Archive for the ‘Best of 19 – Prediction’ Category

Abrasive Audio 2020- Part Four

black metal gif

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

January Releases-

faidra

Faidra (Sweden) – Six Voices Inside

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

Release- January/26/2020

Northern Silence Productions.

ARTWORK- 83

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

FIRST TRACK- 89

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

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

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

FFO; Burzum, Hermodr, Mist of Misery.

proscrito

Proscrito (Spain) – Llagas Y Estigmas

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

Release- January/27/2020

Momentous Mori

ARTWORK- 83

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

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

“…Mabel!!”

FIRST TRACK- 88

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

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

Favorite Tracks; Delivers throughout!

FFO; Obituary, Paradise Lost, Novembers Doom.

malignament

Malignament (Finland) -Demo I

https://malignament.bandcamp.com/releases

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

Purity Through Fire

ARTWORK- 80

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

FIRST TRACK- 88

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

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

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

FFO; Arctos, Dissection.

February Releases –

plague album

Plague (Greece) – Portraits of Mind

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

Release – February/14/2020

Redefining Darkness

ARTWORK- 91

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

FIRST TRACK- 91

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

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

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

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

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

invocation

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

 

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

Release – February/21/2020

Iron Bonehead Productions

ARTWORK – 80

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

FIRST TRACK – 82

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

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

Favorite Tracks; Impressive from first to last note!

FFO; Tomb Mold, Incantation, Krypts, Funebrarum.

theophagist

Theophagist (Luxembourg) – I Am Abyss

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

Release – February/22/2020

Independent

ARTWORK- 87

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

FIRST TRACK- 82

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

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

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

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

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

Short Sharp Bursts of 19′

Kharma

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

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

Release-July/13/2019

Independent

ARTWORK- 92

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 88

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

subservience

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

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

Release- May/25/2019

UKEM Records

ARTWORK- 75

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 87

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

infernal conjuration

Infernal Conjuration (Mexico)- Infernale Metallum Mortis

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

Release- June/6/2019

Iron Bonehead Productions

ARTWORK- 88

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 94

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

allagash

Allagash (Canada) – Cryptic Visions

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

Release – May/6/2019

Independent

ARTWORK- 84

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

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

warbound

Warbound (Brazil) -Behind the Unreal

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

Release – September/21/2019

Thrash or Death Records

ARTWORK- 84

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

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

mix tape action

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

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

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

Cult

Abrasive Audio – The Year in Review

clothing-optional

C’mon, even seals love the sun.

Part the Third

Half the year has disappeared already and one might be wondering where, as it certainly doesn’t move that fast when one wishes it to. The lawn is demanding attention as it’s sprouting faster than a leopard after a potential mate and clothing is apparently optional (which isn’t always a bad thing). The world of extreme audio is still chugging along and the intensity only seems to be building. Now if only the kids could find something to do (for more than five minutes at a time) I might be able to fully immerse myself within all that the metal universe has to offer. (“…but, Dad!”) Onward.

(As is traditional my absolute favorites are marked with an *)

July

abominism

Abominism – s/t

https://abominism.bandcamp.com/album/abominism

Occasionally, albums and artists come from out of nowhere to kick one on their ass. And this did just that! Only six tracks on offer here but they are more than enough with their epic qualities to whet the appetite and leave the listener wanting more. Atmosphere is rampant as too dissonant rhythms, technical passages and progressive elements concocted and woven with such creativity and professionalism as too only draw the listener into the album’s entrancing spell the deeper in the listener gets. There’s a great deal for everyone to enjoy here as the style blankets a wide radius of the extreme metal spectrum all balanced delicately with absolute precision.

Baleful abyss

Baleful Abyss (F.K.A Zombieslut) – Death Propaganda

https://balefulabyss.bandcamp.com/

Dirge driven groove that’s highly nostalgic of the 90’s which demands respect and makes a fantastic addition to any collection bursting at the seams with death/doom laden dirge and death bordering on grindcore.

Beastmaker – Eye of the Storm

beastmaker

https://beastmaker.bandcamp.com/

Think traditional heavy metal with speed metal tendencies draped in a fine shroud of occult doom. This flows so damn well it should be criminal, and that voice. And although it’s short, barely four tracks I can honestly say this is dangerously infectious audio.

desecresyDesecresy – Towards Nebulae

 

https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/towards-nebulae

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

disowning human cattle

Disowning -Human Cattle

https://xenokorp.bandcamp.com/album/human-cattle

A myriad concoction of styles assaults the listener herein add a splash of technical expertise, undeniably excellent production and the album offers ten tracks any fan of the genre can readily consume without complaint and each with their own identity. Add vocals which fit perfectly and the album rockets into unforgettable realms. This album begs to be played again and again. Jump on this at your next earliest convenience!

 

ecliptic visionEcliptic Vision – s/t

https://eclipticvision.bandcamp.com/album/ecliptic-vision

Far from the typical brutal/progressive death affair this is an effort which delivers throughout and demands multiple listens to fully appreciate. Progressive themes knit tightly, and flirt constantly, with technical passages injected with nuance, varying pace and abrupt transforming rhythms. Ambient interludes add to the albums overall effect; the combination is bathed in other-worldly themes resulting in an album which thankfully stays this side of the gone too far to be saved cosmic tech-wizardry fence.

freighter the den.jpg

Freighter – The Den

https://freighter.bandcamp.com/album/the-den

Hard to describe, even harder not to instantly like. There’s truly something unique and utterly mesmerizing about the style, or rather the mixture of styles here. The lyrics are comic book-esque and fantastical in their scope with a style that’s somewhat comical and the audio is a hodge-podge of styles which are familiar yet hard to instantly place. Riffs here and there leer at the listener with an air of arrogance as if to say I dare you to pair me with an act, track and album. I dare you to tackle the quest.

gates to the morning

Gates to the Morning – Return to Earth

https://gatestothemorning.bandcamp.com/album/return-to-earth-ep

Odd how Jazz and Metal are two genres so vastly separate from each other yet they come together so amazingly well. Close to an hour in length this is so much more than merely an album, it’s far from traditional in any senses, more a journey through an audioscape which offers an experience demanding the undivided attention. A sojourn through a wilderness fraught with melancholy, bliss and exhilaration. Melody intertwines with majesty; brutality cavorts with the innocence of beauty accompanied by rhythms which are soothing yet shot through with an undeniable sinister air.

pathetic

Pathetic – Rat King

https://pathetic666.bandcamp.com/

A glorious mixture of influences keeps this album rolling. D-beat rhythms cavort with old school values and plodding riffs akin to that of the earliest Grave material. Lyrics often reek of a deliciously jaded Pungent Stench vibe, add this to an occasionally wicked soundbite, a dirge-laden tone ripped straight from the basement of the underground 90’s (think Bolt Thrower, Terrorizer) and a pace which often picks up frequently offering groove one cannot sit still to and you have all the right ingredients for an album which feels like it might have been released twenty-something years too late.

shades of deep water

Shades of Deep Water – Death’s Threshold

https://dunkelheitprod.bandcamp.com/album/deaths-threshold

Although this doesn’t seem that complex in rhythm or composition (at times it appears to dive deep into drone waters) it has a certain undeniable quality, a power, a captivating quality which is difficult to ignore. The album is only made even more impressive based on the fact that it was composed, mixed, recorded and mixed by a single soul, a talented individual indeed, J.H. A Fantastic mood accompaniment!

Thy_Art_Is_Murder

Thy Art is Murder – Human Target *

https://open.spotify.com/album/6P55RLLgax6WruBMdKWlvf

The partnership of Djent, Slam, melodic, brutal death and one of the finest voices in the industry is stunning; mixed to genius levels and appreciatively differing ratios within each track. Atmosphere, brutality, melody and a caliber of production only elevates the albums grandiose nature. It’s all here, in spades, making for a release which demands respect and the senses upon it.

vagrant

Vagrant – The Rise of Norn

https://vagrantblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/the-rise-of-norn

Weaving a masterful combination of melodies and atmosphere with lyrics based around warriors, folklore, fate and superstition Vagrant have managed to create an album which flows exquisitely. Rhythms intertwine with galloping and heavy riffs forging a release which is far from the run of the mill melodic death or even blackened death album. Offering symphonic death, melodic death exquisite acoustic elements, doom, folk and Viking metal this has the potential to appeal to a wide audience.

August

abysmalist.jpg

Abysmalist – Reflections of Horror

https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/reflections-of-horror

Only four tracks on offer here but as an introduction to what the band offer this is stunning, an outstanding example of how death and doom realms can be manipulated to great effect. A delicate balance of atmosphere and brutality presented by considerable oomph to grab and hold the attention rapt. With this as a debut the future is blinding!

anticosm call of the void

Anticosm – The Call of the Void

https://anticosm.bandcamp.com/

Dynamic, ever evolving, melodic, passionate and draped in atmosphere yet miles from what could be termed traditional, both in rhythm and vocal departments. For those who aren’t quite willing to fully immerse themselves fully in any one genre this is great location to start a life-long exploration drenched with realms of amazement and wonder which is guaranteed to set the senses on fire.

Book of wyrms album

Book of Wyrms – Remythologizer *

https://bookofwyrmsrva.bandcamp.com/

A true celebration of epic heavy metal and traditional doom with NWOBHM stylings, cantering and galloping rhythms, swaying melodies and wicked leads topped off with ethereal vocals. Overall a fantastic achievement which thankfully never wanders too far into psychedelic waters, though on occasion dips more than a toe into its murky depths. Now this is Doom I can subscribe too!! Tear me away from this now, it’s fast becoming an addiction.

Cruickshank

Cruickshank – s/t

https://crckshnk.bandcamp.com/album/cruickshank-s-t

Driving rhythms, which often fight for supremacy in chaotic standoffs, traipse through a slew of styles offering the listener a great deal to discover. Overall a release which will please fans of Kyuss, Olde, Tool, EyeHateGod, Acid Bath and a slew of others acts who refuse to conform to a style that defined by any one genre. Someone is going to have to pull me away from this with considerable force, it’s growing on me like a ravenous parasite.

darkened

Darkened – Into the Blackness

https://edgedcircleproductions.bandcamp.com/music

Although the familiarity is undeniable there is also something else which makes this stand apart. Presence, subtle atmosphere or the audios leaning toward death/doom territories. Whatever it is it works and I’m eager for more.

detherousDetherous – Hacked to Death

https://redefiningdarknessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/detherous-hacked-to-death

Channeling Malevolent Creation, Death and Asphyx, Detherous have managed to create a style that’s exuberant, furious (boasting exquisite time changes and abrupt mosh frenzy changes in pace) and technical. This is audio which unceremoniously pulls one back to the old school (both European and American) and does a great job of doing so. Call it homage, call it what you will but there’s no doubt this is executed with passion, flair and precision.

graveview.jpg

Graveview – Demos 18-19’

https://graveview-us.bandcamp.com/album/graveview-demos-18-19

Influences are undeniable but it’s what the band does with the tone and the myriad of other factors and how they incorporate it into their style which makes this special. Abrupt pace shifts and breakdowns executed with precision, know-how, flair, the fact that this is stunningly fluid, will incite grins aplenty and will delight long-time fans of the scene.

lllvilja livet

lllvilja -Livet *

https://phobiarecords.bandcamp.com/album/illvilja-livet-lp

A primitive, mysterious, spice heats up that which is already incendiary, both in its nature and infectiousness. Touches of stylistic diversity, and appreciative breaks from the same old, same old (which could well be expected based on this albums categorization, hailed as “Dbeat/Blackened-Crust”) propel this to refreshing heights making this a release set to be the bar which others in the genre will struggle to reach. This came out of nowhere to catapult me to the nearest medical facility on account of my abrupt skyrocketing excitement levels, it’s that damn impressive!

nomas last laugh

No/Mas – Last Laugh

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/last-laugh

I can honestly say I believe this to be their best work to date, as it makes an instant impression and is criminally infectious/inciteful from its nuclear-powered launch. Six tracks and perilously close to eight minutes in length. Yep, this is grindcore! And these fellows have an axe to sharpen and senses to obliterate.

 

overt enemy possessionOvert Enemy – Possession

https://overtenemy.bandcamp.com/

Slayer worship through and through (there’s even a ripping cover of “At Dawn They Sleep” and the bassists name even has a decidedly “Slayer” slant to it) of that there’s no doubt but Overt Enemy execute the style so damn well that odds are they’ll take the vacated throne without a qualm and little complaint.

wraith

Wraith – Absolute Power *

https://wraith-us.bandcamp.com/album/absolute-power

Like an adrenaline shot to a form weary of hype this awakens immediately the same feeling one had when first introduced to the scene. With splashes of punk, a style which rarely lets up pounding maniacally at blackened thrash/speed gates and a myriad of influence which vomits from near every track this is an album not to be missed. Add a double billed Hellripper, Wraith show to my bucket-list and I’ll leave this plane a happy fellow.

wizard rifle self titled

Wizard Rifle – s/t

https://wizardrifle.bandcamp.com/

The sound is altogether mesmerizing, even from the albums first notes, while wholly unclassifiable. The exuberance and energy are undeniable and infectious whilst the rhythms and tempo are ever evolving, shifting like an amorphous beast the likes of which you’d kindly invite in from the cold for a spot by the fire. Dense riffs collide with sacrificial drum salvos and plodding rhythms transform into galloping frenzied moments all accented by a diverse vocal tirade which incorporates melody, shouting and angst in equal measures. An epic feel underscores the whole shebang though its hardly given much heed as the music whisks the listener away to undiscovered realms, vistas and valleys frequented by constructs which are nonsensical yet accepted as easily as a birthday check, in the mailbox, from a long lost relative.

September

arctos.jpg

Arctos – Beyond the Grasp of Mortal Hands *

https://arctos-northernsilence.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-grasp-of-mortal-hands

I’m not normally a fan of the Black Metal genre but this blows me away with its diversity and delivery in every way. Enthralling, hypnotic and stunning from start to finish, a must visit genre experience!!

alcoholocaust.jpg
Alcoholocaust – Necro Apocalipse Bestial

https://brigadantiposers.bandcamp.com/releases

Aggressive speed metal with the occasional splash of punk accompanied by maniacal and archaic heavily accented vocals. This could well be the foreign long-lost twin to Whiplash’s “Power and Pain” release. Criminally addictive and requires limbering up before hitting the play button. Prepare to have this reside in your audio equipment for an extended duration of time.

algebra

Algebra – Pulse?

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

There’s an undeniable fluid nature here. Timing changes are exquisite, rhythms infectious and dynamic. Melodies are plentiful and change enough to keep a listener on their toes. A sense of familiarity abounds, leaves one scratching their heads as to which band or album this or that part sounds like, but it doesn’t take away from the listening experience in the slightest. Oftentimes an epic narrative unfolds by way of the music alone complementing the thought-provoking lyrical content. In short, a winning combination which if someone could bottle it would most probably be titled something along the lines of ‘Excuse me for a second while I blow your mind’, or” Forget the Remainder of your day you’re about to be Unfathomably Distracted”. Naturally words, as they often do, fail me as I attempt to imprint my appreciation upon the flashing screen beneath my hands. Don’t, DON’T, don’t, allow this to go unnoticed.

ankhara

Ankhara – Sinergia

https://fighter-records.bandcamp.com/album/sinergia

Showcasing passionate rhythms, galloping riffs and dynamic, high energy, percussion there are zero dull moments here to be discovered. The style varies and brings to mind a plethora of acts some more distinct than others as the album unfolds. If your interests lay more in hard rock more so than the darker end of the metal/rock universe this is where you’ll want to rest your ears for a while.

coldclaw.jpg

ColdClaw – Anti Martyr: Decades to Suffer

https://ritualsoundrecords.bandcamp.com/album/anti-martyr-decadess-to-suffer

Coldclaw’s is a style which captures the essence of black metal. Crust as experienced throughout the album in various passages featuring dominant drum salvos; which are difficult not to move to and death metal as heard within various chugging riff approaches and the brutality which is displayed dominantly throughout. The result is a collection of tracks which has the potential to appeal to a wide audience, some who are curious about arenas they perhaps haven’t discovered before and others whose interests lay within the styles mixed with such passionate precision here

come back from the dead album

Come Back from the Dead – Rise of the Blind Ones

https://comebackfromthedead.bandcamp.com/

With melody and groove throughout this rarely let’s up in the infectious department. Think a hybrid of 90’s European death, old school British grind/death with a complementary sprinkle of doom and a maniacal essence. A mixture no doubt which has been perpetrated before but, in this case, somehow it feels fresh and leaves quite an impression.

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Cult of Sorrow – Invocation of the Lucifer

 https://cultofsorrow.bandcamp.com/

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

ethereal riffian.jpg

Ethereal Riffian – Legends

https://robustfellow.bandcamp.com/album/legends

A varied smorgasbord of doom, wall to wall melody and influence ranging from across the metal spectrum. Vocal inflections channeling Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies) a musical style often akin to that of early Faith no More, and unpredictable, driving rhythms with occasional strangely soothing qualities. Highly entertaining audio that’s dangerously infectious and pleasingly varied throughout.

high command

High Command – Beyond the Walls of Desolation *

https://highcommandsl.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-wall-of-desolation

Every once in a while, there comes an album which has a buzz surrounding it. This is one such example. Often this buzz has much to do with unique qualities; a quality which has the potential to take genres in new and exciting directions. This is hardly another run of the mill, dime-a-dozen thrash album although it bears the ingredients which most exhibit if only in part, and all wish to master. Is this the thrash album of the year for me? It’s certainly up there in the mix and unashamedly guilty of rekindling my interest in the genre.

Horror God

Horror God – Cursed Seeds

https://lavadome.bandcamp.com/album/cursed-seeds

Melody and groove take a backseat to the menace and ferocity on display though it’s still apparent albeit in frenetic doses. The constant timing and rhythm shift as well the musicianship on offer and the booming vocal cadence elevate this above the herd. A dark nightmarish, punishing, narrative is what’s on offer here and I’m taking the trip again.

 

IATT
IATT – Nomenclature

https://iattblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/nomenclature

Once over the initial foreign aura the album’s foreign nature grows on the listener, starting its enthralling conquest of the senses. In short, this will appeal to those with an open mind whose penchants run to blackened realms as well arenas which are often referred to as a tad experimental. Be prepared for you’ll want to lose yourself in its grandeur again and again.

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Netherbird – Into the Vast Uncharted

https://netherbird.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-vast-uncharted

A remarkable invocation of the blackened death style crafted with precision showcasing passionate guitar leads, acoustic brilliance and sweeping evocative melodies. A veil of doom, a definite well-executed presence, accentuates the palpable emotion throughout making for a release one will only want to experience repeatedly.

Sempiternal Dusk

Sempiternal Dusk – Cenotaph of Defectuous Creation

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/cenotaph-of-defectuous-creation-2

Catacomb-esque mid-tempo rhythms with subtle nuance and oodles of archaic, cinematic quality, atmosphere in the form of an unmerciful steamroller assault. Suffocating audio with a slight funeral doom aura, dense yet also flirting with a blackened vibe, a myriad of tempo and time changes under epic skies offers the listener plenty to chew upon. This might take a second listen to fully embrace but it’s worth the effort!

void king

Void King – Barren Dominion

https://voidking.bandcamp.com/

Took me a while but now I’m thinking the raw, unbridled, emotion-laden vocal style is a hybrid of Staind Channel Zero (although my only experience is the album “Unsafe”) and Danzig it’s highly effective against the slow to mid-tempo rhythms and presence, the combination is nothing short of powerful and utterly mesmerizing. The fact that this is radio friendly should not deter one from giving it a fair few spins. An altogether brilliant slab of doom/stoner rock with Southern rock touches. Highly recommended!

wintercrown

Wintercrown – Northern Lights

https://cultofosiris.bandcamp.com/album/northern-lights

I can’t pinpoint it, perhaps it’s the fact that Wintercrown aren’t afraid to branch out (ever so slightly) to encompass elements from other genres both musically and vocally. Or the fact that the combination works so ungodly well. Whatever it is, it’s executed excellently, I’m sold! And this has been one of the most impactful Black Metal experiences I’ve heard in recent memory. Bravo!

mix tape action

Keep it up, you maniac!

Well, there’s another couple of months’ worth of releases to dive into. Naturally, I haven’t heard everything within these three months, not even close in fact. I was slightly distracted with the summer holidays and the kiddos not being in school. However, I did make an attempt which often resulted in virtually sleepless nights and varied exciting moments of zoning out at work the following day. And all in the name of metal! (What a trooper). Due to the sheer volume of releases unleashed during the final three months of the year I’ve come to the conclusion that what I believed to be an initial four-part endeavor will now transpire into what I’d like to think of as a five-part opus. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Cult (a certifiable slave to audio extreme)

 

Abrasive Audio…Best of Year Lists #3

sixintheheadzine

Taking a break from the monstrous endeavor which I’m referring to as divine punishment for listening to tunes which are decidedly not wholesome in nature, I’ve decided to post the last of the Year End Lists to roll into my email. ‘Lists’ which a pair of friends have pondered over for, much like myself, weeks. Admittedly, it’s a daunting task. Without further ado.

 

 

A few selections which have rocked Paul PMZ’s (@paul_pmz on Twitter) world
star devourer
Star Devourer
Contact

https://winterdynasty.bandcamp.com/album/contact

An album unlike anything I’ve ever heard, this falls into the category of, “Sci-Fi Black Metal”, which is a new one on me… A concept album that is as whacked-out f**king insane as it is compelling. Contact combines spacey (couldn’t think of a better word sorry) synths with KILLER vocals and guitars to achieve something utterly bonkers and utterly brilliant. A truly epic black metal space opera in the truest sense of the word.

Bitter Lake
New Branches on Old Trees

https://officialbitterlake.bandcamp.com/album/new-branches-on-old-trees

Before I joined Twitter again in Summer 2019, I got all my music from iTunes, Spotify and Boomkat. I didn’t really understand Bandcamp. I’d bought a few things on it in the past (a Gucci Mane album, a Perc album and the Minecraft soundtrack) but I wasn’t aware of the sheer amount of jaw-dropping talent waiting to be discovered there for just a few quid. This album is an example of the kind of jaw-dropping talent I’m referring to.

catafalque
Catafalque
Catafalque

https://catafalque.bandcamp.com/album/catafalque

I have a vivid memory of listening to this album drunk, pacing around a kitchen on my own at about two in the morning listening to it on headphones full blast. An overwhelming, crushing, grinding beast of an album. The eleven-something-minute second track is like being dragged into a piece of hellish machinery to your death in a way that is hugely enjoyable. Like most of the albums on my list, the people who made this deserve to be millionaires but they’re probably not. I have a feeling I’ve used that line before in something else I wrote for Cult… Anyway, I dunno. It’s a fucked up, unfair world and this is the perfect music for it.

Blood Incantation
Hidden History of the Human Race

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hidden-history-of-the-human-race

Why is this on my end of year list? Because it’s everything a death metal album should be. Everything about it is perfect. Also, it was on everybody else’s list and I just copied them.

Tomb Mold
Planetary Clairvoyance

https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/planetary-clairvoyance

Listen, I’m not like Cult or K-MaNriffs or all of you reading this who have an encyclopedic knowledge of metal and all of its sub genres and can go on about so-and-so plays a down-tuned this and Deep Purple recorded that in 1970-whatever. I just like f**king good music. And this is f**king good music and it deserves repeated listens. That’s all there is to it. That’s why it made my 2019 list.

wintercrown
Wintercrown
Northern Lights

https://cultofosiris.bandcamp.com/album/northern-lights

Everyone who knows me knows I love this album. Like, I really love it. And I feel honored to have interviewed Danthor from the band in the first issue of my zine SIX IN THE HEAD (working link elsewhere in this article). “Northern Lights” was very unfairly left off many ‘end of year’ lists but we won’t go into that… Simply put, this is perfection from start to finish and if you can’t recognize that I don’t know what to tell you.

Vastum
Orificial Purge

https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/orificial-purge

I put this on my list firstly because I like brutal death metal and this is most definitely that. And also, because the cover, album title and song titles remind me of Carcass and Carcass was one of the first bands I got into when I first started delving into extreme metal music. If you’re going to be brutal, then be brutal. Don’t half-ass it. Cut the ass off with a scalpel and stick a load of knives into it.

Texas Hippie Coalition
Texas Hippie Coalition
High in The Saddle

https://texashippiecoalition.bandcamp.com/album/high-in-the-saddle

Some people would call this a guilty pleasure but I don’t. It’s as simple as can be in about every possible way but the second I discovered it I wanted to put on a ten-gallon hat, grab a shotgun and drive my truck to the local bar and do bourbon shots with a load of chicks in “vest” tops who think that sort of behavior is perfectly acceptable. They can take this album when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

So those were my favorite “metal” albums of 2019. Follow me on Twitter @paul_pmz and download the launch issue of my tabletop gaming and music magazine SIX IN THE HEAD at https://sixintheheadzine.com/

Cheers.

fistful pof doom logo

Finally, here are a handful of releases (actually a ‘Top Ten’) which have caressed and molested the pleasure sensors of Fistful of Doom (@flatulentFuzz on Twitter) for the past couple of months.

No need to read up on thoughts on any of these, just dive right in.

KUBLAI KHAN- ABSOLUTE

https://open.spotify.com/album/6klYyVkzntFBjJch93UB6y

GROND/GRACELESS- ENDLESS SPIRAL OF TERROR

http://rawskullrecordz.bandcamp.com/album/grond-graceless-endless-spiral-of-terror-rsr-036

tort void addiction
TORT- VOID ADDICTION

http://discosmacarras.bandcamp.com/album/void-addiction

THE HANDS RESIST HIM- STONE HANDS

http://thehandsresisthim.bandcamp.com/album/stone-hands

RED BEARD WALL – THE FIGHT NEEDS US ALL

http://redbeardwall.bandcamp.com/album/the-fight-needs-us-all

do astral death cult
DO- ASTRAL DEATH CULT

http://doofficial666.bandcamp.com/album/astral-death-cult

CYCLES OF THE DAMNED- A TIME TO SURVIVE

http://cyclesofthedamned.bandcamp.com/album/a-time-to-survive

OGRE- THRICE AS STRONG

http://ogrereal.bandcamp.com/album/thrice-as-strong

SIFTING- THE INFINITE LOOP

https://open.spotify.com/album/20uNba0tEcRPrXjYwqAPKJ

HOUND THE WOLVES/GLASGHOTE- HOUND THE WOLVES/GLASGHOTE SPLIT

http://monochord-records.bandcamp.com/album/hound-the-wolves-glasghote-split

But let us not forget the link to the ‘Fistful of Doom’ show which deserves attention (apparently he likes bacon).

https://www.mixcloud.com/jameymorris/

That’s it. Thanks to all involved, in this and past lists. And to those who I’ve interacted with throughout the year. I’ve made a few friends and probably pissed of a great deal more with my inane questions and intolerable personality. Here’s hoping this, and the lists before it, introduced new acts and albums which might otherwise have been ‘ignored’ (for want of a better term).

Animal - music is meant for sharing

After all brilliant audio is meant for sharing, new genres to be explored no matter how scary they might initially seem. And this is a community. #SupporttheScene.

Here’s to another fantastic, mind-blowing, 365 days, unless it’s a leap year then I guess Hallmark will be rolling out a new line of movies for my wife to lose herself in.

Cult

Abrasive Audio – Special Edition

kmans champions

Challenging Kman’s “Champions” 

This has been a busy year for metal, an outstanding one, again. And with so many releases to keep track of the prospect of doing so is daunting. I’ve attempted to scribble a few words upon that which has caught my ear from time to time, but the spectrum of metal is quite the unrelenting mistress. There is an individual however who weathers the storm and reports like no other, whose tireless dedication is a wonder to behold (I believe in order to do this he must be ‘besties’ with Doc Brown or alternatively, that he drives a DeLorean on a regular basis).

kman riffs

As the year reaches its climax this same individual took it upon himself to tackle a myriad of genres (some which I’m honestly quite unfamiliar with if truth be told) to stand triumphant with a short list plucked from each. A list featuring his choice for the years champion and runners up, or the” champion’s entourage”, if you will. Naturally tastes vary, and my list is most probably going to be different from his, yours, hers and the guy who runs the off license down the street on the corner. With that in mind I thought it prudent to take it upon myself to do a spot of exploration. The task is daunting. But it didn’t take me but a few seconds to consider an approach to start upon such a quest. Then it struck me, I need a companion who’s willing to also take the same plunge, a glutton for audio punishment if you will. Enter Paul PMZ, (@paul_pmz on Twitter) a chirpy like-minded fellow whom I shoot the shit with from time to time. Paul is the editor of a new tabletop gaming and music zine SIX IN THE HEAD (the first edition dropped recently. I even have a few words featured in it). https://sixintheheadzine.com/

Reluctantly he agreed to my demands, though I did promise to send him a few pictures of the wife’s Yorkshire Pudding to sweeten the deal.

holiday drumming animal

Yorkshire Pudddinnnnggg-!

Without further preamble, Paul imparts a few words on the task at hand and his surroundings;

Where I am right now the weather isn’t just frightful – it’s brutal. “Man overboard!” levels of rain and wind lash and howl outside (Ed* And there I was thinking …” the rain in Spain fell mostly on the plane…”). Lives will be lost in this today, mark my words. So, I’ve stayed inside with the dogs and listened to all the following albums in their entirety (pretty much).

These are my thoughts –

Insomnium-heart-like-a-grave_

Melo- Death
Insomnium – Heart Like A Grave 
https://open.spotify.com/album/5pIG0iF4OvplbceJAx73ys?autoplay=true&v=L

Paul – Not for me. I can totally see why somebody would totally love this but I don’t. Too anthemic. Too melodic. I imagine this is what it would sound like if Europe never wrote The Final Countdown and became a death metal band instead. Would make great theme music for an anime series about freezing to death.

CultWith rhythms which are criminally infectious, an aura which feels part Amon Amarth, part Arch Enemy, part Swallow the Sun, soaring leads and melodies which make one want to close their eyes and drift away (to where I do not know) an effective atmosphere to match and arrangements which scream expertise there’s no doubting that this will continue to delight as its audience grows reaching near bubonic proportions. Probably not for every mood but for when the mood fits, this delivers! Prepare to be swept away.

dimhav.jpg

Power Metal
Dimhav – The Boreal Flame 
https://dimhav.bandcamp.com/album/the-boreal-flame

Paul Great cover art and the intro to this is wild. Sounds like three separate albums all playing at once on fast-forward. The rest of it though, you can keep. The vocals alternate between over earnest and over shrieking. Also, it’s far too musical. Keep your musicianship to yourself I don’t want to hear it.

CultPower Metal is a realm I rarely frequent, if truth be told. However, the art here has me intrigued; I’ll give this a once over. In short; The introduction is fantastic, the musicianship superb, there’s enough pace variation to please most anybody and the album burns bright with an epic flame. But it’s all a little too much for me. Hardly horrid, this is a release I would really have to be in the mood for to be able to sit through in its entirety.

Demiurgon

Tech – Death
Demiurgon – The Oblivious Lure 
https://everlastingspewrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-oblivious-lure

Paul OK now we’re talking – fast, hard-hitting and guttural. No idea what any of this album is about but, based on its title alone, maybe it’s about fishing. A pummeling 39 minutes of music. Nothing negative to say about this apart from the band’s logo, which should by rights be a lot more unreadable. Beautiful stuff.

Cult Upon discovery of the album’s art one is immediately hit with an image which brings to mind a “World Eater” type creature. Which is either a scene from a StarWars film or the title of a legendary Bolt Thrower track all depending on one’s tastes. The album hits hard immediately and continues to deliver all one could wish in a tech-death release; Brutish Orc vocals, a ferocious twin pronged assault, tight riffs, a pace which is diverse, head spinning and unpredictable and pummeling precise drum salvos. All without offering too many layers (one would require a scalpel to dissect) or going overboard like a few other acts in the same genre I’ll refrain from mentioning. I honestly can’t see a single reason why a fan of the genre won’t fall ass over tits for this. Top notch from start to finish, this will leave one feeling exhilarated and sweaty!

zig zags.jpg

Hardcore/Punk/Crust
Zig Zags – They’ll Never Take Us Alive 
https://zigzags.bandcamp.com/album/theyll-never-take-us-alive

PaulI hear echoes of Metallica, The Stooges and Saxon in this but the Zig Zags play it punk and fast. This is music for drinking cheap beer, skating makeshift ramps in backyards and travelling about LA with scabs on your shins in the back of a stinking van. If that’s the feeling the band were hoping to conjure up with this record then they’ve achieved it perfectly.

CultHemorrhaging nostalgia this pummels the listener with influences plucked from when the scene itself was in its adolescence. Metallica, Misfits, Blitzkrieg and even a slew of nods to landmark tracks (from around the time), surf rock and plenty of punk attitude. Sheesh! The vocal style even brings to mind Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies) in some tracks. Get out the skateboards (forget the pads and helmets. We’re rebels, what a little blood harm anyone!) and the Walkmans. Let’s ride! Do not miss this!!

finterforst.jpg

Pagan/Folk/Viking Metal
Finsterforst – Zerfall 
https://finsterforst.bandcamp.com/album/zerfall

Paul Pagan metal intertwined with orchestral “soundscapes” that thankfully are used to great effect and don’t disappear up their own arse into Jean-Michel Jarre/prog-opera territory. I’m not a huge fan of choirs in metal but everything else on this is just so good that I can live with it. Warhammer music and I say that as a huge compliment. Tonight, gentlemen, we ride into battle. Epic.

Cult Admittedly, this is a genre I visit rarely but I’ll state without reservation that I was left stunned by the first tracks impact. One might think this to be akin to atmospheric black with the cover art in mind. It has elements but there’s so much else on display and arranged in such a way that any newcomer to this will instantly sprout a smile upon experiencing what caresses the senses. Doom, melodic death, black and folk elements (showcasing traditional instruments) with no value over crowding the other, everything co-exists in grandiose, exquisite, harmony. And the fact that the lyrics are in German only makes it infinitely more intriguing. I’d usually balk at seeing a thirty-seven-minute track listed, but not here. It crosses off every box and obliterates all expectations. I foresee this featuring heavily in my play history in the coming months. Don’t be the last to jump on this!

ruadh

Atmospheric Black Metal
Ruadh – Sovereign
https://ruadh.bandcamp.com/album/sovereign

Paul I’m not saying this isn’t very good indeed because it is. For some reason though it left me feeling a little underwhelmed. As atmospheric black metal it does exactly what you want it to do. Nothing more and nothing less. It’s very good but then so are mashed potatoes and I don’t want to eat them on a daily basis.

CultWrapped in an effective storm atmospheric motif, dramatic and epic qualities this album provides a rich tapestry bursting with depth, emotion and majestic rhythms. Even a few in a style one might not expect (based on genre assumptions) and a few passages one might. A symphonic accompaniment, including vast nature-scapes fits perfectly, executed in such a manner that one can close their eyes and imagine actually being a part of the scene. An aura the listener can easily melt within. In short, an experience which showcases just how diverse the genre can be, is, and the surprising heights an excellently crafted album within its ranks can attain if handled with care such as this. A fantastic jumping on point for those even slightly interested in a genre which has yet to garner the attention it deserves.

First Hellripper, now this. Glasgow is getting quite the moniker for its high-quality metal output.

Evergrey

Progressive Metal
Evergrey – The Atlantic 
https://open.spotify.com/album/7IBDcZQla4fTMEmjzcHneu?autoplay=true&v=L

Paul If I were to draw you a Venn diagram for this, I would put Soundgarden, Korn and Whitesnake on it and stick these guys in the overlap. I don’t really have anything else to say about this. It’s not really for me. “All I Have” has a good intro. Sorry that’s all I have.

CultAudio which brings to mind both the 70’s, 80’s and more recent audio with hints of thrash, djent, melody and riffs for days. Top notch vocals and an eye-opening level of musicianship certainly aid the intrigue. And all in a manner far from what many might perceive as traditional extreme audio. Doom shrouds the whole affair although this is at times rather upbeat there’s still an underlying melancholy. And a surprising diversity which spans Gojira, Devon Townsend, Nevermore and Dream Theatre qualities. Hardly what I listen to on a regular basis but with quality such as this on offer it’s not going to be hard to persuade me to dip my ears into the genre on a more regular basis. This may well be the type of audio which is served as a stepping stone towards the spectrum of metal for this is extremely difficult not to like.

necropanther the doomed city.jpg

Black/Thtrash/Speed Metal
Necropanther – The Doomed City 
https://necropanther.bandcamp.com/album/the-doomed-city

Paul Thrash, black, death, who cares what it’s called? Is it any good? Yes, it is! It’s very good. The guitars are thrash, the vocals are a combination of black and death and the drumming is totally berserk. This one got my head bobbing and my legs bouncing vigorously. Which, bearing in mind this is the eighth album I’ve listened to in a row and this chair is hurting my arse, is no mean feat.

Cult A melting face, body bits floating around in a crimson stew storm, with a “Darkman” type character front and center. I am intrigued. The vocals grab the attention immediately, a dual assault. A growling approach and another which is a doppelganger for Chance Garnett. This isn’t a bad thing in the slightest, as who doesn’t love SkeletonWitch in their prime? The audio is a likely result of drunken night slippery (?) shenanigans including the minds behind 3 Inches of Blood, Arch Enemy and SkeletonWitch with liberal sprinkles of darkness and wicked flourishes of criminally infectious power metal flair tossed into the pot. Thrash, speed, death, blackened death, call it what you will, it certainly doesn’t feel like a “concept” album, but be sure to set a timer as listening to this will make the hours fly. This, much like their last, is (in short) beyond top-notch. With another release such in their future I’ll predict Necropanther to resident in a league of their own. Damn good doesn’t even come close to how I would describe this! Pick this up at your earliest convenience.

thelordweirdsloughfeg

Heavy Metal
Lord Weird Slough Feg – New Organon 
https://thelordweirdsloughfeg.bandcamp.com/

Paul After listening to all of the above, this album of classic heavy metal jams welcomed me like a pure and loving embrace. This is what it’s all about. Forget all that other nonsense. Death? Thrash? Black? You kids think you bloody invented music you do. Get a dose of this down you son. This is all you need. Now go on get out of here.

CultTwin harmonies, galloping riffs, lyrics saturated in intriguing historical themes, playful folk rhythms, an aura which tosses one back, grinning, several decades and a style which is a timeless often imitated but rarely achieved in a quality and tone such as this (did I mention the production is crystal clear but also finagled in such way as to make one think this could well have been plucked from assorted vinyl racks in a store circa 1979). There’s little not to like here. A somewhat unique vocal style, one could easily place among the likes of Dickenson, Dio and Kilminster (it’s ‘Lemmy’ for those not in the know) adds to the overall fun. I’ll admit this grows on me the more I allow it entry into my system.

haze maze.jpg

Stoner/Doom/Fuzz/Psych Riffs
Hazemaze – Hymns of The Damned 
https://hazemazeband.bandcamp.com/album/hymns-of-the-damned

Paul Imagine smoking a shitload of strong weed, dropping acid and listening through the wall to Sabbath playing next door. That’s what this album is – the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Not that I’ve ever done acid. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. This is chunky, groovy masterpiece. A great listen and an addictive vibe. Man.

Cult If the Psychedelic sacrificial, goat head wearing cultist, art doesn’t pull you then the audio certainly will. Sabbath-esque in tone sporting plodding riffs, surprising agility (for an album of this ilk) and a production which only heightens the intensity of the heavens are gonna fall riff assault. If you only buy one doom album this year this is where the money should be spent. I’m not a fan of the more traditional end of the genre. This however, is captivating and its rhythms downright trance-inducing. Now, where are my Bell bottoms, Denim jacket and that large bucket of Kool-Aid?

Basilysk – Emergence

Death Metal
Basilysk – Emergence 
https://basilysk.bandcamp.com/album/emergence

Paul A bit like the Ruadh album this one is what it is. If you like death metal, which I do, there’s nothing not to like about it. It’s very good indeed but so what.

CultBoasting a collection with no track sounding the same as another is a mean feat. But Basilysk pull it off! Channeling a myriad of influence, a technicality which brings to mind Pestilence, progressive elements veering heavily towards Schneider worship and passages which scream OSDM, whilst others growl grindcore with undeniable groove this is an album which doesn’t disappoint. It might not possess your senses on the first listen, but its hooks are in. After another its grip is tighter, deeper and there’s absolutely no denying this is far and beyond the typical “death” release. There’s something here for everyone and this becomes clear as the album plays out. Doom weaves its way alongside the tendrils of an occasional cavernous aura which frolics with South American aggressive thrash, melody appears as if out of nowhere to levitate the intrigue and a diabolical essence seeps from out of the ether adding to the enjoyment. Let’s not forget, however, the epic closer; a maniacal arrangement with a second act. An exquisite Arabian themed tribal drum affair which hints at much more than merely a little (Black) Sabbath here and there in the bands past listening habits. Seek this out if you haven’t already!

Overkill – The Wings of War.jpg

Thrash
Overkill – The Wings of War
https://open.spotify.com/album/2IUZN5c0AVdrnQKfxdMaPK?autoplay=true&v=L

Paul On the other hand, I’m never really sure if I like thrash. I don’t dislike it so that’s something. But you know what? This album fucking kills. I don’t think I’ve ever used that phrase before but I’m pretty sure I want to listen to this album over and over again and cover my wall in this band’s posters and buy everything they’ve ever done.

CultA few moments in and I’m hit with as perplexing question. Why did I ever stop listening to Overkill? I wore out the Horrorscope cassette If any band is deserved of a place in the ‘Big 4’ now Metallica have ‘defected’ it’s this band and this album proves it. Trademarked “Blitz” vocals accompany incendiary rhythms which scream we’ve been doing this for years and we aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Add a Ramones -esque tribute to the bands home state (New Jersey), a touch of crossover, a handful of riffs which will have the mind reeling as to whom it reminds you of, a diverse lineup of tracks and you have an album that’s repeatable without complaint and sure to get the listener twitching with delight every time. For the record, this isn’t my favorite of the year, it’s close and damn enjoyable!

Arctic Sleep – Kindred Spirits.jpg

Doom
Arctic Sleep – Kindred Spirits 
https://arcticsleep.bandcamp.com/album/kindred-spirits

Paul I appreciate what they’re trying to do here and it’s an enjoyable enough listen but it’s not for me. It’s too emotional. I like to keep my emotions tightly wrapped up and locked away where I don’t have to think about them thanks very much.

CultAt times dreamy, often mesmerizing but always captivating, this runs into epic lengths and boasts a fluid nature which is outstanding. Occasionally it might put one in mind of a “light” November’s Doom. The vocals however are miles from what one might expect, with this in mind, not in the slightest “growly” they’re more on a par with tranquil Pink Floyd output, an aura this album also boasts in equal measure. Ideal for those nights when a blazing hearth is the only light in the room and one is bathing in the comfort of a self- induced haze (I’m not going to spell it out). This is an album you can lose yourself within, surprisingly it’s also radio-friendly. Shit, the wife (or significant other of choice) might even like this. Truth be told. It’s extremely difficult not to appreciate even if, like me, ‘extreme’ is your preferred audio arena of choice.

Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove.jpg

Death/Doom
Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove 
https://novembersdoom1989.bandcamp.com/album/nephilim-grove

Paul First of all, can somebody please explain to me why this band doesn’t have an apostrophe in its name? That aside, this doesn’t do much for me sorry. If you come around my house you can stick it on if you want. I won’t complain. I’ll enjoy it. But I won’t ask to borrow it.

CultAdmittedly It’s been a while since I’ve laid ear upon a release by these guys. However, I’m glad to report that trend has come to an end, and how. Shattering my preconceived notions Novembers Doom have utilized all the death/doom genre is known for them added their trademark thunderous rhythm approach, passionate vocal diversity and stupendous epic arrangements (which tug at even the most hardened of emotions) and have fashioned an album which delivers from start to finish. This is perhaps their finest work to date. Seriously, who can look upon the covers art and not be curious? Expect to find this upon many a year end list. It’s more than deserved!

Borknagar – True North

Black Metal
Borknagar – True North 
https://open.spotify.com/album/6rgxoXvmfe33dbnm8CdVlU

Paul You head true north and I’ll head true south and let’s keep it that way (*Ed – I’m guessing he didn’t like this one!)

Cult Hardly what I expected, though if truth be told I’ve little experience with the band, this is epic themed, melodic, emotional and irrefutably stylistically diverse. Boasting symphonic elements, intricate arrangements, a wide vocal range/approach and unmistakable progressive heavy metal leanings this is probably not for the casual black fan, or one who demands instant, primal raw, gratification but rather for one whose tastes run to audio which demands exploration through several immersive experiences. To be honest this might take several listens to fully appreciate. With that in mind this is far from horrid, just unexpected, one might even go say far as to state; “different”, at times bordering on Avant Garde. If Amorphis were a smidgen “blacker” in tone this might be close to the result.

werewolves in Siberia avatar

And, as a bonus a few words on a release featuring dominantly in Werewolves in Siberia’s ‘Best of 19’ List’
Voyag3r – War Mask
https://voyag3r.bandcamp.com/album/war-mask

Voyag3r - War Mask

Paul

CultAlthough the albums art, a bold image surrounded in what first appears to be flames, suggests the audio might belong to the metal arena, it surprisingly doesn’t. This is synth. Far from the usual/traditional this showcases both a drum and guitar accompaniment. The result; added depth and an epic audio narrative overflowing with intrigue, adventure (and all manner of audio which would typically accompany the type of on-screen action one would expect of an over the top dramatic cinematic affair) which successfully evokes a myriad of emotion and nostalgia. Effectively conjuring images from a slew of celebrated (usually for the wrong reason) features more often than not boasting a Goblin-esque score, and various television fodder from the 80’s, this gets the imagination reeling as the arrangements flow seamlessly. Rhythms are dynamic, smooth, smoky, suspenseful and occasionally drip in palpable sinister values. Transforming they slip over each other much like dialogue but more often akin to a montage scenario telling a story which doesn’t need words. Befitting a wide array of cinema ranging from Tarantino, Guy Richie, Bava and Fulci (seriously if this doesn’t make you think of Zombie Flesh Eaters at least once there could be something seriously amiss with your viewing habits) this boasts the potential to appeal to a huge audience, as it should. Honestly, if more soundtracks were of this quality my collection would be full of them. Forget your presumptions about the genre and dive into this with a mind willing to appreciate something other than the usual. I’ve played this more than a few times today, and I’m sure I will tomorrow.

 

Well, that was exhausting. Here’s raising a glass to another year with more of the same.

Cult

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses – Part Thirty – Eight

heavy metal santa

It’s that time of the year, again. The Year-End lists are in and it’s about the time that one realizes there’s so much (quality and otherwise) audio out there that the sheer prospect of getting to it all is damn near impossible. With that in mind this installment (the last of the year) will cover both the usual suspects and a few items plucked from a number of lists which especially intrigued me. This is a shorter than normal entry (praise the Gods!) on account of last-minute Holiday wot-not which begs for my attention (I’m expecting my bank to call me at some point today). Without further ado.

Bednja.jpg

Bednja – Doline Su Ostile Iza Nas
(Croatia)
Release – November/29/2019
Transcending Obscurity Records
https://bednjacroatia.bandcamp.com/album/doline-su-ostale-iza-nas-black-metal-hardcore
ARTWORK – 78

This image of a rotting bird carcass reminds me of a vintage Katatonia release (the name of which I forget, but not the impact) although grislier and without the purple filter.

FIRST TRACK – 78

Storm atmospherics dissolve in a dense wall of audio transpiring into a machine gun riff assault, a chaotic approach and angst by the truckload a package channeling sludge values and something more sinister still. An interesting concoction indeed!

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

A dense blanket of black metal sensibilities weighs down upon angst delivered with a hardcore vocal approach. Excellent drum salvos, synth supplied torn atmosphere elements, crows doing their thing adding to the overall atmosphere, heritage and traditional music introductions and passages which dip into trance and a style akin to that found within Somali Yacht Club territories add flavor and heighten the intrigue. But, it’s the audio itself and the mix of styles which one would think wouldn’t meld which oddly leaves the impression. And it’s one that lasts. This is a keeper which might not grab ahold instantly but will after time and begs to be replayed. Did I mention the lyrics are in the bands native tongue? It doesn’t matter it only makes this more curious audio still. A mix of crust, black metal and hardcore which demands discovery.

Favorite Tracks; Iz Magle, Posljednji Krik, Tisnia Je Smrt.

FFO; I’m at a loss of who to mention here, just lay ears upon this already!

deathswarm

And as Promised, An End of Year List Recc
Deathswarm – Shadowlands of Darkness
(Sweden)
Release – February/25/2019
Chaos Records/Phychocontrol Records
https://deathswarm-chaos-records.bandcamp.com/album/shadowlands-of-darkness
ARTWORK – 76

At first this looks raw and primitive, an old school near indecipherable chaotic black and white mass. But upon closer inspection figures appear and faces, skulls and horses. This could well be the secret entrance to the cave of the four horsemen or perhaps just an ancient cliff with a hole blown in the side of it which No one has managed to traverse the heights of, that is, until these intrepid fellows.

FIRST TRACK – 84

One would need to be deaf, or supremely ignorant, to not hear the influences on display here. The hooks and rhythms are criminally familiar yet the track has enough movement to make one think of a slew of acts (who admittedly aren’t too different from one another) rather than a single one and imagine how an acts more famous output might sound if some of the members had migrated from different bands around at the same time.

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

Drenched in old school values and a tone which is both HM2 worship and British dirge, ala Bolt Thrower, and the slightest mist of black metal this offers a great to like, and instantly! Bouncing from criminally addictive mid-tempo D-beat/industrial/grindcore groove to slower doomier tracks riddled with undeniable presence, palpable sinister nature and soul-crushing melodies this ironically boasts that which many albums of similar ilk are without. In essence, a wicked amalgamation of that which permeated, in heavy rotation, the senses of wickedly smirking extreme audiophiles a few decades ago but with an added fierceness in just the right amount. Homage if you will but with added flair, style and sound fans will be able to instantly appreciate without regret. I’ll be spinnin’ this a great deal in the foreseeable future!

Favorite Tracks; Honestly, this doesn’t disappoint from start to finish!

FFO; Carnage, (vintage) Dismember, (vintage) Grave, Bolt Thrower, Gatecreeper.

nox irae

NOX IRAE – Here the Dead Live (EP)
(France)
Release – November/15/2019
Transcending Obscurity Records
https://noxiraedeath.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 79

A Gothic staircase and like surroundings complete with a person in a sheet (climbing its gradient). Or, is it? Could this be a ghost in a sheet with a sense of humor. Is he/she clocking in or out? I appreciate the irony on display.

FIRST TRACK – 80

Commencing with a vomited like a hell-bent projectile pace this grabs the attention quick and holds it with a mixture of old school sensibilities, a touch of grindcore, dense atmosphere and surprising rhythms. A good start.

INITIAL LISTEN – 76

Thrashy melodic death with a dark dense aura and an old school European vocal approach. Infectious rhythms and a hint of black metal and hardcore influence amidst mid-tempo breakdowns make for an intriguing album, with maniacal moments that make one think upon old Slayer and others instances where one will think upon bands which perpetrate the dirge laden steamroller approach. This offers more on a second listen basis, but remains formulaic in instances.

Favorite Tracks; Phantom Parasite Trauma, Cold Wind, Supposed Dead.

FFO; Benediction, Bolt Thrower, (vintage) Slayer.

Superstition

Another End of Year List Recc
Superstition – The Anatomy of Unholy Transformation
(USA)
Release – June/21/2019
20 Buck Spin
https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/the-anatomy-of-unholy-transformation
ARTWORK – 93

I’m a sucker for black and white imagery and this has to be some of the year’s most impressive. Detailed yet seething with a raw nature this sports a Grim Reaper figure illuminated from on high going about his duties of turning unfortunates into shadows of their former selves. (Why is there no shirt available? I feel silly as I recently dropped a huge hint to the wife.)

FIRST TRACK – 94

Combining Synth, a score seemingly plucked from a European cult gem (circa the early eighties), palpable diabolical nature and various grunts, growls and unholy issuances this has my intrigue wrapped up bordering on unhealthy smothering/suffocation. Then the maelstrom of riffs commences and my face is torn asunder by a mischievous grin. The vocals add to the cavernous depth and I’m eager for more.

INITIAL LISTEN – 93

And to think this nearly passed me by. Admittedly it was the black and white imagery (and a mention on a social media post comparing this to the heights of Tomb Mold and Blood Incantation, neither of which I liked, apparently as much as I was supposed to) which pulled me in. However, it’s the arrangements, the aura, the supreme coalescing of maniacal, diabolical, old school and cavernous elements which makes the (“no time to slow down, this is gonna hurt”) impact. Riffs are furious, fierce and tumble over each other with rhythms leaning more towards a constant barrage than that heard within the albums from the two acts mentioned previously. The aura and atmosphere between tracks remind me in part, albeit minuscule, of Entombed “Left Hand Path” with undeniable and unmistakable homage to celluloid boasting invocative synth accompaniment from decades previous. Relentless, often harrowing and part nostalgic (this fondly tosses me back to the first time I laid ears upon “Altars of Madness” and the foreign emotions which coursed through my largely unsuspecting form). This crosses all the right boxes without veering too far into over the top realms, in short, a delicious combination of filthy tone, unholy rhythms, sinister riffs which combined superimpose Underworld menace over that which is everyday familiar. Consider this a last minute, just made it, years best entry. The appeal of this is downright sinful.

Favorite Tracks; Distracting, in the best possible way, from start to finish.

FFO; Tomb Mold, Morbid Angel, Incantation.

gatecreeper deserted

Another End of Year List Recc
Gatecreeper – Deserted
(USA)
Release – October/4/2019
Relapse Records
https://gatecreeper.bandcamp.com/album/deserted
ARTWORK – 90

Intricate, detailed and fascinating. A veritable pallet of colors which seem like they shouldn’t go together but do. The more you concentrate the more thoughts, and the idea that either the artist is brilliant or mad, run rampant through the head in regards to what this might represent. I’d buy the shirt but I’d fear that my washing machine and dryer would inevitably consume the image that or the dry cleaners bill would cripple me.

FIRST TRACK – 85

A slow build to a mid-tempo huge riff rhythm. But the filthiness of the tone is delicious, the old school aura unmistakable and the groove enough to have the neck contract a mild case of carpal tunnel.

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

The Stockholm sound but from the States? That’s my fairest assessment, as sadly my lexicon is rather lackluster this morning, but add a handful of other influences (Celtic Frost comes across occasionally like a chunk of mortar to the forehead) and the album offers both nostalgic qualities and enough groove to set any dance floor on fire (what?) The transformation in pace is spot on and although rhythms put one (most?) in mind of either Entombed or Dismember, perhaps even Gorguts in instances Gatecreeper wrangle arrangements away from plagiarist realms to homage territories adding their own creative fingerprint to delight the eager senses. An excellent combination of death/doom/old school and HM2 worship this rightfully is dividing the audience. Personally, I’m in the can’t get enough collective as it reminds me of both vintage British death (vocal cadence wise) as well the European sound with the obvious dirge/’buzzsaw’ elements. This is hitting the spot! Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Deserted, Puncture Wounds, Sweltering Madness,

FFO; Entombed, Carnage, Celtic Frost, Bolt Thrower, Fleshcrawl, Revel in Flesh.

holiday drumming animal.gif

PRRRESSEEEEENNNNTTTSSS!!

And that concludes this years Abrasive Audio offerings. I hope you’ve all had fun (all two of you) and I hope I’ve at least mentioned a few acts which have left an impression. A huge thanks for letting my atrocious grammar swim before the startled retinas. All that remains are Holiday greetings and salutations for the New Year (insert wickedly devilish meme or gif here) Be safe, cherish those who are close and don’t forget to preach the word of metal to all who wish to care. Until next our paths of audio interest meet, don’t fear that which is normally foreign to the ears.

Your slave to audio extreme,

Cult

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses Part 37

headbangin metalhead

As the year draws to a close, I must come to the realization that there’s a whole bunch of tunage warranting discovery that’ll I won’t get to. Perhaps next year when the cycle begins anew? But for now, in this installment, I’ll concentrate on releases which have been unleashed within these past twelve months.

intoxicate

Intoxicate – Cross Contamination
(Sweden)
Release – November/15/2019
Downfall Records
Against PR
https://downfallrecords.bandcamp.com/album/cross-contamination
ARTWORK – 66

At first glance I thought this image depicted a glowing sword plunged into the planet. I don’t believe it is, but rather a vial of some kind dispensing a dastardly vile concoction to pollute the planets air (am I close? I’m not sure but it sounds better than “a sword in the planet”) This is utterly 90’s in its overall vibe, nevertheless I remain intrigued.

Mattias (Intoxicate’s vocalist) commented, adding;

I just wanted to comment on your take on the “Cross Contamination” cover. You are close :). It actually is “a sword in a planet”, sort of. First, the album title should, of course, be interpreted as “the cross contaminates”, which then points to the green contaminant leaking into the planet. Second, Christianity, as a religion, has a history of war and violence to gather influence and power, hence the sword. Third, the “sword in a planet” should be interpreted as a globus cruciger, which is a part of many christian countries’ royal regalia and a general christian symbol of power. Last, I’m happy that the 90’s vibe shines through. That’s thrash for me, a bit obvious in it’s cultural expression and incorporating social commentary.

Now I feel silly, not in the slightest offended, but truly honored that the band actually took the time to read this, comment and appreciate my thoughts.

FIRST TRACK – 84

Not knowing what to expect though reading that Intoxicate were one of, if not, the first thrash bands in Sweden I’ll admit I had expectations. But I’m pleased to say they were met. This is old school energetic thrash which attains face melting pace in instances though gets there at a controlled rate rather than all-out speed instantly for gratification and speeds sake. A great opener that’ll perk the interest of the thrash aficionado and newcomer alike.

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

Sporting dynamic rhythms, clever, exciting, arrangements and a fluidity resulting from experience and a myriad of influence, originating from the roots of the scene, there’s no denying that these guys know exactly what they’re doing, although I find it puzzling that this is their first full-length in so many years. Stylistically this covers a wide swath of the thrash arena from earlier Anthrax output to mosh pit-inducing Exodus pace to the gruff, heavily accented, vocal approach and melody of Amon Amarth and a fair few in-between. This has the potential to appeal to a wide audience. A quality album which offers a great deal to grin about, an album I will revisit.

Favorite Tracks; Caravan of Hate, Cross Contamination, Eyes Unwilling, Posthumous Posthuman,

FFO; Exodus, Amon Amarth.

cattle decapitation.jpg

Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas
(USA)
Release – November/29/2019
Metal Blade Records
https://cattledecapitation.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 92

Time is running out and Atlas, brandishing a scythe like our good ole friend the Grim Reaper, is about done. This screams a message which is more than clear to all and should come as no surprise to those accustomed to the message the band perpetrates, and have for years.

FIRST TRACK – 93

Like a scene plucked from Blade Runner or an alternate future reality scribbled upon in many a dystopian novel, the introduction encapsulates a myriad of (audio) news clippings portent the planets demise. Once it climaxes one is hit with unmitigated intensity courtesy of blast beats, hyper speed fretwork and Travis Ryan’s vicious throat issuances. This is quite unlike that which I have experienced before from under the bands stable, I’m left open-mouthed and in shock. To be Frank this is quite the opener and I’m dripping (yes, that kind of excited) with anticipation for the remainder of the album.

INITIAL LISTEN – 93

Prog/tech/grind/brutal death you can call this what you will but there’s no argument that this is inhumanely crafted with both precision and intelligence. A part of me believes the style has changed somewhat (although my experience with the bands output is inadequate to state such a thing) accommodating that which sounds more like Strapping Young Lad in the “City” album albeit with a speed which puts rocket powered devices (does Granma’s “Man toy” drill attachment count?) to shame. Regardless, the audio herein is akin to an injection of adrenaline to the system, this makes the listener want to move with the same excited intensity of a monkey who’s just learned he is about to inherit a banana plantation. Like an amorphous entity the music shifts from one stylistic element to another with an effortless fluidity which is stunning to behold. Progressive passages meld with technical prowess and a pace which varies dramatically throughout both the album and every track making for a listening experience to please those with discernible tastes and those with open minds. I’ll admit the band was rather hit and miss for me before now but with this between the ears my opinion upon them has flipped ass over tit and my appreciation for them has blossomed. No matter one’s opinion of what the band preaches, though it getting easier and easier to see their point of view, there’s no argument that this is a release which will carve a great many grins across the vast extreme audio landscape.

Favorite Tracks; stunning from start to finish, my digits refuse to mention one from an album which has left such an impact from the very first listen.

FFO: Strapping Young Lad, Dying Fetus, Aborted, Benighted, Strapping Young Lad.

chamber of torture.jpg

Chamber of Torture – Necrodomain
(Russia)
Release – November/ 15/2019
Eclectic Productions
Grand Sounds PR
https://chamberoftorture.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 64

I’m not even sure what I’m looking at to be honest, is this a dead body sprayed over with graffiti? Props however must be given to the band for taking the gamble to go against the traditional flow of posting a grotesque image be it comic imagery or realism upon their cover.

FIRST TRACK – 83

With zero introduction, other than vocals and a slow pace rather than a piano, classical silliness or synth created atmosphere, this track makes an impression. It picks up pace around the mid-way point and earns the key to the city of Groovesville.  Rhythms are dangerously addictive and accompanied by the Barnes (early Cannibal Corpse) esque vocal approach the combination is one which’ll make the limbs twitch without consent. A great start from an act I haven’t been introduced to until now.

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

Sludgy, mid-paced old school madness complete with occasional atmosphere and a slight injection of diabolical presence. Far from technical this is more akin to ‘meat and potatoes’ style, old school death, but it makes an impression, keeps the attention until the last note based on its blunt waste little time approach and makes the listener want to move with the undeniable groove it showcases throughout.

Favorite Tracks; Shriveled Stump, Necrocarnage Spree, Degenerated, Consecrated Ground, Human Fertilizer.

FFO; Cannibal Corpse, Jungle Rot.

Revel in Flesh

Revel in Flesh – The Hour of the Avenger
(Germany)
Release – December/6/2019
War Anthem Records
https://war-anthem-records.bandcamp.com/album/the-hour-of-the-avenger
ARTWORK – 85

There’s truly archaic about this image. Drenched in a crimson filter it depicts a cloaked skeleton of sorts overseeing a domain about to feel his wrath. He comes complete with a wicked looking scythe am I therefore to assume he is the Reaper?

FIRST TRACK – 92

There’s Swedish death and then there’s this (although they are from Germany). A wicked cross of MK2, the old trusted influences, and an undeniable injection of “Storm of the Lights Bane” Dissection and… something else which is quite undefinable yet blistering in its (instant jaw hitting the dirt) impact.

INITIAL LISTEN – 94

Boasting a collection of tracks with a slew of stylistic ambiance this album offers a great deal to enjoy. Comforting in its nostalgic familiarity yet seething with an air of superiority. One thinks fondly upon Swedish metal of decades past and this is that but reimagined, polished and slathered with playful menace, melancholy with a production which slays. It doesn’t get better than this folks. I don’t know where Revel in Flesh have been between albums. I only wonder if there’s a location someplace in a remote mountainous region whereupon enigmatic Monks strip one of everything they know only then reeducate one (in the most mysterious ways imaginable) in the true path of Godly extreme audio. For this really is that good!

Favorite Tracks; From start to finish this is orgasmic ear candy, nuff said!

FFO; Dissection, Sortregn, Dismember, Unleashed, Entombed, Nocturnal Hollow, Grave, LIK, Swallow the Sun, Be’lakor.

abeyance

Abeyance – Portraits of Mankind (EP)
(Italy)
Release – November/27/2019
Sliptrick Records
Grand Sounds PR
https://abeyance.bandcamp.com/releases
ARTWORK – 67

A serene landscape boasting a trio of alabaster faces in the foreground and a bird (?) drinking from a puddle. This is admittedly kind of strange, an image which begs for dissection. A dissertation which I’m thinking would include the use of the word ‘emotion’ ad nauseum.  And this really doesn’t give much away in relation to the audio within. Here goes nothing; hitting play.

FIRST TRACK – 81

Dynamic riffage and fluid arrangements which are constantly evolving. Part thrash, part melodic death and part progressive with a somewhat harsh vocal accompaniment. This is a fantastic start from an act with something to prove, and they’re going about it the right way based on the caliber of this track alone, on this their first recorded outing.

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

This is not what I was expecting from the cover’s art. It is however a collection of tunes which keeps the listener interested, a certain familiarity becomes apparent as the album unfolds although it isn’t glaring and doesn’t put one in mind of the act taking from another in order to garner attention. The rhythms are unpredictable and energetic. Ranging from dreamy progressive interludes and classical introductions to faster paced all-out melodic thrash/death passages the album bears a certain diversity which isn’t at all overwhelming but rather fluid and easily acceptable on account of how well the music is pieced together. This is quite the feat admittedly from an act with little history behind them. A youthful vibrancy shines throughout, a pleasing, smirk inducing, ambience, a freshness with an aura which tips the hat to genre standouts of the past, which bodes well for the act’s future. And, if this is any indication of what’s on the horizon expect to hear a great deal more of their name in the near future.

Favorite Tracks; Portrait of Mankind, In Falsehood Dominion, Innerscape,

FFO; Dark Tranquility, Soilwork, In Flames, Paladin.

putrid coffin.jpg

Putrid Coffin -Desecrated Tombs (EP)
(Chile)
Release – March/14/2019
La Cripta Metal Shop
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKMtkRjyuAk
ARTWORK – 79

Something is afoot in the graveyard. Candles, romantic music and a fella with a hankering for sexy times with a beauty with no pulse.

FIRST TRACK – 89

A storm in the background, a shovel (in the foreground) a coyote howls to signal a spot of open grave mischief. Then an exquisite old school tone ala early Barney Napalm Death, more groove than one can count on both hands (no matter how big) and a rhythm which is ungodly infectious part grindcore, part brutal mid-tempo death madness. A stunning start to get those into vintage extreme audio schnanigans in the mood.

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

Part infernal menace, part grindcore, part blackened death with the entire mixture blanketed in rhythms which are unfathomably inciteful. Chaotic rumbling riffs, drum salvos which are hard to ignore and a vocal style which is instantly acceptable. It’s safe to say this crawled from the very depths (under cover of night) to bring me to my knees in appreciation (get that mind outta the gutter!) Here’s hoping others noticed this release’s ‘might’ also. This isn’t melodic in the traditional sense, it isn’t pretty, but it hits hard and leaves a mark!

Favorite Tracks; Hypnotic from start to finish.

FFO; Terrorizer, early Morbid Angel.

extinction.jpg

Extinction – The Apocalypse Mark
(Italy)
Release – October/18/2019
Revalue Records
https://extinction2.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 75

“Alright. Has everyone got the new iPhone? Let’s sync”… “Did I mention your soul is now owned by a huge conglomerate and…me?”

A darkly humorous take on the “Number of the Beast” from a Biblical “End of Times” standpoint.

FIRST TRACK – 81

The albums newsreel introduction is the gist of the album. An intriguing and scary insight into where technology is taking us and the similarities to that foretold in the Bible. The first track is crunchy, no fills thrash with a somewhat simplistic mid-tempo rhythm which is hard to ignore. Accompanied by growled vocals the product is one on the thrash/death fence and makes for a fantastic attention grabber to prime one for the audio to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN – 78

Energetic thrash rhythms and fantastic leads. A familiar sound but these guys make it their own with enough movement and excitement to keep the intrigue level elevated. Fans of thrash/death will want to lay ears upon this and those missing an act of similar ilk, Dethklok, will want to add this to their collection.

Favorite Tracks; The Apocalypse Mark, No Crime in Paradise, Staged Terror Attacks.

FFO; Malevolent Creation, Jungle Rot, Sodom, Six Feet Under, Dethklok.

crest of darkness.jpg

Crest of Darkness – The God of Flesh
(Norway)
Release – December/6/2019
My Kingdom Music
https://crestofdarkness.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 84

A corpse painted individual sacrificing a damsel against an alien skull backdrop and a crimson cloth which boasts apparently near endless dimensions. Gothic elements collide head on with blackened metal qualities, I am curious indeed!

FIRST TRACK – 91

Speed encrusted Blackened metal with ‘force of nature’ vocals and a delightful touch of crust. A damn impressive audio concoction to be sure! Be prepared for this will yank you from what you’re currently doing and toss you into a maelstrom of viciousness. An excellent start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

Following the initial couple of tracks the album takes a dive into diverse territories to showcase a variety of styles one probably wouldn’t expect, especially based on the first two tracks on offer. A fan of their previous work might have an idea of where the band might take the listener but as a virgin to their audio I’m rather taken aback. Doom sensibilities collide with speed metal, heavy metal and a touch of Avant Garde and sometimes all in a single track. Injected synth passages (in the track “Forgotten” which display cult celluloid influences and Fulci esque touches) elevate this into realms unquestionably unclassifiable. The mixture might put a few traditionalists off but for those willing to give this a few listens with an open mind it blossoms into an exciting, unpredictable, menacing audio experience enveloped in an undeniable Gothic presence which might often make you reminisce on vintage metal albeit with a sinister accompaniment. Keep an open mind, leave your assumptions at the door and this will be a listen you’ll want to discover again and again.

Favorite Tracks; The God of Flesh, The Child With no Head, Salvation in Hell.

FFO; Rebel Wizard, Emperor, Ancient.

abigail williams.jpg

Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond the Dark
(Finland/USA)
Release – November/15/2019
Blood Music
https://blood-music.bandcamp.com/album/walk-beyond-the-dark
ARTWORK – 92

Although I feel like I’ve seen this image before, many a time, this still fascinates me and serves as an outstanding doom-laden accompaniment to any album with atmospheric tendencies in the extreme audio spectrum.

FIRST TRACK – 91

Epic and somewhat experimental within what many perceive as the black metal style. But don’t let that put you off, this overflows with atmosphere and majesty with plenty of nods to that which is termed ‘traditional’, even though the genre is fractured into as many shards as a vintage vase falling from an unsteady grasp. A brilliant introduction to the album and the band itself (for me). This leaves me unfathomably eager for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

Hypnotizing from beginning to end this utilizes both traditional and non-traditional means to attain the heights which it transports its gob-stricken listeners. Violins as well numerous other classical instruments accompany guitars and a somewhat black/death vocal approach accompaniment as the album whisks its audience away to realms which one might expect under the guise and camouflage of “black metal”. Beauty cavorts with viciousness and black metal sensibilities frolic with folk, doom, progressive and even the occasional traditional heavy metal element to form an ocean of atmosphere which like the nature of water itself is harrowing, melancholic and ferocious. The whole is utterly palpable in its effectiveness. Prepare to have your pre conceived notions of the genre shattered. I honestly had no idea this is what the band offered in terms of audio lest I would have subscribed to their output many moons ago. Expect to see this upon many a #YearEndList.

Favorite Tracks; mesmerizing from start to finish, it would be unfair to mention merely a handful of tracks when the album plays at such an elevated level such as this.

FFO; Uada, Wayfarer, (newer) Dark Throne, Opeth, Amorphis, Swallow the Sun.

condemned to dream

Condemned to Dream – Black Emerald Cold
(USA)
Release – November/22/2019
Ancient Mythos Entertainment
https://condemnedtodream.bandcamp.com/releases
https://open.spotify.com/album/7N2t0jQluDzxKUW1phHvBk?autoplay=true&v=L
ARTWORK – 78

Something is in the water. Although what, exactly, is unclear. Something ancient.

FIRST TRACK – 73

Crashing death core riffs atop a bed of pummeling drums and a cavalcade of hooks sure to grab the attention. Sweeping melodic breaks are a great touch accompanied by vocals with considerable angst. A good start that’s not what I was expecting, this is a tad closer to death core than death based on the first track. However, it’s utterly listenable.

INITIAL LISTEN – 76

I’m pleased to see that these guys are from my old stomping ground; Tucson, Az. With that being said I’ll try to remain unbiased. These guys have been busy; this is their second full-length this year. With a style which includes forays into melodic waters, vocals with angst and passages akin to what most assume death core offers this sounds like another run of the mill, every day, release. I’m glad to state this isn’t. There’s a quality here which is undeniable, a flow and professionalism which sets this apart from the herd. It’s surprisingly infectious and sports rhythms which traverse both melodic and death core territories, and even on occasion touch upon a style akin to Slam. Although aggressive in overall feel the feel is that which many discovering the genre can easily appreciate and those already deep within its grasp will have no problems appreciating.

Keep an ear out for these folks, with a dedication and quality such as theirs I expect great things on the horizon.

Favorite Tracks; The Yawning Depths Inside, The World Offered, Lost, Before the Altar of Victims and Fools.

FFO; Black Dahlia Murder, Arsis, At the Gates.

fleshcrawl.jpg

Fleshcrawl – Into the Catacombs of Flesh
(Germany)
Release – November/29/2019
Apostasy Records
https://fleshcrawl.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-catacombs-of-flesh
ARTWORK – 72

Yea, I think I took a wrong turn. I was looking for the bathroom, which this definitely isn’t.

There’s no confusion as to what manner if audio is encapsulated here. Unless of course you were brought here by mistake. Then there’s little hope. Prepare to enter the catacombs of extreme audio.

FIRST TRACK – 84

Undeniably (Gothenburg) Swedish in tone and executed with passion with enough bounce to have one pinging from one side of the room to the other in absolute glee. The production thus far allows each instrument to breathe, there’s definite menace and presence here. The drums are at the forefront of the mix, like a sinister wizard with diabolical intent to enthrall the audience. I’m hooked already.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

Fleshcrawl are back! Their last full length, “Structures of Death”, was released in 2007. Channeling “Massive Killing Capacity” era Dismember and a dirge which brings to mind the best of Bolt Thrower while boasting more pronounced D-beat, crust elements and less ‘clean’ melodies the band have carved an album sporting stellar production (heavy on the drums giving it that desired oomph) which is instantly welcomed with eager ears. Hardly classed as homage since they’ve been around since 87′ though under different monikers (which both had to be changed as they were both monikers of acts “Morgoth” and “Suffocation”, with renowned reputations) this is a reinvigorated upgrade. A Fleshcrawl for the coming decade offering up the classic Swedish MK2 sound with a freshness for the next generation to cherish as their parents did before them.

If you’ve yet to take the plunge into the Swedish side of death this is a great place to get the feet wet.

Favorite Tracks; Delivers throughout, it’s extremely hard to pick only a few to praise.

FFO; Dismember, Vomitory, Entombed, Nocturnal Hollow, LIK.

memoriam a requiem

Memoriam – Requiem for Mankind
(United Kingdom)
Release – June/21/2019
Nuclear Blast Records
https://willettsio.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 91

Dan Seagraves up to his old archaic mastery eye-widening antics. Nuff said!

FIRST TRACK – 88

Instantly recognizable as Karl Willetts and the sound he’s come to be associated with; an industrial steamroller devastation dirge which has influenced eager musicians the world over. My heads a noddin’ and I’m unceremoniously tossed back many a year to when I originally laid ears upon an album which changed my listening habits dramatically from that moment forth. I don’t honestly know why it’s taken this long to lay ears upon this!

INITIAL LISTEN – 92

The logical progression from “Those Once Loyal” for fans of the legendary Bolt Thrower. This shows Memoriam taking the style to another level, leaps and bounds from their last effort. Injecting the whole shebang with undeniable presence, interwoven veins of ominous melody and passages of groove that which will make the torso move of its own accord. But that’s not all, not by miles. The style itself has been upgraded (taken to a secret facility for a full body upgrade ‘comic book style’ bonus points if you can name the two characters which I’m thinking of) not merely (if it ever was merely just that!) a genius creation of dirge/crust/grindcore now, this is a beast of many facets, a creation to influence a whole new breed of musicians. The album only gets better as it progresses. With an album of a quality such as this the metal community is left stunned and probably pondering where do Karl and crew take us next? Bravo.

#BestofBritish I’m thankful to see my fellow countrymen leading the charge yet again (pun intended).

Favorite Tracks; Shell Shock, Never the Victim, Refuse to be Led, Requiem for Mankind,

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Death Kommando, Origin.

Animal - music is meant for sharing

And you shouldn’t… great music is meant to be shared!

This concludes another entry in the ongoing Abrasive Audio series and I already have my sights set on a slew of releases which came out this year to be included in the next installment. But there’s still so many to explore, obviously I won’t get to them all but that’s what #BestofYear lists are for. And I’ve already started to post a few of those, in preparation for my own (if the “event” ever happens).

Until next our paths of audio interest meet, fear not discovery of that which would normally be foreign to the senses.

Cult

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses – Part 35

headbangin gif

 

It never stops, and for that I’m thankful. Bathe in the all-consuming nature of metal, but let us not forget the cleansing properties of water, as personal hygiene is always important and much like most of the audio under scrutiny here also highly recommended.

 

SIJJIN – Angel of the Eastern Gate

Sijjin

(Germany)
Release – November/13/2019 (on cassette format)
Sepulchral Voice
https://sijjin.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 68

Obviously biblical in tone this imagery depicts an angel (a seraphim?) directing traffic in the heavens much to the dismay of a pleading pedestrian. Admittedly I’m not a scholar of religious texts and this has deeper meaning, but it’s lost on me.

FIRST TRACK – 78

With an introduction sporting undeniable (Slayer) Hell Awaits evocation qualities, though in a rawer more mischievous form, one would hope that the scene is set. And they wouldn’t be disappointed. Combining diabolical fretboard wizardry, raw flesh-shredding pace, a tight skin pounding salvo and vocals which could well be a part of the Underworlds daily soundtrack Sijjin have managed to forge audio which is unmistakably familiar but only in part rarely together as heard here.

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

Wicked vokills, raw speed and an undeniable archaic maniacal nature. Is this blackened thrash, blackened speed or Deathrash? It matters not, as the fact remains and cannot be ignored that the combination of a variety of influences makes for an infectious experience indeed which is quite unlike that which many, in their endeavors to outdo everyone else while cramming all manner of differing styles into their audio, are perpetrating today. Desire audio dripping in old school values and lyrics upon all manner of ancient shenanigans with a pace you can snap your neck to? I believe I have a little something you can wrap yer’ ears around.

Favorite Tracks; Angel of the Eastern Gate, Trine Immersion, Remnants of Cambrian Evil.

FFO; (vintage) Morbid Angel, (vintage) Possessed, (vintage) Sodom, (early) Incubus.

Neolith

Neolith – I Am the Way
(Poland)
Release – November/22/2019
Mythrone Promotion
https://neolith1.bandcamp.com/album/igne-natura-renovabitur-integra
https://open.spotify.com/artist/3A3B1SfE0yc9BbknE8gldi?autoplay=true&v=A
ARTWORK – 74

A dizzying number of steps leading to an archaic structure bathed in mystery and drenched in dried crimson (or is that how aged sandstone normally appears?) which all unquestionably emanates an ominous presence and an air of sinister. This isn’t audio of a Gospel nature of that I’m sure. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 77

Portentous doom building to a mid-paced unrelenting militaristic death assault. Oozing with maniacal properties, unrelenting narrative elements and a potential cataclysmic air, this is intriguing indeed.

INITIAL LISTEN – 80

Blackened death boasting a myriad of pace (ranging from slower atmospheric heavy passages, occasional but rare groove passages to blasting speed) which are often hypnotic in their rhythm, though familiar in tone this remains a solid effort from an act who have somehow managed to slip under the radar while providing that which fans of the blackened death style (emphasis on ‘black’ rather than ‘death’) will be able to easily appreciate.

Favorite Tracks; Ask and Thou Shalt Receive, In the Name of Umamu, Let the Heavens Rejoice, Wanderer Who Bestows.

FFO; Behemoth, Hate, Noctem, (early) Septic Flesh.

obscure album

Obscure – Darkness Must Prevail
(Spain)
Release – November/5/2019
Xtreem Music
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/darkness-must-prevail
ARTWORK – 76

The imagery here reminds me of Uncle Frank from the original Hellraiser film. Although here “he” seems more down with nature rather than having to hide in a basement in wait for nourishment.

FIRST TRACK – 68

Bludgeoning riffs and groove tainted mid-paced rhythms. Add a dirgey tone and this sounds all too familiar. Admittedly this is a tad formulaic but it still bears a certain something to keep the digits from the eject button.

INITIAL LISTEN – 72

Mid paced chuggery abounds. Thankfully there’s more to this than merely steamroller riffs and driving percussion. Doom passages aid mid paced madness, ominous atmosphere is plentiful and there’s enough diversity in the vocal department to keep this interesting (there’s little more annoying than vocals which do not change tone, cadence or pace throughout an album). On the whole this fits comfortably in genre parameters made famous by the likes of those listed below with only the occasional deviance into arenas shrouded more in doom sensibilities than groove-encrusted death.

Recommended for fans of melodic brutal death with dirge undertones.

Favorite Tracks; Darkness Must Prevail, Afterlife, Through Self-Repulsion, Sunk into Oblivion.

FFO; Unleashed, Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Jungle Rot.

warsenal

Warsenal – Feast Your Eyes
(Canada)
Release -November/15/2019
Svart Records
https://warsenal.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x66AX7Yku0A (only because it isn’t on Bandcamp… yet)
ARTWORK – 84

As a gorehound and cult movie fan this has my attention. Obviously reminiscent of the uglier side of European cinema from the 80’s this, I can only hope, hints at audio of the same nature. Fingers crossed.

FIRST TRACK – 80

An unexpected folksy introduction opens the doors to a technical speed metal assault, galloping rhythms, breakneck speed and slower more intricate passages dipped in values of an undeniable NWOBHM nature. The vocals are venomous and of the style one might expect based on the albums art. A combination which might take some getting used to but has managed to grow on me over the course of this track.

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

In moments one could well imagine this is what Destruction (Germany) might have sounded like if they’d have spent more time listening to NWOBHM. The vocal style is at times eerily similar, the music is often face-melting fast though imbued with undeniable traditional heavy metal elements and even on occasion a tone likened to crossover thrash. As a whole the album is neither “this” nor “that” but rather a stunning smorgasbord of styles combined with expert cohesion plucked with reverence from a myriad of genres. This is sure to appeal to a wide swath of the metal community, both veterans and newcomers alike, this only gets infinitely better after the initial listen.

Favorite Tracks; Lords of Rifftown, Insatiable Hunger, You Better Run.

FFO; Blitzkrieg, Exciter, Venom, Whipstriker, (early) Voivod, (early) Iron Maiden.

A Break in our Regular Broadcast for something a Little Different

Vampyromorpha - Herzog

Vampyromorpha – Herzog
(Germany)
Release – November/29/2019
MDD RECORDS
https://vampyromorpha.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0-qCassrZo (“Darkness Whore” official lyric video)
Against PR
ARTWORK – 82

“The influence of Lovecraft is strong in this one. Hungry they look, out of here in a hurry I am.”

Ed* Thanks Yoda.

FIRST TRACK – 83

Undeniably Gothic synth layered in a criminally infectious guitar riff grabs the attention. The lyrical accompaniment grows over time. The hooks and undeniably catchy nature have the attention leaving me eager for more. This isn’t what I was expecting based on the art and against my initial prejudice it is actually rather listenable. A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

Admittedly, this is a little different than that which I normally listen to. It bears a radio-friendly vibe as well a uniqueness which is impressive and wholly important in order to stand out. A Gothic nature (all one has to do is take a peek at the albums track listing), Southern groove and passion alongside hard rock sensibilities (including soaring solos), a rough vocal approach which oddly fits and a willingness to experiment this might normally be something I’d avoid (having seen the description) but in this instance and with the composition caliber showcased here I’m in for the long haul. Although this occasionally dips into ultra-melodic realms it remains intriguing throughout and is most likely to fit nicely in the ‘guilty pleasures’ folder of those whose daily audio is drenched in nature extreme. Go into this with zero prejudice and you’ll tappin’ the foot and noddin’ the head within no time.

Favorite Tracks; Darkness Whore, Waiting and Die, The Dead Walk Home Alone at Night, Witchliker.

FFO; Seether, HellYeah, White Zombie

ankhara

Ankhara – Sinergia
(Spain)
Release – September/18/2019
Fighter Records
https://fighter-records.bandcamp.com/album/sinergia
ARTWORK – 75

When Man and machine combine to produce something ‘altogether’ better. That is only an example of “Sinergia”. And this illustration depicts what it may look like (and makes me think this might be audio of a thrash/speed metal nature). But, what does it sound like? I’m beginning to think I’m about to find out.

FIRST TRACK – 88

Driving rhythms with a speed/heavy metal edge (at times bringing to mind Randy Rhodes Ozzy-era guitar wizardry) accompanied by Halford esque vocals (highly reminiscent of a track from “Painkiller” whose title escapes me). A stunning way to start the proceedings. Did I mention the vocals are in Spanish? It matters not, this kicks arse. Admittedly this isn’t the usual audio to be found between my ears, but I’m diggin it.

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

I’ll admit I was a little thrown by the first track, however each thereafter is different, unique in their own exciting way ( I bypassed the live tracks I’m rarely a fan of live material). Showcasing passionate rhythms, galloping riffs and dynamic, high energy, percussion there are zero dull moments here to be discovered. The style varies and brings to mind a plethora of acts some more distinct than others as the album unfolds. Regardless of the fact that the lyrics are in Spanish their presence still adds significant power and emotion to the music. If your interests lay more in hard rock than death, black or grindcore this is where you’ll want to rest your ears for a while.

Favorite Tracks; Te Toca Sufrir, Suena, Libertad, Tu Ultima Vez.

FFO; Judas Priest, Queensreiche, Hammerfall, Wolfsbane, Primal Fear, Skid Row, Helloween.

Back to Our Regular Scheduled Broadcast

hviel I kaos

Hvile I Kaos (which translates to “Rest in Chaos” in Norwegian) – Black Morning, Winter Green
(USA)
Release – December/6/2019
Red Nebula
Carcosa PR
https://hvileikaos.bandcamp.com/album/black-morning-winter-green
ARTWORK – 78

Ethereal smoke formed into a robed presence above a spherical object which might or might not represent the earth and another more ecliptical in nature (raised above the first) which might or might not represent the moon. A floating green triangle in between might or might not represent nature. An interesting image indeed. Which is open for interpretation, obviously.

FIRST TRACK – 92

From the very get go this track transports me to another plain entirely. It has that level of power. Acoustic brilliance boasting unquestionable depth to evoke a myriad of emotions. Rich audio which is soothing, anxiety-inducing and melancholic. An amazing start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

The thing about a great release is that the listener loses themselves within in, and doesn’t pay heed to the time left or that which has already passed, in effect the audio transports to a place where time matters not. This is a great example of that type of release. It offers a rich texture of melodies invoking darkness and beauty and the many grey areas in between. More classical than anything remotely extreme metal in nature this still however bears a tone and myriad of qualities which will strike a chord with fans of the aforementioned genres. Intricate melodies writhe and duel for dominance, a narrative is carefully constructed utilizing an assortment of details and depth forming a rich tapestry to enrapt the listener. This is an experience sans a vocal accompaniment, for it doesn’t need such. It speaks volumes and stands testament to the talent, passion and composition brilliance of Kakophonix; the single soul behind the manipulation of the strings involved (cello, bass and guitar) and this albums creation. Step outside of your comfort zone and give this a listen.

Favorite Tracks; All but the last.

FFO; Apocalyptica, 2Cellos.

depressed

Depressed – Beyond the Putrid Fiction
(Brazil)
Release – November/22/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR
https://depressedblacklion.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 79

Dark and fantastical, vivid and eye-catching. A wilderness in disguise, a habitat for all manner of devilish beings to frolic and lay in wait for the unsuspecting tourist.

FIRST TRACK – 83

This sounds a little different than what the militaristic introduction suggests as though it could have been plucked from a Vital Remains release circa “Dechristianize” era. Grandiose triumphant riffs and even Glenn’s vocal stylings. A great start which is making me all ears!

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

Hardly audio to take the scene into fresh undiscovered territories this is however incredibly solid from start to finish. Injected with a groove infused dirge tone and varied rhythms to give even the most hardened of death fan a sore neck following a listen this is a stunning example of audio which isn’t afraid to utilize both doom and death sensibilities to its advantage as it envelops it’s listener in familiar influence and careens them down an incline fraught with all manner of diabolical narratives.

Favorite Tracks; Beyond the Putrid Fiction, Into the Realm of Abhorrence, Unholy Covenant, Descending into Madness, Thy Fragment of Light.

FFO; Deicide, Vital Remains, Vader, Krisiun, Vomitory, Bolt Thrower, (early) Decapitated.

And Now the Owls are Smiling – The Comforting Grip of Misery

And Now the Owls are Smiling – The Comforting Grip of Misery
(United Kingdom)
Release – November/1/2019
Clobber Records
Imperative PR
https://andnowtheowlsaresmiling.bandcamp.com/
http://www.clobberrecords.com/bands/antoas-band
ARTWORK – 76

Dark, doomy and drenched in ominous qualities. A structure open to the elements. Does this comment on the music itself I’m left to wonder?

FIRST TRACK – 78

Melodic, melancholic and evocative with an occasional choir (of sorts) accompaniment. Far from traditional black in nature, though this still has rawness to it this also has a certain flow which is unnervingly hypnotic especially with the accompanying plentiful atmosphere.

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

An odd name for a band. Regardless, it grabs the curiosity. A one-man project out of Norfolk, England, (an area which isn’t normally known for its black/extreme metal output) manages somehow to beguile the listener with its combination of varied pace, majestic melodies, repetitive rhythms, folk sensibilities and a rasped vocal garnish. In effect an audio landscape which appears more soothing than the genre is typically famous for (yes, I’m of the understanding that the genre is a multi-faceted arena, though some reading this may not be). Don’t be fooled, for there still remains a sinister disposition, an underlying current of melancholy and grief atop a tapestry of atmosphere which has the potential to draw the listener like a moth to a flame.

Favorite Tracks; Our Forest Calls Me Home, An Indictment, Winters Elegy, An Empyreal Spirit Dances Before me, Betrachungen.

FFO; Helengard, Psychonaut 4.

galaxy.jpg

Galaxy – Lost from the Start (EP)
(Australia)
Release – November/8/2019
Dying Victims Productions
https://dyingvictimsproductions.bandcamp.com/album/galaxy-lost-from-the-start
ARTWORK – 76

Seriously, where are we? We’ve been walking around in circles for so long we’ve worn huge furrows in the Earth and the moon is upon us.

Dad. Dad! Wake up. You’re dreaming about Picasso landscapes and Heinlein book covers again.

FIRST TRACK – 90

A brilliant acoustic introduction leads into gradually building and excellently executed thrash and a “scream” (Halford/King Diamond esque in tone) which is sure to grab anyone’s attention. The track continues in an undeniable fluid nature and showcases many an influence from across a slew of genres. A damn impressive start with rhythms sure to set the limbs afire and surprising vocal gymnastics which don’t appear even slightly out of place. Hold my calls, I do not want to be disturbed!

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

I find it hard to fathom that this is a debut as the audio here bursts with confidence and flair. Galaxy meld rhythms and styles from a number of widespread influences. In certain instances, one might have an idea as to the origin of a particular riff only to lose the thought in the next as another passage sparks nostalgia. The whole album (EP) has many moments of such though it also showcases a caliber of composition far beyond the band’s short history. Channeling NWOBHM, Power, speed and thrash metal elements Galaxy have created a release that’s dynamic, infectious and draped in a cosmic narrative. And all in a way which reeks of homage yet breathes with exuberance and youthful energy, a package which is sure to stand out, if there’s any justice, to ensure they garner the respect a release (and an act) of this quality deserves. Highly recommended, this grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go until you come to your senses only to hit repeat.

Favorite Tracks; Dreaming Out, Sons of Titan, Lost from the Start.

FFO; King Diamond, Judas Priest, Helloween, Mercyful Fate, Voivod, (later) Death, (early) Megadeth.

negator

Negator – Vnitas Pvritas Existentia
(Germany)
Release – October/18/2019
Massacre Records/Fono Ltd.
https://negator.bandcamp.com/album/vnitas-pvritas-existentia
ARTWORK – 77

Obviously biblical and slightly medieval in nature this displays both realms; that of the Heavens, the Underworld and the space in between. But which is worse? An interesting image which hints at the atrocities on Earth being infinitely worse than that taking place in either the Underworld or the Heavens.

FIRST TRACK – 89

A storm front and a summons (to war?) bring this audio to the fore. A technical, machine precision, drum salvo complements percussion draped in an archaic nature which is sure to get the limbs a twitchin’. Aided by a venomous, somewhat traditional black metal, vocal accompaniment the package is one which has me glued to the spot. I’m not going anywhere in a hurry this is blackened metal I can subscribe to without complaint!

INITIAL LISTEN – 92

It’s been six years since the bands last, “Gates to the Pantheon”, which I’ll admit I enjoyed immensely. So how does this fare?  The first element to “pop”, that leaves an instant impression, is the inhumane drum accompaniment (and it’s relentless on-point precision) which lays the groundwork for the percussion to embellish upon. The albums pace is primarily hyper-speed; although there are plenty of instances where a slower, more atmospheric laden, pace comes to the fore. If only as foreplay to the brooding, sinister, brutality which is about to follow. Surprising melodies, an undeniable grandiose aura permeate this release and an undeniable diversity in rhythm (over and above that which is typically expected from a release in this genre) amidst all its brooding archaic nature, majestic rhythms and hyper speed tendencies making for a release which definitely stands out from the typical blackened affair. Negator may have taken a few (6) years to bring another release to the masses but it was worth the wait for this delivers throughout! Expect to see this in my year end list (if I ever get around to compiling one!)

Favorite Tracks; From start to finish this does naught but enthrall.

FFO; 1349, Belphegor, Dark Funeral, Origin.

Time for an Old Favorite; Recc’d by
Recc’d by Feind Gottes @FeindGottes on Twitter

Feind Gottes author

First, let me mention that if you are in the market for some sick, deviant, excellently written fiction you should check out this fellows output https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01AH12BVM?ref_=pe_584750_33951330

I’ve tried to keep up (we once shared a site) but have found my time yanked more towards the review arena than fiction as of late. But enough about me, just what has Feind been talking about that I should check into. The first is from an act who have been getting quite the buzz lately, while the last is an album I believe I’ll enjoy if not for the unmistakable homage element alone. Onward…

jinjer macro

Jinjer – Macro
(Ukraine)
Release – October/25/2019
Napalm Records
https://jinjer-jinjer.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BROMMobZVbQ&list=OLAK5uy_k-AvHvvF_r8hQTvlj_oi4JFRMg0CJm9hY (“On the Top” official video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f353euyRno&list=OLAK5uy_k-AvHvvF_r8hQTvlj_oi4JFRMg0CJm9hY&index=2 (“Pit of Consciousness” official video)
Thoughts –

Before I impart my thoughts on the music a few words, as per usual, on the accompanying artwork. In this case a figure appears to be reaching out to touch a shimmering ball of light above and against a sea and sky boiling in a tempestuous nature. This might take a few moments to process the meaning of (for me anyhow). I’m of the mind that it hints at the nature of the music itself, but it what regard I’m not entirely sure. Time to hit the play button to find out…

It doesn’t take but a few seconds to realize that Jinjer perpetrate a style which is a little off “the beaten path”. Many have likened their style to deathcore and djent. I can see how that might be the case as there are stylistic elements which are similar, passages which fall into that category easily, and the music does have traits of those genres. The music “bounces” for want of a better term, it displays varied jagged, stabbing riff assaults and a vocal style (stunning is a word I will use here) which at times brings the aforementioned genres to mind. But it’s so much more than merely that alone. A number of surprising elements are also present. For starters before you can really appreciate the band you must watch one of their videos (I’ve included two examples, above) Tatianna, the vocalist, is a force of nature both beautiful and ferocious with pipes which could terrify the most imposing of predator (that’s enough worship, I don’t wish to come across as a stalker or salivating fanboy) In the audio there are several instances which stand out. For example, varied reggae passages in “Judgement (& Punishment)”. Even more surprising is the fact that this elements inclusion comes across as wholly acceptable, although it seems a tad odd it doesn’t seem at all out of place. Other stylistic oddities are splattered across the album. The following track “Retrospection” has a Lacuna Coil vibe in its introduction and utilizes lyrics sang in Ukrainian (I might be wrong here as I’m no language scholar). From then on it descends into a back and forth approach between traditional and vocal viciousness which keeps me enthralled, to say the very least. I’m finding it surprising, I’m not normally a fan of this style, I’m only three tracks in and believe I’ve found another act I need to keep tabs on. Sans giving a track-by-track narrative, for I could; it’s in my ‘wheelhouse’, I’ll gloss this over with a ‘highly recommended’, ‘go out and buy this’ and ‘add it to your collection at your earliest convenience’ lest I run my appreciation into diatribe lengths.  Seriously, this release took me by storm, it’s quality and varied in tone from start to finish. And I’ll admit I usually avoid acts with a buzz about them but in this case, it’s warranted Jinjer are an act who deserve attention and praise. Acts of a similar nature include Twelve Foot Ninja and Gojira if only for the fact that they too can pull off utilizing a myriad of styles in a nature which is easily consumable and doesn’t seem at all disjointed.

cannabis corpse from wisdom to baked.jpg

Cannabis Corpse – From Wisdom to Baked
(USA)
Release – June/20/2014
Season of Mist Records
https://cannabiscorpseofficial.bandcamp.com/ (the discography)
https://cannabiscorpseofficial.bandcamp.com/album/from-wisdom-to-baked
Thoughts –

Again, I’ll tackle the art before the audio. A cursory glance shows a family watching television in a state of blankness. But if you look closer there’s so much more going on. A horrified face at the window is at the lowest end of the scale whereas the device attached to the EZboy makes the imagination do cartwheels at adrenaline speeds. Just what is it that the family is doing? Are they harvesting, albeit slowly, are they cannibals or fueling the growth of the plants seen meandering across the floor and walls? I’m not entirely sure but this image is chock full of intricate details and demands further exploration at the very least. What about the music? Admittedly this is a first for me, a virgin experience of an act who on all accounts I should already have extensive knowledge of. Hitting play…

Obviously, the band’s name is a cunning slant on a moniker of another huge act within the scene (if you can’t tell who it is you are on the wrong site!). But, what of the music? Admittedly, this is my first experience of the band and their audio. Although I’ve been hearing of them for years, I’ve never taken the plunge. Though after hearing this in its entirety I really can’t tell why that might have been the case. The music is surprisingly decent, familiar and tight and much as the track titles suggest much in the same vein as the acts the band pays homage to (in this case Death and Gorguts based on the track titles and undeniably Cannibal Corpse based on their name). This is death metal circa early to late nineties and is instantly acceptable, this is criminally infectious and somewhat, scratch that, extremely familiar sounding. The vocal style is more similar to Barnes than ‘Corpsegrinder’ which pleases me as I’ve always been more a fan of the acts earlier material and fits the audio perfectly.

However, Cannabis Corpse are in no way merely copycats and this isn’t a cover act. The audio here oozes with talent, composition brilliance, is heavily reminiscent and overflows with humor (most, if not all, in relation to the “green god”) naturally it’s nothing new but huge props must be given to the act for pulling off that which many have unsuccessfully attempted but have usually only miserably failed at. It would’ve been a mean feat for this release alone to have been relatively successful. However, the band have gone on to release two others since this albums release and three previous. In actuality a little research (I hardly ever do more than a “little”) shows this as the least praised amongst the bunch. Apparently, I have some digging to do. For starters though this was and serves as a fantastic introduction to an act who I can’t honestly believe I haven’t enjoyed before now. For those who remain confused, I get it I tend to waffle on a wee bit, and haven’t yet got the point, Cannabis Corpse are an act who warrant discovery especially if like myself you are also a huge fan of the earlier days of death metal.

Animal - music is meant for sharing

And you shouldn’t, great audio is meant to be shared!

That concludes another Abrasive Audio installment. Until out paths of audio interest cross paths again don’t fear that which might normally be foreign to the ears.

Cult