Archive for the ‘Supporting the Indy scene’ Category

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses – Part 35

headbangin gif

 

It never stops, and for that I’m thankful. Bathe in the all-consuming nature of metal, but let us not forget the cleansing properties of water, as personal hygiene is always important and much like most of the audio under scrutiny here also highly recommended.

 

SIJJIN – Angel of the Eastern Gate

Sijjin

(Germany)
Release – November/13/2019 (on cassette format)
Sepulchral Voice
https://sijjin.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 68

Obviously biblical in tone this imagery depicts an angel (a seraphim?) directing traffic in the heavens much to the dismay of a pleading pedestrian. Admittedly I’m not a scholar of religious texts and this has deeper meaning, but it’s lost on me.

FIRST TRACK – 78

With an introduction sporting undeniable (Slayer) Hell Awaits evocation qualities, though in a rawer more mischievous form, one would hope that the scene is set. And they wouldn’t be disappointed. Combining diabolical fretboard wizardry, raw flesh-shredding pace, a tight skin pounding salvo and vocals which could well be a part of the Underworlds daily soundtrack Sijjin have managed to forge audio which is unmistakably familiar but only in part rarely together as heard here.

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

Wicked vokills, raw speed and an undeniable archaic maniacal nature. Is this blackened thrash, blackened speed or Deathrash? It matters not, as the fact remains and cannot be ignored that the combination of a variety of influences makes for an infectious experience indeed which is quite unlike that which many, in their endeavors to outdo everyone else while cramming all manner of differing styles into their audio, are perpetrating today. Desire audio dripping in old school values and lyrics upon all manner of ancient shenanigans with a pace you can snap your neck to? I believe I have a little something you can wrap yer’ ears around.

Favorite Tracks; Angel of the Eastern Gate, Trine Immersion, Remnants of Cambrian Evil.

FFO; (vintage) Morbid Angel, (vintage) Possessed, (vintage) Sodom, (early) Incubus.

Neolith

Neolith – I Am the Way
(Poland)
Release – November/22/2019
Mythrone Promotion
https://neolith1.bandcamp.com/album/igne-natura-renovabitur-integra
https://open.spotify.com/artist/3A3B1SfE0yc9BbknE8gldi?autoplay=true&v=A
ARTWORK – 74

A dizzying number of steps leading to an archaic structure bathed in mystery and drenched in dried crimson (or is that how aged sandstone normally appears?) which all unquestionably emanates an ominous presence and an air of sinister. This isn’t audio of a Gospel nature of that I’m sure. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 77

Portentous doom building to a mid-paced unrelenting militaristic death assault. Oozing with maniacal properties, unrelenting narrative elements and a potential cataclysmic air, this is intriguing indeed.

INITIAL LISTEN – 80

Blackened death boasting a myriad of pace (ranging from slower atmospheric heavy passages, occasional but rare groove passages to blasting speed) which are often hypnotic in their rhythm, though familiar in tone this remains a solid effort from an act who have somehow managed to slip under the radar while providing that which fans of the blackened death style (emphasis on ‘black’ rather than ‘death’) will be able to easily appreciate.

Favorite Tracks; Ask and Thou Shalt Receive, In the Name of Umamu, Let the Heavens Rejoice, Wanderer Who Bestows.

FFO; Behemoth, Hate, Noctem, (early) Septic Flesh.

obscure album

Obscure – Darkness Must Prevail
(Spain)
Release – November/5/2019
Xtreem Music
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/darkness-must-prevail
ARTWORK – 76

The imagery here reminds me of Uncle Frank from the original Hellraiser film. Although here “he” seems more down with nature rather than having to hide in a basement in wait for nourishment.

FIRST TRACK – 68

Bludgeoning riffs and groove tainted mid-paced rhythms. Add a dirgey tone and this sounds all too familiar. Admittedly this is a tad formulaic but it still bears a certain something to keep the digits from the eject button.

INITIAL LISTEN – 72

Mid paced chuggery abounds. Thankfully there’s more to this than merely steamroller riffs and driving percussion. Doom passages aid mid paced madness, ominous atmosphere is plentiful and there’s enough diversity in the vocal department to keep this interesting (there’s little more annoying than vocals which do not change tone, cadence or pace throughout an album). On the whole this fits comfortably in genre parameters made famous by the likes of those listed below with only the occasional deviance into arenas shrouded more in doom sensibilities than groove-encrusted death.

Recommended for fans of melodic brutal death with dirge undertones.

Favorite Tracks; Darkness Must Prevail, Afterlife, Through Self-Repulsion, Sunk into Oblivion.

FFO; Unleashed, Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Jungle Rot.

warsenal

Warsenal – Feast Your Eyes
(Canada)
Release -November/15/2019
Svart Records
https://warsenal.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x66AX7Yku0A (only because it isn’t on Bandcamp… yet)
ARTWORK – 84

As a gorehound and cult movie fan this has my attention. Obviously reminiscent of the uglier side of European cinema from the 80’s this, I can only hope, hints at audio of the same nature. Fingers crossed.

FIRST TRACK – 80

An unexpected folksy introduction opens the doors to a technical speed metal assault, galloping rhythms, breakneck speed and slower more intricate passages dipped in values of an undeniable NWOBHM nature. The vocals are venomous and of the style one might expect based on the albums art. A combination which might take some getting used to but has managed to grow on me over the course of this track.

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

In moments one could well imagine this is what Destruction (Germany) might have sounded like if they’d have spent more time listening to NWOBHM. The vocal style is at times eerily similar, the music is often face-melting fast though imbued with undeniable traditional heavy metal elements and even on occasion a tone likened to crossover thrash. As a whole the album is neither “this” nor “that” but rather a stunning smorgasbord of styles combined with expert cohesion plucked with reverence from a myriad of genres. This is sure to appeal to a wide swath of the metal community, both veterans and newcomers alike, this only gets infinitely better after the initial listen.

Favorite Tracks; Lords of Rifftown, Insatiable Hunger, You Better Run.

FFO; Blitzkrieg, Exciter, Venom, Whipstriker, (early) Voivod, (early) Iron Maiden.

A Break in our Regular Broadcast for something a Little Different

Vampyromorpha - Herzog

Vampyromorpha – Herzog
(Germany)
Release – November/29/2019
MDD RECORDS
https://vampyromorpha.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0-qCassrZo (“Darkness Whore” official lyric video)
Against PR
ARTWORK – 82

“The influence of Lovecraft is strong in this one. Hungry they look, out of here in a hurry I am.”

Ed* Thanks Yoda.

FIRST TRACK – 83

Undeniably Gothic synth layered in a criminally infectious guitar riff grabs the attention. The lyrical accompaniment grows over time. The hooks and undeniably catchy nature have the attention leaving me eager for more. This isn’t what I was expecting based on the art and against my initial prejudice it is actually rather listenable. A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

Admittedly, this is a little different than that which I normally listen to. It bears a radio-friendly vibe as well a uniqueness which is impressive and wholly important in order to stand out. A Gothic nature (all one has to do is take a peek at the albums track listing), Southern groove and passion alongside hard rock sensibilities (including soaring solos), a rough vocal approach which oddly fits and a willingness to experiment this might normally be something I’d avoid (having seen the description) but in this instance and with the composition caliber showcased here I’m in for the long haul. Although this occasionally dips into ultra-melodic realms it remains intriguing throughout and is most likely to fit nicely in the ‘guilty pleasures’ folder of those whose daily audio is drenched in nature extreme. Go into this with zero prejudice and you’ll tappin’ the foot and noddin’ the head within no time.

Favorite Tracks; Darkness Whore, Waiting and Die, The Dead Walk Home Alone at Night, Witchliker.

FFO; Seether, HellYeah, White Zombie

ankhara

Ankhara – Sinergia
(Spain)
Release – September/18/2019
Fighter Records
https://fighter-records.bandcamp.com/album/sinergia
ARTWORK – 75

When Man and machine combine to produce something ‘altogether’ better. That is only an example of “Sinergia”. And this illustration depicts what it may look like (and makes me think this might be audio of a thrash/speed metal nature). But, what does it sound like? I’m beginning to think I’m about to find out.

FIRST TRACK – 88

Driving rhythms with a speed/heavy metal edge (at times bringing to mind Randy Rhodes Ozzy-era guitar wizardry) accompanied by Halford esque vocals (highly reminiscent of a track from “Painkiller” whose title escapes me). A stunning way to start the proceedings. Did I mention the vocals are in Spanish? It matters not, this kicks arse. Admittedly this isn’t the usual audio to be found between my ears, but I’m diggin it.

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

I’ll admit I was a little thrown by the first track, however each thereafter is different, unique in their own exciting way ( I bypassed the live tracks I’m rarely a fan of live material). Showcasing passionate rhythms, galloping riffs and dynamic, high energy, percussion there are zero dull moments here to be discovered. The style varies and brings to mind a plethora of acts some more distinct than others as the album unfolds. Regardless of the fact that the lyrics are in Spanish their presence still adds significant power and emotion to the music. If your interests lay more in hard rock than death, black or grindcore this is where you’ll want to rest your ears for a while.

Favorite Tracks; Te Toca Sufrir, Suena, Libertad, Tu Ultima Vez.

FFO; Judas Priest, Queensreiche, Hammerfall, Wolfsbane, Primal Fear, Skid Row, Helloween.

Back to Our Regular Scheduled Broadcast

hviel I kaos

Hvile I Kaos (which translates to “Rest in Chaos” in Norwegian) – Black Morning, Winter Green
(USA)
Release – December/6/2019
Red Nebula
Carcosa PR
https://hvileikaos.bandcamp.com/album/black-morning-winter-green
ARTWORK – 78

Ethereal smoke formed into a robed presence above a spherical object which might or might not represent the earth and another more ecliptical in nature (raised above the first) which might or might not represent the moon. A floating green triangle in between might or might not represent nature. An interesting image indeed. Which is open for interpretation, obviously.

FIRST TRACK – 92

From the very get go this track transports me to another plain entirely. It has that level of power. Acoustic brilliance boasting unquestionable depth to evoke a myriad of emotions. Rich audio which is soothing, anxiety-inducing and melancholic. An amazing start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

The thing about a great release is that the listener loses themselves within in, and doesn’t pay heed to the time left or that which has already passed, in effect the audio transports to a place where time matters not. This is a great example of that type of release. It offers a rich texture of melodies invoking darkness and beauty and the many grey areas in between. More classical than anything remotely extreme metal in nature this still however bears a tone and myriad of qualities which will strike a chord with fans of the aforementioned genres. Intricate melodies writhe and duel for dominance, a narrative is carefully constructed utilizing an assortment of details and depth forming a rich tapestry to enrapt the listener. This is an experience sans a vocal accompaniment, for it doesn’t need such. It speaks volumes and stands testament to the talent, passion and composition brilliance of Kakophonix; the single soul behind the manipulation of the strings involved (cello, bass and guitar) and this albums creation. Step outside of your comfort zone and give this a listen.

Favorite Tracks; All but the last.

FFO; Apocalyptica, 2Cellos.

depressed

Depressed – Beyond the Putrid Fiction
(Brazil)
Release – November/22/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR
https://depressedblacklion.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 79

Dark and fantastical, vivid and eye-catching. A wilderness in disguise, a habitat for all manner of devilish beings to frolic and lay in wait for the unsuspecting tourist.

FIRST TRACK – 83

This sounds a little different than what the militaristic introduction suggests as though it could have been plucked from a Vital Remains release circa “Dechristianize” era. Grandiose triumphant riffs and even Glenn’s vocal stylings. A great start which is making me all ears!

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

Hardly audio to take the scene into fresh undiscovered territories this is however incredibly solid from start to finish. Injected with a groove infused dirge tone and varied rhythms to give even the most hardened of death fan a sore neck following a listen this is a stunning example of audio which isn’t afraid to utilize both doom and death sensibilities to its advantage as it envelops it’s listener in familiar influence and careens them down an incline fraught with all manner of diabolical narratives.

Favorite Tracks; Beyond the Putrid Fiction, Into the Realm of Abhorrence, Unholy Covenant, Descending into Madness, Thy Fragment of Light.

FFO; Deicide, Vital Remains, Vader, Krisiun, Vomitory, Bolt Thrower, (early) Decapitated.

And Now the Owls are Smiling – The Comforting Grip of Misery

And Now the Owls are Smiling – The Comforting Grip of Misery
(United Kingdom)
Release – November/1/2019
Clobber Records
Imperative PR
https://andnowtheowlsaresmiling.bandcamp.com/
http://www.clobberrecords.com/bands/antoas-band
ARTWORK – 76

Dark, doomy and drenched in ominous qualities. A structure open to the elements. Does this comment on the music itself I’m left to wonder?

FIRST TRACK – 78

Melodic, melancholic and evocative with an occasional choir (of sorts) accompaniment. Far from traditional black in nature, though this still has rawness to it this also has a certain flow which is unnervingly hypnotic especially with the accompanying plentiful atmosphere.

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

An odd name for a band. Regardless, it grabs the curiosity. A one-man project out of Norfolk, England, (an area which isn’t normally known for its black/extreme metal output) manages somehow to beguile the listener with its combination of varied pace, majestic melodies, repetitive rhythms, folk sensibilities and a rasped vocal garnish. In effect an audio landscape which appears more soothing than the genre is typically famous for (yes, I’m of the understanding that the genre is a multi-faceted arena, though some reading this may not be). Don’t be fooled, for there still remains a sinister disposition, an underlying current of melancholy and grief atop a tapestry of atmosphere which has the potential to draw the listener like a moth to a flame.

Favorite Tracks; Our Forest Calls Me Home, An Indictment, Winters Elegy, An Empyreal Spirit Dances Before me, Betrachungen.

FFO; Helengard, Psychonaut 4.

galaxy.jpg

Galaxy – Lost from the Start (EP)
(Australia)
Release – November/8/2019
Dying Victims Productions
https://dyingvictimsproductions.bandcamp.com/album/galaxy-lost-from-the-start
ARTWORK – 76

Seriously, where are we? We’ve been walking around in circles for so long we’ve worn huge furrows in the Earth and the moon is upon us.

Dad. Dad! Wake up. You’re dreaming about Picasso landscapes and Heinlein book covers again.

FIRST TRACK – 90

A brilliant acoustic introduction leads into gradually building and excellently executed thrash and a “scream” (Halford/King Diamond esque in tone) which is sure to grab anyone’s attention. The track continues in an undeniable fluid nature and showcases many an influence from across a slew of genres. A damn impressive start with rhythms sure to set the limbs afire and surprising vocal gymnastics which don’t appear even slightly out of place. Hold my calls, I do not want to be disturbed!

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

I find it hard to fathom that this is a debut as the audio here bursts with confidence and flair. Galaxy meld rhythms and styles from a number of widespread influences. In certain instances, one might have an idea as to the origin of a particular riff only to lose the thought in the next as another passage sparks nostalgia. The whole album (EP) has many moments of such though it also showcases a caliber of composition far beyond the band’s short history. Channeling NWOBHM, Power, speed and thrash metal elements Galaxy have created a release that’s dynamic, infectious and draped in a cosmic narrative. And all in a way which reeks of homage yet breathes with exuberance and youthful energy, a package which is sure to stand out, if there’s any justice, to ensure they garner the respect a release (and an act) of this quality deserves. Highly recommended, this grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go until you come to your senses only to hit repeat.

Favorite Tracks; Dreaming Out, Sons of Titan, Lost from the Start.

FFO; King Diamond, Judas Priest, Helloween, Mercyful Fate, Voivod, (later) Death, (early) Megadeth.

negator

Negator – Vnitas Pvritas Existentia
(Germany)
Release – October/18/2019
Massacre Records/Fono Ltd.
https://negator.bandcamp.com/album/vnitas-pvritas-existentia
ARTWORK – 77

Obviously biblical and slightly medieval in nature this displays both realms; that of the Heavens, the Underworld and the space in between. But which is worse? An interesting image which hints at the atrocities on Earth being infinitely worse than that taking place in either the Underworld or the Heavens.

FIRST TRACK – 89

A storm front and a summons (to war?) bring this audio to the fore. A technical, machine precision, drum salvo complements percussion draped in an archaic nature which is sure to get the limbs a twitchin’. Aided by a venomous, somewhat traditional black metal, vocal accompaniment the package is one which has me glued to the spot. I’m not going anywhere in a hurry this is blackened metal I can subscribe to without complaint!

INITIAL LISTEN – 92

It’s been six years since the bands last, “Gates to the Pantheon”, which I’ll admit I enjoyed immensely. So how does this fare?  The first element to “pop”, that leaves an instant impression, is the inhumane drum accompaniment (and it’s relentless on-point precision) which lays the groundwork for the percussion to embellish upon. The albums pace is primarily hyper-speed; although there are plenty of instances where a slower, more atmospheric laden, pace comes to the fore. If only as foreplay to the brooding, sinister, brutality which is about to follow. Surprising melodies, an undeniable grandiose aura permeate this release and an undeniable diversity in rhythm (over and above that which is typically expected from a release in this genre) amidst all its brooding archaic nature, majestic rhythms and hyper speed tendencies making for a release which definitely stands out from the typical blackened affair. Negator may have taken a few (6) years to bring another release to the masses but it was worth the wait for this delivers throughout! Expect to see this in my year end list (if I ever get around to compiling one!)

Favorite Tracks; From start to finish this does naught but enthrall.

FFO; 1349, Belphegor, Dark Funeral, Origin.

Time for an Old Favorite; Recc’d by
Recc’d by Feind Gottes @FeindGottes on Twitter

Feind Gottes author

First, let me mention that if you are in the market for some sick, deviant, excellently written fiction you should check out this fellows output https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01AH12BVM?ref_=pe_584750_33951330

I’ve tried to keep up (we once shared a site) but have found my time yanked more towards the review arena than fiction as of late. But enough about me, just what has Feind been talking about that I should check into. The first is from an act who have been getting quite the buzz lately, while the last is an album I believe I’ll enjoy if not for the unmistakable homage element alone. Onward…

jinjer macro

Jinjer – Macro
(Ukraine)
Release – October/25/2019
Napalm Records
https://jinjer-jinjer.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BROMMobZVbQ&list=OLAK5uy_k-AvHvvF_r8hQTvlj_oi4JFRMg0CJm9hY (“On the Top” official video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f353euyRno&list=OLAK5uy_k-AvHvvF_r8hQTvlj_oi4JFRMg0CJm9hY&index=2 (“Pit of Consciousness” official video)
Thoughts –

Before I impart my thoughts on the music a few words, as per usual, on the accompanying artwork. In this case a figure appears to be reaching out to touch a shimmering ball of light above and against a sea and sky boiling in a tempestuous nature. This might take a few moments to process the meaning of (for me anyhow). I’m of the mind that it hints at the nature of the music itself, but it what regard I’m not entirely sure. Time to hit the play button to find out…

It doesn’t take but a few seconds to realize that Jinjer perpetrate a style which is a little off “the beaten path”. Many have likened their style to deathcore and djent. I can see how that might be the case as there are stylistic elements which are similar, passages which fall into that category easily, and the music does have traits of those genres. The music “bounces” for want of a better term, it displays varied jagged, stabbing riff assaults and a vocal style (stunning is a word I will use here) which at times brings the aforementioned genres to mind. But it’s so much more than merely that alone. A number of surprising elements are also present. For starters before you can really appreciate the band you must watch one of their videos (I’ve included two examples, above) Tatianna, the vocalist, is a force of nature both beautiful and ferocious with pipes which could terrify the most imposing of predator (that’s enough worship, I don’t wish to come across as a stalker or salivating fanboy) In the audio there are several instances which stand out. For example, varied reggae passages in “Judgement (& Punishment)”. Even more surprising is the fact that this elements inclusion comes across as wholly acceptable, although it seems a tad odd it doesn’t seem at all out of place. Other stylistic oddities are splattered across the album. The following track “Retrospection” has a Lacuna Coil vibe in its introduction and utilizes lyrics sang in Ukrainian (I might be wrong here as I’m no language scholar). From then on it descends into a back and forth approach between traditional and vocal viciousness which keeps me enthralled, to say the very least. I’m finding it surprising, I’m not normally a fan of this style, I’m only three tracks in and believe I’ve found another act I need to keep tabs on. Sans giving a track-by-track narrative, for I could; it’s in my ‘wheelhouse’, I’ll gloss this over with a ‘highly recommended’, ‘go out and buy this’ and ‘add it to your collection at your earliest convenience’ lest I run my appreciation into diatribe lengths.  Seriously, this release took me by storm, it’s quality and varied in tone from start to finish. And I’ll admit I usually avoid acts with a buzz about them but in this case, it’s warranted Jinjer are an act who deserve attention and praise. Acts of a similar nature include Twelve Foot Ninja and Gojira if only for the fact that they too can pull off utilizing a myriad of styles in a nature which is easily consumable and doesn’t seem at all disjointed.

cannabis corpse from wisdom to baked.jpg

Cannabis Corpse – From Wisdom to Baked
(USA)
Release – June/20/2014
Season of Mist Records
https://cannabiscorpseofficial.bandcamp.com/ (the discography)
https://cannabiscorpseofficial.bandcamp.com/album/from-wisdom-to-baked
Thoughts –

Again, I’ll tackle the art before the audio. A cursory glance shows a family watching television in a state of blankness. But if you look closer there’s so much more going on. A horrified face at the window is at the lowest end of the scale whereas the device attached to the EZboy makes the imagination do cartwheels at adrenaline speeds. Just what is it that the family is doing? Are they harvesting, albeit slowly, are they cannibals or fueling the growth of the plants seen meandering across the floor and walls? I’m not entirely sure but this image is chock full of intricate details and demands further exploration at the very least. What about the music? Admittedly this is a first for me, a virgin experience of an act who on all accounts I should already have extensive knowledge of. Hitting play…

Obviously, the band’s name is a cunning slant on a moniker of another huge act within the scene (if you can’t tell who it is you are on the wrong site!). But, what of the music? Admittedly, this is my first experience of the band and their audio. Although I’ve been hearing of them for years, I’ve never taken the plunge. Though after hearing this in its entirety I really can’t tell why that might have been the case. The music is surprisingly decent, familiar and tight and much as the track titles suggest much in the same vein as the acts the band pays homage to (in this case Death and Gorguts based on the track titles and undeniably Cannibal Corpse based on their name). This is death metal circa early to late nineties and is instantly acceptable, this is criminally infectious and somewhat, scratch that, extremely familiar sounding. The vocal style is more similar to Barnes than ‘Corpsegrinder’ which pleases me as I’ve always been more a fan of the acts earlier material and fits the audio perfectly.

However, Cannabis Corpse are in no way merely copycats and this isn’t a cover act. The audio here oozes with talent, composition brilliance, is heavily reminiscent and overflows with humor (most, if not all, in relation to the “green god”) naturally it’s nothing new but huge props must be given to the act for pulling off that which many have unsuccessfully attempted but have usually only miserably failed at. It would’ve been a mean feat for this release alone to have been relatively successful. However, the band have gone on to release two others since this albums release and three previous. In actuality a little research (I hardly ever do more than a “little”) shows this as the least praised amongst the bunch. Apparently, I have some digging to do. For starters though this was and serves as a fantastic introduction to an act who I can’t honestly believe I haven’t enjoyed before now. For those who remain confused, I get it I tend to waffle on a wee bit, and haven’t yet got the point, Cannabis Corpse are an act who warrant discovery especially if like myself you are also a huge fan of the earlier days of death metal.

Animal - music is meant for sharing

And you shouldn’t, great audio is meant to be shared!

That concludes another Abrasive Audio installment. Until out paths of audio interest cross paths again don’t fear that which might normally be foreign to the ears.

Cult

Scorching the Retinas – Blood Bags

eyeballs header

Blood Bags (2018)
(Italy)

blood bags film

Writer – Emiliano Ranzani, David Mela, Scarlett Amaris
Director – Emiliano Ranzani
Runtime -84 minutes
Grey Ladder Productions
LMC Vision
Devilworks
High Octane Pictures

 

 

After an explanation of Gunther disease and various other ailments (in relation to an allergy to the sun) the movie opens on a trio of thieves breaking in to an abandoned mansion. Amidst synth laden atmospherics, slithering maggots and alarm bells (!?) they soon realize that they aren’t alone.

The scene ends, and the credits roll in a similar fashion to that shown in Re-animator (an exploration of intricately illustrated medieval medical images) accompanied by the same quirky score albeit with heightened synth elements.

(trailer courtesy of Rapid Trailer)

As soon as the claret from the previous scene and the somewhat familiar credits come to a close a budding camera enthusiast is introduced, as well her roommate. Within no time the pair shun their stereotypical Italian testosterone overflowing companions to travel across the Italian countryside in search of a location to showcase as part of a final work for the school semester.

blood bags breaking the law

What’s a little bit of BnE if not for an “A” in film school?

Meanwhile, a mysterious gent travels with a hold-all and visits a seedy undisclosed location whereupon he proceeds to collect a fair amount of blood in exchange for money. The transaction however does not go according to plan and under duress he is forced to extreme measures to keep his movements and activities under wraps.

From the very first the score (a heady mix of classical and synth) plays a lead role emphasizing certain scenes with a thick cloak of dread and menace.

Various close ups of eyes and victims in extreme duress, as well deliberate, unhurried, movements, lingering shots of the antagonist’s dark overcoat and gloves and avoidance of ‘his’ (the antagonists) face, an element which scream Giallo worship.

blood bags tracy

I like cameras and spooky looking old buildings

Naturally, the budding camera lady, Tracy played by Makenna Guyler, drags her friend, Petra, along for a traipse into her fear (what if she doesn’t make it as a camera professional?) She’s awfully chatty at times and into what I one will only assume is the mansion from the opening scene.

Petra wanders off, why wouldn’t she. She’s clearly isn’t as interested in old stuff as her overly excited friend and there are no boys around to flirt with (this is a horror film and people do dumb shit; it’s in the script) and has an untimely interaction with the business end of a wicked looking, dirty (if this doesn’t kill you, tetanus will) knife leaving her friend to fend for herself against a cloaked ‘assailant’.

Goblin soundtrack

Goblin; composers par excellence

The film continues, sans supplying a slew of spoilers, more than the movies box art description already has, I’ll refrain from giving a blow by blow narrative. Blood Bags is unashamedly up front with what it offers, obviously the main location of the film (other than the beatific Italian surroundings) contains someone/something who has an aversion to the sun and lives in a secluded habitat (I like that word!) The film’s title ‘slips into place’ following the enigmatic gent’s procurement of crimson and one would only imagine there’s not really that much more on offer. And there wouldn’t be, on a typical basis. However, Blood Bags manages to keep the interest. The score is impressive, palpable, an expert and well-crafted nod to cannibalistic, zombie and Giallo cinema by such under-appreciated greats of the genre such as Fulci, D’Amato, Argento, Deodata, Lenzi and others and results in heightened tension in just the right instances.

Dialogue interactions vary from predictable (“That’s my phone. It’s ringing!”) to darkly humorous and ingenious. The fact that Italian, Russian and English are used (rather than dubbing) shows professionalism, obviously not everybody speaks English. An early standout showcases varying differences in European and American attitudes, hampered by a language barrier, towards longevity and smoking. No doubt a spot of levity before the carnage commences, yet again. The acting is surprisingly palatable and takes this into relatable/believable realms.

 

Not surprising is that the authorities manage to get involved, as they often do in cases of this ilk. Thankfully, their presence is kept at a minimum making for little distraction from the ‘main course’.

body-bags-monster.jpg

You might say I can only see a boring rainbow, to which I’d agree

Monochromatic camera effects are a great added touch and depict the antagonists POV as he negotiates both his affliction and residence in search of those who have trespassed. Another scene worthy of note is a dream sequence in which Tracy travels lazily through candle lit atmosphere laden subterranean hallways only to see herself on a pedestal as a bloodied up ballerina,

The directing is also worthy of note. Blood Bags appreciatively doesn’t descend to an arena which many might predict. Although it sports a fair amount of crimson it strays from splatter territory preferring instead to rely on exquisitely crafted tension evoked by the aforementioned well-placed soundtrack and score.

The House by the Cemetery

Now that’s retro

Obvious similarities to Anthropophagus the Beast and The House by the Cemetery can’t be ignored, the pace is rather relaxed for one and although the film’s story, in many ways, has been tackled before (an enigmatic individual somehow conquering a devastating blood disease, or something along those lines, I’ll not ruin it) and is for the most part wholly predictable (you won’t need to re-watch or rewind this for any intricate plot lines, or something you might have missed as it’s rather straight forward) this remains a solid effort. A slice of undeniable homage and unmistakable worship of that which riveted wide-eyed audiences four decades previous. Will this spawn a revival of sorts, of the very same scene? It remains to be seen. One thing, however, is undeniable; this has all the ingredients, the panache and the class, to rekindle that adoration. And for that I applaud it.

Go into this with an open mind, few assumptions and you’ll have a blast, but be warned this will likely leave you with a hankering for it will spark an exploratory nature to rediscover old school cult cinema.

Cult

Scorching the Retinas – Avalanche of Indy

American Hunt
Written and Directed by Aaron Mirtes

american hunt film

Runtime – 80 minutes
Releases -December/10/2019
High Octane Pictures

 

“Are you guys ready to hunt?”

“See, here’s the thing. We make a lot of money from hunting… people.”

And so, it begins. A pair of entrepreneurial brothers (Levi and Memphis) with twenty acres to spare play host to a trio of “friends” out for what they assumed was a camping trip with a little hunting thrown in to mix things up. There is. However, they are the intended prey.

But there are rules.

“You have ten minutes to hide then my brother and I will find you and kill you one by one.”

(trailer courtesy of Wicked Thrilling Freaks)

Naturally the tourists (for wont of a better term) think this is a joke until one of them gets a rifle to the jaw.

memphis american hunt

Teeth go for quite the price, especially whole sets

Memphis is a couple of chords short of a redneck man rape anthem whilst his brother, Levi, is the actor, the manipulative type, who coerces the prey into the game and onto the “board”.

Apparently hunting is quite the lucrative business; certain body parts go for top dollar. And the victims soon come to the realization that their hosts take part in ‘the hunt’ for fun rather than necessity and also that the procedure has been in operation for a number of years after finding a wallet containing an aged license.

Part Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Deliverance, Hostel, I Spit on Your Grave and Straw Dogs this successfully evokes the age-old country folk versus city folk mentality whilst also showcasing female empowerment. Revenge elements take center stage, as they often do in movies of this ilk, enacted at the hands of a lone survivor.

dueling deliverance style.jpg

Alright, you’re in C#, right?

The soundtrack is worthy of note and boasts pulse pounding synth reminiscent of European cult affairs and plenty of effective atmosphere also a slew of not so well known rock/country/folk ballads (John Denver in tone) which only make certain scenes, which would normally seem so every day/run of the mill out of this film’s context, that much more sinister.

Within the small cast notable roles make the movie shine. Taylor Novak, Levi, plays ‘two faced’ exceedingly well whilst his brother Memphis portrayed by Brad Belemjian, has “excitable psycho” down pat. And Lacy Hartselle, who plays Kimberly runs the gamut from timid to survivalist in record time, at a believable pace.

david hess wannabe american hunt

Cmon’ baby. I’ll take a shower, chew on a breath mint, then we can have “sexy times”

Overall, although this may run fluidly into predictability realms (this type of film isn’t wholly a new concept) and contains moments in which many viewers will seriously just want to toss anything at the screen in frustration (seriously, they are hunting you and you believe now is a good time for mind-blowing hysterics?) it’s still directed with panache and accompanied by a soundtrack that’s surprisingly well thought out and well, fitting. American Hunt is in short, well worth looking into and shows the director moving from silly realms (Clowntergeist) into more believable waters.

david hess rip

This isn’t going to win any Oscars and doesn’t compare with House at the Edge of the Park or any other David Hess helmed character -driven craziness cinema (The Last House on the Left also comes to mind obviously) but it does have a certain something and remains a great example of lower budget quality film making.

Cult

Abrasive Audio – Part Thirty-Four

headbangin metalhead

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

Onward stumbling around in the darkness

 

Esogenesi – s/t

esogenesi.jpg

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 87

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

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

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

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

wolfbrigade

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 92

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 94

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

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

FFO; Agnostic Front, Motorhead, Disrupt.

midnight prey

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 75

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 74

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

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

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

oath of cruelty.jpg

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 80

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

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

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

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

sentient horror.jpg

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

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

Dorothy…

Dorothy?

*bark…bark

Fuck. Toto. Did you just eat Dorothy?

*burp!

FIRST TRACK – 90

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

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

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

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

Time for an old Favorite; Reccd’ By

fistful of doom

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

grond graceless split

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

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

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

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

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

Graceless (last four tracks) –

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

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

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

Animal - music is meant for sharing

Good, because great music is meant for sharing!

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

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

Cult

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

diggin through vinyl.jpg

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

Without further ado…

soulburn demo 96.jpg

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

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

R-619660-1310164529.jpeg.jpg

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

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

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

asphyx crush the cenpotaph

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

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

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

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

infernal majesty demon god

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

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

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

excited animal gif

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

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

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

Cult

Abrasive Audio – Part 32

headbangin gif

Tumbling uncontrollably downward into the abyss, I clutch to the comforting thought that I’ll be suffocated by that which I adore. Metal in all of its many forms and guises.

Diving face-first into an Inbox overflowing with promo material…

 

godless agenda

Godless Agenda -Death Awaits You All
(Norway)
Release -November/8/2019
Self-Released
Against PR
https://godlessagenda.bandcamp.com/album/death-awaits-you-all
ARTWORK – 76

*in a hushed tone*

Move those leaves.

Umm. Shit, it’s too late. They’ve seen us!  Prepare to have your insides served upon a bed of lettuce. And your head hallowed out to serve as a container for Kool-Aid.

FIRST TRACK – 84

Thrashy death with an unmistakable dirge tone and grinding aura influence (the first guess doesn’t count!) and a sprinkle of crust. Neat vocal diversity, the raw drum sound is a great addition. including a rasped narrative introduction and one’s gotta love the nod to a British comedy troupe (a skit within a film, hint; “Run Away, Run Away!”) who were way ahead of the curve.

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

Simple at times, formulaic in others, with obvious strong influences and moments where unsuspecting melody, blistering pace and groove leave an imprint. Really nothing new but this hits the spot and is designed to make the listener move. And it does just that! Another stellar example of a one- man outfit which proves it’s more than possible to get the job done w.o. an entourage. This is better than I expected and deserves respect!

I’m gonna ruin it…this even includes a track about the killer bunny from Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”; gotta appreciate the fan dedication and the gamble; it pays off and it’s a great start to an album which delivers throughout.

Favorite Tracks; Death Awaits You All, Fear Me (Inch Allah), Rising from the Pits, Devoured from Within.

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Jungle Rot, MOD, Slayer, Khazaddum.

blood incantation

Blood Incantation – The Hidden History of the Human Race
(USA)
Release – November/22/2019
Dark Descent Records
Clawhammer PR
https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hidden-history-of-the-human-race
ARTWORK – 90

Far from what one might expect. This is however, captivating, enigmatic and thought-provoking imagery bursting with fantastical sci-fi themes plucked from the 70’s which puts me in mind of Heinlein, Ildiss and others whose names escape me at this moment.

FIRST TRACK – 86

Putrid death, chaotic technicality, maniacal riffing and progressive themes (in moments channeling later Death sensibilities and in others honing in on a cavernous aura draped in vintage Morbid Angel frenetic fretboard devilry) combine for a track that’s multi layered, oozing with textures yet amazingly not overpowering.

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

A first glance at the track list might baffle some. An eighteen-minute track from an act of this ilk and in this genre? (Insert WTF emoji here). Somehow Blood Incantation manage to pull it off without dragging the listener into realms drenched in a tedious and boring nature.

Intoxicating passages are plentiful alongside melodies, which invoke wonderment and awe, they transport the listener to unfathomably vast cosmic landscapes. Cavorting with an amorphic, slithering, nature which is par for the scene (although nothing about the quality here screams anything but impressively far beyond par) the whole effect is one which is at the very least unpredictable and undeniably mesmerizing. Menacing, enveloping yet drenched in melancholia coupled with transcendental qualities (strangely wallowing in David Bowie and Devon Townsend pools in instances) which demand exploration this is an album which only blossoms the more it’s allowed the dominate the senses.

Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; The Giza Power Plant, Inner Paths (to Outer Space), Awakening from the Dream (Mirror of the Soul).

FFO; Morbid Angel, Ct’helist, Death, Nile, Drawn and Quartered.

vadiat

Vadiat – Darkness Proceeds (EP)
(USA)
Release – October/31/2019
Redefining Darkness Records
https://vadiat-us.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 77

An unearthed skull with a brand on the forehead surrounded by serpents amidst leaves and shrubbery. If this doesn’t scream ritualistic skullduggery (there’s a pun there someplace), a staple in the death metal realm, I don’t know what does. And again, in black and white ink. Did I mention that I’m a sucker for BnW imagery?

FIRST TRACK – 76

Hypnotic rhythm, mid-tempo death/doom with ominous vibes, distortion and groove aplenty. Slathered in diabolical qualities the intricacies within this unfold following several listens.

INITIAL LISTEN – 78

Old school qualities unbound and run riot throughout. And groove coupled by abrupt whipping pace transformations and a plodding bludgeoning approach are commonplace within tracks which display a surprising spectrum of emotion. Although some moments could be shortened for much the same effect and some instances are a tad repetitive this remains a solid effort leaving listeners, especially those of the old school guard, eager for a full length.

Favorite Tracks; The Entity, Darkness Proceeds.

FFO; Benediction, Vomitory, Grave, Bloodbath, Morgoth.

golgotha

Golgotha – Erasing the Past
(Spain)
Release -October/22/2010
Xtreem Music
https://golgotha.bandcamp.com/album/erasing-the-past
ARTWORK – 78

Crimson splatter, a myriad of frenetic scribbles and brilliant white comprise the outline of a face. Vivid and blunt, and a tad unconventional, this image conjures thoughts of order out of whack, a silhouette, the remains of a form worn down by the various forces forced upon it, the undoing of the mortal coil. I could turn this into a dissertation, perhaps I should hit play.

FIRST TRACK – 88

Grandiose riffs and sweeping melodies and dualistic vocal styles make for a sorrowful landscape the addition of cinematic atmosphere elevates the aura. An outstanding start.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

A smorgasbord of styles is on display here. Primarily doom draped with growling vocals, but also traditional heavily accented vocals which often give this more a Gothic Rock edge, much like samples from the finest Paradise Lost albums (‘Shades’ and ‘Icon’) some might be put off by the familiarity and similarities. Folk elements are subtle, undeniable power, presence and a stunning composition mastery are factors which can’t be ignored. Rhythms are both soulful, passionate and melancholic coupled with keyboard atmosphere the effect is an album which, if you’re a virgin to this act like myself, will make one want to sift through past efforts and pronto.

Powerful audio with undeniable fluidity and allure which makes an immediate impression.

Favorite Tracks; The Way to Your Soul, Distorted Tears, Enveloped in Fog, New Hope.

FFO; Paradise Lost, Novembers Doom, Moonspell, Amorphis.

the bleeding morbid porophecy

The Bleeding – Morbid Prophecy
(United Kingdom)
Release – October/18/2019
World War Now Records
https://thebleeding.bandcamp.com/
Clawhammer PR
ARTWORK – 82

I’m of the belief that this sermon carried on past its original, intended, parameters. His/her audience have since turned to dust forgotten all they’ve learned and became fodder for worms and various other beasties who prefer their meat tainted by fanaticism.

FIRST TRACK – 89

Introduced by a Slayer– esque creepy riff aura which later transforming into a blistering pace this is an explosive way to open any album! Limber up peeps, this is gonna be an exercise in stamina and self-control. If the album is anything as good as this track one will be hard pressed to not want to push the stereo above and beyond speaker destroying limits.

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

I don’t know why it took me as long as it did to wrap my ears around this (moods often transport us to realms we’d not visit). But now that I’m giving it my full attention I can honestly state that what this offers is huge. Atmosphere, when required, coupled with flesh melting riffs, a thrashy death approach and vocals seemingly plucked from the early Destruction (“Mad Butcher”) era. All raspy and seething with menace. However, that’s not all. Infrequent nods to traditional heavy metal are a fantastic addition with the occasion galloping riff and familiar feeling riff passage which serve to break up a pace that’s sure to please even the most demanding amongst us. An acoustic interlude also checks all the boxes and might be all too familiar in tone for those of the above forty age group living in the British Isles on account of a news/information program using a similar tune in its credits which aired many moons ago. (bonus points if you can name it, I can’t).

In short, if your mood demands furious fluid riffing, evil (as the inclusion of guacamole on a beef burger) and vocals which only make one want to serve at the altar of a Dark God then this will serve to placate and although the tone has changed somewhat is still as exciting as the bands previous effort. Highly recommended and again accept my apologies for not getting to this sooner, for it warrants attention!!

Favorite Tracks; Yea, I started listing tracks here only to stop realizing I was listing the whole damn album! Suffice it to say, this delivers throughout.

FFO; Slayer, Vader, Massacre, Destruction.

Ossuaire

Ossuaire – Derniers Chants
(Canada)
Release – October/15/2019
Sepulchral Productions
https://ossuaire.bandcamp.com/album/derniers-chants
ARTWORK – 91

Spectacular black and grey rendition depicting a man of the cloth beseeched by various demons and apparitions as he prays to his deity.

FIRST TRACK – 87

Epic, majestic and melodic. This is the type of black metal I can subscribe to without reservation. Though I should also mention that it’s chock full of harrowing atmosphere and a passage of surprising groove. An outstanding opener!

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

Furious and unmerciful, yet hypnotic. I don’t get how that works, it’s puzzling to be sure. But somehow, this has the power to enthrall. Unrelenting though often soothing in a strange way embellishing upon melancholic moments and slight doom accompaniments (acoustic at times bringing to mind a medieval age), this transports the listener through a realm that bursts with presence, a landscape drenched in a treacherous and harrowing nature. Ancient and mysterious, majestic and grandiose, this seethes with archaic malevolence and undeniable passion. A stunning feat, one which I’ll visit again and again at the behest of my spouse who always wants to converse when I have audio of an epic nature in my earholes.

Spend some time with this and let loose your preconceptions about the genre. This isn’t raw and doesn’t hail from an act with that much of a history within the scene. However, it has the feel of an album which reeks of experience and an act who have significant knowledge of what ‘works’ and have the talent to pull their vision together in a manner which is a wonder to have traipse across the senses. Assured to leave a mark this is an album which cannot be ignored.

Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Pestilence Rampante, Sous l’Autel des Immacul’es, L’Oeil-Sang, Derniers Chants.

FFO; Dissection, Stortregn, Wintercrown, Emperor.

hobostew

HoboStew – Legend of the Infected
(USA)
Release – August/2019
Grindhouse Ministries
https://open.spotify.com/artist/32XfKhtRwMi3rebT7Ws6Dg
ARTWORK – 84

Delightful black and white imagery depicting all manner of filth. Seriously who enjoys stew from a trashcan? I much prefer soup from the bowels of the sewer (wha-?)

FIRST TRACK – 78

Raunchy bass lines and groove complemented by a traditional gruff vocal approach. This is grindcore with a touch of crust, but it’s slightly different than merely that. It has my attention, and I’m impressed.

INITIAL LISTEN – 80

With fourteen tracks on offer and the length this runs (seventeen minutes) this is predictably grindcore or some other type of core which has its roots in angst or the gutter.

An undeniable sense of humor permeates this release coupled with the short, sharp delivery, tightness and groove it makes for a spot of extreme audio which stands out above the same old, same old. Chunks of infectious are scattered throughout and the vocals are (wait for it) somewhat decipherable. The bass is distinct, filthy in fact, and the tracks have identity. What more could you ask for? For a debut this makes an impression and I’m imagining theirs to be a name I hear a great deal of, in extreme core realms, in the future. Be it either on Splits, compilations or an upcoming full length.

Naturally these guys aren’t to be confused with the band with the same moniker hailing from Northwest Ohio who specialize in Alternative Rock with Psychedelic Folk Pop elements (whatever that may sound like).

Favorite Tracks; Micro-Aggression, I’m Hardcore, Needs Neglected, Total Loss, Radical Amputation, Hobocop.

FFO; MOD, SOD, VHS, Disrupt.

night goat

Night Goat – Milk
(USA)
Release – December/13/2019
Independent
Dewar PR
https://nightgoat13.bandcamp.com/album/milk
ARTWORK – 82

As if plucked from a cinematic event in which one is possessed by a myriad of slithering Lovecraftian entities/demons (is that a Kraken?) this exhibits vivid colors a dreamy, troubled, aura and undeniable menace (in this case hovering above the only person in the picture). One could also argue that this poor fellows’ thoughts/woes are overpowering his conscious sending him into a state of Flux or delirium. Whatever one chooses it’s certainly stark and demands closer inspection.

FIRST TRACK – 74

Loud, obnoxious and off-kilter. This is rock careening without a care into punk territories. Bursting with angst, distortion, energy and attitude this is far from the normal ear candy I gorge myself on but it is exciting, frenetic and enticing. I’m left dripping with intrigue.

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

Wholly unpredictable and miles from fitting comfortably into any one genre (especially not that which the words ‘Night’ and ‘Goat’ might conjure) this

incorporates huge riffs, distorted soundscapes and a vocalist whose ‘passionate’ abilities demand to be appreciated in a live setting. The overall effect is often dizzying, is never stale and flutters erratically (this isn’t a bad thing in the albums context) much like a Hummingbird who has dipped his beak (do they have beaks?) into ‘tainted nectar’, or “milk” way past its due date. Many words could be used to describe this; Gritty, Raunchy, Hypnotic, Experimental, Raw (and a slew of others) but not a single one, or even two, even comes close to giving it that which it deserves. Take your senses off the beaten track and give this a few spins. It’ll grow on ya!

Favorite Tracks; Chubby Leech, Jerusalem’s Lot, Gnarltooth Grim, Head Lice.

FFO; Freighter, Helmet, Brutal Juice, Wizard Rifle.

mortuary new release 19

Mortuary – The Autophagous Reign
(France)
Release – November/8/2019
Xenocorp Records
https://www.facebook.com/mortuarynancy
https://www.xenokorp.com/product-category/artist/mortuary/
https://mortuarynancy.bandcamp.com/music (this album isn’t represented as of this publication)
ARTWORK – 83

A rotting face with what I can imagine are various overriding influences from all sides, suffocating, driving one to follow blindly without thought or complaint.

FIRST TRACK – 91

Like an adrenaline shot of grindcore, with old school aggressive thrash sensibilities, this attacks like a horde of ravenous hyenas (thus the excitable gang vocals; thought that was a great tie-in) going straight for the throat; it knocks one back wide eyed. If you’re half asleep this is guaranteed to wake your arse up. A ‘rager’ of a start to an album and an amazing introduction to what the band offer.

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

After thirty years most have slowed, perhaps even changed styles completely to appeal to larger audience (I think we all know who I’m talking about). Mortuary however have shattered the ‘over the hill’ adage; if there ever was a hill, they’ve blasted their way through it! Incorporating a pulverizing, unrelenting, riff assault channeling a style that’s part grinding death/thrash (with just enough technicality thrown in) part South American aggressive thrash. complemented by a precise Misery Index esque drum barrage and all ungodly infectious. I’m left wondering how it is that I’ve not let this bands audio traipse between my ears before. Be it all-out or an acoustic introduction this boasts unquestionable prowess, oomph and is likely to be treated like a box of pringles; however, in this case it’ll be that you can’t just play it once. This is an album which’ll make you wish you were fit; a single track is likely to leave you sweaty and tired. Awesome audio with incredible allure.

Favorite Tracks; Delete, Replace, The Sapiens Order, Disposable, A Curse in Disguise, Eternal, Memorial in Vivo, Cheptel, Monuments.

FFO; Vader, The Haunted, Killswitch Engaged, The Crown, Dying Fetus, Benighted, Sodom.

chained to the dead

Chained to the Dead – Gruesome Encounter
(USA)
Release -November/29/2019
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
https://chainedtothedead.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 94

This red headed temptress appears more than satisfied drenched in crimson and chunks. Perhaps she’ll fashion herself a jewelry ensemble from the remains of her companion or alternatively string a collective of tennis racquets. One thing’s assured; clean-up will be a bitch!

FIRST TRACK – 86

Drenched in vintage cult qualities and grinding death elements supported by attention yanking angst-fueled vocals and limb twitching rhythms this garners attention.

INITIAL LISTEN – 93

With an album cover as striking as this one has their fingers crossed that the audio is worthy. In this case, thankfully, it is. Obviously, many have tried the horror/cult/exploitative/gore/metal angle (it would easier at this point to mention bands who haven’t). A fair few in the same vein as this with soundbites aplenty abetted by a similar audio style. C.t.t.D (an obvious abr.) have managed somehow to combine the usual elements (grindcore, death, crust) and exquisitely I might add then included a certain something to elevate the final result from the pack. The vocals are top-notch. Dripping with venom they add an undeniable quality to an infectiously groove laden percussion with an emphasis on melody and rhythm rather than blistering O.T.T brutality which is often over used and doesn’t always work. Whipping, frenzied, riff salvos (injected throughout) assist in the albums allure as well slower, doom-laden atmospheric, passages drenched in palpable ominous qualities. Overall, crimson, guts, stabbings, slicing’s, creepy soundbites and all this is an album which decimates unsuspecting earholes without falling into repetitive realms, alights furious fanboy cinematic horror/cult research and demands attention. Top of the year list material in my opinion, for the record.

Favorite Tracks; Are you in the House Alone? The Shunting, Head not Found, Butcher, Be Still (and know that you’re dead), What Lies Beneath the Gate?

FFO; VHS, Cropsy Maniac, Necrophagia, Exhumed.

Plucked from Metal Past

mass infection

Mass Infection – Shadows Became Flesh
(Greece)
Release – December/7/2018
Comatose Music
https://massinfection.bandcamp.com/album/shadows-became-flesh

Note: this could technically fit in the ‘main body’ of the review section seems as it has yet to reach its first-year birthday, but I slipped and placed it here instead. Nevertheless, I’ll continue…

The art here has a decidedly classical feel, as if it could well adorn the walls of a Gothic castle draped in cobwebs and mystery. From what I can fathom A gent is invoking ‘something’ only to be harassed by (the same?) spirits. A wicked image indeed but what about the audio?

From the very first note it makes one sit up and take note. The style here is technical, though not crazily over the top, with riffs tumbling over themselves in an unrelenting, pummeling, assault. Think a style that’s part Nile, part Origin and you’ll be close, though there’s also unmistakable majesty which hints towards blackened influences. Atmosphere is an undeniable element and oozes from the album’s composition aiding its depth and the myriad of grandiose textures it offers. The drums are handled in a manner which is so stunningly precise and tight a duck’s arse would be jealous. And the instruments addition to the sound is a huge factor taking the combination to another level entirely. This is top notch driving death metal folks! Cavernous, yet epic, with an awe-inspiring production quality which allows every instrument to breathe and stand out in the overall mix.

Is it too late to add this to the upper echelon of albums from last year’s best of list? Perhaps an addition to this one under a heading of “I could slap myself for missing this”. Don’t be like me, although there’s so much released its hard, near impossible in fact, to keep track. This demands respect and a place in any collection boasting stand outs and milestones of the genre from years past.

Set the senses upon it!

druadan-forest-fin-the-loremasters-time-cd.jpg

Druadan Forest – The Loremasters Time
(Finland)
(Original) Release – September/2016
GS Productions/Hammerbund
https://gsproduction.bandcamp.com/album/the-loremasters-time

Note: I’m assuming the version I’m listening to is a re-release as there are varying covers available online.

Described as atmospheric black metal the art here is what grabbed my attention. Vivid hues, bright greens and blinding light making its way through a sea of tree. This doesn’t seem like the typical black and grey (atmospheric) black metal album cover. The album commences with a brilliant epic instrumental and it certainly gets one in the mood for things of a fantastical nature, most probably war gaming (or I can only imagine, as I’ve yet to fall for its allure). As the album progresses traditional black metal elements (rasped vocals in particular) come to the forefront, although muted somewhat they weave in/around and amongst a keyboard audioscape showcasing various sounds of nature, including storms, to create a melancholy which is oddly relaxing. In other moments a deliberate chaotic environment is at the fore with a more transformative nature on display. Folk (both Baroque and medieval) elements cavort with cinematic symphonic compositions to form a fantastical realm draped in majesty, intrigue and history which is easy to imagine losing oneself within. Obviously, this won’t appeal to most but those whose penchants run to audio where rasped vocals are accepted without complaint. It’s hardly traditional in regard to what most would deem black metal and it often runs to soothing audio lengths which Enya or Disney might incorporate if not for the “unconventional” vocal approach. However, there’s no denying that this is powerful, masterfully created, audio which would serve as an excellent palette cleanser for those whose senses are accustomed to brutality in a wide array of its many forms. If you’ve yet to lay your senses upon that which many deem atmospheric, or even Ambient, black metal this is a great place to jump on board. Following this I’m sure my fingers will dance as my retinas flicker from one artist to another, as my mind expands to accept yet another genre I should have previously explored. Forget your preconceptions, or assumptions and give this a chance.

And an old favorite…”Recc’d by”

In this case from an anonymous Twitter user (I only wish I could give someone credit)

Assassin’s Blade – Gather Darkness.jpg

Assassin’s Blade – Gather Darkness
(Canada/Sweden)
Release – October/18/2019
Pure Steel Records
https://puresteelrecords.bandcamp.com/album/gather-darkness
Thoughts –

Obviously, I’m not a huge fan of power or even traditional speed metal (if you’re a reader of my other review pieces you might note the absence of the genre) but this managed somehow to catch my eye. The art is by a familiar artist, Juha Vuorma, whose work graces many an album cover (recently Usurper and Kalmah) and can be seen here in a plethora of its many guises http://www.opticmatador.com/ In this case it appears a collective of acolytes are about to encounter something other than that they summoned. In regards to the audio on offer I was surprised to read that the vocalist is none other than Exciters front man (from 97’ to 04’), Jacques Bélanger not to be confused with the drummer from Sarkasm (Canada) who has the exact same name. Other than that, the familiarities are null. That is until the music starts, then it’s nostalgia ville. “Tempt Not (the Blade of the Assassin)” is an opener which leaves the jaw agape. The rhythms are infectious to the nth degree and the beat enough to drive one to involuntary spasms of movement (I’d put this up there with a personal favorite of mine by Dio-fronted Rainbow “Kill the King”) And the album progresses from there to leave one with a grin plastered across their chops as if to say I’ve done something insanely wrong, quite naughty in fact, and I’ve gotten away with it. In this case that is not the case this is just that damn impressive! “Gather Darkness” oozes with an aura and vocal approach which screams NWOBHM, power metal and traditional speed metal (have I mentioned that I’m not normally a fan?). In this case however the vocals are the side of falsetto I can stomach (perilously close to that which ‘metal god’ Rob Halford and Dickinson exhibit) and this guy can sing. The melodies and riffs are just short of mind blowing, excitingm frolicking, galloping this checks all the requisite boxes one could ask. Seriously, it’s been a while (Riot’s “Thundersteel” was the last instance) since I’ve fallen ‘arse over tit’ as hard as I am at this very moment. There is undeniable fluidity on display here, there are zero dull instances, “no filler, just killer” (as the popular webzines are likely to spout) and the collective of tracks lifts you from the dull drum daily activities to a place where you forget all your ills and woes, let your hair down and bang yer’ head like one possessed (if you’re anything like me however, the days of having hair are a thing of the past). Without going into diatribe lengths I’ll leave this here, click on the provided link and feel free to tell me your thoughts, or give suggestions of a similar nature. I wasn’t expecting this to be this good. But it is. And I’m sure I’ll be mentioning it again come years end.

Recommended for fans of Exciter, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Iced Earth and Nocturnal Rites.

exhausted animal

That’s it for another installment, it’s nap time!

Until our paths of audio interest cross again, don’t fear the discovery of that which wouldn’t normally grace the senses.

Cult