further examples of what I mean as I’m not sure Cult wants this piece to descend that far down the toilet.

Anyway, bearing in mind that I chose this release solely off the band’s name, let’s see what this just-shy-of-17-minutes, “Noise/Grind/Sludge” debut EP is like…

Artwork – It’s black and white. There’s the band’s logo in the corner. There are skulls and flies and there’s a man in a glass bottle nailed to an upside down cross. All the usual stuff. Don’t know what any of it means but it’s like a Grind cover designed by Salvador Dali… Can’t really complain about that, although it is more on the “trad” side of the scale than what I reviewed above. 3/5

Initial Impact – Very muddy, sludgy, lo-fi sound to the production but there’s definitely some very early Grind, anarcho-punk fighting to get out underneath. Pessimistic and deranged vocal samples and noise passages are interspersed between a screechy/low double vocal attack and very super -fast playing. Misanthropy is the order of the day with nihilistic/hilarious song titles such as, “FUCK CAPITAL”, “FUCKTHE POSERS OF THE STATE”, “FUCK BEING ALIVE AND EATING AND BREATHING AND SHIT”, and, my favorite, “FUCK BEING ALIVE AND EATING AND BREATHING AND SHIT 2 – STILL FUCK BEING ALIVE AND EATING AND BREATHING AND SHITTER”. 3/5

Viciousness – It’s vicious from both a musical point of view and a humanitarian point of view. It’s very clear that the message of this EP could essentially be distilled down into, “Fuck Everything”. Which is about as vicious a mindset as you can get when taken seriously… 5/5

Melody/Groove – Not so much of this here because of the Noise/Sludge elements inherent within it. Grinding, screamy and shouty and (in parts) droney, but not groovy at all really baby. Maybe in a couple of bits (one that stands out particularly in Track 9) but that’s not the selling point here. 2/5

Darkness – It won’t leave you feeling full of the joys of spring I’ll say that much for it. 4/5

Sickness – Not really… What’s sick about wanting everything to fuck off? I think that’s a perfectly understandable mindset given the current state of affairs. 0/5

Humor – Within the music, none at all. Within the band’s name and the song titles, a lot. For that reason, it’s a 4/5 from me.

Final Thoughts – If you want everything to fuck off, which is totally understandable right now. This is the ideal music for you. 3/5

Cults Thoughts;

As if the name of the act doesn’t grab ya, perhaps the word “fuck” in every track might. Regardless I’m curious. Just how bad can this be?

Artwork – Zombies buried on the beach, an inverted crucifix and a storm on the horizon and all in lovingly penned black and white inks (is ‘white’ really an ink though?) A tad cliché, but I’m still camouflaged in intrigue. 3/5

Initial Impact – Much like being sucked up into a rampaging tornado this grabs you abruptly with its intensity and ferocious nature. This has my attention! 4/5

Viciousness – This hits like a dump truck falling from the sky to the skull. Abrasive doesn’t even come close to covering the style here. 4.5/5

Melody/Groove – Distortion, noise and pummeling unmitigated brutality about sums this up in midget bursts. The melody and groove are there but you might need to dig for it (using the most expensive industrial equipment money can buy) 1/5

Strangely, the longest track here oozes with a passage of rhythm sandwiched by apocalyptic white noise (which lasts seemingly forever).

Darkness – There are zero, frilly, shiny bits to be found here. This is distortion ville sludge abetted by noise, angst and a nature one would hope not to come across in a dark alleyway. 4/5

Sickness – Rather than concentrate on a nature which is depraved, grisly, gory or vile this revolves around angst, everyday concerns and the adoration of the word “fuck”. 0/5

Humor – A few of the utilized soundbites elicit an unwarranted smirk, but that might be because I need to see a therapist, otherwise this is devoid of humor, apart from the use of the word “fuck” and the Napalm Death “parody” which closes the album 1/5

Final Thoughts – Short, blunt and to the point with enough dense nature to level small farming communities this is unmistakably devastating audio though it lacks the movement I personally desire. A tad more experimental than most, but no less harrowing. 3/5

Bitchy Rackmore – Bitches and Brothers

bitchy rackmore album

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCmsLBo03RA

Bitches and Brothers, I present to you my last pick of this review segment. Hahaha, I made a joke. I think this whole album by Bitchy Rackmore is entire series of “jokes” that are either very funny and post-something-or-other or very unfunny and below juvenile, depending on your own personal position on the humor spectrum…

The whole thing is just over 10 minutes long, which is all that is needed for a Grind album let’s be honest. If you can’t say everything you need to say within 10 minutes on a Grind album then you should put a cloak on and go and join fucking Yes. There are two girls and one guy in this group apparently, so we have to assume that this is all ironic, don’t we? I just wanted to make that very clear before you read any further assuming this whole thing is a dick-swinging bro festival.

Artwork – When I was making my picks, artwork featured very heavily in my decision-making process. I thought I had chosen this purely for its artwork (the lurid cartoon style that I love more than perhaps any other style of art) but as I skipped around to some of the other possible choices I had in the running I realized that I also chose this because I like the sound too. Anyway, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. From an artwork point of view, I give this 4/5. Almost a 5/5

Initial Impact – This thing opens with a short Glen Benton interview sample (he of Deicide and the reluctant-looking recipient of Slash’s, er, romantic attentions on the front cover) before you are hit with a pummeling, non-stop aural assault. It grinds, it swirls around, the playing is insane and the vocals are truly guttural and barely audible. I think it sounds fucking great. 4/5

Viciousness – Practically everything about this is vicious in one way or another and at least one of the song titles is so vicious that it’s unprintable in a family music blog such as this… But, as I say, we have to assume that this album is all one big joke so it loses points for that. 3/5

Melody/Groove – When it’s not shooting you in the head with a Gatling gun music-wise or kicking you full force in the bollocks with its offensiveness then there are some undeniably groovy sections that pop out here and there. 3/5

Darkness – It’s not at all dark in my opinion. The front cover alone tells you that. This is ridiculous, fucked up, fast, (I am reluctant to say) “comedy” Grindcore at its finest. This is very much for those who are into the Seth Putnam/AC type of stuff but who maybe don’t want it made by someone quite as notoriously c*ntish as he was 0/5

Sickness – It’s definitely up there on the sickness scale. Almost off the scale for me… I’m an, “anything goes” type of guy when it comes to this sort of extreme art (if it’s done with the right intentions) but the title of Track 11 flirts with an area of “humor” that makes me wince somewhat… 5/5

Humor – In terms of humor, this is worth the price of admission for the Ozzy Osborne sample alone. 4/5 pushing 5/5.

Final ThoughtsIt’s obvious that the girls and guy who put this album together don’t take themselves very seriously and the whole package, in terms of the area of Grind in which it resides, is put together expertly. 4.5/5

Cult’s Thoughts;

The obvious parody in the band’s moniker is enough to garner the attention of my senses.

Artwork – At first glance this looks like a cover to any run of the mill underground romance novel. However, on closer inspection one might come to the conclusion it’s far from that but rather Slash helping the front man of Deicide with a very specific blockage. I have no idea why there’s an on looking angel type creature.  Perhaps they might need additional ass(pun)istance? 3/5

Initial Impact – The albums opening soundbite makes great sense and about covers everything anyone has ever hoped to censor (fuck censorship!) The music is surprisingly decent (Brutal death meets Grindcore) and the vocal accompaniment are growls of the variety I can subscribe too. 4.5/5

Viciousness – This is fast, unmerciful, blast beat heavy but drips with humor. A fantastic combination which isn’t in the slightest scary. 1/5

Melody/Groove – Beating my initial assumptions to pulp, this overflows with rhythm and melody albeit pulverizing and played at hyper speed. 4/5

Darkness – Although draped in parody this does bear a certain ominous nature, a smidgen of Doom to the riffs exists but it’s far from cavernous or the audio of nightmares. 1/5

Sickness – Hardly grotesque in any resemblance this is more parody material pushed to the extreme (yes, it will offend those who openly admit to having a sense of humor) bearing zero taste. In that respect 5/5 but otherwise 0/5

Humor – If the track titles don’t get ya smiling there’s little point giving this a listen. Admittedly it’s funny but only if you have a sick/twisted sense of humor. Knowing the referrences comes as a bonus. 4/5

Final Thoughts – I wasn’t sure what to expect, it wasn’t this! This is surprisingly listenable with soundbites which add to the pleasure of the overall listening experience. Short, sharp to the point with rhythm and brutality. This is damn good if like me you insist on groove and rhythm rather than cataclysmic noise in your extreme audio. This album proves that you shouldn’t “judge a book by it cover”. 4.5/5

feastem

Cult’s Picks;
Feastem – Graveyard Earth

https://feastem.bandcamp.com/album/graveyard-earth

I’m not gonna lie (the famous words of every politician) it was the name which grabbed my attention. Seriously, what does it mean especially in relation to the accompanying art.

Artwork – It appears all hope is lost. Piles of the dead crowd a statue of the Virgin Mary, isn’t she supposed to instill confidence and faith? All this rendered in glorious black and white. I’m sold. Here’s to hitting play blindly. 4/5

Initial Impact – This grabs the attention and quickly. A wicked, concise, amalgamation of precise Grindcore, Death, Brutal Death and Doom that hits the spot immediately. 4.5/5

Viciousness – Partway between go for the throat and rhythm oriented (leaning more towards out and out sensorial assault) this counterbalances angst and discernable rhythm delicately, and even dips into more ominous Doom waters in instances. A varied approach hinting st varied influence. 4/5

Melody/Groove – Plenty on offer, rather than apocalyptic noise this boasts decipherable arrangements, rhythms and riffs with commendable production. 4.5/5

Darkness – There’s an undeniable ominous nature here as opposed to the typical Grindcore in the face approach. Also, an underlying old school Dirge and Crust aura complementing the typical lyrical against the hypocrisy of the system. 3.5/5

Sickness – Admittedly more angst than Gore. There’s no mention of zombies, cadavers or twisted serial killer shenanigans here. 0/5

Humor – Nope. Nothing, not even a smirk. 0/5

Final Thoughts – “Graveyard Earth” hits the spot and fast. Far from monotonous this delivers a collection of somewhat individual tracks bearing discernable tempo changes, groove and wicked vox as well occasional stylistic deviation which only adds to the fun. I honestly can’t enough of this, I’m adding this to my collection! 4.5/5

Paul’s Thoughts;

Onwards I slog through the mire of Grind to tackle Cult’s three picks. There will be less chat up front on these ones because I don’t why he picked them so can’t offer anything of value on that front. Let’s just get stuck into the categories with no further ado…

Artwork – Fantastic. Black and white with a nice, “Xeroxy”, feel to it. Sums up the album’s title perfectly. This is exactly what a Graveyard Earth would look like. Let’s see what it sounds like… 4/5

Initial Impact – Wow… This comes out of the speakers like a punch to the face and keeps on punching you in the face throughout its entirety. Had my head nodding vigorously from the beginning. Early, punk sound to this one as well. Unrelenting. One song after another comes at you at a ferocious, manic pace. 4/5

Viciousness – Very vicious in terms of the playing and delivery although it loses points for having a song on it called, “I Will Not Kill”. You will not kill? Why not? What’s wrong with you? 3/5

Melody/Groove – Gets you moving despite its ferocity and a serious amount of credit goes to the band for that.  I’ll mark it high on this category. But that’s not to say I’m personally a total fan of what is here. 4/5

Darkness – Following on from my thoughts immediately above – any element of darkness I thought this release might’ve had is diluted somewhat for me by a very subtle hint of metalcore that puts me in the middle of an outdoor festival in Europe somewhere wondering whether or not I should queue up for another overpriced, flat pint. A bit more Kerrang than Kerrazy in my humble opinion… Not knocking it. Many will love it. As far as darkness though, for me it’s a 2/5

Sickness – I’ve definitely heard sicker. There’s not a concept or idea on here either sonically or in the track names that made my stomach twitch, let alone turn. 1/5

Humor – Zilch. 0/5

Final Thoughts – Not knocking it. Many will love it. Not me really. 2/5

bowelfuck

BOWELFUCK – Decades

https://bowelfuck.bandcamp.com/album/decades-2

A biker gent with a huge grin on his face. This wouldn’t normally grab my interest but in this case half of mentioned face appears strange. As if, as if…well the radioactive sign in the background hints at the reasoning.

Artwork – A happy guy on a bike with a melted visage really doesn’t give much away as to the music within.  But the band’s name and spatterific logo certainly does. 3/5

Initial Impact – Fast, intricate and well produced with old school heavily accented vocals. All the boxes are checked. This promises to deliver! 4.5/5

Viciousness – Bordering on a well shaken concoction of Crust, Brutal Death and Hardcore this is pummeling audio. Tight, precise and impactful but with enough bounce to keep it from subterranean vicious realms. 3.5/5

Melody/Groove – If this doesn’t make you want to move you might want to check your pulse! 5/5

Darkness – There’s enough Dirge and Crust elements here to suffice but hardly anything of sufficient nefarious or dastardly intentions to cause nightmares. .5/5

Sickness – Not much here to please gore fans or those with a penchant for the earliest of Carcass material. Although some might find the humor offensive and immediately put this under a certain categorization on account of the vocal style this is far from sick in any way. .5/5

Humor – From the Skinless-esque intro, a few track intro soundbites, to a number of the track’s titles (namely “Lobotomobile” and “Nap”) this drips with humor though not of the distracting, silliness kind, rather that of a darkly humorous and sarcastic tone. This is miles from the typical angst against the unjust system material. 3.5/5

Final Thoughts – When I think of Grindcore this isn’t usually the type of audio which comes to mind. With that in mind however this has the undeniable chops to elicit a smirk, raise the blood pressure and get one up and moving. Quality from start to finish, blunt and straight to the point, an exquisite mixture of a slew of extreme styles. There’s not a boring moment to be found here, and to think this is the first I’ve heard of the band. Lay the senses on this, you can thank me later. 5/5

Paul’s Thoughts;

Artwork – A piggy-looking motorcyclist riding his bike out of town, smoking a cigar with half his face being torn off? Is that what’s happening here? I don’t know… But I like the color palette and I like the band’s logo so it’s a decent 4/5

Initial Impact – Cult always picks things that undeniably rip. I don’t know how he does it which such a high rate of success but, unsurprisingly, this rips… Proper headbanging, moshpit stuff this. Insanely fast. Nicely mixed. Riffs aplenty. A collection of very good and strong songs by what you can tell is an extremely capable and experienced band. 5/5

Viciousness – Sounds vicious. The band’s name is about as vicious as it gets. Song titles are disappointingly non-vicious though. 3/5

Melody/Groove – Had me moving throughout the 23-something-minute duration so if that’s what you mean when you want me to score this category then it’s a 4/5 approaching a 5/5 (because it doesn’t get too tuneful or melodic at any point, which for me is usually a turnoff, especially in this genre).

Darkness – Hard to tell from what’s immediately apparent to me from the artwork, music and song titles but the album doesn’t seem that dark in terms of subject matter or sound. But then I might be wrong… Maybe it’s a concept album about pig motorcycle gangs taking over the world, which is a pretty dark thought. I’ll score this down the middle – 3/5.

Sickness – Again, there’s nothing here overtly sick here apart from the band’s name. That is pretty fucking sick though to be fair. 4/5

Humor – Pigs on motorcycles are pretty funny but apart from that mental image (which let’s be honest I’ve invented myself) the humor is thin on the ground. Nevertheless, a great album. 1/5

Final Thoughts – Great album. 4/5

meth leppard

Meth Leppard – Woke

https://methleppard666.bandcamp.com/album/woke

Yep. It was the sleight of hand on the bands moniker which got me intrigued. I’m left wondering how many have picked this up instead of the famed Scottish rock acts material. Oh, the Hysteria it must have caused.

Artwork – A koala looks on, safely out of harm’s way, as a plethora of World leaders are escorted away from an avalanche of discontent; a populace already exhibiting the tell take signs of the apocalypse. Exquisite details and a myriad of intricacies throughout this image. There’s no doubt as to the time of the audio within. 5/5

Initial Impact – For those demanding a relaxed immersion this delivers an introduction to sate. Following this it’s an unapologetic descent into Grindville, hardly as chaotic as most but thoroughly enveloping and dense. 4/5

Viciousness – This initially connects like a punch to the esophagus and continues to admonish quite the pummeling. Production with a raw edge aids in its impact and aura but it’s a more controlled approach than many though highly enjoyable. 4/5

Melody/Groove – Discernable riffs and rhythms rather than apocalyptic chaos. This boasts plenty of groove and movement as well the traditional ingredients one would expect. 4/5

Darkness – Undeniable dirge, a dense aura but other than that this doesn’t exhibit any signs of menace which might keep one up at night. 1/5

Sickness – There’s little mention of anything gruesome here, there’s s few “zombie” looking creatures on the cover but that’s about the extent of the sickness on offer. .5/5

Humor – The track titles are the most definable give away as to the bands sense of humor and the way this album plays out. Though the audio is more within the Napalm Death vein than the avenue Elbow Deep take. Little “silliness” resides here other than the titles this is mostly business. 3/5

Final Thoughts – Solid throughout, this brings all to the table that one would hope for in a release of its ilk. Uncompromising rhythms, groove, the occasional blast beat, plentiful nods to the old school and an overall vibe which is difficult not to appreciate. My only qualm are the vocals; fantastic for the first half their appeal trends to wear thin as the album reaches its conclusion. A personal gripe which might not sit well. Nether the less, an album which is sure to garner a large fanbase based on its overall quality and the inclusion of a fantastic take upon a Melvins track. 4/5

Paul’s Thoughts;

Artwork – Brilliantly drawn. Cult is obviously a fan of black and white album covers based on these three selections but this is a superb bit of art. It’s very politically charged (as are the album’s buzzword song titles) and that’s not the reason I like it per se… I tend to think all politics and politicians are bullshit so I’m rating this purely from an artistic perspective and this is very well drawn indeed. Let’s see if the music behind the cover is equally opinionated. (Who am I kidding? Of course, it will be). 5/5

Initial Impact – For a debut album from a two-piece band this is intense, immense stuff. As raucous, fast and noisy as any classic Grind album with a very interesting, almost beastly, vocal tone. Very impressive. 5/5

Viciousness – Musically yes and there’s plenty of violence on the cover but this isn’t anywhere near Goregrind levels of viciousness so I’ll give it a 2/5

Melody/Groove – Little bit, yeah. Definitely got me moving. No skippable tracks on this album. You’ll be nodding the whole way through I would wager. The vocals are especially effective in this regard, placed as they are in the perfect pockets of each track and really adding to the overall “vibe”, for want of a better word…  4/5

Darkness – It is dark, in as much as you can hear the frustration and political/class/economic rage that is clearly visible on the cover. Dark times we are living in and this music wears that darkness on its sleeve. 4/5

Sickness – Not particularly sick no… Based in everyday reality I think, sadly… 0/5

Humor – Songs here called Dead Kardashians, Sixty-nine Feet Under, Endless Prawn and Thrash Sucks. So yeah, works for me… 4/5

Final Thoughts – No skippable tracks. 4/5

And with that I reach the end of my thoughts on this first selection of Grind albums for Cult’s brand-new feature. Hopefully it will be a semi-regular thing because I’ve really enjoyed doing it. Thanks for having me on board, thanks for reading and if you haven’t already, please check out my tabletop gaming/music zine (to which Cult regularly contributes his own brand of wit and wisdom) at sixintheheadzine.com and follow me on Twitter @paul_pmz

Thanks, and happy grinding!

grindcore growl

Well, there you have it. The first entry in a series which was intended to be (short, blunt, to the point) similar to the style it’s covering. I’m guessing Paul didn’t read the memo, and I merely went along with the way in which he ran. Regardless, it was fun and I hope you, the reader, enjoy it and the albums we’ve covered. There’s always time to discover something new and plenty of time for Grindcore (there’s a pun, or something in there someplace). Until next time.

Cult