Posts Tagged ‘guest post’

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Thirteen

abrasive audio header gif

I’m at it again! Metal from all across the globe and from wide across the varied spectrum which makes up the extreme audio realm. In this installment you’ll find Doom, Black and Death and a few things in between. Hopefully I’ve found something to tickle those pleasure receptors. Feel free to drop me a note and tell me which one(s) “did it” for you. I’m intrigued.

March Releases

Dawn of Ouroboros album

Dawn of Ouroboros (USA) – The Art of Morphology

https://dawnofouroboros.bandcamp.com/album/the-art-of-morphology

Release – March/30/2020

Rain Without End Records

ARTWORK – 82

Classical with a splash of cosmic nature yet overlaid with ominous tones perhaps an indication of the music within? Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 88

Drenched (literally) in haunting atmosphere this track transforms the listen to a stormy day environment invoking the mood to match. Ambient tones, emotion and ferocious black metal. An excellent mixture guaranteed to leave any listener mouth agape eagerly awaiting what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

Epic effective atmosphere encased in a variety of vocal approaches; spoken word (poetry), angelic singing and a ferocious assault makes for an intriguing listen that’s far from traditional. Progressive elements (including a hypnotic instrumental outro of sorts) and a whirlwind, blistering, percussion cavort playfully amidst the arrangements adding depth and the desire to dig deeper within future experiences. DoO (which is an obvious abbreviation) have managed to rein in a fluid approach here which others only attempt with unfruitful results. Transitions are masterful and the flow exquisite a testament to the bands vision, a stellar spin on the Beauty and Beast approach with a myriad of elements one might not expect resulting in an album which one can find themselves lost within. Major props go out to Chelsea Murphy who’s solely responsible for the stunning vocal range exhibited throughout.

Favorite Tracks; Hypnotic from beginning to end.

FFO; Gates of the Morning, Akercocke, Emperor.

April Releases

Caustic Wound

Another Void Recc
Caustic Wound (USA) – Death Posture

https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/death-posture

Release – April/10/2020

Profound Lore Records

ARTWORK – 78

A raw BnW image of a face stripped of flesh shattered like a mirror. Makes an impression and leaves little to Imagination as to what to expect from the audio.

FIRST TRACK – 78

Pulverizing OSDM with a deviant raunchy tone and gutteriffic vox.

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

Blast beats, chaotic dirge riffs, tumbling over each other, fighting for supremacy, enough diabolical groove to start a Goblin mosh pit in the catacombs, a gargling sewerage vocal approach and a nostalgic aura part Crust, part Brutal Death which tosses one gleefully back to the late 80’s/ very early 90’s extreme underground scene. There’s plenty to get excited about here!

Favorite Tracks; Cematary Planet, Black Bag Asphyxiation, Blast Casualty, Uranium Decay, Acid Attack, Guillotine, Catackysmic Gigaton.

FFO; Fetid, Repulsion, Terrorizer.

But wait for it…Void has a few words to share on this one

Spawned mostly from members of Mortiferum and Cerebral Rot / Fetid, Caustic Wound’s debut “Death Posture” is one hell of a throwback, nailing its claim that it sounds like it was recorded no later than 1992.  Worshipping at the altar of Nuclear Death, Defecation (a personal favorite), Terrorizer, Napalm Death, early Carcass and of course the mighty Repulsion, “Death Posture” blows by in a furious cyclone of grinding death metal that doesn’t hold back.  The sound on this thing is perfection, thick and moldering and so, so nasty.  The bass is just thundering, you can feel the twanging of those strings booming through your speakers in those slower, grinding doom parts between the frenetic blasts. Consisting mostly of songs that don’t breach the two-minute mark doesn’t hold “Death Posture” back from having catchy tracks without being ridiculously heavy.  Albums like this are what gets me out of bed in the morning.

90

Abduction

Abduction (France) – Jehanne

https://abductionfr.bandcamp.com/

Release -April/29/2020

Finisterean Dead End

ARTWORK – 78

A classic portrait of Joan of Arc, on whom, incidentally, this album is based.

FIRST TRACK – 83

A Baroque introduction ripped in Twain by the arrival of malicious blast beat laden Black metal. The vocal presence is unique, showcasing three distinct styles, and the track soon calms to offer rhythms of an undeniably addictive nature which are melodic, triumphant and powerful. A great start and introduction to an album which appears thus far in rather unique in its approach.

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

There’s over an hour of Atmospheric, (slightly Avant Garde in instances) and Melodic Black metal with a thin veil of melancholic Doom to get lost in here. Sweeping rhythms coupled with both fierce and majestic arrangements accompanied by a diverse, multi-faceted vocal lineup adds depth to the albums eye-opening allure. An epic thoroughly immersive audio journey with plentiful movement, epic sonic-scapes and even in instances passages which are oddly relaxing. This boasts the grandiosity, flow and diversity to appeal to a large audience across a wide radius within both the Black and extreme arenas.

Favorite Tracks; Top notch Black Metal dotted with fluid diversity flowing throughout!

FFO; Angellore, Schammasch, Sigh, Blut Aus Nord, Aodon.

May Releases

Naglfar Sweden - Cerecloth

Naglfar (Sweden) – Cerecloth

https://music.apple.com/us/album/cerecloth/1499904426?ign-gact=3&ls=1

Release- May/8/2020

Century Media Records

ARTWORK – 86

An exquisitely rendered ominous image. Is this a procession of the dead about to wreck vengeance? Or spirits merely out for a leisurely wander? Either way it’s a fantastic piece of art which has revved up the curious part of me to dangerous levels.

FIRST TRACK – 83

Blistering pace, majestic rhythms, venomous vocals and a familiar Blackened Death/Melodic Black vibe. Although this isn’t a new style it’s hard not to appreciate.

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

This is my introduction to the band. Many have commented this is the bands weakest effort to date, but not having heard them (yet) I will comment on this release alone (then most probably dig into the acts past work, depending on my appreciation of this).

Classically melodious and overflowing with swift rhythms and a sense of menace the style here is downright sinister and utterly recognizable. Overall, the album sports a great many arrangements to get excited about and is a pleasure to listen to throughout, though I can’t help but think it’s somewhat ‘safe’ with rhythms occasionally existing in the realm of strikingly predictable. The production is a little muddy and could be better but for as introduction to the band I’m left impressed and will definitely revisit again. I will also take a moment to discover their past work.

Favorite Tracks; Delivers throughout!

FFO; Dissection, Old Man’s Child, Sacramentum, Necrophobic.

barrenwomb

 Barren Womb (Norway/Finland) – Lizard Lounge

https://barrenwomb.bandcamp.com/

Release -May/22/2020

Loyal Blood Records

ARTWORK – 84

It might take a few glances and exploration of this image to work out what’s going on. To me it appears to be an image plucked from the mind of someone who contributes to AdultSwim on a regular basis. Teeth are flying everywhere and the person in the foreground appears to be holding a fork, or is a tiny hammer? (Is that an ear on the fork or a tongue?) This is strange indeed, perhaps an indication of the music on offer? Hitting play.

FIRST TRACK – 89

Not sure if this is Punk, Noise, Rowdy Rock and Roll or all of the above mashed together. It’s certainly interesting and I’m all ears.  What a curiously infectious start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

Once in a while I come across a collective of audio which is quite indescribable. Such is the case here. A few genres and styles come to mind while this tears its way through the senses but they soon dissipate as the unpredictability takes hold, moreover in some Tracks than others. This might be easier to describe if it wasn’t so addictive, infectious and humorous. It just grabs ahold and doesn’t let go. Frenetic is a good word to use here, distortion is rampant and the vocals are spat with punk attitude. However, there are calmer, slower moments to make for a breather. All in all, a diverse slab of surprising wrapped in odd, bizarre and enigmatic. As if the track titles don’t suggest such.

Favorite Tracks; Delights throughout!

FFO; Freighter, Wizard Rifle, Faith no More, Dog Fashion Disco, Polkadot Cadaver.

Red Mesa (USA) - The Path to the Deathless
June Releases
Red Mesa (USA) – The Path to the Deathless

https://redmesaband.bandcamp.com/album/the-path-to-the-deathless

Release – June/12/2020

Desert Records

ARTWORK – 92

Vibrant, vivid and striking.

Exquisite colors and details (courtesy of Joshua Mathus) make this image stand out and catch the eye. So much so that I honestly couldn’t resist a listen. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 83

Palpable desert ambience leads into distortion-laden melodies with a violin accompaniment. Color me intrigued.

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

It would really be untoward for someone to call this merely “Stoner Rock”. For it’s so much more than merely that. This album sees a merging of many styles; namely Psychedelia, Blues tinged Rock, Heavy Metal (and even in instances Sludge). The resulting creation has a heavy Western sounding, passion fueled, slant which goes far beyond intriguing. “Chilling” is a word which works well in instances, “Ghostly” fits too. The band make the most of the injected Psych moments for atmosphere (of which there is plenty courtesy of violins and steel guitar guest players) while also adding momentum into their arrangements to keep unpredictability levels high and the listener on their toes. Overall, this is a fantastic album for anyone interested in the scene to take the plunge. This is neither this nor that, but a great many things interacting on many levels for a fully subversive listening experience one needs to explore over several listens.

Favorite Tracks; Delivers a hypnotic aura from start to finish.

FFO; The Sword, Baroness, High on Fire, Conan.

 Stygian Crown

 Stygian Crown (USA) – s/t

https://stygiancrown.bandcamp.com/album/stygian-crown

Release- June/26/2020

Cruz delivers Sur Music

ARTWORK – 79

A skull, snakes and swords embossed upon a leather clad volume or tome (of sorts) this leaves me intrigued as to what type of audio this album might contain. Pressing play.

FIRST TRACK – 82

An introduction dripping in presence offers the listener their first glimpse of the vocalist here although it’s more an angelic chorus. It’s not until the music actually kicks that her pipes are displayed in all their magnificence. The percussion oddly fits although it’s more distorted dirge (Bolt Thrower comes to mind) rather than the clean sweeping melodies one might expect (ala Candlemass; Snowy Shaw and Messiah Marcolin whom her voice is comparable to). Oddly, the combination works. A certain remarkable grandiose nature results from the combined mixture of styles and it’s surprisingly fitting for the term “Doom”.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

This could well be called traditional Doom. All the ingredients are there; the exquisite, passionate vocals and the catchy af rhythms (guitar and drum based) though there’s one small difference. The fact I’ve mentioned before, and although this ‘presence’ does seem to wane somewhat towards albums end the aura is still there. The impression has been made and it’s a formidable mark. “CandleThrower” (as the band term the style) is one hell of a spin on the traditional take and it’s not so wildly inventive as to scare potential listeners away, traditional elements still exist, solid are invocative and plentiful. This feels right, comfortable even. And this is album is downright fire which only spreads out of control as it starts anew, again and again and…

Favorite Tracks; Devour the Dead, Up from the Depths, Flametongue, When Old Gods Die, Trampled into the Earth.

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus.

 Shed the Skin (USA) - The Forbidden Arts

 Shed the Skin (USA) – The Forbidden Arts

https://shed-the-skin.bandcamp.com/

Release – June/26/2020

Hell’s Headbangers Records

ARTWORK – 93

Courtesy of James Bullock this gloriously grotesque BnW image highlights the dire consequences of dabbling in “The Forbidden Arts”.

Brilliant inks but I’m left wondering how difficult it’s now going to be to get his (?) pants on.

FIRST TRACK – 82

Plenty of groove and diabolical nature in this track. Mid-paced madness with maniacal maelstrom tendencies and vicious throaty vocals.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

With constantly shifting arrangements offering a myriad of styles ranging from Thrash laden Death, Melodic Death and Maniacal Death complete with groove passages, sinister solos/leadwork and palpable atmosphere this is an altogether accessible style. And honestly a few steps away from what I was imagining with term “Satanic DM” in my mind (which conjures the words raw, blistering paced, blackened chaos). However, this delivers throughout with its twisting somewhat unpredictable melodic approach to keep me intrigued and my whims pleasingly sated (with my limbs tapping of their own accord).

Favorite Tracks; Delivers throughout!

FFO; Deicide, Asphyx, Incantation, Grotesquery.

Dark Tranquility (Sweden) - Skydancer

Plucked from Metal Past
(In this case revisiting a classic to evaluate if it still leaves an impression)
Dark Tranquility (Sweden) – Skydancer

https://darktranquillity.bandcamp.com/

(Re)release – August/30/2013 (original release – August/30/1993)

Independent

ARTWORK – 78

An image depicting a moody sky. Rays of light break through the clouds to fall upon the forest below. Gives little away in regards to the music.

FIRST TRACK – 88

Highly infectious, exuberant and energetic structure. Rhythms incite movement and harsh, venom dripping, vocals add a vicious edge to propel this from a merely melodic (albeit swift and multifaceted) audio landscape into one that straddles both Technical and Aggressive Thrash and Death territories. A fantastic start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 89

Simply put… a stunning feat! One of the forerunners of the Stockholm melodic movement. A perfect balance of harmonies and melodies (draped in an array of invocative folk and classical auras) and swift paced rhythms (utilizing exciting riff combinations which are far from repetitive to the point of boredom) resulting in an unpredictable, often frenetic, though altogether fluid audio collection which is difficult not to appreciate. For Thrash and Melodic Death fans alike. This still makes an impression even close to some thirty years after its initial release. Fingers crossed a rerecording/reworking doesn’t appear to leave a stain upon long-time fans admiration of a classic.

Favorite Tracks; Inventive, energetic and enjoyable throughout.

FFO; At the Gates, (early) In Flames, Insomnium, Sabbat (UK), Eucharist, Omnium Gatherum, (early) Arch Enemy.

WTF Lightning Fire Reviews
A single listen of an album from a diverse selection complemented by a quick scribble.

Cursed be Thy Flesh - The Ritual

Cursed be Thy Flesh (USA/Slovenia) – The Ritual

https://cursedbethyflesh.bandcamp.com/album/the-ritual-album

Release – April/30/2020

Necrotic Records/Wrought Records/Anti // all forever

Artwork – 77

Ferocity – 76

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 75

Originality – 64

Genre – Black Metal/Symphonic Black/Raw Black/Melodic Black/Blackened Death/Blackened Speed/Dungeon Synth

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 81

Covering a pleasingly diverse radius of the BM genre this offers audio newcomers and traditional fans of the genre can (and will) enjoy. Raw yet polished in its production with applaudable, plentiful, nods to familiar influences there’s a great deal here to entice the first footstep within an unfamiliar realm without suffocating the listener in an absolute and unforgiving nature many associate with the BM genre.

Cryptic Brood (Germany) - Outcome of Obnoxious Science

 Cryptic Brood (Germany) – Outcome of Obnoxious Science

https://rottedlife.bandcamp.com/album/outcome-of-obnoxious-science

Release – November/22/2019

War Anthem Records/Rotted Life

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 77

Infectiousness – 68

Groove – 72

Originality – 65

Genre – Grinding Death/Death/Doom/OSDM/Crust

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 74

Varied pace displayed throughout each track (from plodding, sinister, Doom to blast beat-laden ferocity and stomping groove passages making for an unpredictable listen) slathered in putrescence and grime evokes a dismal, bleak surrounding where hope has long since faded replaced by inevitable dread and longing for a final release. Recc for those with preferences far from mere chuggery realms.

 Demonomancy (Italy) - Poisoned Atonement

 Demonomancy (Italy) – Poisoned Atonement

https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/album/poisoned-atonement-2

Release – February/23/2018

Invictus Productions

Artwork – 76

Ferocity – 78

Infectiousness – 71

Groove – 72

Originality – 72

Genre – Blackened Death/Melodic Black Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 71

A grandiose affair utilizing chants, choruses, tribal drums and a slightly different approach in the vocal department; a style which appears more spoken than sang. Percussion is akin to ‘light’ Grinding Death with a darker slant. The result is a sound boasting both depth/presence but an overall aura which might take a few listens to fully appreciate.

Excuse the Interruption… but Void has an album he wishes to share
Death Mask – Split the Atom

Release – July/1986

Killerwatt Records

Sometimes digging into the deep underbelly of metal you retrieve some unknown gems.  And other times… well you’re not as lucky.  Not to say that Death Mask is necessarily bad, but let’s just agree there’s room for improvement here.  Sounding like Motörhead b-sides got a low-dosage injection of thrash metal with a vocalist doing their best to sound like a cross between Tim Baker (Cirith Ungol) and John Stewart (Slauter Xstroyes), there’s nothing tremendously noteworthy here.  Sure, there are some cool tracks like “Lust for Fire” where the energy is palpable and all the ingredients come together properly, but you also have some half-baked duds like the cringey, mid-paced self-declaration of badassery in “Walk Alone.”  But hey you can’t win em’ all.  Death Mask isn’t a total waste, there’s a bit of a good time on here, but they’re definitely not in the upper echelons of any genre of metal they touch here.  An obscure curiosity to check out on a rainy day.

60

Drakonis (UK) - Blessed by Embers

Let us return to our normally scheduled programming
Drakonis (UK) – Blessed by Embers

https://hostilemedia.bandcamp.com/album/blessed-by-embers

Release – April/3/2020

Hostile Media

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 79

Infectiousness – 82

Groove – 76

Originality – 65

Genre – Blackened Death/Symphonic Black/Industrial/Doom/Melodic Black/Viking Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 80

Although the description (above) is varied the music here flows uninterrupted by transformation hiccup with varying degrees of menace, melody and ferocity to keep the listener entertained. And thankfully no over-indulgence in any one factor. Mood and majesty combine superbly with just the right amount of atmosphere alongside a vocal approach which has bite and should be instantly acceptable for most genre fans. For a debut full-length this bodes well for the bands future hinting at avenues which could well separate them from the herd. Keep tabs on these guys!

 Power Theory (USA) - Force of Will

 Power Theory (USA) – Force of Will

https://powertheory.bandcamp.com/album/force-of-will-2

Release – December/6/2019

Pure Steel Records

Artwork – 73

Ferocity – 64

Infectiousness – 83

Groove – 78

Originality – 64

Genre – Heavy Metal/Power Metal

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 86

I’m not usually a fan of the genre. However, for some reason this grabbed my attention and held it! Fluid melodies, epic arrangements, intriguing lyrical content and top- notch musicianship accompanied by an impressive vocalist sporting a range minus falsetto elements which usually keep me away from the genre. If like me you thought you were done with the genre, give this a shot, it might well reverse your opinion.

Apostasy (USA) - Accuser of Brethren (demo)

 Another Void Recc
Apostasy (USA) – Accuser of Brethren (demo)

https://pathologicallyexplicit.bandcamp.com/track/accusser-of-brethren

(Re)release – April/1/2020 (originally released in 93′)

Pathologically Explicit Recordings

Artwork – 71

Ferocity – 76

Infectiousness – 76

Groove – 73

Originality – 65

Genre – Brutal Death/Death/Grinding Death/OSDM/DeathDoom

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 80

Maniacal and diabolical flourishes abound as well arrangements which sport effective sinister atmosphere and rhythms to transport the listener to the edge of the abyss. Raw production fits the style perfectly. Tragically, this is all the band (or any of its members) released, perhaps it was released too soon and/or didn’t reach the circles it needed to. There’s no doubt this boasts an easy to appreciate level of quality. Who knows what the future may have manifested?

obedmarsh

 Obed Marsh (Australia) – Dunwich

https://obedmarsh.bandcamp.com/

Release – January/8/2019

Independent

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 76

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 74

Originality – 76

Genre – Funeral Doom/Atmospheric Black/Sludge/Ambient/Drone

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 83

Ethereal quality hypnotic audio suffocates the senses conjuring an as if being propelled by the body working of its own accord through a thick fog towards “something” sensation. Vocals bear a’far off’ element which somehow adds depth to the already remarkable palpable ominous vibe throughout. This is meticulously crafted Lovecraftian Doom which channels elements from a variety of genres to evoke an atmosphere rarely experienced. Sit back, give this the time it requires and let the mind wander into realms both enigmatic and fascinating though altogether unfathomable.

 Torture Tomb (USA) - Killing to See How it Feels

 Torture Tomb (USA) – Killing to See How it Feels

https://transylvaniantapes.bandcamp.com/album/torture-tomb-killing-to-see-how-it-feels

Release- June/6/2020

Transylvanian Tapes

Artwork – 75

Ferocity – 83

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 81

Originality – 65

Genre – OSDM/Blackened Death/Crust/Brutal Death/Sludge

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 74

Cavernous, sick, OSDM with plenty of groove and a myriad of pleasing influence.

 Wartooth (Australia) - Programmed Dichotomy

A Recc from Demnuts3  (on Twitter)
 Wartooth (Australia) – Programmed Dichotomy

https://wartooth.bandcamp.com/album/programmed-dichotomy

Release – April/9/2020

Independent

Artwork – 81

Ferocity – 78

Infectiousness – 92

Groove – 89

Originality – 75

Genre – Thrash/Technical Thrash/Crossover/Aggressive Thrash

Revisit – It goes w.o saying.

Final Score/Remarks – 94

How is that only after three tracks Wartooth have managed to exhibit screamingly neon signed influence from more than a handful of ultra- recognizable acts and so brilliantly executed with such fluid precision? Also, in the vocal department, I’m not usually one for vocal gymnastics. But the effect works so remarkably here that it manages to widen the eyes in stunning appreciation rather than prompt pen to keyboard in complaint.

In fact, the album seethes with a level of enthusiasm, energy and exuberance that’s off the charts. I can only imagine what a spectacle the live show must present. In short, I can understand why so many are touting this as AoTY material (and so early on). This offering from Wartooth is undeniably a damn good reason to get excited about Thrash again! Be prepared to praise the genre again. This, moreso than anything else recently released, has given it the kick in the ass it so desperately warrants. And the bands “message” is refreshing also (that of waving the flag of individuality), yet another reason to jump on this and support the band (as if one needs another reason?)

Thrashin’ mad Koalas and Kangaroos. Are they a thing? (Did I just go there? You betcha’). Probably not, but with this in mind it’s now most certainly a possibility.

Altar of Rot (USA) - Altar of Rot

 Altar of Rot (USA) – Altar of Rot

https://altarofrot.bandcamp.com/album/altar-of-rot

Release – March/15/2020

Independent

Artwork – 85

Ferocity – 82

Infectiousness – 86

Groove – 84

Originality – 75

Genre – Blackened Death/Blackened Speed/Black Metal/Crust/Doom/Thrash.

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 86

Surprisingly versatile mixture of styles executed with flair. Raw production adds to the albums allure. Addictively infectious throughout!

With this quality on offer I’m sure labels will fight amongst themselves to pluck this act from obscurity.

Wretched Fate (Sweden) - Fleshletting

 Wretched Fate (Sweden) – Fleshletting

https://wretchedfate.bandcamp.com/album/wretched-fate-fleshletting

Release – February/22/2019

Redefining Darkness Records

Artwork – 86

Ferocity – 86

Infectiousness – 88

Groove – 85

Originality – 79

Genre – HM2 Death/Brutal Death/OSDM

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 87

Just when one begins to think the HM2 sound was exhausted along comes Wretched Fate. They give the familiar a twist, add their unique stamp, inject an atmosphere which showcsses their adoration for the horror genre then execute the whole with a reverance, precision and skillfull devastation a samurai swordmaster would be jealous of. In short, this is the arena I wished Dismember, Bloodbath or Entombed might have taken, as their styles  progressed, but never did. And to think I missed this ragin’ beast last year. Is there still time to add to the EoY lists?

Kryptograf (Norway)

Kryptograf (Norway) – s/t

https://kryptograf.bandcamp.com/album/kryptograf

Release – June/12/2020

Apollon Records

Artwork – 68

Ferocity – 53

Infectiousness – 69

Groove – 84

Originality – 72

Genre – Fuzz/Doom/Stoner Rock/Psychedelia/Vintage Rock/Progressive

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 72

Honestly, this is a lot mellower audio than I usually divulge my senses in but it boasts a certain something to keep the finger from the skip, and/or eject button. It bears definite flow, a dreamy fluidity, cosmic elements (which bring to mind Hawkwind), tons of “fuzz”, haunting atmospheres, melodies you can drift upon, but also an aura which recalls early Black Sabbath. This is probably not for everybody (admittedly I’m warming to the inner most circle of what the Doom genre offers) but it’s making an impression on me as somewhat of a pallet cleanser. A relaxing step away from that which usually brutalizes my senses.

Aeons Abyss (Australia) - Impenitent

 Aeons Abyss (Australia) – Impenitent

https://aeonsabyss.bandcamp.com/album/impenitent

Release – November/1/2019

Independent

Artwork – 79

Ferocity – 78

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 82

Originality – 68

Genre – Death/OSDM/Brutal Death/Atmospheric/Melodic Death/Black Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 78

Far from mere chuggery this is pleasingly diverse. Each track boasts a unique identity with a myriad of styles, auras and pace showcased within the album’s length. A superb vocal range, occasionally nodding at the theatric, adds to the intrigue as well unpredictable, often intricate, arrangements hinting at a wide range of influences.

 Sanctifying Death Ritual (Germany)

 Sanctifying Death Ritual (Germany) – s/t

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/album/sanctifying-ritual-s-t

Release- June/5/2020

Iron Bonehead Productions

Artwork – 81

Ferocity – 83

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 91

Originality – 68

Genre – BlackThrash/Bestial Metal/Death/Speed/Black Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 92

A jaw dropping audio cauldron of cavernous Death, Blackened Speed Metal and arrangements which will turn the ear of even the most casual genre fan. The albums raw production only bolsters its (masterfully controlled) chaotic approach and appeal which seethes with both nostalgic elements and present-day frenetic attitude. Expect to see this mentioned again come years end.

Heads for the Dead (International) – Serpent’s Curse

 Heads for the Dead (International) – Serpent’s Curse

https://headsforthedead.bandcamp.com/album/serpents-curse-death-metal

Release – September/24/2018

Transcending Obscurity Records

Artwork – 83

Ferocity – 77

Groove – 76

Infectiousness – 78

Originality – 72

Genre – Death Metal/DeathDoom

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 82

An unsettling audio landscapes smoky with the haze of dread and unquestionable sinister intent accompanied by an enveloping swath of amorphous percussion boasting varied degrees of ferocity invites the listener into its fold. Draped in a heavy pitch, all consuming, blanket of ill intent this is not the typical DM release but rather one relying on dense atmosphere than bludgeoning riff brutality. Aided by the echoed vocal attributes of (Revel in Flesh’s) Ralf Hauber and the mesmerizing drumming of Erik Bevenrud (Hail of Bullets) the spell is cast. And the audience is consumed by a delirious fog resulting from the masterful manipulation of the finest elements of Doom, Death and Crust.

Sangre de la Luna (USA) - Stirrings (demo)

Sangre de la Luna (USA) – Stirrings (demo)

https://bloodmoonproductions.bandcamp.com/album/stirrings

Release – November/5/2019

Blood moon Productions

Artwork – 72

Ferocity – 88

Groove – 71

Infectiousness – 65

Originality – 66

Genre – OSDM/Grind/Black Metal

Revisit – No

Final Score/Remarks – 64

Classical interludes break up a hyper-speed collision involving raw Black Metal and Grinding Death vehicles. Incomprehensible vocals and atmosphere adds to the mix making for a dismally, pitch, uncompromising brutal affair which, I’m assuming, only the extremists among us are likely to fully appreciate.

But wait for it, Void has a few words on this release also…

Black metal hailing from Portland, Oregon, I’ll admit this is not what I was expecting.  The acoustic intro led me astray in expecting an album with a heavier emphasis on an atmospheric approach.  Not quite, as the black metal contained herein is heavily distorted and blown out; the tone and drumming are very overbearing and give “Stirrings” a very mechanical feel, one that I don’t think does Sangre de la Luna justice.  The drums pummel out the guitars, who in turn drown out the vocals, and there’s simply too much going on at once, but not in the over-the-top chaos way that bands like perhaps Teitanblood have mastered.  There are good ideas lurking around in here and I can appreciate what they were aiming for, but the execution isn’t quite fully realized yet.

65

Woe Betide (UK) - Throne of Spines

 Woe Betide (UK) – Throne of Spines

https://woebetide.bandcamp.com/album/throne-of-spines

Release – May/24/2020

Independent

Artwork – 74

Ferocity – 82

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 82

Originality – 72

Genre – Symphonic Death/Deathcore/Tech Death

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 81

Oozing with atmosphere and wicked, often intricate, riffs and rhythm transformations this one manages to capture the attention throughout warranting addition to a heavy rotation playlist.

 Henry Kane (Sweden) - Age of the Idiot

 Henry Kane (Sweden) – Age of the Idiot

https://henrykanecrust.bandcamp.com/album/age-of-the-idiot-death-metal-grind-crust

Release- May/22/2020

Transcending Obscurity Records

Artwork – 83

Ferocity – 78

Groove – 71

Infectiousness – 75

Originality – 74

Genre – HM2 Swedish Death/Brutal Death/Grinding Death/Industrial/Grindcore/Doom/Crust

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 79

Surprisingly diverse for a “Grindcore” release, this sports individual sounding tracks with varying lengths as well the traditional under-a-minute type. Levels of ferociousness are varied as well pace and rhythm arrangements. All in all, somewhat a mature, ‘out of bounds’ effort that’s well worth discovery and a few listens to fully appreciate.

tired zombie

Done. Now I’ll sleep like the dead!

And that’s about it for another monstrous entry in the Abrasive Audio series. Thanks for reading this far, hopefully I’ve introduced a few albums/acts which delight the senses.

I’ve tried to keep this installment diverse and have even added a few Recc’s I was most curious about. As always, I’m finish this by imparting the customary spot of sagely advice – don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the ears.

Cult

Whoops, nearly forgot. A huge thanks to Void for the Reccs and stepping in with his wisdom and insight at the last minute.

Far from the Everyday…Grind

grindcore band logos

So, here I am pondering upon a new segment. Admittedly, it takes me a minute to write even the smallest article so why not comment on something brief, blunt, honest and straight to the point while using the same criteria as the audio under scrutiny? I’ve enlisted help on this one. It comes in the form of the editor of Sixintheheadzine. Why, because apparently the genre in question is one of his favorites also. As if you haven’t guessed yet, the ‘arena’ in question is “Grindcore”. Bursting with releases which are short though overflowing with a laundry list of tracks it seems the ideal pool in which to dip the senses and base a new segment upon if you’re anything like me and wish to get something done quick(er than normal). Naturally a brand spanking new ratings system for a new segment seems appropriate, it makes sense (why rehash the same old crap, seriously). And after much mulling (Paul’s word not mine, though I like it) we think we’ve happened upon a few criteria which fit:

Artwork – I can’t not include a few words here; this is part of my “schtick”.

Initial Impact (obviously – does this grab you from the get go?)

Viciousness – Does this seem like it’s performed by a bunch of relaxed Grannies in their wheelchairs in the local OAP home or by a collective of seemingly rabid, fiery, angst-ridden individuals with something to say?

Melody/Groove – Do I really need to explain this?

Darkness – Just how diabolical, raw and wicked is this? For example; is it closer to Black Metal or as easy going as Ambient/Post -Metal.

Sickness – I’ve included sub headings here to make this easier to comprehend:

1 – Sparkles, Fairies and Rainbows. Nothing ominous going on here in the slightest.

2 – A Walk in the Park. Whoops. I think I stepped in something

3 – It’s dark, I think something is following me. I’ve fallen and my heel just broke. Fug!

4 – Apparitions. Imps. Goblins and evil looking dwarves. It doesn’t sound too horrific but I’ve just realized they’re in my parent’s bedroom invoking something else to join in on the orgy.

5 – I’m scarred. Listening to this makes me look at the world in a different light.

Humor – similar to most other genres, though often more prevalent, this genre has a great many acts who prefer to add a little silliness to their style be it through percussion or the lyrical content. And I’m of the mind that this element might be the ‘turning away point’ for many.

Final Thoughts – Exactly as it sounds.

Ratings are on a 1 through 5 basis. With 5 being the highest; the most vicious, the darkest, the sickest, the most melodic, the most humorous. You get the point. What say we mention we tackle this on a trial run basis (this is the first in the series after all). And to make it more interesting Paul will pick three acts and I’ll pick three. we’ll comment first on our own and then on each other’s picks.

Paul’s Picks;

Onisirige

Onisirige – कयूटनेस से मर रहे हैं (dying from cuteness)

https://onisirige.bandcamp.com/album/dying-from-cuteness

There are several reasons why I chose this album as one of my picks to review. I’ll come onto them in more detail shortly but pretty much all of them are bad. In fact, they’re worse than bad. They’re completely and utterly fucked up in the head… But that’s what we want from Grind is it not? Politics or porn. There is no middle ground. Eat the rich or eat… Actually, I won’t finish that sentence I’m scared where it might end up.

Here we have, कयूटनेस से मर रहे हैं (dying from cuteness – in English apparently), the 18-minute debut album from, “Groovy Goregrind/Cybergore one-man band from Japan since 2016”, Onisirige. What is Cybergore? I have no idea but they say that this release is recommended for fans of, “S.C.A.T, Hentai, Nintendo and dogs”. I’m quite partial to two of the things on that list so I might like it. I’ll let you decide which two. (Thank must be given to the Goregrind channel on YouTube for the inspiration and quotes here).

Artwork – The cover artwork on the album’s YouTube video is blurred out but I have looked up the original online and all I can say is that I highly recommend you don’t look it up (all respect due to the artist Nyakyagawa). If flaunting social media terms of service were a dance then this front cover would be the Macarena. Horrific and disgusting in the, “cutest”, way possible – it is done in the bright and garish hand drawn style that I generally love. So, I’m giving this a 4/5.

Initial Impact – See-sawish guitars fuse with fairground melodies like something out of a nightmare/bad acid trip, juxtaposed with traditional old school “rock n roll” elements and weird samples from foreign (to me) films and cartoons. It sounds something like Chuck Berry being pushed through a meat grinder by Cartman. Or, imagine that bit at the end of Back to Future when he plays Johnny B. Goode, except everyone is chopped to pieces on the floor and Marty’s lost his fucking mind. Nevertheless, there are some very nice and groovy sections on the first half of this. 3/5

Viciousness – I wouldn’t say this is vicious as much as garish, gory and all in the worst possible taste. The music sounds vicious to the untrained ear of course. But I don’t think you can take song titles such as, “C**shotting In Your Bible”, and, “Does My D*ck Smell”, as serious threats. 2/5

Melody/Groove – There’s an overtly childish sense of melody on this that I don’t really know how to score…  I suppose it is Nintendo-esque in places but I’m pretty sure if Nintendo ever heard about their connection with this album, they would cease trading immediately. A lot of it is like something out of children’s television programming gone bent. If that is the kind of genre you like then you’ll like this. There are a couple of sniffs of Vaporwave here and there which I find odd frankly… I’m not sure whether I think this is novel and interesting or simply irritating… In the latter half everything loses its way a bit and becomes like Atari Teenage Riot produced by an actual circus clown smashing cymbals together… Also, there is what seems to be incessant preset pig snorting and dog barking being triggered all over the last few songs, which led to me being triggered also. 2/5

Darkness – Uhhh… I think I’m going to have to say, “No”, to this category from a musical point of view. However – the places my mind goes to when I think about what may well have been the “niche” Internet inspirations behind this makes my mind go to very dark places indeed so I’ll give it a 4/5

Sickness – Considering that everything about this album, from the artist’s logo to the artwork to the tracks themselves, would be considered unacceptable anywhere in a civilized society I’m going to have to give this category a high score. Although surprisingly I don’t think they really went as far as they could (or should) have done on this, which is somewhat disappointing based on what I assumed was in store. Almost a 4/5 but actually a 3/5

Humor – I can’t really laugh at this to be honest because I’m genuinely concerned for the mind behind it. The reason 4chan should be shut down basically and I suppose I mean that as a compliment 2/5

Final Thoughts – The main reason 4chan should be shut down basically and I suppose I mean that as a compliment. 3/5

Cults thoughts;

I can see the allure with this. Childlike animation juxtaposed with unapologetically deviant and jaded adult context. I’m curious.

Artwork – Tits, penises, pot plants, a hand floating in a to go lunch sack, severed appendages, a logo comprised of spilt semen, a crushed kitty and a huge smile affixed to a face slathered in man chowder. This is Hentai bordering on the extreme and most definitely not wholesome family entertainment in the slightest (although I guess it all depends to which family we’re referring). If the music is even somewhat as close to being as bizarre as this it’s time to grab a bucket and ensure the seatbelts are securely fastened. Here’s to diving in blindly… 3.5/5

Initial impact – This isn’t half as bad as I imagined it might be with the assumption of Goregrind and Pornogrind floating around in my head. Although the vocals are an assortment of burps, squeals, grunts, bree’s and other throaty issuances making little sense there’s a playfulness here which is tickling my curious bone. I believe I might even be able to sit through this until its climax (pun intended). 3.5/5

Viciousness – Hardly malicious in its intent this is more satirical and bizarre and not to be taken at all seriously. Although I’m sure it’ll offend most. 0/5

Melody/Groove – Blast beats aplenty amidst rhythms to make any dance floor jelly (the kids are saying this instead of jealous. I’m only left to wonder where peanut butter fits in?) in rage. Admittedly this isn’t designed to move to but it bears a spastic frenetic aura I’m falling for…hard, (again with the puns!) Against my initial presumptions. 4/5

Darkness – This is as bright as a picnic on the sun’s surface. Rainbows, unicorns, sparkles and fuzzy bits everywhere. Too damn much of everything if truth be told, to the verge of nausea. You get the point. It isn’t dark, in the slightest. 0/5

Sickness – Playful as this is it boasts a no holds barred, anything goes approach (which one has to admire if not appreciate) and pokes fun upon/embraces with a filthy embrace pretty much everything in Japanese Pop culture. Manga, Nintendo, Cutesy and most everything else I’ve yet to learn the name for, it’s all here and lovingly basted in either synth or extreme beats and a myriad of vocal emissions to scare the elderly. 4.5/5

Humor – This is a word which about sums this release up. Obviously, it’s undeniably extreme audio bordering on experimentational with most nods and references which demand research but it seethes with an aura which screams Over the Top zany, bonkers and unabashed silliness (I’ve used that word one too many times here, I apologize). Whether you get it or not, this overflows with a sense of juvenile which yanks the corners of the mouth upwards. 4/5

Final Thoughts – As much as I’d love to hate this, it’s actually grown on me. Sure, it’s silly, and makes little sense as my Pop culture lexicon is severely limited, but its fun, oozes absurd silliness and for some reason makes me smirk like a loon. And we all need a little something of that in our lives, don’t we? 3.25/5

piss shtter

Piss Shitter – Beef the Meanness

https://pissshitter.bandcamp.com/album/beef-the-meanness

Piss Shitter is a name that hugely appeals to me because I think if you’re going to be offensive then you should be as offensive as possible. So, this is from the school of thought that I like. Take two swear words and smash them together. Doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. I won’t give further examples of what I mean as I’m not sure Cult wants this piece to descend that far down the toilet.

Anyway, bearing in mind that I chose this release solely off the band’s name, let’s see what this just-shy-of-17-minutes, “Noise/Grind/Sludge” debut EP is like…

Artwork – It’s black and white. There’s the band’s logo in the corner. There are skulls and flies and there’s a man in a glass bottle nailed to an upside down cross. All the usual stuff. Don’t know what any of it means but it’s like a Grind cover designed by Salvador Dali… Can’t really complain about that, although it is more on the “trad” side of the scale than what I reviewed above. 3/5

Initial Impact – Very muddy, sludgy, lo-fi sound to the production but there’s definitely some very early Grind, anarcho-punk fighting to get out underneath. Pessimistic and deranged vocal samples and noise passages are interspersed between a screechy/low double vocal attack and very super -fast playing. Misanthropy is the order of the day with nihilistic/hilarious song titles such as, “FUCK CAPITAL”, “FUCKTHE POSERS OF THE STATE”, “FUCK BEING ALIVE AND EATING AND BREATHING AND SHIT”, and, my favorite, “FUCK BEING ALIVE AND EATING AND BREATHING AND SHIT 2 – STILL FUCK BEING ALIVE AND EATING AND BREATHING AND SHITTER”. 3/5

Viciousness – It’s vicious from both a musical point of view and a humanitarian point of view. It’s very clear that the message of this EP could essentially be distilled down into, “Fuck Everything”. Which is about as vicious a mindset as you can get when taken seriously… 5/5

Melody/Groove – Not so much of this here because of the Noise/Sludge elements inherent within it. Grinding, screamy and shouty and (in parts) droney, but not groovy at all really baby. Maybe in a couple of bits (one that stands out particularly in Track 9) but that’s not the selling point here. 2/5

Darkness – It won’t leave you feeling full of the joys of spring I’ll say that much for it. 4/5

Sickness – Not really… What’s sick about wanting everything to fuck off? I think that’s a perfectly understandable mindset given the current state of affairs. 0/5

Humor – Within the music, none at all. Within the band’s name and the song titles, a lot. For that reason, it’s a 4/5 from me.

Final Thoughts – If you want everything to fuck off, which is totally understandable right now. This is the ideal music for you. 3/5

Cults Thoughts;

As if the name of the act doesn’t grab ya, perhaps the word “fuck” in every track might. Regardless I’m curious. Just how bad can this be?

Artwork – Zombies buried on the beach, an inverted crucifix and a storm on the horizon and all in lovingly penned black and white inks (is ‘white’ really an ink though?) A tad cliché, but I’m still camouflaged in intrigue. 3/5

Initial Impact – Much like being sucked up into a rampaging tornado this grabs you abruptly with its intensity and ferocious nature. This has my attention! 4/5

Viciousness – This hits like a dump truck falling from the sky to the skull. Abrasive doesn’t even come close to covering the style here. 4.5/5

Melody/Groove – Distortion, noise and pummeling unmitigated brutality about sums this up in midget bursts. The melody and groove are there but you might need to dig for it (using the most expensive industrial equipment money can buy) 1/5

Strangely, the longest track here oozes with a passage of rhythm sandwiched by apocalyptic white noise (which lasts seemingly forever).

Darkness – There are zero, frilly, shiny bits to be found here. This is distortion ville sludge abetted by noise, angst and a nature one would hope not to come across in a dark alleyway. 4/5

Sickness – Rather than concentrate on a nature which is depraved, grisly, gory or vile this revolves around angst, everyday concerns and the adoration of the word “fuck”. 0/5

Humor – A few of the utilized soundbites elicit an unwarranted smirk, but that might be because I need to see a therapist, otherwise this is devoid of humor, apart from the use of the word “fuck” and the Napalm Death “parody” which closes the album 1/5

Final Thoughts – Short, blunt and to the point with enough dense nature to level small farming communities this is unmistakably devastating audio though it lacks the movement I personally desire. A tad more experimental than most, but no less harrowing. 3/5

Bitchy Rackmore – Bitches and Brothers

bitchy rackmore album

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCmsLBo03RA

Bitches and Brothers, I present to you my last pick of this review segment. Hahaha, I made a joke. I think this whole album by Bitchy Rackmore is entire series of “jokes” that are either very funny and post-something-or-other or very unfunny and below juvenile, depending on your own personal position on the humor spectrum…

The whole thing is just over 10 minutes long, which is all that is needed for a Grind album let’s be honest. If you can’t say everything you need to say within 10 minutes on a Grind album then you should put a cloak on and go and join fucking Yes. There are two girls and one guy in this group apparently, so we have to assume that this is all ironic, don’t we? I just wanted to make that very clear before you read any further assuming this whole thing is a dick-swinging bro festival.

Artwork – When I was making my picks, artwork featured very heavily in my decision-making process. I thought I had chosen this purely for its artwork (the lurid cartoon style that I love more than perhaps any other style of art) but as I skipped around to some of the other possible choices I had in the running I realized that I also chose this because I like the sound too. Anyway, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. From an artwork point of view, I give this 4/5. Almost a 5/5

Initial Impact – This thing opens with a short Glen Benton interview sample (he of Deicide and the reluctant-looking recipient of Slash’s, er, romantic attentions on the front cover) before you are hit with a pummeling, non-stop aural assault. It grinds, it swirls around, the playing is insane and the vocals are truly guttural and barely audible. I think it sounds fucking great. 4/5

Viciousness – Practically everything about this is vicious in one way or another and at least one of the song titles is so vicious that it’s unprintable in a family music blog such as this… But, as I say, we have to assume that this album is all one big joke so it loses points for that. 3/5

Melody/Groove – When it’s not shooting you in the head with a Gatling gun music-wise or kicking you full force in the bollocks with its offensiveness then there are some undeniably groovy sections that pop out here and there. 3/5

Darkness – It’s not at all dark in my opinion. The front cover alone tells you that. This is ridiculous, fucked up, fast, (I am reluctant to say) “comedy” Grindcore at its finest. This is very much for those who are into the Seth Putnam/AC type of stuff but who maybe don’t want it made by someone quite as notoriously c*ntish as he was 0/5

Sickness – It’s definitely up there on the sickness scale. Almost off the scale for me… I’m an, “anything goes” type of guy when it comes to this sort of extreme art (if it’s done with the right intentions) but the title of Track 11 flirts with an area of “humor” that makes me wince somewhat… 5/5

Humor – In terms of humor, this is worth the price of admission for the Ozzy Osborne sample alone. 4/5 pushing 5/5.

Final ThoughtsIt’s obvious that the girls and guy who put this album together don’t take themselves very seriously and the whole package, in terms of the area of Grind in which it resides, is put together expertly. 4.5/5

Cult’s Thoughts;

The obvious parody in the band’s moniker is enough to garner the attention of my senses.

Artwork – At first glance this looks like a cover to any run of the mill underground romance novel. However, on closer inspection one might come to the conclusion it’s far from that but rather Slash helping the front man of Deicide with a very specific blockage. I have no idea why there’s an on looking angel type creature.  Perhaps they might need additional ass(pun)istance? 3/5

Initial Impact – The albums opening soundbite makes great sense and about covers everything anyone has ever hoped to censor (fuck censorship!) The music is surprisingly decent (Brutal death meets Grindcore) and the vocal accompaniment are growls of the variety I can subscribe too. 4.5/5

Viciousness – This is fast, unmerciful, blast beat heavy but drips with humor. A fantastic combination which isn’t in the slightest scary. 1/5

Melody/Groove – Beating my initial assumptions to pulp, this overflows with rhythm and melody albeit pulverizing and played at hyper speed. 4/5

Darkness – Although draped in parody this does bear a certain ominous nature, a smidgen of Doom to the riffs exists but it’s far from cavernous or the audio of nightmares. 1/5

Sickness – Hardly grotesque in any resemblance this is more parody material pushed to the extreme (yes, it will offend those who openly admit to having a sense of humor) bearing zero taste. In that respect 5/5 but otherwise 0/5

Humor – If the track titles don’t get ya smiling there’s little point giving this a listen. Admittedly it’s funny but only if you have a sick/twisted sense of humor. Knowing the referrences comes as a bonus. 4/5

Final Thoughts – I wasn’t sure what to expect, it wasn’t this! This is surprisingly listenable with soundbites which add to the pleasure of the overall listening experience. Short, sharp to the point with rhythm and brutality. This is damn good if like me you insist on groove and rhythm rather than cataclysmic noise in your extreme audio. This album proves that you shouldn’t “judge a book by it cover”. 4.5/5

feastem

Cult’s Picks;
Feastem – Graveyard Earth

https://feastem.bandcamp.com/album/graveyard-earth

I’m not gonna lie (the famous words of every politician) it was the name which grabbed my attention. Seriously, what does it mean especially in relation to the accompanying art.

Artwork – It appears all hope is lost. Piles of the dead crowd a statue of the Virgin Mary, isn’t she supposed to instill confidence and faith? All this rendered in glorious black and white. I’m sold. Here’s to hitting play blindly. 4/5

Initial Impact – This grabs the attention and quickly. A wicked, concise, amalgamation of precise Grindcore, Death, Brutal Death and Doom that hits the spot immediately. 4.5/5

Viciousness – Partway between go for the throat and rhythm oriented (leaning more towards out and out sensorial assault) this counterbalances angst and discernable rhythm delicately, and even dips into more ominous Doom waters in instances. A varied approach hinting st varied influence. 4/5

Melody/Groove – Plenty on offer, rather than apocalyptic noise this boasts decipherable arrangements, rhythms and riffs with commendable production. 4.5/5

Darkness – There’s an undeniable ominous nature here as opposed to the typical Grindcore in the face approach. Also, an underlying old school Dirge and Crust aura complementing the typical lyrical against the hypocrisy of the system. 3.5/5

Sickness – Admittedly more angst than Gore. There’s no mention of zombies, cadavers or twisted serial killer shenanigans here. 0/5

Humor – Nope. Nothing, not even a smirk. 0/5

Final Thoughts – “Graveyard Earth” hits the spot and fast. Far from monotonous this delivers a collection of somewhat individual tracks bearing discernable tempo changes, groove and wicked vox as well occasional stylistic deviation which only adds to the fun. I honestly can’t enough of this, I’m adding this to my collection! 4.5/5

Paul’s Thoughts;

Onwards I slog through the mire of Grind to tackle Cult’s three picks. There will be less chat up front on these ones because I don’t why he picked them so can’t offer anything of value on that front. Let’s just get stuck into the categories with no further ado…

Artwork – Fantastic. Black and white with a nice, “Xeroxy”, feel to it. Sums up the album’s title perfectly. This is exactly what a Graveyard Earth would look like. Let’s see what it sounds like… 4/5

Initial Impact – Wow… This comes out of the speakers like a punch to the face and keeps on punching you in the face throughout its entirety. Had my head nodding vigorously from the beginning. Early, punk sound to this one as well. Unrelenting. One song after another comes at you at a ferocious, manic pace. 4/5

Viciousness – Very vicious in terms of the playing and delivery although it loses points for having a song on it called, “I Will Not Kill”. You will not kill? Why not? What’s wrong with you? 3/5

Melody/Groove – Gets you moving despite its ferocity and a serious amount of credit goes to the band for that.  I’ll mark it high on this category. But that’s not to say I’m personally a total fan of what is here. 4/5

Darkness – Following on from my thoughts immediately above – any element of darkness I thought this release might’ve had is diluted somewhat for me by a very subtle hint of metalcore that puts me in the middle of an outdoor festival in Europe somewhere wondering whether or not I should queue up for another overpriced, flat pint. A bit more Kerrang than Kerrazy in my humble opinion… Not knocking it. Many will love it. As far as darkness though, for me it’s a 2/5

Sickness – I’ve definitely heard sicker. There’s not a concept or idea on here either sonically or in the track names that made my stomach twitch, let alone turn. 1/5

Humor – Zilch. 0/5

Final Thoughts – Not knocking it. Many will love it. Not me really. 2/5

bowelfuck

BOWELFUCK – Decades

https://bowelfuck.bandcamp.com/album/decades-2

A biker gent with a huge grin on his face. This wouldn’t normally grab my interest but in this case half of mentioned face appears strange. As if, as if…well the radioactive sign in the background hints at the reasoning.

Artwork – A happy guy on a bike with a melted visage really doesn’t give much away as to the music within.  But the band’s name and spatterific logo certainly does. 3/5

Initial Impact – Fast, intricate and well produced with old school heavily accented vocals. All the boxes are checked. This promises to deliver! 4.5/5

Viciousness – Bordering on a well shaken concoction of Crust, Brutal Death and Hardcore this is pummeling audio. Tight, precise and impactful but with enough bounce to keep it from subterranean vicious realms. 3.5/5

Melody/Groove – If this doesn’t make you want to move you might want to check your pulse! 5/5

Darkness – There’s enough Dirge and Crust elements here to suffice but hardly anything of sufficient nefarious or dastardly intentions to cause nightmares. .5/5

Sickness – Not much here to please gore fans or those with a penchant for the earliest of Carcass material. Although some might find the humor offensive and immediately put this under a certain categorization on account of the vocal style this is far from sick in any way. .5/5

Humor – From the Skinless-esque intro, a few track intro soundbites, to a number of the track’s titles (namely “Lobotomobile” and “Nap”) this drips with humor though not of the distracting, silliness kind, rather that of a darkly humorous and sarcastic tone. This is miles from the typical angst against the unjust system material. 3.5/5

Final Thoughts – When I think of Grindcore this isn’t usually the type of audio which comes to mind. With that in mind however this has the undeniable chops to elicit a smirk, raise the blood pressure and get one up and moving. Quality from start to finish, blunt and straight to the point, an exquisite mixture of a slew of extreme styles. There’s not a boring moment to be found here, and to think this is the first I’ve heard of the band. Lay the senses on this, you can thank me later. 5/5

Paul’s Thoughts;

Artwork – A piggy-looking motorcyclist riding his bike out of town, smoking a cigar with half his face being torn off? Is that what’s happening here? I don’t know… But I like the color palette and I like the band’s logo so it’s a decent 4/5

Initial Impact – Cult always picks things that undeniably rip. I don’t know how he does it which such a high rate of success but, unsurprisingly, this rips… Proper headbanging, moshpit stuff this. Insanely fast. Nicely mixed. Riffs aplenty. A collection of very good and strong songs by what you can tell is an extremely capable and experienced band. 5/5

Viciousness – Sounds vicious. The band’s name is about as vicious as it gets. Song titles are disappointingly non-vicious though. 3/5

Melody/Groove – Had me moving throughout the 23-something-minute duration so if that’s what you mean when you want me to score this category then it’s a 4/5 approaching a 5/5 (because it doesn’t get too tuneful or melodic at any point, which for me is usually a turnoff, especially in this genre).

Darkness – Hard to tell from what’s immediately apparent to me from the artwork, music and song titles but the album doesn’t seem that dark in terms of subject matter or sound. But then I might be wrong… Maybe it’s a concept album about pig motorcycle gangs taking over the world, which is a pretty dark thought. I’ll score this down the middle – 3/5.

Sickness – Again, there’s nothing here overtly sick here apart from the band’s name. That is pretty fucking sick though to be fair. 4/5

Humor – Pigs on motorcycles are pretty funny but apart from that mental image (which let’s be honest I’ve invented myself) the humor is thin on the ground. Nevertheless, a great album. 1/5

Final Thoughts – Great album. 4/5

meth leppard

Meth Leppard – Woke

https://methleppard666.bandcamp.com/album/woke

Yep. It was the sleight of hand on the bands moniker which got me intrigued. I’m left wondering how many have picked this up instead of the famed Scottish rock acts material. Oh, the Hysteria it must have caused.

Artwork – A koala looks on, safely out of harm’s way, as a plethora of World leaders are escorted away from an avalanche of discontent; a populace already exhibiting the tell take signs of the apocalypse. Exquisite details and a myriad of intricacies throughout this image. There’s no doubt as to the time of the audio within. 5/5

Initial Impact – For those demanding a relaxed immersion this delivers an introduction to sate. Following this it’s an unapologetic descent into Grindville, hardly as chaotic as most but thoroughly enveloping and dense. 4/5

Viciousness – This initially connects like a punch to the esophagus and continues to admonish quite the pummeling. Production with a raw edge aids in its impact and aura but it’s a more controlled approach than many though highly enjoyable. 4/5

Melody/Groove – Discernable riffs and rhythms rather than apocalyptic chaos. This boasts plenty of groove and movement as well the traditional ingredients one would expect. 4/5

Darkness – Undeniable dirge, a dense aura but other than that this doesn’t exhibit any signs of menace which might keep one up at night. 1/5

Sickness – There’s little mention of anything gruesome here, there’s s few “zombie” looking creatures on the cover but that’s about the extent of the sickness on offer. .5/5

Humor – The track titles are the most definable give away as to the bands sense of humor and the way this album plays out. Though the audio is more within the Napalm Death vein than the avenue Elbow Deep take. Little “silliness” resides here other than the titles this is mostly business. 3/5

Final Thoughts – Solid throughout, this brings all to the table that one would hope for in a release of its ilk. Uncompromising rhythms, groove, the occasional blast beat, plentiful nods to the old school and an overall vibe which is difficult not to appreciate. My only qualm are the vocals; fantastic for the first half their appeal trends to wear thin as the album reaches its conclusion. A personal gripe which might not sit well. Nether the less, an album which is sure to garner a large fanbase based on its overall quality and the inclusion of a fantastic take upon a Melvins track. 4/5

Paul’s Thoughts;

Artwork – Brilliantly drawn. Cult is obviously a fan of black and white album covers based on these three selections but this is a superb bit of art. It’s very politically charged (as are the album’s buzzword song titles) and that’s not the reason I like it per se… I tend to think all politics and politicians are bullshit so I’m rating this purely from an artistic perspective and this is very well drawn indeed. Let’s see if the music behind the cover is equally opinionated. (Who am I kidding? Of course, it will be). 5/5

Initial Impact – For a debut album from a two-piece band this is intense, immense stuff. As raucous, fast and noisy as any classic Grind album with a very interesting, almost beastly, vocal tone. Very impressive. 5/5

Viciousness – Musically yes and there’s plenty of violence on the cover but this isn’t anywhere near Goregrind levels of viciousness so I’ll give it a 2/5

Melody/Groove – Little bit, yeah. Definitely got me moving. No skippable tracks on this album. You’ll be nodding the whole way through I would wager. The vocals are especially effective in this regard, placed as they are in the perfect pockets of each track and really adding to the overall “vibe”, for want of a better word…  4/5

Darkness – It is dark, in as much as you can hear the frustration and political/class/economic rage that is clearly visible on the cover. Dark times we are living in and this music wears that darkness on its sleeve. 4/5

Sickness – Not particularly sick no… Based in everyday reality I think, sadly… 0/5

Humor – Songs here called Dead Kardashians, Sixty-nine Feet Under, Endless Prawn and Thrash Sucks. So yeah, works for me… 4/5

Final Thoughts – No skippable tracks. 4/5

And with that I reach the end of my thoughts on this first selection of Grind albums for Cult’s brand-new feature. Hopefully it will be a semi-regular thing because I’ve really enjoyed doing it. Thanks for having me on board, thanks for reading and if you haven’t already, please check out my tabletop gaming/music zine (to which Cult regularly contributes his own brand of wit and wisdom) at sixintheheadzine.com and follow me on Twitter @paul_pmz

Thanks, and happy grinding!

grindcore growl

Well, there you have it. The first entry in a series which was intended to be (short, blunt, to the point) similar to the style it’s covering. I’m guessing Paul didn’t read the memo, and I merely went along with the way in which he ran. Regardless, it was fun and I hope you, the reader, enjoy it and the albums we’ve covered. There’s always time to discover something new and plenty of time for Grindcore (there’s a pun, or something in there someplace). Until next time.

Cult

Scorching the Retinas – Zombieland 2; Double-Tap

Zombieland 2; Double Tap
Writer – Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Dave Callaham.
Director – Rubin Fleischer
Runtime – 99 minutes

Zombieland_Double_Tap_teaser_poster

Well, Cult has gone and done it again. That is, he’s done nothing! He’s really quite unable to. Poor bastid. In between his job, the crazy business of the current situation, and looking after his frenetic toddler he’s barely enough time to make use of his RedTube subscription. Those hands must be twitching!

As if you haven’t noticed this is another zombie film review and it doesn’t take but a few seconds and a creative spin on the lady holding the torch in the (Columbia Pictures) credits to realize the same. (Another zombie film, yet another zombie film) However, this seems different than most. I’m “primed”, and in record time.

(trailer courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Much like the first installment, in this series, the narrative plays an important part; “rules” are still important (but are they really? With rules comes complacency and boredom which more often than not leads to chaos). Types of zombies are given monikers; humor is prevalent and crimson is thankfully tossed around more liberally than ‘buzz words’ in a college debate.

(ZKotY courtesy of Fandango Movieclips)

Our old heroes, each named after a memorable city (in some instances a State), are back at it. But some are getting fed up and decide it’s high time to spice things up even though they’ve just spent a great deal of time trashing 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (aka The White House). The collective split into two factions and go their own merry ways. Enter an (hypothetical) esteemed trophy and the humor quotient of the film rockets into the stratosphere.  “Zombie Kill of the Week” (or even the Year) is awarded to the most inventive survivors with a thirst for that which spikes the adrenaline and ultimately keeps them alive; slaughtering the undead but in the most ingenious of ways.

zombieland 2 madison

It’s where strangers give other strangers a ride, but it’s not a Taxi service.

The film progresses. One-liners fly as often as disembodied limbs and the cast of characters (ones with a pulse) builds. “Shut the fuck up. I know what you’re about to say…she’s dating a musician.” Tensions soon become flared and opinions whiz around much like projectiles shot by drunken teenagers in a firing range. There’s even a business proposition tossed around which would make the flawed Taxi industry sit up and take note.

zombieland 2 I don't like you at all

Add in a few references to “The Brave Little Toaster” and a landmark book by Steinbeck with “Mice” and “Men” in the title and the movie keeps entertaining. But it gets better, our heroes meet their doppelgangers, come to the conclusion they are indeed annoying pricks and again are left to ponder what’s left to discover on the open road, decide it’s worth a shot and move on (drop that John Denver track here DJ).

Tallahasse Zombieland 2

Just what’s in it for me?

Include a monster truck, a Valleygirl who is rather easy to look upon, lifelong dreams of visiting Graceland, a Peace commune and the rest, as they say, is history. But let’s not forget the amazing FX (this movie has a budget), kills aplenty, Woody Harrelson and a zombie upgrade (these bastids don’t fuck around!)

I can only hope the current Covid situation doesn’t transform this planet into much the same predicament. As I for one will go back underground, wa-ay underground in fact and take my chances with quite possibly the worst boss ever (the horned bastid himself and his many minions who are most probably going to notice the undocumented time I’ve taken away from my post) and the ‘tide of stinky green’ often referred to as the amassed Goblin hordes.  Let’s face it, odds are Mr. Woody Harrelson isn’t about to leave his compound to save the world. And why would he want to? Seriously?

And that’s about it. It’s been brief for which I have many a factor to blame but most notably my penchant for gnawing on those delicious four-legged creatures known as cats.

zombieland 2 emma stone

Badass of the Zombie wastes

But in all seriousness the taste is worth all the time it takes to clean the fur from between the teeth. But back to the movie, as I’m sure Cult would wish me to come to some sort of a conclusion. By all means, check it out. It has more zombies than you can shake a stick at (literally) and Emma Stone. Did I mention this has Emma Stone  in it? (Yumm). Woody Harrelson is obviously another great reason to give this peek, but it isn’t just that. The movie has a great flow, is entertaining throughout, be it through humor or abundant grisliness and all of the characters (the main original characters) are the kind one would find it easy to root for. To too it off, for all those old school thrash fans out there it also features a Metallica classic. There’s admittedly little to complain about. Give this a spin!

B

zombieland bill murray

Zom…b…laaannnndddd!

Whoops. Nearly forgot. Stick around for the credits to hear Bill Murrays reasonings as to why he tackled a third “Garfield” (he’s a tubby little thing, I wonder what he’d taste like?) film.

Who doesn’t hate Monday’s?

Scorching the Retinas – Tackling the Wrong Turn Franchise

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

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

(trailer courtesy of Movie Clips Classic Trailers)

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

wrong turn 2 opening kill

Breast or Thigh? …It doesn’t matter!

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

Wrong turn 2 Henry Rollins

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

wrong turn 2 i wanna play

Peek a boo!

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

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

wrong turn 2 Boom

BOOM!

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

wrong turn 2 lunch

This is strange. I can see my spleen.

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

chillerama

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

The wrong turn collection

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

Attack of the Compilation – Fckn’ Slayer!

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

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

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

Slayer-Original-Logo

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

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

tankist logo

1 – Tankist (Estonia) Evil Has no Boundaries

2 – Aeons Abyss (Australia) Die by the Sword

3 – Hateful Agony (Germany) Black Magic

4 – Serpents Kiss (United Kingdom) Tormentor

5 – Lone Hunter (Brazil) Crionics

Intrepid logo

6 – Intrepid (Estonia) Chemical Warfare

7 – Myrholt – (Norway) Kill Again

8 – Hamvak (Germany) At Dawn They Sleep

9 – Beltane (New Zealand) Angel of Death

10 – EigenstateZero (Sweden) Piece by Piece

11 – Grand Demise of Civilization (USA) Raining Blood

12 – Mindwars (International) Criminally Insane

Frijgard

13 – Frijgard (Switzerland) South of Heaven

14 – Unto the Wolves (USA) Silent Scream

15 – Hellming (Brazil) Mandatory Suicide

16 – Day 40 (United Kingdom) Ghosts of War

17 – Zvijer (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Cleanse the Soul

18 – SavageZ (Brazil) War Ensemble

19 – Macabre Decay (Sweden) Expendable Youth

20 – Hicsos (Brazil) Dead Skin Mask

Imminent Reaper

21 – Imminent Reaper (Mexico) Skeletons of Society

22 – Killrape (Brazil) Born of Fire

23 – Injector (Spain) Dittohead

24 – Domination Inc. (Greece) Disciple

25 – Jumpscare (Italy) Bloodline

26 – Outis (Ireland) Jihad

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

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

confued Orc

Abysmal.

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

Hrrrrrhhhhh-!

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

The Goblin are going crazy!

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

Time for a Crimson Splattered Moshpit!

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

All Mine!

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

Slayer - Show No Mercy

Where it all began

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

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

https://tankist.bandcamp.com/

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

Aeons Abyss – Die by the Sword

https://aeonsabyss.bandcamp.com/

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

EigenstateZero

EigenstateZero – Piece by Piece

https://eigenstatezero.com/

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

Grand Demise of Civilization- Raining Blood

https://granddemiseofcivilization.bandcamp.com/

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

mindwars

Mindwars – Criminally Insane

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

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

Day 40 – Ghosts of War

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

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

zvijer

Zvijer – Cleanse the Soul

https://zvijer.bandcamp.com/

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

Savagez – War Ensemble

https://savagez.bandcamp.com/releases

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

Imminent Reaper – Skeletons of Society

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

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

Domination Inc.

Domination Inc. – Disciple

https://dominationinc.bandcamp.com/

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

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

https://intrepidest.bandcamp.com/

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

Myrholt

Myrholt – Kill Again

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

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

Hamvak – At Dawn They Sleep

https://hamvak.bandcamp.com/releases

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

Beltane

Beltane – Angel of Death

https://beltane.bandcamp.com/

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

Frijgard – South of Heaven

https://frijgard.bandcamp.com/

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

untothewolves

Unto the Wolves – Silent Scream

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

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

Killrape – Born of Fire

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

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

injector

Injector – Dittohead

https://injector.bandcamp.com/

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

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

Prepared and released by Antichrist magazine.

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Antichrist mag tribute to Slayer

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

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

Your loyal misshapen acolyte of most things extreme,

B

Abrasive Audio – Special Edition

kmans champions

Challenging Kman’s “Champions” 

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

kman riffs

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

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

holiday drumming animal

Yorkshire Pudddinnnnggg-!

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

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

These are my thoughts –

Insomnium-heart-like-a-grave_

Melo- Death
Insomnium – Heart Like A Grave 
https://open.spotify.com/album/5pIG0iF4OvplbceJAx73ys?autoplay=true&v=L

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

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

dimhav.jpg

Power Metal
Dimhav – The Boreal Flame 
https://dimhav.bandcamp.com/album/the-boreal-flame

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

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

Demiurgon

Tech – Death
Demiurgon – The Oblivious Lure 
https://everlastingspewrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-oblivious-lure

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

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

zig zags.jpg

Hardcore/Punk/Crust
Zig Zags – They’ll Never Take Us Alive 
https://zigzags.bandcamp.com/album/theyll-never-take-us-alive

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

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

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Pagan/Folk/Viking Metal
Finsterforst – Zerfall 
https://finsterforst.bandcamp.com/album/zerfall

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

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

ruadh

Atmospheric Black Metal
Ruadh – Sovereign
https://ruadh.bandcamp.com/album/sovereign

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

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

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

Evergrey

Progressive Metal
Evergrey – The Atlantic 
https://open.spotify.com/album/7IBDcZQla4fTMEmjzcHneu?autoplay=true&v=L

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

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

necropanther the doomed city.jpg

Black/Thtrash/Speed Metal
Necropanther – The Doomed City 
https://necropanther.bandcamp.com/album/the-doomed-city

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

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

thelordweirdsloughfeg

Heavy Metal
Lord Weird Slough Feg – New Organon 
https://thelordweirdsloughfeg.bandcamp.com/

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

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

haze maze.jpg

Stoner/Doom/Fuzz/Psych Riffs
Hazemaze – Hymns of The Damned 
https://hazemazeband.bandcamp.com/album/hymns-of-the-damned

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

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

Basilysk – Emergence

Death Metal
Basilysk – Emergence 
https://basilysk.bandcamp.com/album/emergence

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

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

Overkill – The Wings of War.jpg

Thrash
Overkill – The Wings of War
https://open.spotify.com/album/2IUZN5c0AVdrnQKfxdMaPK?autoplay=true&v=L

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

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

Arctic Sleep – Kindred Spirits.jpg

Doom
Arctic Sleep – Kindred Spirits 
https://arcticsleep.bandcamp.com/album/kindred-spirits

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

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

Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove.jpg

Death/Doom
Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove 
https://novembersdoom1989.bandcamp.com/album/nephilim-grove

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

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

Borknagar – True North

Black Metal
Borknagar – True North 
https://open.spotify.com/album/6rgxoXvmfe33dbnm8CdVlU

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

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

werewolves in Siberia avatar

And, as a bonus a few words on a release featuring dominantly in Werewolves in Siberia’s ‘Best of 19’ List’
Voyag3r – War Mask
https://voyag3r.bandcamp.com/album/war-mask

Voyag3r - War Mask

Paul

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

 

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

Cult