Archive for the ‘best of 18’ 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

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

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

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 (Chile) – Shadows in the Church

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 (Finland) – 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 (South Africa) – 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 (Sweden) – 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

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

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 (Israel) – 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 (Australia) – 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

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

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

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 (Sweden) – The Deviant

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 (Slovakia) – 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

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 (Italy) – 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 (Germany) – 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

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 (Germany) – 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 (USA) – 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

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.


Scorching the Retinas; Crimson Splattered Martial Arts

kung fu cinema

The Night Comes for Us

Every once in a while, a movie comes along which a great many people talk about. A movie which garners quite the buzz that it’s hard not to be intrigued. This is the case here. When I hear the words martial arts, blood, violent and comparisons to Raid 2 my synapses start firing. But is it warranted? Does this have what it takes to keep one’s interest? Is it worthy of all the accumulated hype? I’ll cut this short right here, spoil the review and say yes, yes, yes and YES!

(trailer courtesy of Trailer City)

The Night Comes for Us (2018)
Director/Writer – Timo Tjahjanto
XYZ Films
Screenplay Infinite Films
Runtime – 121 minutes

the night comes for us


I’m not going to fib and say that I’m an expert on the genre. Sure, I’ve seen a myriad of films within it and I can rattle off a few titles which I deem “must watch” and even a few others I consider especially “blood thirsty”. I could even name a couple which I personally deem classics and (this is exciting) then even at a stretch, this is pushing the limits, a few actors whose output (probably not all, mind you) is mandatory viewing. Naturally, this is just my opinion, I’m no expert. I just know what I like and I believe I know the difference between a good and not so good film. Back to the film in question. The Night Comes for Us boasts a great deal going for it. The pace is frenzied and relentless, the acting is spot on and the story line is easy to follow. That’s a good start, right? But it gets better. The on-screen action pulls no punches (welcome to ‘pun city’ folks) and is unflinching in both its depiction of violence and the damage given and taken by all combatants involved. More often than not a gang mentality is front and center. One on one only occasionally takes center stage here. Think a video game within which you have to fight your way through hordes to make your way to the big boss. In a nutshell that’s what also transpires here albeit showcasing a higher level of gratuitous bloodshed, an upped ante of limb snapping, lacerations galore, gouging’s aplenty and a requisite soundtrack to accompany making the tableau that much more effective to the point where one might squirm or jump witnessing such well-executed brutality.

(The Butcher fight scene courtesy of oPix nurizal)

Huge props to the stunt people. The feats herein are plentiful, too numerous to keep tabs upon, excellently produced and a wonder to set eyes on.

ouch my fingers

Ouch, my fingers!

There’s a myriad of scenes I wish to mention, I know I should but fear I would run out of space, leaving my prancing digits in need of ice.


Throughout the film there is undeniable cinematic wizardry on display. The fight scenes are ungodly and the fighter’s masters of their craft. Several are recognizable, depending on of course your level of submergement within the genre. Iko Uwais, who plays Arian, (The Raid, The Raid 2, Stuber, Beyond Skyline) stands out and is mired in indecision; does he help his friends, or does he ‘bend at the knee’ to the Triads wishes and stay alive and financially thrive (it’s quite the quandary). Joe Taslim, Ito, is another whose role is prominent (his face might stand out on account of his roles in The Raid, Star Trek Beyond and The Fast and Furious 6). The two are old friends but within the time they’ve been separated a great deal has changed resulting in boiling resentment and a grudge which might only be resolved through combat (or so they believe) making for a crimson splattered fight scene which will resonate with fans and be remembered, and remarked upon, for some time to come.

crazy white man bobby

Another who stands out is ‘White Man Bobby’, played by Zach Lee, on account of his crazed demeanor. Not to mention that his false foot falls off in an early scene which made me laugh even though I knew it wasn’t appropriate and wasn’t intended to add dark humor to the film itself.

girl fight

The film isn’t without surprises however. The “fairer” (it’s in quotation marks, please don’t comment with vitriol) sex also manage to widen the eyes and heighten the senses within scenes of high velocity combat one might not predict based on that which they might have already seen within the genre. I won’t ruin it suffice it to say that the characters here are on much the same pedestal as the ‘Hammer girl’ in The Raid 2 though get significantly more screen time in which to bludgeon, slash, shot and stab their way through various foes.

hammer girl

Excuse me Sir but you appear to have a little something,. Here, let me help.

A testament to human endurance and the highest caliber of fight choreography this delivers to sate both discerning and casual fans. Even a great many, I will state without reservation, who rarely visit the genre. The effects, much like the fighting, are also outstanding. There isn’t merely crimson on offer here there’s trauma resulting from chopping, dicing, stabbing, gunshots and high velocity flesh and blunt instrument contact. Truthfully this trumps many a film I’ve seen in the horror arena in terms of gore and brutality and the sheer amount shown in unflinching detail. Staying on topic TNCfU (obviously an abr.) ironically sports occasional passages of synth which bring to mind European cult affairs in which on screen, over the top, carnage is a staple ingredient but let us not forget; “You can’t kill what’s already dead.”

confused zombie

Confused zombie says “Huh”


A quote towards the end of the film, in a show stopping finale, that’s been utilized ad nauseum in a certain genre as to be beaten to death as much as, as, the genre in question itself (to not put so fine a point on it.)


Four words will help to summarize the storyline (without me running into diatribe lengths); Triads, Honor, Respect and Friendship. And that’s about all one needs to know. Don’t let assumptions get in the way of your enjoyment here; this overflows with bone crunching action, plenty of it and an unrelenting flow of crimson and thus will satisfy both fight fans and gorehounds alike. I believe this likely won’t be rivaled any time soon and I for one can’t think of anything which comes even remotely close.

Set this before your peepers, I’ve kept this brief as not to spoil the enjoyment, you can thank me later. Did I mention this was first adapted into a graphic novel, and to quote wikipedia “Tjahjanto confirmed he was working with Indonesian artist hub Glitch Network to adapt his original screenplay into comic form”. I, for one, can’t wait.


Comments, thoughts, concerns, suggestions? (Yes I know I’ve added more than the normal amount of gifs in this one, and even a few nods to metal and horror, you’re welcome) Feel free to drop me a line. Until then, your slave to the extreme (in audio and visual form),




Voidhanger’s Best of 2018

Better late than never, right?  2018 was a Hell of a year, and narrowing it down was difficult.  That’s why we’re thankful for extensive honorable mentions lists!

Honorable mentions:


Mortuous – Through Wilderness

Abigor – Höllenzwang – Chronicles of Perdition –

Eskhaton – Omegalitheos

Funeral Winds – Sinister Creed

Hyperdontia – Nexus of Teeth

Mortuous – Through Wilderness

Pagan Hellfire – At the Resting Depths Eternal

Ulthar – Cosmovore


Ulthar – Cosmovore


Now, on to the meat and potatoes.  The cream of the crop.  The best of the best.  Starting with…

 #10: Nécropole – “Solarité”

An indisputably French sound with delicate strings of melody weaving through the cold harshness, Nécropole are a shining example of how black metal can forge brave new sounds without betraying the old style.


“Necropole” doesn’t translate as  a dead Polish fella

#9 Outre-Tombe – “Nécrovortex”

Three years after dropping their massive debut “Répurgation,” Quebecois death metal band Outre-Tombe continue their old school, Sweden-worshipping death assault with a flailing, unrestrained follow-up.


#8: Akitsa – “Credo”

Quebec’s long-running black metal flagship returned in 2018 with their sixth album.  Raw, powerful and with lots of punk influence, “Credo” is Akitsa’s clearest and most focused statement of intent to date.  Awesome cuts like ‘Le monde et ma bile’ showcase Akitsa in prime form and not losing even a smidgen of steam.

credo fullbleed coverWHITE TEXTcorrected letter spacingGOLD


#7: Clandestine Blaze – “Tranquility of Death”

Clandestine Blaze continues to fly high the banner of unrepentant, no-frills black metal.  While “Tranquility of Death” isn’t quite on the same lofty level as “City of Slaughter” (my #1 album for 2017), it holds its own and Clandestine Blaze keeps representing the best of what the genre has to offer.

clandestine blaze

#6: Old Tower – “Stellary Wisdom”

The only non-metal entry on this list, Old Tower channel the sound and emotional resonance of early Mortiis, especially “Født til å Herske.”  A morose journey through medieval dusks and lunar sanctums, it compels you to let go and forget everything else.

old tower

#5: Summoning – “With Doom We Come”

A bit of a dark horse in the Summoning discography, “With Doom We Come” seems to have come and gone with little fanfare.  This might be due to it being a more sullen affair than their comparatively bombastic releases like “Let Heroes Sing Your Mortal Fame” or “Oath Bound.”  Contemplative, introspective, mournful and melancholic are all words that apply to “With Doom We Come” in addition to all the various adjectives for “epic” that are usually found in conjunction with Summoning.  Sit back and let these visions of the darker regions of Middle-Earth engulf you.


#4: Spectral Wound – “Infernal Decadence”

Firmly entrenched in the Quebec black metal sound with Finnish flairs, “Infernal Decadence” is aggressive but with copious melody and an organic, full sound.  Not a single filler track to be found on the album and they’re a killer live act to boot, so catch ‘em if you can.

spectral wound

#3: Drawn and Quartered – “The One Who Lurks”

Managing to release top-tier material over 20 years into a career is a damn impressive feat, but Drawn and Quartered make it look easy by remaining at the top of their game and unleashing one of their most accomplished albums yet.  “The One Who Lurks” brings Drawn and Quartered to unprecedented levels of savagery and complexity.


#2: Moenen of Xezbeth – “Ancient Spells of Darkness…”

The very soundtrack to a lich awakening in its musty crypt after aeons of restless sleep, Moenen of Xezbeth masterfully echo the mystical feel of Samael and early Hellenic bands Zemial, Agatus, Twilight and Necromantia.  “Ancient Spells of Darkness…” sounds like it could have been recorded in the early nineties and is an absolute gift to anyone who adores that era.

moenen of xezbeth

#1: Tomb Mold – “Manor of Infinite Forms”

“Manor of Infinite Forms” is a savage flying dragon kick of death metal to the throat that takes the blueprint from their 2017 debut and steps it up in every way.  Sounding like classic Finnish bands Demilich, Convulse and Demigod exploded and spattered their gore-drenched viscera all over Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower and Entombed, Tomb Mold is way closer to death metal perfection than a band this young has any business being.  Here’s hoping the already-announced 2019 album continues their meteoric rise.


Thanks Void. Thanks for your invaluable input, thoughts and mind numbing knowledge on the darker corners of the extreme metal universe.

Here’s to another stunning year of metal, minus the bullshit drama.



In no particular order, or even broken up into genre categories, these are the album that distracted me from my daily life and responsibilities in an unfathomably captivating manner oftentimes leading to scenarios where all that was left was for me to do was blame the metal (wasn’t my fault!)

Note, there’s more than ten and this might drag into deep waters on account of my furiously happy scribbling digits. The reasons; I get excited, I can’t count, but more importantly because I can’t decide as all albums herein are just so blisteringly impressive.

Now new and improved complete with Bandcamp links where applicable. 

Without Further Ado…

Ironflame – Tales of Splendor and Sorrow


NWOBHM/Heavy metal par excellence. This album is so damn impressive you’ll want to call Granma and tell her.

C’mon Granma this is fkn’ excellent, crank up the Victrolla, clear the kitchen, and let’s move!!

Made all the more impressive as it’s all conceived, created and performed by one ultra-talented fellow.

Nightbreed – Beyond Inferno

nightbreed beyond inferno

This is what I call Thrash! Be prepared for the limbs to twitch in a spastic manner and the vertebrae to complain for days.

Rifftastic brilliance from Greece in a similar vein to vintage Kreator and Destruction.

Thron – Abysmal


The artwork is stunningly subtle but, strangely, it’s the music which is the more distracting of the two. ‘Blackened Death’ or Death metal with Black elements who cares, just let this wash over you in all its majestic epic exquisiteness.

Fans of Abysmal Dawn and Dissection rejoice this will shatter your recent audio disappointments.

Haunt – Burst into Flame


Released thirty years ago this may well be heralded today as a genre masterpiece (channeling as it does NWOBHM sensibilities and production values of the same inkling) as it is, today, it’s still stunningly impressive though surrounded by Infinite audio that it might well have been missed.

Don’t let this gem pass you by.

Dissentience – Mask of Pretense

maslk of pretence

(no Bandcamp link available)

I’ll admit, the thrash genre hasn’t done much for me in the past couple of years, but this somehow grabbed me instantly. The multitude of riffs and its gruff vocals aided in its overall distracting qualities, but I believe it’s the fact that it came from nowhere (with zero hype) that impressed me the most. Don’t let this pass by the radar unheard.

Vanha – Melancholia


Doom that embodies the best qualities that My Dying Bride, Novembers Doom and Mourning Beloveth have to offer. Turn everything off and sink into this and let it transport you to realms where every day worries and anxieties are no more.

Tomb Mold – Manor of Infinite Forms


I’m going to blame Void for introducing this album to me. This isn’t your typical death release, it’s complex, varied in form and unpredictable in its course. Most of all however it’s everything that a fan could ask for. There’s bursts of speed, diabolical passages, technical prowess and controlled chaos.

Thanks again Void. I about rear-ended several vehicles, bobbing my head and a multitude of other limbs, whilst driving listening to this!

Ripped to Shreds -Mai-Zang

ripped to shreds

Old school values all the way! This album had me hopping around like a meth-addled primate on a quest for that one misplaced banana.

Grindcore and a filthy dirgey-death style encapsulated in an album with themes that are exceptionally far removed from the ordinary.

Fans with extreme musical tastes stuck in the 90’s will devour this!

Obscura – Diluvium


These guys never disappoint.

Jaw dropping Tech death with progressive elements and everything in between, this album delivers from the first to the very last note. As unpredictable as a forest fire within the clutches of a hurricane it makes much the same impression on the listener without the insurance claims and heartache.

A must own, every worthwhile collection needs this to be considered somewhat complete.

Serocs – The Phobos/Deimos Suite


Tech, brutal death to scramble the brain.

I’m envisioning a plethora of octopus on stage performing this as the beats, melodies and rhythms are inhuman. This was my first experience with the band and I’m left floored, I’m placing this alongside Benighted’s Asylum Cave as the other go-to tech death album when nothing else quite cuts the mood. If you enjoy Archspire, Benighted and the like this is a must discovery!

 Omnipotence – Praecipitium


If that cover isn’t enough to make one drop what they are doing to give this a listen I don’t know what to say. It isn’t typical of the genre, but neither is the music – I’ve had disagreements over whether this is (in part even) black metal. Regardless of its genre placement (for it straddles many of them) it makes an indelible impression even on first listen. If I owned a vinyl playing device, I’d purchase this I’m an instant, the cover would live on the wall and the record itself on the player.

This reigns!!!

Piah Mater – The Wandering Daughter

piah mater

Place this in ‘albums to transport the listener to another plane’ entirely folder for it has that power. Think along the lines of Opeth, Amorphis, Alkoloid and Obscura for that is what this spinning slab of awesomeness delivers. A plethora of genre styles, musical virtuosity, beauty and brutality accompanied by an excellent diverse vocal approach combine for an album which can’t be ignored or even listened to just the once.

Helrunar – Vanitas Vanitatvm


Admittedly I’m typically not a fan of music in the black metal arena but this, so early on in the year, helped change that (opening up my senses to a whole new world draped in eternal darkness).

Oozing with presence, atmosphere, majesty, depth, an epic nature and power it matters not that the lyrics are in another language entirely for this is impressive on ungodly levels. I’m mouth agape listening to it now, to be honest, and I’ve heard it on numerous occasions before now. Cancel your plans for the day, let this seep into your system. You won’t be disappointed!

Burial Invocation – Abiogenesis

burial invocation

Here’s another that Void has suggested I give a listen to, and he’s right it’s outstanding in every way. This tosses me back to numerous death albums I’ve listened and thought highly of over the years, it oozes with influences and might well leave one’s head spinning as to acts certain passages reminds one of. The whole package is a delight to let wander between the ears. Comes highly recommended to fans of 90’s European death although it has a delicious modern-day technicality and take that transforms it to elevated levels.

Another must discovery!

Shallow Grave – Threshold Between Worlds


However one chooses to place this amongst their collection there’s no doubt its placement will leave a gap. As odds are it’ll spend most of its time being played.

Huge riffs flirt and epic soundscapes with an ominous nature and venomous vocals making one look down often to ensure their feet are still planted in the dirt and not in an uncharted quadrant of the cosmos saturated in unearthly presence and menace.

This might well be the soundtrack to an invasion of ‘The Old Gods’. Or something along those lines. Either way, this release cannot be ignored.

Spectral Wound – Infernal Decadence

spectral wound

Here’s another example of the impact Void has had on my listening habits this year.

To say that this album is massive is an understatement of unfathomable proportions.

The audio herein epitomizes what many thinks of when they ponder upon the genre yet it’s better still. It’s complex, infernal, diabolical yet shot through with melody and purpose that might surprise even the most veteran of fan.

This might well be the album, alongside those already mentioned, to tip my precariously balanced form into dark waters.

Bring on the Corpse paint, bullet belts and let me loose in a Scandinavian forest (with a satellite phone) I’m can feel my restraints and ignorance of the genre fading away.

Hyperdontia – Nexus of Teeth


Imagine being embroiled in a knife fight within a whirlwind of razor blades upon a cliff side that’s threatening to fall into the depths of the ocean. I found it hard to do so before I discovered this album (and the band), alas now it’s not so difficult.

This is everything one would hope a death release to be, complete with exquisite drums and vocals drenched in gutter values.

Ask your dentist to recommend an album. If they don’t mention this, I suggest seeking out another dental hygienist preferably one who submerges themselves in audio worth a damn. But obviously still one who bears license to dig around in strangers’ mouths with instruments of assorted torture.

That’s it, I’m out.

Here’s to another year of fantastic tunage.