Archive for the ‘Reviews of the Metal Variety’ Category

Abrasive Audio – Part Thirty (October 2019)

headbangin gif

To quote Beavis and Butthead, or someone equally as silly, “Metal, metal, metal”. It’s what I’ve got in store and what I’ll preach upon, as per usual. So, grab your favorite beverage, sit back, strap in and open those ear holes for another extreme audio invasion. Be warned – this is another especially mammoth affair (11 bands/albums at last count) with a veritable avalanche of diverse new tunage to discover, jump in!

Please note that ratings here are usually on the high side this is due the fact that I leave audio which I can’t get into (for one reason or another) for someone else to lay words upon. Naturally tastes vary, yours may not be the same as mine for this reason I try to impart a wide spectrum of styles within the titles I place my ponderances upon. Without further ado what say we get this started with…

necronomicon

Necronomicon – Unus
(Canada)
Release – October/18/2019
Season of Mist
Asher Media Relations
https://necronomiconbm.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 78

Serpents, lions, reptiles, flames and an overall motif many may well confuse for a stamp of royalty. Black Metal by order of Her Royal Highness, or something… close.

FIRST TRACK – 89

In short, this is symphonic, atmospheric blackened metal with an epic nature. And it’s a damn impressive commencement.

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

There’s no doubt whatsoever that these guys know exactly what they’re doing. This album drips with excellence, wisdom, atmosphere and an epic audio landscape drenched in master craft-execution of archaic qualities one cannot possibly ignore. Chants, synth interludes and angelic voices add to the albums blackened death par excellence (combining infectious rhythms, ranging from sweeping melodies to hyper speed pacing, and inhuman drum precision) and an undeniable captivating allure. There’s even an addition of old school stylings (by way of the last two tracks “Cursed MMXIX” and “Vox Draconis”) tossed in to perk the interest of those whose interests lay more in the death, rather than blackened death, side of the metal spectrum. If blackened death is the area of the metal arena upon which you spend most of your time you would be negligent not to place this within the ears. If this is a scene which is new to you and you’re curious this is a great place to start your exploration. Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Infinitum Continuum, Paradise Lost, Singularis Dominus, Ascending the Throne of Baator, Vox Draconis.

FFO; Septic Flesh, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Rotting Christ, Behemoth.

algebra

Algebra – Pulse?
(Switzerland)
Release – September30/2019
Unspeakable Axe Records
Clawhammer PR
https://unspeakableaxerecords.bandcamp.com/album/pulse
ARTWORK – 82

Not usually what one would expect to find on a ‘thrash’ album (again I’ve spoilt the fun and perused the promo materials) this hints at an album with progressive death leanings, the logo hints at the same. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK- 92

An acoustic intro that’s part Sepultura (BtR), part Annihilator (AiH) certainly perks up the ears but it’s the cavalcade of riffs both intricate, precise and technical which warrants praise. I can’t honestly say I’m a huge fan of thrash, a few albums here and there. This however has my complete and utter undivided attention leaving me more than intrigued as to how the remainder will play out. (On a personal level the vocal approach took a few listens to fully appreciate although it doesn’t take away from the genius of the music itself).

INITIAL LISTEN – 93

‘Precise’ is a fantastic descriptive word. And I’ll attempt not to overuse it as I continue. Admittedly it might be easier said than done. The audio found here isn’t face melting pace for the sake of it, neither is it merely too technical, a style which might only appeal to those who aspire to be the next Vai, Rhodes or any number of guitar virtuosos who leave audiences around the world in awe. There’s an undeniable fluid nature here. Timing changes are exquisite, rhythms infectious and dynamic. Melodies are plentiful and change enough to keep a listener on their toes (ranging from galloping, ‘old school’ aggressive, stoopid fast to melodies which evoke all manner of emotions) but not too much as to be over the top. A sense of familiarity abounds, leaves one scratching their heads as to which band or album this or that part sounds like, but it doesn’t take away from the listening experience in the slightest. Oftentimes an epic narrative unfolds by way of the music alone complementing the (far removed from the run of the mill) thought-provoking lyrical content. The vocal approach appears at first like it doesn’t fit. But then, after a few listens, slips comfortably into the ‘perfect complement to the percussion’ folder. In short, a winning combination which if someone could bottle it would most probably be titled something along the lines of ‘Excuse me for a second while I blow your mind’, or ”Forget the Remainder of your day you’re about to be Unfathomably Distracted”. Naturally words, as they often do, fail me as I attempt to imprint my appreciation upon the flashing screen beneath my hands. To top it off this has one of the finest “Dead Embryonic Cells” covers I’ve ever had the pleasure to put between the ears. Don’t, DON’T, don’t, allow this to go unnoticed. It really is that damn impressive and seriously appeared from out of the ether itself to entangle my whole afternoon in audio I wish to play again, again and again.

Favorite Tracks; Inner Constraints, Addicted to Authority, Stimulated Mind, Manipulated Soul, Pulse?

FFO; Deathrow, Vektor, Coroner, Slayer, Sepultura.

coldclaw

ColdClaw – Anti Martyr: Decades to Suffer
(USA)
Release – September/27/2019
Ritual Sounds Records
BDWE Media
https://ritualsoundrecords.bandcamp.com/album/anti-martyr-decadess-to-suffer
ARTWORK – 86

Black and white imagery complete with a sun-bleached effect (this might have been shot in Arizona, anyone?) depicting an unfortunate soul stuck within the confines of a suspended cage with his only companions the birds which have, most probably, been pecking away at his torso for millennia.

FIRST TRACK – 89

A ritualistic introduction, of sorts, dissolves into a drum heavy salvo with a dissonant guitar complement. This soon transforms again into dangerously addictive rhythms channeling both crust, death and black metal leanings. A fantastic combination which grabs the attention and opens the eyes to Coldclaw’s style whilst yanking control of the torso into uncontrollable spasms of frenetic movement. An excellent opening leaving one eagerly salivating for the remainder of what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

With the quality of this release in mind I expect Coldclaw to be a name on most lips throughout the arena of extreme metal within the coming months (of course ‘justice’ doesn’t always prevail). Theirs is a style which captures the essence of black metal (via rasped vocal stylings), crust as experienced throughout the album in various passages featuring dominant drum salvos; which are difficult not to move to and death metal as heard within various chugging riff approaches and the brutality which is displayed dominantly throughout. Undeniable atmosphere is a fantastic accompaniment to the angst on offer and will please those with blackened metal penchants regardless of what the atmospheric element accompanies. A mid-tempo is customary, though occasionally Coldclaw take the leap into hyper drive realms (bringing to mind 1349 and Necronomicon) as heard within the excellent “Zephyrs” and “Stillness” track (why isn’t there more tracks with this in the title? My spell check device is about to remove me from its Xmas list mailing).

In conclusion, as if one hasn’t already come to the same conclusion as I, this album is one which deserves ears upon it and praise slathered all over it. Its composition is one that’s not altogether new though sounds unique on account of the quality it’s been created by. The result is a collection of tracks which has the potential to appeal to a wide audience, some who are curious about arenas they perhaps haven’t discovered before and others whose interests lay within the styles mixed with such passionate precision here. No matter where your compass lie do yourself a favor and set the senses upon this then add it to the collection and support the blossoming talent within the scene.

Favorite Tracks; The Deafening, Into the Mirror (Visceral Self-Loathing), Bring Down the Hammer, Searing Wings Through Zephyrs, Stillness and Devine Rivalry, Crippling Dementia.

FFO: Dark Throne, Mayhem, 1349.

come back from the dead album

Come Back from the Dead – Rise of the Blind Ones
(Spain)
Release – September/13/2019
Transcending Obscurity Records
https://comebackfromthedead.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 82

Teal on an album cover. It’s quite the risk, but it works. And this collective of corpses shot through with wicked looking tendrils certainly catches the eye.

FIRST TRACK – 89

Huge riffs lead into a groove -laden landscape complemented by a Barney-esque vocal approach. Early The Haunted in feel accentuated by thrash sensibilities. This isn’t your Father’s death metal! A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

With melody and groove throughout this rarely let’s up in the infectious department. Maniacal passages, ala early Slayer, lend an edge and elevate this far above what one would find upon the same old traditional, tried and true, death release. Occasional familiarity (especially in the case of “Restless in Putrescence”) puts one in mind of an old school style, an influence no doubt though this is far from merely just that. Think a hybrid of 90’s European death, old school British grind/death with a complementary sprinkle of doom and a maniacal essence. A mixture no doubt which has been perpetrated before but, in this case, somehow it feels fresh and leaves quite an impression.

Favorite Tracks; Outcast of the Light, Martyrs of a Gruesome Demise, Restless in Putrescence, Darkness Abominations, Possessed by the Death.

FFO; Morgoth, Dismember, The Haunted, Vomitory, Bloodbath.

And, wait for it…it’s Split Time

swampbeast void terror split

Swamp Beast/Void Terror split
Holocaust of Terrestrial Empires
(USA)
Release – November/14/2019
Me Saco Un Ojo
(note; the Split is represented as of this publication date)
https://mesacounojo.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 78

This looks as though it could be from the same pencil as the person responsible for the last Drawn and Quartered album (I could be wrong, and most probably are). A diabolical, subterranean image which blossoms with more details as the viewer digs deeper.

INITIAL LISTEN –
Swampbeast – 86
https://swampbeastca.bandcamp.com/releases

Unrelenting death grind complemented by suffocating catacomb-esque atmosphere. A mesmerizing soundscape combining Napalm Death touches, passages of groove and a brutal whirlwind chaotic attack. The climax of their ‘set’ utilizes an excellent militaristic/ritualistic drum salvo which morphs into an all-consuming, blazing, fire motif. An excellent climax to a fantastic introduction to the band and their audio.

FFO; Morbid Angel, Tomb Mold, Blood Incantation, Ch’thelist.

Void Terror – 92
https://voidterror.bandcamp.com/releases

Utilizing more a majestic and atmospheric black metal approach as an introduction Void Terror’s initial portion (of this split) initially brings to mind what Bolt Thrower “Realm of Chaos” might have sounded like if it had decidedly black metal undertones. Dirge laden and wickedly dark, yet chaotic and shot through with diabolical essence. Gothic elements are a great addition and add to an already undeniable hypnotic effect. A swirling maelstrom of audio madness one doesn’t wish to escape.

This is easy to lose oneself within, extreme fans will be left pleased indeed!

FFO; Drawn and Quartered.

An excellent split with plenty on offer from two acts ripe for discovery. Keep an ear out for these guys they are poised for greatness.

Favorite Tracks; Chant of Bolotnik, Multiversal Extract, Second Death.

Overall – 90
Back to our regularly scheduled programming…

meth fetish.jpg

Meth Fetish – Meth Fetish EP
(Sweden/USA)
Release – November/1/2019
Dry Cough Records/ Pissed Gargler Records
(Note; the Split isn’t represented as of this publication date)
https://drycough.bandcamp.com/
https://pissgarglerrecords.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 65

What is it with album art which is perplexing? I somewhat get it, the artist and band want you to look closer, paying more attention to hidden intricacies as you try to work out what it might be. Perhaps I’m old school and require (scratch that; ‘demand’) instant gratification rather than an image I need a degree and an impressive IQ to utilize in order to get somewhat of a clue. The jury’s out. If I were to guess I’d say this is a representation of a torso shot through with a substance making its way through the vital organs. Meth perhaps? Pressing play.

FIRST TRACK – 72

Hypnotic and dense this is sludge oozing with an unmistakable dirge nature and subterranean qualities.

INITIAL LISTEN – 73

With strings so loose it’s an OSHA hazard, Meth Fetish choke the listener in a dirge nature so vile, thick and heavy you’d think it might have recently exited the bowels of a pachyderm freed from worrisome constipation. Complemented by distortion so blatant it could clear the cobwebs from an abandoned Gothic mansion, a bludgeoning nature, vocals spewed lazily from a pestilent throat and an overall nature which drips with underworld atmosphere. This about ticks all the boxes for the requirements a seasoned vet of the filthiest arena of extreme tunage demands. Give it a listen and prepare to put a down payment on a brand spanking new subwoofer. You’ve been warned!

Favorite Tracks; Wasted, Incurable.

FFO; Fetish 69, EyeHateGod, Cathedral, Acid Bath.

cleric.jpg

Cleric – Serpent Psalms
(USA)
Release – October/25/2019
Raw Skull Recordz/Redefining Darkness Records
https://cleric-us.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 92

There’s a great deal going on here. An alien landscape, a sacrificial Aztec-esque altar, effigies watching over all and coitus in what appears to be mud of one type or another. Intriguing indeed. It’s as if doom has collided with sci-fi laden grindcore.

FIRST TRACK – 81

Traditional HM2 action meets old school British death/grind complemented by a Barney-esque vocal approach, catchy as fuk mid-tempo groove and an atmosphere one might not expect bearing in mind the above-mentioned combination.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

The familiarity here for those of us with tastes for the old school and mid-tempo infectious silliness is undeniable. This is worship at the altar of both HM2 and the early 90’s British death scene. Above and beyond that this offers little touches (synth interludes hinting at cosmic/foreign landscapes,  as well a fluidity which hard to deny) which add to the homage keeping the attention and plenty of groove passages to make one want to take this from wired headphones to blue tooth or even a speaker system setup which the neighbors will more than likely hate you for, but it’s worth it. Boasting a seething dirge nature complemented by riffs and rhythms which are difficult to ignore this, though not altogether ground-breaking, is a release which demands further attention and might well male one take a trip down nostalgia brutal ville to revisit that which is most probably collecting dust. Highly Recommended, but be prepared for the limbs to move of their own volition.

Favorite Tracks; Maw of Absolution, Possessed in Congress, All Death Unseeing, Destroying Eye of the Self.

FFO; Benediction, Bolt Thrower, Carnage, Entombed, Dismember.

andralls.jpg

Andralls – Bleeding for Thrash
(Brazil)
Release – October/11/2019
MDD Records
Against PR
(Note; this is an earlier release as of this publication date the album isn’t represented yet)
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/andralls
ARTWORK – 83

With the recent background of the band, more specifically the lead singer, in mind odds are this could well be imagery, and the albums aptly named title, depicting his overcoming thyroid cancer.

The image certainly grabs the interest and piques the curiosity and is miles from what one would expect to find adorning the cover of a thrash album, a melodic or doom/death affair but hardly thrash.

FIRST TRACK – 76

Heavily accented vocals (with a hardcore slant) atop aggressive driving rhythms which bear undeniable early Exodus ‘bounce’, maniacal riffage ala Slayer and also old school go all out tendencies.

INITIAL LISTEN – 80

This collection of tracks is testament to a band’s dedication, perseverance and passion for the craft. Rarely letting up this album showcases driving rhythms, a style which incorporates a slew of influences across the extreme spectrum and dynamic pace channeling Sepultura, Overkill complemented by the maniacal riff fashioning of Slayer. Feast your ears on this and support an act who prove that hard work, perseverance and patience pay off.

Favorite Tracks; Bleeding for Thrash, Imminent Cancer, Acid Rain.

FFO; Sodom, Exodus, Slayer, Sepultura.

in mourning.jpg

In Mourning – Garden of Storms
(Sweden)
Release – October/4/2019
Agonia Records
https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/album/garden-of-storms
ARTWORK – 88

An amorphous plant, a force of nature running amok or merely an artist’s interpretation of a transformative hybrid force within the wild? Regardless, this is certainly eye-opening and not what one would expect to find on an album cover in a genre in which I can only presume this resides. I’m ready to be set to rights, hitting play.

FIRST TRACK – 97

A stunning mix of melodic death, doom and progressive elements supported by an excellent fluidity and rhythms which are criminally infectious. A clean, hoarse vocal trade off works superbly and only serves to make this a track which is most certainly up there with the finest of the year (need I say IMO?)

INITIAL LISTEN – 96

What we have here folks is another example of an act which I’m amazed I haven’t discovered much sooner. The audio here is about as varied as one can imagine without it running into ridiculous territories, Avant Garde, or experimental realms. Growling vocals (of the highest order if there is such a thing) complement shifting rhythms, sweeping, soaring melodies and progressive passages which otherwise wouldn’t fit but, in this instance, based on their setting and the music’s composition and the tracks nature, are exquisite. The styles herein tumble over each as though puppies at play without once resorting to brutality, the fluidity here is astounding. In fact, overall this is an album I’m itching to recommend to the wife if only it wasn’t for the fact that she has an aversion to growling vocals I believe she’d be as excited about it as I. Without running into diatribe lengths I’ll leave this here and hope my fanciful words have made an impression. Hopefully I’m not the last to jump on this it deserves praise from the highest of peaks. Suffice it to say the name of both the band and the album are sure to be heard until well into next year even after year end lists have been exhausted. (If I get around to compiling one, there’s no doubt it’ll be high on the podium.)

Favorite Tracks; This album flows so damn well and offers so much stylistic diversity at such an elevated level that its hard to pick only a few tracks. Suffice it say it delivers throughout.

FFO; October Tide, Opeth, Katatonia, Between the Buried and Me, Be’lakor, Insomnium, Swallow the Sun.

the deathtrip.jpg

The Deathtrip – Demon Solar Totem
(United Kingdom/Norway)
Release – November/15/2019
Svart Records/Profound Lore Records
https://the-deathtrip.bandcamp.com/album/demon-solar-totem
ARTWORK – 72

I’m not quite sure what to make of this to be honest. It looks as if it could have Oriental occult origins; the shape of the face, the flowing mass of hair. Though I’m still perturbed as to what it could be. One thing’s for certain though, there’s plenty of crimson and the person has wicked sharp looking talons. Pressing play.

FIRST TRACK – 83

Ominous indeed. Atmosphere drenched in dread and menace collides with tradition hyper speed chaotic, blasting, black metal which oozes undeniable majesty. Occult qualities, as well mystical elements are front and center and cavort in an epic nature. Within its length hypnotic rhythms are commonplace aided by chants making for a varied vocal approach and hinting at a release which could well be quite the auditory experience.

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

Adding upon a harsh, primal, oftentimes raw groundwork with epic themes, a grandiose template which incorporates screams, howls, chants and undeniable majestic The Deathtrip have created an album which has the potential to garner appeal from across the BM landscape. Varied in both scope and approach raw audio (with an intensity to appeal to traditionalists and those acclimatizing themselves to the variety the scene offers; aka me) cavorts alongside melancholic atmosphere hypnotic, trance inducing, rhythms and surprisingly melody drenched under occult skies an effect which holds the attention from first to last. And the more one sinks into the experience (aka repeated listens) the greater detail and intricacies it provides. This boasts an appeal which cannot be argued, begs to be repeated and often.

Favorite Tracks; Demon Solar Totem, Angel Fossils, Surrender to a Higher Power, Enter Spectral Realms, Abraxas Mirrors.

FFO; Mayhem, Darkthrone, Thorns, Beherit, Dissection, Emperor, Burzum.

psychomancer.jpg

Psychomancer – Shards of the Hourglass
(USA)
Release – October/31/2019
Orchestrated Misery Recordings
Clawhammer PR
https://psychomancer.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 56

The imagery (as well the bands logo) bears somewhat a dark hip-hop vibe, the effluent green glow and font are to blame, thankfully the audio isn’t (I’ve perused the accompanying promo materials) and honestly, I’m not a fan, fingers crossed it doesn’t turn a potential listener away.

FIRST TRACK – 70

Thrashy death with a familiar HM2 Buzzsaw dirge vibe showcasing plenty of rhythm changes with a sound bolstered by commendable production values. The drum sound and bass twang is distinct, the vocals are of the death doom variety.

INITIAL LISTEN – 74

Melodic death, bordering on the more aggressive spectrum of thrash, boasting mid-tempo rhythms and a cavalcade of riffs which are difficult not to appreciate. Quality production values, clear sound and plenty of groove passages help keep this from forgettable realms. Though the style is truthfully far from ground breaking this offers a style and execution fans of the Entombed, Grave and Dismember movement will likely appreciate more than most.

Favorite Tracks; Red Poetry, As Your Vital Signs Decline, Deto-Nation, Myrmidons.

FFO; Benediction, Gorefest, Malevolent Creation, Vader, Grave.

It’s “Recc’d by” Time

fistful of doom

Recc’d’ by Fistful of Doom; @FlatulentFuzz (on Twitter):
Cycles of the Damned – A Time to Survive
(USA)
Release – October/12/2019
Incendiary Ceremony Recordings, D.H.U Records
Mettle Media
https://cyclesofthedamned.bandcamp.com/album/a-time-to-survive
Thoughts –

It’s hard what to expect from audio with the album’s art in mind; A skull within chainmail and helmet set against a background ablaze in flames. Better just to clear the mind and let the audio itself do the “talking”.

cycles of the damned.jpg

Immediately noticeable is that the albums six tracks run sixty minutes (one runs over fifteen minutes in length, the first three run close to forty-two minutes). I’m of the mind that this can only go one of only two ways; sheer boredom (resulting in my attention diverting elsewhere and damn quick) or audio which captivates with its brilliance, leaving me in awe with my attention rapt. I’m glad to report that the latter is the case. This is drenched in doom sensibilities as well sludge qualities and a certain amount of unquestionable angst. Cinematic soundscapes are introduced often, showcasing psychedelic moments amidst unbound atmosphere, and make up a great deal of the albums playing time adding considerable depth, an element one might normally expect to find upon an album within the same genre, and a narrative one can easily lose themselves in depending on of course their ‘state of relaxation’ (if you catch my drift). A plethora of emotions are guaranteed to be evoked as this plays out as the listener is dragged from one destination to another in a journey comprised upon a spectrum of landscapes formed from the unlikely coalescing of a myriad of styles. Fluidity is uncommonly commendable and I would suggest an afternoon free from distraction to be able to let the power of this release (as a whole, not track by track if avoidable) sink in. Thanks for the Recc Sir. I’m adding this to my playlist for those long road trips where conversation is dull and the surroundings muted by sparseness.  Recommended for those who have an open mind and are willing to allow a release to breathe rather than assault the senses immediately.

Recc’d by Void; @Voidhanger2 on Twitter

Void Reccs

Scaphism – Perpetual Torment
(USA)
Release – August/27/2019
https://scaphism.bandcamp.com/
Thoughts –

Within the last year I’ve laid thoughts down upon Scaphism’s last album (“Unutterable Horrors” released in January of last year through Horror Pain Gore Death Productions), I liked it but was left wanting more, I wondered when their next might drop. Void surprised me one day by asking if I’d ever heard of them (doesn’t he read my inane ramblings upon all things metal I thought briefly) and continued by stating that he was going to a show (I’m still jealous, dammit!) A few hours after the show in question he dropped me a brief video which left me perplexed; had the vocalist changed? (regardless he stated that he loved them) Which prompted me to seek out and lay a few thoughts upon this, a two-track demo leading up the bands third full length (which I’m also willing to promote if the band is reading this – hint, hint).

scaphism - perpetual torment

As is typical I’ll ponder upon this releases art before I dissect the audio. I’m all up for gruesome art especially if it reminds me of a standout, and quite unexpected especially grisly FX laden, scene from the original Poltergeist movie (which is usually omitted when it airs on TV).

Old school and groove come to mind when I hit play. The vocalist may have changed but the style hasn’t, for which I’m thankful, Lovecraftian lore and a story type narrative oozes from the lyrical content and for the most part it’s actually decipherable (which is rare in the genre) which in no way takes away from the quality. This is a lady who can growl (anyone else into that sort of thing?) And hers is a style which fits the audio leaving no doubt or concerns whatsoever. Riffs are far from technical, but I’ve no complaints, this is undeniably more ‘meat and potatoes’ style death with breakdowns and the occasional abrupt galloping pace transformation tossed in for effect.

If this is any indication of the quality on offer from album to follow, I’m all ears. And Void likes it so who’s to argue ‘his’ logic.

exhausted animal

That’s about it for this, yet another monstrous installment, in the series, I only hope you made it to the end (I’m tired). Until our paths of audio interest cross paths again, don’t fear discovery of that which would normally not grab your attention.

Cult

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Abrasive Audio – Part Twenty -Nine

Drowning in an avalanche of metal and there’s no end in sight.

A special edition because sometimes you just have to…

The Scourge.jpg

The Scourge – Warrant for Execution
(USA)
Release – October/25/2019
Seeing Red Records
https://thescourge-us.bandcamp.com/album/warrant-for-execution
ARTWORK – 92

I’m a sucker for black and white imagery, and this is no exception. Call this blatant homage to the Giallo genre, 80’s slasher movies or something else, there’s no doubt that it’s rendered with style, sports intricate details giving the image depth, has an instant effect and grabs the attention immediately.     Can you see me? I’m camouflaged in curious nature.

FIRST TRACK – 93

What initially caresses the ears as progressive soon transpires into snap the neck thrash. Rhythms of a galloping transformative nature are complemented by perhaps some of the finest vocals, sporting quite the impressive range, that I’ve heard grace the arena in quite some time. This isn’t fast for the sake of speed either; graced by intricate rhythms though isn’t overly technical rhythms weave their way through passages draped in melody and then back again hinting at influences (hard rock and NWOBHM) which aren’t normally invoked in this genre or even this early on in an album giving any new listener a chance to warm to a new acts style. Regardless this works, I’m all ears and about to plunge face first into a realm, which admittedly, I don’t frequent that often anymore. It took me a while but now I can say this reminds me, in part, of early Flotsam and Jetsam.

INITIAL LISTEN – 95

Rare is it that a release from outside of my comfort zone (currently black, death and atmospheric dark metal) will pierce my ears and grab my attention as much as this has. And it happened instantly! Between the albums delicate balance and masterful combination of a slew of styles (namely hard rock, NWOBHM, Southern groove and thrash among others) there lies utter undeniable brilliance. Swift pace cavorts hand in hand with melodies which would otherwise seem foreign, though somehow The Scourge have managed to syndicate the two much like PB n Jelly (who woulda’ thunk it?) and then topped the concoction off with stunning musicianship, creative genius and a vocalist whose skills I can’t believe haven’t been discovered and utilized up until this point. Naturally there are tracks which will appeal more to thrash fans and others more so to fans of vintage metal, more specifically NWOBHM, though overall the meshing and molding of the styles is exquisite bearing a fluidity which is erratic and rarely witnessed across the metal cosmos. Don’t let your friends tell you about this, be the first on the block to preach!!

This will top a myriad of best of lists if there’s any justice. I certainly have it bookmarked to do so!!

exhausted animal

This will leave you exhausted but more than willing to hit play again and again!

Favorite Tracks; Put a high velocity projectile launcher against my head and I still wouldn’t be able to pick a few out above others, this album shreds at a stellar level from start to finish!

FFO; vintage Flotsam and Jetsam, Iron Maiden, Annihilator, Anthrax, Forbidden, Exciter (at a stretch; vintage Wolfsbane).

Why the special edition? Well this knocked me on my arse that’s why and I couldn’t wait to preach!

Cult

Abrasive Audio (Part twenty – eight)

headbangin gif

The juggernaut of metal rolls on, unstoppable, crushing everything and everyone in its path. In other news my Inbox is overflowing and I’ve just returned from a vacation. I guess it’s about time to don the suggested attire in order that I dive right back in. Damn, this suit is tight! I’m guessing gaining weight and vacations go hand in hand. Sans further, obvious, observations which have very little to do with the audio under scrutiny…

torpor

Torpor – Rhetoric of the Image
(UK)
Release – September/20/2019
Truthseeker Music/Sludgelord Records/ Moment of Collapse Records/Smith’s Food Group/Medusa Crush Recordings
Dewar PR
https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/album/rhetoric-of-the-image
ARTWORK – 72

Unless one had knowledge of what this image is or what it may mean they might be confused, I am. But after learning of a Japanese art which restores beauty to the broken through a process which includes materials one might not expect one might have an idea of where the music might lead. Or one can only assume. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 82

Here’s one hell of an opener! Both brutally crushing yet shot through with passages of undeniable beauty. An audio journey which drags the listener from mammoth distortion saturated riff sludge laden depths through cinematic plains drenched in minimalistic tones and then back under again. An epic trip to say the least. Wholly unpredictable and quite unlike what one might initially expect. I’m impressed and eager for more!

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

Ambient, nuanced and soundtrack-esque in scope though utterly absorbing and captivating this is hardly what one could/would or should consider ‘run-of-the-mill’ but rather an immersive experience. A bass driven doom/sludge hybrid, a temperamental beast against a dystopian, apocalyptic soundscape which demands respect and attention. Suffocating in times, harsh in others, yet wholly enveloping throughout this runs varied depths of sparked emotion leaving the listener dazed, enlightened, bludgeoned and overwhelmed but yet strangely, in moments, oddly relaxed. Dive in and discover for yourself why this album is not to be missed!

Favorite Tracks; Benign Circle, Enigmatic Demand, Mourning the Real.

FFO; Nuerosis, Isis, Boris, The Ocean.

profanation

Profanation – Into Cascades of Blood and Burning Soil
(Germany)
Release -April/26/2019
Hostile Media
https://profanation.bandcamp.com/album/into-cascades-of-blood-and-burning-soil
Against PR
ARTWORK – 84

The Pope, “Jesus” with a demonical look upon his visage (who yields a hatchet rather than a fish), a sacrificial offering, demons in the smoke and a city burning to the ground, is that Hitler in the background? Awesome art which leaves little to the imagination regarding what to expect. There’s no sparkles and unicorns to be found here folks!

FIRST TRACK – 80

A spoken word introduction alongside ominous, powerful, riffs open the scene. A prophecy talking of an Apocalypse and rebirth. Fading to black this is replaced by a Cannibal Corpse-esque approach (hints of technicality) and tone aided by a wicked thrash aura the stage is set for an album which should invoke a few grins, incite impressive ‘pit’ activity and snap a fair few necks as it plays out (if this is any indication of what’s to follow).

INITIAL LISTEN – 75

Showcasing breakdowns, groove, galloping thrash pacing and an approach hinting at technical leaning and influence the nine tracks here show definite promise and a delicate balance which works well. Undeniable is that Profanation are an act who know how to compose and create tracks with a proven formula and an air of familiarity to garner interest. My only qualms are that a few tracks could be shorter, for much the same effect, and that although commendable and pleasing to most, this unfortunately isn’t a style which breaks any new ground.

Favorite Tracks; Into Cascades of Blood and Burning Soil, Bloodbath in Heaven, Unholy Brutality Unleashed, A Place to Pray.

FFO; Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation.

Byzanthian Neckbeard

Byzanthian Neckbeard – Extinction (EP)
(Guernsey)
Release – September/27/2019
Independent
Dewar PR
https://byzanthianneckbeard.bandcamp.com/album/extinction
ARTWORK – 60

Primitive yet blunt and to the point. An image which showcases what I can only assume to be a large mass/rock (?) colliding with ‘something’ resulting in obvious devastating effect.

FIRST TRACK – 73

Doom with considerable pace and weight complemented by growling vox and significant groove. I could move to this!

INITIAL LISTEN – 73

Nothing here in the way of technical rhythms or anything complex in the slightest but these tunes are so seductively addictive that one cares not one iota. Death/doom, groove/doom call this what you will, but there’s no doubt whatsoever that this is infectious audio. Three tracks are way too short; this only leave me wanting more (which thankfully comes by way of “Minator” on November/1st and it can’t come fast enough!)

Favorite Tracks; Coffin Bomb, Extinction.

FFO; Mid-era Pungent Stench, Doom with undeniable groove qualities with a darker than normal vocal accompaniment.

xoth

Xoth – Interdimensional Invocations
(USA)
Release – October/18/2019
Self-Released
Clawhammer PR
https://xoth.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 91

“I asked for extra meat on my pizza, but a small city will suffice”. Seriously, who do I tip for this amount of generosity. Humans are delicious!”

Humor and Sci-fi elements collide in this comic book-esque imagery. If the audio is as impressive the listener is in for a treat!

FIRST TRACK – 89

Thrashy death with technical and progressive elements draped in maniacal values. An injection of well-executed Lovecraftian horror and sci-fi result in this holding the attention throughout.

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

Infectious melodies, technical intricacies and progressive passages combine with a soundscape that’s part brutal death, part technical and slightly traditional metal in tone add to this lyrical content slathered in cosmic elements and a little levity and the result is a release which (if there’s any justice) should garner a great deal of attention. The shredding quotient in this is damn impressive the style dynamic yet diverse, suffice to say this releases appeal has the potential to turn a great many heads. With this quality in offer I’m surprised this is the first I’ve heard of Xoth (I expect that to change very soon). Highly recommended and did I mention criminally addictive?

Favorite Tracks; Exceptional quality throughout, I refuse to pick a few to mention.

FFO; Death, Pestilence, Abysmal Dawn, Aborted.

A Break in the Regular Schedule for “Something Completely Different”

witchwood

Witchwood – Litanies from the Woods
(Italy)
Release – May/4/2015
Jolly Roger Records
https://jolly-roger-records.bandcamp.com/album/litanies-from-the-woods
ARTWORK – 79

One might have immediate assumptions based on the music with this image in mind, it’s dangerously close to what one might expect to find on an atmospheric doom-laden black release. I’ll ruin it, because I’ve perused the promotional materials, this isn’t in any way extreme audio. I’m intrigued, let’s move on.

FIRST TRACK – 80

Southern ‘easy’ groove with a decidedly Cosmic tinged edged introduction leads into ‘Zeppelin’ esque melodies with ‘Skynard’ and vintage ‘Priest’ undertones. Toss in alternate instruments, keyboards and a definite seventies feel and you have a track which exhibits a myriad of influence. This isn’t what I normally place betwix the ears but I’m finding it difficult not to appreciate the audio on offer.

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

Soulful, passionate, laden with folk elements, remarkable presence (by way of acoustic brilliance and melodies which bring to mind times of yore and banquets in a forest setting featuring an eye-popping cleavage motif) and huge seventies rock influence this offers epic soundscapes to lose yourself within and a vocalist whose range and skill are a fantastic accompaniment. Certainly, far from what I usually lay my thoughts upon this offers audio which an open mind can easily embrace especially when there’s a little smoke in the air and in the system (if you catch my drift. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Fans of early prog rock, hard rock and alternate (vintage) heavy metal will most probably grin as the acts undeniable talent works its way through the senses. As a huge fan of vintage Rainbow this hits the spot whilst also offering enough rhythmic and stylistic variety to entice discovery of similar releases from around the same time (with the same label attached) which I’ve yet to give the time of day to. Naturally this isn’t for everyone but for those whose tastes run to the acts mentioned below this will serve to lighten the mood and spark interest in an act who are more than worthy of the attention.

Favorite Tracks; Shade of Grey, Farewell to the Ocean Boulevard, A Place for the Sun, Golden King

FFO; Jethro Tull, Lord Weird Slough Feg, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Allman Bros Band, Dio fronted Rainbow.

ghost;hello

Ghost:Hello – Sound of Color in Space
(USA)
Release – September/20/2019
Self-Released
Dewar PR
https://ghosthello.bandcamp.com/album/the-sound-of-color-in-space
ARTWORK – 80

Either that Octopus is emitting fumes or those astronauts have been dining at a dubious intergalactic establishment and are experiencing the unprecedented after-effects. Is that a ‘space taco’ in the foreground? Who else is thinking Douglas Adams and/or “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”?

FIRST TRACK – 70

Cosmic bells introduce the album and the stoner rock infused with definite psychedelia undertones which follow. Synth blanketing melodic stoner rock/doom sans vocals at this time.

INITIAL LISTEN – n/a

If the track listing alone isn’t enough to inform you that you’re about to enter into surreals-ville then perhaps the album’s title or art will. This album is (to put it bluntly) an exercise in how much diversity one can handle in an album. Tracks dipped in angst are side by side with others undeniably the opposite. Spoken word soundbite affairs drenched in synth accompanied by a drum beat percussion and others displaying more a Marilyn Manson aura with crawling pace. A Cosmic vibe permeates the whole affair, varied vocal aesthetics and experimental effects are commonplace resulting in a listening experience for the brave, those with a taste for the off the beaten path, an album, to be blunt, many might not be able to fully consume. An eclectic taste for sure much like cinematic output which begs to be dissected and discussed. To be honest this isn’t suited to my tastes though I can understand how it might appeal to those who yearn for more in their sensorial consumption.

Favorite Tracks; The Mouth of the Gift Horse, Poison Swan.

FFO; The more theatrical rather than audio which delivers instant gratification.

And, Returning to the Regular Broadcast

netherbird

Netherbird – Into the Vast Uncharted
(Sweden)
Release – September/27/2019
Eisenwold
Carcosa PR
https://netherbird.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-vast-uncharted
ARTWORK – 80

Classic imagery (known as “Älvalek” to those in ‘art circles’) depicting a tranquil landscape at dusk. A ‘familiar’ setting yet not so much in this light, this is otherworldly showcasing a parade of spirits frolicking, cavorting, in a realm many might consider they have an intimate knowledge of. Perhaps this isn’t the case at all. This leaves me curious as to the audio itself.

FIRST TRACK – 87

A thunderous mix of melody and blacked death with unexpected passages bringing to mind stylistic elements one might not expect additions which elevate this far above the jostling genre hordes. A fantastic introduction to the band and a unique spin on a genre which is fast becoming overcrowded

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

Rather than rely upon symphonic accompaniment Netherbird accentuate their audio with, among other things, sweeping, passionate, melodies. An element far removed from what one might expect in a traditional melodic death outing; a pigeonhole in which this act doesn’t comfortably reside. It is this touch which shrouds the release at just the right moment in exquisite emotion. A stunning companion to the other stylistic elements found throughout resulting in an album which instantly makes an impression and only grows the more it’s allowed to caress the senses. A remarkable invocation of the blackened death style crafted with precision showcasing passionate guitar leads, acoustic brilliance and sweeping evocative melodies. A veil of doom, a definite well-executed presence, accentuates the palpable emotion throughout making for a release one will only want to experience again and again.

Favorite Tracks; Harvest the Stars, Eventide Evangel, Obsidian White, Nexus of Unlight.

FFO; Dissection, Stortregn, Vagrant, October’s Tide, Be’lakor, Swallow the Sun.

unfathomable ruinantion

Unfathomable Ruination – Enraged and Unbound
(United Kingdom)
Release – November/22/2019
Willowtip Records
Clawhammer PR
https://unfathomableruination.bandcamp.com/album/enraged-unbound
ARTWORK – 90

A tad reminiscent of Cannibal Corpse’s “The Bleeding” this image showcases manifested demons resulting from all manner of emotion. A rendition which is certainly striking.

FIRST TRACK – 88

Wicked adrenaline spiking rhythms, plentiful timing changes, groove and a vocal style which will place a grin on any genre fans face and all within a package which incorporates Slam, technical brutal death and grindcore elements. I wasn’t expecting audio of this caliber to be honest, it’s difficult not to be suitably impressed.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

Regardless of whether one believes these guys to be Britain’s answer to (Americas) Misery Index or (Frances) Benighted there’s little doubt that they play with blazing intent, exhibit stunning talent and know how to strike a chord (pun) with fans and new listeners alike (it’s my first time. Be gentle and please don’t put it ‘there’). Track structures, although longer than most in the same genre, are infectiously contagious showcasing abrupt pace transformations, frenzied and maniacal moments and technicality the likes of which precariously straddles the fence between technical death and grindcore arenas, occasional Slam and infrequently progressive realms, though rarely dwells for too long in one forum. In short, this audio depicts an act who have no desire to fuck around. It’s straight down to business and these guys are bringing all the requisite ingredients to make a lasting impression, albeit one which will leave a mark whose after effects will require meds and most probably a trip to the ER. Limber up before this one folks!

Favorite Tracks; An Obsidian Perception, Enraged and Unbound, Maniacal Disillusion, Protoplasmic Imprisonment.

FFO; Misery Index, Dying Fetus, Ingested, Benighted.

aggressive perfector

Aggressive Perfector – Havoc at the Midnight Hour
(UK)
Release – November/22/2019
Dying Victims Productions
https://dyingvictimsproductions.bandcamp.com/album/aggressive-perfector-havoc-at-the-midnight-hour
ARTWORK – 82

This screams adoration of cult European genre celluloid. Guts worn as neck adornment, a wild-eyed man of the cloth wielding an ax, a barely dressed maiden witnessing a mansion go up in flames (as if it’s an everyday event) and front and center a visage engulfed in an undeniable possessed motif. Be it Fulci, D’Amato or Bava there’s undeniable similarities afoot which have grabbed my attention.

FIRST TRACK – 77

Draped in a style plucked screaming from the early eighties (metal scene) this is neither speed, thrash nor anything instantly appearing to fit comfortably in any extreme genre by today’s standards, but it is an intriguing concoction complete with a vocal style that makes an impression which is neither traditional nor harsh (think death, black metal and grindcore) for those who need an act for comparison think a more melodic Venom for it nears a similar raw tone and style.

INITIAL LISTEN – 75

The similarities to a (bonus) Slayer track end at the title alone, this is decidedly more heavy metal in tone with complementing sides of diabolical speed and blackened values. Channeling melodies of a ‘Maiden’ and Blitzkrieg ilk and unarguable NWOBHM stylings this is certainly not for everyone. But for those with a penchant for the acts mentioned this is a great album harkening to the ground-breakers within the scene (whose influence is still heavily commented upon even in today’s heavy hitters) yet charged with attitude and a vocal style closer to that sported by Cronos (Venom).

Favorite Tracks; Chains of Black Wrath, Into the Nightmare, Vengeful One,

FFO; Raven, Venom, Judas Priest, Exciter, Dokken, early Bathory.

zarraza.jpg

Zarraza (meaning “infection” or “unbearable person” in Russian) – Rotten Remains
(Kazakhstan)
Release – November/29/2019
Self-Released
Dewar PR
https://zarraza.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 72

An undead type (which appears to be a Mummy of one type or another in this instance) doused in glow in the dark green nuclear liquid (complete with fallout mask) although this has been done many a time before I’m left, nevertheless, curious as to what audio lies within.

FIRST TRACK – 73

Driving rhythms, shifting tempos and gruff vocals, a style which is perilously close to brutal death territories though remains firmly attached to the extreme thrash arena. An intriguing style which incorporates familiar influences, the origins of which I haven’t quite figured out just yet.

INITIAL LISTEN – 73

Huge props first off to the band who’ve persevered through various difficulties and the hardships their geographical location affords them in order that this might grace our ears. Obviously, when one discusses metal (in any way, shape or form) the location of Kazakhstan rarely, if ever, appears in the same sentence, unless of course Sasha Cohen has donned another disguise if only to cover an unlikely track under the moniker of “Borat” (this might not be so strange seems as goats, I’ve heard they are commonplace in the area are associated largely with a specific genre of extreme audio) This however, might soon change. This is dynamic audio, multi genre styled and angst ridden, familiar yet refreshing but better yet delightfully more polished than what one might expect. If you enjoy audio from any of the bands listed (below) in the FFO section by all means give this a listen your interest will be perked just in time for fresh material which (fingers crossed) should be released in the near future.

Favorite Tracks; Grudge, Chaos, wRRong Song.

FFO; Hatebreed, modern Sepultura, Pantera, Machine Head.

body harvest.jpg

Body Harvest – Parasitic Slavery
(United Kingdom)
Release – May/3/2019
Comatose Music
Imperative PR
https://comatosemusic.bandcamp.com/album/parasitic-slavery
ARTWORK – 81

Rabid, werewolf/alien hybrid in appearance, alien’s intent on cosmic domination by way of putting people in pods and draining their life force (or something along those lines). I have the feeling this has been done before, under many guises. But I’m diggin’ it. Hitting play.

FIRST TRACK – 82

Unrelenting and straight for the throat audio. Diabolical and unmerciful this is a tsunami of sound which is menacing, Sci- fi laden and all-consuming in its intensity. Do I have your interest yet? I should, this is quality stuff.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

Devoid of frilly bits, progressive interludes and moments of reflection this is primal death metal shrouded in technical prowess sporting an intensity which is palpable. Utilizing an all-out approach (for the most part) Body Harvest have somehow managed to create an album which is mesmerizing in its undeniable brutality. A rare feat far removed from ‘harsh noise’ realms the audio herein boasts maniacal values, diabolical surges, pummeling salvos and moments of ear screeching (controlled) chaos (excellently placed to provide added atmosphere and depth) as well apocalyptic heights. A fantastic combination which somehow flows exquisitely and is all bathed in delicious dirge qualities fellow countrymen Bolt Thrower would be jealous of (if they were still “grinding”) Funfact; this is from Bristol, not Birmingham. Void states (for the record; his metal knowledge is far superior than anyone else’s I know of) that this is Morbid Angel worship taken to the extreme and mentions the band Eskhaton also.

Intrigued? I’d be surprised if you weren’t. This audio floored me with its stellar caliber and though it’s a little off-center from what I normally place between the ears I’ll admit it floored me. Highly Recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Hierarchy of Grief, Consumed by Tyrants, Darkness Descends, Apocalyptic Abomination.

FFO; Nile, Hate Eternal, Krisiun, Immolation, Vader, Eskhaton.

the flaying

The Flaying – Angry, Undead
(Canada)
Release – March/2019
PRC Music
Asher PR
https://theflaying.bandcamp.com/album/angry-undead
ARTWORK – 78

Chaos, carnage, crimson and the marauding undead what more could you ask for upon a metal release, seriously?

FIRST TRACK – 83

Audio from what could well be a torture porn opus kicks this album off and it quickly transforms into go-for-the-throat riffage a mix of black and technical death complemented by a vocal style which most every fan of the scene will instantly be able to appreciate. Just me, or does anyone else hear slight Nuclear Assault (“Handle with Care” era) and or Xentrix (“For Whose Advantage”) riffage here. This isn’t in anyway a complaint, not in the slightest, merely an observation. A great start. Hold my calls!

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

This release about has it all! There are progressive passages (bringing to mind, in instances, Atheist and Cynic) technical prowess (with enough bass presence to leave fans of the instrument salivating), enough breakdowns to please the Slam crowd, groove to keep those limbs a flailing. Also, brutality and melody in equal measure, a delicate balance. More exciting yet is that the production is top-notch and the compositions are intricately curated with zero moments which appear ‘out of place’ or awkward in their place and setting. The bass is accentuated more than is usually heard within the genre adding considerable weight to the rhythms and drive to the tracks structure. Overall, for a debut this is stunning offering considerably more than any debut is expected to.

The horizon looks bright indeed if this is any indication of what’s to follow.

Highly recommended and deserved of a nomination for Quebec GAMIQ (“Gala alternatif de la musique indépendante du Québec”) Awards “Metal Album of The Year” and “Artist of The Year”.

Favorite Tracks – Disloque, Genuflect, Elegy of Emptiness, Angry, Undead.

FFO; Benighted, The Black Dahlia Murder, Suffocation, Archspire, Pestilence, Alterbeast, Ingested.

atomic cretis.jpg

Atomic Cretins – Spiritual Cancer
(USA)
Release – October/26/2019
Suicide Bong Tapes
Qabar PR
https://atomiccretins.bandcamp.com/album/spiritual-cancer
ARTWORK – 76

There’s a fire in the Basilica and corpse painted musicians from Norway are nowhere in sight. Is this an alternate reality, or is there mutiny amongst the upper echelon of the holy?

FIRST TRACK – 77

Raunchy audio, groove (think early Exodus in a blender with crust anarchists Disrupt) and blackened rasped vocals are introduced by introductory instrumental passages (by way of old school crossover thrash) and soundbites which state that which everyone should already know.

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

Mid-tempo old-school thrash values and plentiful groove collide with crust and extreme punk attitude resulting in a filthy listening experience which is surprisingly infectious. This isn’t what I was expecting but it woke me up and put considerable oomph/get-up-and-get-em’ in my morning.

Favorite Tracks; Out of the Coffin, Spiritual Cancer.

FFO; Hellripper, Wraith, Bastardizer, Disrupt.

A brief look at singles and/or ‘Official track premieres’

infected dead - the rache

Infected Dead -The Rache
(United Kingdom)
Release – September/27/2019
Hostile Media
Future PR
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uw4-5mkqVdA
Thoughts –

Within the last couple of years, I’ve been fortunate to be able to review this act’s last release. It actually featured on my ‘best of’ year-end list in account of its fluidity and all-round eye-opening brilliance. But then, nothing. I honestly it could be the end, but I was hoping it wasn’t. I needed more. Then from out of the blue, an email, a summons, a spark of hope. Infected Dead are back! They had a single and wanted me to share my thoughts upon it. I pondered for a moment, then went on vacation, then went back to my day job then remembered that I couldn’t forget. And now here I am sharing the video (above) in support of the new audio.

For those who need an introduction here’s a link to their eye-opening full length

Infected dead Archaic maloevolence.jpg

https://hostilemedia.bandcamp.com/album/archaic-malevolence

The first thing to strike the senses is that this has rhythm, riffs with instant effect (this far in I’m glad to report that the act haven’t lost any of their previous brilliance) and atmosphere. The vocals do naught but complement the percussion. And then, part way through, technicality and progressive elements yank control away from the infectious, inciteful, rhythms. This isn’t at all a complaint as it works alongside the atmosphere (which isn’t at all overpowering but rather only makes itself known in the most opportune of instances to add weight) and serves to add depth and presence to a track which already has the full attention. As “Rache” comes to a climax the symphonic shroud is ramped up to take on more of a darker tone and dominance. A fantastic conclusion to a track which again introduces Lovecraftian elements to the listener and only leaves me salivating, rather than hoping, for a future full length. And if it’s to be anything near the quality of the last, “Archaic Malevolence”, then I can foresee myself travelling to the nearest peak to shout its praise.

Suffice it to say I am suitably impressed and ecstatic that this band are back.

#BestofBritishMetal

And… the Reccd’ segment is back (it’s about time!)

he11fir3-on-twitter.jpg

Reccd by He11fir3
1349 – Hellfire
(Norway)
Release – October/2005
Candlelight Records
https://candlelightrecordsuk.bandcamp.com/album/hellfire

1349 - hellfire

Thoughts –

In recent weeks I’ve started to tackle laying thoughts upon singles and/or ‘official track premiers’ naturally the inclusion all depends on whether I can find the time to do so. Of the very first ones I laid to the site 1349 was one of the acts featured. Following a brief discussion, I was directed to their past output (I was pleased to discover they have quite the impressive history, discography and undeniable imprint on the scene itself no matter how diluted and fractured it might seem in recent years) and I decided, why the hell not? I’m game!

From its opening, abruptly barked, “I am fire” this captivates. With a blazing melting the face off approach which incorporates black metal in many of its forms this doesn’t sport a dull moment but rather instances of jaw dropping intensity, musicians in full on beast mode and a myriad enstumblement (huh, I just invented a word!) of thoughts such as “how is it that it’s not until now that I’ve discover 1349?” Truth be told I’m not normally a black metal fan, though recently I’ve warmed to the black flame this could well be what my curiosity has been hankering for. A full submergence of that which the genre offers from an act who are undeniably masters of the craft and aren’t afraid of tinkering with their representation of it. If you have yet to discover 1349 this is most probably a great place to start, I only say ‘most probably’ as this is my introduction to them and I am contemplating taking another vacation in order that I can dive into their discography and give it the attention it deserves. #ScrewThosePeskyBills

Void Reccs

Reccd by Void
Verdugo – Perversión y Destrucción
(Chile – not the similar titled act from Spain)
Release – January/2010
https://verdugometal.bandcamp.com/album/perversi-n-y-destrucci-n
Thoughts –

(Before I start, I’d like to point out that this isn’t what Void Reccd. *Insert howls of disappointment here. But it is from the same band. My reasoning is that I couldn’t find but two tracks from the album he pointed me towards. So rather than do a half assed job I’d rather tackle a full release, in this instance a four-track introduction of sorts.)

verdugo - perversion

 

Well, if you aren’t intrigued by the primitive artwork alone, I’m not sure what to say. A dungeon, an executor and an “attached” lithe female who appears to wearing part of a Nuns habit. But one can’t forget the goat looking gent in the corner who’s probably more than aroused at the sight, or alternatively the sharpened ax in the hooded fellows grasp. I must mention he looks like he appears to have a genius level sense of balance too what with the activities taking place and his considerable ‘girth’.

In regards to the music on offer there’s no denying that this is old school thrash with a decidedly wicked jaded edge (and to answer a query from Void; Yes. This is, “right up my alley”) Apart from the fact that it’s old school it’s also catchy as a vintage baseball mitt and offers twice the enjoyment (no matter how soft that gloves ’embrace’ might be). The drum salvo has the effect of making the limbs twitch with uncontrollable spastic movements, the rhythms and pace are enough to sate even the most discerning of fan and the vocals enough to raise goose flesh. Odd that the language is one I’m not native to but it matters not the while effect is one to send a fan into a frenzy. This might be raw; it might not sport the production qualities one desires but there’s no doubt it fits perfectly. In short, this contains four tracks any speed freak with old school leanings which warrant attention.

verdugo - altar del rencor

In regards to that which Void Reccd “Altar Del Rencor” if I can find a full-length copy, I’d be happier to review it also (if Verdugo is reading this. I’m up for it. Hint, hint.)

 

For those of you who are still intrigued this is the link that Void originally sent https://verdugometal.bandcamp.com/album/altar-del-rencor

It contains a teasing two tracks, which only leaves one wanting more.

 

Well that’s about it for this installment, my apologies for the wait, I only hope this was worth it and will suffice until the next entry (whenever that might be). Until our paths of audio interest meet again, don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the senses.

Cult

Plucked from Obscurity (within the depths of a Bargain Bin)

headbangin gif

Welcome to yet another new segment. I honestly have no idea why I keep ‘inventing’ new ones when I can’t even keep up with those I already have. I’m overreaching aspiring to be…something…? I really don’t know, but this whole scribblin’ about things I enjoy (metal, horror and varied humor drenched weirdness) is fun, I’m addicted. I’m not about to stop anytime soon. I’m going to stick with it and hopefully place a smile on someone’s face other than my creditors when I mention that someday, somehow, I’ll be able to make a dent in my debt. Life sucks, donuts rule, metal is better than any drug I’ve yet to lay my hands upon and I’m addicted. But back to the matter in hand…

vacation gif

Exactly

Lately I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a slew of sequential days free from works suffocating embrace (yes, I have a job, as crazy as that may seem. And I don’t live in my parent’s basement, although the prospect is tempting.) Within this time, I’ve somehow managed to secrete a few hours to myself, naturally it meant I had to sacrifice sleep, safety and a portion of what remains of my sanity but it’s for a good cause. I’m on vacation and coffee is always at hand to save the day if need be. Talking of which (*slurp) I should probably partake and try my hardest to get back on track before I start to veer wildly from the course I originally intended to careen wildly down. This instance witnessed me driving towards a screening which I was especially excited about. Upon arriving at the destination, I was informed that the feature I was intending to view was sold out. Now I was prepared to pay full price and stand for the entire duration (at the expense of my health) but I wasn’t given the opportunity, I won’t mention the location and film but for those of you who follow me on Twitter a few recent posts will more than clue you in. So, what better way to let out my frustration that by ripping out the cashier’s throat whilst issuing a hair- raisingly loud and triumphant “Hail Satan” at the protest of both my lungs and vocal cords. This, however, didn’t happen. I’m timid at the best of times. Instead I decided to do what most do in the same instance, when senseless violence has been scratched from the viable options menu, I decided to splash around some ‘green’; money I had yet to earn, on something I probably didn’t need. The event climaxed in my walking away from a store with a recycled open-ended container weighed down with materials which would most probably send most God-fearing individuals running (cue “Run to the Hills” at decibel levels the neighbors are guaranteed to complain about at the next Neighborhood Watch meeting).

Devilsrain

Second only to The Incredible Melting Man. Whoops, did I just ruin it?

Comprised of four movies (The Devils Rain, Videodrome, The Wailing and IT) and four CDS (which I will list a little later) the bag held delights which would last for at least the remainder of my time away from Hell (aka “work”. I’m sure the Underworld is considerably more miserable and intolerable but in recent instances I’ve had my doubts).

For those who are familiar with my written work (I’m an author, ha!) it should come as no surprise that I’m in unfathomable adoration of “bargain bins”. Seriously, I can’t pass one without wanting to ‘suit up’ and dive in. One never knows what one might find. Then it should also come as no great shock that this is the same location in which my grubby paws fell upon the four items I will now place under scrutiny.

Varied in content and spread wide across the metal spectrum the four releases are not so strangely all from acts who are foreign to my ears (the world of metal is an unfathomably large place; we all know this).

In no necessary order;

Imperium Dekadenz – Procella Vadens (Germany)
Release – 2010
Season of Mist Underground
Brain Tentacles – s/t (USA)
Release -2016
Relapse Records
 Deep Vein/Hypokras (both from France)
Ancestral Death Metal Terror (split)
Release – 2010
Armee de la Mort Records
 Unaussprechlichen Kulten (Chile) – Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath
Release – 2014
Dark Descent Records/Iron Bonehead Productions

So, what are my intentions? I’m imagining a collective of raised eyebrows and a chorus of murmurs “I get it, He bought a few CDs on the cheap. But seriously, where is he going with this?”

frugal gif

Well, I’ll keep it brief (seems as I’ve already ran into rambling diatribe lengths with the introduction). Following an initial listen, I’ll grant each a few words (I’ll promise to keep it short. Ha, as if!) an out of 100 score followed by a stamp of either my “Approval”, “Disdain” or “Warrants Further Exploration”. I could obviously concoct a ratings system for this exact purpose but I believe I’ve exhausted that avenue (with both the Attack of the Compilation and the Musing for a Minute on Metal pieces) and I have zero desire to be known as a reviewer whose most definable trait is that he’s ripped off a tagline eerily similar to that from a character plucked from a famous Luc Besson cinematic franchise (as it’s grossly overused as it is!) Without further preamble;

Imperium decadenz

Imperium Decadenz – Procella Vadens
(2010 – Season of Mist Underground)
https://imperiumdekadenz.bandcamp.com/album/procella-vadens

92

Favorite Tracks; It’s damn hard to pick a few out to showcase as the album plays out at such a mesmerizing high caliber from start to finish.

Before embarking upon this audio journey I’d asked a metal scholar and walking encyclopedia on the subject (hint; it’s Void) whether he’d heard of the act mentioned above. After about a day (as is customary) he replied. But the purchase has already been made, blind as it were. Several words come to mind when placing this in the audio receptors; majestic, epic, tapestry-esque but more importantly I feel I must add another to give the album (and the act) the praise it so rightfully deserves – Bloody brilliant! After only three tracks I’ve come to the realization that I stumbled across a winner and an act I might not have discovered before. Weaving traditional black metal with blackened death, rhythms which are ungodly infectious and undeniably stunning melancholic values (think both early Katatonia and Novembers Doom) the act has somehow created an album which has an enchanting instant effect (even for a non-Acolyte of the scene like myself). The first instrumental wields the power to send one to another realm even with its close to six-minute length whilst the remainder holds the attention rapt. I can and will recommend this to both traditional and non-traditional fans of the genre as well as others looking for fresh audio to set their senses upon. Obviously, this has my unreserved stamp of Approval.

Brain tentacles

Brain Tentacles – s/t
(2016 – Relapse Records)
https://braintentacles.bandcamp.com/album/brain-tentacles

71

Favorite Tracks; Cosmic Warriors Girth Curse, The Spoiler, The Sadist, Palantine.

This isn’t no normal extreme metal or even musical outing. Improvisational jazz and metal share the stage complemented by humor and a multi genre approach. Smoky jazz doom elements collide with a style which brings to mind Madness (many of you might be too young to remember these guys, I haven’t really much experience with other jazz fusion acts to think of any other acts who might fit the same bill) with a slew of passages with influence strewn across the metal spectrum. Recommended for the open minded, and probably more so for musicians rather than the casual listener. I’ll need another dip to fully appreciate this though it’s not half as bad as I feared it could have been. Thus, I’m giving it a Warrants Further Exploration.

Unaussprechlichen Kulten

Unaussprechlichen Kulten – Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath
(2014 – Dark Descent/Iron Bonehead Productions)
https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/baphomet-pan-shub-niggurath

87

Favorite Tracks; La Recra Provincia, Yogge – Yogge Sothothe, Kadath in the Cold Waste, Spirals of Acrid Smoke, Madness from the Sea (bonus track).

Forgiving this Chilean collective’s moniker and the grammatical error therein which I can foresee only a scant few (Snobs and German speaking natives) not being able to overcome. And trying my damnest to tear my eyes away from the small collective (ranging in age from newborn to grandparent) staring in awe at the acrid burning candle and aroused genitalia of the Dark Lord in attendance I dive blindly into the audio on offer. Catacomb-esque synth laden audio draped in otherworldly, psychedelic, qualities open this album. The mood soon transpires to that of Morbid Angel meets Incantation with a splash of Goatwhore and a raunchy tone to match. Archaic, maniacal and diabolic qualities abound. Chaotic yet controlled this is far from traditional chuggery and can’t be comfortably classed as either melodic nor technical yet is undeniably intricate in its composition and is successful in invoking images of underworld shenanigans, unfathomable otherworldly activities, mysticism and an age-old turf war between forces too ancient for most to even think upon. I’m giving this a stamp of Approval; it makes an instant impression and holds the attention throughout with its unpredictable and mischievous rhythmic approach. Highly recommended for those whose penchants run to the rawer, darker and more mystical corner of the death metal arena.

Hypokras Deep Vein split

Deep Vein/Hypokras (split) Ancestral Death Metal Terror
(2010 – Armée de la Mort Records)
https://www.discogs.com/Deep-Vein-Hypokras-Ancestral-Death-Metal-Terror/release/3659540
https://www.metal-archives.com/albums/Hypokras/Ancestral_Death_Metal_Terror/285172
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I5zhvb-AoA

(Hypokras – Deathead Videoclip)

I’ll admit I’m slowly warming to ‘splits’. Especially ones with artwork so raw, vivid, grotesque, old school and eye-catching as this. Much like compilations they serve to introduce new acts (usually two at a time but sometimes more) often showcasing a few tracks and thus more a spectrum of each acts “individual” style. My apologies first off for not being able to find this as a link for audio, its over nine years old. I did find a videoclip to support my views and I had to resort to finding out how to use the CD player on my laptop (I usually only listen to CD’s in the car) to be able to listen myself. In order;

Deep Vein – (intro, outro and three tracks including an Incantation cover)

76

Favorite Tracks; Perversity Circles, Burning your Blood.

Raw, epic and basted in old school values the audio here runs the gamut from diabolically paced with passages of groove to minimalist atmosphere. A raw death/doom approach (touching on both blackened death and occasionally Avant Garde’ values) which delivers though could well be shorter in instances in getting the point across. Varied and well-executed there’s no doubt this act could have gone considerably further, within the scene, than merely ‘splits’ if they hadn’t split themselves.

Hypokras – (four tracks)

91

Favorite Tracks; All of them!

As the first track plays out, I’m instantly put in mind of acts such as Vomitory, Amon Amarth and Unleashed. This has definable melody, infectious drive and undeniable catchiness to the point of limbs moving of their own accord. The riffs are familiar (to the point of instant acceptance, not plagiarism) and the vocals fit the style perfectly. This act delivers in each track leaving me to contemplate on why it is that this (split) isn’t made more readily available and why this act isn’t much better known, the style isn;’t anything new but its well-executed to the point where one just doesn’t care. This is damn good!! (Did I forget to mention that the video clip has choice scenes from The Evil Dead, The Exorcist and The Omen. My bad, it has an overall slapped together, DIY, feel but it’s still well worthy of a peek).

This has my unreserved stamp of Approval.

Overall Rating – 83 

Well, there you have it the first installment in a new segment which isn’t really that different than any of my others to tell the truth other than the fact I have the material (in question) on a physical format rather than on my phone or computer. It was fun, but will there be another? Did anyone really learn anything? It doesn’t matter, I believe all that matters is that we open our minds to talent we might otherwise not learn of regardless of genre and/or description. Keep those ears to the ground, who knows what I might lay my thoughts and atrocious grammatical skills upon next.

Horns and metal gif

Until our paths of audio interest meet again, don’t fear the exploration of audio avenues which might otherwise be foreign to the senses.

Cult

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses (part twenty-seven)

headbangin gif

Yet another “Vacation Edition”

It’s been six months since my last vacation and any length of time I would consider time enough to relax within (so stop the whining). I probably wouldn’t publish anything at this time but the temptation is too overpowering not to what with the release of… (I’m not going to ruin it you’ll have to read on)

orodruin
Orodruin – Ruins of Eternity
(USA)
Release -October/25/2019
Cruz Del Sur Music
Clawhammer PR

 

https://orodruin.bandcamp.com/album/ruins-of-eternity
ARTWORK – 82

This seethes with a Viking/folk aura, enigmatic mists surround a picturesque craggy mountain landscape but where are the wizards and dragons?

FIRST TRACK – 82

Huge riff, melody laden, doom laced with undeniable NWOBHM sensibilities, passion and an excellent vocal accompaniment.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

Huge riffs, passionate rhythms, a NWOBHM nature and tone weaved among traditional heavy metal and doom stylings accompanied and supported by a powerful lead voice. This will leave fans of late 70’s early 80’s mid paced rock/doom wanting more.

Favorite Tracks; Forsaken, Man of Peace, Grave Illusion, Hell Frozen Over, Ruins of Eternity.

FFO; Haunt, Beastmaker, Dio fronted Black Sabbath, vintage Judas Priest, vintage Rainbow.

arctos

Arctos – Beyond the Grasp of Mortal Hands
(Canada)
Release -September/20/2019
Northern Silence Productions
https://arctos-northernsilence.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-grasp-of-mortal-hands
ARTWORK – 76

Frigid, cold and typical of traditional black metal releases, mountains, snow and wilderness, but accompanied by a logo which is a little different. This makes me wonder about that which is about to grace my ears. I am intrigued.

FIRST TRACK – 95

An epic outing to start the release. Atmosphere, a folk nature and a significant presence bolstered by majestic rhythms and outstanding melodies. Overall an enchanting effect to certainly spark ones interest in a genre they might not look twice upon before now. Hold my calls I’m diving in!

INITIAL LISTEN – 97

Spanning a wide radius within the black metal arena the audio here encompasses atmospheric realms, though also sports traditional, majestic, cresting rhythms whilst even touching upon folk realms. Occasionally it even visits blackened death arenas and also includes passionate leads making for a release which is a tad untraditional, varied and executed with surprising excellence throughout. I’m not normally a fan of the Black Metal genre but this blows me away with its diversity and delivery in every way. Enthralling, hypnotic and stunning from start to finish, a must visit genre experience!!

Favorite Tracks; This delivers throughout at an extremely high standard, it’s hard to pick a clear ‘winner’.

FFO; Cradle of Filth, Emperor, Immortal, Dissection, vintage Katatonia.

the world without us incarnate album

The World Without Us – Incarnate
(USA)
Release – October/25/2019
Self-Released
https://www.facebook.com/theworldwithoutus/
Dewar PR
ARTWORK – 86

Vivid, colorful and eye catching though miles from traditional. I believe what we have here is going to be quite the audio journey.

FIRST TRACK – 86

Whoa-! The track commences with some of the finest harmonized vocals I’ve heard in a while. Gentle rhythms complemented by undeniable ominous qualities. But it all changes. I won’t ruin it, suffice it to mention it gets “growly”, the pace picks up considerably and the track attains a ferocious nature. A great start.

INITIAL LISTEN – 78

The briefest look at the track list gives one an idea that this is going to be a little different, and it is. Incorporating elements spanning far and wide including death, hardcore, djent, technical death, progressive and black this release offers a great deal to digest. As much as I personally enjoy the more extreme end of the spectrum, I believe their mellower audio leaves more of a lasting impression. Their harsher material however, works though with a little tightening up could well leave a huge

impact. As it is this seems at times a little disjointed though still enjoyable.

Favorite Tracks; Listen in Obsidian, I am the Mist.

FFO; Between the Buried and Me, Opeth, Rings of Saturn, Casket Robbery.

Totengeflüster

Totengeflüster – The Faceless Divine
(Germany)
Release -October/11/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR
https://totengeflsterblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/the-faceless-divine
ARTWORK – 93

Ominous, menacing and stunningly medieval in its overall vibe. I want this image across my meager chest!

FIRST TRACK – 86

An excellent foreboding Introduction, majesty qualities, untraditional phrasing, evocative melodies and symphonic brilliance make this stand out from the pack. It’s traditional, yet not quite but utterly captivating!

INITIAL LISTEN – 89

Imagine black metal but often played with an “Industrial” tightness, rhythm and blistering pace ala Ministry (circa “The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste”/”Psalm 69”) add to it a classical/Gothic symphonic backdrop and an excellent blackened death aura and you have an album which balances on the black/death fence sporting vintage Kataklysm/Origin pace, an occasional splash of war metal, vicious vocals and a presence which is superb throughout. Keep the ears peeled for this one it has me by the short and curlies and I don’t mind one bit, with both this and Arctos in mind I believe I’m falling down the ‘untraditional black metal’ rabbit hole.

Favorite Tracks; The Hunt, Affliction, Vermin, The Hollow Wanderer (Satin version. Bonus Track)

FFO; Emperor, Cradle of Filth, Kull, Marduk.

Plucked from Metal Past

God of Lies -Merciless Destiny

God of Lies -Merciless Destiny
(Columbia)
Release – July/17/2017
https://godofliesmetal.bandcamp.com/releases
ARTWORK – 72

The four Horsemen enjoying a spot of carnage beneath a claret soaked sky. I think we can all guess what audio we have here. Anyone up for switching the playlist in a stuck elevator?

FIRST TRACK – 74

A lengthy introduction (which could be shortened considerably or taken out completely with the same effect) brings about the first riff and one’s initial greeting to that which God of Lies stylistically offer.

INITIAL LISTEN – 77

Occasionally I’ll get something tossed in my path (accompanied by words of praise) which will make me curious enough to stop what I’m doing to take a listen. This was one such time. This is thrash bordering on death showcasing wicked heavily accented vocals. The audio here really isn’t anything new, it isn’t technical, it’s been done before, but with that being said it hits the spot and will please the vast majority of aggressive thrash fans looking for fresh headbanging fodder.

Favorite Tracks; He Controls the World, Final Attack,

FFO; Sodom, Toxic Holocaust, Nuclear Assault, Slayer, Whiplash.

So. Did you guess what got me so excited? Naturally all of these releases are worthy of spinning until the audio equipment goes on strike but there was one (two) in particular which really got my torso a spinnin’. Admittedly your choice might be worlds removed from my own and this is obviously what makes the world of extreme audio so exciting and diverse.

krusty the clown wtf was that diversity in metal gif

Until next our paths of audio interest cross, don’t be afraid to discover that which is foreign to the ears.

Cult

Abrasive Audio – Musing for a Minute on Metal (part the third)

stopwatch

 Musing for a Minute on Metal (part three)

 What say we try this again? Yet another foray, an experiment of sorts, which might, or might not, prove that one can base an opinion on an album upon a single minute of immersing oneself in the audio it offers. But it’s not quite as simple as all that! In this instance we, I say “we” as I have a co-conspirator in this exciting endeavor, will dissect not only the initial track (only the first minute, that’s what makes this so exciting) but also two others (there’s seriously no science to this) deeper within the release. That and differing opinions, as there are two of us and we aren’t joined at the waist (or any other appendage, to set the record straight) or have any reason to venomously agree on everything, should give more a complete impression of what an initial listen (or the first minute of a trio of tracks) will offer.

Without further ado I’d like to introduce this segments third entrant (or that which I commonly refer to as “victim”).

Jig-Ai – Entrails Tsunami

https://jig-ai.bandcamp.com/album/entrails-tsunami

(Czechia)

Release – July/3/2019

Bizarre Leprous Production

Jig -Ai

 It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come to the realization that this release could have been designed especially for this exact purpose. The first track runs roughly a minute in length (as do a number of others if one is taking notes) so what say we place this intriguingly titled release between the ears.

But not before, however, a customary few words on that which adorns the audio package itself.

The image is exactly that which might come to mind if hearing the term ‘entrails tsunami’. Gruesome, but of course, and exquisitely depicted the imagery includes many a form writhing in agony as the suffocating crimson wave crashes against an undisclosed Japanese shoreline. But the question remains is this anything compared to what Godzilla must secrete daily. Have you ever wondered where that ends up? Do you ever purchase spring water from Japan? I would think twice before doing so again.

“Hey shopkeep, this has floaties in it. They glow a violent green and they’re winking at me.”

I have designed an especially devious rating system, somewhat like that seen in the Attack of the Compilation series but different, for occasions such as this;

the one minute review confused header

Huh?

Worst/Avoid this like the proverbial plague – I’d rather spin a vintage Judas Priest album backwards in an insane asylum but not before letting the inmates loose and arming them with bendy straws and plastic sporks.

Ugh – This is like that one jug of milk in the fridge which you can’t for the life of you decide whether it has an odor or not (the date is indecipherable), it’s best not to drink it and you won’t if you have an alternate nearby.

Has Potential – There’s a certain something which elevates this above ignorable. It’s not great but, with a little work, future efforts could well be. “Mmm, suck you do not. Potential you have” in my finest Yoda voice (which isn’t that good).

Impressive – There’s no doubt about it, like a train full of hardened criminals (rapists, murderers, politicians) careening off the tracks into the gaping maw of a smoldering volcano, this is going places (whatever that means!)

Fuck me, this is Good! – Like finding a $50 note on the ground, stop what you’re doing and grab that shit, before it’s gone!

 The First Track; “Fujiculate”

drew infared avi

Drew’s Thoughts – The first thing to grab me in this offering is the cover. From a quick “scroll glance” it almost looks some twisted pile of SpaghettiOs. “Is this one of the rejected covers from The Spaghetti Incident?” I ask myself.  On further (and much closer) inspection, I quickly realize those are bodies and entrails. And lots of them. Almost a “Tsunami” of them, if you will. Say what you want about this cover, but the band certainly delivers on a promise.  And with an album titled “Entrails Tsunmai” I’m left only to speculate on what musical adventure awaits. Will it be a mix of country love ballads? Or perhaps some Jay-Z/Kardashian side project? Or will this be straight up metal brutality? I’m leaning heavily towards the latter.

Let me say in the interest of full disclosure that I am not the biggest grindcore fan. But I can appreciate the effort dedicated to such speed and tempo changes and will be judging solely on those premises. And the opening track “Fujiculate” comes at you and comes at you hard (pun kind of intended.)

Normally with this “one minute” endeavor, you find yourself struggling to get a real grasp of what’s in store.  By the time your average metal opener is done with the howling wind effects and slow-building guitar crunches, a minute is long gone leaving you with no clue what kind of actual music awaits. This certainly isn’t the case here. In fact, in a new twist that almost spits in the face of this effort, the opening track is actually less than a minute. In true and brutal grindcore form, this tops out at a nice 55 seconds. 55 seconds of pure, unadulterated speed. Definitely something that “Has Potential”.

 Cult’s Thoughts – As one might assume the audio gets right down to business. The drumbeat is akin to a ninja slicing up an enemy in wicked fast fashion and the vocals are varied; a hybrid of what sounds an abruptly awakened bear might make if poked in the rectum by a sharp stick accompanied by howls, shrieks and burps. However, with that in mind there are actual lyrics one might/will most definitely struggle to make out (one might comment this is a trademark of the genre to which I’d agree). Rhythm shifts, surges and an unrelenting inhumanely precise skin-pounding tattoo approach drive the track and its raw production values keep it from the ain’t I cool/poser “I like grindcore” territory. An undeniable injection of groove ups the intrigue ante some. In short, this is brutal, unforgiving and blunt much the same as a cement block to the forehead. I’m stamping this with “Has Potential”.

Drew’s pick – Boobzilla (track six)

I picked “Boobzilla” because it has the word “Boob” and I’m perpetually 12.

It’s fast. It starts out fast and then gets faster. This style of music is generally great if you just want to punch the shit out of a wall or kick your neighbor, and “Boobzilla” well definitely help in that regard. As for the lyrics? No clue. There could be a reference to tits. There could also be a recipe for peanut butter blondies for all I know. This kind of music isn’t exactly world-renowned for its discernible vocals and it doesn’t really need to be. It’s about energy and aggression and you won’t have trouble finding any of that here.

I stick with my same rating of “Has Potential” only with my previously stated disclaimer that it’s not my preferred genre of sound. Don’t love it but don’t hate it. But if you’re the type that can’t get enough grind, then there’s plenty to be had here and I have a feeling based on these last two minutes that you won’t be disappointed.

 Cult’s pick – Certificate of Perversity (track sixteen)

This track opens boasting much the same effect as placing one’s face into a blast furnace (an action which obviously isn’t recommended, even in the most excitable of circumstances). As it progresses it’s pace builds to become reminiscent of vintage Napalm Death output (though not quite back as far as the Lee Dorrian era) with numerous tempo and timing shifts albeit still showcasing the grindcore motif and pissed off (just awakened by a sharp stick in the rectum) formidable woodland creature vocals. In short this is grindcore which is both ‘abrasive’ and humorous though wouldn’t appeal to one whom has little knowledge/experience of the genre.

As I’m submerging myself more and more (this reviewing one minute of audio lark isn’t quite as easy as one might assume) it’s becoming more and more pleasing to the senses (“tolerable” probably isn’t the right word!) With this in mind I’m stamping this with the “Has Potential” label leaning heavily towards Impressive, which I’m sure it will be once I lift these one-minute parameters.

excited animal gif

Grindcore, grindcore, GRINDCORE!!!!

Well, there you have it. Another exercise in futility. We might not arrive tat concrete conclusions with these short and sweet assessments, but this is fun and I’m sure another will grace this space in the near future. My thanks go out to Drew for his patience and willingness to open, or even read, my constant badgering emails and for his humoring me by even replying.

Until next my inane scribbles grace your retinas.

Cult

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses (Part 26)

headbangin gif

Tumbling downwards into the ever-yawning abyss. Constantly changing form, ever evolving. Will I be able to dig myself free from the onslaught and unrelenting barrage of promo material, probably not. Truth be told, I don’t even make a dent, but I will strive to make an impression.

Onward…

Slutvomit – Copulation of Cloven Hooves
(USA)
Release – October/4/2019
Invictus Productions
https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/album/copulation-of-cloven-hooves

slutvomit

ARTWORK – 78

A scythe, fire in full blaze and a couple of hoodlums (I jest!) And I betting this is all taking place as part of some secluded wooded area shenanigans. Don’t get lost fellas, here’s hoping you packed a flare with the corpse paint and the rusted farmyard equipment.

FIRST TRACK – 85

Tolling bells and chilling melodic riffs start this album off. This might sound like a vintage Slayer unreleased ‘B side’. But hold on… a whirlwind demonical maniacal element soon gains supremacy, an eye-opening space of time interrupted by a blackened speed infernal assault and rasped vocals. I’m all ears, and you should be too. I’m not sure what I was expecting, it wasn’t this. Color me impressed!

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

Initially I though this is “Altars of Madness” madness but at played at vintage Vader speed. However, other stylistic elements join in the fray to make this more than simply an album caked in filth, infernal nature and frenetic diabolical mischievous riffs aplenty. Rare is that the band play all out, the passion for the scene and what they do is all too obvious and that shows in every lethal intent laden riff and dizzying rhythm transformation. Add to the above-mentioned influence vintage Slayer, a splash of levity by way of Witchery and pitch darkness ala Mayhem and you have an album that drips black sensibilities though is weighted in speed tropes, maniacal values, instantly appreciateable raunchiness and, naturally, wickedness.

In short this is quite the experience for both the listener and the speaker set up. In fact, certain passages would make an excellent accompaniment to cult celluloid affairs on account of their atmosphere and palpable ominous presence.

Favorite Tracks; Endless Graves, Scythe of Mass Damnation, Copulation of Cloven Hooves, Evil Commands You, Acolyte of Deaths Destruction.

FFO; Vintage Slayer, Mayhem, Morbid Angel, Witchery, early Bathory.

warcrab

Warcrab – Damned in Endless Night
(UK)
Release – August/30/2019
Transcending Obscurity Records
https://warcrabuk.bandcamp.com/album/damned-in-endless-night-death-sludge-metal
ARTWORK – 79

Medieval in tone, gloomy, dark and ominous. Is that a plague bearer, or an acolyte or someone who’s merely lost? Why is he guarding that wall? Was it a castle, keep, or a building of some importance at one point or another? There’s not much left now, should someone tell the poor bloke?

FIRST TRACK – 77

Undeniable Carcass vocal inflections. Groove within a sludge nature and a hypnotizing mid paced bludgeoning aura. This is death encased doom with undeniable nods to Bolt Thrower but it’s different.

INITIAL LISTEN – 76

Stylistically this encompasses a hybrid of genres though cannot be placed comfortably in just one. It has atmosphere, melancholic moments and a plethora of passages akin to old school death drenched in dirge doom undertones suffice it to say there’s plenty of groove here too. Nods to Bolt Thrower are unmistakable, there’s a track centered on a Chaos god (Khorne – The God of War) originating from the Games Workshop fantasy gaming universe whom BT were associated with in their early career (“War Master” and/or “Realm of Chaos” anyone?) Atmosphere is plentiful also with a myriad of tracks incorporating rhythms which are repetitive though hypnotic in their effect.

Favorite Tracks; Halo of Flies, Abyssal Mausoleum, Damnation.

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Carcass, Cathedral, vintage Katatonia, vintage Paradise Lost.

A Break in our Regularly Scheduled Programming to peek at an Official Track Premier

hideous divinity

Hideous Divinity – The Embalmer
Official Track Premier taken from November/8/2019 full- length entitled “Simulacrum”
Century Media Records
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlnqtDP6Kzs
Artwork (album) – 90

From out of the crimson murk a form arises. It’s evolving and pissed! Amazing color play and details adorn this image making it a must have piece of merchandise (be it shirt, tapestry or patch) to support an act who have yet to disappoint in my opinion.

Initial Listen – 91

Before I move onto my thoughts upon the track, I’d like to lay a few down upon the video (above). It’s as though Nacho Cerda (if you’re into extreme horror celluloid his should be a name you recognize. His works include Genesis and Aftermath) has stepped into musical video territories. This is a little strange if I’m to be honest, a tad artsy and most probably the realization of a fantastical dream (based on a lifelong career?) The imagery is stark, vivid and disturbing and nods to Godlike aspirations (malleable human bodies carved from clay) and fetish behaviors. The effects are grisly, gruesome and outstanding. And there’s little doubt that it is of top-tier quality, an amazing accompaniment to the extreme audio on offer. In regard to the music. The staggeringly swift, precise, unrelenting drum salvo is probably the first one notices, that and the epic atmospheric aura. Symphonic elements are somewhat hidden in the background adding just the right amount of nuance when required. Rhythms are technical and tempos are pleasingly diverse. Divided between hyper speed aggressive passages and reflective breakdowns the track has a certain depth draped in menacing tones with just the right amount of diabolic elements tossed in to keep this at elevated heights.

There’s no doubt Hideous Divinity know how to carve a track to make one sit up and take note, this is no exception. If you’re anything like me this only makes you more excited for their next full-length.

November eighth can’t come fast enough!

FFO; Nile, Origin, Misery Index.

And now, Back to Regularly Scheduled Programming…

abythic

Abythic – Conjuring the Obscure
(Germany)
Release – September/11/2019
Xtreem Music
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/conjuring-the-obscure
ARTWORK – 84

Mummy looks pissed. Did someone steal an egg?

FIRST TRACK – 76

Crunchy riffs, an ominous nature, mid- tempo death/doom melodies and the occult. Toss in German language soundbites and the intrigue level goes through the roof.

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

It took my youthful, insensitive, juvenile sense of humor a while to get over a cursory glance at the track list and in particular “Order of the Gash”. With the abrupt spell of uncontrollable laughter out of the way I hit play.

Atmosphere aplenty here amidst a steamroller riff approach. The occasional passages are undeniably Bolt Thrower in tone whereas a mid-tempo approach permeates the remainder of the album ala Benediction and Morgoth. Groove elements add to the albums allure alongside an undeniable menacing/ominous aura

Favorite Tracks; Order of the Gash, Drifting Among Shadows, Shadows of Becoming Might, Let the Purge Begin.

FFO; Morgoth, Abysmal Dawn, Benediction.

solicitor ep

Sölicitör – s/t EP
(USA)
Release – October/25/2019
Gates of Hell Records
Clawhammer PR
https://solicitor-speedmetal.bandcamp.com/album/solicitor-ep-2019
(the original release from May minus the demo tracks)
ARTWORK – 74

Primitive black and white imagery. A Mad Max bike, a mushroom cloud, skulls, whips and chains. Count me in! I have only the one question; is that lady wearing corpse paint?

FIRST TRACK – 81

A chilling introduction (ala early Slayer) with ominous qualities leads into a technical speed metal assault complemented by production values which toss me back to the late eighties and a vocal approach which is passionate (including crooning elements which put me in mind of Messiah Marcolin though others say a mixture of Halford and Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth; Overkill which I can also hear) though a little different than what might have been expected. A great start.

INITIAL LISTEN – 80

A fantastic mash up of speed metal and traditional heavy metal this sports a delicious pace throughout, wicked leads and melodies you can lose yourself in. it might take a few listens to get used to the vocal approach (for me anyway) but once that’s settled there’s little to not instantly appreciate. This is infectious, addictive and will leave fans of the earliest forms of speed metal excited and eager for more, perhaps a full length to be released early next year. Stay tuned.

Six tracks in all; four and two demo versions of the first two featured (“Nightstalker” and “Speed Tyrant”). It’s intriguing to discover how a band’s sound has progressed through different stages of development and this is no exception.

Favorite Tracks; Nightstalker, Vulture Command, Execution Squad.

FFO; Exciter, Whiplash, Chastain, Blitzkrieg, Overkill.

stench of profit

Stench of Profit – Human Discount (EP)
(Italy)
Release – May/20/2019
Lethal Scissors
Imperative PR
https://lethalscissor.bandcamp.com/album/human-discount-ep
ARTWORK – 72

Whoa! Hey, you have a little something. Here let me grab at it with my greasy, untrained, paws.

Ouch! Although that’s a baby hammer it still looks like it hurts like a bitch!

FIRST TRACK – 81

Noise, but discernable rhythms, shifts in tempo, breakdowns, angst and groove aplenty I’m digging this!

INITIAL LISTEN – 78

Four tracks and seven minutes in length there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind what manner of audio this is! I’m happy to report that this beast delivers. Grinding percussion, a supreme diverse abrasive vocal assault (harsh, screaming and grunts) and melodies you can break every bone in the body too. Seriously what else do you need? Answer; best no to think about it, easier to let this drive your form to frenetic, spastic, jerking movements your spouse might wonder upon your state of mind if witnessing.

Favorite Tracks; Leaches, What’s Left.

FFO; Nasum, Brutal Truth, Napalm Death, Misery Index.

vagrant

Vagrant – The Rise of Norn
(Germany)
Release – July/26/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR
https://vagrantblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/the-rise-of-norn
ARTWORK – 82

The sun breaks through threatening skies bring a ray of hope. All might seem saved but for the beckoning vortex which has opened in the body of water. Great colors and a classic nature make this image pop.

FIRST TRACK – 84

Melodic death in overall appearance and feel yet has an undeniable folk edge and a menacing blackened vibe. Plenty of excellent atmosphere and powerful symphonic presence bode well for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

Weaving a masterful combination of melodies and atmosphere with lyrics based around warriors, folklore, fate and superstition Vagrant have managed to create an album which flows exquisitely. Acoustic passages are a great touch and pair brilliantly with masterful symphonic touches. The rhythms intertwine with galloping and heavy riffs forging a release which is far from the run of the mill melodic death or even blackened death album. There’s a lot to take in stylistically here but it’s melded with care and executed with precision. A great touch is that the album goes full circle. Highly recommended!

Offering symphonic death, melodic death exquisite acoustic elements, doom, folk and Viking metal this has the potential to appeal to a wide audience.

Favorite Tracks; Blinded by Destiny, Deceptive Similarity, Spirit of Valor.

FFO; (vintage) Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth, At the Gates, Hyperion, Rotting Christ, Unleashed, early Katatonia.

a3436626892_10

Singularity -Place of Chains
(USA)
Release – October/11/2019
The Artisan Era
Mind Eraser PR
https://singularityaz.bandcamp.com/album/place-of-chains
ARTWORK – 80

This could well be a still from a movie where an alien force is holding humanity captive for one reason or another. Is this the soundtrack to said movie? Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 90

What starts out as a symphonic possibly power metal opus soon transforms when the riffs and the million miles an hour precision drum assault kicks in. Then there’s the vocals, progressive leads, melodies, stunning atmosphere and the fretboard frenetic spider work. Damn impressive opener which stays this side of overboard insane guitar wizardry madness to please any fan of technical brutality.

INITIAL LISTEN – 93

Inferi technicality with a splash of Gothic aura (ala Cradle of Filth) wrapped in a maniacal grin carving delectable shell. Delicious rhythms, chasing melodies, galloping riffs, technically cavorting with progressive brilliance. Seriously, what more could you ask for? And this flows seamlessly like a river, albeit a tempestuous temperamental flow. Sci fi element? Check! Feast your ears on this and you will not be disappointed!! Stunning melodic technical death from the desert. The Artisan Era bring it again!!

Top of the heap audio here!

Favorite Tracks; Victory or Death, Sisyphean Cycle, Consume and Assume. Dead Receptors.

FFO; Inferi, Inanimate Existence, Necrophagist, Cradle of Filth, Equipoise, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Alterbeast.

And Now for “Something Completely Different”

the neptune power federation

The Neptune Power Federation – Memoirs of a Rat Queen
(Australia)
Release – September/27/2019
Cruz Del Sur Music
Clawhammer PR
https://theneptunepowerfederation.bandcamp.com/album/memoirs-of-a-rat-queen
 ARTWORK – 74

There’s most definitely something going on here. A priestess of sorts (with horns) sitting on a throne atop a pile of vanquished foes. Let’s just say I’m intrigued.

FIRST TRACK – 72

This bears an unmistakable Cosmic narrative vibe as well a rock n roll aura straight from the 70/80’s. Like Heart meets Hawkwind with considerable fuzz and relaxed beat. This is most definitely not extreme audio, that much is clear even from the tracks first opening bars so those hoping for words something akin to that might want to skip to musings upon the next act for all others whose thoughts drip with intrigue and minds are drenched in curiosity read on…

INITIAL LISTEN – 76

Heart meets Girlschool meets Muse meets Hawkwind meets Deep Purple with a splash of Motorhead and then some. In short, this album is diverse, passionate, boasts a concept narrative aura, is set in a late 70/early 80’s alternate musical landscape and has a great deal to offer for those who are willing to let it. Open those minds and be prepared to explore something far from the usual beaten track folks and you’ll have fun with what this offers. Admittedly it took a few spins to appreciate and I had to approach listens in ‘certain’ moods but it’s nice to leave the familiar occasionally and explore that which is strange, unfamiliar and unusual. Sure, this has passages which are galaxies removed from my usual listening arenas though for those are willing to explore this is an intriguing step away from the safe, the “normal”, predictable waters. Hard to categorize this is easier to place in the love it or leave it folder. It’s far from horrid or unlistenable, it’s “experimental” bordering on Avant Garde spanning a great many familiar genres and incorporating each in its own way. Obviously, this type of audio doesn’t appeal to everyone, usually only the brave. Jump in blind with zero assumptions!

Favorite Tracks; Watch our Masters Bleed, Bound for Hell, The Reaper Comes for Thee.

FFO; Queen, Motorhead, Hawkwind, Muse, Heart, Rush, Girlschool.

Well. That about brings things to a close for this week.

excited animal gif

Until our paths of audio interest cross again, don’t be afraid to explore that which you normally might not.

Cult