Posts Tagged ‘Graceless’

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

Angellore (France) – Rein ne Devait Mourir
https://thevinyldivision.bandcamp.com/album/rien-ne-devait-mourir-2
Release- February/14/2020
Finisterian Dead End/The Vinyl Division

ARTWORK- 91

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.

FIRST TRACK- 94

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.

INITIAL LISTEN- 94

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

Shadowkillers

Shadowkiller (USA)- Dark Awakenings
https://shadowkiller.bandcamp.com/album/dark-awakening
Release- March/3/2020
Stormspell Records

ARTWORK- 88

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?

FIRST TRACK- 90

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…

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

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

Dopelord (Poland)- Sign of the Devil
https://dopelord.bandcamp.com/album/sign-of-the-devil
Release March/10/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 85

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

FIRST TRACK- 88

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?

INITIAL LISTEN- 87

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

Venator (Austria) – Paradiser EP
https://venatorsteelcity.bandcamp.com/releases
Release-March/19/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 76

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

FIRST TRACK- 89

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.

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

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

Virocracy (Germany) – Irradiation
https://virocracy.bandcamp.com/album/irradiation
Release- March/20/2020
Black Sunset/MDD

ARTWORK- 84

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.

FIRST TRACK- 77

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.

INITIAL LISTEN- 77

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
https://blackphantom.bigcartel.com/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgaySL5pP9M
Release- March/20/2020
Punishment 18 Records

ARTWORK- 78

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.

FIRST TRACK- 81

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.

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

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

Graceless (The Netherlands) – Where Vultures Know Your Name
https://rawskullrecordz.bandcamp.com/album/where-vultures-know-your-name
Release- March/27/2020
Raw Skull Recordz

ARTWORK- 78

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.

FIRST TRACK- 86

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.

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

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
https://perditiontemple.bandcamp.com/
Release- March/27/2020
Hell’s Headbangers Records

ARTWORK- 89

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.

FIRST TRACK- 93

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!

INITIAL LISTEN- 96

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

Remission (Australia)– The Tether’s End
https://remissionband.bandcamp.com/
Release – November/15/2019
Self-Released

ARTWORK – 68

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.

FIRST TRACK – 81

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!

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

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)
https://rodrigoygabriela.bandcamp.com/album/the-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)

Cult

Abrasive Audio – The Year in Review

Part the Fourth (the first installment; so much metal one part just isn’t enough!)

trick or treat the usual suspects

The sun has mellowed (somewhat, depending on where you live) trees are about to get naked (insert Beavis and Butthead silliness and memes here) and there will soon be more Jason’s, Michael’s, Chuckie’s and Freddie’s roaming the streets than one can shake a stick at. Best hand out the “good stuff” (candy) rather than the healthy edibles, lest one decides to visit after hours. In other news the last quarter of the year sees the unleashing of a veritable avalanche of extreme audio. The downside of which is that this is now being broken up into two parts rather than one monstrous affair. Forget filing Santa’s sack with presents for the family and loved ones, blow the allowance on metal instead!

October

Assassin’s Blade – Gather Darkness

Assassin’s Blade – Gather Darkness*

https://puresteelrecords.bandcamp.com/album/gather-darkness

The rhythms here are infectious to the nth degree and the beat enough to drive one to involuntary spasms of movement (I’d put this up there with a personal favorite of mine by Dio-fronted Rainbow “Kill the King”) And the album progresses from there to leave one with a grin plastered across their chops as if to say I’ve done something insanely wrong, quite naughty in fact, and I’ve gotten away with it. There is undeniable fluidity on display here, there are zero dull instances, the melodies and riffs are just short of mind blowing. The collective of tracks lifts you from the dull drum daily activities to a place where you forget all your ills and woes, let your hair down and bang yer’ head like one possessed this will stick in your head for days to follow. I’m not normally a fan of the genre. This however blew me away!

cleric

Cleric – Serpent Psalms

https://cleric-us.bandcamp.com/

The familiarity here for those of us with tastes for the old school and mid-tempo infectious silliness is undeniable. This is worship at the altar of both HM2 and the early 90’s British death scene. Boasting a seething dirge nature complemented by riffs and rhythms which are difficult to ignore this is a release which demands further attention and might well male one take a trip down nostalgia brutal ville to revisit that which is most probably collecting dust.

coffin rot

Coffin Rot – A Monument to the Dead

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/a-monument-to-the-dead

A wicked mash up of Death metal styles from a slew of genre standouts concocted with style. For a debut this is eye-opening audio. Shit, even for a second, third or fourth album this leaves an impression. Coffin Rot have successfully injected a shot of wake the F up into the extreme arena. And to think the ingredients were always there ripe for the mix. Sit up and take note, this is prime end of years best audio right here!!

cycles of the damned
Cycles of the Damned – A Time to Survive

https://cyclesofthedamned.bandcamp.com/album/a-time-to-survive

As this plays out as the listener is dragged from one destination to another in a journey comprised upon a spectrum of landscapes formed from the unlikely coalescing of a myriad of styles. Fluidity is uncommonly commendable and I would suggest an afternoon free from distraction to be able to let the power of this release (as a whole, not track by track if avoidable) sink in. This is drenched in doom sensibilities, sludge qualities and a certain amount of unquestionable angst. Cinematic soundscapes are introduced showcasing psychedelic moments amidst unbound atmosphere to adds considerable depth.

esogenesi

Esogenesi – s/t

https://esogenesidoom.bandcamp.com/album/self-titled-death-doom-metal

In part familiar, easily consumable yet different, the whole effect is hypnotic and has the potential to take the listener far from their daily woes. Naturally the lyrics are spoken in a tongue only a few of us can understand which only makes this that much more intriguing and well worth setting the senses upon.

gatecreeper deserted
Gatecreeper – Deserted

https://gatecreeper.bandcamp.com/album/deserted

Gatecreeper wrangle arrangements away from plagiarist realms to homage territories adding their own creative fingerprint to delight the eager senses. The album offers both nostalgic qualities and enough groove to set any dance floor on fire (what?) This hits the spot! Highly recommended! An excellent combination of death/doom/old school and HM2 worship.

gevaudan iter.jpg
Gévaudan – ITER*

https://gevaudan.bandcamp.com/album/iter

Channeling a myriad of styles from as far afield as stoner rock, folk and Gothic rock with a varied landscape of doom in-between Gévaudan have meticulously crafted a collection of songs boasting undeniable fluidity which possess the power to cast a spell, a unfathomably huge web of appeal, upon all who choose to lay ears upon it. This about has it all and I can’t for the life of me wonder why it isn’t spoken about often and loudly, I’m here to change that!

golgotha.jpg
Golgotha – Erasing the Past

https://golgotha.bandcamp.com/album/erasing-the-past

Primarily doom draped with growling vocals, but also traditional heavily accented vocals which often give this more a Gothic Rock edge. Folk elements are subtle, undeniable power, presence and a stunning composition mastery are factors which can’t be ignored. Rhythms are both soulful, passionate and melancholic coupled with keyboard atmosphere the effect is an album which will make one want to sift through past efforts and pronto.

grond graceless split.jpg

Grond/Graceless SPLIT – Endless Spiral of Terror

https://grond.bandcamp.com/album/endless-spiral-of-terror-split-2019

Grond – This keeps the listener on their toes with rhythms which are steamroller in their assault; both infectious and atmosphere laden, with occasional nods to a slew of influence. Hardly technical neither repetitive in its riff approach the audio here nestles someplace in between with definite appeal for a wide audience across the board.

Graceless – Old school groove with oomph and a vocal style which will bring a face-splitting grin to any fans face. Infectious is a term which doesn’t quite suffice in this instance.

Overall, fans of OSDM will likely scramble over themselves for the quality this offers, suffice it to mention that this would make an excellent accompaniment to an already outstanding collection boasting the finest the genre boasts. (Is it me or does that look like Judge Death? Anyone?

hot breath

Hot Breath s/t

https://hotbreathofficial.bandcamp.com/album/hot-breath

This is an obvious palette cleanser for those whose interests primarily reside in the extreme but for those who dip their senses in metals roots this delivers all that one could wish. Hardly a copycat act this collective are slated to bear the standard of the revival into an age where more of the same (seemingly on repeat) needs to be eradicated at all costs. Give this a listen but be warned, it’s dangerously and instantaneously addictive.

hour of penance
Hour of Penance – Misotheism *

https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/album/misotheism

Unmerciful in its approach and unrelenting in its salvo; this is what death metal is all about. Boasting zero progressive passages and sporting unerring brutality; intricate in its composition from start to finish. Drenched in speed, but not merely for speeds sake, and an atmosphere complemented by undeniable majesty which places it perilously close to the darker side of the metal spectrum this has the power to enthrall all who lay ears upon it. Top tier death metal right here!

in mourning
In Mourning – Garden of Storms*

https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/album/garden-of-storms

The audio here is about as varied as one can imagine without it running into ridiculous territories, Avant Garde, or experimental realms. The styles herein tumble over each as though puppies at play without once resorting to brutality, the fluidity here is astounding. Growling vocals complement shifting rhythms, sweeping, soaring melodies and progressive passages which are exquisite. In fact, overall this is an album I’m itching to recommend to the wife if only it wasn’t for the fact that she has an aversion to growling vocals.

lindsayschoolcraftmartyr.jpg
Lindsay Schoolcraft – Martyr

https://schoolcraftmusic.bandcamp.com/album/martyr

Arrangements are often melancholic, always classically tinged and the album throughout is surprisingly radio friendly. Lindsay’s voice is impressive, adds significant presence to the audio with its ethereal qualities, mood and range; smoky, sultry and angelic. Admittedly, this is not what I usually set ears upon but this is fantastic for those moments you might want to share audio with the significant other who perhaps (if your situation is anything like mine) doesn’t enjoy the more brutal/extreme side of the metal spectrum.

necronomicon
Necronomicon – Unus

https://necronomiconbm.bandcamp.com/

This album drips with excellence, wisdom, atmosphere and an epic audio landscape drenched in master craft-execution of archaic qualities one cannot possibly ignore. If blackened death is the area of the metal arena upon which you spend most of your time you would be negligent not to place this within the ears. If this is a scene which is new to you and you’re curious this is a great place to start your exploration. Highly recommended!

negator
Negator – Vnitas Pvritas Existentia*

https://negator.bandcamp.com/album/vnitas-pvritas-existentia

An inhumane drum accompaniment lays the groundwork for the percussion to embellish upon. The albums pace is primarily hyper-speed; although there are plenty of instances where a slower, more atmospheric laden, pace comes to the fore. If only as foreplay to the brooding, sinister, brutality which is about to follow. Surprising melodies, an undeniable grandiose aura permeate this release and an undeniable diversity in rhythm amidst all its brooding archaic nature, majestic rhythms and hyper speed tendencies makes for a release which definitely stands out from the typical blackened affair.

orodruin
Orodruin – Ruins of Eternity

https://orodruin.bandcamp.com/album/ruins-of-eternity

Huge riffs, passionate rhythms, a NWOBHM nature and tone weaved among traditional heavy metal and doom stylings accompanied and supported by a powerful lead voice. This will leave fans of late 70’s early 80’s mid paced rock/doom wanting more.

Ossuaire
Ossuaire – Derniers Chants

https://ossuaire.bandcamp.com/album/derniers-chants

Furious and unmerciful, yet hypnotic. I don’t get how that works, it’s puzzling to be sure. But somehow, this has the power to enthrall. Ancient and mysterious, majestic and grandiose, this seethes with archaic malevolence and undeniable passion. A stunning feat!

rank and vile.jpg
Rank and Vile – Redistribution of Flesh

https://rankandvile.bandcamp.com/album/redistribution-of-flesh

Speed is often replaced by crushing heavy, slower, riff passages. Social commentary and angst however, is still front and center and highly influences the content of an often twin-pronged vocal assault which will carve a grin on any extreme fan’s visage. This offers more variety in tone and pace than one might have initially assumed, each track has its own identity and, to be honest, the style here encompasses a fair few genres rather than being able to fit comfortably into just one. Categorization be damned! Give this a moment in your ears, you won’t be disappointed!

Screamer.jpg
Screamer -Highway of Heroes*

https://wearescreamer.bandcamp.com/

this is NWOBHM traditional heavy metal everyone should aspire to perform to the level of. Addictive and enchanting don’t quite reach the words I need to utilize in this instance, I’m still reeling. I swear if these guys would triple bill with Metalium and Traveler the Earth would spin so quick on its axis as to create a black hole (ha, that’s not how that works, I’m a far-reaching idiot) but I’d be a happy fella.

shadow limb
Shadow Limb – Burn Scar

https://shadowlimb.bandcamp.com/album/burn-scar

These cats deliver and execute a smorgasbord of styles which combine to form a mesmerizing audio tapestry, a tableau which is familiar while at the same time intriguingly unique. An audio landscape which is unpredictable and exhilarating though on the other hand is also soothing and hypnotic. Go into this with an open mind and leave with the knowledge that their name is one you will be hearing a great deal of in the future.

Singularity.jpg

Singularity -Place of Chains

https://singularityaz.bandcamp.com/album/place-of-chains

Inferi technicality with a splash of Gothic aura (ala Cradle of Filth) wrapped in a maniacal grin carving delectable shell. Delicious rhythms, chasing melodies, galloping riffs, technically cavorting with progressive brilliance. Sci fi element? Check! Feast your ears on this and you will not be disappointed!! Stunning melodic technical death from the desert. The Artisan Era bring it again!!

slutvomit

Slutvomit – Copulation of Cloven Hooves

https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/album/copulation-of-cloven-hooves

More than simply an album caked in filth, infernal nature and frenetic diabolical mischievous riffs aplenty this is an album that drips black sensibilities though is weighted in speed tropes, maniacal values, instantly appreciate able raunchiness and, naturally, wickedness. Lethal intent laden riff and dizzying rhythm transformations bring to mind vintage Morbid Angel as well Vader, even at times Slayer to offer a listen which is quite simply one of the year’s most surprising.

the bleeding morbid porophecy

The Bleeding – Morbid Prophecy

https://thebleeding.bandcamp.com/

Atmosphere coupled with flesh melting riffs, a thrashy death approach and vocals seemingly plucked from early Destruction. If your mood demands furious fluid riffing, evil (as in the inclusion of guacamole on a burger) and vocals which only make one want to serve at the altar of a Dark God then this will hit the spot, then serve to obliterate it!

The Scourge
The Scourge – Warrant for Execution*

https://thescourge-us.bandcamp.com/album/warrant-for-execution

Between the albums delicate balance and masterful combination of a slew of styles (namely hard rock, NWOBHM, Southern groove and thrash among others) there lies utter undeniable brilliance. Swift pace cavorts hand in hand with melodies which would otherwise seem foreign, though somehow The Scourge have managed to syndicate the two much like PB n Jelly and then topped the concoction off with stunning musicianship, creative genius and a vocalist whose skills I can’t believe haven’t been discovered and utilized up until this point. Overall the meshing and molding of the styles is exquisite bearing a fluidity which is erratic and rarely witnessed across the metal cosmos. Don’t let your friends tell you about this, be the first on the block to preach!!

Totengeflüster.jpg

Totengeflüster – The Faceless Divine

https://totengeflsterblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/the-faceless-divine

An “Industrial” tightness, rhythm and blistering pace ala Ministry (circa “The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste”/”Psalm 69”), classical/Gothic symphonic backdrops, an occasional splash of war metal, vicious vocals a presence which is superb throughout all the ingredients for another unconventional black metal release which has me doing a double take, and I’m not even known to like ‘black metal’.

xoth

Xoth – Interdimensional Invocations*

https://xoth.bandcamp.com/

The shredding quotient in this is damn impressive the style dynamic yet diverse, infectious melodies, technical intricacies and progressive passages combine with a soundscape that’s part brutal death, part technical and slightly traditional metal in tone add to this lyrical content slathered in cosmic elements and a little levity and the result is a release which you cannot ignore!

November

abigail williams

Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond the Dark *

https://blood-music.bandcamp.com/album/walk-beyond-the-dark

Hypnotizing from beginning to end this utilizes both traditional and non-traditional means to attain the heights which it transports its gob-stricken listeners. Beauty cavorts with viciousness and black metal sensibilities frolic with folk, doom, progressive and even the occasional traditional heavy metal element to form an ocean of atmosphere which like the nature of water itself is harrowing, melancholic and ferocious. The whole is utterly palpable in its effectiveness.

blood incantation

Blood Incantation – The Hidden History of the Human Race

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hidden-history-of-the-human-race

Intoxicating passages are plentiful alongside melodies, which invoke wonderment and awe transporting the listener to unfathomably vast cosmic landscapes. Menacing, enveloping yet drenched in melancholia coupled with transcendental qualities (strangely wallowing in David Bowie and Devon Townsend pools in instances) which demand exploration this is an album which only blossoms the more it’s allowed the dominate the senses.

minaton
Byzantian Neckbeard – Minaton*

https://byzanthianneckbeard.bandcamp.com/album/minaton

This collective pound out a style which is heavily doom/sludge infused though tainted with an undeniable thrash/death aura courtesy of the blackened vocal approach an occult Gothic vibe binds the whole together. Blanket the package in irresistible groove, a bluesy black and roll passion and you have a winner. Forget the recent connotations which come with the term ‘neckbeard’ and jump in. But be warned, you might not want to leave the catacombs anytime soon

cattle decapitation
Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas

https://cattledecapitation.bandcamp.com/

Prog/tech/grind/brutal death you can call this what you will but there’s no argument that this is inhumanely crafted with both precision and intelligence. Progressive passages meld with technical prowess and a pace which varies dramatically throughout both the album and every track making for a listening experience to please those with discernible tastes and those with open minds. No matter one’s opinion of what the band preaches, though it getting easier and easier to see their point of view, there’s no argument that this is a release which will carve a great many grins across the vast extreme audio landscape.

chained to the dead.jpg
Chained to the Dead – A Gruesome Encounter*

https://chainedtothedead.bandcamp.com/album/a-gruesome-encounter

Overall, crimson, guts, stabbings, slicing’s, creepy soundbites and an infectiously groove laden percussion with an emphasis on melody and rhythm rather than blistering O.T.T brutality this is an album which decimates unsuspecting earholes without falling into repetitive realms, alights furious fanboy cinematic horror/cult research and demands attention. There is a fair few in the same vein as this with soundbites aplenty abetted by a similar audio style but Chained to the Dead have managed, somehow, to combine the usual elements (grindcore, death, crust) and then included a certain something to elevate the final result from the pack. This is criminally infectious!

crusadist
Crusadist – The Unholy Grail

https://crusadist.bandcamp.com/album/the-unholy-grail

It’s hard to fathom that this is a debut. This reeks of experience and screams of a quality which comes from trial and error. Rare is it that an album digs its claws in, deep, from an initial listen. This is one of those rare examples and I pleased to impart that the same sensation lingers even following a third, fourth and fifth visit. The partnership of the guitars, bass and drums combine for an undeniably amazing effect (a dynamic structure which will prompt movement, riffs for days, menacing and ominous auras par excellence) Varied solo work which will leave one wondering what the hell is in the water in Chicago.

depressed.jpg
Depressed – Beyond the Putrid Fiction

https://depressedblacklion.bandcamp.com/

Hardly audio to take the scene into fresh undiscovered territories this is however incredibly solid from start to finish. Injected with a groove infused dirge tone and varied rhythms to give even the most hardened of death fan a sore neck following a listen.

fleshcrawl.jpg
Fleshcrawl – Into the Catacombs of Flesh

https://fleshcrawl.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-catacombs-of-flesh

Channeling “Massive Killing Capacity” era Dismember and a dirge which brings to mind the best of Bolt Thrower while boasting more pronounced D-beat, Crust elements and less ‘clean’ melodies the band have carved an album sporting stellar production (heavy on the drums giving it that desired oomph) which is instantly welcomed with eager ears. A Fleshcrawl for the coming decade offering up the classic Swedish MK2 sound with a freshness for the next generation to cherish as their parents did before them

galaxy.jpg
Galaxy – Lost from the Start*

https://galaxyaus.bandcamp.com/album/lost-from-the-start

Channeling NWOBHM, Power, speed and thrash metal elements Galaxy have created a release that’s dynamic, infectious and draped in a cosmic narrative. And all in a way which reeks of homage yet breathes with exuberance and youthful energy, a package which is sure to stand out.

Iapetus - The Body Cosmic
Iapetus – The Body Cosmic

https://iapetus1.bandcamp.com/album/the-body-cosmic

For those who have the patience, time and willingness to allow this to seep into the system the rewards are immeasurable. I’ll mention that this flows with an uncommon and undeniable brilliance throughout. Showcasing a love of the genre which is unquestionable and a talent for composition which is awe- inspiring Iapetus have formulated an audio collective which is both epic, intricate, diverse, unfathomably distracting and mesmerizing to the Nth degree. In effect, an album one might want to tether themselves to reality to before embarking upon.

immanifest

Immanifest – Macrobial*

https://immanifest.bandcamp.com/album/macrobial

Draped in cinematic values and drenched in an epic celestial narrative “Microbial” does much more than merely entertain like the run of the mill/normal tech-death affair. Chaotic, enthralling, epic and enigmatic there’s plenty to lose yourself within on display here and Immanifest have captured the full attention. It’s been an amazing year for metal and thus is sure to be an album discussed come years end. Don’t miss it!

mortuary new release 19
Mortuary – The Autophagous Reign*

https://mortuarynancy.bandcamp.com/album/the-autophagous-reign

After thirty years most have slowed, perhaps even changed styles completely to appeal to larger audience (I think we all know who I’m talking about). Mortuary however have shattered the ‘over the hill’ adage; if there ever was a hill, they’ve blasted their way through it! Pulverizing, unrelenting, riff assault part grinding death/thrash (with just enough technicality thrown in) part South American aggressive thrash. Complemented by a precise Misery Index-esque drum barrage but all ungodly infectious. Likely to be treated like a box of Pringles (you can’t play this just once!) this is an album which’ll make you wish you were fit; a single track is likely to leave you sweaty and tired. Awesome audio with incredible allure.

mix tape action

Keep it up you maniac, you’re nearly done!

Don’t fret, I’m still here. As I mentioned earlier this theses three months are divided into two installments based on the sheer amount of releases (and the level of quality) unleashed. The final installment is on its way. Until then don’t fear the discovery of audio which might normally seem foreign to the senses.

Cult

Abrasive Audio…Best of Year Lists #3

sixintheheadzine

Taking a break from the monstrous endeavor which I’m referring to as divine punishment for listening to tunes which are decidedly not wholesome in nature, I’ve decided to post the last of the Year End Lists to roll into my email. ‘Lists’ which a pair of friends have pondered over for, much like myself, weeks. Admittedly, it’s a daunting task. Without further ado.

 

 

A few selections which have rocked Paul PMZ’s (@paul_pmz on Twitter) world
star devourer
Star Devourer
Contact

https://winterdynasty.bandcamp.com/album/contact

An album unlike anything I’ve ever heard, this falls into the category of, “Sci-Fi Black Metal”, which is a new one on me… A concept album that is as whacked-out f**king insane as it is compelling. Contact combines spacey (couldn’t think of a better word sorry) synths with KILLER vocals and guitars to achieve something utterly bonkers and utterly brilliant. A truly epic black metal space opera in the truest sense of the word.

Bitter Lake
New Branches on Old Trees

https://officialbitterlake.bandcamp.com/album/new-branches-on-old-trees

Before I joined Twitter again in Summer 2019, I got all my music from iTunes, Spotify and Boomkat. I didn’t really understand Bandcamp. I’d bought a few things on it in the past (a Gucci Mane album, a Perc album and the Minecraft soundtrack) but I wasn’t aware of the sheer amount of jaw-dropping talent waiting to be discovered there for just a few quid. This album is an example of the kind of jaw-dropping talent I’m referring to.

catafalque
Catafalque
Catafalque

https://catafalque.bandcamp.com/album/catafalque

I have a vivid memory of listening to this album drunk, pacing around a kitchen on my own at about two in the morning listening to it on headphones full blast. An overwhelming, crushing, grinding beast of an album. The eleven-something-minute second track is like being dragged into a piece of hellish machinery to your death in a way that is hugely enjoyable. Like most of the albums on my list, the people who made this deserve to be millionaires but they’re probably not. I have a feeling I’ve used that line before in something else I wrote for Cult… Anyway, I dunno. It’s a fucked up, unfair world and this is the perfect music for it.

Blood Incantation
Hidden History of the Human Race

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hidden-history-of-the-human-race

Why is this on my end of year list? Because it’s everything a death metal album should be. Everything about it is perfect. Also, it was on everybody else’s list and I just copied them.

Tomb Mold
Planetary Clairvoyance

https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/planetary-clairvoyance

Listen, I’m not like Cult or K-MaNriffs or all of you reading this who have an encyclopedic knowledge of metal and all of its sub genres and can go on about so-and-so plays a down-tuned this and Deep Purple recorded that in 1970-whatever. I just like f**king good music. And this is f**king good music and it deserves repeated listens. That’s all there is to it. That’s why it made my 2019 list.

wintercrown
Wintercrown
Northern Lights

https://cultofosiris.bandcamp.com/album/northern-lights

Everyone who knows me knows I love this album. Like, I really love it. And I feel honored to have interviewed Danthor from the band in the first issue of my zine SIX IN THE HEAD (working link elsewhere in this article). “Northern Lights” was very unfairly left off many ‘end of year’ lists but we won’t go into that… Simply put, this is perfection from start to finish and if you can’t recognize that I don’t know what to tell you.

Vastum
Orificial Purge

https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/orificial-purge

I put this on my list firstly because I like brutal death metal and this is most definitely that. And also, because the cover, album title and song titles remind me of Carcass and Carcass was one of the first bands I got into when I first started delving into extreme metal music. If you’re going to be brutal, then be brutal. Don’t half-ass it. Cut the ass off with a scalpel and stick a load of knives into it.

Texas Hippie Coalition
Texas Hippie Coalition
High in The Saddle

https://texashippiecoalition.bandcamp.com/album/high-in-the-saddle

Some people would call this a guilty pleasure but I don’t. It’s as simple as can be in about every possible way but the second I discovered it I wanted to put on a ten-gallon hat, grab a shotgun and drive my truck to the local bar and do bourbon shots with a load of chicks in “vest” tops who think that sort of behavior is perfectly acceptable. They can take this album when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

So those were my favorite “metal” albums of 2019. Follow me on Twitter @paul_pmz and download the launch issue of my tabletop gaming and music magazine SIX IN THE HEAD at https://sixintheheadzine.com/

Cheers.

fistful pof doom logo

Finally, here are a handful of releases (actually a ‘Top Ten’) which have caressed and molested the pleasure sensors of Fistful of Doom (@flatulentFuzz on Twitter) for the past couple of months.

No need to read up on thoughts on any of these, just dive right in.

KUBLAI KHAN- ABSOLUTE

https://open.spotify.com/album/6klYyVkzntFBjJch93UB6y

GROND/GRACELESS- ENDLESS SPIRAL OF TERROR

http://rawskullrecordz.bandcamp.com/album/grond-graceless-endless-spiral-of-terror-rsr-036

tort void addiction
TORT- VOID ADDICTION

http://discosmacarras.bandcamp.com/album/void-addiction

THE HANDS RESIST HIM- STONE HANDS

http://thehandsresisthim.bandcamp.com/album/stone-hands

RED BEARD WALL – THE FIGHT NEEDS US ALL

http://redbeardwall.bandcamp.com/album/the-fight-needs-us-all

do astral death cult
DO- ASTRAL DEATH CULT

http://doofficial666.bandcamp.com/album/astral-death-cult

CYCLES OF THE DAMNED- A TIME TO SURVIVE

http://cyclesofthedamned.bandcamp.com/album/a-time-to-survive

OGRE- THRICE AS STRONG

http://ogrereal.bandcamp.com/album/thrice-as-strong

SIFTING- THE INFINITE LOOP

https://open.spotify.com/album/20uNba0tEcRPrXjYwqAPKJ

HOUND THE WOLVES/GLASGHOTE- HOUND THE WOLVES/GLASGHOTE SPLIT

http://monochord-records.bandcamp.com/album/hound-the-wolves-glasghote-split

But let us not forget the link to the ‘Fistful of Doom’ show which deserves attention (apparently he likes bacon).

https://www.mixcloud.com/jameymorris/

That’s it. Thanks to all involved, in this and past lists. And to those who I’ve interacted with throughout the year. I’ve made a few friends and probably pissed of a great deal more with my inane questions and intolerable personality. Here’s hoping this, and the lists before it, introduced new acts and albums which might otherwise have been ‘ignored’ (for want of a better term).

Animal - music is meant for sharing

After all brilliant audio is meant for sharing, new genres to be explored no matter how scary they might initially seem. And this is a community. #SupporttheScene.

Here’s to another fantastic, mind-blowing, 365 days, unless it’s a leap year then I guess Hallmark will be rolling out a new line of movies for my wife to lose herself in.

Cult

Abrasive Audio – Part Thirty-Four

headbangin metalhead

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

Onward stumbling around in the darkness

 

Esogenesi – s/t

esogenesi.jpg

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 87

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

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

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

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

wolfbrigade

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 92

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 94

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

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

FFO; Agnostic Front, Motorhead, Disrupt.

midnight prey

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 75

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 74

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

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

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

oath of cruelty.jpg

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 80

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

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

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

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

sentient horror.jpg

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

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

Dorothy…

Dorothy?

*bark…bark

Fuck. Toto. Did you just eat Dorothy?

*burp!

FIRST TRACK – 90

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

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

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

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

Time for an old Favorite; Reccd’ By

fistful of doom

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

grond graceless split

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

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

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

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

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

Graceless (last four tracks) –

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

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

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

Animal - music is meant for sharing

Good, because great music is meant for sharing!

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

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

Cult