Archive for the ‘Slipping Through the Cracks- Releases from 19′’ Category

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 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.

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Ten

fuk covid

…or listening to Metal!

At present these entries have transformed to a few and far between affair. And for that I apologize. It’s frustrating I’ll admit; not being able to scribble upon that which interests me and brings a spot of shining brilliance to an otherwise humdrum existence. But it’s become the norm as of late and I’m having to ‘steal’ time in order to correlate, compose and post anything. However, I’m dedicated and determined to keep this thing going, to get the word out to praise audio which, I believe, demands discovery.

Without further ado…

Plucked from Metal Past
Drontheim (Germany) Down Below

drontheim

https://wraithproductions.bandcamp.com/album/down-below

Release – February/22/2019

Wraith Productions

ARTWORK – 70

Shadows, more shadows and what could possibly be either water or an outcropping of rock. I’m not even sure. However, if the music is as dark as the image, we’re in for some gloomy, doomy audio.

FIRST TRACK – 90

This could well be the resulting mash up of Paradise Lost and Katatonia if only David Bowie were to take the vocal duties. Then add some 90’s Goth Pop, Abstract lyrics and you’re even closer to what this provides. This is miles from my usual wheelhouse of interests but I’m finding myself strangely drawn to its Alternative, Post, Progressive, Doom allure.

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

With no two Tracks here alike this (album) offers a great deal to discover and get excited about. Industrial tones, progressive arrangements and melancholy all filtered through a veil of a palpable ominous, cinematic, atmosphere. Far from harsh this provides quite the distraction from the norm and offers rhythms to sink within accompanied by a certain nostalgia whose origins only seems to escape from the tip of the tongue as the audio evolves from one track to the next. Simply put if you enjoy the unpredictable diversity of Faith No More and are open to the occasional dip into Industrial Goth and murky Doom waters this is a release you need between the ears. Keep the assumptions at bay and the mind open and this will serve excellently to break up the day’s woes adding a spark to the normalcy of the day’s playlist.

Favorite Tracks; Varied, exciting and hypnotic throughout.

FFO; Rammstein, The Prodigy, Seigmen, Zeromancer, Ljungblut, NIN, My Dying Bride, Ulver, Red Harvest, DHG, Faith No More, Peeping Tom, Anathema, Katatonia, Kent, Ved Buens Ende, 3rd & the Mortal, The Soundbyte, Calmcorder, KkoagulaA, Manes, Atrox. (This is cut and pasted from promotional materials as I fear I couldn’t quite nail its wide influence radius and promote it to the audience it deserves).

Degenerate

Degenerate (The Netherlands) Devastation Ahead

https://band-degenerate.bandcamp.com/

Release – November/15/2019

Independent

ARTWORK- 76

Simple, vivid and to the point. I like it!

FIRST TRACK- 91

It takes a few seconds to realize this is neither Grindcore, nor Tech Death, though it displays elements of both it soon finds its rhythm. This is Thrash, aggressive have no doubt of that, bordering on Melodic Death it has bite, a rabid intensity and a flow which will have the listener up and on their feet in no time. An awesome start!

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

I’m not normally a fan of thrash, unless it makes an instant impact. And this does just that! Razor wire vocals, searing riffs, amazing solos, heritage flavor and vertebrae snapping rhythms, this is just the start of the list which makes this album stand out. I cannot for the life of me wonder why this didn’t feature on a plethora of year end lists, it’s that impressive (and my neck hurts so good).

Favorite Tracks; Adrenaline spiking from start to finish!

FFO; Sepultura, (newer) Exodus, Machine Head.

Interrupting the Normally Scheduled Broadcast for Something Completely Different.

folian

Folian (USA) -Blue Mirror

https://folian.bandcamp.com/album/blue-mirror

Release- January/31/2020

Anima Recordings

ARTWORK – 72

A little artsy, but I get the point; someone has perished, possibly at sea. But is the kelp or seaweed (or is that hair?) to blame or something entirely more sinister still?

FIRST TRACK – 86

“Post Metal”, “Shoegaze”, “Doomgaze”, “Noise Rock”, “Drone”. I’m honestly not sure what either of these terms means but this has an undeniable appeal, a curious start if truth be told, and has somehow managed to capture me in its allure even though at first the track appears rather relaxed and unassuming it slowly builds into a magnificent cinematic arrangement seething with a grandiose nature.

INITIAL LISTEN – 89

Far from what I would normally place in my ear this still has an undeniable charm, a familiarity if you will which is distorted, slightly jaded, taken into Ambient and Drone realms then delivered, repackaged, slathered in each of the aforementioned elements to envelope the listener in (“spacey”) tones which effectively cover a wide radius of the emotional spectrum. There’s an aura here, a strangely relaxed one that wavers, which surpasses atmosphere, an all-encompassing vibe which transcends the typical listening experience transporting the albums audience across transcendental landscapes dotted with passion, intrigue, daunting lows and exhilarating heights. Admittedly, this is a release I had second thoughts about discovering (especially after reading the genres listed as descriptions) however after doing so I’m glad I took the plunge. This is quite simply brilliant, but keep those assumptions at bay, go into this blind without prejudices and make time for a complete listen without distraction. Guaranteed to make more of an impression the more it’s experienced.

Favorite Tracks; Enchanting throughout, this collection is downright hypnotic even though it’s far from “the usual”.

FFO; Somali Yacht Club, NIN, Oasis, Stone Roses, Nuerosis.

March Releases
Reccd by @LFCMFighter

raider

Raider (Canada) Guardian of the Fire

https://raiderofficial.bandcamp.com/album/guardian-of-the-fire

Release- March/20/2020

Independent

ARTWORK- 74

Am I about to plunge my ears into Power Metal, or audio with an Epic feel with a possible fantastical edge? Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK- 83

Well, this is hardly Power, or even Epic, metal. It’s definitely Thrash. The bang yer head wicked variety complete with breakdowns, solos and venom dripping vokills. Suffice it to say I’m diggin the shit outta this thus far.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

Who says one can’t have a kick ass Thrash album sporting cover art which might hint at more melodic arenas, perhaps audio of a more Epic nature? But that’s not to say that this isn’t. It is most definitely guilty of having riffs (for days) and rhythms you can most certainly without any doubt lose the last vestiges of your sanity too. Also, surprisingly, leads and solos which inspire air guitar aplenty, the air of old school Heavy Metal influence is distinct yet never an element which is utilized too often. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t let the cover steer you astray. Sure, this bears fantastical elements, lyrics hinting at conflict, menacing forces and the like. If truth be uttered this precariously teases jumping the boundary of the Death fence, though manages somehow to remain firmly rooted upon the Thrash side. This is inarguably audio which incites frenetic movement, sweat and exhaustion, for this makes one move and doesn’t let up till the digit moves against all restraint to hit the play button again.

Favorite Tracks; Blistering throughout!

FFO; Sodom, Annihilator, Crusadist.

Aodon

 Reccd by @uniquehifi
Aodon (France) – 11069

https://aodon.bandcamp.com/album/1-1-0-6-9

Release – March/27/2020

Willowtip Records

ARTWORK- 70

The onset of decay or time, I’m not sure which. This gives little away as to the audio within.

FIRST TRACK- 93

A dissonant nightmarish backbone complemented by evolving rhythms and ferocious vocals. A little different than most in the same arena but it certainly makes an impact.  This is rather hard to describe easier to enjoy. An unfathomable impressive commencement.

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

This is my first experience of these guys and just… wow! Honestly, I’m always a little put off by an album which might not make sense to me on first glance, seriously what’s up the title? But after a little proddin’ (thanks to @uniquehifi on Twitter) I allowed this entry into the ears. Fuck me (I never swear, just ask the Fn’ wife) this produced an instant reaction. It’s hardly traditional, actually rather hard to describe without making people shake their heads in confusion, but it works. The style is as equally as ferocious as one is lily to hear but the accompanying rhythms which set this apart from the pack, the feel, the atmosphere, the aura. This is different, you can be sure of that but it’s not so wildly obscure as to be totally out of left field (what, a baseball reference?) Give it a chance and feel free to thank @uniquehifi too.

Favorite Tracks; Astounding throughout!

FFO; Atmospheric Black Metal with a slight Avant Garde aura and a Post/Progressive edge.

Temple of Void

Temple of Void (USA) -The World that Was

https://templeofvoiddoom.bandcamp.com/album/the-world-that-was

Release- March/27/2020

Shadow Kingdom Records

ARTWORK- 94

Exquisite inks, oozing with detail and life, displaying an arcane location, a landscape painting which seethes with ominous atmosphere. I’m left to wonder is this the bands rehearsal space?

FIRST TRACK- 92

Slow, crushing, ritualistic with an atmosphere which is palpable. Albums don’t start any better than this. Death Doom of the highest order which makes me wonder why I haven’t laid ears on this band before now.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

At times the audio sounds as if Grotesquery and Paradise Lost got together and decided to combine their most notable talents. The vocal approach is a brilliant narrative (ala Grotequery) whilst the melancholic aura and arrangements of Paradise Lost (“Shades of God”/”Icon” era) is undeniable. This combination works superbly for the first few tracks offering a depth and aura which is quite simply astounding, but the album somewhat peters out, trudging into Groove Death depths, losing some of the magic the first half exhibited (although to be fair the bar was set extremely high from the get go). Climaxing with the near ten-minute title track the album reaches near the brilliance it started with to leave the listener hungry for another listen. Overall, this is a stunning effort sure to widen the eyes of anyone unfamiliar with how the band tackle the genre they choose to manipulate. Fans of Death/Doom take note this traipses into territories, both rhythmic and arrangement, one might not predict whilst still managing to return to familiar realms without alienating the audience, only one of many reasons why this deserves a slot in the collection amidst other greats. Make room!

Favorite Tracks; The Beast Among Us, Self Schizm, The World that Was.

FFO; Paradise Lost, Grotesquery, Novembers Doom.

Razgate

Another Reccd by @LFCMFighter
Razgate (Italy) – After the Storm…the Fire

https://razgatethrash.bandcamp.com/album/after-the-storm-the-fire

Release – March/27/2020

Punishment 18 Records

ARTWORK – 89

I’m all about Fantasy. Fantasy and Horror. Combine the two, in this case a questing Barbarian confronting an enigmatic entity perched upon a mountain of skulks, and I’m a salivating fool. Such is the case here!

FIRST TRACK – 91

A classical, Baroque, introduction sets the scene for pummeling, domicile obliterating, rhythms and a vocal style which is…wait for it…eerily similar to a certain Tom Arayas. This is my introduction to the band admittedly; Consider me sold!

INITIAL LISTEN – 94

This might ruffle a few feathers (keep in mind it’s my opinion) but experiencing this for the first time is akin to my virgin experience with Slayer audio. Daaammmmnnnn-! About covers it! This checks all the boxes I require checked to be able to enjoy a Thrash album (not all Thrash is the same, no matter what your parents tell ya). And then it rips the list from my hands and sets it on fire! This seethes with Ill-intent, with no consideration for the listeners well-being, seriously else why would those responsible make this so GD infectious. There’s even slivers of traditional metal and Speed influence in here and sufficient tempo changes to make one think for a brief moment that the punishment is through (but no-!) To make matters worse (just take my wallet!). Bastids the lot of em’, here I am spinnin’ this like one possessed and the day is just slipping away. You know, I’m sure I had things to do today. Ah, well. I can see my digits reaching for the Play button, again, I have zero control. Don’t get caught in the same trap. Save yourself!

Favorite Tracks; I’m going to burn this album before I lose my sanity, my job, my marriage and did I mention control of my appendages? I probably should have started with that, have a spotter when you listen to this and ear plugs for them so they might be about to hit Stop, every once in a while, but not too often.

FFO; Slayer, Nuclear Assault, Havok, Annihilator, Sodom, Three Inches of Blood.

April Releases

Carnal Savagery

Carnal Savagery (Sweden) – Grotesque Macabre

https://carnalsavagery-chaos-records.bandcamp.com/album/grotesque-macabre

Release- April/1/2020

Chaos Records

ARTWORK – 72

It’s as though someone ripped a page out of Seagraves book, blew up the image and added a Zombie, with a few scavenging companions, with his insides falling out. There’s little doubt as to what’s on offer here.

FIRST TRACK – 82

Filthy, mid paced madness with flourishes of abruptly inciteful rhythm (to send one into a moshtastic orgasmic salivating state) oozing with the trademarked genre’s HM2 menace, enough atmosphere to sate and unhurried commanding growls. All in all, a great combination with excellent delivery. A fantastic start to get one in the old school mood.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

As the title of the album suggests the feel of the album is one of blood, bone, carnage and obliteration. Obviously, this concept isn’t fresh, new, or even ground-breaking but is delivered here in such a way as to make the listener sit up and take note (shit, it even comes complete with atmosphere). Carnal Savagery aren’t another dime a dozen copycat act, these guys have been around (since the scenes inception). Add to that the fact that a certain Dan Swano decided to ‘help out’ and it means be prepared, as he most definitely knows his stuff and the myriad depths of the genre itself. The album itself benefits from a fantastic tone, a dirge, an electric charged distortion which recalls the heyday of the scene and the audio itself? Well, it could well have been recorded in the same era as it reeks of professionalism, wisdom and a quality which will be instantly accepted. Hardly a parody of, and miles from plagiarist material but rather an addition to that which has already left its mark. Jump on this as I can only imagine if these guys stick around, they will stand alongside Entrails, LIK and Nocturnal Hollow to hold the standard for the scene into the new decade.

Favorite Tracks; Not a single one but the whole damn thing.

FFO; Bloodbath, Vomitory, Ribspreader, Dismember, LIK, Entrails.

 Grieve

 Grieve (Finland) – s/t (12″ MLP)

https://werewolfrecords.bandcamp.com/album/grieve

Release – April/3/2020

Werewolf

ARTWORK- 86

Black and white ink mastery. A form, a ghost, a wraith looks toward the storm laden distance for meaning, as He/She does so it parts welcoming his arrival. This is my take. I could be miles away but it’s impressive nevertheless.

FIRST TRACK- 92

Malicious blizzard riffs complementing a somewhat Folksy/Viking aura with slightly Cosmic undertones. Howls and snarls makeup up the vocal accompaniment. Blanketed in atmosphere the track makes for an amazing introduction to the band and their style.

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

Only two tracks on offer here, barely ten minutes but it’s more than enough to whet the appetite for more of the same. Blistering frigid riffs, snarled venom, epic narrative lyrics and melodic majesty. This is Black metal with bite, emotion, rhythm and a smidgen of D-beat combined to leave an undeniable mark.

Favorite Tracks; Both tracks are unfathomable impressive.

FFO; The Abyss, Dissection, Emperor.

Graveir

Graveir (Australia) – King of the Silent World

https://graveircult.bandcamp.com/album/king-of-the-silent-world

Release – April/17/2020

Impure Sounds/Brilliaint Emperor Records

ARTWORK – 78

I’m honestly not sure what to think of this. An excellent shadow heavy image with hidden meaning. Guessing I need to break out my thinking cap. A skull is front and center draped in a shroud of sorts with a plethora of crosses hanging from his/her(?) neck. Perhaps she skull is surveying its domain; “The silent kingdom”. And everyone is also of the not breathing variety, thus incapable of making a sound.

FIRST TRACK – 72

Grandiose Post meets Atmospheric Black metal with wailing vocals and a rumbling dirge nature. Not entirely what I was expecting but I remain intrigued.

INITIAL LISTEN – 76

Hardly tradition Black or even Death or the “assumed” combination of the two this relies more on ritualistic dirge and borders on an industrial tone. Rhythms are often an undercurrent rather than a driving factor and cavort playfully within the arrangements. Post and Progressive properties are dominant as too an undeniable ominous nature though overall this isn’t too far from the ‘norm’ as to alienate fans of either Black or Death, although as it stands  it should appeal to those more with Cavernous penchants perhaps even Grindcore and Crust tastes as this shows slight elements from each realm also, rather than that of the straightforward chuggery variety. This has grown on me over several listens, and has blossomed to show a wide swath of influences, so I don’t expect an instant downright appreciation.

Favorite Tracks; The Fetch of Crooked, Immacolata,

FFO; Akercocke, Aodon.

Kurnugia

Kurnugia (US) – Forlorn and Forsaken

www.reverbnation.com/kurnugia

Release -April/27/2020

Momento Mori

ARTWORK- 78

I can’t get over the fact that the face reminds me of the ‘witch’ creature from the “The Dark Crystal”. Otherwise a nice image with excellent colors and details.

FIRST TRACK- 82

With an intro with sounds like a soundtrack which accompanies the money shot scene to a later day Gothic shocker questions arise as to what might be on offer. But fear not, the first real track on offer displays melodies of a remarkable nature any fan will be able to instantly appreciate. Classic Death metal ripped from the 90’s playbook strangely somewhat both American and European in tone. Chuggery and atmosphere and a vocal approach akin to that of “Corpsegrinder”. I’m all ears; this is quite the opener!

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

Grinding, rumbling Death with enough movement in its arrangements to stray from the realm of boredom. A classic of all that works merging the old school ala Bolt Thrower with a dynamic approach, barely this side of technical bordering on at times Grindcore sensibilities, and plenty of groove to carve a grin on any fans chops and keep it there. This is quite the find for any bored with the plethora of acts sounding the same ole and bringing little to the scene. These fellas know how to play, compose and deliver an album which delights.

Favorite Tracks; Top notch Death metal throughout.

FFO; Angerot, Grave, Unleashed, Benediction, Vomitory, Bloodbath, Gorguts, Morgoth.

And a new segment, because I’m literally drowning in Metal (not time) I wish to promote. Introducing; The “WTF Lightning Review”.

TUUNBAQ

TUUNBAQ (Russia) – Graves of Ice

https://tuunbaq.bandcamp.com/album/graves-of-ice

Release – September/13/2019

Artwork – 74

Ferocity – 88

Groove – 87

Infectiousness – 88

Originality – 76

Genre – Grindcore/Crust

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 87

Atmosphere, Grind, Sludge and Groove…Hell to the yes!!

Legendry

Legendry (USA) – The Wizard and the Tower Keep

https://legendry.bandcamp.com/album/the-wizard-and-the-tower-keep

Release – November/1/2019

Artwork – 74

Ferocity – 24

Groove – 72

Infectiousness – 83

Originality – 76

Genre – Heavy Metal/NWOBHM/Folk/Prog/Doom/Epic Metal/

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 84

Exquisite fantastical themed Traditional Metal bursting with nostalgia, diverse styles and an undeniably fluid nature.

Embodiment

Embodiment (UK) – Palingenesis

https://embodimentofficial.bandcamp.com/album/palingenesis

Release – April/24/2020

Artwork – 86

Ferocity – 89

Groove – 83

Infectiousness – 92

Originality – 65

Genre – Tech/Prog Death

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 91

Ungodly impressive tech/prog death w. classical elements and a hypnotic allure which is unfathomable.

Divine Chaos

Divine Chaos (UK) – The Way to Oblivion

https://divinechaos.bandcamp.com/album/the-way-to-oblivion

Release – April/24/2020

Artwork – 84

Ferocity – 75

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 84

Originality – 60

Genre – Aggressive Thrash/Melodeath

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 83

Insanely catchy, dynamic arrangements with wicked vocals topped off by impressive production.

Destroyed in Seconds

Destroyed in Seconds (USA) – Divide and Devour

https://destroyedinseconds.bandcamp.com/album/divide-and-devour

Release – April/24/2020

Artwork – 89

Ferocity – 86

Groove – 89

Infectiousness – 92

Originality – 70

Genre – D-beat/Crust/Hardcore/Thrash/Dirge-laden Death metal.

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 91

Top of the heap D-beat with varied influence which demands ears upon it!

It is impossible to sit still while listening to this!

exhausted animal Well shit, this turned into a Thrash lovefest, I didn’t intend for it to be the case but I just so happened upon a few Releases in the genre worthy of praise. I’m still hurting from Razgate (damn you @LFCMFighter!) And I suspect it might be the case for a great many others whom stumble upon its charm unsuspectingly. Again, this has taken a while, I only wish I could do more but alas thing while Covid thing has me working and babysitting (Can I call it that if it’s my child…?) rather than working and scribbling. Although I have inserted another segment in order that I might be able to promote more albums in a timely manner.

Until next time, don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the senses.

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 Part Eight

black metal gif

Tis perilous and uncertain times in which we live. Most things have become uncertain, we are reminded to wash our hands on a constant basis (seriously who doesn’t do this anyway?) and give a six-foot berth to those we are unsure of. Isn’t this behavior dictated by manners alone. Regardless with all that’s transpiring we still have distractions. Thankfully metal is still one of them and artists are still busy composing, creating and carving that which makes out senses tingle in excitement. I’d like to dedicate this installment to them and their tireless, ceaseless dedication. Thank you! I cannot seriously cannot write those words in a large enough font. It goes without saying therefore to support your local artists and those who continue to brighten your day with the eventual realization and maturation of their endeavors.

Without further ado may I drop you abruptly into grammar atrocious as IO attempt to put into words my appreciation of that which has delighted my senses in the last week.

February Releases

Angellore

Angellore (France) – Rein ne Devait Mourir
https://thevinyldivision.bandcamp.com/album/rien-ne-devait-mourir-2
Release- February/14/2020
Finisterian Dead End/The Vinyl Division

ARTWORK- 91

A touch of Gothic, a touch of SM and a flourish of Avant Garde. Just what is it I’m letting myself in for? Regardless this is a stunning image with makes the mind wander.

FIRST TRACK- 94

A twenty-minute opener. Yes, you read that right. And this isn’t Doom. Well it is, but there’s infinitely so much more on offer that it can’t be classed as merely that. Atmosphere aplenty, Gregorian chants, a smorgasbord of vocal approaches, strings and the occasional dip into Black waters make this an audio landscape one can truly get lost within. Think early Theatre of Tragedy but amp up the emotion and classical elements, only then will you be somewhat close. Outstanding doesn’t even come close.

INITIAL LISTEN- 94

Whoa. This collection of Tracks runs quite the extensive gamut. In one instance symphonic majesty in another an uptempo Gothic rock outing of sufficient godliness to place a smile on Pete Steel’s face, in others yet a folk vibe is unmistakable. Often landscapes are drenched in melancholy and the emotion produced takes the listeners to depths rarely attained, no matter the genre. Although this is hard to truly categorize the quality on offer is far superior to that I would ever think possible in a release which exhibits as much varied influence as this. The composition is sublime, the flow exquisite and the arrangements breath-taking. This is quite the achievement, one which I can only image will be celebrated for years to come setting the bar for others to strive for. The minutes will fly when this envelops the senses, bathe in the glory of Angellore.

Favorite Tracks; Hypnotic throughout.

FFO; Moonspell, Theater of Tragedy, HIM.

March Releases

Shadowkillers

Shadowkiller (USA)- Dark Awakenings
https://shadowkiller.bandcamp.com/album/dark-awakening
Release- March/3/2020
Stormspell Records

ARTWORK- 88

Flinging open the doors a Dark Elf sees carnage and readies him(her)self for conflict. Awesomeness. An epic fantasy image hinting at audio of the same nature. Is it too early to say I’m sold?

FIRST TRACK- 90

A fantastical introduction and an Epic/Power metal style minus the falsetto vocals I was expecting. Top notch arrangements and a lyrical narrative I’m wholly intrigued by. I believe I’ve found a rarity here, but only time will tell…

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

Admittedly, this is the first I’ve heard of the band. The genre really isn’t my go to audio arena of choice. However, with that being said this offers a great deal to pique my interest. A stunning blend of Epic/Power/Speed and traditional Heavy Metal and lyrics basted in a fantasy vibe which only makes me wish I’d have tried harder at penning fiction of the same ilk. Shit, it even contains keyboard passages reminiscent of vintage Dio fronted Rainbow (my weakness). The vocals are thankfully more gravelly than falsetto though still firmly rooted in the traditional and are easily decipherable to the point of drawing the listener into the story which unfolds as the album progresses. The arrangements here are superb, complete with cinematic atmosphere which only adds depth to the albums lyrical concept. Rhythms and riffs are fluid and convey a wide variety of emotions effectively. I never thought I’d say this but I believe I’ve found an album in this arena I can preach about, honestly the first since Riot’s “Thundersteel”. If the genres mentioned above are to your liking you cannot allow yourself to miss out on this! As a non-genre fan, I’m loving it. I can’t imagine how much of an impact it’ll make on one whose penchants run to more the melodic and epic than extreme.

Favorite Tracks; Hypnotic and enchanting from the first to the last

FFO; Magnum, Iron Maiden, Rhapsody, Ancient Empire, Primal Fear, Savatage, Blind Guardian.

dopelord

Dopelord (Poland)- Sign of the Devil
https://dopelord.bandcamp.com/album/sign-of-the-devil
Release March/10/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 85

A gloriously archaic/medieval styled image depicting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse but dressed in their everyday garb sans disguise.

FIRST TRACK- 88

Dangerously infectious Doom with Cathedral, Trouble and obviously Sabbath undertones. Drenched wickedly in classical horror themes this gives off a delicious vintage aura. I’m hooked where’s my Lazeboy at?

INITIAL LISTEN- 87

Pulsating, throbbing riffs with seemingly a life of their own, fuzz dripping, spesker shaking distortion and a smidgen of psychedelia. Sounds like most Doom releases, right? It does, but this is surprisingly varied in its approach whilst still hanging onto traditional parameters. Ranging from melodic, to synth laden to a track with a somewhat industrial motif and saturated in occult themes this has a great deal to offer both the Doom aficionado, newcomer and casual listener alike. I’m not typically a fan of the doom genre this however is heavy in my playlist rotation.

Favorite Tracks; infectious and varied throughout.

FFO; CoC, Cathedral, Black Sabbath.

Venator

Venator (Austria) – Paradiser EP
https://venatorsteelcity.bandcamp.com/releases
Release-March/19/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 76

Just me or does the cover have a slight Quiet Riot struck by lightning vibe? Or Iron Giant (inhuman form) going slightly bonkers? This screams late 70’s early 80’s without any doubts whatsoever

FIRST TRACK- 89

Hard rock meets NWOBHM meets mid- era Judas Priest. This is addictively melodic with some wicked twitch the limbs riffs. But let’s not forget the delicious production which lends this a nostalgic edge.

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

This checks all the boxes I would hope for in a release slathered in vintage values. The rhythms on offer are ungodly infectious, the instruments clear, the leads and solos passionate but not overly so and the vocal style has just a hint of falsetto (in the right places, to mynliking anyhow) without going into overly dramatic realms and without losing any of its manly bravado. The tracks are offer we a fantastic taster for what’s to come, hinting at both fantastical lyric narratives and other themes which are more easily identifiable to those of us without a unicorn parked in the shed or a tattered DnD rulebook close at hand.

Favorite Tracks; Paradiser, Blind Ambition.

FFO; Judas Priest, Blitzkrieg, Tank, Dokken.

Virocracy

Virocracy (Germany) – Irradiation
https://virocracy.bandcamp.com/album/irradiation
Release- March/20/2020
Black Sunset/MDD

ARTWORK- 84

Strange that the sky and landscape are the same color. Chem trails, Pesticides, is that a mushroom cloud, or slightly perturbed smiley faces ? Insert your theory here but there’s definitely something afoot in this vivid apocalyptic themed image.

FIRST TRACK- 77

A typical of the genre ominous intro opens this album then it’s into familiar waters. Atmosphere and melody collide along with a progressive aura and rhythms ala Arch Enemy (this also sports impressive feral female vocals). Moving with dynamic twists and turns sans repetitive chuggery this track bodes for an impressive collection of Tracks in store. an impressive start.

INITIAL LISTEN- 77

The intro to “Rane” is an album highlight, sounds as if lifted from a ‘moneyshot’ scene in a Sci-Fi film and is, in part, eerily topical. The remainder of the album cannot truly be comfortably pigeonholed. It runs with a Progressive nature, arrangements which transform constantly to aid a concept narrative. The style also dips into Thrash realms and occasionally into Tech and Djent arenas based on its not relying on typical chuggery but rather melodies which are dynamic, exciting and rarely stagnant. Give this a shot, it’s a fantastic debut and bodes well for an act starting to find their niche.

Favorite Tracks; Rane, Solitude, Void of Heart.

FFO; Angela era Arch Enemy, mid era Death.

black phantom

Black Phantom (Italy) -The End is Near
https://blackphantom.bigcartel.com/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgaySL5pP9M
Release- March/20/2020
Punishment 18 Records

ARTWORK- 78

A fantastical sludge-like monstrosity is depicted against a background drenched in an ominous nature (yellows and greens of a hue which brings to mind imminent doom). A vintage hourglass in the foreground, in the creature’s grasp, adds weight to the album’s title. Is he the Grim Reaper or merely a “Stranger in a Strange Land” without a battery-operated torch? Perhaps the music will help to answer these questions? Perhaps not. But I’m hitting play regardless.

FIRST TRACK- 81

Galloping rhythms, a traditional NWOBHM aura and a style which brings to mind both vintage Maiden and Wolfsbane. Add to that a vocal style akin to that which Bruce Dickinson boasts and you you have the start of a release which is promising indeed. Though might turn some off based on its approach.

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

Distinct bass, a familiar vocal style pulled off with significant ant range and an aura which screams Iron Maiden worship, but also that of others making waves around the same time. Dynamic rhythms, soaring leads, solos and undeniable fluidity throughout. At times Maiden esque, in others more akin to Dickinson’s solo material in feel, in others yet more a hard rock rather than a traditional metal approach. Whatever the case; this delivers. It shows creativity in its composition (this is familiar yet not to point of riff for riff plagiarism), sports intelligence in its lyrics and is sure to make an impression for those yearning for audio of undeniable quality with a distinct Maiden ‘edge’ (did I say Maiden enough here?)

In closing, I find it somewhat strange that an Italian act would make a German version of a track featured in the album but this seriously only adds to the intrigue this album sports. Did I mention I’ve listened to thus six times already? Nope? Well, it’s good. Discover it for yourself and tell me your thoughts.

Favorite Tracks; Redemption, Hordes of Destruction, The Road, Either You or Me, Hands of Time.

FFO; Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson (solo material), Iced Earth.

Graceless

Graceless (The Netherlands) – Where Vultures Know Your Name
https://rawskullrecordz.bandcamp.com/album/where-vultures-know-your-name
Release- March/27/2020
Raw Skull Recordz

ARTWORK- 78

This has an archaic apocalyptic vibe, Pompeii perhaps? And brings to mind Immolation (for one reason or another) complete with a smoldering lava aura the image invokes both despair, destruction and desolation. I’m left intrigued… hitting play.

FIRST TRACK- 86

The introduction seethes with a tribal and readying for war tone which soon transforms into a pulsing dirge. However, veins of melody and effective atmosphere add considerable depth to make this different than most. An intriguing start which although in tone is familiar is also oddly a mixture of influences making it quite unique.

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

It would be simple to merely label this as Bolt Thrower-esque material and be done with it; the unmistakable aura is there, the tone, the war motif. But this is slightly different and that’s what separates it from the herd (who apparently all seem to be riding the same coat tails). There’s undeniable presence (love that word!) here, a depth which only a rare few have managed to effectively capture. An epic nature only occasionally experienced in audio of this nature. And it’s the ease of execution which captures the senses, this doesn’t seem forced. Familiar, strangely so in some instances, yet flowing with a life of its own. And there’s even a spot of diversity, passages of groove, amidst a track designed to shake things up, to send the limbs a twitching. Prefer mid-tempo to face searing speed? Like a little sludge with your growling? It honestly doesn’t get much better than what’s on offer here. Sink in, allow this time and you might find it difficult to eject it from the playlist. You have been warned!

Favorite Tracks; Much like spending a distracted moment in quicksand this will eventually swallow your being. Nope. I can’t pick one, two or even, three tracks as favorites; this whole album rips!

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Vital Remains, Deicide, Memoriam, Hail of Bullets, Vallenfyre, mid era Slayer.

perdition temple

Perdition Temple – Sacraments of Descension
https://perditiontemple.bandcamp.com/
Release- March/27/2020
Hell’s Headbangers Records

ARTWORK- 89

I don’t think this is a meeting of the minds so much as a weekly event. A tabletop RPG convention of sorts perhaps or the Underworld Book Club? I’m only left wondering who’s left looking after the wee cherubs.

FIRST TRACK- 93

This track goes straight for the jugular, no glitter intros no atmospheric submergence into cinematic realms this hits hard, aims for the nearest major artery and grabs the attention instantly. Writhing rhythms complemented by bestial vocals and evolving galloping passages topped off by abrupt dousings of diabolical essence but my words don’t come anywhere near to doing this justice. Strap yourself in folks this is gonna be a bumpy ride!

INITIAL LISTEN- 96

Churning riffs and a mischievous diabolical nature sees one initially think vintage Morbid Angel worship slathered in an Incantation aura yet it isn’t just that and it isn’t quite that simple. Vicious intent rhythms put one in mind of Vader whereas maniacal solos and leads bring to mind early Slayer, vintage Witchery, as well the undeniable influence mentioned above, a prancing impish maniacal nature is injected throughout to the point that when playing this you can literally smell Sulphur and hear the tippy tap of cloven hoofs on hard packed dirt. An air of cloying menace blankets the experience and its one the listener will only want to punish their senses with again and again. This is top notch archaic elevator music (naturally it’s nothing like the drone elevator tunage most of us are accustomed to) wicked, unrelenting, maniacal and instantly appreciable this could well be the soundtrack to the decent into the office of the ‘Horned One’ himself. Honestly, this is hands down my favorite release of the year so far, each time this plays my torso is sent into spastic movements, which isn’t a pretty sight in the slightest.

Favorite Tracks; Blistering throughout this will not disappoint!

FFO; Incantation, Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel, Immolation, Goatwhore, Gravehill, Vader.

Left over from 19’

Remission

Remission (Australia)– The Tether’s End
https://remissionband.bandcamp.com/
Release – November/15/2019
Self-Released

ARTWORK – 68

I’m honestly not sure if that’s the Earth (I’m not sure how it could be) or the Moon in the Hangman’s noose, regardless it tells a great deal of what the band wish to convey. A primitive image which makes one think though doesn’t necessarily give much away in relation to the type of audio within.

FIRST TRACK – 81

Zero introduction here, this commences with rocket fuel propulsion straight from the gate. Wicked infectious rhythms coupled with melodic breakdowns and vocals typical of the ‘thrash drenched in death sensibilities’ genre. On its description alone this sounds similar to what the remainder of the genre offers though it has a certain something, a blistering and well-executed riff meets technicality element, which elevates it from the masses. A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

Think Thrash meets Death balanced precariously on the Deathcore border and you’ll be close to what this offers. Aggressive blistering rhythms, technical phrasing within dynamic arrangements which any fan of the genre is likely to fall ‘ass over tit’ for in appreciation. Complex and tight are key elements here although this is only partly Technical it hints at a style which could well transform that way completely at any given moment (in the future perhaps?) Flourishes of other styles are evident throughout this album also; Djent rears its head, Crossover influence pops up via gang vocals choruses as well Post (whatever that in fact is). Another element is the albums atmosphere, which is plentiful, alongside the other mentioned factors as well the fitting though strangely discernable vocal style it makes a fantastic companion to the albums (Thrash) foundation. Overall, and although this style isn’t really anything new the band have obviously done their homework for this delivers what fans of the genre demand; it has excitement, unpredictability, expertly-placed breakdowns and passages of abrupt whirlwind ferocity one can lose their shit too. This does more than entertain, it makes a bold statement (especially based on the fact it’s the band’s first full-length outing) Remission aren’t fukin’ around. Sit up and take note as if they progress in this fashion these guys might well be the next big thing.

Favorite Tracks; Mother War, Temples, Black Scorched Earth, The Tether’s End, Transcending Chaos, Forced Entropy,

FFO; Sylosis, Black Dahlia Murder, Trivium, Psycroptic.

And Now for Something Slightly Different

Rodrigo Y Gabriella

I’m not usually into acoustic music. However, after experiencing the first track listed here, I was of the mind that I should write a few words in appreciation.

Rodrigo Y Gabriella – Mettal (Ep)
https://rodrigoygabriela.bandcamp.com/album/the-mettal-ep
Track listing;
Battery (Metallica)

Undistorted acoustic guitars can indeed be heavy and this proves it. Add a little Latin flavor, plucking, picking, fretboard manipulation godliness and a little creativity and this classic now has the presence to appeal to a new audience, one that possibly would’ve never heard this track otherwise. The perfect timing, phrasing and arrangement is what holds the attention here but it’s the talent and ingenuity (which more than make up for the absence of vocals) which makes this mesmerizing. An outstanding homage to the original though strangely with added oomph.

megadeth holy wars

Holy Wars (Megadeth)

Intricate, passionate and overflowing with energy whilst still remaining faithful to the original. I’m not sure how the pairing did it but this seems infinitely more grandiose than the original, this shines with an added sheen, a depth, a western aura but also a frenetic nature adding to the Tracks narrative (for those familiar, for those not do much it’s easy to figure out as the caliber showcased here invokes vivid tableaus) which is altogether hypnotic. Words fail me. Much like the ‘source material’ this demands discovery and showers of praise.

slayer seasons in the abyss

Seasons in the Abyss (Slayer)

It appears that I’m mentioning this more than I thought I would, however this is again an amazing example of the presence, power, depth and emotion one can bring to an already established track with only using acoustic instruments. In this case the air of sinister and ominous is palpable. As well as using traditional means the musicians here implement hands on the body of the guitar for added weight and boy does it work invoking images of dimly lit subterranean passages, flickering candles and archaic ceremonies (obviously “South of Heaven” in tone but I’ve always thought this track reminded me of that album). Again, there’s a certain Latin flavor here but it adds flair and bite making for another track which is undeniably astounding.

This three track EP showcases the brilliance and awe-inspiring adaptability of two seasoned musicians. In somewhat adapting (minutely to be fair) the three Tracks on offer they’ve undoubtedly introduced a whole new generation to acts they might never have heard otherwise and reminded long-time fans why the tracks chosen are so important to the genre. I honestly can’t say good things about the audio on offer here, I’m enthralled and can’t help but sing along. Admittedly it’s the first I’ve heard of the dueling guitar duo but it won’t be the last. Apparently, there’s more to discover, and I’m up for the challenge.

Animal - music is meant for sharing

Becus’ great music is meant to be shared!!

And that concludes another foray into the extreme audio realm. Stay safe out there folks. As always feel free to comment, share and/or suggest anything you think I might be interested in covering.

Yours, virus free (for now)

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – The Sixth

March on! March!! March on!!!
march on header

Are you afraid of a virus named after a beer? Pussy!

This is the mantra of the oncoming tidal wave of metal about to be released, I’m sure of it. I’m taking cover, this month is set to showcase quite the audio onslaught, if only we could use it to our advantage against the approach of that which is a virus and is named after a South American lager (I could be wrong it could be manufactured in Boston). But before I do, I’m grabbing a few supplies; my headphones, a few titles which I believe looked rather interesting, hand sanitizer, butt wipe (for some weird reason all the stores I’ve visited lately appear to be out) among other things. Without further ado here are my thoughts on a few ‘audio treats’ I’ve already spend a great deal of time sampling.

Slipping Through the Cracks/Left Over from 19′

phantasmal

Phantasmal (Finland) – Ansaan Syntyneet- Ansaan Kuolleet
Release – May/31/2019
Self-Released

https://phantasmal.bandcamp.com/releases

ARTWORK- 83

Dark, ominous and dismal. I’m left wondering if the figure in the foreground is happening upon this place by accident (in an exploratory jaunt through the unknown) or returning to it; their home?

FIRST TRACK- 82

Commences with riffs which would make Messiah Marcolin (vintage Candlemass frontman, as if you need informing!?) grin. But the vibe soon changes to channel both later era Chris Barnes Cannibal Corpse mixed with shades of Celtic Frost. An interesting start and fantastic use of mid-tempo and transforming rhythms against a brutal vocal approach.

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

Hardly traditional of the genre this melds Doom, complex riffs, groove and passages of progressive quality folk and even delves into majestic black realms. The lyrics are in Finnish (as far as I can tell, with my limited language skills) a fact which adds intrigue and a slight archaic element if truth be told. The vocals themselves sound akin to Chris Barnes “The Bleeding” era bringing a familiar aura to an album which is deliciously different and only truly unfolds the more it’s allowed entry into the senses.

Favorite Tracks; Aseeton, Ansaan Syntneet, Ruumis,

FFO; Unleashed, Cannibal Corpse, Opeth.

January Releases

Rat King

Rat King (USA) – Vicious Inhumanity
Release – January/17/2020
Within the Mind Records

https://ratkingband.bandcamp.com/album/vicious-inhumanity

ARTWORK- 81

For some reason this reminds me of an early Gorguts release (same artist perhaps?) There’s definite horror/sci fi themes here, the giant hypnotic slug from the Italian cult celluloid gem Contamination is what pops to mind instantly,  but is this for cloning purposes or for sustenance? Regardless this is a fantastic and vibrant image which only makes one ponder upon what’s “going down” within it.

FIRST TRACK- 78

This commences with Doom/Sludge grandiose horror undertones but it soon changes, (much like the transition from their last albums style to what follows here) transforming into scorching riff, blast-beat laden Grindcore. Aggressive and surprisingly well-structured for its ilk. An impressive start complete with intriguing garbled messages to put one in mind of black web/secret society nefarious activities.

INITIAL LISTEN- 78

I’ve had this on the backburner for a while. Admittedly when I see the word “experimental” in a promo release I get a little nervous as it can go one way or another (which might mean wildly into ‘left field’ territories). Thankfully this stays this side of that boundary. Sticking to the grindcore, colossus/crushing riff foundation the album veers into many a realm to leave one with purely grindcore assumptions scratching their head. However, and rather surprisingly, “Vicious Inhumanity” delivers. Galloping riffs are frequent, expertly inserted and groove is commonplace, even the more “experimental” passages keep the interest level high and usually showcase either the bassists dancing digit talents or the ability of the guitarist to pull one from spastic brutal realms into something entirely different and then back again without the whole endeavor seeming that out of sync. Doom and Sludge elements are present (to please fans of their past release) as too, in instances, Nuerosis-esque tendencies, in short this isn’t a non-stop blasting traditional Grindcore affair but rather one which will please fans who prefer their audio from scattered influence.

Favorite Tracks; Matanza, Soledad, Zero, Rotting from Inside.

FFO; Terrorizer, NoMas, Wizard Rifle.

February Releases

Arcaine

Arcaine (Switzerland) – As Life Decays
Release- February/14/2020
Black Sunset/MDD

https://arcainemetal.bandcamp.com/album/as-life-decays

ARTWORK – 91

Stunning art with fantastic colors and plenty of detail. Here’s a few words from the PR firm in explanation; “The band also wants to make the listeners aware of their responsibility for the actions of mankind. People’s decadent way of life, their development and their handling of nature is in the foreground and is taken up by the graphic concept of Polish artist Xaay and visually implemented on the cover artwork”.

FIRST TRACK – 77

A sinister toned introduction complete with an angelic chorus and acoustic guitars leads into the first track. A Deathcore style slathered with Djent, Groove and Technical elements takes over. As well as infectious rhythms there’s plenty of ‘bounce’ to get the listener moving. The production is top-notch, crisp and allows every instrument to breathe. A great start to get anyone (this is the first I’ve heard of them!) unfamiliar with the band, interested.

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

Utilizing a style which is part Djent, Metalcore with plenty of melody thrown in, enough breakdowns to keep those excited by such happy and a smidgen of added Technical nature, Arcaine have managed to release an album which is damn catchy from start to finish although honestly doesn’t add anything ground-breaking to the surrounding scene. With that being said however, the album delivers from start to finish. There’s a certain vibrancy and exuberance which can’t be ignored, the talent is undeniable, the composition brings everything a fan of the scene could want, the vocals fit perfectly and it has repeat play written all over it. Tiny qualms if truth be told for this is a highly addictive example of what the finest within the genre offers. Add this to the collection, you won’t be disappointed!

Favorite Tracks; As Life Decays, Still Alive, Tyrants, Rebuild,

FFO: Arch Enemy, At the Gates, Dark Tranquility, In Flames, Soilwork, Darkane, Devildriver.

banisher

 Banisher (Poland) – Degrees of Isolation
Release – February/29/2020
SelfMadeGod Records

https://selfmadegod.bandcamp.com/album/degrees-of-isolation

ARTWORK- 76

There’s definitely something tearing this fellow apart. Stress? Family? His relationship? Or all of the current political coverage everywhere one seems to look? Regardless this is an intriguing image with highly effective dizzying qualities.

FIRST TRACK- 82

Grinding death/thrash which transforms within no time into tech death/grindcore with infectious driving rhythms, striking melodies and a vocal style which is uncannily similar to anyone which I can’t pinpoint at the moment.

INITIAL LISTEN- 78

Most might believe this is merely a Thrash/Death outing with the way it starts out, for first few seconds anyway. However, it soon shows its diverse coat of ‘colors’ in displaying Technical prowess, Djent properties, Deathcore tendencies, Grindcore-esque elements, Hardcore tendencies and truckloads of angst. Shit, there’s even a smidgen of Progressive and Post in here also. All this amidst rhythms which tumble over each other, collide with vicious intent and continually fight for superiority. As the album hits its stride a familiarity takes ahold, a style heard before, although it might take a few moments to nail down its a style associated with the Cavalera Bros, aka Soulfly and that heard in mid era Sepultura. Overall this provides an interesting mix, refusing to settle in one arena for too long.

Favorite Tracks; Actors Accomplices, Extradition, Lockdown, Apothesis, Echoes.

FFO; Benighted, Dying Fetus, Decapitated, Mortuary, Soulfly.

March Releases

absentation

Absentation (Syria/Damascus) – Antimatter Rites
Release – March/1/2020
Independent

https://absentation.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK- 88

Why does this cover make me think of Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, a painting with a regal figure sporting a scowl and… where the hell did I put my keys?

FIRST TRACK- 85

Technical, brutal and hyper fast (similar in style to Kataklysm) sporting enough rhythm transformations, and influence nods to intrigue most across the Death spectrum. The eyes should be wide open by now and the body primed for movement.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

Hard to fathom that this is another example of a ‘we don’t need more than one person to make a band’. This is complex, displays a slew of influence ranging from the above-mentioned through Dirge, Djent and Thrash with sprinkling of Progressive tossed in for good measure, yet throughout it sticks to its “fast as f” guns. And somehow it remains exciting with an undeniable aura of never let up. Although at times a little hit and miss (some parts drag while others feel a little “samey” and the drums are obviously computer generated. Minor qualms if truth be told which shouldn’t turn any away in discovering what this has to offer), it obviously requires extra points based on the fact that it was all conceived, created and produced by a single person, huge props must be given. Overall, I’m fascinated that one fellow is capable of such as this, of the belief this will grow on me over time and will happily praise this to all who’ll give it a chance. This deserves attention!

Favorite Tracks; Quantum Nothingness, Echoes of Distant Astronomical Giants, The Velocity of Relativity Talisman, Gravitational Singularity.

FFO; Kataklysm, Behemoth, Origin.

trauma ominous black

Trauma (Poland) -Ominous Black
Release- March/6/2020
SelfMadeGod Records

https://selfmadegod.bandcamp.com/album/ominous-black

ARTWORK- 89

From the same artist responsible for Bell Witch and the latest Abigail Williams this is stunning, harkening perhaps to an album with atmosphere and melancholy aplenty? I guess we’ll see.

FIRST TRACK- 78

Melodic Death, bordering on Djent at times, with a multitude of choppy galloping rhythms, a few interesting riffs/note passages and a myriad of breakdowns. However not quite so many, thankfully, as to have it enter Rings of Saturn or Slam territories. An intriguing start that’s a little, though not wildly, different from the traditional Death entry.

INITIAL LISTEN- 82

A varied mix of melodic death showcasing a variety of stylistic elements plucked from a variety of extreme genres, namely Brutal Death, Tech Death, Slam and Djent with a smattering of atmosphere and Arch Enemy esque passion tossed in for good measure. It takes a while for the album to warm up but once it does it’s a fantastic introduction to an experienced act (who unfortunately have fallen to the wayside, left in the shadows of others, a few in particular come to mind) who really should garner more attention. I’m surprised it took me until their eighth outing to discover them if this is any indication as to what’s on offer a little “digging” is in order. A great effort which really doesn’t sound like what might expect given the covers art.

Favorite Tracks; Inside the Devils Heart, Among the Lies, I am Universe, The Black Maggots, The Godless Abyss.

FFO; later Decapitated, Meshuggah, Grave.

Sutrah

Sutrah (Canada) – Aletheia (EP)
Release- March/13/2020
The Artisan Era

https://sutrahmetal.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK- 88

“Go on, take a peek.”

“What in the Holy F is that?”

“Well, some have described it as a kaleidoscope of inner turmoil, the gradual descent into one’s own abyss of madness. Many have commented it’s what might transpire from watching “The Kardashians” on an endless loop for days straight. Others merely know it as art from the “Aletheia” album from the band Sutrah. It is what you make it.”

“Ah, for a moment there I thought you were going all physiotherapist on me…?”

“Nah, I’m a veterinarian. It’s not my field of specialty. Now, what seems to be the problem with Fred?”

FIRST TRACK- 77

An instrumental for an Introductory track? Now there’s a gamble. Though there are possible indicators of how this album might turn so far it bears definite atmospheric/post/progressive elements with a dense audio, somewhat frenetic, background to leave me curious.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

Broken in four parts (variations if you prefer) this release showcases the bands stellar abilities to transport the listener from outright Progressive realms into Brutal and Tech- Death arenas all the while displaying top-notch musicianship, vocal prowess and composition ingenuity. Ranging from a dreamy, somewhat relaxed classical, soundscape with heavy Middle Eastern influences to audio slathered in ferocity this isn’t for those demanding instant gratification. Although it does offer a variety of whirling dervish and incendiary rhythms combined with vocal “exchanges” which are sure to delight. In short, it’s a collection of tracks to melt into, a progressive treat for those wishing for a slow burn with a catastrophic payoff. The epic fifteen-minute closer is sure to turn a great many heads. This might take a few spins to get fully comfortable with, but once you’re there it’s a fantastic destination well worth revisiting and frequently

Favorite Tracks; Variation I.ii – Lethe, Variation II.ii – Genese.

FFO; Howling Sycamore, Between the Buried and Me, Cynic.

necrogusto

Necrogusto (Brazil) – Ancestral Bestiality
Release -March/15/2020
Nuclear War Now! Productions

https://nuclearwarnowproductions.bandcamp.com/album/ancestral-bestiality

ARTWORK- 71

A wicked, raw and depraved black and black archaic ink invocation. Is this really a true representation of Sunday lunch at the In-Laws in days gone by?

“Dammit son. You forgot the goat”.

FIRST TRACK- 75

Primal thrash with maniacal South American roots. Think a collaboration between Venom and Sarcofago and you might be close. The introduction leads the listener towards the unfathomable depths whilst the guitar and drum percussion are what prods them over into the pitch unknown. Barked vocals add a diabolical edge this isn’t “clean” in the slightest but it still has an eerie appeal which has me very much intrigued.

INITIAL LISTEN- 74

Without regard for trend or keeping to genre stereotype Necrogusto deliver 6 tracks of “Satanic Black Noise” (using their own words). Thrash, black and definitely not for the faint of heart or those pussy footing around genres to pick something which might be slightly off kilter from the traditional and to their liking. This isn’t nice, it certainly isn’t polished, in fact raunchy is a great word to use here, with plenty of homage to those acts who coined the term ‘deathcore’ in Brazil (important not to be confused with the same term tossed around today) and seething in menace and intent. Recommended for the brave.

Favorite Tracks; Baphometic Noisy Cult, Intoxication and Ecstacy.

FFO; Sarcofago, Holocausto, Venom, Sex Thrash.

Upon Request

Occasionally I have recommendations tossed in my direction with the words “you have to hear this” attached. In this case however @AtomicHeartbeep mentioned this was the best he’s heard and asked me to give this the “full treatment”. I’m left intrigued. Seriously, how can I resist?

Epiphany from the Abyss

Epiphany from the Abyss – s/t
Release – May/24/2018 (digital)
Self-Released

https://epiphanyfromtheabyss.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK- 89

An obelisk in the middle of nowhere about sums this stunningly detailed, black and white, rendition up. Intricate details and an enigmatic aura makes the mind whirl. But what about the audio encapsulated within?

FIRST TRACK- 92

Jaw-droppingly impressive technical precision with undeniable deathcore tendencies and a touch of darkness. This is bloody good, hold my calls. I. do. not. want. to. be. disturbed!

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

Whipping neck ferocious intensity, fretboard inhuman flourishes, riffs aplenty, frenetic pace transformations and genius progressive breakdowns from seemingly out of the ether. And yet there’s so much more to wrap the ears around, it blows me away that I haven’t heard this or the acts name (in this case the same thing) circulate around the metal message boards and social media with a rabid fanaticism even years after its initial unleashing. The arrangements and composition showcased here boasts an undeniable fluidity and expert melding of styles I can’t help but instantly appreciate. As the album winds down it blossoms, displaying the bands stellar abilities and willingness to branch out with stylistic diversity. The effect only adds to a listening experience which is captivating pushing further into realms of godliness. In conclusion the metal community at large need this in their collection if only in respect to an act who could’ve been so much more if they were praised that much earlier for their utter brilliance. (For sadly, they are no more.)

Favorite Tracks; Blisteringly impressive all the way through.

FFO; Black Dahlia Murder, Alterbeast, Allegaeon, Arsis, Inferi.

A Guest Spot
He11fir3 Returns!

This week I am in deep debt to the great CultMetalFlix for keeping my interest in mind when selecting this long-awaited installment for me to indulge on. That gem being Thy Dying Light’s debut self-titled full length.

thy dying light debut album cover

(The album is not yet up on BC so I’ve included a few links to others alongside pertinent links to be able to contact the artist and label – Ed*)

https://pestproductions.bandcamp.com/album/forgotten-by-time

https://deathkvltproductions.bandcamp.com/album/cold-in-death

https://wulfhereproductions.bandcamp.com/album/the-last-twilight

www.facebook.com/thydyinglight

www.purity-through-fire.com

Knowing not everyone is going to be familiar with this bands work I’m going to attempt to cover it as best as I can for new listeners. What Thy Dying Light (UK) offers with their debut is a pillar of tradition. A paragon to the strongest, most powerful virtues of black metal’s true form. Classic second wave elements make up the plinth of their sound, being naturally cold, tortured, emotionally hollowed, and hopelessly dark. The band also deliver a very unique form of utterly antisocial sounding attitude, something like a quiet hatred from somewhere unknown. A feeling of unwelcome and discomfort for both messenger and onlooker poison these shrieks and tones like a bad omen.

Thy dying light raw BM

Now as a fan of the bands previous work, one of the first things I noticed when getting a look at this track list was there were some familiar titles on it. It’s not uncommon at all for bands to take previous material they may have not felt content with and give it one final reworking, and I myself was equally eager to hear these songs in their new trve form. Not only are these tracks beefed up with the new fuller, richer, and cleaner sound quality, you can also tell these reworked songs have been rehearsed, practiced, and experienced over and over, through live performance and constant tweaks self-critiquing to be presented here.

The overall album features an evolutionary step forward for the band in the sense that these new tracks and rerecording’s give us something the previous releases needed more of. Hostility and pure aggression. TDL have always wrote songs with a fine tension of hatred, but this time around the ferocity became a big part of the focus, and the result is the evillest sounding TDL yet. The vocals are no longer static-like and entwinned to the background due to raw production (which don’t get me wrong, worked fantastically well before) Now they are truly a fist in the face of god. It’s not just on the vocals either. Every note is played harder, angrier, faster and full of warning. Stay out of the way.

corpse painted dude yielding a candelabra

I give this 8 out of 10 corpsepainted dudes with candelabras. I will be preordering (Available on Worship Tapes Facebook page)

The highest of thanks to CultMetalFlix for not only allowing me to chime in on #AbrasiveAudio but also gifting me this album to review knowing it was something I was already getting pumped for.

And this brings yet another exciting, diverse, Abrasive Audio installment to a close. For fear of sounding repetitive don’t fear discovery of that which would normally sound foreign to the ears.

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Special Edition; Part the Last (for now)

(Yet another collaborative effort with a few friends)

Abrasive Audio Special Ed 2020 part 2

This installment is the third in a Special Edition Series. And again, sees a collaborative effort with friends (whose opinions I respect) from as far afield as the releases featured within. But first a few words from a co-conspirator, the SixintheHeadZine editor and someone whom I bother with suggestions, recommendations and silliness on a more than frequent basis.

sixintheheadzine

The “Original”

I was honored to be asked to write the intro for this – the last installment in a truly epic collection of reviews – because ever since I discovered your man Cult and Abrasive Audio, I haven’t got my metal recommendations from anywhere else. I probably should read other metal blogs but I find so many good n brutal listens on this one that I barely have the time to listen to any of the other music I like, let alone more bloody metal.

In fact, I’ve been spending so much time recently investigating the releases on here that I’m completely out of touch with all the latest pop groups, jazz singers and contemporary composers. I normally pride myself on knowing what’s happening in all the main genres – pop, jazz, classical and blues. Metal as we know isn’t a genre. It’s a way of life, a religion. Very similar to vaporwave. (and what’s that, prey tell. – Ed*)

Anyway, I suppose if Cult wanted anything from this introduction it was for me to impart some of the valuable knowledge I have gained after a long and storied career in the music business. So, my advice to you is this – whatever you do, do it 110%. You can achieve your goals and dreams. You just have to believe in yourself.

I really hope that helps you on your way as we reach the end of this “Odyssean” Abrasive Audio feature together. If it doesn’t, oh well. Here’s the final three recommendations (one of which I happen to have written something on) to put into your headphones, turn up to max and drown the world out with. Keep it up Cult, your services to metal are very much appreciated.

Onward to this installment’s selections dedicated, yet again, to a few which apparently…

Slipped Through the Cracks
(Releases of 19′ which I have somehow missed)

Obviously, this isn’t all or even close to those I’ve failed to cover before but rather a handful which have fallen under most radars though still deserve attention.

Tyrmfar

Tyrmfar (Switzerland) – Renewal Through Purification

https://tyrmfar.bandcamp.com/album/renewal-through-purification

Release- June/22/19

MTAF Records

ARTWORK- 84

A malevolent sky is the backdrop to a godlike figure comprised of many (forms) scrambling to become a part of ‘the whole’. An interesting image with a myriad of intricate details and a meaning which will likely spark discussion.

FIRST TRACK- 90

The album starts with an introduction that’s likely to accompany a cinematic scene in which those on screen are recuperating, thriving and finally overcoming insurmountable odds to stand triumphant. Par for the course in this genre to be blunt, though this is better than most. A blast beat rhythm takes up the charge when the introduction dies. Add industrial precise drumming, a dual pronged vocal approach and rhythms dipped in both black and melodic death qualities and to album is off to a highly satisfying start. A fantastic introduction to the band for any yet to lay senses upon them, like myself.

INITIAL LISTEN- 88

Melodic, yet far from what many might visualize with the term in mind. This bleeds with blackened majesty and an atmosphere which brings to mind a giant of, and still a huge influence within, the melodic black scene (and undeniably a variety of others) Dissection. Melodies and tone channel a myriad of top tier influence (Eucharist, Necrophobic and Amon Amarth, among others) add depth, unmistakable catchiness and fit amazing well nestled with the prowess of the percussion and stunning vocal accompaniment. Overall, this held my interest from its start through its final notes but leaves me pondering upon what could possibly be in the Swiss water supply. I’ve heard a few releases from the region in the past few weeks and this is as good as the impressive standard the others have set, if not better. Discovering this a few months prior would have resulted in its inclusion in my Best of Years list, it’s too late for that but it’s not too late to preach the good word. Make room in your collection for this. You won’t be disappointed!

Favorite Tracks; Crank this up, it delivers from start to finish!

FFO; Dissection, Amon Amarth, Necrophobic, At the Gates, Stortregn, Eucharist.

Need a Second Opinion?
six in the head zine iss 2

Issue the Second

 

Here are a “few words” from Six in the Head Zine creator Paul_PMZ (on Twitter) and if you haven’t already please check out the mag here; https://sixintheheadzine.com/ for general gaming silliness, recommendations and tips and tricks on painting, gaming and where’s the best location to hold the ‘event’ itself.  Currently on its second issue this publication is heading to heights scary for even the most rambunctious toddler to contemplate. Without further ado…

The Cult Himself has asked me to review an album for him. No doubt that will be a relentless, hellish racket. Just what I don’t need right now… Why can’t he ask me to review some Tibetan bowl music or whale song for once? Still, being a man of my word (most of the time), I opened Bandcamp, stuck the kettle on and the headphones in and pressed play on the album he’d suggested. There was a long blurb about it underneath the tracks but I didn’t read that. I never read stuff like that before doing a review. I don’t want to cloud my judgement with unnecessary facts and useful background information. I liked the title and I liked the cover art. I thought this might be up my street as far as metal goes, even if I wasn’t feeling particularly in the mood for someone screaming at me.

The album began, like all metal albums do nowadays, with an instrumental opening that immediately struck me as sounding very, “Warhammer”. As a big tabletop gaming and hobby fan this is always a positive for me. For the first 30 seconds I imagined a vast, planet-sized spacecraft slowly moving into view as opposing forces of the 41st Millennium engaged in fierce battle underneath. Then, disappointingly, I heard some piano. Oh FFS (Fer Fuck’s Sake – Ed*). Don’t tell me this is “piano metal” … I can’t listen to a whole album of piano metal Cult.

Thank the Emperor (not the band I think – Ed) though, when track two kicked in I was delighted by a barbarous and pummeling auditory assault without any trace of Rick Wakeman-like activity. Chunky, choppy riffs and fast fretwork, machine gun drumming and an abominable, interplaying combo of both low and mid-register vocals that I hoped would set the tone for the rest of the album.

Much to my delight, it did. So, by track four my head was enthusiastically bobbing along to the determined and merciless drumming that I refuse to believe it’s possible for an actual human being to perform. If there truly is a man (or woman – I didn’t read the blurb) behind the kit on this then perhaps humanity isn’t quite so worthless after all.

Overall, this is a quality piece of work from top to bottom. It never gives up, slows down or dips in quality and the actual sound of it is top-notch. I think it’s a perfectly balanced death metal record and that the man (or woman – I didn’t read the blurb) who is responsible for mixing it is quite clearly a genius. Then again, what do I know? I’m not a sound engineer or musician.

What I do know for sure is that “Renewal Through Purification” is fucking great and when came to an end and I had to write this review I put it straight back on again without hesitation. Then I listened to it again for a third time. Totally brilliant!

hellknife

Hellknife (Germany) – Dusk of Doom

https://hellknife.bandcamp.com/album/dusk-of-doom

Release -December/13/19

Phobia Records, Ecocentric Records and Wooaaargh

ARTWORK- 86

Skulls, maggots, a pentagram looking thingy and a masked kultist (for the record a dead ringer of the lead vocalist from Ghost) with Lovecraftian creations sprouting from his spine. And the whole concoction is in black and white. Does it get any better than this? Probably, but not by much.

FIRST TRACK- 82

No introduction, no soundbites and certainly not even the slightest indication of “frilly bits”. This leaps straight for the throat! Crust coupled with D-beat and sprinkles of hardcore showcasing bludgeoning riffs complete with sub-woofer annihilating bass. Keep a digit on the volume button when this puppy starts else something goes POP and your further enjoyment of the extreme audio arena is held at bay until the meds start to work.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

This is unapologetic Crust (with the punk vibe often more pronounced than other elements) slathered with D-beat complete with angst-ridden hardcore vocals (I feel like I’ve said that before, but it needs repeating!) The similarities to Motorhead and WolfBrigade are unmistakable as well the indelible imprints the sheer amount of groove here will leave on the senses when this is through. To keep this short and sweet if the pulverizing nature of this and the ‘catchier than catchy’ aura doesn’t make you wanna’ get up and break shit odds are you might be missing a pulse. Jump on this at your next given opportunity! But be prepared to apologize to everyone beforehand for this will leave a mess as your torso unceremoniously jerks you around like a marionette at the whim of an inebriated puppet master. Need I mention this grew on me the more I listened? (Probably not, but I did anyway.)

Favorite Tracks; Dusk of Doom, Violence, Burn it Down, The End.

FFO; Wolfpack, No/Mas, Martyrdöd, Napalm Death, Disrupt, Terrorizer.

Need a Second Opinion?

 

Here are a few words from synth maestro Werewolves in Siberia (who I can’t thank enough for putting up with my constant badgering and allowing me in this case to bent his ear). I highly recommend checking into his varied discography, especially if you have a soft spot for cult soundtracks with a Goblin or Carpenter-esque edge. His godly manipulation of electronic beats into an often suspense-laden soundscape can be found here; https://werewolvesinsiberia.bandcamp.com/

werewolves in Sioberia header

I hadn’t heard of Hellknife before this.  In all honesty, I’ve only recently started catching up with a bunch of metal bands I used to listen to.  I really haven’t paid much attention to the metal scene at all in the last 10 years or so; minus the few exceptions of those bands I absolutely have to listen to.

That said, my first thought was that if Hellknife is an American band, this is a terrible name.  If they’re from Europe or a Scandinavian country (anywhere English isn’t the primary language), somehow, it’s an awesome name, though.  Turns out they’re from Germany, so the name checks out and it sounds tough.

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I’ll sum up the sound of the music to me; basically, they remind me of The Crown doing a d-beat record with a bunch of thrash meets Norwegian black metal influence in the guitar riffs.  I feel like there’s something missing from the songwriting to make it that standout it could be but this is still a killer record and I’m finding I like it more each time I listen.

Apparently, these guys even worked with a dude who has worked with Wolfbrigade for this album.  If you’re going to make d-beat music, working with people who have made some of the greats in the genre is always going to help you out.  They obviously had the same epiphany.

I’d be happy if the snare was louder in the mix but that might just be me nitpicking.  It’s kind of a crustcore staple to have that gritty guitar super loud in the mix and drowning out the drums, but I think that snare could cut through a little bit and really dive home how killer this band is.  Either way, I’m glad Cult sent this one along to me as I now have a new d-beat/crustcore band to listen to.  With how much it’s grown on me in just a couple listens, I’m sure I’ll be liking this one even more by next week.

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Novarupta (Sweden) – Disillusioned Fire

https://suiciderecordsswe.bandcamp.com/album/disillusioned-fire

Release- April/29/19

Suicide Records

ARTWORK- 76

Uh, oh, this image gives off a vibe as though the words “Post” (something or other) might appear in its description. It actually looks similar to an image on a couple of shirts I own when I went through a brief not wearing metal shirts all the time phase. Nevertheless, I’m intrigued.

FIRST TRACK- 83

Sludge sensibilities, mammoth riffs and angst fueled vocals. And something… else. Wicked pace transformations and a malevolent nature, a lurking, as if there’s something on the horizon which might soon pounce (but only when it’s good and ready to do so). A brilliant start seething with monstrous weight which leaves me eager for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

With a different vocalist highlighted in every track (with talents heard in bands such as Entombed, Dark Tranquility and The Moth Gatherer, to name but a few), the third track boasts three guest throats, this album boasts a smorgasbord of identities. Hard to describe without listing a diatribe-esque list of styles which often intertwine and or tumble over each other (in a surprisingly controlled manner), easier to enjoy, the styles herein are varied (feel like I’ve mentioned that before now) yet passages of a grandiose nature run rampant alongside riffs which could topple Godzilla and bring even the most wicked of dictator to his knees. The atmosphere here is undeniable, often overpowering, and adds a priceless quality to the album’s depth and aura. This truly is an album one can get lost in and to think that it’s not normally of a genre I often frequent makes me ponder upon that which I might be missing out on. Call this post, blackened sludge, atmospheric, doom, call it what you will but be sure to give it the time of day and I’m sure you’ll agree it far surpasses that which most might assume when faced with a description utilizing said genres. Place this between the ears post haste!

Favorite Tracks; Pyroclastic Flows, Mare Tranquillitatis, Only the Dirt Will Know Our Graves.

FFO; vintage Katatonia, October Tide, Tool, Nuerosis, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost.

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Scribbling like one possessed, but it’s still not fast enough, dammit!

This concludes the sites first foray into having invited guests take the reins. A huge thanks go out to all involved. If you wish to become featured in a future endeavor of the same type feel free to drop me a line. Otherwise, feel free to comment, share and spread the word as eye-opening, ear carnage audio is meant to be shared – #SupporttheScene

As always keep those ears open for audio which might normally be foreign to the senses.

Your slave to audio in many of its extreme forms,

Cult