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

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.

Werewolves In Siberia2

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.

novarupta

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.

mix tape action

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

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Special Edition; Part the Second

(Another collaborative effort with a few friends)

Abrasive Audio Special Ed 2020 Paty 3

This installment is the second 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 before we dive in first a few words from Drew

metal cactuses

A gathering of “Metal Cacti”, how about that?

Greetings from the deserts of Arizona.

When I was first approached about the idea of writing this intro, panic and fear consumed me. “What should I say?” “When do you need this by?” and “Please tell me you don’t need it by tomorrow” were several of the thoughts that crossed my mind. After my good friend Cult here was able to reassure me that he wouldn’t need it until “Monday or Tuesday,” a wave of relief washed over me.

“Thank God” I thought. “That gives me at least four more days to put this off until the last minute.” And here’s where my sloth bites me once again.

My house is sick. More specifically, my wife is sick. She has been on death’s door since Saturday. And while I’m never one to panic or overreact, I’m going to just go ahead and officially call this one as Corona virus (I can’t prove it is, but you can’t prove it’s not. And that’s how science works.)

Fast-forward to today and guess who woke up feeling like aged dog shit. By now you should have guessed that would be me. So, what does any of this happen to do with the latest trove of reviews? I have various fluids starting to seep from orifices above the neck. I have slight chills. I have some body aches. I’m also developing a fever blister radiating across my lip and into my face creating an almost offset cleft palate. Combine all those factors together and I’m slowly transforming into something of a Sam Raimi prop reject worthy of a Goregrind cover. Perhaps even for one of the multitude of bands you have read about and will read about here. And it really doesn’t get any more metal than that. So, without further ado…

Onwards 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.

altarage

Altarage (Spain) – The Approaching Roar

https://altarage.bandcamp.com/album/the-approaching-roar

Release- January/27/19

Season of Mist Underground

ARTWORK- 73

Hardly typical of an image one might normally find within the genre, this nods at audio with the words post and complex in its description. Something sinister is afoot here, these aren’t forms frolicking in shallow depths those depicted here are done frolicking in any way shape or form. There’s a story behind this image and I am intrigued.

FIRST TRACK- 80

Suffocating, all- consuming and claustrophobic. This creates a diabolical atmosphere and embellishes upon it crushing the listener into absolute submission. From a tranquil start to an abrupt cataclysmic apocalypse the transformation is shuddering.

INITIAL LISTEN- 82

More a harrowing experience than a listen, this is what I’m imaging the onslaught of the apocalypse might sound like if one is floundering under water perilously close to drowning. Intricacies flow like blood through a frenzied pumping vein through the audio. Nuances adding to the aura of absolute annihilation and yet there’s also moments of nothing, an ominous silence, as if one has lost consciousness only to be plucked from the brink. But it’s not over. Much like Bolt Throwers “Realm of Chaos” this is also undeniably enveloping audio but here it isn’t a narration telling of unmerciful conquest and advancement by way of city sized industrial death machines but rather being a witness, a participant, in what feels like the very end. An Approaching Roar signifying the climax to all.

Favorite Tracks; Sighting, Urn,

FFO; Pa Vesh En, Blood Incantation, Tomb Mold, Portal.

Need a Second Opinion?

atomic heartbeep on twitter

Here’s a few words from Dan, a fellow Brit who added to the sites Best of lists with a handful of intriguing picks I’ve still yet to dive into. He can be found on Twitter displaying his love of Transformers masquerading as @Drachenstrum711

Altarage are a band who have somehow evaded my radar with their releases up until now, and I was only fortunate enough to hear of them through Cult.

“The Upcoming Roar” starts in a very deceptive fashion before exploding from the speakers in a barrage not unlike Incantation battling with Altarage‘s countrymen, Wormed. The overwhelming darkness of that opening salvo continues throughout, with the vocals being quite low in the mix adding to the air of desperation coming from the record. It grinds along with a dissonant fury until the velocity suddenly dissipates into unsettling droning sections, adding a whole new dimension to their already original sound. An extremely refreshing take on modern Death Metal, it picks up the gauntlet of Gateways-era Morbid Angel and pulls it through barren darkness until only a smoking skeleton of that sound remains. It certainly deserves a lot more recognition than it received last year and easily stands shoulder to shoulder with the best releases of 2019.

wilderun

Wilderun (USA) – Veil of Imagination

https://wilderun.bandcamp.com/

Release- November/1/19

Independent

ARTWORK- 74

Its rather hard to tell what this is, though a bouquet of flowers growing from a dead tree is rather close (I believe). The more I look however the more I’m of the understanding that this could be something else entirely; new intricacies and details pop each and every time I rediscover this. I’m intrigued and this is not at all what’s typical of the art which adorns the albums which normally caress my senses.

FIRST TRACK- 93

Spoken word poetry is the first thing to pass the eardrums, this might make many ponder on what’s to come. But have no fear the pace soon picks up but not first before offering perhaps some insight into what this might offer in its totality; an undeniable presence, a depth, a weight of sorts which is sure to make an impression (as weight often does!). With the pace comes at atmosphere as well a familiar aura. Spoiler alert this sounds like certain Opeth audio but with an added and considerable cinematic oomph behind it. But it doesn’t end there, the track meanders across many a landscape in its close to fifteen-minute length. Progressive and driving rock elements are front and center as the track nears its finale, as well a passion which cannot be ignored. All this in a package which screams excellence in both composition and creativity. I cannot believe this is the first I’m hearing of Wilderun, although I had been hearing whispers as the past year waned to its culmination. An exquisite way to start an album.

INITIAL LISTEN- 94

A stunning tapestry rich with depth, intricate melodies, plentiful detail and a perfect balance of ‘beauty and brawn’. Styles are as colors plentiful and blending together seamlessly whilst still standing proud and distinct. A powerful narrative invokes strong emotions, utilizing as it unfolds a myriad of differing rhythms and vocal styles, even what sounds to be a full chorus of voices for beyond cinematic effect. Progressive, progressive metal (for they are two different genres), power metal, symphonic, rock, folk, death/doom, melodic death and more. This album about runs the gamut (save for the darkest end of the extreme spectrum, although some instances do put me in mind of Cradle of Filth’s “Damnation and a Day” album, while others make me reflect upon the Opeth releases which I’ve enjoyed) and delivers throughout while offering an unpredictable nature and intricacies which only unfold following numerous listens. Simply stunning doesn’t even come close to what this offers! It need saying if only I had discovered this that much sooner there’s no doubt it would have featured in the Year End Review/List it took me so damn long to compile.

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

FFO; Opeth, Amorphis, Between the Buried and Me, Devon Townsend, Gates at the Morning, Rhapsody, Akercocke.

Need A Second Opinion?

rickmassive

Here’s a few words from a pal in Canada who will be releasing a single and an album very soon which we are both very excited about. He can be found on Twitter as @rickmassiemusic Visit his website; http://rickmassie.com/ and show support for someone who’s always happy chatting it up about all types of extreme audio. Here are his thoughts;

 Wilderun is a band whose name kept popping up in my Twitter feed, so often in fact, that I eventually decided it was time to take a quick listen. I find it hard to make time to discover new music these days, but something about the many conversations going on about the band gave me the indication that they might have something special going on. So, I checked them out, starting with their newest album, “Veil of Imagination”.

First off, the cover art is a thing of beauty. And discomfort. And strange, lovely grotesqueness. Which actually fits the music within quite well.

Dark, epic, melodic, and at times uplifting. From the very beginning, you feel as if you’re immersed in a fairytale – sometimes dark, sometimes bright – with a soundtrack by the finest folk moments you’ve heard from Amorphis. Before long, it veers off into vast soundscapes of ugly dissonant death metal riffs, that are somehow lovely, despite the ugliness. Think Opeth in their weird-but-heavy moments (“My Arms, Your Hearse” and “Still Life”). Or some of Edge of Sanity’s groovier DM sections. And then… black metal. Then folk. Then prog-laden synth sections.

This music is a bit more like a journey, or a wonderfully written film or book, except expressed in purely musical terms, as opposed to being expressed through words or visuals.  It doesn’t sit still – moving from one riff to the next seamlessly, changing time signatures, tempos, and never seeming like anything is disjointed (except for some moments when it completely intends to do just that, to make you feel uneasy) and never feels forced. There seems to be clean vocals for a little over half of the vocal sections (mid-range vocals, not high-pitched, and not super-low. Like a bard serenading trolls in the forest), and are often accompanied by mixed choir-like groups of low-pitched male voices. The death vocals are clear, mid-to-low-range, but easy to understand. Definitely reminiscent of Opeth and Dan Swano (who coincidentally mixed the album.)

The album never gets boring. I myself get bored with music quickly if it sounds like something I’ve heard before. “Veil of Imagination” sounds fresh and unique, almost as if it’s intentionally trying to catch you off guard. With some of the riffs and sections, you think you know what chord is coming next, but Wilderun proves you wrong each time. Those moments of surprise are one of the things that will keep me listening to this for a long time.

The music flows seamlessly into sections of very cinematic compositions, as if it’s meant to play behind some dark, fantasy film. Orchestras, violins, and flutes all make an appearance in the folky and fantasy-like sections. In the death and black metal moments, the band wouldn’t feel out of place on stage with Opeth. In the acoustic moments, there are visions of Jethro Tull and Amorphis uniting into a prog supergroup.

I particularly loved the way the 2nd-last track (“The Tyranny of Imagination”) threw me off. At the end of the track, I thought it must be the album ending, So, imagine my excitement when it turned out that there was still one more song, nearly 12 minutes long. It starts with a lone piano piece, and vocal accompaniment, eventually working its way into the most glorious and epic moments on the album, and the weirdest. It’s the kind of album ending that you keep coming back for, one that pulls you to re-listen to the full album just so you can relive that epic last track in the context of the full album.

Then, when it ends, you’ll feel uncomfortable, as the last melody and harmony makes you feel nearly sick. In a delightful way, of course.

And that’s my take on this album. Beautiful and ugly. Melodic and dissonant. A pleasant sickness, that you don’t want to go away.

brotthogg

Brotthogg (Norway) – Echoes from the Past

https://brotthogg-no.bandcamp.com/album/echoes-of-the-past-special-edition

Release- July/31/19

Independent

ARTWORK- 80

A wicked jumble of accoutrements and remains (bronzed skeletons, skulls and bones) and this is framed which makes the image all the more oddly intriguing. Strangely reminds me of the 18’ release from Ironflame (“Tales of Splendor and Sorrow”).

FIRST TRACK- 88

Wicked mischievous riffs, rhythms of a pace which could strip paint from the walls, an undeniable ‘presence’ and a style which incorporates elements from a slew of genres including black, death, traditional and pagan metal. This has my attention!

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

For some ungodly reason the band’s name puts me in mind of “Dukes of Hazzard” (anyone else?) The similarities thankfully end there. Imagine if Dissection (“Storm of the Lights Bane” era) was pissed off force of nature fast with a fine gossamer symphonic veil, exhibited flashes of power metal guitar brilliance and other instances which invoke Bathory, Satyricon, and Cradle of Filth. But that’s not all, this also shines with passages of a style eerily close to tech death in a manner befitting Inferi or Vale of Pnath. Either way you shake it this is an album I’m finding hard to remove from the space between my floppy audio catchers. In fact, I’m frustrated as this would’ve ranked especially high on my Year in Review/End of Year lists. Put this between the ears at the next earliest convenience.

Favorite Tracks; Amazing throughout!

FFO; Dissection, Inferi, Vale of Pnath, Inculter, Hellish.

Need A Second Opinion?

drew infared avi

Here’s a few words from the funniest, most loyal person, I believe I’ve ever had the fortune to come in contact with. In short, my BBF, Drew (ha, I sound like an eleven-year old girl) let’s read what he has to say (before I make the full transition) shall we…

The name: Yeah, it’s weird. My initial reaction with a band name like this is it’s going to be a humorous, tongue-in-cheek ode to metal a la GWAR or Crotchduster, but this turns out to be not the case. There’s serious metal to be had here.

According to the always faithful Encylcopaedia Metallum, Brotthogg is a 3-piece lineup out of Norway with only one musician setting the sound for two vocalists. Okay. This hardly seems fair to me and I’d love to know how they divvy up royalties, but whatever.

A very thrashy black sound and yet, at times melodic, permeates throughout. Blisteringly fast, heavy riffs can be overwhelming and I imagine physically tiring if you were to see them live.

What’s done here is nothing that hasn’t been done before, but that’s not to dismiss Brotthogg. It’s still done well and has certainly been done worse by others in the past.

Seven tracks (there’s also a bonus, ten-track, release available – Ed*) clock in at just over the half-hour mark, which is honestly all you really need. I can’t imagine keeping pace with this speed for much longer out of respect to my sanity and neck.

“Echoes of the Past” is worth checking out.

Get better minions gif

And these words bring “Guests Taking the Reins” Part the Second to its conclusion. Huge thanks again to all involved for their wisdom, patience, insight, honesty and their amazing ability to put up with my constant badgering, prods and asking “is it ready yet?” Part Three is ready to be put in the can, until then please support the artists included in this installment but most of all don’t fear discovering that which is normally foreign to the sense. But let us not forget some parting words which, in this instance, seem more than appropriate. Drew, get batter. Dammit!

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Special Edition; Part the First

(A collaborative effort with a few friends)

Abrasive Audio Special ed 2020 prt 1

January is crawling to its finale with the protest of a spoiled infant. The temperatures are frigid and the ground is dusted with what many call “fuck, not again!” February is nearly upon us which means a groundhog will search frantically for his own shadow in hopes for an early Spring and a chubby little winged fellow will soon spread his surely-too-small-for-his- weight feather ensemble to start bringing in the big bucks for the huge card and flower conglomerates. Screw flowers, if she/he loves you they’ll understand. Instead buy them a varied, collection of extreme audio.

This installment took a while (my apologies) but it I believe it’s worth it. This installment sees a collaborative effort with friends (whose opinions I respect) from as far afield as the releases featured within. As per usual, the grammar isn’t up to par and I may use the same few words more often than I perhaps should. But the Bandcamp links are there, so hopefully that takes away albeit slightly from the pain of submitting the retinas to the torture that is my prose. Enjoy.

Onward to this installment’s selections dedicated 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.

vofa st

Vofa (Iceland) – s/t

https://funere.bandcamp.com/album/vofa

Release – November/18/2019

Funere/Exhumed Records/Satanath Records

ARTWORK – 85

What I can only assume is a maiden (if sorts) stands defiant against the oncoming storm, her robes billow about her as the winds draw ever nearer. A fantastic image which depicts an amazing interaction between the forces of light and darkness and beauty and fury. I’m of the mind therefore that this encapsulates audio of the doom variety, but I’ve been wrong before now.

FIRST TRACK – 87

Huge riffs, growling vox and a varied pace (often surprisingly spry for a track of this ilk) which tells of both funeral doom and death/doom influences. Commencing with a somber acoustic melody which builds and gains atmosphere as it plays out this gradually attains a plateau fueled by distortion, relaxed/melancholic riffs and passionate growls. Both hypnotic and gloom laden this is powerful audio indeed which holds the attention the entirety of its epic length with varied twists, turns, rhythm and tempo shifts and only beguiles the more it’s allowed to invade the senses.

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

I believe I’ve only ever pondered upon one other release from Iceland, suffice to say my curiosity is burning like a well stoked fire. Made up of three tracks this album depicts an act who are both comfortable and proficient wielding a variety of styles say might deem traditional and others might call ‘mutt mixed’ within the doom genre. A variety of emotions come to the surface as this rolls towards its climax and they differ track by track. The second track bears more a haunting aura, effective and strange but spellbinding in its delivery, utilizing a unique vocal approach alongside a growl delivery which runs the albums length. The third is the most diverse of the bunch infrequently wallowing in psychedelic waters, stoner realms, progressive arenas as too traditional doom territories coupled with also the aforementioned styles and the growl typical of the albums vocal approach cavorting with yet another slight variation on the tone the track sports a vibe which is again unique, intricate, deep but no less addictive and impactful to the senses than the two which have gone before. A fitting end to an album which may not grab you from the first spin but given time will transform into something entirely ungodly addictive. You have been warned!

Favorite Tracks; As the cliché states and the radio stations like to say “no filler, all killer!”

FFO; My Dying Bride, Mourning Beloveth, Paradise Lost, October Tide, Katatonia, Novembers Doom.

Need a Second Opinion?

fistful pof doom logo

Here are a few words from the host of the Fistful of Doom show and a chap always up for discussing doom and extreme audio “Fistful of Doom” can be caught up with on Twitter as @flatulentfuzz

For more information and links to be able to listen to listen to his bi-weekly show click this link; https://www.facebook.com/fistfulofdoom66/

Artwork- 92

The two thoughts that come to mind when I look at the cover art are desolation and isolation.  The figure in this piece appears to have reached the zenith or perhaps what looks like the zenith is actually the edge of the abyss.  Ultimately, I don’t think it matters much.  I believe that an effective argument can be made for the fact that desolation and isolation go hand-in-hand with either destination.  The majesty in this is that the artist has rendered the perfect companion piece for this listening experience.

First Track- 93

The first track opens with some atmospheric sounds that begin to wrap the listener in a dark and haunting cocoon.  Just before you are consumed by the darkness lightly crashing cymbals bleed into the mix.  Followed closely by a shimmering guitar tone that combines with a plodding bass and drum to create a somber, hypnotic melancholy that reverberates throughout.  And that is only the first three or four minutes of the track.  What follows burns low and slow and spews forth with all the venom of a volcanic eruption.

Initial Listen- 94

Vofa’s self-titled debut is three tracks (clocking in at 37 minutes and 24 seconds) of death doom that follows a consistent, but insanely effective formula.  Caustic vocal growls that are punctuated by powerful drumming, sinister bass lines, searing guitar work and dark atmosphere.  The end result of which is a slow descent into an emotionally barren abyss.

Closing Thoughts

Crystal clear production and top-shelf musicianship is what elevates this release to another level.

(And, look-ie here, F.o.D has even chosen to somewhat utilize the same format as my scribbles – Ed*)

Imipolex

Imipolex (USA) – Order of the Epimethean Flame

https://imipolex.bandcamp.com/album/order-of-the-epimethean-flame

Release – October/26/19

Independent

ARTWORK- 65

“Uncle Frank! Did you take out the trash?”

“Yea, but it appears to have blown across the yard. And dammit! I forgot to put on pants!”

“Has “dinner” stopped screaming yet?”

“It would appear so. Put on the spuds, dear. I’m famished.”

FIRST TRACK- 68

This is likely how a mashup of black metal, grindcore, sludge and cavernous death metal would sound. Raw chaotic rhythms, with majestic leanings, drenched in dirge against an atmosphere which screams subterranean rituals lost to the passage of time. Coupled with a vocal delivery of one seeped in angst the overall combination is one which might not at first grab the attention, but soon digs its way into the curious part of the brain which often overpowers common sense. An intriguing opener which dares to steer its listeners away from predictable, familiar, well-worn territories but yet still incorporates all of these very same elements.

INITIAL LISTEN- 72

An epic nature is something which cannot be ignored, as too are frequent nods to masters of several genres which this traipses across as it makes it merry way towards its climax. Leaving an easy to read roadmap of the extreme spectrum Imipolex have covered most of that which makes up the bleakest corners of the extreme metal universe with only a few notable exceptions. A primitive tone aids in the enjoyment as a crystal-clear approach would obviously only sound silly given the music’s feel. Angst ridden vocals accompany rhythms of undeniable blackened origin, blast beats aplenty, which often transform to incorporate slight progressive leanings all of which drenched in a dirge nature. Brutality displaying a myriad of pace, chaotic rhythms, cavernous qualities and a touch a groove, this probably isn’t for one just touching base with extreme metal but for those with a yearning for audio which pays no heed to genre definition this is a great place to rest the ears for a while.

Favorite Tracks; Auspices, Battleslain, Epitapheum.

FFO; (vintage) Morbid Angel, Tomb Mold, Celtic Frost, Nuerosis.

Need a Second Opinion?

foehammer metal podcast

Here’s a few words from Derek C otherwise known as @He11fir3 on Twitter but best known for his knowledge droppin’, wicked tune wielding podcast Foehammer, which can be heard here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuP2tkAg3ABtFQUZFP5j3HQ

Hails all, He11fir3 here thankfully joining in on this collaborative Abrasive Audio installment to tell you my thoughts on Portland’s Blackened Death Sludge group IMIPOLEX!

First off, I am very glad that Cult considered me to write for this album because there is a good chance this never would have made it into my queue. mostly because the cover isn’t some over xeroxed copy of a dude with a sword clutching a fist of hatred to… nothing, there’s nothing else to see in the picture so he’s just angry for no reason, That and a generic shot of some lonely wooded area are how you make it onto my radar. Instead we have a whole mess of things going on that you are just going to have to see for yourself because I don’t think explaining it would do it justice.

“Sirens”, the first track of the album opens up similar to a traditional second wave back metal build but once you move past the intro itself you begin to pick up that this isn’t going to be just a black metal album. it’s something thicker. There is more meat to the tone in general than standard black metal that typically ranges in the sharper piercing tones.

The track takes off into the first break of the song and really picks up from its somber, dismal beginnings to something sporadic, thrashy, aggressive, and it doesn’t stop there. The whole track and safely said each track that follows has similar crafted switch-ups that make no song boring. The bass is also turned up loud enough to co-exist with the guitar instead of being buried behind a wall of distortion, which is good cause the bass plays a very important role in each song.

“Auspices” and “Battleslain” (tracks 2 and 3) waste no time. Both tracks open severely heavy and chaotic. This is where the album begins to move evolve from “Black Metal with Sludge influence” to a little bit of a genre mutt, which is fine by me cause I’m a bit of a genre slut. (AY, OH!) These tracks flex the riff skills by introducing a bit more a death metal feel, and the black metal elements become more obscure and experimental, and it even drops a little war metal d-beat into the mix. It has officially proved itself as a vagabond of extreme metal mastery. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and kegstand atop this bitch and indulge in its glory

Then we move to the final 2 tracks, both ranging over 10 minutes a piece, both starting like slow atmospheric doom tracks.

We know very well by now this is not the final form of these songs as they build and unfold into unrelenting epics. After some harsh crushing openings full of despair, you are rewarded with some melodic beautiful guitar work and engaging riff work. I don’t want to spoil these songs by going into too much detail, but the things these songs accomplish are the reason artist write them long. The end to the album even leaves you feeling a possible notion of what the cover may be suggesting. what does one do after bringing so much chaos into the world around them?

Give it a few jams before you decide how you feel about it. I did, again and again and now I have to get my hands on a copy. 7.5 out of 10 and growing with each listen. Now everybody, go bother CultMetalFlix until he asks me to do this again.

Infinitas

Infinitas (Switzerland) – Infernum

https://infinitasmetal.bandcamp.com/album/infernum

Release- December/6/19

Independent

ARTWORK- 71

This seethes with a somber fantastical edge, also with a rare perspective. It’s as if the listener is part of the journey also. An interesting image. But why have a castle that close to a volcano? Unless of course the residents are harnessing its fury for diabolical means.

FIRST TRACK- 71

An intriguing mixture; folk melodies intertwine with tradition heavy metal, progressive and thrash rhythms. Haunting melodies alongside galloping and passionate rhythms. The vocal approach is surprising, not at all expected, and isn’t for everyone. But it somehow works; supplying a story type narrative as it flows leaving me curious (and nodding my head, if truth be told) for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 69

As this album unfolds the concept element blossoms. Soundbites are plentiful, though in boasting a language (Norwegian, Swiss?) I can’t quite place they lose their meaning somewhat in the context. Varied styles coexist better than what many might think supplying depth, atmosphere and emotion and often an outright irresistible infectious nature. The vocal style is surprisingly diverse throughout. Ranging from tradition, feral, spoken and classical leaving the listener on their toes as the album unfolds. Probably not for those who demand a constant, unbroken, stream of extreme audio this would, I believe, appeal more to those whose audio interests are scattered. Rare is it that this moves above a galloping pace (though it boasts sufficient sinister and ominous passages to perk the doom crowds’ interest). However, it does display epic qualities with enough diversity to sate those who yearn for something to break up the same old, same old. Not for everyone, this might take a little time to ease into, after which it offers something new with every listen. Keep the mind open for this is undeniably mellower than audio I usually lay a few words upon, a ‘heads up’ if you will.

Favorite Tracks; Afranc, Lillith, Tiamat, Vadatajas.

FFO; Eluveitie, Skyclad, Apocalyptica, Epica.

exhausted animal

Rather than bog the listener down in words, for this endeavor went to greater lengths than I imagined, I’ve decided to cut it up into three pieces. This concludes the first. A huge thanks to all involved.

As always, feel free to share, comment and guffaw at my horrid grammar. But most of all support the contributors and artists included herein.

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – The First Entry

black metal gif

It’s been a while folks. And although I promised myself that I won’t get caught up in the typical End of List Bullshit, I invariably did. And it was all-consuming (my thanks again to all involved) taking up a huge chunk of the first month of the year. Now I’m behind. But not to worry, a few sleepiness nights will and have rectified that. May I present the very first entry of the year. You may notice I’m starting off by commenting on a few releases I somehow missed. (Be warned this might last till well into the year.) I’m also trying something a little different, I’m intrigued to see if anyone notices.

Without further dragging one into “donkey nodding” depths…

Slipping Through the Cracks
Releases from 19′ I’m only now laying ears upon (but deem worthy of scribbling upon).

Crafting the Conspiracy

Crafting the Conspiracy (USA) – The Cosmic Key (Part One)

https://chugcore.bandcamp.com/album/the-cosmic-key-pt-1-2

Release- March/9/19

Chugcore Records

ARTWORK- 77

This guy looks pissed as if he’s about to perform some Dragon Ball Z type shit upon me. What did I do seriously? Where can I hide?

FIRST TRACK- 85

No fkn’ around with intros here this drops one straight into intricate hyper speed drumming and riffs. The unmerciful vocal barrage is reminiscent of both Goatwhore, Soilent Green and Black Dahlia Murder. An impressive start to quench the hunger of those demanding top quality deathcore/tech death.

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

Whirling dervish arrangements, intricate rhythms, tight musicianship and an unrelenting vocal narrative approach. Oftentimes this can be messy and uncomfortable to listen to, especially if it’s not created in a cohesive manner. But not in this instance. This yanks the listener around from the very start, uncontrollable, involuntary movements are going to be par for the course when this invades the senses, and doesn’t let up until the final track (let it ‘play out’, trust me here) comes to its eventual climax. Irritating and irrational is that Crafting the Conspiracy haven’t been detected on my radar before now. But thankfully that has changed now and I’m here to suggest you do the same.

Favorite Tracks – The whole EP ripz, no ‘filler’ found here!

FFO; Black Dahlia Murder, Origin, Obscura.

Agnosy

Agnosy (UK) – When Daylight Reveals the Torture

https://agnosy.bandcamp.com/album/when-daylight-reveals-the-torture

Release – May/9/19

Profane Existence

ARTWORK – 78

Gritty, dark, foreboding, grimy. Pick a word. This is fantastic black and white imagery telling of dusk and the atrocities about to be discovered therein. In a pinch I would say this is suggestive of cavernous audio. But that remains to be heard and I’ve been led astray before.

FIRST TRACK – 81

Crust, D-beat with more an emphasis on punk then the run of the mill Crust release. This delivers groove by the truckload and grime, a fantastic combination. Hints of influence make themselves known but remain to be fully realized. An impressive start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

A far cry from the usual Crust fodder this incorporates tracks with individual identities, a spot of stepping outside of what’s expected (a traipse into sludge and Nuerosis depths) and more than enough groove and dirty rhythms to send one crawling, battered, in the direction of the muscle relaxers. A fantastic way for fans of Crust and D-beat to start the New Year, this does not disappoint and is hardly predictable!

Toss this in the “pit” for incendiary action!

Favorite Tracks; Spit out the Lies, When Daylight Reveals the Torture, No Friends but the Mountains, War, Death, Famine, Plague.

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Wolf Brigade, Disrupt.

And… The New Year Brings Us

Diabology

Diabology – Nobody Believes Me

https://diabology.bandcamp.com/album/nobody-believes-me

Independent

Release- January/1/20

ARTWORK – 76

I’m of the mind that the book in this image holds more than merely recipes for Brownies which will blow the mind. ‘Cosmic Brownies’ perhaps. Strangely it also puts me in mind of “The Devils Rain” (film) and that accursed tome from “The Evil Dead”. A fantastic vivid color palette here is sure to grab the initial attention.

FIRST TRACK – 71

This seethes with definite punk influence and something altogether darker. Spittle flying vocals accompany background whispering and a percussion that’s both familiar and somewhat sinister. An intriguing opener that’s undeniably thrash, punk with lesser black and melodic death elements.

INITIAL LISTEN- 68

This album offers an intriguing mix of thrash, punk and death influences. A dip into nu-metal/alternate waters, even submergence into crust/grindcore murkiness. A vocal style which sounds part South American aggression accompanied by punk attitude couples with rhythms which are catchy yet all too familiar. A good starting point for a dynamic, talented, young act this shows promise (a few tracks are deliciously ‘different’ against the rest of the albums grain) yet lacks the sense of fluidity and identity which more seasoned acts exhibit. Give this a listen and keep an eye out for the bands progress.

Favorite Tracks; Nobody Believes me (the Voices), Seas of Eternity, Lost Viking, Lazarus Falling.

FFO; Vintage Megadeth, early Voivod.

War Dogs

War Dogs (Spain)- Die by my Sword

https://fighter-records.bandcamp.com/album/die-by-my-sword

Fighter Records

Release- January/9/20

ARTWORK- 76

Some unfortunate fellow is being utilized as a skishkabob against a landscape sporting a myriad of crimson, groans, bludgeoning and an ominous feral four-legged presence who appears slightly amused.

FIRST TRACK- 83

Screaming NWOBHM injected with playful speed sensibilities this jumps from the proverbial starting blocks. Boasting fluid rhythms, hooks and a vocal approach thankfully sans falsetto elements this makes an instant impression leaving me eager for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 87

With a silly looking smirk plastered across my face I’m willingly allowing War Dogs to transport me back a few decades to a time when melody was king, singing rather than guttural prowess was in vogue, rhythms bordered on head-bobbingly hypnotic and rock was criminally infectious. This checks all the boxes, and then some! I honestly can’t see a reason why this doesn’t propel the act to showcasing venue heights. Impressive doesn’t even come close, and this is a debut (full length too) which makes it that much more stunning. Jump on this at your earliest convenience!

Favorite Tracks; Die by my Sword, Wings of Fire, Kill the Past, Ready to Strike, Gorgon Eyes.

FFO; Vintage Iron Maiden, vintage Rainbow, Riot, Visigoth, Manilla Road.

Blood and Brutality

Blood and Brutality (USA) – Fatal

https://bloodandbrutality.bandcamp.com/album/fatal

Release- January/17/20

Blood and Brutality Records

ARTWORK- 83

Quite the chamber of horrors on display here. And I might be mistaken but it looks as though Seagrave might have had a hand in the image. It bears the same tone, aura and intricacy in detail.

FIRST TRACK- 82

Grinding death which has me nodding my head like a maniac. How is it this is the first I’m hearing of these guys?

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

Wicked limb twitching rhythms, variety in pace which doesn’t appear out of place, excellent atmosphere and a vocal style which is part hardcore, part crust. I’m finding it very difficult to write anything negative about this. Honestly, this isn’t anything ground- breaking (does every album need to be?) but it hits the spot via thrashy and grinding death avenues and demands discovery. Wrap yer ears around this pronto!

Favorite Tracks; Witness to Slaughter, Torturous, Black Horizon, Bloodshed of Man.

FFO; Vomitory, Master, Bolt Thrower, Memoriam, The Haunted, early Gorguts.

Cult of Horror

Cult of Horror (Brazil) – Hermetik Heretik

https://cultofhorror.bandcamp.com/

Release- January/13/20

Bestial Invasion Records

ARTWORK- 81

An interesting image with obvious nods to Egyptian mythology. Fantastic color-play depicts a frustrated individual who only wants to be loved by the suns warm caress.

FIRST TRACK – 76

Short and inciteful this bears undeniably wicked blackened speed tendencies and an unmistakable raw air one might expect from the region. A great start to get one in the mood.

INITIAL LISTEN – 73

With a varied style which kicks in after an initial impression (based on the first two tracks) one can tell this is neither 100% this or that this, but an amalgamation of a few styles, offering a variety of pace and rhythms within a collection of tracks which explores and channels several corners of the metal universe. Ranging from psych doom, speed metal, blackened speed, death n roll, through traditional heavy metal in not quite so equal measure with a plethora of nods to South American aggression (ala raw thrash) this has a great deal to offer. Although this is hard to categorize there’s no doubt it delivers a catchy nature by the barrelful showcasing an undeniably beefy drum foundation and a vocal style which will please the majority of traditional black fans.

Favorite Tracks; Heretik, Philosophy of the Knife, Murder by Witchcraft, Hellfire Convent.

FFO; Witchery, Celtic Frost, Pungent Stench.

Blessed Black

Blessed Black (USA) – Beyond the Crimson Throne

https://blessedblack.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-crimson-throne-2

Release- January/17/20

Independent

ARTWORK- 77

Heavy in a fantastical cosmic vibe this makes me ponder upon what the Grim Resper might do for fun. Does he cosplay? Does he reside in a cloud and own a big-fuck-off-I’ll-cleave-you-in-two blade? A bunch of unanswered questions to stew upon here. Best to just relax and give this a listen before I burst something.

FIRST TRACK- 78

Instrumental and hypnotic, undeniably a tad cosmic with a middle Eastern vibe this leaves me curious indeed!

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

Doom, stoner rock and Southern rock collide with a vocal accompaniment which is very difficult not to instantly appreciate (Fun fact; the vocalist is also in the thrash band WarCurse and works with a few better-known acts). Huge riffs cavort with dangerously infectious hooks, a smidgen of fuzz and groove sensibilities which would make the manufacturers of toilet paper envious (huh, what?). In all seriousness though this seethes with an air of brilliance from start to finish. It flows seamlessly and tips the hat to a variety of genre troupes whilst still displaying an identity and a remarkable passion all its own. It isn’t without rollicking (some might call them galloping) rhythms either for those taking notes. Fans of doom mixed with stoner rock and heavy metal values take note this is a fantastic way to start the New Year and is sure to feature in my playlist for months to come.

Favorite Tracks; Heavy is the Crown, Ariochs Bargain, Stormbringer.

FFO; The Sword, High on Fire, Baroness.

Odious Mortem

Odious Mortem (USA) – Synesthesia

https://odiousmortem.bandcamp.com/album/synesthesia

Release – January/17/20

Willowtip Records

ARTWORK- 72

With the description of the music in mind this image fits perfectly. Though I’m not honestly sure what the image depicts. Guess it’s time to break out the microscope and scalpel.

FIRST TRACK- 83

This wastes no time whatsoever in getting to the crux of the issue. This is technical brutal death metal (with splashes of a progressive nature) and shines immediately. Chaotic, intricate but insanely precise, this is just what the doctor ordered (if the doctor were to prescribe this type of thing).

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

I can’t fathom how it is that I haven’t heard of these guys before now with a quality on offer such as exhibited here. And although this is new it bears an eerie familiar tone and style. A brutality based in rapidly transforming controlled chaos, a myriad of amorphic shifting rhythms as opposed to chuggery or anything which brings to mind diabolical underworld shenanigans and a vocal approach which might well include burps, squeals, grunts. An intricacy and exactness paired with mischievous varied pacing and a wicked drum salvo in short which is difficult not to appreciate instantly.  After a spot of research, I can see the reasoning; most of the members constitute Decrepit Birth.

Favorite Tracks; Stunningly jaw-dropping from start to finish, it’s extremely difficult to pick out any clear winners at a quality such as this.

FFO; (later) Death, Atheist, Decrepit Birth, Severed Savior, Spawn of Possession.

Butcher 666 goats

BÜTCHER (Belgium) – 666 Goats Carry my Chariot

https://osmoseproductions.bandcamp.com/album/666-goats-carry-my-chariot

Release – January/31/20

Osmose Productions

ARTWORK- 83

Goats instead of horses. This is an interesting spin and to say I’m curious is an understatement indeed. Though I would imagine that the amount in question would surely be calamitous overkill. Seriously, have you ever tried to train a goat to do anything but run at a pal like a battering ram? Try it, you won’t be friends when those hospital bill’s start rolling in.

FIRST TRACK- 85

A synth seething with 80’s influence intro with narration opens the album. But, I’m still curious. And then…blown away! An initial impression is that Venom, Judas Priest and Van Halen are jamming following a night of heavy drinking. Sounds unappealing but this is wickedly good and overflows with attitude, riffs…and did I say attitude?

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

Some albums are good, some are better, some even leave a lasting impression and then there’s this. This album virtually writes its own review! It grabs ahold, sinks its talons in then proceeds to unapologetically molest the pleasure sensors from start to finish (huh-?) yanking at reminiscence along the way whilst pulling strings to puppeteer the listener into uncontrollable spasms of movement. Utilizing face-melting speed, a blackened style which has become fashionable as of late (no complaints here), something akin to what many call Pagan metal, as well instances dripping in atmosphere Bütcher have somehow created a style which nods to a plethora of arenas and even early pioneers (King Diamond among them) though remains undeniably unique and wholly consumable by ravenous fans eager for audio veering slightly off the beaten path. In essence this is traditional yet not and familiar yet fresh. Hopefully my scribbles have given this justice for it is deserved of such! Suffice it to say this will have many scrambling for a map to locate a place they’ve probably never heard of; mark my words this will place Belgium on the extreme audio map. Don’t be the last to let this (and “666 goats”) invade your senses!

Favorite Tracks; Rips, tears, shreds from start to finish. I can’t pick any clear sinners!

FFO; Whipstriker, Whiplash, Exciter, vintage Venom, Wraith, Inculter, Hellripper, Mercyful Fate.

pyre

Pyre (USA) – Come Home

https://pyregvl.bandcamp.com/

Release- January/10/20

Independent

ARTWORK- 83

This boasts Tolkien-esque and mythical qualities. A boy, his dog and an ominous looking skull in the background. What say we proceed and dive right into a fantastical landscape?

FIRST TRACK- 78

An energetic sludge drenched; fuzz-laden stoner rock/doom instrumental opens the proceedings. And dissolves into a cosmic type ooze. Thrash, slightly crossover, rhythms take up the slack complemented by a sprinkle of psychedelia. The mood shifts and leaves a lasting impression; this is not going to be the typical run of the mill type release. Color me curious.

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

It doesn’t take long to realize this album is something that’s unmistakably diverse and… special. Although each of the tracks are relatively short, they each leave a little something to ‘chew’ upon, much like a taste in the mouth which lingers but one doesn’t want to leave. Unpredictable, exciting, dynamic and infectiously catchy this release sports an allure that’s hard to argue and an amorphous style that’s hard to accurately describe. Terms like post-black metal, punk and thrash are tossed around but this doesn’t fit any of those or even a number of other parameters comfortably. Fear not however, for it does, and will, slide unassumingly into a playlist that’s sure to be burned into the cortex as the year rolls on. For those with an open mind, a soft spot for catchy rhythms and carefully constructed stylistic chaos this demands attention. And to be honest it came out of nowhere to send me reelin’. I am beyond impressed. I can see myself preaching the brilliance of this well into the year. Do not let this pass you by unnoticed!!

Favorite Tracks; Head noddingly fantastic from start to finish.

FFO; The Sword, (early) Faith no More, Mastodon, Baroness, Old Man Wizard, Devon Townsend, Wizard Rifle.

mix tape action

Spread the Word of metal Old Man. Keep it up!

And that concludes the first entry of the New Year. My apologies for the wait. As always feel free to comment, share, suggest, laugh or cry.  Your slave to Audio extreme in all of its many guises,

Cult