Posts Tagged ‘gates to the morning’

Abrasive Audio – The Year in Review


C’mon, even seals love the sun.

Part the Third

Half the year has disappeared already and one might be wondering where, as it certainly doesn’t move that fast when one wishes it to. The lawn is demanding attention as it’s sprouting faster than a leopard after a potential mate and clothing is apparently optional (which isn’t always a bad thing). The world of extreme audio is still chugging along and the intensity only seems to be building. Now if only the kids could find something to do (for more than five minutes at a time) I might be able to fully immerse myself within all that the metal universe has to offer. (“…but, Dad!”) Onward.

(As is traditional my absolute favorites are marked with an *)



Abominism – s/t

Occasionally, albums and artists come from out of nowhere to kick one on their ass. And this did just that! Only six tracks on offer here but they are more than enough with their epic qualities to whet the appetite and leave the listener wanting more. Atmosphere is rampant as too dissonant rhythms, technical passages and progressive elements concocted and woven with such creativity and professionalism as too only draw the listener into the album’s entrancing spell the deeper in the listener gets. There’s a great deal for everyone to enjoy here as the style blankets a wide radius of the extreme metal spectrum all balanced delicately with absolute precision.

Baleful abyss

Baleful Abyss (F.K.A Zombieslut) – Death Propaganda

Dirge driven groove that’s highly nostalgic of the 90’s which demands respect and makes a fantastic addition to any collection bursting at the seams with death/doom laden dirge and death bordering on grindcore.

Beastmaker – Eye of the Storm


Think traditional heavy metal with speed metal tendencies draped in a fine shroud of occult doom. This flows so damn well it should be criminal, and that voice. And although it’s short, barely four tracks I can honestly say this is dangerously infectious audio.

desecresyDesecresy – Towards Nebulae

Crushing, heavy machinery, sonic barbarity with unmistakable influences aided by a suffocating atmosphere and an occasional cavernous doom presence which teases dragging the listener through grindcore waters. Highly effective and evocative audio with a vast cosmos conflict type narrative.

disowning human cattle

Disowning -Human Cattle

A myriad concoction of styles assaults the listener herein add a splash of technical expertise, undeniably excellent production and the album offers ten tracks any fan of the genre can readily consume without complaint and each with their own identity. Add vocals which fit perfectly and the album rockets into unforgettable realms. This album begs to be played again and again. Jump on this at your next earliest convenience!


ecliptic visionEcliptic Vision – s/t

Far from the typical brutal/progressive death affair this is an effort which delivers throughout and demands multiple listens to fully appreciate. Progressive themes knit tightly, and flirt constantly, with technical passages injected with nuance, varying pace and abrupt transforming rhythms. Ambient interludes add to the albums overall effect; the combination is bathed in other-worldly themes resulting in an album which thankfully stays this side of the gone too far to be saved cosmic tech-wizardry fence.

freighter the den.jpg

Freighter – The Den

Hard to describe, even harder not to instantly like. There’s truly something unique and utterly mesmerizing about the style, or rather the mixture of styles here. The lyrics are comic book-esque and fantastical in their scope with a style that’s somewhat comical and the audio is a hodge-podge of styles which are familiar yet hard to instantly place. Riffs here and there leer at the listener with an air of arrogance as if to say I dare you to pair me with an act, track and album. I dare you to tackle the quest.

gates to the morning

Gates to the Morning – Return to Earth

Odd how Jazz and Metal are two genres so vastly separate from each other yet they come together so amazingly well. Close to an hour in length this is so much more than merely an album, it’s far from traditional in any senses, more a journey through an audioscape which offers an experience demanding the undivided attention. A sojourn through a wilderness fraught with melancholy, bliss and exhilaration. Melody intertwines with majesty; brutality cavorts with the innocence of beauty accompanied by rhythms which are soothing yet shot through with an undeniable sinister air.


Pathetic – Rat King

A glorious mixture of influences keeps this album rolling. D-beat rhythms cavort with old school values and plodding riffs akin to that of the earliest Grave material. Lyrics often reek of a deliciously jaded Pungent Stench vibe, add this to an occasionally wicked soundbite, a dirge-laden tone ripped straight from the basement of the underground 90’s (think Bolt Thrower, Terrorizer) and a pace which often picks up frequently offering groove one cannot sit still to and you have all the right ingredients for an album which feels like it might have been released twenty-something years too late.

shades of deep water

Shades of Deep Water – Death’s Threshold

Although this doesn’t seem that complex in rhythm or composition (at times it appears to dive deep into drone waters) it has a certain undeniable quality, a power, a captivating quality which is difficult to ignore. The album is only made even more impressive based on the fact that it was composed, mixed, recorded and mixed by a single soul, a talented individual indeed, J.H. A Fantastic mood accompaniment!


Thy Art is Murder – Human Target *

The partnership of Djent, Slam, melodic, brutal death and one of the finest voices in the industry is stunning; mixed to genius levels and appreciatively differing ratios within each track. Atmosphere, brutality, melody and a caliber of production only elevates the albums grandiose nature. It’s all here, in spades, making for a release which demands respect and the senses upon it.


Vagrant – The Rise of Norn

Weaving a masterful combination of melodies and atmosphere with lyrics based around warriors, folklore, fate and superstition Vagrant have managed to create an album which flows exquisitely. Rhythms intertwine with galloping and heavy riffs forging a release which is far from the run of the mill melodic death or even blackened death album. Offering symphonic death, melodic death exquisite acoustic elements, doom, folk and Viking metal this has the potential to appeal to a wide audience.



Abysmalist – Reflections of Horror

Only four tracks on offer here but as an introduction to what the band offer this is stunning, an outstanding example of how death and doom realms can be manipulated to great effect. A delicate balance of atmosphere and brutality presented by considerable oomph to grab and hold the attention rapt. With this as a debut the future is blinding!

anticosm call of the void

Anticosm – The Call of the Void

Dynamic, ever evolving, melodic, passionate and draped in atmosphere yet miles from what could be termed traditional, both in rhythm and vocal departments. For those who aren’t quite willing to fully immerse themselves fully in any one genre this is great location to start a life-long exploration drenched with realms of amazement and wonder which is guaranteed to set the senses on fire.

Book of wyrms album

Book of Wyrms – Remythologizer *

A true celebration of epic heavy metal and traditional doom with NWOBHM stylings, cantering and galloping rhythms, swaying melodies and wicked leads topped off with ethereal vocals. Overall a fantastic achievement which thankfully never wanders too far into psychedelic waters, though on occasion dips more than a toe into its murky depths. Now this is Doom I can subscribe too!! Tear me away from this now, it’s fast becoming an addiction.


Cruickshank – s/t

Driving rhythms, which often fight for supremacy in chaotic standoffs, traipse through a slew of styles offering the listener a great deal to discover. Overall a release which will please fans of Kyuss, Olde, Tool, EyeHateGod, Acid Bath and a slew of others acts who refuse to conform to a style that defined by any one genre. Someone is going to have to pull me away from this with considerable force, it’s growing on me like a ravenous parasite.


Darkened – Into the Blackness

Although the familiarity is undeniable there is also something else which makes this stand apart. Presence, subtle atmosphere or the audios leaning toward death/doom territories. Whatever it is it works and I’m eager for more.

detherousDetherous – Hacked to Death

Channeling Malevolent Creation, Death and Asphyx, Detherous have managed to create a style that’s exuberant, furious (boasting exquisite time changes and abrupt mosh frenzy changes in pace) and technical. This is audio which unceremoniously pulls one back to the old school (both European and American) and does a great job of doing so. Call it homage, call it what you will but there’s no doubt this is executed with passion, flair and precision.


Graveview – Demos 18-19’

Influences are undeniable but it’s what the band does with the tone and the myriad of other factors and how they incorporate it into their style which makes this special. Abrupt pace shifts and breakdowns executed with precision, know-how, flair, the fact that this is stunningly fluid, will incite grins aplenty and will delight long-time fans of the scene.

lllvilja livet

lllvilja -Livet *

A primitive, mysterious, spice heats up that which is already incendiary, both in its nature and infectiousness. Touches of stylistic diversity, and appreciative breaks from the same old, same old (which could well be expected based on this albums categorization, hailed as “Dbeat/Blackened-Crust”) propel this to refreshing heights making this a release set to be the bar which others in the genre will struggle to reach. This came out of nowhere to catapult me to the nearest medical facility on account of my abrupt skyrocketing excitement levels, it’s that damn impressive!

nomas last laugh

No/Mas – Last Laugh

I can honestly say I believe this to be their best work to date, as it makes an instant impression and is criminally infectious/inciteful from its nuclear-powered launch. Six tracks and perilously close to eight minutes in length. Yep, this is grindcore! And these fellows have an axe to sharpen and senses to obliterate.


overt enemy possessionOvert Enemy – Possession

Slayer worship through and through (there’s even a ripping cover of “At Dawn They Sleep” and the bassists name even has a decidedly “Slayer” slant to it) of that there’s no doubt but Overt Enemy execute the style so damn well that odds are they’ll take the vacated throne without a qualm and little complaint.


Wraith – Absolute Power *

Like an adrenaline shot to a form weary of hype this awakens immediately the same feeling one had when first introduced to the scene. With splashes of punk, a style which rarely lets up pounding maniacally at blackened thrash/speed gates and a myriad of influence which vomits from near every track this is an album not to be missed. Add a double billed Hellripper, Wraith show to my bucket-list and I’ll leave this plane a happy fellow.

wizard rifle self titled

Wizard Rifle – s/t

The sound is altogether mesmerizing, even from the albums first notes, while wholly unclassifiable. The exuberance and energy are undeniable and infectious whilst the rhythms and tempo are ever evolving, shifting like an amorphous beast the likes of which you’d kindly invite in from the cold for a spot by the fire. Dense riffs collide with sacrificial drum salvos and plodding rhythms transform into galloping frenzied moments all accented by a diverse vocal tirade which incorporates melody, shouting and angst in equal measures. An epic feel underscores the whole shebang though its hardly given much heed as the music whisks the listener away to undiscovered realms, vistas and valleys frequented by constructs which are nonsensical yet accepted as easily as a birthday check, in the mailbox, from a long lost relative.



Arctos – Beyond the Grasp of Mortal Hands *

I’m not normally a fan of the Black Metal genre but this blows me away with its diversity and delivery in every way. Enthralling, hypnotic and stunning from start to finish, a must visit genre experience!!

Alcoholocaust – Necro Apocalipse Bestial

Aggressive speed metal with the occasional splash of punk accompanied by maniacal and archaic heavily accented vocals. This could well be the foreign long-lost twin to Whiplash’s “Power and Pain” release. Criminally addictive and requires limbering up before hitting the play button. Prepare to have this reside in your audio equipment for an extended duration of time.


Algebra – Pulse?

There’s an undeniable fluid nature here. Timing changes are exquisite, rhythms infectious and dynamic. Melodies are plentiful and change enough to keep a listener on their toes. A sense of familiarity abounds, leaves one scratching their heads as to which band or album this or that part sounds like, but it doesn’t take away from the listening experience in the slightest. Oftentimes an epic narrative unfolds by way of the music alone complementing the thought-provoking lyrical content. In short, a winning combination which if someone could bottle it would most probably be titled something along the lines of ‘Excuse me for a second while I blow your mind’, or” Forget the Remainder of your day you’re about to be Unfathomably Distracted”. Naturally words, as they often do, fail me as I attempt to imprint my appreciation upon the flashing screen beneath my hands. Don’t, DON’T, don’t, allow this to go unnoticed.


Ankhara – Sinergia

Showcasing passionate rhythms, galloping riffs and dynamic, high energy, percussion there are zero dull moments here to be discovered. The style varies and brings to mind a plethora of acts some more distinct than others as the album unfolds. If your interests lay more in hard rock more so than the darker end of the metal/rock universe this is where you’ll want to rest your ears for a while.


ColdClaw – Anti Martyr: Decades to Suffer

Coldclaw’s is a style which captures the essence of black metal. Crust as experienced throughout the album in various passages featuring dominant drum salvos; which are difficult not to move to and death metal as heard within various chugging riff approaches and the brutality which is displayed dominantly throughout. The result is a collection of tracks which has the potential to appeal to a wide audience, some who are curious about arenas they perhaps haven’t discovered before and others whose interests lay within the styles mixed with such passionate precision here

come back from the dead album

Come Back from the Dead – Rise of the Blind Ones

With melody and groove throughout this rarely let’s up in the infectious department. Think a hybrid of 90’s European death, old school British grind/death with a complementary sprinkle of doom and a maniacal essence. A mixture no doubt which has been perpetrated before but, in this case, somehow it feels fresh and leaves quite an impression.

cult of sorrow.jpg

Cult of Sorrow – Invocation of the Lucifer

Traditional, melodic, riff heavy with just the right amount of fuzz, keyboard laden, passionate doom with heavy metal leanings. Think The Obsessed with vocals of an Ozzy era Black Sabbath slant. This has undeniable staying power, shows experience beyond only being a second full-length and is extremely difficult not to instantly appreciate. And this only gets better with repeated listens.

ethereal riffian.jpg

Ethereal Riffian – Legends

A varied smorgasbord of doom, wall to wall melody and influence ranging from across the metal spectrum. Vocal inflections channeling Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies) a musical style often akin to that of early Faith no More, and unpredictable, driving rhythms with occasional strangely soothing qualities. Highly entertaining audio that’s dangerously infectious and pleasingly varied throughout.

high command

High Command – Beyond the Walls of Desolation *

Every once in a while, there comes an album which has a buzz surrounding it. This is one such example. Often this buzz has much to do with unique qualities; a quality which has the potential to take genres in new and exciting directions. This is hardly another run of the mill, dime-a-dozen thrash album although it bears the ingredients which most exhibit if only in part, and all wish to master. Is this the thrash album of the year for me? It’s certainly up there in the mix and unashamedly guilty of rekindling my interest in the genre.

Horror God

Horror God – Cursed Seeds

Melody and groove take a backseat to the menace and ferocity on display though it’s still apparent albeit in frenetic doses. The constant timing and rhythm shift as well the musicianship on offer and the booming vocal cadence elevate this above the herd. A dark nightmarish, punishing, narrative is what’s on offer here and I’m taking the trip again.


IATT – Nomenclature

Once over the initial foreign aura the album’s foreign nature grows on the listener, starting its enthralling conquest of the senses. In short, this will appeal to those with an open mind whose penchants run to blackened realms as well arenas which are often referred to as a tad experimental. Be prepared for you’ll want to lose yourself in its grandeur again and again.


Netherbird – Into the Vast Uncharted

A remarkable invocation of the blackened death style crafted with precision showcasing passionate guitar leads, acoustic brilliance and sweeping evocative melodies. A veil of doom, a definite well-executed presence, accentuates the palpable emotion throughout making for a release one will only want to experience repeatedly.

Sempiternal Dusk

Sempiternal Dusk – Cenotaph of Defectuous Creation

Catacomb-esque mid-tempo rhythms with subtle nuance and oodles of archaic, cinematic quality, atmosphere in the form of an unmerciful steamroller assault. Suffocating audio with a slight funeral doom aura, dense yet also flirting with a blackened vibe, a myriad of tempo and time changes under epic skies offers the listener plenty to chew upon. This might take a second listen to fully embrace but it’s worth the effort!

void king

Void King – Barren Dominion

Took me a while but now I’m thinking the raw, unbridled, emotion-laden vocal style is a hybrid of Staind Channel Zero (although my only experience is the album “Unsafe”) and Danzig it’s highly effective against the slow to mid-tempo rhythms and presence, the combination is nothing short of powerful and utterly mesmerizing. The fact that this is radio friendly should not deter one from giving it a fair few spins. An altogether brilliant slab of doom/stoner rock with Southern rock touches. Highly recommended!


Wintercrown – Northern Lights

I can’t pinpoint it, perhaps it’s the fact that Wintercrown aren’t afraid to branch out (ever so slightly) to encompass elements from other genres both musically and vocally. Or the fact that the combination works so ungodly well. Whatever it is, it’s executed excellently, I’m sold! And this has been one of the most impactful Black Metal experiences I’ve heard in recent memory. Bravo!

mix tape action

Keep it up, you maniac!

Well, there’s another couple of months’ worth of releases to dive into. Naturally, I haven’t heard everything within these three months, not even close in fact. I was slightly distracted with the summer holidays and the kiddos not being in school. However, I did make an attempt which often resulted in virtually sleepless nights and varied exciting moments of zoning out at work the following day. And all in the name of metal! (What a trooper). Due to the sheer volume of releases unleashed during the final three months of the year I’ve come to the conclusion that what I believed to be an initial four-part endeavor will now transpire into what I’d like to think of as a five-part opus. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Cult (a certifiable slave to audio extreme)


Abrasive Audio – Part the Eleventh

(fuck me! It’s May, already!)
too much metal

Mind literally blown from an overload of metal!

Join me as I traipse into waters unknown in my quest to flood my senses with audio exquisite, brutal, all-consuming but most of all praise-worthy.

gates to the morning

Gates to the Morning – Return to Earth
Release – July/19/2019
Dewar PR


Two opposites are displayed in this vibrant image, side by side. Heat and cold, beauty and darkness, Ying and Yang. One can only imagine what audio waits within, color me intrigued.


What many might perceive as a nod to an instrumental Metallica track soon transforms. Classical acoustics accompanied by unmistakable bass and ‘something’ else lurking beneath. An enigmatic presence. My curiosity only develops further.


Odd how Jazz and Metal are two genres so vastly separate from each other yet they come together so amazingly well.

The reason for my mentioning this is that this composition is a creation of a jazz trained mind and at times a collective of similarly themed minds. Obviously, the comparison to works by Akercocke needs mentioning yet this is also somewhat akin to the works of Opeth and Amorphis also, as varied as this is in its approach and exquisite delivery. Beauty amidst an abrupt forest of menace; the theme of many a Grimm tale? Which certainly fits here. Melody intertwines with majesty; brutality cavorts with the innocence of beauty accompanied by rhythms which are soothing yet shot through with an undeniable sinister air. Close to an hour in length this is so much more than merely an album, it’s far from traditional in any senses, more a journey through an audioscape which offers an experience demanding the undivided attention. A sojourn through a wilderness fraught with melancholy, bliss and exhilaration.

Recommended for those who prefer audio which is far from being able to be placed in merely one category.

Though be warned as repeated listens are in order to be able to fully grasp the myriad of intricacies on offer!

nuclear revenge

Nuclear Revenge – Let the Tyrants Rise
Release – April/30/2019
Evil Spell Records/Undercover
Against PR


Feral hounds on a chain, winged demons and various characters on executioner garb, this could mean only one thing, it’s a book club ‘special event’ at Franks.


This wastes no time in getting to the point and that point is vicious, faster than something really fast (Thanks SYL) and tainted with an adoration of the raw, diabolical and the old school arena.

A great start which makes me think I should have thoroughly stretched before I hit play.


Shredding flesh from the bone fast riffage accompanied by wicked lyrics and an undeniable blackened edge makes this an album I could spin all day. Add to that Vocals which sound eerily similar to Mille’ (Kreator) nods to the same band, Sodom, vintage Sepultura, even Tankard and Celtic Frost. With tips of the hat towards the Bestial arena and you have a debut which can’t be ignored showcasing a style which, though mainly feverishly fast, also sports surprises in store for those who believe they can predict where this might go next.

This derives from Spain but one could so easily be mistaken thinking it’s of South American origins.

Favorite Tracks; Ancient Rites, Nuclear Revenge, Cursed are our Marks, Lucifer’s Slave Burn the Holy Cross.


Gravefields – Embrace the Void
Release – June/7/2019
Redefining Darkness/Seeing Red Records


Ominous yet classical brooding with an air of fantasy and desolation. What awaits in the void? I’m eager to find out…hitting PLAY to discover my fate.


Immediate presence, power and riffs to tear the face off with vocals to match. Orchestrated brutality, not noise, shot through with blunt riffs and menacing atmosphere lurking in the background.

A fantastic start that bodes extremely well for what’s to follow.


Riffs with pulverizing intent, atmosphere and plenty of brutality with a “presence” rarely heard, though often attempted by bands with a longer history (discography) behind them. Epic tracks with plenty of movement and rhythmic transformations and a varied vocal approach to keep the listener on their toes and eager.

For a debut this shows stellar promise, offering a vibe which brings to mind Abysmal Dawn mixed with Nile and Black Dahlia Murder toss in a sprinkle of hardcore and the mix is complete. This is an album deserved of a prominent position in both a fans collection and inclusion in a multitude of end of year lists.

A phenomenal talent appearing as if from nowhere, play this loud and level the neighborhood.

Highly Recommended!!


Pulver – Kings Under the Sand
Release – May/10/2019
Gates of Hell Records
Clawhammer PR

 ARTWORK – 7.5

Embellishing upon the character first seen in the band’s debut EP this shows him/her/it within a desert landscape showcasing a mysterious tableau in the background. This bursts with a 70’s/80’s power metal, epic heavy metal vibe.


Thin Lizzy twin guitar harmonies, a unique Danzig meets Lemme (Motorhead, doh!) voice complete with gang vocals and an aura that screams NWOBHM and the era. This is certainly different from the norm, but oh so addictive. Excuse me while I shut out the outside world and prepare to sink into the music of the past.


Channeling Judas Priest, Saxon, Di’Anno era Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy and a myriad of other styles (which are oh so 80’s) makes this more than merely intriguing. Doom, power, epic, heavy with hints of speed metal and plenty of heart. A bare bones production approach only makes this that much more appealing.

Recommended for fans of metal minus the brutality with the melody knob twisted to ’11’ then promptly broken off.

Favorite Tracks; Kings Under the Sand, Alpha Omega, Curse of the Pharaoh.


Lvcifyre – Sacrament (EP)
Release – May/24/2029
Dark Descent Records
Clawhammer PR

 ARTWORK – 7.5

Doused in playful shadow and light and drenched in flames this is a hellish vision indeed.


An intriguing introduction makes the imagination run riot. Is this what working in a Chinese kitchen during rush hour sounds like (aka Hell)? A blanket of audio breaks the spell to smother the listener in a suffocating embrace. A vicious, unrelenting, pulverizing assault with a formidable density to knock the unsuspecting on their derriere.


Archaic, diabolical and unrelenting Sacrament sports introductions and occasional interludes which boast epic cinematic proportions.

The style herein is varied hinting at influence ranging from Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal and a wide array of acts dwelling under the ‘theatrical’ (bordering on slightly experimental) black metal banner. An intriguing audio concoction which thankfully stays on track (often offering industrial-esque tattoo rhythms) and doesn’t stray too far into chaotic realms.

Favorite Tracks; The Greater Curse, Sacrament, Morderca (Kat cover).

hell bent

Hell Bent – Apocalyptic Lamentations
Release – June/14/2019
Horror Pain Gore Death/Armageddon Label/Atomic Action/Metal Swarm
Dewar PR


Father Frank, Father Frank. What happened? Oh, A rabid critter tore your face off in a moshpit which abruptly appeared after you stepped through a portal to the very depths of Satan’s lair…

Fair enuf!


This isn’t pretty, it’s thrash with a touch of D-beat, with definite grindcore influence (especially in the vocal department, think Terrorizer and the like) and sports in-your-face aggressive. Rough and abrasive it has surprising rhythm and I can already tell this is going to be an infectious release.


Non-stop pin you against the wall audio within a feverish dynamic environment. Frenetic paced and raw, again this isn’t at all pretty. It pummels at the grindcore fences with a myriad of crossover implements and because of this many won’t like it as it’s what many might consider ‘typical’ thrash. Regardless, it will flip the abrupt limb twitch/spasm switch and get the listener moving. Blunt, straight to the point tracks are exactly what the style demands, and the approach works excellently. Recommend more for fans of aggressive metal and not those pining for ballads and/or slower melodic audio ala In Flames/Dark Tranquility.

Favorite Tracks; Oppression, Enslavement, Coercion, Prey for War, Scythian Hordes.


Sacrilegia – The Triclavian Advent
Release – April/12/2019
Invictus Productions


An armor-plated gent looks down in disdain as he overlooks a pair of hammer wielding fellows going about their daily task of nailing an unfortunate to a cross in preparation of the first advent of Easter (or something).

Skeletons on either side of the main image make certain that the listener would never confuse this with a release which would ever see the light of day on terrestrial radio or popular television.


Thrashin’ madness coupled with raw energy draped in black metal sensibilities plucked from the late 80’s. Strap in folks, this is gonna’ be a rough ride!


Think the rawness of ‘Pleasure to Kill’ Kreator, the speed of ‘Invisible Force’ Destruction, splash a little maniacal ‘Altars of Madness’ Morbid Angel then liberal dose the whole shebang with an archaic raw nature, a disdain for current trends and a tip of the hat to the almighty Celtic Frost then you’ll be close to what we have here. Probably not for those with a penchant for symphonic, epic, melodic thrash or nu-metal but for those who yearn for the days of yore when metal had bite, viciousness and raised a defiant middle finger to conformity and organized religion. I’m diggin’ this more than I thought I ever would to be honest.

Favorite Tracks; Beyond the Foulers Snare, On Herding of Swine, Armoured Angel, As with Spears we Come.


Murdryck – Fodelsen
Release – May/1/2019
Leviaphonic Records/Growls from the Underground
Qabar PR


Haunting and wraithlike. An excellent image perhaps portraying the Shepard of lost souls going about his important duties? However, it’s all up for discussion. Regardless, a damn impressive visual.


A powerful classical, menacing, intro opens the proceedings. Busy black metal takes the baton and offers a beat which is majestic, atmospheric and sinister yet not truly ‘traditional’. Featuring a drum heavy mix this track is a delightful change from the norm. I’m awash in intrigue!


(Note; The album’s title, translated, means ‘birth’).

Unpredictable and varied in tone. Throughout its length, a myriad of differing styles and influence change prominent position. Ranging from atmospheric through menacing and melodic black (think Dissection) and slower, moodier moments the album is a veritable buffet of extreme audio. In the title track there’s definite Slayer-esque qualities. Whereas, ‘Blood Sacrifice’ has a black n’ roll vibe, it’s as if Ian Astberry of The Cult might step in at any time to lend a vocal accompaniment alongside rhythms reminiscent of Moonspell’s ‘Sin Pecado’. The dualistic language approach aids in the albums intriguing appeal, and the applaudable snarling vocal approach is enough to bring in those with a penchant for the style. Overall, an album which has the presence to pull in those which normally might not dip their toes in the murkier waters the arena usually offers.

Favorite Tracks; Valnad, Sea Spirit, Blood Sacrifice, Shadow Beings.

critical defiance

Critical Defiance – Misconception
Release – February/7/2019
Unspeakable Axe Records


Anyone else believe this could be a missing Sodom album cover. The homage is undeniable. A definite crimson aura, gas masks and troops, all that’s needed is the logo.


Fast, furious and tight thrash sporting a cavalcade of overflowing riffs and plentiful nods to the ‘old school’. A fantastic start which has me sweating from frenetic exertions already.


Adrenaline spiked from the first to the last with surprising interludes of melody and rhythms which occasionally veer towards the punk arena. In short, this is a release fans of aggressive thrash will not want to miss. Sporting a myriad of furious rhythms and obvious influence, albums prominent from genre past and a slew of varied acts will jump to the forefront of the mind. Released twenty years ago this may well have been heralded as a classic. As it is today it stands proud as a shining achievement in the thrash resurgence. And… this might be the one to pull me back into the fold!

Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Spiral of Hatred, What About you, Misconception.

bewitcher album

Bewitcher – Under the Witching Cross
Release – May/10/2019
Shadow Kingdom Records


This art screams homage to the old school, a spot of Moon and (vintage) Bathory worship anyone? (clothing is, as always, optional.)


Blackened rock n’ roll, or blackened speed metal? It’s a close call. But I won’t spend much time deliberating over the points of each, instead I’ll merely let this audio wash over me and let nostalgia take ahold. Bewitcher are back!


I can only wonder if this might have been what Venom (‘Heathen Woman’ and ‘Hexenkrieg’ being the earliest of examples showcasing a Cronos-esque vocal approach and similar riffage) sounded like if they were more melodic and/or talented (a point that’s obviously up for debate) there’s more than obvious nods to vintage Blitzkrieg in here too (think the earliest of demos) and an air that’s decidedly NWOBHM draped in the worship of the crimson horned, hoofed, one. Overall this is a release which shows Bewitcher tightening up their sound (a little, though not too much, else this wouldn’t be as much fun as it is!) though thankfully ‘sticking to their guns’ (and the production tone with an aura of vinyl fuzz) in regard to a style that works oh so damned well. This is in effect blackened heavy metal with speed sensibilities with an air of doom tossed in to shake things up a little. Make room for this in your collection, continue to search Bandcamp for the full release and part with the greenery as this will make you move and reminisce. Be prepared to search through the belongings for that one denim jacket with the patch emblazoned across the back that you just can’t part with.

Favorite tracks; Hexenkrieg, Too Fast for the Flames, The Sign of the Goat, Frost Moon Ritual.

Until next our audio paths of interest meet again,