Archive for the ‘Supporting the Indy scene’ Category

Scorching the Retinas – Tackling the Wrong Turn Franchise

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)
wrong turn 2 cover art
Writers – Turi Meyer, Alfredo Septien, Alan B McElroy
Director – Joe Lynch
Runtime – 97 minutes
20th Century Fox, Summit Entertainment, Constantin Film Production

Sure, why not start in the middle rather than at the beginning? Well, I did and here I am. Cult is away again, probably sleeping already. He’s on vacation and he’s stuck with his young un’ at home, and let me tell you, she’s a spirited one. If she ain’t singing “Let it Go” or “Into the Unknown” she’s storming around like a Princess, with an attitude to fit. But getting back on track; I’ve got the reins now with snippets of that Slayer Comp still ragin’ through my ears.
So what say we get started.

(trailer courtesy of Movie Clips Classic Trailers)

“Wrong Turn 2” was made back in 2007 and it doesn’t take long to realize this. Cell phones are flip things, and earpieces are akin to those unsightly slabs of metal worn on “Star Trek” (the early series with good old Shat not the newer ones).

wrong turn 2 opening kill

Breast or Thigh? …It doesn’t matter!

Anyhows,  this chick, in the opening scene, is belligerent, screaming at her agent about one thing or another then she plows this poor chap down.  and wouldn’t you know it the poor bugga’ scratched up her Stang. Now rather than being somewhat pissed, who wouldn’t he scratched up the Stang’, she’s unsure, hysterical. However, this doesn’t last long. Some logger type looking chap makes his way outta the woods and cuts her in Twain. Downwards (“Terrifier” style), not across and this movie is off to a great start with perhaps one of the finest kill scenes to open up a movie ever. And my popcorn has suddenly found itself with extra butter (or a liquid which looks strangely close).

Wrong turn 2 Henry Rollins

End scene. Enter Mr. Black Flag, Henry (motherfkn’) Rollins, and an introduction to a reality game show of sorts with six contestants (five now, or seven. All depending on how one looks at it) and a theme centered around the Apocalypse (at this point we should all be taking notes and making time to rewatch the “Mad Max” franchise). Naturally, all of the contestants are young, nubile, hot to trot and bursting with enthusiasm.
A quick look behind the scenes shows the competition heating up and a producer wearing a “Battle Royal” shirt which is rather fitting (if you haven’t seen it, drop whatcha’ doing and prepare to forget Hollywood’s take on it; which is often referred to as “The Hunger Games” franchise).

wrong turn 2 i wanna play

Peek a boo!

The games begin, the rules are explained and it’s clear from the get-go who’s present for the money and who for the prestige of competing. Mr. Rollins does a great job of emulating the drill Sergeant from “The Frighteners” and “Full Metal Jacket” (R. Lee Ermey) and there’s another stand out scene in the books. But it ain’t all fun and games. There’s something uninvited in the woods which wants to join in but with rules of it’s own choosing.

“Holy shit, the whole family’s deformed” about describes the way the remainder of the movie goes. Powered by “The Hills Have Eyes” and general Slasher movie mayhem on bathsalts the kills come fast and furious, unflinching, just like Daddy likes them and uncompromising to boot. Seriously folks, this has more guts in its first half than most reputable Cult Cannibal flicks and a shotgun which would put many cannons to shame.

wrong turn 2 Boom

BOOM!

The pace here is remarkable, fluid and feverish throughout, enough to spike anyone’s adrenaline and the characters varied enough to bring forth opinions ranging from instant I don’t care if you perish hatred to I wish you’re the one who survives to repopulate the world adoration. The acting isn’t horrid enough to deter from the story, which is somewhat minimal, but it matters not when the screen is drenched in this much grue.
The finale looms, there’s enough blood and body parts scattered to give Dahmer a boner and the cast is significantly smaller in size, but more widespread,(that’s a pun), than when the movie commenced. But the action remains slick and sticky (nope, this isn’t another filling every available orifice extravaganza flick) two teams face off and…
Well that’s where I’m going to leave my blow-by-blow (enough of the double entendres already) commentary.

wrong turn 2 lunch

This is strange. I can see my spleen.

To cut this short, for it’s about my bedtime, Joe Lynch has far surpassed himself here. A homage to a wide swath of slasher flicks doused with a generous dollop of dark humor and enough glorious FX to sate the most depraved of penchants I’m pleased to state that this brings to the table more crimson goodies than any “Friday the 13th” flick and an overall viewing experience I would somewhat liken to (one of Cults favorites) “Dead Alive”.

chillerama

“Wrong Turn 2” is frenetic, unflinching, graphic, splattered with antagonists which appear immortal (though most certainly don’t live like it) and dotted with characters one wants to root for. The effects are abundant, grisly and executed with attention to detail (that explosion. Wow!) The directing is top notch, again huge props to the mind behind one of the sickest segments within “Chillerama”, and there’s seriously not a complaint here. Boobs, blood, guts, an inbred fellow who looks like he was plucked from a John Hughes film, tons of pitch humor and a final scene which puts Tobe Hoopers “The Mangler” to shame. This is my kind of film. Did I mention Henry Rollins is in this? I did, well shit I’ll say it again, cus’ he deserves another mention. Go get em’ Rambo (whoops!)
Do whatever you have to be able to set the eyes upon this. I much prefer this over any of the “Friday the 13th” films. Don’t @ me, I don’t care. I don’t have any allegiances, I like whatever puts a stoopid grin on my face. And now I’ve said my part. I’m out!
Shit. I Nearly forgot, Cult likes ‘ratings’ now. If it needs one, fuk, I guess a 9.5 will suffice.

The wrong turn collection

Here’s hoping I get the chance to lay words on the others in the franchise. If they’re anything like this I’m happy to oblige. Naturally I’ve plucked the wrong image from the internet to show the others in the series. This one shows the regular (British) versions, I’ll be diving into the uncut versions whenever I can find them, and the time, and access to Cult’s keyboard in order that I can diarrhea my thoughts all lover his site. Until then.

Scorching the Retinas – Avalanche of Indy
Necrosis (2009)

Necrosis movie

Writers – Robert Michael Ryan and Jason Stephens
Director – Jason Stephens
Runtime – 77 minutes
Unknown Productions Incorporated
Brink DVD

With a synopsis which sounds a little like “Dead Snow”, minus the location and Nazis, this also finds a small collective deep in the Nevada wilderness; the Sierra mountains to be more precise. Tiffany (yes, the pop star from way back) heads the cast. Thankfully, she doesn’t sing but strangely she does show her acting prowess to be some of the least annoying here. Michael (I was in “The Hills Have Eyes”) Berryman makes an appearance along with a warning which our “happy campers” (roughin’ it in a fully stocked and electric powered cabin) choose to ignore.

(trailer courtesy of HOrrors)

The movie progresses, night falls but not quite as intensely as the storm. And the snow, as it so often does, becomes a major issue. Hallucinations plague a few within the collective and around the same time a body is found. A frozen dead body (obviously, as this wouldn’t be nearly as exciting a story as promised on the box art). But it gets better yet. Nightmares occur and become increasingly more vivid as the film progresses. And consumption of copious amounts of wine leads to a pair of strangers teasing each other to the point of ‘blue balls’ possibly being added to this film’s description. Cut to various flashbacks of the Donner Party Massacre (which took part in the same hills as featured here only about a hundred years previous) folders overflowing with clippings based on the same and this features predictability factor leaps into stratospheric heights.

michael berryman in necrosis

A cabin. In the woods. you say?

Although predictable the film displays a somewhat promising nature. The atmosphere is plentiful, the surroundings picturesque, the cinematography top notch and the soundtrack effectively sinister. The films location adds to its desperation/isolation aura pulling the viewer in much like, but not nearly as effectively, as Kubrick’s “The Shining”.
Paranoia, anxiety and obsession drench the second half of the films narrative and divide the isolated cast, eventually  bringing secrets to the surface (admittedly assorted details which probably should have been divulged before the excursion into no-man’s land was planned). The films finale pits the mechanics of a 65′ Mustang against a 67′ and a fractured psyche against the determination of an enigmatic…

Necrosis and Penny vitale

Penny Vital plugs one of George Stults’ many holes

Yea. I’m not going to ruin it.
In conclusion and sans dropping more spoilers than I already have Necrosis isn’t actually that shabby. But, it could he better. It isn’t original, it often bears a made for TV vibe and dives into undeniably predictable depths. Furthermore, it has a string of loose ends which need tidying up. The gore quotient is minimal. The words ‘uncut and unrated’ are front and center on the features cover which obviously invites interest (for those viewers like myself who adore plenty of grisly stuff) though also eliciting controversy as IMDB quotes the running time as (80 minutes) which is considerably longer than displayed here (77 minutes).

necrosis alternate cover #2

one of many alternate covers and titles available

one of many alternate covers and titles available
Among the films finer points are the inclusion of Tiffany as part of the cast (am I alone in wondering what happened to her? Probably) and the utilization of the delectable Penny Vital as Megan. Naturally a spot of random nekkidness helps and the surroundings are captured wonderfully, but all in all this is missing that certain something which might propel it into more remarkable realms. Necrosis is a prime example of a feature which tries but unfortunately doesn’t quite succeed, even though it was lauded with numerous awards upon the festival circuit.
5
Cult

Attack of the Compilation – Fckn’ Slayer!

a tribute to Slayer Antichrist mag
Antichrist Magazine and Ground Sounds Promotion presents A Tribute to Slayer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCBierffU-4

Well, Well. Cult has apparently left his laptop open again. But this time rather than setting eyes upon all manner of naked flesh writhing in ecstasy the main screen displays a Bandcamp address with the words “Slayer” front and center. Suffice to say I can’t ignore such a sight. Apparently, he’s been struggling getting this off the ground. Family, work and assorted other things are warranting his attention at present. In actuality he struggles with a bunch of things. But that’s another story. And my penchant for chasing four-legged delicacies will have to wait. So, what is it exactly that we have here? In short; Twenty -six bands from around the world giving their audio tribute to tracks which have undoubtably formed the extreme world of audio as we know it today. Fair enough. I’m curious. What say we dive in?

Slayer-Original-Logo

Expect to see this word more than a few times in the near future

What grabs the attention first is the fact that there are twenty-six acts (and tracks) on offer here. That’s huge and so is this. This runs close to a whopping two hours in length. If it weren’t for the fact that Slayer is what’s on offer here, and there’s somewhat of a supposed Pandeamonic (yea, I know I spelt it wrong but it sounds infinitely better this way) spreading across the globe I‘d say sod this and go back to the mischievous activities I so love to take part in. But fck it, I’m curious and always up for a bit of Slayer. Perusing the track listing (which again “is huge”. Imagine a nubile youth saying that on her knees. Sorry, I got distracted) it appears that the material on offer is somewhat in chronological order, that is to say in the same order as the originals were released (I could be mistaken so don’t quote me). But enough of such details I’m imagining you’re as curious as I to get this thing started. However, Before I impart my thoughts, I’d like to drop the track listing along with the countries each act is from (this is truly a global affair much like the current Black Plague sweeping its way past Kanye West in Google searches. Notice how the majority of the acts are relatively unknown (is this just me? Do I have to swat up on my knowledge of the scene some before I continue?) With this in mind I’m considering this an ‘underground compilation’ a fact which only makes me more curious still.

tankist logo

1 – Tankist (Estonia) Evil Has no Boundaries

2 – Aeons Abyss (Australia) Die by the Sword

3 – Hateful Agony (Germany) Black Magic

4 – Serpents Kiss (United Kingdom) Tormentor

5 – Lone Hunter (Brazil) Crionics

Intrepid logo

6 – Intrepid (Estonia) Chemical Warfare

7 – Myrholt – (Norway) Kill Again

8 – Hamvak (Germany) At Dawn They Sleep

9 – Beltane (New Zealand) Angel of Death

10 – EigenstateZero (Sweden) Piece by Piece

11 – Grand Demise of Civilization (USA) Raining Blood

12 – Mindwars (International) Criminally Insane

Frijgard

13 – Frijgard (Switzerland) South of Heaven

14 – Unto the Wolves (USA) Silent Scream

15 – Hellming (Brazil) Mandatory Suicide

16 – Day 40 (United Kingdom) Ghosts of War

17 – Zvijer (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Cleanse the Soul

18 – SavageZ (Brazil) War Ensemble

19 – Macabre Decay (Sweden) Expendable Youth

20 – Hicsos (Brazil) Dead Skin Mask

Imminent Reaper

21 – Imminent Reaper (Mexico) Skeletons of Society

22 – Killrape (Brazil) Born of Fire

23 – Injector (Spain) Dittohead

24 – Domination Inc. (Greece) Disciple

25 – Jumpscare (Italy) Bloodline

26 – Outis (Ireland) Jihad

(Damn, it’s a long list, my digits are tired!)

Hitting play, it’s easy to decipher that each act has their own spin on the track they’ve chosen to ‘tackle’, some more so and often times even a little experimental in tone than others. Styles are diverse and range across the metal spectrum obviously Black, Death and Thrash take the lead (is this even a race?) whilst Power, Epic, Symphonic, Atmospheric and Speed are tossed in to show the transition in another genre (sometimes using a few in one track) can actually be pulled off to good effect. And boy can it, in some instances I’m literally bouncing off the walls with excitement. As is customary in times like these I have a ratings system designed for such this purpose (note that it’s a tad spicier than Cult’s attempt at the same);

confued Orc

Abysmal.

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

Hrrrrrhhhhh-!

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

The Goblin are going crazy!

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

Time for a Crimson Splattered Moshpit!

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

All Mine!

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

Slayer - Show No Mercy

Where it all began

To sate the curious types, those who have zero patience, I’d give this a “Time for a Crimson Splattered Moshpit“ rating. This collection shines with blistering pace, boils over with talent and offers a myriad of alternate visions of tracks which should already be ingrained upon the senses for those willing to open the mind. But for those who have yet to set ears upon the almighty Slayer (I can’t for the life of me wonder why this is the case) I seriously have no words. Before you continue please set your ears upon the classics, then if you wish to return please do so in order to discover a slew of acts with a great deal of passion on offer. Within such a compilation such as this they are naturally a number of tracks and acts (and styles) which garnered my attention to a dangerous degree, there are some which I could do without (but taking into account differing tastes… Nope not doing it! I’m not pandering to the easily offended, fuck this. This is my article and I won’t apologize for my preferences) and others which had such an effect on me that makes me wish I could bottle their very essence. Without further preamble and in order of appearance (as sometimes I’m OCD like that!)…

here are a few which especially perked my interests
tankist
Tankist – Evil Has no Boundaries

https://tankist.bandcamp.com/

A fantastic start. Raw, blunt and thrashy. Slayer I believe would approve! This is Just what one needs to get into the mood. Surprisingly good production aids this in spiking the adrenaline levels.

Aeons Abyss – Die by the Sword

https://aeonsabyss.bandcamp.com/

This track lends an early brutal edge to this compilation. Although the sound is a tad off (turn this track up for full effect) this still manages to deliver. Rasping vocals accompany a sludgy blackened feel bursting with subterranean groove elements. Heavy drums accentuate the allure of this one although it might take a few listens to fully appreciate.

EigenstateZero

EigenstateZero – Piece by Piece

https://eigenstatezero.com/

This is one of those experimental tracks of which I was talking. A tad industrial, a little progressive and a whole lot different but it all somehow comes together and works. There’s enough atmosphere in here to make a fanatic of the fantasy realm sit up and take note. Buried in the mix it takes a little while to decipher but it there’s and adds another layer to a track which is beyond intriguing. Did I mention this was silly fast? Nope. Well it is. An odd track for sure with its fair fare of unique brutal but it grows on you like the most lovable of enigmatic fungi.

Grand Demise of Civilization- Raining Blood

https://granddemiseofcivilization.bandcamp.com/

A fantastic twist on a true classic. Adding significant Gothic elements, pitch darkness and varied tempo transformations works wonders. There’s just enough uniqueness here for it to become memorable though not an abundance as to make the track far from instantly recognizable as homage. The maniacal elements are top notch as well the atmospheric into and outro.

mindwars

Mindwars – Criminally Insane

https://dissonanceproductions.bandcamp.com/album/do-unto-others

It’s hard to ignore this track. It isn’t far off the tone and feel of the original but with the added emphasis on the drums and a tad more oomph in the percussion its infectious to dangerous levels. I’m keeping an eye out for these guys in the future.

Day 40 – Ghosts of War

https://www.facebook.com/dayforty/

This is an excellent rendition of admittedly one of my fave Slayer tracks. An intriguing introduction, very Thrash metal circa late 80’s, leads into heavily accented vocals, head nodding Thrash with hints of Hardcore. Nuff said but simply put this is a banger!

zvijer

Zvijer – Cleanse the Soul

https://zvijer.bandcamp.com/

Blistering, precise and often raw with a gravelly vocal approach which fits perfectly. This track seethes with a remarkable quality and gets to the point quick.

Savagez – War Ensemble

https://savagez.bandcamp.com/releases

I’m a sucker for feral female vox (it appears Cult is too, which explains his recent obsession with Asarhaddon). Although this track takes liberties with the original’s arrangement, and wavers from brutal Thrash to more a more relaxed tone, it still manages to hit the spot. Admittedly not on its first try but it gets closer each time it’s played.

Imminent Reaper – Skeletons of Society

https://www.facebook.com/ImminentReaperGDL/

Another heavily accented Thrash attack. Not sure what it is about accents, they often add another level of viciousness to the accompanied percussion, in this case that’s the case (did I say “case” enough here?) There’s a little more passion here than in the original but it works. Another great addition to a collection which is fast becoming damn impressive!

Domination Inc.

Domination Inc. – Disciple

https://dominationinc.bandcamp.com/

I’m not sure what it is about this track. At first it didn’t do a damn thing for me. Somehow that changed. This isn’t traditional Thrash, this isn’t traditional Hardcore, it isn’t truly Crossover but a mix of all three topped off with East Coast angst (which is strange as this isn’t from New York, rather Greece better known for its Black and Thrash).

And the following are those which had me twitching spastically, like one possessed.
Intrepid – Chemical Warfare

https://intrepidest.bandcamp.com/

Old school groove, old school brutality, growls of the variety to entice a smirk to alight across the chops and a production tone to match. Clear the floor, if this doesn’t make you want to bounce from one wall to the next there’s something certainly amiss. I could play this all day and not get bored of it, reminds me of the good ole days I used to attend concerts in dank cavernous dive bars.

Myrholt

Myrholt – Kill Again

https://www.facebook.com/olealexandermyrholt/

Vocals with venomous spite, an archaic rawness, but also effective atmosphere tossed in to mess with how one might assume this will play out. The aura fits, what more can I say this has me nodding my head and thinking of all manner of glorious diabolical acts.

Hamvak – At Dawn They Sleep

https://hamvak.bandcamp.com/releases

This has a Speckmann/Master vibe thing going for it. A primitive nature combined with a thick dirge quality which is highly effective. Huge bass adds a tribal feel of sorts and it works!

Beltane

Beltane – Angel of Death

https://beltane.bandcamp.com/

What can I say about this track? It’s another example of if it wasn’t executed to a certain degree, I would have tossed this whole comp no matter the remainder of the quality on offer admittedly. Seriously, Slayer’s most infamous track. It has to be treated with respect and given justice. In this case. Fuck! Be prepared. The percussion is tight, on point. The tracks maniacal nature is added to with a wicked somewhat psychedelic twist. But it’s the vocals which tear the flesh from the bone. Feral female vox are my weakness (I’ve said that before) but this is ridiculous! It’s as if the owner of the throat in this instance is possessed. Like openly urinating whilst explaining the virtues of good parenting at church type behavior. I’m adding seeing a rendition of this in a live setting to my bucket list. Who am I kidding, making it to the land of Peter Jackson (New Zealand) is high up there too. One day, one day. I only wonder if they’d mind if I took along a four-legged friend as a travelling companion?  I hate peanuts and pretzels only make me wish I had mustard.

Frijgard – South of Heaven

https://frijgard.bandcamp.com/

There’s a strangeness to this track. Much like the original it has an undeniable sinister tone, though in this case the percussion has an added eeriness and the vocals an edge as if a Viking is in cahoots with a band tinkering with Post properties. This is a little different and I’m of the belief this is a controversial take but I’m loving the shit outta it. It could well perhaps be my choice for the ‘pallet cleanser’ of this collection.

untothewolves

Unto the Wolves – Silent Scream

https://www.facebook.com/untothewolves/

Define industrial vibes on display here. Machine gun riffs coupled with inhumanely tight drums. But it has a wickedness which is hard to pinpoint and I’m liking the chaos which abruptly breaks the precise nature. Turn this up and introduce the neighbors to the pleasures of Slayer!

Killrape – Born of Fire

https://www.facebook.com/killrapeband/

Raw and blistering. This is straight for the jugular, no nonsense, Thrash with production values which add to its malicious intent. Need I say more? Nope, this is a winner, crank it!

injector

Injector – Dittohead

https://injector.bandcamp.com/

I’m incredibly thankful that someone did this track justice. Admittedly, it’s a riot starter and I would’ve left pissed if it was included and not up to standards. Thankfully it is and it appears I have to complain elsewhere. Kudos Injector for pulling this off!

And this is cut and pasted from the article which accompanies the audio on YouTube, it seems appropriate.

Prepared and released by Antichrist magazine.

Follow SLAYER: https://www.facebook.com/slayer/

Follow Nuclear Blast: https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblast

Follow Grand Sounds PR: https://www.facebook.com/grandsounds/

Follow Brave Words: https://www.facebook.com/bravewords/

Subscribe to Antichrist magazine for latest updates: http://bit.ly/2hNi0gr

Visit our magazine: http://antichristmagazine.com

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/antichristmag/

Visit us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Antichristmag

Antichrist mag tribute to Slayer

And that’s it. This is a fantastic slab of worship which demands ears upon it (though I can’t say I’m not disappointed that “Necrophiliac” wasn’t covered). Perhaps one day this collection will appear on Bandcamp? Until then flood the YouTube channel in which it appears and be sure to thank the minds and talent behind it.

Support the artists, support the genre and hell, why not support me? I’m always up for spending money on crap.

Your loyal misshapen acolyte of most things extreme,

B

Scorching the Retinas – Avalanche of Indy 2020

Avalanche of Indy 2020 Part the First

Welcome reader, may I present another foray into the Independent film realm. An arena where all manner of things simultaneously assault and please the senses. Features whose budgets are dwarfed by Hollywood blockbusters catering bills, in some cases individual valet’s tips, but whose ingenuity and imagination in face of such adversity is beyond remarkable. Unfortunately, a landscape ignored by many and promoted by only the brave willing to step outside of the Hollywood comfort zone. Without further ado here are my thoughts on a pair of films which have been nestled in my Inbox for some time but have only recently been permitted the time and attention they deserve.

Wakefield-project

A Wakefield Project (2019)
Canada/USA
Writer – Lindsay Seim
Director- L.A Lopes
Runtime – 88 minutes
High Octane Pictures

 

A pair of close friends blow their life savings on an Inn. That’s not so bad, this isn’t “Money Pit” after all. But wouldn’t you know, the place is haunted. Toss in a myriad of solar flares, a power cut, a mass murderer, a clairvoyant, snippets of a soundtrack plucked from a smorgasbord of classic genre flicks and…

Well, to make this short. This could have been worse. The camera work is far from horrid, the acting is competent. In actuality this has a surprising number of elements going for it. However, it’s the story and writing which let it down. The films pacing is a tad screwy and the films direction appears unsure of where it’s headed. Does it want to be a “See no Evil” clone, a Sci-Fi film, a ghost story, a homage to a Fulci classic (with listless undead with blood pouring from the eyeballs)

fulci city of the living dead

Does that come in a vegan option?

or another zombie film to add to the already mountainous pile? There’s seriously not much reasoning or explanation as to either direction. The dialogue admittedly runs the gamut of horrid through amusing. But again, this isn’t the worst film I’ve witnessed. It shows promise in some aspects although is tainted with a few scenes which appear confusing and a myriad of plot devices which make little dense overall it suffers from a story which needs tidying up some.

(trailer courtesy of The Movie Waffler)

Highlights are few and far between but include the films overactive soundtrack, an undeniable homage to a slew of genre favorites, an abattoir stage which could well be utilized to better effect and Reese; an instantly likable character (played by The Strain’s Dennis Andres) who spouts one liners and raunchy lines aplenty.

4

Watch this at your own risk. Hell, give this a few years and it’s sure to show as part of a bargain priced collection roster.

echoes of fear film

Echoes of Fear (2018)
USA
Writer – Brian Avenet-Bradley
Director – Brain Avenet-Bradley, Laurence Avenet-Bradley.
Runtime – 90 minutes
Black Butterflies, LLC

 

When a college students grandfather dies (in mysterious circumstances) she is left with his house. Caught in a little of a bind she decides to move in until she can tidy it up enough to be able to put it up for sale on the market. Her first night is restless. Awoken by strange noises and things that go bump in the night, but being the adventurous daring type, she decides to investigate (which is considerably more than I ever would).

echoes of fear - crawspace

Knock down a wall or two and voila’ you find a creepy crawlspace. But where’s Klaus?

The ‘happenings’ increase in intensity as Alicia (played convincingly by Trista Robinson) slowly unwraps the houses secrets. But will her boyfriend allow her to remain in the house long enough to unravel the enigma? Does he have ulterior motives? Just who or what is causing the disturbances and acting like such a nuisance? Why does the house have more crawlspace and hidden areas than most? Does Alicia need a Ghostbuster, an exorcist or a Handyman? And just what is up with her obsession with rodents?

These are all questions which slither through the annoying part of the brain which finds it difficult to relax as this plays out. However, I’m pleased to announce these are all overridden by the undeniable fact that this film delivers. And does it! An excellent soundtrack/score heightens the tension considerably whilst the camera provides plenty of misdirection within a setting (fun fact; the house depicted is owned by the writer/director) blanketed by shadows and objects which move seemingly of their own accord. A story which provides more than one could initially imagine provide a riveting, often palpably harrowing viewing experience (I watched this in the dark with headphones and jumped like a silly goose several times).

Echoes of Fear (2019)

As much as you try to close your eyes you’re “compelled” to watch

The films pace rarely let’s up. Alicia is stretched far beyond the point of which many others would decide to call it quits. Her tenacity, resourcefulness and bravery (I can see many calling it stupidity as they yell “oh hell, no” at the screen) is inspiring and takes the film into a different direction than others with a much similar theme. Her performance throughout is outstanding lending a credible edge to a feature which, honestly, only builds in its hypnotic nature as it progresses. Apparently, she’s cut of the rare cloth whose main characteristics include resilience to the Nth degree, eye- widening determination and not folding under pressure, no matter its origin. Based on the caliber of this performance; a rather unassuming introverted type who transforms into somewhat of a fearless explorer/sleuth. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that Trista (Robinson) becomes inundated with projects and propositions in the very near future. The neighbor’s performance (courtesy of Marshall Hilton) is also worthy of note. A character who appears concerned though respectful of boundaries whose presence only adds to the overall mystery of the film as a whole.

Echoes of Fear Neighbor

Well howdy. I’m your neighbor.

Channeling “The Changeling” (not the Angela Jolie film but rather the unforgettably well-crafted and chilling George C Scott opus from 1980), utilizing the scare tactics of “The Grudge” and the visual build-up approach of classics such as “Halloween” though never wandering into copycat realms. “Echoes of Fear” traipses into arenas one might not expect adding layer upon layer of intrigue to a story which exhilarates and continues use to keep its audience enraptured.

(Trailer courtesy of Movie Trailers Source)

To keep this short, for it would be easy to praise indefinitely, “Echoes of Fear” proves that talent (on the directorial, writing and acting fronts) still thrives within a genre that’s recently resorted to gimmicks (utilizing stern gazed habit wearing folk, creepy vintage collectables and twisting folklore and fairytale) to provide the scares. It holds the attention throughout and is bolstered by both strong performances and a fantastic atmosphere laden score. And although it doesn’t ooze with gore it still obliterates all of the checkmark spaces in the prerequisite boxes which constitute a great horror film. Suffice it to say this is a must see and deserves the hype. A huge accomplishment for the crew involved and the low budget film genre at large “Echoes of Fear” demands respect, a larger audience and (tragically) more acclaim than my words can provide.

Echoe of Fear possessed

Words fail me, perhaps a spot of interpretive dance is in order?

Don’t waste another minute, “Echoes of fear” is a fantastic example of the crème de le crème of that which the creative minds within the Indy scene have recently produced (in my opinion). Add this to the top of the “to be watched” pile. You can thank me later.

 

9.5

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 Part Seven

black metal gif

As the world nears total lockdown and a possible zombie apocalypse looms, we can all rejoice in the fact that we still have audio to lift the spirits and transport us to a better place. However, before I continue, I’d like to mention that artists are some of the folks hit hardest during these times of uncertainty, obviously close behind those who work in a serving capacity in restaurants, bars and similar establishments. Be  good neighbor, support others in these times of need and help out whenever you can. As a nation, as a people we will make it through this and only be stronger because of the adversities and instances of silliness we are currently enduring. Without further ado and preamble may I present a handful of audio treats which delighted my senses. I have hopes they might do the same for the listener.

Note; As much as I’ve tried to keep this brief it’s somehow worked its way into diatribe lengths and for that I apologize. However, for all those willing to dip their retinas in my atrocious grammatical (lack of) skills may I present this week’s findings.

January Releases

vernon of persia

Vernon of Persia (USA) – Ascend
https://vernonofpersia.bandcamp.com/
Release- January/10/2020
Self-Released
ARTWORK- 82

Who I can only assume is an astronaut stares longingly at a planet in the distance? I can also only assume the planet he/she’s on is Mars as it’s red whereas the other planet is blue. Is it Earth? Why would he/she want to go back? Questions, questions and more questions all leading up to the all-important one…what about the quality of the album itself?

FIRST TRACK- 76

Djent and Technical Death leanings with sparse Progressive breakdowns aided by vocals (hardly traditional grunts, growls or shrieks) dipped in angst. This is hardly Brutal Death but rather Deathcore, an intriguing start with significant ‘bounce’ and I’m curious.

INITIAL LISTEN- 78

Surprisingly diverse this release encompasses elements from a variety of genres (namely Djent, Progressive. Tech and Melodic Death) whilst adding a twin-pronged vocal approach to add depth. The tracks on offer are pleasingly different and showcases the bands willingness to inject a little experimentation into the mix. However, with that being said this most probably won’t appeal to those whose penchants run to Brutal Death and traditional Tech or even Prog Death but rather to those who prefer their breakdowns just short of Slam territories and audio which is just barely too extreme for traditional/terrestrial radio airplay. Honestly, I’m liking this more than I thought I would (admittedly it has its moments) it’s growing on me. But then again, I have a soft spot for other audio in much the same vein; ie, vintage Beartooth which most don’t understand. My recommendation is; if you’re adventurous, give this a listen & decide for yourself. It might surprise you?

Favorite Tracks; Weightless, Ascend, Inner Sleep, Sea of Trees,

FFO; (vintage) Beartooth, Killswitch Engaged, Between the Buried and Me.

incinerator

Incinerator (Norway) – Awakened by Evil
https://incinerator-norway.bandcamp.com/releases
Release (digital) – January/17/2020
Self-release
ARTWORK- 82

The art here is dominated by a large logo, obviously the band’s name, and with what it includes there should be no doubts as to what to expect in regards to the audio within. There’s an inverted cross and an ancient torch with a blazing pentagram at its center. But that’s not all. There’s also a skull held aloft by a hand and wrist encased in a studded wristband. The skull looks none too happy being engulfed in flame but it all makes for an intriguing image.

FIRST TRACK- 85

An intriguing introduction (taken from “Awaken” by NORDVARGR) leads the listener into exquisite black speed/thrash territories (draped in nostalgic qualities) to snap the spine. Heavy accented vocals top the unholy concoction off leaving me rabidly eager for the remaining three tracks to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

Only four tracks here. Surprisingly each boasts more than enough to keep the listener sated. Atmosphere is plentiful thankfully invoked through percussion rather than keyboards. Swifter than-something-quite-fast rhythms alongside an impressive drum salvo and wicked vocals make for a hypnotic audio experience. But that’s not all this offers, this isn’t merely thrash nor speed (with at times a decidedly South American flavor) for within the four tracks here is a distinct homage to the blackened spectrum though it’s not until the final track, “In the Dead of Winter”, that this becomes neon sign bright. Crisp production with a raw edge elevates this into stellar realms.

If you’re a fan of the acts mentioned below do not let this pass you by unheard.

Favorite Tracks; Intoxicating from start to finish.

FFO; (vintage) Slayer, Hellripper, Wraith, Bastardizer, (vintage) Bathory, Venom, Bewitcher.

February Releases

Karnivore

Karnivore (Sweden) – Dodsriket
https://southcoast-productionssweden.bandcamp.com/album/d-dsriket
Release- February/13/2020
South Coast Productions
ARTWORK- 77

Classic bronzed and somewhat archaic statue-esque art. Puts me in mind of blackened death audio, but I could be mistaken (it’s happened before).

FIRST TRACK- 78

An over two-minute instrumental, I’d say this would normally be a risk but this is surprisingly upbeat audio complete with rhythms and a somewhat epic melodic vibe which hints at perhaps that which is to follow. Color me curious.

INITIAL LISTEN- 80

It isn’t often that a release touted as ‘Death Metal’ from Sweden surprises me as much as this. And it didn’t take long for it to do so either! One might expect the olde tried-and-true HM2 approach, but it isn’t here. This boasts melodies (not rare in and of itself in the genre) and a certain infectious nature but it’s how it gets there which is the kicker. Think a Viking touch ala Amon Amarth mixed with the rhythms usually associated with ‘Storm’ era Dissection and you wouldn’t be far off. Add to that certain traditional Heavy Metal passages, a spot of Sodom worship amidst the albums thrashier moments, rough accented vocals and the hypnotic effect is complete. Barring a few hiccups, the album is a great find and introduction to both the band and their style.

Favorite Tracks; Empire of Filth, Slice n’ Dice, No Freak, Black Flames, Disfigured Man.

FFO; Amon Amarth, Dissection, (vintage) Arch Enemy.

March Releases

pestifer

Pestifier (Belgium) – Expanding Oblivion
https://pestifer-band.bandcamp.com/
Release- March/13/2020
Xenokorp
ARTWORK- 72

Blues, greens and a most unmistakable aura, that of seething menace amidst towering spires. I’d swear this was a black metal release if I didn’t know better.

FIRST TRACK- 88

Complex rhythms, multi-layered riffs and amidst it all a purpose, a story to tell, woven intricately throughout. Fantastical passion invoked by undeniable hypnotic qualities and captivating melodies. A stunning mix of chaos and precision.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

Impressive, unpredictable and bursting with a mischievous sense of boisterous adventure, a spiraling narrative (which puts one in mind of Atheist as well, in instances, Voivod but also Testimony era Pestilence) and a varied progressive approach thankfully miles from the brutal assault many others offer. However, this still offers a technical pace and sublime precision, which most will be able to instantly appreciate, to keep the listener on their toes while offering nostalgia for those who have been around the extreme audio block. Give this a couple of spins, its grown on me and continues to do so.

Favorite Tracks; Exciting from start to finish.

FFO; (mid) Pestilence, Necrophagist, Atheist, Obscura.

 

 

Wolf (Sweden) – Feeding the Machine

Release- March/13/2020
Century Media Records

wolf feeding the machine

ARTWORK- 94

A little girl nonplussed at having to walk upon a landscape of shattered bodies (if that’s what this depicts) There’s something going on here. Is this a deleted scene from “Soilent Green”? Is she the harbinger of doom in sheep’s clothing? Regardless this is probably my fave album art of the year thus far.

FIRST TRACK- 88

Melodic Heavy Metal bordering on Speed metal with Halford-esque vocals. With solos and leads also of the Priest ilk, though this is a tad darker I’m liking it.

INITIAL LISTEN- 77

An impressive vocal range, rhythms and melodies which are highly infectious and a style which is perilously close to Thrash. The leads and solos are what separates this from the crowd but for me there’s still something missing as it didn’t live up to the initial excitement the first track provided and only a few tracks grabbed me. Perhaps a few more listens are in order?

Favorite Tracks; Shoot to Kill, Midnight Hour, Mass Confusion, Feeding the Machine.

FFO; Judas Priest, Primal Fear, Iced Earth.

Aronious

Aronious (USA) – Perspicacity
https://aronious.bandcamp.com/
Release- March/13/2020
The Artisan Era
ARTWORK- 84

A burst of color. Reds, pinks, grey and darkness and even a splatter of green. I believe I see a tree, there’s definitely a moon in there, apart from that I’m not sure what I see, apart from the bands logo. A little confusing, but I like it. Perhaps the image is a nod to the style of audio within; the melding of one color into the next, the ominous approach of night and the transforming glory of nature (?) Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK- 91

From its slight Middle Eastern/Sci-Fi themed instrumental opening one instinctively knows this will soon twist, transform and lead the listener into unpredictable waters, and it does. Cut to octopus-esque drumming abilities (an obviously well-trained creature) intricately carved guitar rhythms (I can only imagine a smoking fretboard) and a constantly evolving arrangement; flourishes of an intricate nature, frenetic galloping movements, melodious breakdowns and the scene is set. Add brutal death vocals and every Prog/Tech Death fans interest is piqued, as well it should be! A fantastic opener setting the stage fur what’s about to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 90

Tech/Prog Death is a fantastic genre, however it’s a little tricky to write upon if truth be told. One can only say “intricate”, “tight”, “fluid”, “precise” and “inhuman instrument manipulation” only so many times and I’m pleased to say those phrases all fit perfectly within the parameters of this review. I’ll state that The Artisan Era are certainly expert in choosing talent for inclusion within their stable, and they’ve done so again with Aronious. I only find it strange that they aren’t from Californian soil (as most appear to be). In regards to this album, and without trying to sound repetitive, it entertains from its opening note to its last. Perspicacity stays far removed from predictable, remains exciting and careens through a myriad of genres as it transports its listener into dizzying heights, brutal arenas and landscapes both serene and surreal. And often all within a few seconds of each other. This is in short, an excellent example of what the finest of the genre has to offer. And yet another winner for The Artisan Era stable. Need I say make room for this in the collection? Probably not. But I just did!

Favorite Tracks; Within an album of this quality, forget it!

FFO; Inanimate Existence, Equipoise, Obscura.

neorhythm

Neorhythm (Russia)- Terrastory
https://neorhythm.bandcamp.com/
Release- March/20/2020
Self-Released
ARTWORK- 88

Can you depict the history of mankind in an image, a diorama, perhaps trapped in a bubble?

– You bet

Schweet. Great job. But where’s the Queen mum and the cast of the Jersey Shore?

FIRST TRACK- 72

A wide ranged vocal approach, crunchy guitars, varied pace, riffs for days and an aura overflowing with passion. This boasts a rainbow of elements and promises that the remainder of the album is going to be quite different.

INITIAL LISTEN- 83

I wasn’t honestly sure what to think when presented with an album, concept of sorts admittedly, on the history of mankind. I sure as hell wasn’t expecting it to be as impressive as this. Promo materials state “Dark Groove” and it’s close, for wont of a better term. As the album rolls out certain passages bear a distinct Moonspell Gothic Rock vibe, others a Rotting Christ grandiose feel, while others yet a bouncy mix of styles I’d associate with Gojira. In short, this is quite unique, Avant Garde could well be used in its description (hopefully it wouldn’t scare potential listeners away) as well a slew of other genre monikers though not a single umbrella to cover that which is on offer. It becomes more consumable as it matures though that might be based on the fact that the listener is merely becoming more familiar with the style on offer? One thing is undeniable; this has a great deal to offer those with patience and an open mind. With that in mind I’m rather surprised I like this as much as I do.

Favorite Tracks; Fight for Fire, Zeus Rules, Empire Glory, Sapere Aude, Information Age.

FFO; Soulfly, Sepultura, Gojira, Meshugga.

April Releases (Why? Because I just couldn’t wait)

grim fate

Grim Fate (The Netherlands) – Perished in Torment
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/perished-in-torment
Release – April/7/2020
Xtreme Music
ARTWORK- 75

A Bull, twisting human souls, a Jason looking fellow, an Eagle, even a few tombstones, there’s probably a few more details in there if you peer hard enough. Intriguing art with a bronzed effect and a myriad of intricate details leaves me curious as to the audio on offer.

FIRST TRACK- 79

Mid-paced infectious dirge with carefully injected Doom elements and a certain familiarity which nods to old school sensibilities. This leaves me eager for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 76

Death Doom driven by unmistakable dirge qualities. Old school influences are front and center with plenty of bludgeoning groove, galloping passages and tempo changes to spare. Not much that’s genre defining or ground-breaking here but this is guaranteed to make one move and will please the ominous mid-paced chuggery crowd. Is it just me or does the ten-plus minute closer bring to mind “Shades of God” and “Icon” era Paradise Lost?

Favorite Tracks; Pile of Corpses, You Will Rot, Perpetual Anguish.

FFO; Grave, Benediction, Asphyx, Bolt Thrower, Gorefest.

 

khora

KHÔRA (International) – Timaeus
https://soulsellerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/timaeus
Release- April/17/2020
Soulseller Records
ARTWORK- 91

Undeniable boner material for those into Lovecraft themed chaos and otherworldly cosmic Sci-Fi themed shenanigans.

FIRST TRACK- 88

Dropped unceremoniously into a cosmic landscape via cinematic synth mastery the listener is soon pummeled with a style akin to Death meets Black with Symphonic elements to spare. A dizzying introduction if truth be told which overflows with intricate details and nuance hinting at an album with a great deal to offer those who have the willingness/patience to allow it to do so.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

It becomes clear within the first couple of tracks that this isn’t a traditional, run of the mill, extreme audio affair. It’s neither comfortably Black, Death or even Progressive though it does utilize elements of each, with a more than liberal helping of atmosphere, within its epic, sprawling arrangements. As one listens the description Avant Garde might come to mind for this is slightly ‘different’ in its composition and approach. Unmistakable however, is the underlying dark/ominous nature aura throughout (even in the tracks with a remarkable Progressive Devon Townsend feel) though highly polished in its production. Balanced is a term which I believe fits in describing this album. Progressive themes are evident as well the majesty, coldness and harrowing nature often associated with Black metal. This isn’t all that’s evident but amongst the styles here these are the most prevalent and effective in making this a listening experience which leaves an impression, fits the cosmic narrative and warrants further exploration to fully digest. In conclusion I’m of the mind that this is an album which demands repeated listens to fully appreciate. Much like consuming a Pringle; one just isn’t enough.

Favorite Tracks; Noceo, l’Annihilateur, Existence, The Occultation of Time.

FFO; Septic Flesh, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir,

Something a little Different

Askvader

Askvader (Sweden) – s/t
https://askvader.bandcamp.com/album/s-t
Release-March/13/2020
The Sign Records

The artwork for this release depicts various instruments piled upon a minuscule island (of sorts) with a storm raging, lightning pierces the sky, in the background. Miles from the imagery which would normally appeal to my refined (ha-ha) tastes this album boasts what I can only imagine is more a rock and roll/traditional heavy metal vibe. However, after playing it for the first time with my daughter in attendance and having witnessed the look of sheer joy spread across her features, and her little legs and digits twitching in time with the music I came to the rapid conclusion that it deserved a few words.

Cheshire Cat

Similar to the grin on my daughters face

Undeniable is the fact that this isn’t what I would normally have pounce between the ears. The lyrics aren’t based upon anything dark, morbid, the apocalypse, shenanigans in the Underworld or any other manner of perversion humans or other biped abominations are capable of. The lyrics here are based on happier, more relatable everyday things. In fact, this is radio friendly audio if only the majority of stations would ever give it a chance. The music has rhythm but again is oceans removed from that which I would normally allow entry into the senses. This isn’t Thrash, it isn’t Death it certainly isn’t black nor Grindcore or any variation or mixture of those already mentioned. It’s obviously classed as a pallet cleanser but for those who let their ears frequently wander into such realms, I would venture to say this is very good. It overflows with melodies, both acoustic and otherwise, all of the instruments are clear, the vocals are instantly likable, in a fresh, youthful, kind of way. The style however, is varied, ranging from Doom, Brutal Death and Dirge. Ha, I jest! In actuality this is Blues laden Rock and Roll with an emphasis on passion and emotion. A retro vibe is prevalent throughout and it’s here that I should really mention a plethora of acts (from the era in question) which this style sounds like. But, I’m at a loss. Suffice to mention this has an air far removed from modern rock and more an aura which The Black Crowes and Old Man Wizard have more recently captured and probably a slew of other acts I’ve yet to discover (perhaps even a smidgen of vintage Wolfsbane). This shines with leads, solos and riffs one can’t help but appreciate be it through spastic limb movement or the smirk which continues to spread across the chops as this plays out. I’ll admit I’ve listened to this more than I thought I ever would and I delight in playing this whenever my youngest joins me in the car as I much prefer to either of the “Frozen” soundtracks, surprisingly I’m actually coming around to it but more importantly it makes my daughter ‘light up’. And that seriously is all that matters (it’s the little things in life) and the reason why I’ve just spent more than a few minutes scribbling these words.

mix tape action

Keep it up old man. Hopefully you’ll make at least one persons day slightly better.

In closing, give this a chance. It isn’t “extreme” in any way, I believe I’ve mentioned that before, but it is well- crafted, infectious and addictive.

And, that’s about it for this week’s extreme audio exploration.

Stay safe out there.

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 Part Five

black metal gif

And its time for yet another instalment in the ongoing series which explores the spectrum of Extreme Audio showcasing releases both fresh and not so much (obviously this would have been the ideal place to add “rotting” but I felt it cliched so left it out). This installment is shorter than most due to other duties I’ve put off until the very last moment but have demanded completion. Without further ado I present a few releases which I consider worthy of praise.

February Releases

primeval mass nine altars

Primeval Mass (Greece) – Nine Altars

https://primevalmass.bandcamp.com/album/nine-altars

Release – February/21/2020

Katoptron IX Records

ARTWORK- 90

There’s certainly something sinister going on here. An altar, or nine, human debris and plenty of skulls. I’m left wondering though what or whom is he/she hoping to invoke?

FIRST TRACK- 92

Grin inducing silly paced riffs, mischievous rhythms, passionate solos, an undeniable diabolicalism (that’s a word now!) and a venom dripping vocal approach. Every blackened speed metal fan’s wettest dream come to fruition. Now, where are my wet wipes?

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

One moment you’re being dragged through murky blackened speed waters, the next crystal clean on the back of a vehicle propelled by a fuel garnered from the finest Maiden esque rhythms and solos. And then, when you start to feel comfortable, a chaotic narrative takes ahold, technicality in a blender, and whips you around to the point of utter disorientation. And then… Well I’m not gonna ruin it, apart from to say that the fourteen-minute closer will leave the listener panting for more. Black, Power, Speed, hypnotic atmosphere it’s all here but molded in such a way to keep the entire collective grinning with the digits poised on the repeat button. Expect to see this mentioned a great deal more (based on unmitigated reasoning) as Year End approaches.

Favorite Tracks; Delivers frequent stings (in this instance, and the purpose of this analogy, a good thing) much like I would imagine an unwanted caress of the “hair” of Medusa. “Fuckn’ ouch! But it stramgely felt good, I think I’m gonna do it again!”

FFO; Hellripper, Wraith, Inculter, Hellish.

asarhaddon

Asarhaddon (Germany) – Reysa

https://geisterasche.bandcamp.com/album/reysa

Release- February/29/2020

Geistarasche Organisation

ARTWORK- 85

Those poor birds. I’m guessing they were in the wrong place at the wrong time but at least now they won’t be cursed anymore for spreading discontent through aerial fecal assaults.

FIRST TRACK- 90

Grandiose yet majestic, ferocious yet atmospheric. A wicked concoction of styles here resulting in audio which is downright mesmeric and (it gets better yet) it’s topped off with my weakness (in the extreme audio world); feral female “vokills”. A fantastic start. I’m all ears!!

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

I have a weakness for female “throats” (hopefully that doesn’t sound wrong, though it might sound “funny”) and thankfully this wasn’t promoted as that, else it receive/garner special attention based on that factor alone. As honestly this deserves attention based on its caliber. It delivers! Riffs are melodic yet harsh and the lyrics although in German (?), delivered in a feral approach, add an enigmatic archaic quality which elevates this to another level entirely. In part it reminds me of vintage Katatonia, Dissection while also boasting numerous other elements from across the blackened spectrum, including passages of what could be described as “post” sporting surprisingly hypnotic rhythms. Doom is present as well plenty of atmosphere making this at times menacing, often ferocious and thoroughly ominous. The production is clean though there still remains a primal edge to the audio’s composition to sate those with more the “traditional” yearnings. Overall a stunning release with a quality I wasn’t expecting in the slightest. This is black metal I, truthfully a newbie to the scene, can subscribe to!

Favorite Tracks; This delivers throughout!

FFO; vintage Katatonia, Dissection, (Columbia’s) Lucifera, Mist of Misery, newer Satyricon.

March Releases

nexorum

Nexorum (Norway) – Death Unchained

https://non-serviam-records.bandcamp.com/album/death-unchained

Release- March/6/2020

Non -Serviam Records

ARTWORK- 86

A nest of snakes cradles a bronzed skull.

Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the details and colors which makes this image pop.

FIRST TRACK- 77

Grandiose riffs, groove and a touch of darkness. This is undeniably Blackened Death shot through with veins of melody and mischief. A utilized sound bite seems to be, at first, an odd touch though soon feels more comfortable as the track wears on. An intriguing start.

INITIAL LISTEN- 83

Undeniable dirge, ala Bolt Thrower, drives this beast. A creature with a blackened soul spawned from the melding of many minds and influence. This is sure to please many this showcases a style whose radius covers both Death and Blackened arenas with a splash of Thrash and diabolical nature tossed in for effect. And it works; the atmosphere is superb and the overall feel isn’t one that depends on keyboards and reeks of over-dramatic/anti-Christian silliness. Overall this is a fantastic debut sure to whet the appetite of those with a penchant for a style that’s neither Death or Black but both drenched in top notch archaic qualities.

Favorite Tracks; Saligia Moralis Codice, Antidiluvian Purification, The Luciferian Descent.

FFO; Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth, Abysmal Dawn, Bolt Thrower, Septic Flesh, Noctem.

medium (argentina)

Medium (Argentina) – s/t

https://mediumgrind.bandcamp.com/album/self-titled-grindcore-crust

Release – March/6/2020

Transcending Obscurity Records

ARTWORK- 78

Blunt, somewhat simple though at the same time hypnotic, but eye-catching.

Is this the Sun, the Moon, an eyeball? Or a combination of all three? A stunning image which hints at perhaps multi layers of audio for the listener to lose themselves in. However, this gives absolutely zero away in relation to the type or style of content within.

FIRST TRACK- 90

Whoa, just whoa! This is a wicked mash- up of genres bound together by angst fueled vocals, rhythm and a Grindcore/Crust undercurrent which isn’t at all overwhelming but is utterly present. A fantastic start for those who haven’t yet taken the plunge to fully immerse themselves in any one extreme genre.

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

Under twenty minutes in length and boasting seven tracks, this certainly has a Grindcore/Crust aura to it, although it’s admittedly longer than most it still delivers all the aggression one would assume. But wait, there’s more. Each track boasts its own identity, though not so wildly as to make this a release that hurtles without care toward Avant Garde territories. This is carefully constructed, meticulously crafted with plentiful nods to a wide radius of genres without over-saturation of any one in particular. In instances “Medium” yields a comfortable, hardly brutal approach while in others it displays a more in your face assault all the while rooted upon a dark foundation which only adds to the albums appeal. Not to fret however as this isn’t too different, or experimental as to be foreign, it’s strangely familiar in fact and will most definitely appeal to those with a wide array of audio interests, one might even call this a pallet cleanser of a type for those not fully committed to stepping away completely from their extreme audio realm of choice. Prepare the body for movement for this will yank you around like a marionette at the whims of a drunken puppeteer.

Favorite Tracks; Incites an immovable grin throughout its length. There’s not a dull moment to be found here.

FFO; Illivilja, NoMas and a plethora of acts who experiment with the boundaries of Grindcore and Crust.

holiday drumming animal

Bang the drum, bang the drum, bang the drum and keep a happy face

And much like something frustratingly short this is done, and I’m heading back to other duties which collectively leer at me, impatiently, from across the room. Until next time, don’t fear discovery of that which would normally be foreign to the ears,

Cult