Archive for the ‘Reviews of the Metal Variety’ Category

Abrasive Audio- Turbo Edition #1

abrasive audio turbo edition header

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

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

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

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

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

WVRM - Colony Collapse

WVRM (USA) – Colony Collapse

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

Release- April 2020

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

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

Final Score – 83

The Antichrist Imperium

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

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

Release – June 2018

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

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

Final Score – 94

Devil to Pay

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

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

Release – November 2019

Genre – Doom/Stoner Rock/Southern Rock

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

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

Final Score – 91

Heiligen

Heiligen (Chile) – Shadows in the Church

https://heiligen.bandcamp.com/

Release – June 2020

Genre – Heavy/Epic/Speed Metal

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

Final Score – 73

Solothus

Solothus (Finland) – Realm of Ash and Blood

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

Release – March 2020

Genre – Death/Doom/Sludge

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

Final Score – 87

Monolith

Monolith (South Africa) – The Lord Conspirator

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

Release – April 2020

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

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

Final Score – 84

Runemagick

Runemagick (Sweden) – Into Desolate Realms

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

Release – October 2019

Genre – Death/Doom

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

Final Score – 83

Human Infection

Human Infection (USA) – Gravesight

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

Release – December 2019

Genre – Brutal Death/Grindcore

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

Final Score – 87

Arcane Dread

Arcane Dread (Greece)- Mist and Marshes

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

Release – April 2019

Genre – Death Metal

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

Final Score – 72

Deathsiege

Deathsiege (Israel) – Unworthy Adversary

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

Release – April/2020

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

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

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

Final Score- 89

Lucifungus

Lucifungus (Australia) – Derek

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

Release – April 2020

Genre – Stoner Rock/Doom/Sludge

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

Final Score – 88

The Holy Flesh

The Holy Flesh (UK) – Emissary and Vessel

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

Release – March 2020

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

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

Final Score – 82

Shards of Humanity

Shards of Humanity (USA) – Cold Logic

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

Release – April 2020

Genre – Thrash/Death/Tech Death

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

Jump on this stat. But stretch first!!

Final Score – 89

Northern Crown

Northern Crown (USA) -In a Pallid Shadow

https://music.northerncrownband.com/

Release – July 2020

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

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

Final Score – 89

Descend

Descend (Sweden) – The Deviant

https://descend.bandcamp.com/

Release – June 2020

Genre – Melodic Death/Progressive/Doom

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

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

Final Score – 94

Infer

Infer (Slovakia) – Aeon of Deathless Blight

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

Release – June 2020

Genre – Blackened Death/Black/Dirge/Death Metal

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

Final Score – 88

...And Oceans

…And Oceans (Finland) – Cosmic World Mother

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

Release – May 2020

Genre – Black Metal/Melodic BM/Symphonic BM

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

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

Final Score – 90

Tethra

Tethra (Italy) – Empire of the Void

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

Release- March 2020

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

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

Final Score- 92

Nekropsie

Nekropsie (Germany) – Prophecies of Decay

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

Release – March 2020

Genre – Black Metal/Melodic Black Metal/Atmospheric

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

Final Score – 85

Cracked Machine

Cracked Machine (UK) – Gates of Keras

https://crackedmachine.bandcamp.com/

Release – June 2020

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

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

Final Score – 90

Necrovault

Necrovault (Germany) – Totenzug; Festering Peregrination

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

Release- March 2020

Genre – Cavernous Death Metal/OSDM/Doom

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

Final Score – 86

Valdrin

Valdrin (USA) – Effigy of Nightmares

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

Release – June 2020

Genre – Melodic Black Metal/Symphonic BM/Raw BM

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

Final Score – 80

The Great Old Ones

The Great Old Ones (France) – Cosmicism

https://thegreatoldones.bandcamp.com/

Release – October 2019

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

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

Final Score – 89

exhausted animal

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

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

Cult

Attack of the Compilation – Another Guest Spot

metalegion issue six pic

Putting the Metalegion (issue #6) Sampler CD under scrutiny

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve last touched Cult’s keyboard and tainted his site with my presence. For those scratching their heads in confusion, this is the neighborhoods (probably not your hood’s, I’m imagine each have their own in one shape or another, but most definitely Cults) friendly “demon”. Of course, I use that term lightly as it’s a word which has been passed down through a multitude of generations in ignorance. In all honesty I’m not even sure what to call myself. I’ve lived for longer than I care to mention though have the occasional snippet, snapshot if you prefer, of my past life. That is to say a myriad of instances before the time I rematerialized into service for one of the great Unholy ones (that’s a close enough proximation for anyone to understand, right?) At present, for some reason or another, I find myself on the Earthly plane transforming into what could honestly be called a kindergartener’s representation of a monstrous garden gnome (it looks more impressive in person, trust me) and chasing felines (those pesky four-legged diabolical creatures) for that’s what floats my boat. Hey, it could be worse. When I catch up with them, I introduce myself then break out the eating utensils. I’ll spare the grisly details suffice to say they taste a whole ton better than Raccoons and Possums (which all bear a decidedly earthy texture and an after taste which is rather difficult to scrape away.)

Alf-Cat-Lunch

Before I continue, I feel I must say it’s recently come to my attention that another creature of decidedly more renown than myself is famous for the attention he gives to his shall we say pussy eating appetites (nope, it’s not Ron Jeremy). I’d like to set the record straight, I’m not ALF, neither do I look like ALF and you can rest assured my movements aren’t dictated by a large arm moving around inside my rectal cavity. And I certainly I don’t spend my downtime on a hook in a bag, stuffed in a Hollywood closet waiting for a reprise.

With that out of the way, you may be wondering what exactly is it which brings me back to the messy desk of Cult? In all honesty it’s been hard to even approach it in recent weeks as he’s been milking a knee surgery (poor bastard, wait a few months and I’ll take out the other one for me. But he’ll have to ask nicely) for all its worth. During this time, he’s been complaining, knocking back pain killers like they’re going out of style and generally been acting like a real ass. Apart from that he’s been scribbling like one possessed and has even taken up losing his nose in written texts. (I didn’t even know he could read. Seriously, have you read his attempts at writing?) I believe he’s even put down a few words on the last one he actually finished.

Dr Suess and metal

I’m not even sure what I had in mind here. But this is Dr. Suess and metal (albeit a lunchbox).

Surprise, surprise it wasn’t a Dr. Suess book but rather an entry in the Lincoln Rhyme series, I’d imagine that he garnered interest from the television show (which I even caught snippets of, in between my quests for tasty treats). And for reasons unknown it wasn’t even the first entry. I guess he has a little catching up to do?

 

Anyhow, enough about me and my adventures. What say I tell you about the newest audio treat which has somehow found its way within my grasp. Much like Cult I have a vice for burying my senses deep into musical compilations. Strangely it’s of the same style. In this case the CD consists of artists who have either recently appeared, or have had their output advertised in a magazine which Cult contributes to. Odd that he has to find a magazine so far away to write for. Metalegion Magazine is out of Portugal. Perhaps the language barrier results in Cult’s scribbling sounding infinitely more intelligent? There might be a myriad of other reasons, all rather puzzling to me. In the latest I guess he even has a segment entitled “Popcorn not Allowed” in which he waffles on about an influential dead fellow and a few movies that, this is the puzzling part, he might have enjoyed?

the evil dead poster special edition

May I present – The Evil – Fkn’ Dead

Regardless Cult likes horror, I like grisly images, tension and humans running around screaming in fear for their lives so I guess I’ll make the time to rummage through his collection in order that I might be able to look into out the features he recommends (The Evil Dead, The Void and John Dies at the End for the record).

Now, where was I? Ah yes. The sampler CD from Metalegion magazine (issue six). It come wrapped in plastic alongside a single sheet of paper emblazoned with images. Wait, am I supposed to cut this out to fashion a makeshift case? You really do not want me around scissors. Trust me.

The track listing promises diversity (at least the pictures representing the artists included do) and is as follows;

Thanatos

Thanatos – The Silent War

Melektaus – N.O.X. The Night of Pain

Holycide – Empty Cyber Life

Berserker Legion – Obliterate the Weak

Asarhaddon – Die Vergangnis Erwacht

Mortuary – Delete – Replace

Kevlar Skin – Scourge of Hate

Blasphemathory

Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde

Blasphemathory – Owners of the Death

Unbounded Terror – Hiding from the Light

Nawabs of Destruction – The Merciless

Embloodyment – Master of Disaster

Just Darkness – Between Birth and Death

The Flesh Trading Company – Black Spell Conspiracy

Disinfect

VxPxOxAxAxWxAxMxC – Against Humans, Against Animals, Against Everything

Disinfect – White Lighting

Hangatyr – Blick Aus Eis

Harsh – Bipolar Confrontation

With that out of the way, and the frustration that I should have most probably utilized ‘cut and paste’, I’ll proceed into the meat of the article. But first however let’s explore the ratings system I’ve designed especially for this purpose (it’s a little different than Cults, his is a little tame. Mine reflects more my personality as you’ll likely soon discover);

confued Orc

Uhh-! I’m still confused.

Abysmal.

Not in the good way. Toss this in the ocean and punch the nearest passerby to let out the frustration of spending money on schiite such as this. Jesus might like this. But I still believe it has the potential to do naught but line the birds cage. Jesus loves everything, which in my opinion is rather silly. Jesus you’re a prat!

Hrrrrrhhhhh-!

Better, this shows potential. Much like, I’d imagine, your mother on a first date. But it still leaves me wanting. And she needs more training; those French fries weren’t free dammit!

The Goblin are Going CRAZY!

Admittedly the annoying green bastid’ like most things and get excited at the drop of a turd but occasionally they have a suggestion which turns heads. And if the whole collective, much like an obnoxious stench-ridden green tide, agrees there must be something worth giving, at least, a cursory glance towards.

Time for a Crimson Splattered Moshpit!

Now this is worth sharing, break out the goblets, the fiery liquid, the unwilling, let’s break some limbs and party till the Dark Lord yells at us to get back to work!

All Mine!

I’m a selfish bastid’. And this is too fkn’ good to share, it’s all mine. Just try to take it!!

So, what exactly does this compilation offer and is the magazine worth purchasing? I’ll answer the second question first. Simply put it’s a resounding yes! There are two posters included, hundreds of reviews, interviews, features on artists and let us not forget more than a few words from Cult. The cost of entry alone is worth it just to be able to laugh at his prose, seriously… Onward.

Lest I forget, details on the magazine (both physical and digital formats) can be found here: https://www.metalegion.com/content/

Sampler CD from metalegion issue six

The Sampler CD in all its glory!

This compilation offers as one might expect, its share of stylistic diversity and quality, which thankfully isn’t hampered by label restrictions (in other words and to simplify things this isn’t a compilation based on the output of one label alone). These acts represent a wide variety of labels, most probably undiscovered with a roster of acts warranting exploration. With a preliminary listen out of the way I already have a few favorites and a slew of others which more than tickle my intrigue.

Those tracks which managed to tickle my senses are as follows;

Melektaus

Melektaus (Chile) – N.O.X. The Night of Pain

https://ironbloodanddeath.bandcamp.com/album/self-knowledge-disintegrate-the-veils

Brutal Death with sinister undertones from South America. The heavily accented vocals add just the right amount (is there ever just the “right amount”?) of menace and formidability.

Holycide (Spain) – Empty Cyber Life

https://holycide.bandcamp.com/

I wouldn’t consider myself a Thrash fan. However, this has a certain something about it (perhaps it’s the vocal cadence which is strangely familiar, or the odd rhythms set against blistering moshtastic riffs, or the gang vocals. I honestly can’t put my malformed finger upon it) which caresses my lovin’ it senses. There’s a wide variety of influence on display here and it strangely works.

Berserker Legion

Berserker Legion (International) – Obliterate the Weak

https://listenable-records.bandcamp.com/album/obliterate-the-weak

I’m not going to lie. I’ve performed a little research on the members within this collective and I’m left intrigued as to what would come of their combined abilities. I’m happy with the outcome. The style represents a myriad of influence ranging from across the Death spectrum notably from whence the members hail (Vader, Hypocrisy and Asphyx). This offers chuggery aplenty and a style to split the face of fans of European Death with a look of sated silliness.

Blasphemathory (Mexico) – Owners of the Death

https://ironbloodanddeath.bandcamp.com/album/war-blasphemy-divine-destruction

Brutal Death channeling HM2 worship. A sinister vibe permeates this track, there’s enough ominous atmosphere to go around, and a heady drum mix which has me stomping like an impatient goat. I’m of the believe this track which will most certainly have the curious kind running their digits over a keyboard in exploration.

unbounded terror

Unbounded Terror (Spain) – Hiding from the Light

https://unboundedterror.bandcamp.com/

It’s been a few years,decades, since this act has released anything, touted as one of Spain’s first Death Metal acts these guys haven’t much to their discography, but now they’re back with a youthful line up and energy. This track has sufficient bounce (yes, “bounce”) and atmosphere to yank the interest receptors into waking up and taking notes, if only they were capable of such during the types of movements this is likely to spurn.

Embloodyment (Spain) – Master of Disaster

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrvlkew0sHcmxCK9v9FS5cA

“Squashing clown heads with a bat”? Count me in! Admittedly this is “meat and potatoes” Death Metal, it doesn’t carve any new ground but it hits the spot.

just darkness

Just Darkness (Russia) – Between Life and Death

https://justdarkness.bandcamp.com/releases

Atmospheric Black Metal with old school vocals. Break out the candles, salt and a virgin. (Wait what we can’t find a virgin? Let’s call the whole thing off).

The following tracks are likely to send me into an uncontrollable frenzy (at least on a first listen basis who knows what they are likely to do once I set the ears upon them again?)

Thanatos (The Netherlands) – The Silent War

https://thanatos666.bandcamp.com/

This pounding Blackened Death assault (with Thrash, OSDM of the mid-tempo kind and diabolical leanings. Do I sound like Cult yet?) is a fantastic introduction to the audio on offer (and the band itself) and has me prancing around as though no one is watching (are they?) Who cares? This is a rippin’ track which deserves to be shared and cranked!

asarhaddon

Asarhaddon (Germany) – Die Vergangnis Erwacht

https://asarhaddon.bandcamp.com/

I vividly remember Cult going apeshit over this act. And I can now understand why. Melodic Black Metal with ferocious female vocals. I believe I’m going to have to raid Cult’s collection so I can revel in what exactly it is that this album offers. I believe this is one of his favorites from this year. And seems as our tastes don’t vary that much, I’m assuming I should lay the plastic sheeting out. I get messy when I’m excited.

Mortuary (France) – Delete – Replace

https://mortuarynancy.bandcamp.com/

This track does not let up. A brilliant mix of Grindcore, Brutal Death and Death with ecstatic aggressive Thrash rhythms. If you can stay still while listening to this, odds are you have no pulse. And I was of the mistaken the understanding that France was only famous for its hatred of the English, that, Frog legs and croissants. Add metal to the list.

Nawabs of Destruction

Nawabs of Destruction (Bangladesh) – The Merciless

https://nawabsofdestruction.bandcamp.com/album/rising-vengeance

Tech Death, Progressive/Tech Death, Brutal/Tech Death with a sprinkling of Post (whatever the Fug that is?) Cult would have a fit trying to describe what’s on offer here. Whatever it can classified as there’s no doubt this track has all the right ingredients to light a fire under the ass of those who prefer their audio with, how should we say, undeniable diverse qualities. Strange then that I’m liking this so much, I’m more of the instant gratification (love that phrase) type of fan. However, the question still remains. What’s a “Nawab”?

The Flesh Trading Company

The Flesh Trading Company (Germany) – Black Spell Conspiracy

https://thefleshtradingcompany.bandcamp.com/

The bands logo made me curious. It looks as though one might be in for a Country type of ride, Yeehaw! Thankfully, this isn’t the case here (although I’m kinda’ in the mood for some Country dancin’. Wait what?) This track is a little different than most in that its style is both Heavy Metal, Death and Rock and Roll. I’m sure there’s a name for that combination, but it isn’t coming to mind and I can’t be asked to look it up. Regardless this track is a great introduction to an act which most have never heard of.

Disinfect (Germany) – White Lightning

https://disinfect.bandcamp.com/album/abaddon

With a name like “Disinfect” one could well imagine a Christian metal/rock act (yuck!) But this is as far from that as one can possibly get. No, this isn’t Jazz. This is Brutal Death! And it checks all the boxes, it doesn’t wade too far into guitar ‘wankery’ waters yet it displays enough movement to sate. Short and to the point, this is my jam!

Hangatyr

Hangatyr (Germany) – Blick Aus Eis

https://hangatyr.bandcamp.com/album/kalt

Germany is getting quite the representation in this compilation and who would think they might spawn Black Metal (I’m waiting for a flood of emails from the “know-it-all” genre enthusiasts) that’s up there in stunning caliber with their European counterparts? This is frigid, blistering audio indeed. And there I was thinking I wasn’t a fan of a genre renowned for its corpse painting and church burning antics (before one starts to place digit to keyboard in complaint, I know there’s more on offer in the genre, I’m merely exhibiting my darkly humorous, some might take it as offensive, personality). Guess I’m wrong. Back to the drawing board. But I’m digging this. I’m up for suggestions for other acts in a similar vein to draw me deeper into the shadowy fold. Anyone?

an out of control pit

Fkn’ Metal!

With all this in mind, the list of favorites seen above and the diversity of styles on offer (but I see no Doom here or Stoner Rock or whatever the hell else the vast spectrum of Metal offers, get a grip. You can’t please everyone) I’m happy to stamp this with my seal of approval. In actuality I’ll give this a Time for a Crimson Splattered Moshpit! (Now this is worth sharing, break out the goblets, the fiery liquid, the unwilling, let’s break some limbs and party till the Dark Lord yells at us to get back to work!) rating bordering on All Mine! Admittedly there were a few tracks which didn’t molest the pleasure sensors, but I didn’t skip once and that counts, right?

And this brings me to the conclusion of another Attack of the Compilation piece, I rather like doing these I’ll admit. Here’s hoping I get another chance to do so. Until next we meet.

B

Take time out to rescue a cat (I’m hungry).

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Fourteen

abrasive audio header gif

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

January Releases
BlackGuard - Storm
BlackGuard (Canada) – Storm

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

Release- January/3/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 74

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

FIRST TRACK- 89

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

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

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

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

Favorite Tracks; Exciting throughout.

FFO; Wintersun, Children of Bodom, Byrmir.

Reaper - Unholy Nordic Noise

Reaper (Sweden) – Unholy Nordic Noise

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

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

ARTWORK- 78

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

FIRST TRACK- 82

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

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

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

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

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

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

Release – April/17/2020
Season of Mist Records

ARTWORK- 80

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

FIRST TRACK- 77

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 79

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

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

FFO; Hate Eternal, Origin, Suffocation, Decapitated.

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

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

Release- May/1/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 81

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

FIRST TRACK- 82

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 80

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

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

FFO; WolfBrigade, Disfear, Martyrdod, Tragedy.

Mean Messiah - Divine Technology

Mean Messiah (Czechia) – Divine Technology

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

Release – May/5/2020
Slovak Metal Army

ARTWORK- 91

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

FIRST TRACK- 89

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

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

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

FFO; Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory, Meshuggah.

A Recc from @LFCMFighter

Nygmalion (Hungary) - Deluminate

Nygmalion (Hungary) – Deluminate

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

Release- May/15/2020
Independent
ARTWORK- 84

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

FIRST TRACK- 91

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

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

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

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

Atavistia - The Winter Way

Atavistia (Canada) – The Winter Way

https://atavistia.bandcamp.com/

Release – May/29/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 81

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

FIRST TRACK- 93

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 95

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

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

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

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

Doomed Spirits -Last Reflections

Doomed Spirits (Brazil) -Last Reflections

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

Release – May/30/2020

Independent

Artwork- 82

Ferocity- 73

Groove- 74

Originality- 79

Infectiousness- 85

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

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 85

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

Nord/Sternklang (Netherlands) split

(courtesy of Rites of Pestilence on YouTube)

Release – 2020

Self-released (limited)

Artwork- n/a

Ferocity; Nord- 78

Sternklang- 70

Groove; Nord- 76

Sternklang- 72

Originality; Nord- 76

Sternklang- 74

Infectiousness; Nord-72

Sternklang- 73

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

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks;

Nord- 73

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

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

Sternklang- 74

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

Overall- 73

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

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

The Crawling- Wolves and the Hideous White

The Crawling (UK) – Wolves and the Hideous White

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

Release – November/16/2018

Grindscene Records

Artwork- 81

Ferocity- 73

Groove- 85

Infectiousness- 83

Originality- 76

Genre- Doom/DeathDoom/Funeral Doom

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 85

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

Carrion Vael - Resurrection of the Doomed

Carrion Vael (USA) – Resurrection of the Doomed

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

Release – March/25/2017

Independent

Artwork- 85

Ferocity- 88

Groove- 84

Originality- 74

Infectiousness- 95

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

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 95

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

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

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

Disownency - Demosick MMXX

Disownency (Equador) – Demosick MMXX

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

Release – 2020

Dismembered Records

Artwork- 85

Ferocity- 87

Groove- 68

Originality- 67

Infectiousness- 69

Genre- Brutal Death/Grindcore/Goregrind

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 67

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

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

Ande - Vossenkuil

Ande (Belguim) – Vossenkuil

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

Release – April/3/2020

Independent

Artwork- 64

Ferocity- 71

Groove- 68

Originality- 68

Infectiousness- 66

Genre- Atmospheric Black/Melodic Black/Doom/Drone

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 65

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

Larvae 4 track promo tape

Larvae (Romania) 4 track promo tape

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

Release – March/2/2020

Caligari Records/Stygian Blackhand Records

Artwork- 76

Ferocity- 73

Groove- 81

Originality- 75

Infectiousness- 76

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

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 73

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

Coffinwood - Storm of Steel

Coffinwood (Poland) – Storm of Steel

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

Release – April/2/2020

Independent

Artwork- 78

Ferocity- 78

Groove- 77

Originality- 65

Infectiousness- 74

Genre- Death Metal/Blackened Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 75

Wicked addictive rhythms and venomous vocals keep this intriguing.

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

Koffin - Nailed into the Coffin

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

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

Release – June/5/2020

Stroke Records

Artwork- 77

Ferocity- 76

Groove- 84

Originality- 68

Infectiousness- 78

Genre- OSDM/Death/Raw Thrash

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 78

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

Your Last Wish (Canada) - Eradicate

Your Last Wish (Canada) – Eradicate

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

Release – February/23/2020

Independent

Artwork- 86

Ferocity- 74

Groove- 79

Originality- 78

Infectiousness- 83

Genre- Deathcore/Thrash/Melodic Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 83

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

Denied - Mental Budak Jiwa Penjilat

Denied (Indoniesia) – Mental Budak Jiwa Penjilat

https://deniedgrindcore.bandcamp.com/

Release – May/1/2019

Black Anje Records

Artwork- 82

Ferocity- 82

Groove- 78

Originality- 65

Infectiousness- 78

Genre- Grindcore/Brutal Death/Slam

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 81

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

Recc for fans of Misery Index, Benighted.

Miscreance (Italy)- From Awareness to Creation

Miscreance (Italy)- From Awareness to Creation

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

Release – April/4/2018

Red Wine Rites Records

Artwork- 82

Ferocity- 74

Groove- 75

Infectiousness- 79

Originality- 74

Genre- Thrash/Technical Thrash

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 81

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

Breeding Ignorance - Image and Likeness

Breeding Ignorance (Belarus) – Image and Likeness

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

Release – May/1/2019

Coyote Records

Artwork- 80

Ferocity- 79

Groove- 78

Originality- 70

Infectiousness- 82

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

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 83

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

This is a release I will spin again!

Goreworm - Prodigy of the Grotesque

Goreworm (Canada) – Prodigy of the Grotesque

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

Release – June/12/2020

CDN Records

Artwork- 75

Ferocity- 82

Groove- 83

Originality- 72

Infectiousness- 92

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

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 94

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

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

mix tape action

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

I’m out!

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Thirteen

abrasive audio header gif

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

March Releases

Dawn of Ouroboros album

Dawn of Ouroboros (USA) – The Art of Morphology

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

Release – March/30/2020

Rain Without End Records

ARTWORK – 82

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

FIRST TRACK – 88

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

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

Favorite Tracks; Hypnotic from beginning to end.

FFO; Gates of the Morning, Akercocke, Emperor.

April Releases

Caustic Wound

Another Void Recc
Caustic Wound (USA) – Death Posture

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

Release – April/10/2020

Profound Lore Records

ARTWORK – 78

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

FIRST TRACK – 78

Pulverizing OSDM with a deviant raunchy tone and gutteriffic vox.

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

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

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

FFO; Fetid, Repulsion, Terrorizer.

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

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

90

Abduction

Abduction (France) – Jehanne

https://abductionfr.bandcamp.com/

Release -April/29/2020

Finisterean Dead End

ARTWORK – 78

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

FIRST TRACK – 83

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

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

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

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

May Releases

Naglfar Sweden - Cerecloth

Naglfar (Sweden) – Cerecloth

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

Release- May/8/2020

Century Media Records

ARTWORK – 86

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

FIRST TRACK – 83

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

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

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

Favorite Tracks; Delivers throughout!

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

barrenwomb

 Barren Womb (Norway/Finland) – Lizard Lounge

https://barrenwomb.bandcamp.com/

Release -May/22/2020

Loyal Blood Records

ARTWORK – 84

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

FIRST TRACK – 89

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

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

Favorite Tracks; Delights throughout!

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

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

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

Release – June/12/2020

Desert Records

ARTWORK – 92

Vibrant, vivid and striking.

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

FIRST TRACK – 83

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

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

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

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

 Stygian Crown

 Stygian Crown (USA) – s/t

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

Release- June/26/2020

Cruz delivers Sur Music

ARTWORK – 79

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

FIRST TRACK – 82

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

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

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

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus.

 Shed the Skin (USA) - The Forbidden Arts

 Shed the Skin (USA) – The Forbidden Arts

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

Release – June/26/2020

Hell’s Headbangers Records

ARTWORK – 93

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 82

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

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

Favorite Tracks; Delivers throughout!

FFO; Deicide, Asphyx, Incantation, Grotesquery.

Dark Tranquility (Sweden) - Skydancer

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

https://darktranquillity.bandcamp.com/

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

Independent

ARTWORK – 78

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

FIRST TRACK – 88

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 89

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

Favorite Tracks; Inventive, energetic and enjoyable throughout.

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

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

Cursed be Thy Flesh - The Ritual

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

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

Release – April/30/2020

Necrotic Records/Wrought Records/Anti // all forever

Artwork – 77

Ferocity – 76

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 75

Originality – 64

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 81

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

Cryptic Brood (Germany) - Outcome of Obnoxious Science

 Cryptic Brood (Germany) – Outcome of Obnoxious Science

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

Release – November/22/2019

War Anthem Records/Rotted Life

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 77

Infectiousness – 68

Groove – 72

Originality – 65

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 74

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

 Demonomancy (Italy) - Poisoned Atonement

 Demonomancy (Italy) – Poisoned Atonement

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

Release – February/23/2018

Invictus Productions

Artwork – 76

Ferocity – 78

Infectiousness – 71

Groove – 72

Originality – 72

Genre – Blackened Death/Melodic Black Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 71

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

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

Release – July/1986

Killerwatt Records

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

60

Drakonis (UK) - Blessed by Embers

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

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

Release – April/3/2020

Hostile Media

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 79

Infectiousness – 82

Groove – 76

Originality – 65

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 80

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

 Power Theory (USA) - Force of Will

 Power Theory (USA) – Force of Will

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

Release – December/6/2019

Pure Steel Records

Artwork – 73

Ferocity – 64

Infectiousness – 83

Groove – 78

Originality – 64

Genre – Heavy Metal/Power Metal

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 86

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

Apostasy (USA) - Accuser of Brethren (demo)

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

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

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

Pathologically Explicit Recordings

Artwork – 71

Ferocity – 76

Infectiousness – 76

Groove – 73

Originality – 65

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 80

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

obedmarsh

 Obed Marsh (Australia) – Dunwich

https://obedmarsh.bandcamp.com/

Release – January/8/2019

Independent

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 76

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 74

Originality – 76

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 83

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

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

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

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

Release- June/6/2020

Transylvanian Tapes

Artwork – 75

Ferocity – 83

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 81

Originality – 65

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 74

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

 Wartooth (Australia) - Programmed Dichotomy

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

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

Release – April/9/2020

Independent

Artwork – 81

Ferocity – 78

Infectiousness – 92

Groove – 89

Originality – 75

Genre – Thrash/Technical Thrash/Crossover/Aggressive Thrash

Revisit – It goes w.o saying.

Final Score/Remarks – 94

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

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

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

Altar of Rot (USA) - Altar of Rot

 Altar of Rot (USA) – Altar of Rot

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

Release – March/15/2020

Independent

Artwork – 85

Ferocity – 82

Infectiousness – 86

Groove – 84

Originality – 75

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 86

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

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

Wretched Fate (Sweden) - Fleshletting

 Wretched Fate (Sweden) – Fleshletting

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

Release – February/22/2019

Redefining Darkness Records

Artwork – 86

Ferocity – 86

Infectiousness – 88

Groove – 85

Originality – 79

Genre – HM2 Death/Brutal Death/OSDM

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 87

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

Kryptograf (Norway)

Kryptograf (Norway) – s/t

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

Release – June/12/2020

Apollon Records

Artwork – 68

Ferocity – 53

Infectiousness – 69

Groove – 84

Originality – 72

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 72

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

Aeons Abyss (Australia) - Impenitent

 Aeons Abyss (Australia) – Impenitent

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

Release – November/1/2019

Independent

Artwork – 79

Ferocity – 78

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 82

Originality – 68

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 78

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

 Sanctifying Death Ritual (Germany)

 Sanctifying Death Ritual (Germany) – s/t

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

Release- June/5/2020

Iron Bonehead Productions

Artwork – 81

Ferocity – 83

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 91

Originality – 68

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 92

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

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

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

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

Release – September/24/2018

Transcending Obscurity Records

Artwork – 83

Ferocity – 77

Groove – 76

Infectiousness – 78

Originality – 72

Genre – Death Metal/DeathDoom

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 82

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

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

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

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

Release – November/5/2019

Blood moon Productions

Artwork – 72

Ferocity – 88

Groove – 71

Infectiousness – 65

Originality – 66

Genre – OSDM/Grind/Black Metal

Revisit – No

Final Score/Remarks – 64

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

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

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

65

Woe Betide (UK) - Throne of Spines

 Woe Betide (UK) – Throne of Spines

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

Release – May/24/2020

Independent

Artwork – 74

Ferocity – 82

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 82

Originality – 72

Genre – Symphonic Death/Deathcore/Tech Death

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 81

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

 Henry Kane (Sweden) - Age of the Idiot

 Henry Kane (Sweden) – Age of the Idiot

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

Release- May/22/2020

Transcending Obscurity Records

Artwork – 83

Ferocity – 78

Groove – 71

Infectiousness – 75

Originality – 74

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 79

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

tired zombie

Done. Now I’ll sleep like the dead!

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

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

Cult

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

Attack of the Compilation;

Doomed and Stoned in the Netherlands

Doomed and Stoned in the Netherlands

https://doomedandstoned.bandcamp.com/album/doomed-stoned-in-the-netherlands

Release – June/2020

DoomedandStoned.com

Curated by Willem Verhappen

 Well, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. During that time this spinning globe we all reside upon has gone through all kinds of changes. And to think at the beginning of the year most of thought masks were a fashion accessory reserved for Halloween and lavish Fetish Balls. There’s certainly something going around and it certainly isn’t cheer. One reason for this is the fact that this nasty virus making most life’s infinitely more miserable has managed to temporarily close down most, if not all, venues. This has resulted in a great many acts looking toward other avenues for revenue. Some have taken to live streaming concerts; others have double downed in their creative efforts in hopes to keep their fan base happy. Most, however are stumped and broke. Thank the heavens for ingenious minds, such as the one behind this compilation.

The Netherlands in relation to Europe

The Netherlands in relation to Europe. In case you might be curious.

Doomed and Stoned in the Netherlands showcases a wide variety, not all, of what the country offers in relation to the bands within its borders producing audio for the pleasure of the senses. Before I delve deep into the audio, a few words on the art (as is customary). The image encasing this collective bears a windmill front and center (is anyone shocked?) also a plant sprouting instantly recognizable leaves in the foreground (The Netherlands, again, is famous for this). The inclusion of a crow (perhaps a raven, I’m no expert) is a little off-center, though perhaps it represents the occult element, I can only wonder. Clouds might be merely clouds or even smoke (if you catch my drift?) And the inclusion of the moon adds weight to the addition of perhaps (again) an occult/celestial element. Doom has a great many facets both in arrangements and lyrical styles. Did I mention the image is rendered in exquisite detail in black and white ink? No? Well it is, and my curiosity, excitement and eagerness only builds.

doomed and stoned portland oregon

The Doomed and Stoned goat asks; what not a single one?

What say we get started and discover something new, as honestly, I don’t recognize a single name on the roster.

With 33 tracks on offer, and over four hours (that’s four hours!) of audio to choose from one would think there’s pretty much something for everyone, as long as the tastes vary within the Doom and Stoner genres. Hell, I might even be surprised? Track lengths range from a surprising barely under two-minutes to close to a whooping eighteen-minutes, which is obviously (assumed) more traditional for the genre. To be truthful my genre of choice lay elsewhere. However, seems as I’m an open-minded sort of bloke and Doom often coexists with a wide variety of other genres, I’ll take the plunge where others might not.

Here is what’s on offer (aka the track list);

an evening with knives

Gigatron2000 – This Island Earth

Fuzzboar – Acid Tears

Obese – Behexed

An Evening with Knives – Sacrifice

Gore – Bad Ideas Obsession

Dreckneck – Pusherman

swampcult

Drive by Wire – Glider

¡Pendjo! – Hacia La Luz

Stone in Egypt – Chariot on Fire

Mouflon – Lawless

Swampcult – Chapter III: Al-Azif Necronomicon

VIIHB – Cyanide Holy Night

mantra machine

Into the Arcane – Sleepless We Lie, Thoughtless We Cry

Phantom Druid – Colossal Gate

Phe – Vortex

Severant – Sunyata

Mantra Machine – Delta V

Omgeving – Zwaartekracht bestaat hier niet

onhou

Cthuluminati – Svartálfr

Ache – III

Onhou – Silence

Uur – Helder Uur

Hooded Priest – These Skies Must Break

OneGodLess

Officium Triste – Like a Flower in the Desert

Bismut – Gewapende Magte

OneGodLess – Hangman’s Time

Gavran – Uska

Façade – Ego

throwing bricks

Throw Me in The Crater – Volcanic

Ortega – Void (feat. Gnaw Their Tongues)

Throwing Bricks – Slowdives Dagger

Toner Low – Phase Nine

With 33 tracks on offer there’s bound to be a few which catch my fancy, probably a few which leave me with my jaw on floor and most certainly a few tracks which do little, or nothing for me, or so one would imagine. Within the multitude of acts on offer there’s a myriad of established acts, some which have just managed to get a ‘foot in the door’ (so to speak) and others who have just started rattling cages, are unsigned, and have yet to be discovered. What say we jump in ears first?

As is customary in instances such as this I’ve devised a ratings system especially;
monkey-scratching-head

Nope. I’m still confused. Can we go over this again?

I don’t believe I listened to a single song here, in its entirety – to be quite honest I’d rather hear a recording of my significant other grunting in time with sloppy flesh-laden percussion provided by the neighbor’s thrusts.

I Skipped most of this, but found it comical but not in a humorous way – Seriously, was this compiled in a kindergarten class?

Didn’t skip any tracks, but my digits were poised, ready to strike – I may or may not revisit again. If I give it more time will it grow on me?

I believe I can actually remember a few of the band’s names here – This shows promise!

This leaves me with a smirk on my face and has me bobbing my head on a frequent basis – Be prepared to search for a reliable internet connection, in order to do some invaluable research on where to distribute the pennies.

Dammit, I can’t concentrate! – Break out the lube. Does this come in a format I can insert myself into? I’ll preach about this when I’ve cleaned up the resulting puddle.

(These rating are somewhat crude though self-explanatory; I hope you’ll agree.)

ramen noodles

Ramen noodles

With the price here being “Pay What You Want” one can obviously drop whatever funds one wishes based on the enjoyment level. Manners would dictate at least something (please consider being generous as there’s a great deal of talent on offer here, and I can only assume the compiling of such a compilation took up a great deal of time, energy and planning) as the proceeds are going towards a great cause; keeping the assortment of acts from a diet of Ramen noodles, destitution and obscurity.

So, what did I think? Is this worth investing in? The answer is a resounding Hells yes! There’s not only a mountain of talent showcased here but also more diversity than I at first imagined. (Again, Doom appears to play exceedingly well with a plethora of other genres.) Plus, this is for a good cause and shows support for those who might normally find the exposure especially in times like these when venues are still closed, some sadly for good due to the lost revenue this accursed pandemic has caused. My rating; “This leaves me with a smirk on my face and has me bobbing my head on a frequent basis – Be prepared to search for a reliable internet connection, in order to do some invaluable research on where to distribute the pennies”. Verging on “Dammit I can’t concentrate”.

Within this compilation I’m glad to report I didn’t skip a single track. Several tracks perked my interest more so than most, in order of appearance these are as follows;

gigantron2000

Gigantron2000 – This Island Earth – A Stoner and fuzz laden instrumental which serves as a fantastic opener for this collection.

https://gigatron2000.bandcamp.com/

An Evening with Knives – Sacrifice – Hard Rock, Alternative, Fuzz, Doom call this what you will but there’s no doubt it’s damn catchy!

https://aneveningwithknives.bandcamp.com/

Gore – Bad Ideas Obsession – a chaotic and technical instrumental, not exactly what I was expecting given the bands moniker but it proved to be a fantastic way to spend, roughly, a hundred seconds.

https://gore-revanche.bandcamp.com/

¡Pendjo!

¡Pendjo! – Hacia La Luz – An insanely catchy track incorporating a heritage vibe, rough n’ rowdy rock n’ roll and surprising atmosphere. Just try not to nod the head while listening to this!

https://pendejoband.bandcamp.com/

Stone in Egypt – Chariot on Fire – A Stoner rock anthem which checks all the boxes!

https://stoneinegypt.bandcamp.com/

Into the Arcane – Sleepless we Lie, Thoughtless we Cry – Initially I thought the vocals style didn’t match. However, after a minute or so it clicked. Doom drenched in Heavy Metal/Thrash stylings with a “nature break” (think Tiamat’s “Gaia”) and an abrupt ominous transformation. The more I listen to this the larger my addition grows!

https://intothearcane.bandcamp.com/

Mantra Machine – Delta V – Cosmic, instrumental, Psychedelic fuzz. It truly is better than its description and probably better than the words I can use in any attempts to do it justice. Perfect music to chill to (if you catch my drift?)

https://mantramachine.bandcamp.com/

Omgeving

Omgeving – Zwaartekracht bestaat hier niet – Atmosphere of a cinematic scope boasting an effective sinister edge. This would well work as part of a soundtrack.

https://omgeving.bandcamp.com/releases

Uur – Helder Uur – Hypnotic rhythms, you can find yourself lost in the wonder of this track!

https://helderuur.bandcamp.com/

Hooded Priest – These Skies Must Break – Epic traditional Doom with an over-abundance of groove and rhythm. Pleasingly heavy in occult and theatric elements.

https://hoodedpriest.bandcamp.com/

Bismut

Bismut – Gewapende Magte – I’m not usually into instrumentals, this however held my attention for its epic duration providing plenty of delightful transformations in both rhythms, pace and style. Bismut deem their style as “Desert Metal”.

https://bismut.bandcamp.com/

Others tracks left me stunned, with my jaw hitting dirt. These are as follows;

obese

Obese – Behexed – A fantastic build leading into a steamroller riff assault. Moments of psychedelia and varied vocal styles lend this track surprisingly addictive diversity.

https://obeseofficial.bandcamp.com/

Mouflon – Lawless – Doom with startling movement, plenty of groove, an Old School aura and growling vox. The combination works infinitely better than expected and I could spin this all day!

https://mouflondeathmetal.bandcamp.com/releases

Phantom Druid – Colossal Gate – Channeling both Sabbath and Cathedral this is basted in Occult values and delivers all that a fan of traditional Doom could ever want. The pace, the tone, the vocal cadence; all spot on!   

https://phantomdruid.bandcamp.com/

severant

Severant – Sunyata – If The Doors were a little more Western influenced and their music bore a considerably more “Stoner” vibe they might well sound like this! This has a perfectly executed nostalgic vibe going for it and plenty of emotion to boot!

https://severant.bandcamp.com/releases

Cthuluminati – Svartálfr – With a moniker which is part Lovecraft (Cthulu) and part Secret Society (The Illuminati) one would imagine this audio to have a certain slant, and it does! This bears a wicked air of mysticism and intrigue. As well a sinister veneer. This is altogether ominous, dark and comprised of a variety of genres. However, it never manages to suffocate the listener in any one genre which they might be altogether unfamiliar with.

https://cthuluminati.bandcamp.com/releases

Officium Triste

Officium Triste – Like a Flower in the Desert – Sporting a delicious, slightly different, upbeat tempo this track initially puts me in mind of material from acts such as In Mourning and Draconian but then transforms to invoke an epic and illustrious Opeth and Amorphis vibe.

https://officiumtriste.bandcamp.com/

Gavran – Uska – Monolith sludge, boasting palpable atmosphere, depth courtesy of the guitar tone and a certain density which derives from the drums tribal beat. A haunting vocal range only adds to the track’s atmosphere. I can’t get enough of this track and the realms it transports me to. For some reason I’m thinking monstrous Troll like – creatures roaming through the forest on the prowl for their next meal. Prepare to be whisked away!

https://gavran.bandcamp.com/

Façade

Façade – Ego – Epic, exquisite Death/Doom with excellent “build”, equal measures of foreboding and melancholy with plenty of atmosphere and presence to spare.

https://facadedoom.bandcamp.com/

This marks the conclusion to my thoughts. Show your support. Add this to your collection. A fantastic part of this compilation is that one can either purchase it as a whole, or track by track in order to make their own preferred playlist. Obviously, everyone’s favorites are going to vary considerably.

Doomed and Stoned . Com logo

Following my leisurely sojourn, I’m about to take time out to dig deeper into my favorite acts (featured here) and their discographies (and why not?) Then I believe I shall explore the other no doubt exciting avenues which additional Doomed and Stoned Global compilations direct me toward. This was remarkably good, I’ve no doubt that others will offer the same levels of variety and quality.Doomed and Stoned can be visited here https://doomedandstoned.com/ their Bandcamp page can be explored here https://doomedandstoned.bandcamp.com/

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Twelve

abrasive audio header gif

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

January Releases
Konvent (Denmark) – Puritan Masochism

konvent

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

Release – January/24/2020

Napalm Records

ARTWORK- 74

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

FIRST TRACK- 86

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 79

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

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

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

March Releases

Ovid's Withering (USA) – Terraphage

Ovid’s Withering (USA) – Terraphage

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

Release-March/20/2020

Self-Released

ARTWORK – 76

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

FIRST TRACK – 84

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

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

Favorite Tracks; Hypnotic throughout.

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

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

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

Release – March/27/2020

Testimony Records

ARTWORK- 76

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

FIRST TRACK- 78

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

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

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

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

April Releases

Benighted (France) - Obscene Repressed

Benighted (France) – Obscene Repressed

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

Release -April/10/2020

Season of Mist

ARTWORK- 83

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

FIRST TRACK – 87

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

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

Favorite Tracks; All of the above!

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

May Releases

Centinex (Sweden) - Death in Pieces

Centinex (Sweden) – Death in Pieces

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

Release – May/29/2020

Agonia Records

ARTWORK – 78

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

FIRST TRACK – 73

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 66

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

Favorite Tracks; God Ends Here, Human Torch.

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

Mountain Witch (Germany) - Extinct Cults

Mountain Witch (Germany) – Extinct Cults

https://mountainwitch.bandcamp.com/

Release- May/29/2020

The Charming Man Records

ARTWORK – 75

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

FIRST TRACK – 81

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

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

Favorite Tracks; Enthralling from beginning to end!

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

Witching (USA) – Vernal

June Releases
Witching (USA) – Vernal

https://witching.bandcamp.com/

Release- June/5/2020

Self-Released

ARTWORK- 83

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

FIRST TRACK- 84

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

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

This warrants attention. Set the ears on this pronto!

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

FFO; Damad, Black Tomb.

Ormskrik (Norway) album

Ormskrik (Norway) – s/t

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

Release- June/5/2020

Fysisk Format

ARTWORK- 86

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

FIRST TRACK- 87

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

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

Favorite Tracks; Adrenaline spiking from start to finish!

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

Death Courier (Greece) - Necrotic Verses

Death Courier (Greece) – Necrotic Verses

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

Release- June/5/2020

Transcending Obscurity Records

ARTWORK- 82

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

FIRST TRACK- 84

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

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

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

FFO; Vomitory, Benediction, Vader.

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

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

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

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

Release – March/11/2019

Maggot Stomp

Artwork- 83

Ferocity- 85

Groove – 86

Infectiousness – 85

Originality – 61

Genre – Old School Death/Dirge

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 83

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

Sedimentum (Canada) - Demo 2019

Sedimentum (Canada) – Demo 2019

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

Release – June/21/2019

Independent

Artwork – 62

Ferocity – 83

Groove – 78

Infectiousness- 85

Originality- 70

Genre – Old School Death/Atmospheric/Cavernous Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 87

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

Undeath (USA) - Sentient Autolysis (demo)

Undeath (USA) – Sentient Autolysis (demo)

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

Release – July/29/2019

Caligari Records

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 74

Groove – 72

Infectiousness – 78

Originality – 71

Genre – Old School Death/Diabolical/Cavernous/Technical

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 82

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

Phobophilic (USA) - Undimensioned Identities

Phobophilic (USA) – Undimensioned Identities

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

Release – September/13/2019

Blood Harvest Records

Artwork – 72

Ferocity – 86

Groove – 82

Infectiousness – 86

Originality – 79

Genre – Death Metal/Thrash/Technical/OSDM

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 86

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

Black Passage (USA) - The Veil

Black Passage (USA) – The Veil

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

Release – July/26/2019

Independent

Artwork – 64

Ferocity – 71

Groove –  74

Infectiousness – 76

Originality – 79

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 73

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

Mortiferum (USA) - Altar of Decay

Mortiferum (USA) – Altar of Decay

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

Blood Harvest Records

Release – June/30/2017

Artwork – 72

Ferocity – 81

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 89

Originality – 65

Genre – OSDM/DeathDoom

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 90

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

Wasteland Coven (USA) – Ruined

Wasteland Coven (USA) – Ruined

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

Release – June/26/2020

Transylvanian Tapes

Artwork – 81

Ferocity – 52

Groove – 84

Infectiousness – 88

Originality – 74

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 90

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

Nostrum (Canada) - Infernal Tomb

Nostrum (Canada) – Infernal Tomb

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

Release – June/6/2017

Transylvanian Tapes

Artwork – 71

Ferocity – 77

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 78

Originality – 75

Genre – Death/Doom/Drone/Sludge

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 78

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

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

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

https://ironflames.bandcamp.com/

Independent

Release-May/13/2020

Artwork – 77

Ferocity – 85

Groove – 60

Infectiousness – 62

Originality – 54

Genre – Black Metal/Speed Metal/Bestial Metal

Revisit – No

Final Score/Remarks – 61

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

Make Them Die Slowly - Ferox

Make Them Die Slowly (UK/USA) – Ferox

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

Release- May/1/2020

Independent

Artwork – 82

Ferocity – 83

Groove – 80

Infectiousness – 90

Originality – 77

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 91

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

Double Cross - Obey Thy Master

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

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

Release- May/1/2020

Independent

Artwork – 80

Ferocity – 65

Groove – 68

Infectiousness – 68

Originality – 66

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 68

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

Neocaeser - 11 11

Neocaeser (The Netherlands) – 11:11

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

Release – December/5/2017

Xtreem Music

Artwork – 83

Ferocity – 78

Groove – 77

Infectiousness – 78

Originality – 64

Genre – Brutal Death/Thrash/Death

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 78

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

Wills Dissolve The Heavens are not on Fire

Wills Dissolve (USA) The Heavens are not on Fire

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

(Re)release – July/29/2019

Hypnotic Dirge Records

Artwork – 76

Ferocity – 72

Groove – 75

Infectiousness – 90

Originality – 76

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

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 91

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

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And…that’s about it for the night!

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

Cult