Posts Tagged ‘Doom’

Abrasive Audio- Turbo Edition #1

abrasive audio turbo edition header

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

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

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

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

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

WVRM - Colony Collapse

WVRM (USA) – Colony Collapse

Release- April 2020

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

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

Final Score – 83

The Antichrist Imperium

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

Release – June 2018

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

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

Final Score – 94

Devil to Pay

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

Release – November 2019

Genre – Doom/Stoner Rock/Southern Rock

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

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

Final Score – 91


Heiligen (Chile) – Shadows in the Church

Release – June 2020

Genre – Heavy/Epic/Speed Metal

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

Final Score – 73


Solothus (Finland) – Realm of Ash and Blood

Release – March 2020

Genre – Death/Doom/Sludge

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

Final Score – 87


Monolith (South Africa) – The Lord Conspirator

Release – April 2020

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

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

Final Score – 84


Runemagick (Sweden) – Into Desolate Realms

Release – October 2019

Genre – Death/Doom

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

Final Score – 83

Human Infection

Human Infection (USA) – Gravesight

Release – December 2019

Genre – Brutal Death/Grindcore

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

Final Score – 87

Arcane Dread

Arcane Dread (Greece)- Mist and Marshes

Release – April 2019

Genre – Death Metal

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

Final Score – 72


Deathsiege (Israel) – Unworthy Adversary

Release – April/2020

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

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

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

Final Score- 89


Lucifungus (Australia) – Derek

Release – April 2020

Genre – Stoner Rock/Doom/Sludge

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

Final Score – 88

The Holy Flesh

The Holy Flesh (UK) – Emissary and Vessel

Release – March 2020

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

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

Final Score – 82

Shards of Humanity

Shards of Humanity (USA) – Cold Logic

Release – April 2020

Genre – Thrash/Death/Tech Death

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

Jump on this stat. But stretch first!!

Final Score – 89

Northern Crown

Northern Crown (USA) -In a Pallid Shadow

Release – July 2020

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

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

Final Score – 89


Descend (Sweden) – The Deviant

Release – June 2020

Genre – Melodic Death/Progressive/Doom

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

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

Final Score – 94


Infer (Slovakia) – Aeon of Deathless Blight

Release – June 2020

Genre – Blackened Death/Black/Dirge/Death Metal

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

Final Score – 88

...And Oceans

…And Oceans (Finland) – Cosmic World Mother

Release – May 2020

Genre – Black Metal/Melodic BM/Symphonic BM

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

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

Final Score – 90


Tethra (Italy) – Empire of the Void

Release- March 2020

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

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

Final Score- 92


Nekropsie (Germany) – Prophecies of Decay

Release – March 2020

Genre – Black Metal/Melodic Black Metal/Atmospheric

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

Final Score – 85

Cracked Machine

Cracked Machine (UK) – Gates of Keras

Release – June 2020

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

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

Final Score – 90


Necrovault (Germany) – Totenzug; Festering Peregrination

Release- March 2020

Genre – Cavernous Death Metal/OSDM/Doom

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

Final Score – 86


Valdrin (USA) – Effigy of Nightmares

Release – June 2020

Genre – Melodic Black Metal/Symphonic BM/Raw BM

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

Final Score – 80

The Great Old Ones

The Great Old Ones (France) – Cosmicism

Release – October 2019

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

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

Final Score – 89

exhausted animal

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

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


Attack of the Compilation;

Doomed and Stoned in the Netherlands

Doomed and Stoned in the Netherlands

Release – June/2020

Curated by Willem Verhappen

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

The Netherlands in relation to Europe

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

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

doomed and stoned portland oregon

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

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

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

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

an evening with knives

Gigatron2000 – This Island Earth

Fuzzboar – Acid Tears

Obese – Behexed

An Evening with Knives – Sacrifice

Gore – Bad Ideas Obsession

Dreckneck – Pusherman


Drive by Wire – Glider

¡Pendjo! – Hacia La Luz

Stone in Egypt – Chariot on Fire

Mouflon – Lawless

Swampcult – Chapter III: Al-Azif Necronomicon

VIIHB – Cyanide Holy Night

mantra machine

Into the Arcane – Sleepless We Lie, Thoughtless We Cry

Phantom Druid – Colossal Gate

Phe – Vortex

Severant – Sunyata

Mantra Machine – Delta V

Omgeving – Zwaartekracht bestaat hier niet


Cthuluminati – Svartálfr

Ache – III

Onhou – Silence

Uur – Helder Uur

Hooded Priest – These Skies Must Break


Officium Triste – Like a Flower in the Desert

Bismut – Gewapende Magte

OneGodLess – Hangman’s Time

Gavran – Uska

Façade – Ego

throwing bricks

Throw Me in The Crater – Volcanic

Ortega – Void (feat. Gnaw Their Tongues)

Throwing Bricks – Slowdives Dagger

Toner Low – Phase Nine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ramen noodles

Ramen noodles

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Officium Triste

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

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


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

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

Doomed and Stoned . Com logo

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


Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Nine

black metal gif

It’s been a while, and for that I apologize. Between work, family and days off (where I haven’t much time in which to scribble) I’ve found it difficult to do much of anything. There are moments I wish I were in quarantine apart from the fact that the wife works from home. However, I’ve persisted and have managed to find a few albums which I deem worthy of attention. Obviously, there’s still so much more which demands respect and an immeasurable number of acts who warrant support in these unprecedented times. Admittedly, not only acts but others, individuals, the list is too long to mention here, who aren’t quite so fortunate. However rather than turn this into a diatribe I’d like to give thanks to those who toil, sweat and persist about their duties on the frontlines but also to those who continue to offer entertainment, invaluable distraction from that which burdens most everyone’s conversation. Seriously. Fuck Covid! This too shall pass, but until it does stay strong and metal.

A Few Plucked from 19′
Dissorted (Germany) – The Final Divide

Release- October/25/2019
Black Sunset



Sonewhere between Lovecraftian lore and Biblical text this depicts definite sides. Whether Right or Left Twix has the advantage I’m not sure.


Thrash bordering on melodic Death with sufficient Hardcore in the vocal department to have one thinking of The Haunted, even in instances The Exploited. A great start to get one in the mood to keep the neighbors awake at an ungodly hour.


A wicked Thrash mixture which boasts infectious riffs, plenty of aggression, smattering of hardcore and crossover elements and varied, though quite obvious, influences. A varied vocal approach helps to keep the album exciting ranging from an Antheax Bush-esque approach to that heard upon the undeniable standout belter “Picasso Warhead” which sports closer to an Arraya vibe. Overall an album and an act wjo demand attention, especially for those whose genre interests are rooted in the more melodic Thrash arenas circa the late 80’s/early 90’s.

Favorite Tracks; Aggressor/Protector, The Plague, Leviathan, Bloodshed Divine, The Temple, Picasso Warhead.

FFO; The Haunted, (later) Anthrax, Exodus, (early) Flotsam and Jetsam, Annihilator, Armored Saint.

Dead Prophet

Dead Prophet (Poland) – Sounds of Enlightenment (EP)

Release – December/12/2019

I’m honestly not sure what this is. Perhaps a machine of some sort which elicts a wide range of emotions. Perhaps the cogs of Government and the populace represented by the faces. None of them are happy, any surprises there?


With an introduction which sounds like a slow descent into the underworld this collection is off to a chilling start. However, what follows may be surprising. This isn’t audio of the Blackened Death variety but rather that of hellish fast paced and precise destruction. It’s rather difficult not to move to this. A great start to put one in the mood to get shit done. If “shit” includes destroying everything in sight.


Eerily similar to Origin in boasting the same hyper speed approach there’s no deny that these guys bear some skill. This is tight and precise whilst also punishing. Much like being stuck in a tornado of razor wire this will shred the senses and leave one disoriented although it does slow in moments in order for one to catch their breath before the next bludgeoning. I can’t understand why these guys arent talked about more.

Favorite Tracks; Stunningly devastating throughout.

FFO; Origin, Kataklysm, Obscura, Abysmal Dawn.

January Releases

acid mammoth

Acid Mammoth (Greece) – Under Acid Hoof

Heavy Psych Sounds

With only three colors on display, each in stark contrast to the other, this could be called simplistic. It may be but with the focus of the image on a large fluffy mammal and several robed figures, milling about, the theme of the album becomes more than obvious. Heaviness and the Occult, or am I wrong in my assumptions here?


The opening riffs of this album pounces upon the senses like the mating cry (?) of Mammoth (or so I would assume); thunderous, forlorn, yet laced with soul. The track continues to offer head noddin’ melodies draped in fuzz and lyrics basted in the occult.


I’m not usually into (what some might call) “traditional” Doom however this has somehow managed to ensnare me in its spell. The term “traditional” is somewhat loose here as this showcase’s stoner, psych, and bluesy elements all of which are delivered in such a way as to give this an undeniably fluid nature. Huge riffs cavort with an undercurrent of flowing melodies invoking ominous landscapes and scenarios drenched in dread, all of epic cinematic quality. The vocal accompaniment adds brilliant narrative flair slathered in emotion. Overall, this album boasts a vintage aura and tone more than likely to please those already into the scene and entice those who aren’t, who might have been curious before, towards the fold. Admittedly it’s been a long while since an album of this ilk has had such an impact on me as this has (even on a first listen basis). Outstanding doesn’t even come close! Suffice it to mention this is the bar for me which all others in the genre will be judged.

Favorite Tracks; Captivating throughout.

FFO; Electric Wizard, Monolord, Sleep, Black Sabbath, Trouble.

March Releases


Graveripper (USA) – Complete Blinding Darkness (3 track EP)

Release- March/6/2020

A primitive black and white skull complete with tombstones, a crow, coins and a flower (wait, what?) This has a slight crossover/hardcore vibe going for it ala The Exploited. I’m intrigued.


Rip-roaring, head bobbing arrangements, a slight Punk vibe as well nods to vintage Thrash and traditional Heavy Metal by way of the rhythms and the production’s tone. The inclusion of melodic Death/Black with the inclusion of maniacal elements make this a curious listen, leaving me eager for what’s to follow.


A varied mixture of styles keeps this interesting. The second track is an about face from what the first hints at and adds a blackened tone (with slight Industrial leanings) with groove to the mix. The third is the most aggressive of the three and ramps up the blackened speed element. The style heard here opens up a whole new influence smorgasbord making for a listen which is deliciously diverse yet not so much as to fracture the potential fan base. If anything with deftly mixed myriad of styles on offer this collection will turn eager ears towards genres which would normally remain unexplored (which is quite the feat in and of itself). Dynamic and exciting this triad of tunes keeps the listener moving and looking to the future for more of the same. Keep up the great work guys!

Favorite Tracks; The One Reborn, A Swift Kick to the Teeth.

FFO; Forbidden, The Exploited, SkeletonWitch, Celtic Frost.


Angerot (USA) – The Divine Apostate

Release – March/27/2020
Redefining Darkness Records

I’m honestly not sure what this is. It appears to be a subterranean landscape depicting a form conversing with a crab. Perhaps sizing up the appropriately sized tank for such a creature, perhaps contemplating which butter would work best?


Biblical in its grandiose nature and fashioned with considerable presence this is one hell of an opener. An expert crafting of Doom and mid-tempo death which harkens to both the Old School and HM2 worship with delicate touches

Overall a track which reminds me of “Damnation and a Day” era Cradle of Filth cavorting with a Septic Flesh nature.


Somewhere between Hypocrisy, Septic Flesh, Abysmal Dawn and Cradle of Filth (circa “Damnation and a Day”) lies the style wherein. Hardly Technical yet delicate and full of depth, precariously close to brutal realms, though miles from that which might traditionally come to mind. This boasts a style which is doused in a sinister shroud, excellent arrangements and exquisitely crafted atmosphere Death/Doom throughout rather than brutality or chuggery often associated with run of the mill Death, an epic narrative which conjures both biblical landscapes and Lovecraftian arenas. Better yet it carves a grin on the chops each time it invades the senses.

Don’t sleep on this one!

Favorite Tracks; Below the Deep and Dreamless Sleep, Vestiments of Cancer, Coalesced with Wickedness, Counsel of the Unholy, Thy Kingdom Burned.

FFO; Hypocrisy, Entombed, Dismember, Abysmal Dawn, Septic Flesh.

April Releases

traveler termination shock

Traveler (Canada) – Termination Shock

Release- April/10/2020

The reoccurring space entity theme/World Eater is wicked. This bears larger than life cosmic cartoon qualities, also a slight tongue in cheek element which cannot be ignored. An 80’s vibe which screams to be put on a wall, shirt or a denim jacket.


Unapologetic NWOBHM vibes here in an indisputably similar vein to Di’Anno era Maiden. Guitar harmonies, sweeping melodies and vocals of the somewhat falsetto variety, I’m not entirely sold yet but I am intrigued.


Comprised largely of traditional Heavy Metal, part Power, part Epic with traditional Doom elements tossed in to add depth and flavor this encapsulates that which made the Rock and Heavy Metal arena so damn enjoyable and fresh in the late 70’s early 80’s. Foot tapping dynamics, rhythms which invoke epic narratives with an abundance of eye opening leads and solos which add to the allure. Bass lines to make Steve Harris foam at the mouth, unexpected atmosphere, even at times a sound which brings to mind a concept aura. This offers a great deal for fans of the early years of Heavy Metal to get excited about, though personally (in moments) it wades too far into Power and Epic realms for my tastes. I’m of the mind this will grow to consume me with repeated listens, but for now I’m merely sinking lazily into its enchantment.

Favorite Tracks; Shaded Mirror, Termination Shock, Foreverman, Diary of a Maiden, Deepspace.

FFO; early Iron Maiden, Omen, early Queensreich, Dio, Angel Witch.


Noroth (USA) – It Dwells Amongst Us

Release- April/10/2020
Caligari Records

Primitive Black and White art with an over-abundance of skeletons, skulls and an undeniable archaic/mystical nature. What’s not to like?


Old school bludgeoning rhythms, lazy growls of the death/doom variety (which aren’t at all a bad thing) and an overall style harkening back to the 90’s. Add noodles of groove, a few riffs reminiscent of early Gorguts and you have an intriguing start to any album.


Mid-tempo old school, dirgey, diabolical madness. This has shades of Bolt Thrower, as well Celtic Frost, a smidgen of HM2 worship but a whole ton of selling the soul to the old school. If the quality of this doesn’t have you sifting through your early 90’s music collection, albums which deserve revisiting often, I don’t know what to say. This has nostalgia written all over it, packaged in groove. It’s an audio parcel you’ll want smashing into your senses again and again. Don’t ignore this stunning debut!

Favorite Tracks; Shadow, My Patriarch, Cerberus, Extinction, Prisoner ov Splendor, It Dwells Amongst Us.

FFO; early Gorguts, Cianide, early Unleashed, Morgoth.

myth of I

Myth of I (USA) – s/t

The Artisan Era

A clearing in the forest bathed in the sun’s brilliance. Be it dawn, or dusk I’m not sure. Regardless the image is stunning perhaps hinting at I can only image audio of atmospheric black tendencies?


A tranquil introduction complete with pristine production and a nature soundscape is reminiscent of Tiamat’s “Wildhoney” album but more immersive. Its soon replaced by progressive chords, a tech death aura, albeit relaxed, and virtuosic fretboard manipulations slathered in a cosmic vibe. Technical but hardly brutal this is strangely relaxing and highly mesmeric.


Traversing a smorgasbord of arenas this take the listener across a vast audio landscape. Dipping into a myriad of stylistic territories the sound here ranges from as far afield as Djent and “angry jazz” (love that term) there’s even synth elements to break up the album some. But don’t let the word ‘Jazz’ fool you, as this is far from what you might assume it to be. Naturally, it’s intricate, technical, often dreamy but altogether enthralling in its brilliance. Far from brutal but encroaching upon the same grounds which many Tech Death bands reside this shows a musical collective in top form. Call this slightly different, call it a palette cleanser, label it with whatever moniker you wish there’s several thing’s which can’t be denied; it’s hardly Atmospheric Black, it shines with a absurd excellence and cannot (and should not) be ignored. Itd rare an slbumnif this ilk grabs me as ferociously as this, I’m hardly an instrumental fan, but this is something altogether different. The Artisan Era have done it again! Get this in the ears pronto but be prepared for it will whisk you away to realms both disorienting and sublime, and often in the track.

Favorite Tracks; The whole album delivers, strangely entertaining even without a vocal accompaniment.

FFO; Blotted Science, Athiest, Hannes Grossmann, Howling Sycamore, The Devon Townsend Project.

RECC by Demnuts (via Twitter)


Nightshock (Italy) – Battlefield Necromancer (EP)

Release -April/10/202

Raw and primitive. This gives little away in relation to what’s in store for the listener with a simplicity which harkens to the tape trading days of the 80’s. The bands logo and font is a tad ‘odd’ putting me in mind of audio releases with Synth values. I’m not sure what to expect but I’m stramgely intrigued.


An introduction of a Dungeon Synth ilk opens this audio collection and much like the cover gives little away in relation to what’s to follow. It soon comes to an end, replaced by jugular tearing riffage of a type which nods towards both blackened speed realms and Crust territories. Wicked accented vocals add to the tracks blunt appeal. This is a tad primitive, in a Venom type way, and seethes with a DIY primal nature an overall approach which is difficult not to appreciate, especially for those who prefer their tunes with little preamble, at maximum volume.


Overall a listen which is sure to get the pump pumping and the limbs twitchin. A release which explores both Blackened Speed sensibilities though also tinkers with melodic majesty ala Storm era Dissection. Crust and D-beat elements add to the fun making this a collection of tracks which although quite simple, occasionally veers towards repetitive, in their arrangement are hard to ignore. Just try not to move with this in the ears.

I’m eager for more, this is just too damn short.

Favorite Tracks; The whole damn thing!

FFO; Witchery, WolfBrigade, Hell Ripper, Whiplash, Whipstriker.

archaic vanity

Archaic Vanity (Turkey) – Deformed and Disfigured (EP)

Release- April/13/2020

I’m a sucker for black and white art. But this is ridiculous! Fractured mind, internal turmoil, cosmic entity in disguise caught off guard, or is this a bonus scene from “The Void”, alternatively John Carpenter’s “The Thing”? If the audio is anywhere near as impressive one is in for a sinew shredding workout. If the band is reading this, I want this image on a shirt (where might one be able to sate the desire for such?)


Merciless multi-faceted rhythms, technical leads, harsh vocals and melodies. I’m quite taken aback. This is my first experience of the band and I’m in shock. This is damn good audio.


Vicious, fast paced, intricate and dynamic showcasing technical florishes and rhythms likely to send a corpse into convulsions. Brutal and tight but miles from merely sensorial devastating noise pollution this overflows with an exemplary sinister nature and palpable menace and yet tetters on the delicate balance of both atmosphere and maelstrom force of pissed off nature assault. I’m astounded that this is the first I’m hearing of these guys. Set the ears upon this and prepare to have the jaw hit the floor. Seriously this Fn’ rules!!

Expect to hear me rave about this again as year-end approaches.

Favorite Tracks; Blistering audio throughout and I have zero qualms.

FFO; Pestilence, Atheist, Hath, (mid era) Death.

cemetery filth

Cemetery Filth (USA) Dominion

Boris Records/Unspeakable Axe Records

Masterful Dan Seagrave art, scratch that, it has that vibe but is actually penned by the multi-talented Jaunjo Castellano. Vivid, mesmerizing, sinister. Lovecraftian otherworldly with archaic secret society undertones. I could use a bunch of words here but I wouldn’t even come close to describing the undeniably brilliant aura. Just awesome!


Much like a persistent alarm (and sleep function) the beginning of this track warns the listener to get ready for that which is about to unfold. In this case the audio on offer, not the day ahead. And bot does it unfold! Tumbling chaotic rhythms, an enveloping sinister audio blanket, maniacal flourishes and cavernous vox. Overall a vibe ripped from the old school ala Suffocation wrestling Terrorizer for arrangement superiority. Suffice it to mention…I’m awake and paying attention.


Old school in temperament boasting superb production and clarity with every instrument clear in the mix. This is an undeniable nod to the forebears of the scene but with an added certain something which brings the past barreling to meet fans of the current. A touch of Grindcore and a dash of Crust aid the albums allure but it’s the drums and groove backbone which have me bouncing around like a maniac. The arrangements harken to influence from across the extreme board and Cemetery Filth aren’t afraid to prod the maliciousness of Death towards the harrowing nature of Doom add to that diabolical sprinkles and maniacal passages and you have a release which only gets better with each spin. This is likely to appear on a plethora of lists come years end, for good reason.

Favorite Tracks; Exhumed Visions, Aeons in Dis, Devoured by Dread, Dominion.

FFO; Terrorizer, Suffocation, Misery Index, Disincarnate.


Werewolves (Australia, UK) – The Dead are Screaming

Release- April/24/2020
Prosthetic Records

This has a vibrant medieval vibe. However, I’m not sure if this giant fellow is the leader of a merry troupe or if he is being attacked by them. Alternatively, whether he/she is forming from the amassed crowd. Regardless, an intriguing image which demands closer inspection.


An intriguing Hammer-esque introduction leads into Hyper-speed drumming accompanied by straight for the throat no nonsense brutal riffs and zero BS. Groove as well a driving dirge approach aided by blunt, hammering, rhythms. If this isn’t the soundtrack to incite carnage in a mosh pit I’m not sure what is.


It’s as if this release is a melting pot, a boiling receptacle, a container of sorts which combines Grindcore, Brutal, traditional and Blackened Death into a concoction somehow without any of the elements losing their stylistic identities. The varied maelstrom of probable influences assaults the listener in an intensity which is nearly as forceful as the audio itself. Churning, evolving, transforming and hardly static this gains momentum as the album progresses, and only widens the eyes as it inexorably reaches its conclusion. Blistering, yet technical and pleasingly diverse this is one hell of a way to introduce the labors of many a mind from across the extreme audio spectrum, with the same varied arenas of interest showcased exquisitely throughout. Be prepared for the audio here will spark frenetic, spastic, movements without apology or permission. This will drop on the senses like a ton of bricks followed by the wayward impact point of an aircraft carrier. Grab that wallet!

May Favorite Tracks; I honestly started to list tracks only to realize I was listing the whole damn album. Fk this is godly!

FFO; Vital Remains, Dying Fetus, The Berserker, Cannibal Corpse, Terrorizer.

May Releases

resent crosshairs image

Resent (Canada) – Crosshairs

Release – May/1/2020
Dry Cough Records/Nerve Altar/Rope or Guillotine

This image is fuzzy, raw and I can hardly make it out. But there’s obviously something going on. As if this is something which shouldn’t be seen, a forbidden ritual perhaps or an atrocity which should probably never been photographed in the first place. Suffice it to say, I’m just a little curious.


Tell me how much it hurts…

It hurts alot!

I can’t feel it!

It hurts…A LOT!

And then it begins. Distortion, huge riffs and industrial grade groove. However, this is raw, universes from clean and it has undeniable bite. A ferocious abrupt snapping of, the foaming at the mouth, jaws from a rabid animal which one might approach as it appears at first dead. A laziness which is all enveloping. Quicksand qualities to the Nth degree.


Prepare to enter a world of anguish. This is heavy duty sludge, grindhouse sludge in fact. Naturally, it helps this description that introductory soundbites are also yanked from the same unapologetic arena. Add elements of Crust, an unmerciful raw bludgeoning harsh nature, riffs akin to scratching nails down a chalkboard, snarled vokills and sufficient groove and you have a collection of tracks which is sure to get the speakers shaking and the neighbors pulling their hair out in appreciation. Recommended more for those who prefer unbridled chaos and unhinged angst and brutality rather than traditional rock arrangements and melodic compositions this leaves a mark and in fact fits the moniker of this article as if it were designed specifically for such.

Favorite Tracks; Miserable, Crosshairs, Victimized.

FFO; EyeHateGod, Acid Bath, Meth Drinker, Fetish 69.


Ara (USA) – Jurisprudence

Release- May/15/2020

A collection of skulls affixed to a table (?) by their tongues there’s definitely something archaic and barbaric going on here.


Brutality and bludgeoning chaos beats out melody and groove here. This is an all- encompassing introduction sure to leave the listener in disarray.


Hardly traditional but undoubtedly brutal this album strays from what one might expect and keeps groove and melodies at a minimum. Choosing instead to concentrate on overlapping riffs and constantly evolving rhythms it showcases a chaotic, unpredictable and unmerciful approach aided by vocals with considerable angst in a similar vein to EyeHateGod. Not recommended for the casual listener, the weak or those with a penchant for epic introductions often bathed in symphonic qualities this is blunt, harsh and uncompromising with an atmosphere which screams sensorial punishment.

Favorite Tracks; Mythos, Excursus Praestinguo, Pounded into the Multiverse.

FFO; Anata, Gorguts, Atheist, Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal.

godless truth

Recommended by Drew

This release comes courtesy of my globe-trotting friend. He found this in a street market in Hungary and, apparently, immediately thought of me. What say we give it a spin?

Godless Truth (Czechia) – Arrogance of Supreme Power

Release – October/15/2004 (remastered in 05′ w. an added bonus track)
Lacerated Enemy Records
ARTWORK (based on the remastered 05′ edition) – 71

Moody crimson splattered across a landscape littered with the impaled dead with a horned fellow front and center (most probably itching to ask “What you looking at?”) It’s rather obvious what’s on offer here, this certainly isn’t a Top 40 release.


The introduction sounds like a hybrid consisting of a narrated introduction to a low budget horror/fantasy dystopian epic (chunk of celluloid) and a horror themed shoot-em-up platform game. It gets one in the mood leaving little question as to what’s about to assault the senses. And there’s little surprise when Brutal Death starts to blare from the speakers. However, it isn’t only that, there’s several other elements tossed in to mix up the listening experience. A smidgen of Slam, flourishes of Technical with plenty of passages showcasing the drumming skill and bass manipulation. All in all, an intriguing start.


I’ve yet to hear an album in which Vin Diesel stars as the introduction. This is a first. More surprisingly yet is that the track in question is rather impressive, in fact the album as a whole isn’t at all shabby. Close to what Dying Fetus albums offer the listener this adds Slam, Grindcore elements and a little experimentation. Guttural as well tradition Brutal Death utterances are prevalent accompanied by the percussions unmerciful brutality resulting in an experience which delivers, in fact, gets better as the album progresses. Minor qualms include naff translation and the fact this isn’t as melodic as I would like. But it’s minor and I understand that tastes vary. With that in mind is guaranteed to please a great many into the more chaotic, Brutal arenas.

Favorite Tracks; Mission: Fuck You, Reprobate Intention, Instructed to Degrate, Embraced to Void.

FFO; Dying Fetus, Benighted, Suffocation, Job for a Cowboy, Malignancy, Crytopsy.

And that brings this gargantuan installment to a close. Hopefully I’ve introduced an album or two you might not otherwise have heard of and are currently enjoying. As always feel free to suggest that which I might have missed or something you have an especial fondness for. Feel free to comment and please share in order that others might discover that which might normally be foreign to the senses.

Your slave to audio extreme,


Abrasive Audio 2020 Part Eight

black metal gif

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

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

February Releases


Angellore (France) – Rein ne Devait Mourir
Release- February/14/2020
Finisterian Dead End/The Vinyl Division


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


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


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

Favorite Tracks; Hypnotic throughout.

FFO; Moonspell, Theater of Tragedy, HIM.

March Releases


Shadowkiller (USA)- Dark Awakenings
Release- March/3/2020
Stormspell Records


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


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


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

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

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


Dopelord (Poland)- Sign of the Devil
Release March/10/2020


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


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


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

Favorite Tracks; infectious and varied throughout.

FFO; CoC, Cathedral, Black Sabbath.


Venator (Austria) – Paradiser EP


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


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


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

Favorite Tracks; Paradiser, Blind Ambition.

FFO; Judas Priest, Blitzkrieg, Tank, Dokken.


Virocracy (Germany) – Irradiation
Release- March/20/2020
Black Sunset/MDD


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


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


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

Favorite Tracks; Rane, Solitude, Void of Heart.

FFO; Angela era Arch Enemy, mid era Death.

black phantom

Black Phantom (Italy) -The End is Near
Release- March/20/2020
Punishment 18 Records


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


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


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

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

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

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


Graceless (The Netherlands) – Where Vultures Know Your Name
Release- March/27/2020
Raw Skull Recordz


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


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


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

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

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

perdition temple

Perdition Temple – Sacraments of Descension
Release- March/27/2020
Hell’s Headbangers Records


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


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


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

Favorite Tracks; Blistering throughout this will not disappoint!

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

Left over from 19’


Remission (Australia)– The Tether’s End
Release – November/15/2019


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


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


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

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

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

And Now for Something Slightly Different

Rodrigo Y Gabriella

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

Rodrigo Y Gabriella – Mettal (Ep)
Track listing;
Battery (Metallica)

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

megadeth holy wars

Holy Wars (Megadeth)

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

slayer seasons in the abyss

Seasons in the Abyss (Slayer)

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

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

Animal - music is meant for sharing

Becus’ great music is meant to be shared!!

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

Yours, virus free (for now)


Abrasive Audio – Attack of the Compilation the first of 20’

Metal Assault welcoming in the new decade with a Bang!

metal assault header

Well, it’s been a ‘hot minute’ (I believe the cool kids are still using this ‘turn of phrase’?) since I’ve done one of these. Let’s hope I still know how to tackle the whole concept of reviewing a compilation release without making myself look like a total fool.

Where to start? Well, I could mention my love of the medium. Seriously there was a time before the internet when discovering ‘new’ music was a little tricky. Oftentimes one had to base their disposable spending on an album based on an anonymous person’s thoughts and feelings alone, unless one was lucky enough to be able to have friends who liked the same type of audio. Obviously, opinions and tastes vary wildly so hard-earned pennies were often spent on outings which really didn’t capture the attention (no matter how many times one listened or how hard one tried to ‘really’ like something. Most like it so it must be “good” … Right?) Compilations eased the trickiness of the situation somewhat. They served as a ‘porthole’ into an acts style, although it requires more than merely one song to get a feel for an act (I’ve come across a couple who present a few tracks from each act listed. I think is an outstanding way to go about this, more in the manner of a “split” but with more acts represented). Better yet they always showcased a variety of acts to widen the horizon. I’ll admit I spent hours with my finger poised on the stop, play, record button. I compiled a few tapes of my own (this was before CDs were in vogue) to trade with others, this was by far the cheapest way to do it but one still had to build their collection in order to get to this level.

speed kills compilation

Today my collection is bursting at the seams with At Deaths Door, Metal for the Masses, Speed Kills, various label and magazine samplers and a few residing under the themed homage umbrella. One day I’ll revisit and annihilate the dust bunny civilization which has no doubt taken up residence since last I visited, Moving on, for this is quite enough history and waffling on about the subject and myself. For the first entry of 2020 I’ve been lucky enough to procure the second volume in the Metal Assault ‘Mixtape Series’ considerately entitled (surprisingly) Metal Assault Mixtape – Volume 2 which finds its release on January/31 available on cassette tape (limited to 150 copies only), as well as digital download via Bandcamp

Without plowing wildly into my thoughts I’ll include a rating system I’ve designed especially for this purpose. However, seems as this is a brand-spanking New Year I’ve mixed it up with a few changes.

the devils rain gif

Ah… this nonsense is doing my head in!

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

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

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

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

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

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

(These rating are somewhat crude but self-explanatory.)

metal assault mixtape #2

So how does this fare? Showcasing eleven acts from around the Los Angeles area (…”and beyond”) With only a single act whom I’ve heard anything about, Void Vator (based solely on their stunning recent release), I feel like an eager, extreme audio, thirsting, teenager all over again. What say we all dive in blindly but not before at least giving a cursory glance to that which is about to invade the senses.


The cover artwork for this is based on Metal Assault’s “Face Melter” t-shirt from 2017, designed by Dan Lerner.

The (All-Important) Tracklist;

Void Vator – Nitrus

Monolith – Man Without a Soul

Hydera – Witch King

Living Darkness – Destructible

Motor Gun Hotel – Leave It All Behind

Aparant – Home

Drift – From Within

Hell Kross – Howl of the Wolf Brigade

Circle of Sighs – Burden of the Flesh

Grim Earth – Ruins

The Blue Prison – Vengeance

Sporting a wide variety of styles, the release delivers a little for everybody (although if truth be told the more extreme shadow ridden corners of the metal spectrum aren’t represented as much as one might think given the albums cover art). Starting with Void Vator and a splash of Latin flavor this collection of tracks progresses to offer NWOBHM flavor, Southern-fried alternate rock, speed metal, thrash metal, traditional doom, groove to spare and plenty of atmosphere, even a few tracks bearing a style which is moderately unexpected, given the surroundings.

holiday drumming animal

Bring on the tunage!!!

Naturally, I have a few favorites and a few others which instantly perked my interest and held the interest even after repeated listens. In all honesty I didn’t skip a single track, several tracks grew on me to far surpass my initial reaction. Without reservation I’ll gladly award this with a “This leaves me with a smirk on my face and has me bobbing my head on a frequent basis” rating, precariously teetering on the precipice of “Dammit, I can’t concentrate!” for although the styles differ, drastically in some instances, each track held my interest and piqued my curiosity to varying degrees.

In order of appearance these made an instant impression;
Hydera – Witch King

Traditional rock stylings with power metal sensibilities and brilliant head swaying guitar solos. Complete with thankfully close to zero falsetto vocal antics. This reminds me, for some reason, of Rhapsody in part early Riot, perhaps it’s time to revisit “Thundersteel”?

Check out what the band have to offer;

living darkness
Living Darkness – Destructible

Fluid speed/thrash with infectious rhythms and (wait for it) falsetto vocals but with great range. Strange I like this but I do.

Check out what else the band has to offer;

Motor Gun Hotel – Leave it All Behind

Seething with an alternative aura and an Alice in Chains vibe both in percussion and in the vocal department there’s little wonder this piqued my interest.

Set the ears upon the bands BC page;

the blue prison
The Blue Prison – Vengeance

I do believe this would perk the ears of my pal Werewolves in Siberia. Reminiscent of a style similar to that which The Berserker fine-tuned (minus the grindcore accompaniment) this marries synth, an industrial nature and guitar riff-driven metal (a ménage a trois if you will. Why is it that French people have capitalized upon all the coolest phrases?) and drags the listener on a wild narrative until its conclusion. A strange inclusion and finale to this compilation but a track which will have one exploring unchartered audio avenues.

Explore the bands discography here;

In order of appearance these had me nodding and twitching like one possessed;
void vator
Void Vator – Nitrus

Oozing with both Western and Latin flavors this incites uncontrollable appendage movement. Don’t believe me. Put it on and experience this for yourself. Even more outstanding is that this is sans vocals. This could easily find inclusion in a Tarantino film it has that sort of a vibe!

The BC page;

Monolith – Man Without a Soul

This track picked me up and threw me back several decades. Much like Dio fronted Rainbow meets vintage Iron Maiden, White Spirit with a splash of Blitzkrieg this has undeniable flow bordering on criminal catchiness. Speed metal but not quite the melodies here are exquisite coupled with passionate vocals this is an undeniable standout!

More of Monolith can be explored here;

circle of sighs
Circle of Sighs – Burden of the Flesh

Atmosphere aplenty accompanied by a vast cosmic ethereal nature. Huge riffs and an undeniable ‘presence’ you could well lose yourself within if given the appropriate accouterments. In short, doom, but doused in Bowie-esque progressive elements and dark synth. An outstanding combination whih needs to be heard to be appreciated.

And look, I have a link to explore;

Hell Kross – Howl of the Wolf Brigade

Speed themed doom with heavy metal tendencies drenched in dramatic flair and hilarious lyrics (“it was the peanut butter which stopped the wolves, cus they’re just like dogs!”). Need I say more? Probably not, but I will. This is the type of audio the metal community needs more of. I believe The Joker said it best “Why so serious?” If you enjoy Tenacious D and Zimmers Hole You’ll enjoy this.

Their limited discography can be explored here;

grim earth
Grim Earth – Ruins

Because every compilation deserves some angst ridden, sludge laden, heaviness. Prepare to be floored! Fuzz encapsulated mammoth riffs and (wait for it) … groove. What’s not to love? Even more surprising is that these cats are from Washington, not California. But who cares, this track rocks the compilation kicks ass and I’m done! I’m going to spin this again.

Grim Earth’s output badass cover artwork, and all, can be found here;



Again, for those not paying attention, this compilation goes live on January/31. I highly recommend it and it can be found at this location;

Abrasive Audio – Special Edition

kmans champions

Challenging Kman’s “Champions” 

This has been a busy year for metal, an outstanding one, again. And with so many releases to keep track of the prospect of doing so is daunting. I’ve attempted to scribble a few words upon that which has caught my ear from time to time, but the spectrum of metal is quite the unrelenting mistress. There is an individual however who weathers the storm and reports like no other, whose tireless dedication is a wonder to behold (I believe in order to do this he must be ‘besties’ with Doc Brown or alternatively, that he drives a DeLorean on a regular basis).

kman riffs

As the year reaches its climax this same individual took it upon himself to tackle a myriad of genres (some which I’m honestly quite unfamiliar with if truth be told) to stand triumphant with a short list plucked from each. A list featuring his choice for the years champion and runners up, or the” champion’s entourage”, if you will. Naturally tastes vary, and my list is most probably going to be different from his, yours, hers and the guy who runs the off license down the street on the corner. With that in mind I thought it prudent to take it upon myself to do a spot of exploration. The task is daunting. But it didn’t take me but a few seconds to consider an approach to start upon such a quest. Then it struck me, I need a companion who’s willing to also take the same plunge, a glutton for audio punishment if you will. Enter Paul PMZ, (@paul_pmz on Twitter) a chirpy like-minded fellow whom I shoot the shit with from time to time. Paul is the editor of a new tabletop gaming and music zine SIX IN THE HEAD (the first edition dropped recently. I even have a few words featured in it).

Reluctantly he agreed to my demands, though I did promise to send him a few pictures of the wife’s Yorkshire Pudding to sweeten the deal.

holiday drumming animal

Yorkshire Pudddinnnnggg-!

Without further preamble, Paul imparts a few words on the task at hand and his surroundings;

Where I am right now the weather isn’t just frightful – it’s brutal. “Man overboard!” levels of rain and wind lash and howl outside (Ed* And there I was thinking …” the rain in Spain fell mostly on the plane…”). Lives will be lost in this today, mark my words. So, I’ve stayed inside with the dogs and listened to all the following albums in their entirety (pretty much).

These are my thoughts –


Melo- Death
Insomnium – Heart Like A Grave

Paul – Not for me. I can totally see why somebody would totally love this but I don’t. Too anthemic. Too melodic. I imagine this is what it would sound like if Europe never wrote The Final Countdown and became a death metal band instead. Would make great theme music for an anime series about freezing to death.

CultWith rhythms which are criminally infectious, an aura which feels part Amon Amarth, part Arch Enemy, part Swallow the Sun, soaring leads and melodies which make one want to close their eyes and drift away (to where I do not know) an effective atmosphere to match and arrangements which scream expertise there’s no doubting that this will continue to delight as its audience grows reaching near bubonic proportions. Probably not for every mood but for when the mood fits, this delivers! Prepare to be swept away.


Power Metal
Dimhav – The Boreal Flame

Paul Great cover art and the intro to this is wild. Sounds like three separate albums all playing at once on fast-forward. The rest of it though, you can keep. The vocals alternate between over earnest and over shrieking. Also, it’s far too musical. Keep your musicianship to yourself I don’t want to hear it.

CultPower Metal is a realm I rarely frequent, if truth be told. However, the art here has me intrigued; I’ll give this a once over. In short; The introduction is fantastic, the musicianship superb, there’s enough pace variation to please most anybody and the album burns bright with an epic flame. But it’s all a little too much for me. Hardly horrid, this is a release I would really have to be in the mood for to be able to sit through in its entirety.


Tech – Death
Demiurgon – The Oblivious Lure

Paul OK now we’re talking – fast, hard-hitting and guttural. No idea what any of this album is about but, based on its title alone, maybe it’s about fishing. A pummeling 39 minutes of music. Nothing negative to say about this apart from the band’s logo, which should by rights be a lot more unreadable. Beautiful stuff.

Cult Upon discovery of the album’s art one is immediately hit with an image which brings to mind a “World Eater” type creature. Which is either a scene from a StarWars film or the title of a legendary Bolt Thrower track all depending on one’s tastes. The album hits hard immediately and continues to deliver all one could wish in a tech-death release; Brutish Orc vocals, a ferocious twin pronged assault, tight riffs, a pace which is diverse, head spinning and unpredictable and pummeling precise drum salvos. All without offering too many layers (one would require a scalpel to dissect) or going overboard like a few other acts in the same genre I’ll refrain from mentioning. I honestly can’t see a single reason why a fan of the genre won’t fall ass over tits for this. Top notch from start to finish, this will leave one feeling exhilarated and sweaty!

zig zags.jpg

Zig Zags – They’ll Never Take Us Alive

PaulI hear echoes of Metallica, The Stooges and Saxon in this but the Zig Zags play it punk and fast. This is music for drinking cheap beer, skating makeshift ramps in backyards and travelling about LA with scabs on your shins in the back of a stinking van. If that’s the feeling the band were hoping to conjure up with this record then they’ve achieved it perfectly.

CultHemorrhaging nostalgia this pummels the listener with influences plucked from when the scene itself was in its adolescence. Metallica, Misfits, Blitzkrieg and even a slew of nods to landmark tracks (from around the time), surf rock and plenty of punk attitude. Sheesh! The vocal style even brings to mind Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies) in some tracks. Get out the skateboards (forget the pads and helmets. We’re rebels, what a little blood harm anyone!) and the Walkmans. Let’s ride! Do not miss this!!


Pagan/Folk/Viking Metal
Finsterforst – Zerfall

Paul Pagan metal intertwined with orchestral “soundscapes” that thankfully are used to great effect and don’t disappear up their own arse into Jean-Michel Jarre/prog-opera territory. I’m not a huge fan of choirs in metal but everything else on this is just so good that I can live with it. Warhammer music and I say that as a huge compliment. Tonight, gentlemen, we ride into battle. Epic.

Cult Admittedly, this is a genre I visit rarely but I’ll state without reservation that I was left stunned by the first tracks impact. One might think this to be akin to atmospheric black with the cover art in mind. It has elements but there’s so much else on display and arranged in such a way that any newcomer to this will instantly sprout a smile upon experiencing what caresses the senses. Doom, melodic death, black and folk elements (showcasing traditional instruments) with no value over crowding the other, everything co-exists in grandiose, exquisite, harmony. And the fact that the lyrics are in German only makes it infinitely more intriguing. I’d usually balk at seeing a thirty-seven-minute track listed, but not here. It crosses off every box and obliterates all expectations. I foresee this featuring heavily in my play history in the coming months. Don’t be the last to jump on this!


Atmospheric Black Metal
Ruadh – Sovereign

Paul I’m not saying this isn’t very good indeed because it is. For some reason though it left me feeling a little underwhelmed. As atmospheric black metal it does exactly what you want it to do. Nothing more and nothing less. It’s very good but then so are mashed potatoes and I don’t want to eat them on a daily basis.

CultWrapped in an effective storm atmospheric motif, dramatic and epic qualities this album provides a rich tapestry bursting with depth, emotion and majestic rhythms. Even a few in a style one might not expect (based on genre assumptions) and a few passages one might. A symphonic accompaniment, including vast nature-scapes fits perfectly, executed in such a manner that one can close their eyes and imagine actually being a part of the scene. An aura the listener can easily melt within. In short, an experience which showcases just how diverse the genre can be, is, and the surprising heights an excellently crafted album within its ranks can attain if handled with care such as this. A fantastic jumping on point for those even slightly interested in a genre which has yet to garner the attention it deserves.

First Hellripper, now this. Glasgow is getting quite the moniker for its high-quality metal output.


Progressive Metal
Evergrey – The Atlantic

Paul If I were to draw you a Venn diagram for this, I would put Soundgarden, Korn and Whitesnake on it and stick these guys in the overlap. I don’t really have anything else to say about this. It’s not really for me. “All I Have” has a good intro. Sorry that’s all I have.

CultAudio which brings to mind both the 70’s, 80’s and more recent audio with hints of thrash, djent, melody and riffs for days. Top notch vocals and an eye-opening level of musicianship certainly aid the intrigue. And all in a manner far from what many might perceive as traditional extreme audio. Doom shrouds the whole affair although this is at times rather upbeat there’s still an underlying melancholy. And a surprising diversity which spans Gojira, Devon Townsend, Nevermore and Dream Theatre qualities. Hardly what I listen to on a regular basis but with quality such as this on offer it’s not going to be hard to persuade me to dip my ears into the genre on a more regular basis. This may well be the type of audio which is served as a stepping stone towards the spectrum of metal for this is extremely difficult not to like.

necropanther the doomed city.jpg

Black/Thtrash/Speed Metal
Necropanther – The Doomed City

Paul Thrash, black, death, who cares what it’s called? Is it any good? Yes, it is! It’s very good. The guitars are thrash, the vocals are a combination of black and death and the drumming is totally berserk. This one got my head bobbing and my legs bouncing vigorously. Which, bearing in mind this is the eighth album I’ve listened to in a row and this chair is hurting my arse, is no mean feat.

Cult A melting face, body bits floating around in a crimson stew storm, with a “Darkman” type character front and center. I am intrigued. The vocals grab the attention immediately, a dual assault. A growling approach and another which is a doppelganger for Chance Garnett. This isn’t a bad thing in the slightest, as who doesn’t love SkeletonWitch in their prime? The audio is a likely result of drunken night slippery (?) shenanigans including the minds behind 3 Inches of Blood, Arch Enemy and SkeletonWitch with liberal sprinkles of darkness and wicked flourishes of criminally infectious power metal flair tossed into the pot. Thrash, speed, death, blackened death, call it what you will, it certainly doesn’t feel like a “concept” album, but be sure to set a timer as listening to this will make the hours fly. This, much like their last, is (in short) beyond top-notch. With another release such in their future I’ll predict Necropanther to resident in a league of their own. Damn good doesn’t even come close to how I would describe this! Pick this up at your earliest convenience.


Heavy Metal
Lord Weird Slough Feg – New Organon

Paul After listening to all of the above, this album of classic heavy metal jams welcomed me like a pure and loving embrace. This is what it’s all about. Forget all that other nonsense. Death? Thrash? Black? You kids think you bloody invented music you do. Get a dose of this down you son. This is all you need. Now go on get out of here.

CultTwin harmonies, galloping riffs, lyrics saturated in intriguing historical themes, playful folk rhythms, an aura which tosses one back, grinning, several decades and a style which is a timeless often imitated but rarely achieved in a quality and tone such as this (did I mention the production is crystal clear but also finagled in such way as to make one think this could well have been plucked from assorted vinyl racks in a store circa 1979). There’s little not to like here. A somewhat unique vocal style, one could easily place among the likes of Dickenson, Dio and Kilminster (it’s ‘Lemmy’ for those not in the know) adds to the overall fun. I’ll admit this grows on me the more I allow it entry into my system.

haze maze.jpg

Stoner/Doom/Fuzz/Psych Riffs
Hazemaze – Hymns of The Damned

Paul Imagine smoking a shitload of strong weed, dropping acid and listening through the wall to Sabbath playing next door. That’s what this album is – the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Not that I’ve ever done acid. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. This is chunky, groovy masterpiece. A great listen and an addictive vibe. Man.

Cult If the Psychedelic sacrificial, goat head wearing cultist, art doesn’t pull you then the audio certainly will. Sabbath-esque in tone sporting plodding riffs, surprising agility (for an album of this ilk) and a production which only heightens the intensity of the heavens are gonna fall riff assault. If you only buy one doom album this year this is where the money should be spent. I’m not a fan of the more traditional end of the genre. This however, is captivating and its rhythms downright trance-inducing. Now, where are my Bell bottoms, Denim jacket and that large bucket of Kool-Aid?

Basilysk – Emergence

Death Metal
Basilysk – Emergence

Paul A bit like the Ruadh album this one is what it is. If you like death metal, which I do, there’s nothing not to like about it. It’s very good indeed but so what.

CultBoasting a collection with no track sounding the same as another is a mean feat. But Basilysk pull it off! Channeling a myriad of influence, a technicality which brings to mind Pestilence, progressive elements veering heavily towards Schneider worship and passages which scream OSDM, whilst others growl grindcore with undeniable groove this is an album which doesn’t disappoint. It might not possess your senses on the first listen, but its hooks are in. After another its grip is tighter, deeper and there’s absolutely no denying this is far and beyond the typical “death” release. There’s something here for everyone and this becomes clear as the album plays out. Doom weaves its way alongside the tendrils of an occasional cavernous aura which frolics with South American aggressive thrash, melody appears as if out of nowhere to levitate the intrigue and a diabolical essence seeps from out of the ether adding to the enjoyment. Let’s not forget, however, the epic closer; a maniacal arrangement with a second act. An exquisite Arabian themed tribal drum affair which hints at much more than merely a little (Black) Sabbath here and there in the bands past listening habits. Seek this out if you haven’t already!

Overkill – The Wings of War.jpg

Overkill – The Wings of War

Paul On the other hand, I’m never really sure if I like thrash. I don’t dislike it so that’s something. But you know what? This album fucking kills. I don’t think I’ve ever used that phrase before but I’m pretty sure I want to listen to this album over and over again and cover my wall in this band’s posters and buy everything they’ve ever done.

CultA few moments in and I’m hit with as perplexing question. Why did I ever stop listening to Overkill? I wore out the Horrorscope cassette If any band is deserved of a place in the ‘Big 4’ now Metallica have ‘defected’ it’s this band and this album proves it. Trademarked “Blitz” vocals accompany incendiary rhythms which scream we’ve been doing this for years and we aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Add a Ramones -esque tribute to the bands home state (New Jersey), a touch of crossover, a handful of riffs which will have the mind reeling as to whom it reminds you of, a diverse lineup of tracks and you have an album that’s repeatable without complaint and sure to get the listener twitching with delight every time. For the record, this isn’t my favorite of the year, it’s close and damn enjoyable!

Arctic Sleep – Kindred Spirits.jpg

Arctic Sleep – Kindred Spirits

Paul I appreciate what they’re trying to do here and it’s an enjoyable enough listen but it’s not for me. It’s too emotional. I like to keep my emotions tightly wrapped up and locked away where I don’t have to think about them thanks very much.

CultAt times dreamy, often mesmerizing but always captivating, this runs into epic lengths and boasts a fluid nature which is outstanding. Occasionally it might put one in mind of a “light” November’s Doom. The vocals however are miles from what one might expect, with this in mind, not in the slightest “growly” they’re more on a par with tranquil Pink Floyd output, an aura this album also boasts in equal measure. Ideal for those nights when a blazing hearth is the only light in the room and one is bathing in the comfort of a self- induced haze (I’m not going to spell it out). This is an album you can lose yourself within, surprisingly it’s also radio-friendly. Shit, the wife (or significant other of choice) might even like this. Truth be told. It’s extremely difficult not to appreciate even if, like me, ‘extreme’ is your preferred audio arena of choice.

Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove.jpg

Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove

Paul First of all, can somebody please explain to me why this band doesn’t have an apostrophe in its name? That aside, this doesn’t do much for me sorry. If you come around my house you can stick it on if you want. I won’t complain. I’ll enjoy it. But I won’t ask to borrow it.

CultAdmittedly It’s been a while since I’ve laid ear upon a release by these guys. However, I’m glad to report that trend has come to an end, and how. Shattering my preconceived notions Novembers Doom have utilized all the death/doom genre is known for them added their trademark thunderous rhythm approach, passionate vocal diversity and stupendous epic arrangements (which tug at even the most hardened of emotions) and have fashioned an album which delivers from start to finish. This is perhaps their finest work to date. Seriously, who can look upon the covers art and not be curious? Expect to find this upon many a year end list. It’s more than deserved!

Borknagar – True North

Black Metal
Borknagar – True North

Paul You head true north and I’ll head true south and let’s keep it that way (*Ed – I’m guessing he didn’t like this one!)

Cult Hardly what I expected, though if truth be told I’ve little experience with the band, this is epic themed, melodic, emotional and irrefutably stylistically diverse. Boasting symphonic elements, intricate arrangements, a wide vocal range/approach and unmistakable progressive heavy metal leanings this is probably not for the casual black fan, or one who demands instant, primal raw, gratification but rather for one whose tastes run to audio which demands exploration through several immersive experiences. To be honest this might take several listens to fully appreciate. With that in mind this is far from horrid, just unexpected, one might even go say far as to state; “different”, at times bordering on Avant Garde. If Amorphis were a smidgen “blacker” in tone this might be close to the result.

werewolves in Siberia avatar

And, as a bonus a few words on a release featuring dominantly in Werewolves in Siberia’s ‘Best of 19’ List’
Voyag3r – War Mask

Voyag3r - War Mask


CultAlthough the albums art, a bold image surrounded in what first appears to be flames, suggests the audio might belong to the metal arena, it surprisingly doesn’t. This is synth. Far from the usual/traditional this showcases both a drum and guitar accompaniment. The result; added depth and an epic audio narrative overflowing with intrigue, adventure (and all manner of audio which would typically accompany the type of on-screen action one would expect of an over the top dramatic cinematic affair) which successfully evokes a myriad of emotion and nostalgia. Effectively conjuring images from a slew of celebrated (usually for the wrong reason) features more often than not boasting a Goblin-esque score, and various television fodder from the 80’s, this gets the imagination reeling as the arrangements flow seamlessly. Rhythms are dynamic, smooth, smoky, suspenseful and occasionally drip in palpable sinister values. Transforming they slip over each other much like dialogue but more often akin to a montage scenario telling a story which doesn’t need words. Befitting a wide array of cinema ranging from Tarantino, Guy Richie, Bava and Fulci (seriously if this doesn’t make you think of Zombie Flesh Eaters at least once there could be something seriously amiss with your viewing habits) this boasts the potential to appeal to a huge audience, as it should. Honestly, if more soundtracks were of this quality my collection would be full of them. Forget your presumptions about the genre and dive into this with a mind willing to appreciate something other than the usual. I’ve played this more than a few times today, and I’m sure I will tomorrow.


Well, that was exhausting. Here’s raising a glass to another year with more of the same.