Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

Abrasive Audio 2020 Part Five

black metal gif

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

February Releases

primeval mass nine altars

Primeval Mass (Greece) – Nine Altars

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

Release – February/21/2020

Katoptron IX Records

ARTWORK- 90

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

FIRST TRACK- 92

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

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

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

FFO; Hellripper, Wraith, Inculter, Hellish.

asarhaddon

Asarhaddon (Germany) – Reysa

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

Release- February/29/2020

Geistarasche Organisation

ARTWORK- 85

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

FIRST TRACK- 90

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

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

Favorite Tracks; This delivers throughout!

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

March Releases

nexorum

Nexorum (Norway) – Death Unchained

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

Release- March/6/2020

Non -Serviam Records

ARTWORK- 86

A nest of snakes cradles a bronzed skull.

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

FIRST TRACK- 77

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 83

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

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

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

medium (argentina)

Medium (Argentina) – s/t

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

Release – March/6/2020

Transcending Obscurity Records

ARTWORK- 78

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

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

FIRST TRACK- 90

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

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

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

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

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

holiday drumming animal

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

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

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part the Third

black metal gif

It’s that time again. The earth has span enough to warrant my having a little time off in which to spew my thoughts on a myriad of audio (I’ve already posted a few film reviews in the past couple of days, what say I take a stab at a few audio outings?) Without further ado here are a few releases which garnered my attention. (Please stick around to the end there’s something of note If like to impart upon all whose eyes alight upon this.)

Left over from January

porta nigra

Porta Nigra (Germany) – Schöpfungswut

https://soulsellerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/sch-pfungswut

Release – January/17/2020

Soulseller Records

ARTWORK- 86

I’m honestly not sure what this is, even upon closer inspection (I probably need my eyes checked). But from what I can gather it’s a huge chalice of sorts overflowing with lifeless forms dripping crimson. Intricate, vivid and stark full of detail it leaves a lot for interpretation and isn’t typical if what one might imagine faced with a description which includes the words black metal. Although the words Avant Garde are also included, so there’s that!

FIRST TRACK- 92

It’s rare that a track has my complete attention as fast and as unwavering as this and to boot this isn’t even in a language I can understand. My German is rudimentary at best. Undeniable is that this seethes with brilliance, rhythms which are both majestic, ice cold and remarkably hypnotic. In effect the arrangements mesmerize nodding to remarkable knowledge of that which the scene offers but yet added to with ingredients which are hard to pinpoint.

An amazing start. Hold my calls!

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

Admittedly I balk at the merest mention of Avant Garde, in this instance however with the caliber of audio on offer I’ve somehow embraced the term. There’s no arguments here that this bursts at the seams with the darkest of metal influence (I don’t wish to type “Black Metal” adnauseum in this) but it also brims with a variety of other styles carefully interwoven in the mix as not to overpower in the slightest that which is on offer. Atmosphere is plentiful as too an ominous/sinister narrative (which I need to take the time to Google translate to make sense of). What might be surprising is that the concoction at times translates to a style which could easily fill the confines of a Gothic nightclub, I sense that fans of Rammstein and even early works by Moonspell might take more than a cursory glance towards this. Folk elements are also apparent as too a blend of styles which often brings to mind the more melodious side of blackened death outings. To keep this short, as my words fail me, this is an epic outing which sees time fly by as the listening experience enfolds. Without reservation I’d state it warrants curious ears upon it and all the praise it has amassed. In conclusion, occasionally a release comes along which shatters the misconceptions of what a certain genre offers whilst opening the eyes to insane diverse talent which seamlessly encompasses and incorporates a slew of styles into a fluid nature. This is one such release. Just bravo! This is sure to make an appearance again come end of year, I’d bet on it!

Favorite Tracks; outstanding and entrancing from start to finish!

FFO; Ruins of Beverast, Emperor, Moonspell and all manner of top-notch black metal outings which incorporate Doom and atmosphere into the mix.

February Releases

life taker

Life Taker (Germany) – Night Intruder

https://lckr.bandcamp.com/album/lifetaker-night-intruder

Release – February 2020 (digital)

March/13/2020 (physical)

Lower Class Kids/Black Omega Recordings

ARTWORK- 79

Menacing and certainly ominous. There’s someone (or something) lurking in the shadows with most probably dubious intents in mind. I’m thinking that’s a knife in his/her hand and not a flowerpot or a blank check.

FIRST TRACK- 81

Chaotic, menacing and multi directional. Grindcore colliding head on with extreme punk. If you’ve ever dropped a 2 liter of soda (fizzy drink, pop, soft drink for those across the pond or in different States) on its “head” and its top has come off it looks as this sounds, spinning erratically with undeniable pressure behind it affecting everyone in its wake (quite the comparison which I’m only hoping makes something of sense).

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

Much like a traditional grindcore/extreme release this sports tracks of brief length (a blunt and brutal approach reigns supreme here) which more often than not blend together with nary time for a breather in between. Vocals are fierce, force of nature/strip siding from the houses in the neighborhood vicious (there’s perhaps two throats involved but I’m not absolutely sure). The accompanying percussion is dense, dirge laden and often cataclysmic in its ferocity. What deserves mentioning, in every review I’d state, is the skill in the drumming department. Paired with both the guitars and vocals it serves to add another layer to the audio. Rarely settling down, it’s a whirling dervish, unpredictable salvo to say the least and I’d assume a marvel to witness in a live setting. Surprisingly the album displays a variety of emotion and pacing (even in instances groove and a pitch doom aura) and even steps away from the expected some might say traditional genre approach. But this is hardly traditional, rather an exquisite melding of a myriad of extreme styles to form a different beast entirely (reminiscent in part of the early British extreme scene) One which can ravage my ears whenever it wishes. Shit! I don’t even require a ‘safe’ word. I’m loving the way in which this tosses my form around like a possessed ragdoll!

Favorite Tracks; The whole album delivers!

FFO; Terrorizer, Brutal Truth, Between the Buried and Me (vintage) Chelsea Grin, No/Mas, Napalm Death.

starving for death

Starving for Death (China) – s/t

https://cultofosiris.bandcamp.com/album/starving-for-death

Release- February/3/2020

Cult of Osiris

ARTWORK – 60

Who is this frustrated fellow and who is he yelling at? A raw black and white image possibly showing the artist attempting to catch varied winged beasts with his mouth agape.

FIRST TRACK- 72

A classical and luxuriously ominous introduction leads the listener into raw and undeniably primal production realms showcasing melodious black metal, a touch of folk, with an underlying and rather unassuming malevolent synth accompaniment. An interesting mix leaving me curious for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 74

Yet another release from the mind behind Winter Dynasty and Star Devourer this sees the artist delve into more depressive (DSBM) waters incorporating emotion laden classical introductions, choruses, synth and epic soundscapes against a doom drenched black metal incantation bolstered by archaic production values, which (wait for it) strangely fit. The pace is varied throughout ranging from languid to swift with the vocal style adding to the dense atmosphere blanketed heavily in melancholia and hopelessness.

winter dynasty logo

This definitely isn’t a soundtrack to play at a family gathering and it probably won’t appeal to most within the metal scene looking for instant gratification. But for those who appreciate that which the genre offers it will hit the spot. It does however build (for those like myself unfamiliar with what the genre offers) in appeal the more its epic nature is allowed entry into the senses.

Favorite Tracks; Dark Winter Queen, Your Funeral, Embracing the Darkness.

FFO; Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal.

kings never die ep

Kings Never Die (US) – Raise a Glass (EP)

https://upstaterecords.bandcamp.com/album/kings-never-die-raise-a-glass-full-release

Release- February/7/2020

Upstate Records

ARTWORK- 65

Blunt and to the point there’s no doubt who this is by as the moniker is plastered all across the image itself.

FIRST TRACK- 84

It’s been a while since I’ve listened to anything in this arena of the metal universe, but thankfully I took the leap here. This is a fist pumpingly infectious hardcore track which is difficult not to instantly appreciate even for those who are most recently strangers to the scene like myself.

INITIAL LISTEN- 82

Simplistic at times but hard-hitting this supplies a barrage of riffs which instantly connect. Gang vocals and the trademarked style traditional of the NY scene will perk the attention of any fan of the aforementioned leaving them eager for more.

Favorite Tracks; Before my Time, The Juice.

FFO; Pro-Pain, Agnostic Front, Sick of it All.

amorphia

Amorphia (India) – Merciless Strike

https://amorphiathrash.bandcamp.com/album/merciless-strike-digital-album

Release- January/15/2020 Physical (Digital – February/15/2020)

Awakening Records

ARTWORK- 86

There’s a maniac at the Doomsday keyboard. Apparently hes clone himself either thatbor he has an evil super soldier army in mind. Ed Repka art? Regardless, this is awesome.

FIRST TRACK- 90

Vintage Sodom in tone even down to the “Angelripper” vocal similarity but with Vader on the throttle. Fast, aggressive and tight much like a meth addled nun in a Ferrari with the pedal to the floor. I’m all in!

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

Exactly what the Doctor ordered, thrash with attitude, pace and diabolical seasoning, most would call this “old school” and I would agree. No ballads just walk to wall neck crackin’ rhythms. Thrash the way it was meant to be!! Do not miss out on this!!

Favorite Tracks; the whole album rips!

FFO; Sodom, Slayer, (“Power and Pain”) Whiplash.

And a closer look at a couple of 7” (Keep that mind outta the gutter!)

orphan devil 7

Orphan Devil (Finland) – Victims of the Night/Drifting Away 7″

https://orphandevil.bandcamp.com/releases

Release- February/21/2020

Gates of Hell Records

ARTWORK- 78

Black and White imagery depicting a robed figure cradling an infant (with horns…what?) and a lighted staff. Is this an alternate opening to a film starring a sword wielding Emperor defying fellow wandering the countryside with his infant. Hmm…

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

First track (Side 1; to be technical) is criminally melodious and oozes with a brilliant NWOBHM aura ala vintage Maiden, Thin Lizzy and Blitzkrieg. Twin harmonious guitar melodies, strong bass lines, an unpolished traditional vocal approach (which makes up a large part of this releases charm) distinct drum rhythms and even the tone screams undeniable influence. Climaxing with the trademark late 70’s cataclysmic finale this bodes well and has me tapping my foot like one with restless leg syndrome to the nth degree. The second track (Side 2) has somewhat a Highland jig feel to it and sports more the raw, unpolished vocal approach than the track before but is no less addictive. Overall this is growing on me like an intestinal bacterium which is most probably the cause of last night’s hasty horrid gas station snacking decision. If a full length is anything comparable to what’s on offer here fans of NWOBHM should be clamoring for the pre-sale order deets.

FFO; Di’anno fronted Iron Maiden, Blitzkrieg.

gravebreaker road warrior split

Road Warrior (Australia)/Gravebreaker (Sweden) Death in Heels on Wheels/Death Promise Split 7”

https://cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com/album/road-warrior-gravebreaker-split-7

Release – February/21/2020

Gates of Hell Records

ARTWORK- 88

Larger than life characters, a mafia boss, huge guns, scars, skulls, a biker with a “I’m on a mission, nothing can stop me” look on his face and an explosion at an apartment block. This is gloriously Grindhouse complete with a comic book vibe all the way. I’m lovin’ it!

INITIAL THOUGHTS-
Gravebreaker – “Death Promise”

https://gravebreaker.bandcamp.com/

Hard rockin’ heavy metal with a dash of speed, rhythms which will leave the listener tapping their limbs, solid pairs with s 80’s electronic vibe, gruff vocals (aka “Carnage City State Mosh Patrol” Decimator) and the inclusion of brilliant synth soundbites plucked from a variety of raunchy cult celluloid. Think Carpenter’s “Assault on Precinct 13” and “The Warriors” mixed with a Bronson character out for blood and justice.

What’s not to love? I could honestly listen to this all day and not get bored. How is it this is the first I’m hearing of this band? This is downright criminally infectious audio!!

88
Road Warrior – Death in Heels on Wheels

https://roadwarrior-metal.bandcamp.com/

Is it really that hard to conceive that these guys are from Australia with a moniker like “Roadwarrior” …Not really? Moving on. Imagine if NWOBHM and traditional Doom collided, add theatrical vocals, a truckload of chugging riffs and a narrative seemingly yanked from a sexploitation flick doused in biker shenanigans and black magic elements.

At times this reminds me of King Diamond’s output on account of both the music and the vocal style. An intriguing track sure to garner the attention of those who have a penchant for a varied vocal range and the dramatic.

78

I’ve included links to each of the artists involved, as I was of the mind, I couldn’t find the release in question, alas at the last moment I uncovered its location.

winter dynasty ancient creatures of the east

The newest addition to the Winter Dynasty catalog of releases

In closing this installment my thoughts alight upon those less fortunate. In particular those ravaged by a virus which is sweeping its way across the globe at a faster pace than the insane appeal of the cute little package better known as Baby Yoda. My thoughts go out to Winter Dynasty at this time (who lives in China; one of the worst affected locations) as should yours and I’d like to dedicate this installment to him. Feel free to support him in his time of need to ensure his and his family’s safety and well-being. His Bandcamp is here https://winterdynasty.bandcamp.com/music and currently most of the releases therein are of a ‘Name your Price’ status so there’s no reason not to take the plunge and discover something that might normally be foreign to the senses (I’ve even imparted thoughts upon his newest release further up the page).

#SupporttheScene and those who create keeping it alive and thriving.

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – February

black metal gif

Well, here we are again. My life is somewhat back on track following a three-week period of “ahh-fuck, my back!” However, during this time, I still put aside a few moments in which to discover fresh extreme audio and scribble upon its allure. Here’s hoping at least someone else, other than me, is actually reading this. This is a free service I’m offering here folks, all I ask is that you bathe your eyes in horrid grammar, my attempts at atrocious humor and that you support the scene. Metal is after all important to the mental well-being of millions, or am I just talking about myself again? As always feel free to comment, share and click whatever links provided so that you may listen as you investigate all the spelling errors I’ve also so lovingly provided. Onward to extreme audio as yet undiscovered (you’ll note I’m trying something new; a month by month theme in order, and hopes, that the releases covered herein are easier to lay ears upon in a timely manner and not forgotten).

Left over from January –

ceifador

Ceifador (Brazil) – All Hell Breaking Loose

https://ceifador.bandcamp.com/album/all-hell-breaking-loose-2020

Release – January/15/2020

Invincible Records

ARTWORK – 55

Honestly, I’m not even sure what this is. Is it an x-ray SNAFU? This gives little indication as to what to expect from the audio without, regardless I’m still curious.

FIRST TRACK – 86

Unlike that which I assumed this isn’t a play on the famous Venom track (it’s missing the “s”) however it is in the same vein; punk and speed with an underlying black metal vibe. And I’m please to say its raw nature has grabbed the attention.

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

Yet another one-person outfit, Clayton Maximinus other than in a live setting, bringing the blackened speed metal attack. I’m beginning to think there’s really no need for a full act to ‘create’. Do “many cooks spoilt the broth?” after all? This much like James McBain’s Hellripper incites uncontrollable limb movement and delivers the goods. Although this gets a little repetitive in instances, seems ‘recycled’ in others and the tracks could be shortened some with much the same result it still makes an impression and leaves a definite mark, demanding praise and an instant replay. If your penchants run to raw audio, punk and blistering blackened speed this requires attention! As an added bonus this guy creates like a possessed fiend so there’s plenty offered by way of a back catalogue to sift through until he chooses to release another. Dive in!

Favorite Tracks; All Hell Breaking Loose, Gods of Evil, Don’t Pray for the Dead.

FFO; Wraith, Hellripper, Bastardizer.

macabre demise

Macabre Demise (Germany) – Awakening

https://macabredemise.bandcamp.com/

Release – January/17/2020

Rebirth the Metal Productions

ARTWORK- 82

Hide the Paramedics, there’s a zombie invasion! Apparently, they’ve already eaten the kids in the short bus.

FIRST TRACK- 68

An atmospheric intro with synth horror undertones leads into short stabbing riffs, significant bass ‘bounce’, a slam edge and even a diabolical passage or two. I’m intrigued. I think I’ll stick with this till its through.

INITIAL LISTEN- 73

Brutal death, crust, slam, blunt riffs with abrupt pace transformations and occasional forays into djent ville is what’s to be find here. Coupled with an obsession with horror and carnage (as their moniker suggests) this makes for nothing that’s totally unexpected, or even new, in the genre. However, it’s the tight drumming and willingness to pull/pluck/yank/rip elements from a myriad of genres and the ability to pull it off which keeps this entertaining.

Favorite Tracks; Mirror, Darkness, Gore and Guts, Slush Brains,

FFO; Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation, Vomitory.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia (Belgium) – Voices (EP)

https://www.facebook.com/Schizophrenia.Officialband/

Independent

Release – January/31/2020

ARTWORK – 88

Driven by shadowy forces out of his control a man is depicted with a knife to his throat by his own (manipulated) hand. Stunning art sporting fantastic light and dark play and vivid details make this image pop.

FIRST TRACK –88

Thrash bordering on death which boasts attention-grabbing pace transformations, a wicked vocal tone with plenty of dynamic movement and an aggression which is hard to ignore.

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

Displaying a style which is a delicate balance of Bay Area, European, old school and new school Schizophrenia have somehow managed to create five tracks which seethe with undeniable dynamic and exuberant presence. Lead and solo fretboard manipulations drip in diabolical qualities coupled with rhythms doused in adrenaline keep the eyes wide and the mouth agape while the body flails of its own accord. The intriguing vocal range in moments brings to mind a trademarked Tardy style and tone but this is hardly a complaint, rather another example of what makes this so damn listenable. Set your ears on this and rekindle your adoration of brutal aggressive thrash, but be warned you’ll want to play this again and again. Here’s eagerly awaiting the band’s first full-length.

Favorite Tracks; Structure of Death, Perpetual Perdition, Beyond Reality.

FFO; Exhorder, (vintage) Sepultura, Kreator, Slayer.

hazzerd

Hazzerd (Canada) – Delirium

https://hazzerdthrash.bandcamp.com/album/delirium

Release – January/24/2020

M Theory Audio

ARTWORK- 60

Not sure if that’s a crazy person or a zombie, or a crazy person in a zombie getup nowhere near the night when candy is handed out wilynily. Perhaps it’s the bands mascot and I’m looking at this all wrong? Regardless, something of interest is taking place in the background; riot gear, strait jackets and Billy clubs. Surprisingly, this still grabbed my attention enough to hit play.

FIRST TRACK- 88

Thrash with a huge dose of speed metal, traditional heavy metal leanings, crossover vocals sporting dazzling lead and solo work. A great start which puts me in mind of the thrash style dominant in the late 80’s/early 90’s.

INITIAL LISTEN- 90

This is a great example of “you can’t judge a book (in this case an album)” by its cover. Hardly aggressive the audio here is a stunning blend of speed metal traditional heavy metal, thrash crossover and old school thrash. Rhythms are criminally infectious; the lyrics are often drenched in humor (with an undeniable Destruction edge to the vocals) and the guitar work is a stunning and passionate mix of Dragonforce and Steve Vai which thankfully stays this side of OTT fretboard maniacal wizardry realms. Layered with a playful nature and doused in a vibe which harkens back to the golden age of thrash this tips the hat to a variety of influences whilst still imbuing an essence of its own. A dynamic, energetic affair which bursts with talent and creative know how. I’m not normally a fan of the genre but this is remarkable and deserves all the praise it gets and I can give.

Favorite Tracks; A Tormented Reality, Call of the Void, Dead in the Shed, The Decline.

FFO; Forbidden, vintage Flotsam and Jetsam, Coroner, vintage Annihilator, Exodus, Destruction.

 February Releases

goblinsmoker

Goblinsmoker (United Kingdom) – A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze

https://goblinsmoker.bandcamp.com/album/a-throne-in-haze-a-world-ablaze

SludgeLord Records

Release – February/7/2020

ARTWORK – 85

Fantastical themes, conflict and smoking paraphernalia all encompassed within a delicious comic type setting. A I the only one who wishes to see as well hear more?

FIRST TRACK – 84

Atmosphere aplenty layered upon by a mammoth menacing build (ala monolith fuzz laden Doom riffs) as if seeing an army slowly appear on the horizon blocking the sun’s rays, eradicating all hope, gradually filling the sky with dread. An infrequent EyeHateGod shrieking vocal approach adds to the overall menace and enveloping aura. A plodding dirge, in effect the perfect soundtrack for evoking scenes of conflict disrupting the normal run of things in the swamps (does this even take place in that location? This remains to be seen).

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

There’s already a sludge/tech death band (give me a few I’ll find out their name… SLUGDGE) fixated on slug warfare and perhaps even a handful of others with the same approach but on all other manner of creepy crawlies. And now, Goblinsmoker. Apparently, this is “Part two in the ‘Toad King’ trilogy” and sees a narrative unfold (this isn’t the first time I’ve “watched” the sequel without watching the original first if truth be told). Here’s the story track by track direct from the band’s Twitter feed;

“1. Smoked in Darkness

This track picks up the story where ‘Toad King’ ended. Following the shamans warning, the Toad King has marched his goblin army to the city of his own kind. He delivers a battle cry before leading his goblin hordes in a charge on his ancestral home, burning anything and anyone in sight. “Death everywhere, none for the smoke. Death everywhere, just for the throne.”

  1. Let Them Rot

Set immediately after the city has fallen. The Toad King sits on his new throne in the city, the throne he never should have been granted. Still full of rage, he sits as the bodies of his own kind, as well as his fallen goblin subjects, smolder around him and he cries out to “let them rot”.

  1. The Forest Mourns

This track deals with feeling that change has come and the anxiety of the new, dark future. The world is not what is was and the goblins have come out from the shadows. It also hints at the third and final part of the trilogy, proclaiming the shaman has one final move to make. “True darkness awaits.”

goblinsmoker toad king

Toad King

A king who happens to be a Toad and more loyal goblin subjects than you can shake a stick at. I am intrigued, and you should be too as this is far from what I initially expected. In shirt this is Doom (of that there’s no doubt) captured in its natural lazy state, draped in ground shaking reverb, often doused with groove, which frolics with a cavernous death presence, occasionally a funeral doom epic nature, aided by blackened shriek vocal accompaniment. But let us not forget the effective bludgeoning drum accompaniment. This combination might sound odd. But it works! And somehow only allows the fantastical narrative; crimson splashing about, slime trails (wait, is that toads too or am I still thinking of slugs?), a bug catching tongue and myriads of squabbling spindly green fellows to blossom in the mind’s eye. The question remains; why isn’t there a graphic novel and/or a slew of animation videos (or even a board game) to help showcase the story (perhaps there is and I’m needing to hunker down to a spot of research?) Regardless as it progresses this puts me more and more in mind of the scene from the Hobbit whereupon our trusty heroes are being chased deep underground by a horde of goblins and their slothenly leader. But I digress, suffice it to say this is epic, transfixing and often suffocating. An experience which the listener will want to immediately dive back into in order to fully appreciate what’s on offer. The first dip may well have been slightly overwhelming which is to be expected but none the less highly enjoyable and infectious. I’m off to listen to the first entry, which is where I seriously should have started, I suggest you do the same.

Favorite Tracks; Let Them Rot.

FFO: Black Sabbath, My Dying Bride, Bolt Thrower, Cathedral, CHTHE’ILIST.

total annihilation

 Total Annihilation (Switzerland) – …on Chains of Doom

https://total-annihilation.bandcamp.com/album/on-chains-of-doom

Release – February/7/2020

Czar of Crickets Production

ARTWORK – 80

There’s little doubt what the listener is in for with this image on hand. You got it.! This is ‘hair rock’ draped in ballads, glitter and unicorn sprinkles. I jest, for there should be little confusion as to what to expect here with the inclusion of flames, a death machine, varied forms getting squished under tank treads and guns glowing red-hot in activity. But the question remains is this audio anything like another act obsessed with warfare and tanks (bonus points if your guess is correct).

FIRST TRACK – 79

A vintage war coverage newsreel and various news clip sound bites add intrigue to the introduction, leaving little left tom ponder upon as to what this might be about. Bouncing, groove laden, thrash rhythms take the lead as the clip intro disappear introducing the bands style to those, like myself, who have yet to experience what they have to offer.

INITIAL LISTEN – 77

Although one might assume this is merely run of the mill thrash/death there’s a variety of pace on offer throughout; mid-tempo groove switches places, and often transforms, into tear your head from your spine in intensity thrashin’ instances and also surprisingly a little something in between. Build up is commendable and rhythms are such that fans will have no choice but to reminisce upon standout thrash artists whose influence here, a mix of vintage European and American, is unmistakable. The rough vocal style adds to the albums level of aggression as too a” Troops of Doom” drum approach which helps propel the finished product into realms fans of the aggressive arena of thrash are sure to pounce upon. Although this sports really nothing new to the scene, the musicianship is on point and the arrangements top-notch and it remains entertaining throughout.

Favorite Tracks; Falling Fast, Reborn in Flesh, Experience the Terror, Tunnelratten, Black Blood.

FFO: Sodom, Nuclear Assault, Destruction, Kreator.

ironflame blood red victory

Ironflame (USA) – Blood Red Victory

https://ironflame.bandcamp.com/

Release – February/7/2020

Divebomb Records

ARTWORK- 78

Stepping away from what’s been showcased on albums before Ironflame have chosen to depict a warrior (I’m assuming) standing proud with a sword in hand and torn cape billowing in the wind. And, if I’m not mistaken, the sword has a certain glow as if its energized, perhaps following slaughter. Does it have a life of its own? Perhaps, it certainly looks wicked enough. Here’s to bloodshed, carnage and the caress of flashing steel upon an enemy’s flesh. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK- 92

Foot tapping melodies, soaring passionate leads and powerful vocals (sans a falsetto element). If this is any indication of how the album is to continue, I’m shutting the outside world off, turning the headphones up and bathing in the absolute undeniable allure of exquisite heavy metal!

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

Feudal medieval themes, rhythms to promote air guitar silliness and drum tattoos to provoke limbs to twitch of their own accord. This is damn good audio and an amazing example of what makes heavy metal (with splashes of speed metal) so GD enjoyable and why its attraction continues to build. Excellent production aids the overall enjoyment here. If they haven’t already fans of mid era Maiden and Haunt have a new hero to add to their audio collection. I’m sure I’ll play this up until and mention it copiously come years end.

Favorite Tracks; Not a dull moment to be found, bathe in its glory.

FFO; Iron Maiden, Haunt, 3 Inches of Blood, Halloween, Dio, Saxon.

the spirit cosmic terror

The Spirit (Germany)- Cosmic Terror

https://thespiritmetal.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-terror

Release – February/7/2020

AOP Records

ARTWORK- 73

A classic image offering an optical illusion/visual trickery of sorts (wrapped around a globe sporting either an eye or an explosion on one side) which is certainly up for discussion as it could mean many things ranging from inner struggles through glorified global turmoil.  Or, I could be miles off, it’s happened before now.

FIRST TRACK- 92

This is like “Storm” era Dissection but with a vintage Eucharist vibe. Melodies are wicked yet playful and the lyrics bear a fascinating narrative nature, which can be understood completely. But there’s something else…a tip of the hat to the traditional metal arena by way of galloping riffs and melodious leads which aren’t too brutal, but rather fluid. A fantastic start leaving me salivating for more.

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

Fluid rhythms, a definite, familiar, black metal (melody rather than raw primal power) vibe and distinct majesty and coldness within the riffs though this offers so much more. Influences from traditional metal arenas, melodic death and even a splash of symphonic accompaniment to dd depth to the album’s undeniable presence. Fans of both (‘Storm’ era) Dissection and classic Eucharist rejoice for this combines the two and then some. Enthralling from start to finish they is amazing but merely a stepping stone for the jaw dropping audio to follow for the act only appears to get better and better. Do not miss out on this, although if you do, I’m sure I’ll be there to remind you come years end! Did I mention two bands in particular enough during this review? Yes, I believe I did. I think you get the point!

Favorite Tracks; This is near hypnotic and delivers from start to finish!

FFO; Dissection, At the Gates, Necrophobic, Eucharist, Saramentum, Tribulation, Cloak.

skumstrike

Skumstrike (Canada)- Execution Void

https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/execution-void

Release – February/14/2020

Caligari Records

ARTWORK- 71

A raw image appearing to depict a face under extreme duress. This could well be a reflection from a witness’s eye or a look into a porthole upon one’s final moments.

FIRST TRACK- 89

Strap in tightly folks! A vintage Carcass– esque intro starts things off and leads into straight for the jugular audio. A primal seething raw beast draped in darkness exhibiting a ferocity which is typical of a terrified rabid critter backed into a corner. You will seriously have wished you lumbered up the neck muscles before you hit play.

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

I was not prepared for this!

Imagine, if you can, a crust outfit with black sensibilities and industrial leanings (especially in the vocal department) ala “The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste”/”Psalm 69” era Ministry. This hits hard, rarely leaves one enough time to breath before it assaults the senses again. This isn’t pretty. It’s raw if truth be told but it obliterates the yearning for hard, brutal fast and ornery.

This is a five track EP but it leaves me sweaty, exhausted, exhilarated and wanting more.

Favorite Tracks; The whole damn thing!

FFO; (Psalm 69 era) Ministry, No/Mas, Disrupt.

ithzmi

Izthmi (USA) – The Arrow of our Ways

https://izthmiseattle.bandcamp.com/album/the-arrows-of-our-ways

Release- February/14/2020

Within the Mind Records

ARTWORK- 80

Depicting a picturesque clearing this image also showcases a prone form in a small body of water. The beauty of nature scarred by the vicious nature of the creatures who roam upon it (how’s that for a spot of poetry?)

FIRST TRACK- 84

An apocalypse noise salvo paired with an “awakening” synth accompaniment. Little indication is given as to how the album will proceed from this point so when a mellow drum beat and majestic cresting riffs break the silence the ears immediately perk up. As the track progresses details become clear. This isn’t a typical black or even atmospheric black metal release, as this is oozing with a myriad of influence and styles. Acoustic guitar melodies weave in and around a malevolent mid pace, which doesn’t linger for too long in any one direction, supported by an often-frenetic drum salvo and a diverse vocal approach (encompassing shrieks, OSDM growls and grunts) making for a unique listening experience which makes an instant impression.

INITIAL LISTEN- 88

Both technical and intricate the melodies and arrangements here are varied, chaotic in instances. Touch upon folk sensibilities, yet still somehow flow in a cohesive, downright hypnotic, manner. Interludes serve to break up the album with bursts of cataclysmic intensity, in the case of (The Angels are Lost) bring about a contemplative nature but then it’s back to business. Multi-faceted, dynamic, busy and complex bearing cavernous qualities as well cosmic tones this release probably isn’t for everyone. But for those who relish in the process of dissecting audio like peeling back layers of an onion, rather than the instant gratification usually resulting from a release draped in a single genre blanket, this will provide hours of entertainment. A solitary listen will not suffice, this bears an odd familiarity about it and the intrigue is piqued, this requires several to get an understanding of the brilliance within. A striking debut sure to garner interest from far and wide across the metal spectrum.

Favorite Tracks; This is yet another example of an album which captivates from beginning to end.

FFO; vintage Katatonia, Opeth, Between the Buried and Me, Ne Oblivicaris, Swallow the Sun, Akercocke.

runescarred

Runescarred (USA) – The Distant Infinite

https://runescarred.bandcamp.com/

(album, or any of its tracks, isn’t “up” as of this publication)

Released – February/21/2020

Self-Released

ARTWORK- 86

The image here looks a little like one rendered by an artist Psycroptic has commissioned in the past (on their self-titled release). It really gives no indication as to the audio within but is vivid in detail and intricacy, which leave me quivering in anticipation.

FIRST TRACK- 84

The album commences as if it’s travelling along similar tracks as “South of Heaven” (do I really need mention the artist?) but then veers into Exodus adrenaline thrash realms. And boy does it ever deliver. Dramatic gruff vocals with a slightly unique edge add to the enjoyment. A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN- 88

Passionate and intricate not at all what I was expecting. Tons better in fact.  Overflowing with a smorgasbord of influence soaring leads are commonplace as too rhythms which will strike an instant chord. Surprising are progressive and folk instances although they don’t feel out of place but rather add significant depth to the album. To top the brilliance off (yes, I said ‘brilliance’) the vocal approach is striking often bringing to mind Dio, in other times Warren Dale and then again Bruce Dickinson but also the later ‘frontman’ for Exodus (whose name escapes me)

Favorite Tracks; The album doesn’t disappoint; delivering from start to finish.

FFO; Exodus, Nevermore, Hell, Iced Earth, Testament, Bruce Dickinson’s solo output.

kvaen

Kvaen (Sweden) – Funeral Pyre

https://kvaen.bandcamp.com/album/the-funeral-pyre

Release- February/28/2020

Black Lion Records

ARTWORK- 85

Black and white imagery. A robed hand holds a sword to consumed by licking flames. Ouch! This would make an amazing tattoo.

FIRST TRACK- 93

Containing quite possibly the most infectious black metal riff I’ve heard in some time this starts with a blistering jolt only to slide into epic and exquisite majestic realms though still boasting ungodly melodic qualities. A great fukn’ start, if I’m to be blunt!

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

Top notch melodic black metal with mischievous rhythms, surprising tempo transformations, blast beats aplenty (but thankfully not to the point of overkill), plenty of atmosphere and at times even an epic grandeur. Venomous vocals complete an intricately crafted package which is topped off with admirable production values. Part traditional yet bursting with an appeal which most new comers to the scene (me included) will instantly be able to appreciate. Do not be the last one on board the Kvaen train, these guys are gonna scorch the earth, mark my words!

Favorite Tracks; This doesn’t disappoint at any given moment.

FFO; Dissection, Arctos.

exhausted animal

And that concludes another installment of Abrasive Audio. Hopefully you’ve gotten this far down the ‘page’ and have found something to keep your senses occupied for at least a short while, I even attempted to keep this entry somewhat diverse. Here’s to discovering something which might normally be foreign to the senses.

Your exhausted slave to audio extreme, in a wide variety of its many guises,

Cult

Abrasive Audio…Wacken 2020

Battle for Wacken; W.O.A 2020’ (USA)

Wacken metal battle 2020

Who here has no idea what “Wacken” is? I believe there are scant few (though I could be mistaken). Obviously, the word in question is more than merely that, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wacken,_Schleswig-Holstein it’s a location (near the town of Izehoe which, rather useless fun fact here, is twined with a town in England where I used to reside many moons ago). Wacken is also the annual site of one of the world’s largest metal gatherings. That however is not all that it is famous for. Other than having a coat of arm which appears to contain naught but an angry, hungry (“Hangry”?), frogs face, Wacken is known for farming. This however barely beats out the economic boom which metal (in all of its various guises) brings to the region. Every year, for over thirty years, locals have been gladly putting up with (barely) collective hordes sporting various attire, a noise level at decibel levels which could level nearby Swiss mountains, the road sign being stolen and a common greeting (though it’s used for far more than merely that) which far surpasses the pleasantries heard in most languages. Commonly referred to as “Horns” the figuration has recently been showcased to help sell cereal though is more widespread in showing one’s appreciation of the audio on offer. The next festival (July 30th through August 1st 2020) is already sold out and is scheduled to feature, among others, Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, Amon Amarth, Sodom, Annihilator, Overkill, Venom, Sick of It All, Nervosa, U.D.O., Hypocrisy, Death Angel, Beast in Black, and At the Gates.

(Wacken Open Air 2019 – Official Trailer)

So, why the history and geography lesson? Well, its time for another. And I’ve just been gotten word that its time for those interested to apply for a chance to appear next to their idols. What many might be unaware of is that there are various ‘Wacken shows’ around the world (what?)  Allow me to explain.  As well as those mentioned above various others will also appear on stage. The complete lineup has not been confirmed yet and will comprise of ‘combatants’ from around the world. Select cities across the US host qualifying rounds with a national champion set to be crowned at the festival itself. For over a decade now this tournament has been added to the festivals roster. So how does one apply, and why wouldn’t one honestly want to? Seems as I’m here to help I have the address to check out and a little information on the festivities themselves. Without further ado here’s a spot of ‘cut and paste’ action.

BnB cut n paste

Cut n paste! Cut n Paste! CutnPasstte-!

“2020 battles will be held in Phoenix, AZ, Tucson, AZ, Inland Empire, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Oakland, CA, Sacramento, CA, San Diego, CA, San Francisco, CA, Atlanta, GA, New Orleans, LA, Las Vegas, NV, New York City, NY, Portland, OR, Austin, TX, Fort Worth, TX, San Antonio, TX, Houston, TX, Seattle, WA with more to be announced.

Concert promoters interested in hosting a Wacken battle in their city can apply at this link: https://metalbattleusa.com/promoter-application-for-wacken-metal-usa-battles/

How it works (*this is the interesting part)

Participating cities will host qualifying rounds plus a city final organized by a local city concert promoter where one band will move forward to the American national final (date and city to be determined). The winner of the national final will move on to perform at the 31st edition of Wacken Open Air and compete against the winners of 29 other countries in a final global battle.  All bands will be judged during battle rounds by respected local music industry representatives.

Rules: https://metalbattleusa.com/rules/

toxic ruin

https://toxicruin.bandcamp.com/album/subterranean-terror

https://dissentience.bandcamp.com/

https://horsemenrecords.bandcamp.com/track/spark

https://violencesystemga.bandcamp.com/

Last year’s 2019 national final was hosted in Los Angeles, CA and featured Dissentience (Winners, East Coast), Monarch (Winners, West Coast), Nahaya (Winners, Texas), Toxic Ruin (Winners, Chicago), Violence System (Winners, Atlanta) whom were selected from over a hundred bands that participated in battles across the USA.

monarch

Previous winners have included;

2019 – WMBU Winner

https://monarchmetal.bandcamp.com/releases

Monarch (San Diego, CA)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXiU078YKM0

(Video – Live at Wacken 2019)

2018 – WMBU Winner

https://voicesofruin.bandcamp.com/

VOICES OF RUIN (Anaheim, CA)

voices of ruin

2017 – WMBU Winner

https://corpsehoarder.bandcamp.com/

CORPSE HOARDER (Philadelphia, PA)

Sponsors/Partners (for this event and the lead up to it include):

MetalAssault.com

MetalDevastationRadio.com

corpse hoarder

MetalMasterKingdom.com

Metal-Rules.com

PureGrainAudio.com

PureRockRadio.net

Dungeon Works Productions

Asher Media Relations

Fatal Illness Management

Come and Take It Productions

Mosh Pit Army

Masquerade Atlanta

Saint Vitus

Huge thanks go out to Asher Media Relations for sending over the relevant information so that I could compose this.

excited animal gif

Yep Yep Yep! Do It!!

Dammit, what are you waiting for? Apply already so that your ideas, talent, composition brilliance and completed audio might reach those and the heights which it deserves to. #SupporttheScene #KeeptheSceneAliveandThriving

 

Cult