Archive for the ‘Reviews of the Metal Variety’ Category

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 – Year End List #2

heavy metal santa
Courtesy of He11fir3

It’s still that time of year, the trees are whispers of their former selves, white stuff is everywhere frustrating even the most seasoned of driver and the pets are indoors reminiscing upon simpler times when it was a damn sight easier to leave a steaming present on the neighbor’s lawn. Hats with bobbles on top are all the rage and yoga pants are packed away, at least until spring.  However, the climax of the year also means End of Year lists, a time when a large number of audiophiles stun their compadres with mention of releases which remain largely unheard though deserve praise from on high. Without further ado, a few words and a myriad of suggestions from an old pal.

The year’s top ten from the mind of He11fir3
(starting with the #1 then working down to #10)

Mirror - Pyramid of Terror

Mirror – Pyramid of Terror

The fact that my AOTY is Heavy Metal and not Black Metal should be enough to let you know that this must be an amazing album. It became an all-time fav, and I know I will be listening to it for the rest of my life.

http://stareatthemirrorandweep.bandcamp.com/album/pyramid-of-terror

Infernal Conjuration – Infernale Metallum Mortis

Everything we don’t have enough of. Evil Death Metal. Knew it was special from the first listen and it has not once caught me “not in the mood”

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

Elegiac – Thirst for Vengeance

Pagan Vicious Black Metal. I found this band this year and it became one of my all-time favorite projects. Bought almost everything he has put out.

http://elegiac.bandcamp.com/album/thirst-for-vengeance

Forgjord - Ilmestykset
Forgjord – Ilmestykset

Hauntingly beautiful and FuckUgly Grim Black Metal. Does everything right to build perfect atmospheres.

http://werewolfrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ilmestykset

Is – Another Side of Existence

Cold Frostbitten Winter Wandering Black Metal. I always hear something new to appreciate and love this album even more with each listen.

http://kareliannokken.bandcamp.com/album/another-side-of-existence

Devil Master – Satan Spits in Children of Light

Punk Attitude, Heavy Metal Influences Great Energy and Black Metal Spirit. I wish it was higher on the list but goddamn this year was like a piano landing on you over and over again.

http://devilmaster.bandcamp.com/album/satan-spits-on-children-of-light

Zeit - Drungsal
Zeit – Drungsal

Black Sludge. Evil Metal Covered in mud. Atmospheric, Dark, Clumpy, Heavy, Pretty, Earthly, Scratchy, Ugly, and very natural sounding.

http://rumsdiezeit.bandcamp.com/album/drangsal

Tanith – In Another Time

70s/80s inspired rock/prog with fantasy themes, like having a whole new world born just for your ears. Russ Tippins is the great Satan.

http://tanithnyc.bandcamp.com/album/in-another-time

Denial of God – The Hallow Mass

Melodic Horror themed black metal. Haunting and Spooky but Tragic and mystical too. Makes me want a fog machine.

http://denial-of-god.bandcamp.com/album/the-hallow-mass

Arnaut Pavle - Arnaut Pavle
Arnaut Pavle – Arnaut Pavle

Chaotic but focused black thrash. Does everything right. Every song has its own power, but the whole thing speeds through with unstoppable fury.

http://arnautpavle.bandcamp.com/album/arnaut-pavle-2

 

Editor’s Note; I believe I’ve heard only of a few of these, this just shows how unfathomably huge the world of extreme audio is and how little I actually get to even though my days are packed to overflowing with tunage.

foehammer metal podcast

Whoops -nearly forgot… He11fir3 is half of the Foehammer Metal Podcast found here

https://www.tumblr.com/search/foehammer

https://www.facebook.com/foehammerpodcast/

and on Instagram.

 

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses – End of Year Lists (#1)

heavy metal santa

 It’s that time of the year again. The trees are skeletons of their former selves, the malls are packed and wouldn’t you know it ever damn commercial on the television is advertising a product which your child doesn’t need but naturally, wants anyway. It’s Christmas. Fat blokes the world over have a sudden hankering for wriggling adolescent flesh upon their knees and all depending upon one’s penchant for the ludicrous some even attempt to clamber down a chimney. “Dad, why does it smell when I turn the fire on?” And then there’s Hallmark, for this is the ideal time to fill the wife’s head of ideas about how married bliss is supposed to be. But enough about my life, there’s more important things at hand. The best of the year according to whomever scribbled this (obviously). Obviously tastes vary, opinions are vastly varied but fantastic extreme tunage is meant to be shared. So, with that in mind I’ve enlisted the help of a few like-minded friends (fear not, for we aren’t that similar in tastes) to help spread the word.

atomic heartbeep on twitter

To start things off; this list heading from ten towards the years absolute mind-melting finest is courtesy of Atomic Heartbeep 🖤🤖 (@Drachensturm711 on Twitter)

Elephant Watchtower-The Church Is at Fault

(Independent)

Elephant Watchtower

https://elephantwatchtower.bandcamp.com/album/the-church-is-at-fault

Hypnotic Progressive Death Metal that often branches into long, almost ambient passages.

Iapetus-The Body Cosmic

(Independent)

https://iapetus1.bandcamp.com/album/the-body-cosmic

Truly epic Progressive Death, patience is a must, as several songs are over 12 minutes in length. Absolutely worth the effort.

Rage of Light-Imploder

(Napalm Records)

https://rageoflight.bandcamp.com/album/imploder

Trance metallers from Switzerland, featuring the incredibly talented vocals of Melissa Bonny. “Mechanicals” is one of the greatest anthems you’ll never hear in a stadium

Cognizance-Malignant Dominion

(Prosthetic Records)

Cognizance

https://cognizance.bandcamp.com/album/malignant-dominion

Clinical, merciless Tech-Death. After several excellent singles and EPs, they finally deliver a full length and it does not disappoint. A fantastic sound lets the brutality shine through

Godeater-All Flesh Is Grass

(Independent)

https://godeateruk.bandcamp.com/album/all-flesh-is-grass

The finest album to come out of Scotland since Korpse’s “Pull the Flood”, a dizzying display of Technical Death Metal

Freedom of Fear-Nocturnal Gates

(EVP Recordings)

freedom of fear

https://evp-recordings.bandcamp.com/album/nocturnal-gates-2

The spirit of Schuldiner lives on in the riffs and solos of these Aussie Prog Death Metallers

Warforged-I: Voice

(The Artisan Era)

https://warforged.bandcamp.com/album/i-voice

Wonderfully varied and composed unpredictable Prog Death. Can be as peaceful as it is utterly demolishing

Hath of rot n ruin

Hath-Of Rot and Ruin

(Willowtip Records)

https://hathnj.bandcamp.com/album/of-rot-and-ruin

Progressive Death Metal that takes the Opeth template and twists it into something much darker and more violent

Equipoise-Demiurgus

https://equipoiseofficial.bandcamp.com/album/demiurgus

An extraordinary gathering of musicians combined to put out an extraordinary album of Progressive/Technical Death Metal. Solos to die for and plenty of them!

And..drum roll please…

plaguebringer

Plaguebringer-Diabolos

(Independent)

https://plaguebringercanada.bandcamp.com/album/diabolos

A genuine force to be reckoned with, exemplary performances from all involved to make the most exhilarating display of Tech Death I’ve heard in a very long time. Phenomenal musicianship, flamboyant songwriting and a creepy atmosphere make this the one I held aloft in an incredibly strong year.

 

Editor’s Note; Huge thanks go out to Atomic for putting this list together. I believe I’ve heard only about a third of this list. It appears I have a little catching-up to do and a slew of audio which is deserved of discovering. But it’s going to have to it until the New Year I have a mountain of audio I need to sift through if I want to formulate a list of my own.

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses – Part 36

headbangin metalhead

As the year draws to its close, I’m left pondering upon all the releases I know I’ve missed. With that in mind I’ve included a Recc. from an individual who demands a ‘follow’ on social media based on the priceless “services” he offers the metal community at large. Obviously, it’s hard to know where to look, or turn to, for releases which warrant investigation when there is such an immeasurable amount released on a week by week basis. I try to do my part but I pale in comparison to that which this individual, a generous Australian fellow indeed, covers on a daily basis in his prolific posts. Without further ado…

Carnifliate - Disgusting Festivities.jpg

Carnifliate – Disgusting Festivities
(Slovenia)
Release – October/23/2019
Self-Released
Qabar PR
https://carnifliate.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 76

Odd, creepy and deranged are words which come to mind upon setting the eyeballs upon this art. This is a rather unsettling party atmosphere to say the least. I’m glad I tossed my invite.

FIRST TRACK – 81

Grinding death, blast beats, Slam elements, somewhat technical riffage and rhythms which immediately impale the listener with unquestionable curiosity. And all executed with surprising tightness. Add a diverse vocal attack and this is a fantastic start to an album from an act I’ve only just now been introduced to.

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

Channeling the unpredictable dizzying nature of grindcore, adding to it ferocious brutal death elements and a smidgen of technicality Carnifliate have somehow managed to create an album which is intriguing and dynamic in comparison to those in the same genre which is fast becoming far beyond overcrowded. As a debut this is far and beyond that which is expected boasting a production that certainly aids in its overall appreciation. Showcasing a precision which appears beyond the bands relatively short existence rhythms are fast furious and evolve at a pleasing pace certain to place an ever-widening smirk on the listeners face and set festival crowds alight in a frenzy. The vocal style is varied; ranging from guttural values, a hardcore esque approach and assorted occasional pig squeals sporting a quality that which fans of Benighted are sure to salivate over. Fun from beginning to end this is sure to perk the interest of fans of melodic brutal death/grindcore who are in the market for new audio to scar the place between the ears.

Favorite Tracks; Fist Class Cunt, Fried in Fat, Paraphilitic Infantilism, Compel Insemination.

FFO; Benighted, Fleshless, Aborted, Dying Fetus.

MXD Endurance

MXD – Endurance
(Switzerland)
Release – November/1/2019
Tenacity Music
Against PR
https://mxdmusic.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 77

A purple Worm Ouroboros encircles a demonic visage against a shape (which may or nay not be mystical in context) with many angles and sharp pointy edges. This grabs the attention though really gives little away in regards to what manner of audio one is about to place between the ears.

FIRST TRACK – 74

Whoa, this is a little different than what I normally set upon the senses. Synth elements collide with an introduction which includes an everyday busy street aura (the backing up of trucks, a honking of a moped) and a filthy industrial tone takes over. Infectious guitar riffs complement an audio landscape and vocal accompaniment (reminiscent of British Goth Rock) which one might expect to hear in a Gothic nightclub or on a soundtrack to an edgy 90’s movie. This is a damn sight more listenable than I was imagining, with zero introduction. I am intrigued, onward…

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

Varied in its approach this album drags the listener through a varied audio landscape with a backdrop of vastly differing influence and a terrain which varies from hypnotic smooth, futuristic drone, cinematic soundtrack, deviant soundbites to jagged razor wire. The mind reels with similarities to other artists as it leaves an impact often settling upon Ministry, Prodigy, Rammstein and various others whose names flutter upon the synapses only to be recollected in the most obscure of moments. Certainly not for those who prefer audio which fits easily in predetermined parameters this is recommended for those who can accept experimentationalism with little complaint. Although with that in mind this isn’t wildly Avant Garde or of the quality which a small fraction of society will want to pin to a wall in order that they may lay their college degrees to work and argue over what it actually symbolizes. This is drenched in an undeniable dark tone that’s often grandiose in nature, it isn’t what one might expect though does exhibit elements which will do naught but grab the attention as the album seeps into the part of the brain labeled slow- burn appreciation. Far from what usually bounces between the ears I must admit I’m liking this; the dark humor is a nice touch although I could do without the injected, occasional, urban element (much like anything noted here that’s a personal preference). Step away from the norm, broaden your musical horizons and give this a listen.

Favorite Tracks; Eraser, Ain’t Dead Yet, Sisyphus, Black Metal Shopping List.

FFO; Ministry, Rob Zombie, Prodigy, Rammstein.

Unbounded Terror - Faith in Chaos

Unbounded Terror – Faith in Chaos
(Spain)
Release -January/2/2020
Xtreem Music
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/faith-in-chaos
ARTWORK – 72

Seraphim and Demonic beings fighting across a fiery landscape. Is this what happens when Granma invokes house rules in Monopoly and then loses? All hell breaks loose.

FIRST TRACK – 75

From a placid to an energized heartbeat introduction (a nod to the bands recent resurgence from a 26 year slumber) a dirge slathered mid-tempo groove rhythm awakens, an Old School approach which doesn’t in the slightest break any new ground for the genre, but it does make an impression and gets the limbs a twitchin’.

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

(Put this in initial listen) This album took twenty-six years to come to fruition following prompting from rabid fans and a reignited passion. The band hold the honor of releasing g the first death metal release in Spain (on various formats) in 92′. And now this. Huge riff, mid-tempo melodic brutality with more groove than a treasured vinyl. This might be meat and potatoes, somewhat simplistic but it hits the spot! Showcasing rhythms which range from plodding Candlemass doom to dirge laden Bolt Thrower with an OSDM vocal style (Willetts/Ingram) to match.

Favorite Tracks; Hiding from the Light, Hated in Hell, They Will Come from the Pain, Engulfed by the Gods.

FFO; Gorefest, Benediction, Jungle Rot.

CRS - The Collector of Truths

CRS – The Collector of Truths
(Mexico)
Release – December/6/2019
Concreto Records
Dewar PR
https://play.google.com/music/preview/B4dzyhyaiyuessiqvz2w7w6vznu?play=1
https://www.iheart.com/artist/crs-cirrosis-32507413/albums/the-collector-of-truths-81576855/?autoplay=true
ARTWORK – 76

Tentacles, babes in the woods and an ominous looking milky liquid which I will refrain from commenting on in a juvenile manner.

FIRST TRACK – 74

Crunchy riffs slightly djent in nature display a tribal, heritage heavy edge forming an aura that’s a shifting mix of Soulfly, Fear Factory and Meshuggah. Diabolical leads are a nice touch to lift this from waters which have been muddied to the point of boredom as of late.

INITIAL LISTEN – 77

What I was assuming to be a rather run of the mill djent influenced chuggery laden release turned out to be far from it. Although it has passages which are saturated in the theme progressive elements run riot, and at times bring to mind Opeth even, in instances, a later Death vibe. Groove and melody rather than brutality is the general theme which runs throughout the album placing this release somewhat on the borders of aggressive thrash/melodic death accompanied by vocals which will appeal to fans of Soulfly/Sepultura. Diverse and surprising this has the potential to grow on the listener and offers something new with each listen. My by qualm is that the vocal style is a tad stagnant, it rarely changes tone I believe this factor may have upped the interest level somewhat.

Favorite Tracks; Tan Lejo de Dios – Nowhere but Here, Resistencia, The Daydreamer Nightmare, I Am the Universe.

FFO; Soulfly, Sepultura, Meshuggah, Fear Factory.

My Funeral - Graveblaster.jpg

My Funeral – Graveblaster (EP)
(Finland)
Release – December/13/2019
Self-Released
Against PR
https://myfuneral.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 70

Instead of a ‘Ghetto-Blaster’ this is a ‘Grave-Blaster’ utilizing a coffin as a huge speaker and tape deck. I get it though I’m not entirely sure what to expect as the logo has an urban slant to it while the album title and the image itself boast somewhat a grindcore/crust vibe. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 71

Melting paint from the walls fast thrash in a similar vein to Germany’s Violent Force, early Kreator and vintage (“Howling Furies”) Anthrax. The vocals, aren’t what’s expected, especially based on the opening “scream”, they’re gruff and lend the music a hardcore edge, whereas ‘gang vocals’ lend it a crossover feel. An interesting start with a mix of styles smashed together giving little away as what to expect from this audio collective.

INITIAL LISTEN – 69

Thrash, speed, crossover, groove, hardcore it’s all here. And sometimes all in the same track. Both ends of the EP are quite different. One is primarily aggressive fast as balls speed metal with a crossover leaning whilst the other is more akin to (newer) Sepultura meets Machine Head meets Hatebreed.

While “Retro Satan” is closer to Exodus thrash in tone and sandwiched between. The audio here is diverse even slightly misleading at times, showcasing a myriad of influence ranging from raunchy metal, speed, thrash, punk and more modern sounds.

Favorite Tracks; Thrash n’ Destroy, Retro Satan.

FFO; Hatebreed, (newer) Sepultura.

Coffin Curse - Ceased to Be

Coffin Curse – Ceased to Be
(Chile)
Release – January/27/2020
Memento Mori
https://coffincurse.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 80

The likelihood of this being from the same hands responsible for the last couple of Drawn and Quartered albums seems highly likely. The image flows with undeniable malevolence and an unfathomable diabolical nature. But it only leaves me wondering; is this how one creates Goulash? And then…who’s left to package it?

FIRST TRACK – 85

Tumbling drums accompany slightly chaotic riffs which brings to mind “Blessed are the Sick” era Morbid Angel. The vocals stand out and top the style off like a rotting cherry. Grindcore esque sensibilities, albeit draped in a sinister tone, bring the track to a close making me even more intrigued as to the audio to follow. A wicked start indeed!

INITIAL LISTEN – 92

Ferocious and filthy draped in undeniable infernal sensibilities. This is as if Drawn and Quartered decided to collaborate with Morbid Angel, Vader and Immortal with the resulting audio showcasing each act distinct influence throughout. Toss in a smidgen of black metal, a sprinkling of black and roll, a little groove and a boisterous mischievous quality which binds the whole and the diabolical concoction is near complete. Toss in a cavernous tone and this could now be Folk music for the Underworld. Highly recommended and this came out of nowhere to pummel me like a red headed stepchild caught elbow in the butter dish (huh?!)

Favorite Tracks; Where Sickness Thrives. Chopped Clean off, Extinct, Deep in Streams of Putrifying Dirt.

FFO; Drawn and Quartered, (“Cursed” era) Morgoth, Morbid Angel, Vader, Immolation.

Time for an Old Favorite; Reccd’ By

heavymetalyeti

Reccd’ by Heavy Metal Yeti @heavymetalyeti on Twitter
Iapetus – The Body Cosmic
(USA)
Release – November/9/2019
Independent
https://iapetus1.bandcamp.com/album/the-body-cosmic

Iapetus - The Body Cosmic.jpg

Thoughts –
This release’s stunning art depicts a celestial being. Entwined with the universe she’s exploding with essence; one could even say “heart” as that’s where the ‘power’ originates. The colors and details are exquisite and the look on her features are sublime.

With little indication of what to expect the music captivates from the first. Intricate swift riffing brings to mind black metal influences but this is far beyond what one might assume with this in mind. This is unquestionably hypnotic rather than raw. Occasional vocal accompaniment (soft female and something skin to reflective/narrative soundbites) adds to the same effect and elevates a cosmic presence woven expertly into the mix. I’m floored! The combination of black, progressive and doom elements alongside an atmosphere which transports the listener so effortlessly to another plane are seamless and I’m less than third way through the first track.

The album continues and offers its first sojourn into harsh vocal realms, accompanying angelic choruses and chants, acoustic interludes and rhythms which are assured to change the listeners outlook on their immediate surroundings.

In lieu of mentioning every track here I’ll mention that this flows with an uncommon and undeniable brilliance throughout. Showcasing a love of the genre which is unquestionable and a talent for composition which is awe- inspiring Iapetus have formulated an audio collective which is both epic, intricate, diverse, unfathomably distracting and mesmerizing to the Nth degree. In effect, an album one might want to tether themselves to reality to before embarking upon.

For those who have the patience, time and willingness to allow this to seep into the system the rewards are immeasurable. Probably best to keep track of the cord for the Bluetooth enabled wireless headphones for this is an epic diversion from the everyday that one will want to discover it again and again. Expect to see this mentioned atop many an end of year list which features an author’s appreciation of a wide variety of genres.

For fans of Ne Oblivicaris, Insomnium, Be’lakor, Opeth and Aggaloch.

kman riffs

Reccd’ by KmanRiffs @KManriffs on Twitter
Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove
(USA)
Release – November/1/2019
Prophecy Productions
https://novembersdoom1989.bandcamp.com/album/nephilim-grove
Novembers Doom - Nephilim Grove
Thoughts

Huge thanks go out to Kman for this Recc. I honestly had no idea that Novembers Doom were still active, so it was a huge surprise and delight to hear they were and are. Admittedly it’s been a while since I last laid ears upon them. Their earlier output, especially “To Welcome the Fade” (I believe is the title), remains one of my go-to death/doom albums.

Before I dive into the audio, a few words upon the art. A creature resembling an aging Pan type-Diety traverses a rough track as a motley crew of misshapen creatures look on in wonderment. I’m left wondering if they’re hungry and perhaps have just happened upon their next meal or is this something entirely more sinister still? One thing stands out, above all others; this is stunning art. perhaps one of my favorite pieces of the year (again thanks to Kman without whom I would not have known or probably even discovered this until perhaps years from now). The color contrast here is superb, the style intricate, shrouded in shading, texture and detail aplenty, and the wicked scythe looking moon adds ominous qualities galore. The design and characters included aren’t that which normally grace an album, unless this fellow is a goat then he’s desperately in need of a vacation/break from all of the recent exposure. I need this on a shirt, it’s perilously close to the gift giving season (*takes time out to drop hints to the wife and Santa).

In regards to the music on offer it takes mere seconds to realize this is indeed the Novembers Doom of old, and not a reimagined line-up hoping to cash in on the name and bands notoriety.

The arrangements are drum heavy and boasts supreme build up. Part acoustic mastery complementing huge riffs and driving rhythms. And the voice, oh that voice, the timbre is the one instantly recognizable as that associated with the band. The twin pronged, clean and harsh, vocal approach has returned, back to form if not better than before. The writing is intelligent and reflects upon a reinvigorated vitality, but it’s the composition and arrangements and passion which grab and hold the attention. Miles from mere chuggery and Gothic keyboard antics and overused accompanying atmosphere this is an album which showcases beauty and darkness, melancholy and an element which is rather hard to pinpoint but has Novembers Doom written all over it.

Sans scribbling upon each track (lest this turn in an unreadable narrative diatribe event) in turn I feel it best to mention that the album as a whole bears the power to sate any fan in need of a passionate death/doom injection. It goes without mentioning that this will have me, as well I’m sure a great many others, (re)discovering the bands discography.

Expect to see a great many more mentions of this album as the year draws to its conclusion.

Animal - music is meant for sharing

Because…great audio demands to be shared!

And that brings another installment to a close. Until our paths of interest cross again don’t fear discovery of that which is normally 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

Abrasive Audio – Part Thirty-Four

headbangin metalhead

Chugging ever onward, the deluge of new metal never stops. But fear not, for I am here to light the way (poop now where did I put those batteries?)

Onward stumbling around in the darkness

 

Esogenesi – s/t

esogenesi.jpg

(Italy)
Release – October/4/2019
Transcending Obscurity Records
https://esogenesidoom.bandcamp.com/album/self-titled-death-doom-metal
ARTWORK – 88

This image makes me ponder upon a Terry Pratchett and Terry Gilliam collaboration. Fantastical, detailed and wholly mind-bending. Seriously is that a creature with a city upon its ‘back’ and why does it appear to be u raveling? Imagery to set an author into creative overdrive for sure.

FIRST TRACK – 87

A fantastic introduction leads into epic, meandering death/doom drenched in a morose nature boasting surprising qualities (is that Italian or Latin which they speak?) which nod towards many an influence outside of the traditional. An overall grandiose vibe which is stunning and is sure to please those curious of new audio/acts. A great start.

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

“Esogenesi” is the concept that life started elsewhere in the universe and later spread to Earth. With that in mind it makes this audio that much more interesting, this is hardly traditional doom fodder but rather more do with cosmic concepts, philosophy and the like. The music itself is evocative and absorbing. Melodies are a number of things; sweeping, soaring and hardly repetitive in the traditional extreme metal sense, in fact they hardly traverse extreme territories at all but for a rare few instances. Distortion, an ominous presence and growling (relaxed) vocals usually takes the lead rather than driving pace. In part familiar, easily consumable yet different, the whole effect is hypnotic and has the potential to take the listener far from their daily woes. Naturally the lyrics are spoken in a tongue only a few of us can understand which only makes this that much more intriguing and well worth setting the senses upon.

Favorite Tracks; (here’s hoping my spell-checking device doesn’t wage war against me). Decademento Astrale, Esillio Nell’ Extramondo, Incarnazione Della Conoscenza.

FFO; Paradise Lost, Thy Mourning Beloveth, My Dying Bride, Swallow the Sun.

wolfbrigade

Wolf Brigade – The Enemy: Reality
(Sweden)
Release – November/8/2019
Southern Lord Recordings
https://wolfbrigadesl.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 76

Yellows, reds, bold black outlines. Mermaids, crosses and skulls this is a little different, but it works and certainly grabs the attention!

FIRST TRACK – 92

Punk, hardcore, crust, D-beat. Call this what you will I’m sure they’re be an argument. However, there’s no argument that this drives to the core and does that which most other audio fails to. It’s rhythms and the accompanying voice make one want to do something, flail around, jump around, do housework… something. This yanks the attention away from whatever else one is doing and instantly. I’m all ears!

INITIAL LISTEN – 94

Imagine if Lemmy (RIP) decided to take on the Crust genre, add a healthy dose of melody, passages of mischievous pace and plenty of attitude (he’s famous for that, right?) The result might be something eerily close to what we have here (although an argument exists that the vocals on display sounds more like Tom G Warrior (Celtic Frost), I’ll have to agree to disagree especially when one hears the opening line to “The Wolfman”. Which even appears in part a homage to “The Wolf”?) This is unapologetically formulaic at times, even a tad simplistic but it hits home and has an effect that borders on hypnotic. Ungodly infectious and especially potent following a workout or participation in an activity with similar “results”, short and to the point this is to be played loud, but probably not in rush hour traffic as it tends to incite uncontrollable movements and a shit eating grin hardly anyone is likely to understand. Suffice it to say Wolfbrigade strike again and much like their last this destroys most everything in its path.

Favorite Tracks; The Wolfman, Hammer to the Skull, Doomsday Dominion, Human Beast.

FFO; Agnostic Front, Motorhead, Disrupt.

midnight prey

Midnight Prey – Uncertain Times
(Germany)
Release – November/8/2019
Dying Victims Productions
https://dyingvictimsproductions.bandcamp.com/album/midnight-prey-uncertain-times
ARTWORK – n/a

Rare is that we see merely a picture of the band as the ‘artwork accompaniment’. Perhaps the music too will reflect upon a time when everything was that much more relaxed? (But was it, seriously?)

FIRST TRACK – 75

Nailed it! This is definite hard rock/heavy metal/NWOBHM in tone. A little of a gamble having the initial track to hit the senses in a foreign language (but that’s my “take”). However, there’s definite talent on display here. The melodies are infectious, part metal part ominous doom in vibe, and the overall feel is that of audio from a few decades ago. For those with late 70’s/early 80’s hard rock/heavy metal penchants this should tickle the curiosity.

INITIAL LISTEN – 74

Combining vintage heavy metal, speed metal, Gothic elements and a splash of punk Midnight Prey have created an album drenched in retro qualities which doesn’t sound too over-bearing in the slightest. The production is crisp and harkens to a time before the introduction of CD’s (a format touted as you can eat your dinner off atop it and it will still play. Huh, what-!?) The vocal style, when in English, bears emotional qualities putting me in mind of Goth rock outfits from back in the day. Admittedly it’s a love it or hate it factor of the music, but it’s growing on me. The music itself, far from what I normally lay digit to keyboard in appreciation of, is riff-centric, intricate at times but always interesting and infectiously melodic without running face-first into predictable realms. I suggest if you’re a fan of the roots of metal to lay ears upon this. It’s growing on me.

Favorite Tracks; Black Forest, We Lose, The Fall (into the atmosphere).

FFO; (vintage) Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Helloween.

oath of cruelty.jpg

Oath of Cruelty – Summary Execution at Dawn
(USA)
Release -December/13/2019
Dark Descent Records
Clawhammer PR
https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/summary-execution-at-dawn
ARTWORK – 86

An ornery wizard riding a sinister-looking steed forging his way ahead with fire and carnage. A black and white image drenched in detail, dripping magick and medieval values. If I’m to guess the music is going to be Wicked indeed based on this art. Pressing play.

FIRST TRACK – 80

These guys waste no time with zero introduction which might lower the listener in gently the music here attacks like a rabid entity.  Diabolical, fast paced, frenzied and seething with old school attitude. Blackened thrash with a rawness which hints at Altars of Madness worship.

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

Chaotic, tumbling melodies shot through with veins of maniacal madness and capillaries of diabolical finesse. This could well be Morbid Angel under the Kreator banner of old imbued with South American aggression. Ballads here there most certainly are not; this is unrelenting blackened thrash recommended for fans of the old school draped in a generous helping of sinister. Hankering for “Pleasure to Kill” tunage or something similar with an aggressive edge complemented by rasped vokills. You’ve found what you’re looking for and this is likely where your ears will spend a great deal of their future.

Favorite Tracks; Pounding Hooves of Shrapnel, Pathogenic Winds of Swarm, At the Tyrant’s Behest.

FFO; Kreator, Slayer, Hellish (vintage) Death, Goatwhore, Morbid Angel.

sentient horror.jpg

Sentient Horror -Morbid Realms
(USA)
Release – November/29/2019
Testimony Records/Redefining Darkness Records
https://sentienthorror.bandcamp.com/album/morbid-realms
ARTWORK – 85

Well. Shit, Dorothy we aren’t in Kansas anymore. What does your phone say?

Dorothy…

Dorothy?

*bark…bark

Fuck. Toto. Did you just eat Dorothy?

*burp!

FIRST TRACK – 90

Seething with a HM2 buzz saw dirge nature this takes the listener far from realms they might expect by introducing sinister passages, solos oozing with presence and just the right amount of ‘chuggery’ to smother the familiarity receptors without drowning the listener in a sense of I’ve heard this all before. Wholly European in vibe but hailing from the US. A stunning introduction to the band and a style which many believe has turned stagnant.

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

Somehow Sentient Horror have utilized a familiar style and have added their own flair making it fresh and exciting again. The driving riffs are there, the dirgey aura, and the mid-paced madness with forays into swifter paced menace. In fact, all the ingredients a fan of the bands mentioned below have come to expect. However, this band have imbued the formula with a certain something; be it maniacal solos, fluid lead moments or instances of ominous atmosphere which combine to levitate this to another level entirely. Top- notch production also gives it an edge. Nocturnal Hollow released one of my favorites (“A Whisper of an Horrendous Soul”) in this style earlier this year. This is another which stands out. And it managed, barely, to just sneak in ‘under the wire’, not to mention it’s from an area/country not normally known for the style. Lay your ears upon this and rekindle your love of the ‘Stockholm sound’.

Favorite Tracks; Call of Ancient Gods, Bound to Madness, Ripped from Hell, Loss of Existence, Morbid Realms.

FFO; Grave, Entombed, Nocturnal Hollow, Morgoth, Vomitory, Entrails, Hypocrisy.

Time for an old Favorite; Reccd’ By

fistful of doom

Reccd’ by Fistful of Doom @Flatulent Fuzz on Twitter
Grond (Russia)/Graceless (The Netherlands) split – Endless Spiral of Terror
Release – October/30/2019
Raw Skull Recordz
https://rawskullrecordz.bandcamp.com/album/grond-graceless-endless-spiral-of-terror-rsr-036
Thoughts –

grond graceless split

As is traditional I’ll ponder/lend a hilarious note first upon the accompanying art then muse upon the music itself.

The art here depicts an unsuspecting individual going about his merry ways when lo and behold behind him the earth erupts with a cavalcade of tentacles, archaic looking tanks and a skeleton warrior who appears to be banging a drum of one sort or another. Alternatively, this fellow could be merely leading his pet to the nearest veterinarians for an annual check-up with an entourage in tow.

Grond (first four tracks with a cover of “Darkness” by Cianide) –

Pulverizing, Lovecraftian themed, death from Russia often with a mid- pace, diabolical and doom edge. “Of Boreal Flame” opens the proceedings with chaotic evolving rhythms, heavy drums, a dirgey tone and definite groove infused melodies. This audio keeps the listener on their toes with rhythms which are steamroller in their assault; both infectious and atmosphere laden, with occasional nods to a slew of influence. Hardly technical neither repetitive in its riff approach the audio here nestles someplace in between with definite appeal for a wide audience across the board.

I can’t admit that I know of the Cianide track (or even the band themselves, I should really do some homework) but I will mention that this “Darkness” seems awfully (later) Morgoth in nature and seethes with an almost palpable ominous aura. Pleasing, easily appreciated and familiar enough (in the sense that it isn’t wildly inventive/ambitious or experimental) to respond to positively on a first listen basis the tracks here are a great example and a fantastic introduction to what Grond offer, an act who, in my opinion, deserve more coverage.

Graceless (last four tracks) –

Damn! The opening to the first track about knocked me on my arse. Old school groove with oomph and a vocal style which will bring a face-splitting grin to any fans face. Infectious is a term which doesn’t quite suffice in this instance. The following track, “King ov Pain”, tells of obvious influence, bordering on grindcore, a mid-paced militaristic vibe with narrative lyrical content reminiscent of the timeless classic “Orgasmatron” but with an unmistakable Bolt Thrower vibe. It’s epic nature, however, allows the style to somewhat wander into doomier territories pulling it from mere worship status into a track which hoists the standard for this split.

Later tracks tell of the same undeniable influence though embellishes upon atmosphere. “In Thy Honor” brings the split to a close in grandiose fashion and is sure will leave fans of the aforementioned act eager for future audio as they ready themselves for an exploration, a dive into foreign territories, a discography which might sate until fresh audio is unleashed.

Overall, fans of OSDM will likely scramble over themselves for the quality this offers, suffice it to mention that this would make an excellent accompaniment to an already outstanding collection boasting the finest the genre has to boast. Did I mention that I liked it? As if you couldn’t already tell.

Animal - music is meant for sharing

Good, because great music is meant for sharing!

Well that concludes another installment. This one’s a little shorter than normal, for that I blame chores, but it’s still packed full of audio which deserves attention.

Until our paths of interest in audio cross again, don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the ears,

Cult

Abrasive Audio (Special Edition) Re-release/Reissue Corner

diggin through vinyl.jpg

Howdy readers. For this installment I thought I’d tackle something other than my usual ponderings on new audio. Occasionally I receive promotional materials for albums which are already in my collection, naturally I think this is a little strange until I realize I’m no spring chicken and my collection dates back to the late 80’s/early 90’s. Obviously, a great deal of these albums have long since gone out of print, thus the picture of someone above digging through vinyl in hopes to find an out of print gem, but thanks to VicRecords ( http://www.vicrecords.com/ ) a great many are being brought back, to be introduced to a new generation who are yet to discover those which are considered classics/genre mile-stones, though remain largely undiscovered. Those featured below are either from acts who are still around and have been for a while (with a stunning discography to their credit) or from acts who have come and gone though have left a distinct mark upon the extreme genre and perhaps have members within acts which are still tearing up the ear holes.

Without further ado…

soulburn demo 96.jpg

Soulburn – Demo 1996
(Netherlands)
“Release” – November/22/2019
VicRecords
https://soulburn666.bandcamp.com/music
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlqJP97K2Ew
Thoughts – 80

Asphyx meets “Return to the Eve” Celtic Frost this has more than a smidgen of that ‘tone’. Martin van Drunnen’s Asphyx replacement Wannes Gubbels (also Pentacle) handles vocal duties alongside menacing mid-pace rhythms with the occasional blackened riffs smothered in Celtic Frost worship. Oozing atmosphere this screams 90’s European death metal obviously Asphyx (how many times can I say that name in this, sheesh!) in tone with a slight splash of ominous nature. Four tracks, including an intro and an outro running close to seventeen minutes which all fans of Asphyx (circa “The Rack” and earlier) will want in their collection. Soulburn are active and currently have two EPs and three full lengths to their name.

R-619660-1310164529.jpeg.jpg

Comecon – Megatrends in Brutality
(Sweden)
“Release” – November/22/2019
VicRecords
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COhZZgiyiEs&list=PLDF49E92984E04418
Thoughts – 81

Released in 1991, this is Comecon‘s debut and showcases L.G Petrov’s vocals after his controversial departure from Entombed following the genre milestone “Left Hand Path”. Recorded at Sunlight Studios it also bears a HM2 Buzzsaw sound albeit at times with more a crust/grindcore edge, plenty of groove, old school sensibilities and extreme punk leanings. Often overlooked and underrated this is well worth setting the ears upon and is pleasingly different, somewhat diverse although still somewhat similar to the obvious release which cannot be ignored released a year earlier.

Comecon have three full lengths to their credit but have since disbanded due to label disinterest.

asphyx crush the cenpotaph

Asphyx – Crush the Cenotaph
(Netherlands)
“Release” – November/22/2019
VicRecords
https://www.facebook.com/officialasphyx/
https://open.spotify.com/album/45TD2jwDGkVmiqnXs3kiVA?autoplay=true&v=L
Thoughts – 78

Recorded a year after the death metal landmark “The Rack” and sporting the ‘classic’ lineup this includes five tracks in all; two new, one in studio recording and two live recordings. The quality and crispness of “The Krusher” (the live studio track) is worth the price of the CD. The two new tracks follow the traditional plodding mid-paced huge riff occasional foray into grooves-ville Asphyx shenanigans though don’t quite stand up to that heard on “The Rack”. The final two sound better than expected on location in Stockholm, are fans favorites and although a tad ‘tinny’ hit the spot. Admittedly, “Wasteland of Terror” had me bouncing around in the car on the highway like a chemical riddled primate.

A must for fans of one the best things to come out of the Netherlands, since, well, I give up. The obvious choice is too blatant, and tulips are just silly.

Active since 1987 Asphyx has gone through a number of line-up changes have released nine full lengths and are joined again by Martin Van Drunnen on vocals.

infernal majesty demon god

INFERNÄL MÄJESTY – Demon God
(Canada)
“Release” – November/22/2019
VicRecords
https://infernalmajesty.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5d_44T5Oc1q8YwQkD6ii98k761Dg8Pk7
(please not there are six tracks here, this version is minus “Is There a God” and “Gone the Way of all Flesh”)
Thoughts – 82

Fashioned from a rare (band and management rotation only) two-track demo of sorts and a later six track EP this shows the maturity of the band (diabolical blackened thrash with maniacal, Gothic and epic themes) to their later output with a decidedly more polished/fluid thrash/death edge. Featuring a pair of special guests (Corpsegrinder from Cannibal Corpse and a guitarist/vocalist from Strapping Young Lad/Zimmers Hole) the later material is still diverse employing groove, dynamic rhythm shifts, more a South American old school aggressive thrash feel and a vocal style which is delightfully feral much like their earlier material, a trademark of sorts I suppose. In short, this is a fantastic introduction to an act whose name is no stranger to those familiar with Canadian thrash. It was a first experience of their audio for me and I will be diving into their discography as soon as I’m able, this was impressive audio indeed and I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to jump upon it when I’ve heard their name often enough.

Infernal Majesty have four full lengths to their name and have been a huge influence on more than merely talent from their homeland and active since 1986.

excited animal gif

Are these worth investing in? I believe Animal about says it all…Hell yea!

And that brings my first foray onto re-release territory to a close. Until out paths of audio interest cross again, don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the ears.

Please note the that the links provided are meant for ‘teaser purposes’ only, please support the artists and the scene to keep it thriving and healthy for the next generation to also enjoy.

Cult