Posts Tagged ‘Haunt’

Abrasive Audio – The Year in Review

Part the Second
pissed easter day bunny

Boy, he looks pissed! There I was thinking Easter bunnies were jovial fluffy felllows

The first three months have run their course and the last vestiges of winter are hanging around like a horde of pesky flies. The Easter Bunny has been busy and so have those who chose to take part in Beltane festivities (there’s no cumbersome hiding any eggs here. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Summer is about to start. Did you remember where you stored the winter coats and shovels? Metal however, is in full swing, in fact much like the weather it seems as though it’s just “warming” up. I honestly don’t think it ever takes a rest. (My favorites are again marked with a *) Onward…

April

apoptosis-300x300

Allegaeon – Apoptosis

https://allegaeon.bandcamp.com/

It’s extremely hard to pick a favorite track here as this is akin to sinking the ‘8 Ball’ on the break again and again and again (for those not familiar with ‘pool’ analogies it’s highly satisfying, indeed!) Suffice it to say if tech death with a progressive nature in the vein of Blotted Science, Alkaloid, Hannes Grossmann’s other output, Inanimate Existence and Opeth is your thing then your ears need this within them, the pleasure of which your entire being will thank you for later.

Archaic Decapitator – The Apothecary

https://archaicdecapitator.bandcamp.com/

Tech death rhythms flaunt with symphonic additions and occasionally the merest hint of a black as well a folk influence resulting in a release which is varied in tone, laden with atmosphere, depth and melancholy. Keep an ear out for these guys as if this is any indication of what’s to follow this an applaudable omen indeed.

Belezebubs – Pantheon of the Nightside Gods*

https://www.deezer.com/us/album/87796612?autoplay=true

A damn sight better than one might think with the comic book imagery in mind. A first listen is all it took for me to become a fan! This offers a stunning mix of black metal, symphonic elements and an overall aura which brings to mind the finest the genre has to offer (insert your favorite band here). And their videos are worth looking into also; blending humor and exquisite animation there’s really nothing which doesn’t tickle the pleasure sensors. In short, if you have yet to look into this band you’re missing out!

black sites exile

Black Sites – Exile*

https://blacksites.bandcamp.com/album/exile

With a style that’s a hearty mixture of doom, ala Paradise Lost, Black Sabbath and even Old Man Wizard, alongside progressive elements which bring to mind Dream Theatre, the occasional nod to greats within the NWOBHM scene (Iron Maiden) and rhythms straddling the hard rock arena and occasionally alternative (think Therapy?)with a splash of blues which make this most certainly far beyond merely an intriguing release. However, it’s the delivery, composition, strong vocal style, invocative melodies and infectious nature which makes this album instantly worthy of attention.

Gruesome Stuff Relish /Choked by own Vomits SPLIT

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRhZ8_II2uY

Gruesome Stuff Relish – plentiful groove breakdowns amidst synth atmosphere, cult movie homage, soundbites, melodic grindcore, groove and a gutteriffic vocal accompaniment, what’s not to like?

Choked by Own Vomits – Brutal death with a slower tempo boasting infectious riffs bordering on grindcore and lots of groove and a vocal style which will carve a smirk on any fan of the scenes face.

A fantastic introduction to both bands involved for those even curious about the genre this is a great place to dive in!

Hath – Of Rot and Ruin

https://hathnj.bandcamp.com/album/of-rot-and-ruin

Technical, majestic black, bludgeoning rhythms, classical interludes and Amorphis esque progressive passages. This is overflowing with brilliance, take your pick of where and when to find them, this embodies everything a fan could wish for. Brutality and technicality in equal measures slathered in pitch values against a supremely effective atmosphere. And the occasional suffocating presence to add to the overall stunning epic audio experience.

black arts n alchemy

Hellripper – Black Arts and Alchemy

https://reapermetalproductions.bandcamp.com/album/black-arts-alchemy

Imagine if you will Bathory, Motorhead, Venom and vintage Metallica (‘Kill-em’ All’ era) waking from a month-long drinking, drug-fueled debauchery binge (complete with a NWOBHM soundtrack) only to find out they had an offspring. Hellripper is likely the result of such. This woefully short Ep is, in short, utter brilliance which is sure to leave a craterous indentation in the scene. And to think this is merely an appetizer for things to come.

Inculter – Fatal Visions

https://edgedcircleproductions.bandcamp.com/album/fatal-visions

So goddamn fast this’ll make your head spin, but in a good way. Exquisite pace variations (yes, this isn’t flesh-meltingly fast all the time!) and atmosphere combine to form an album that leaves a huge impact. An album that reeks of raw South American influence yet undeniably shines with a style all its own.

Mist of Misery – Unalterable

https://mistofmiseryblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/unalterable

Classic melodies wrapped in black metal shrieks and rhythms (which do so much more than merely make one want to tap their foot) encaptivate, putting one in a trance. The atmosphere is quite unlike what one might expect. The effect is majestic, brutal, uncompromising yet beautiful and undeniably powerful. The album continues to only deepen the effect of the trance like state pulling the listener into an enveloping menacing, melancholic, beauty complete with exquisite ominous atmosphere.

teleport

Teleport – The Expansion

https://teleport1.bandcamp.com/album/the-expansion

Technicality careens headlong into a death/doom shroud making for a release that’s highly pleasing with an appeal which spans a wide radius ranging from atmospheric chaotic black metal through death/doom and also brutal technical progressive death, often elements which are expertly weaved together in the space of a matter of moments. Highly recommended for those who have a penchant for audio spanning a wide radius in the extreme metal arena.

West of Hell – Blood of the Infidel*

https://westofhellmetal.bandcamp.com/album/blood-of-the-infidel-3

Melodic, aggressive, emotional, energetic and dripping with depth. I’m finding it hard to find the words – this is outstanding audio!! Power, epic, heavy, speed, melodic death metal? Take your pick. This has it all, mixed to perfection and vocals of a caliber akin to a force of nature.

wormwitch

Wormwitch – Heaven that Dwells Within

https://wormwitch.bandcamp.com/

A crushing, inciteful, drum tempo is the back bone of this release balanced by delicate folk elements, symphonic accompaniments, exquisite atmosphere and cresting majestic black metal rhythms the overall effect is a wonder to have betwix the ears. Admittedly my first experience of the band, and I’m left wanting more!

May

Body Harvest – Parasitic Slavery

https://comatosemusic.bandcamp.com/album/parasitic-slavery

Devoid of frilly bits, progressive interludes and moments of reflection this is primal death metal shrouded in technical prowess sporting an intensity which is palpable. Maniacal values, diabolical surges, pummeling salvos and moments of ear screeching (controlled) chaos as well apocalyptic heights. Body Harvest have somehow managed to create an album which is mesmerizing in its undeniable brutality bathed in delicious dirge qualities fellow countrymen Bolt Thrower would be jealous of.

evil angel

Evil Angel – Unholy Evil Metal*

https://evilangel.bandcamp.com/album/unholy-evil-metal

Blackened speed and a sense of humor. Sounding like true homage to the South American scene of yore but with an added energy surge only bathing in Red Bull could possibly induce, bestial metal on steroids, and riffs which’ll make you want to slap your Granma and drag a newborn into the pit. This deserves to be shared. And Evil Angel, in all their exemplified raw nature, warrant praise!

Funeral Storm – Arcane Mysteries

https://funeralstormgreece.bandcamp.com/album/arcane-mysteries

Somewhere between early Moonspell and Rotting Christ with applaudable ‘dungeon’ synth tossed in. Elements of folk, doom and synth interludes aided by a commendable production result in this overflowing with atmosphere far from the normal rawness that the typical black metal affair offers. This showcases a great deal for even a casual fan to the scene.

Haunt – If Icarus Could Fly

https://hauntthenation.bandcamp.com/album/if-icarus-could-fly

Blending 80’s and 70’s hard rock with speed and epic metal elements this showcases the power of Trevor William Churches’ (Beastmaker) voice combined with the melodious enchanting rhythms and eye-opening solo mastery which are hard to ignore the criminally infectious nature of. With this one must ponder; with the bar set so high, where does/or can Haunt go from here?

Idle hands mana

Idle Hands – Mana

https://idlehandspdx.bandcamp.com/album/mana

Every once in a while, there drops an album which only lands upon the radar because of a myriad of recommendations. A release which is far from the normal listening material. This is one such example. a perfect combination of rock and Gothic metal with the chops to toss me back to the golden age of the scene whilst still offering an identity which is fresh and oh so easy to hit repeat upon again and again. This is dangerously addictive from start to finish! You have been warned!!

Inanimate Existence – Clockwork

https://inanimateexistence.bandcamp.com/

Brutality which straddles a myriad of genre fences without entering into too ‘Brutalsville’ territory. Unbelievable production values boast instruments which are crisp and clear in the mix complementing rhythms which are inhumanely complex, tight and intricate alongside progressive interludes which don’t ‘break the spell’ in the slightest. Encaptivating on account of its awe-inspiring balance and brilliance. An ‘eargasm’ from first to last note. Nuff said!

krypts

Krypts – Cadaver Circulation

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/cadaver-circulation

Malevolence, menace, grandiose atmosphere, an ominous nature and nuance. All that and a myriad of woven passages of rhythmic intricacy. Overall an album which is guaranteed to offer something new with each listen. Highly recommended for those who prefer atmosphere over outright brutality.

Kull (formerly Bal Sagoth) – Exile

https://kullblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/exile

Grandiose in tone and scope Exile offers that which many have tried, in vain, to capture. Exquisite rhythms, thundering riffs as well passages of beauty complement a symphonic backdrop, epic in scale. Hardly traditional of any one genre this overflows with menace, majesty and at times a certain viciousness, even a narration of sorts, a fantastical concept unfolds if you will. This might at first make heads spin. As it progresses, however, confusion is sure to translate into admiration and appreciation.

Misþyrming – Algleymi

https://misthyrming.bandcamp.com/album/algleymi

This sports exquisite atmosphere, rhythms which incite movement and an edge which is decidedly arcane in nature though far from the raw production which, again, many might expect. Melodious yet majestic, triumphant yet atmospheric, and epic in tone, think doom laden black metal, think black metal with production values which doesn’t sacrifice what the genre stands for, think a release you shouldn’t ignore… seriously.

monasterium

Monasterium – Church of Bones

https://monasterium.bandcamp.com/

Channeling traditional doom in a similar style to Dio fronted Black Sabbath, Candlemass and (strangely, ha!) Dio’s solo output and complemented by grandiose vocals, laden with melodies, exquisite lead work and epic rhythms there’s a lot here to be excited about.

Nihility – Thus Spoke the Antichrist

https://nihilityblacklion.bandcamp.com/

Listening to this makes me wonder if this might have been Bolt Thrower if they’d developed a darkened edge, as this is dirge laden and often laced with black majesty.

Paladin – Ascender

https://paladinatl.bandcamp.com/album/ascension

This picked me up, jaw agape, and threw me back a few years to the sensation I had when first experiencing Wolfsbane (their first) and Black Guard. Similarly styled this assaults the senses like a ravenous beast and even sports occasional growling vox to please those who demand throat emission diversity. The production gives it the required punch and the rhythms are encaptivating, energetic and then some. Suffice it to say this delivers from start to finish is and is an absolute stunning debut full length.

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Possessed – Revelations of Oblivion*

https://open.spotify.com/album/0gNBSnkiibRqyFzCJJ5fka

How is it that I haven’t jumped on the Possessed ‘train’ before now? This shreds! Blazing riffs, impressive drums, vocals which are hardly traditional but fit just the same and high-energy rhythms which bear malicious intent. With the brilliance of this in mind it’s well worth diggin into the bands discography in order to discover the earlier works of one of the pioneers of the thrash/death style itself. An amazing ‘comeback’ album which is worthy of the praise its garnering.

Sathamel – Horror Vacui*

https://sathamel.bandcamp.com/

An infernal majesty permeates the albums rhythms, a cresting riff assault combined with a blackened death formula and a homage that’s sure to carve a crescent upon the face of blackened death and old school fans alike. But it hardly stops there, spoken word passages add a certain indescribable something to the album

Vale of Pnath – Accursed

https://valeofpnath.bandcamp.com/

Marrying the finer aspects of the tech and blackened death realms Vale of Pnath have somehow managed to create a slab of audio balanced with perfection. A composition that’s delicate yet seething with fury, might and a presence that’s undeniable.

varaha

Varaha – A Passage for Lost Years

https://varaha.bandcamp.com/album/a-passage-for-lost-years

A crushing evocative mix of haunting doom and DSBM with drone elements (a smidgen of Avant Garde) and the expert utilization of orchestral instruments makes this an album one consumes in a single sitting, not in parts. Be prepared to run the gamut of emotions with this multi-headed beast.

War Curse – Eradication

https://open.spotify.com/album/1skwO7PHb2Jx3oSM1mkwAL

This burns with a tone which screams instant acceptance for fans of aggressive, high energy thrash. A fantastic introduction to the band and their brand of top notch, dynamic, riff heavy, thrash.

Widower – Cataclysmic Sorcery

https://widoweratx.bandcamp.com/

Widower have injected this with enough of their own uniqueness and rhythmic technicality to separate it from the amassed hordes. a fantastic example of aggressive thrash that borders on blackened death realms. Riffs are fast and furious and delivered with exquisite precision. The production is spot on, every instrument can be appreciated for its addition to the sound and the vocal style fits like a tailor-made glove which both complements and adds to the overall appeal.

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Witch Ritual – Death: Beyond

https://witchritual.bandcamp.com/album/death-beyond

Mid-tempo and often lazy paced, mesmerizing, invocative, traditional, occult doom (far from death and funeral realms) with just the right amount of “fuzz”. Excellent vocals with a range that includes smoldering, sultry and a little something close to frustrated howling make this a fantastic palette cleanser.

June

Atlas Entity – Beneath the Cosmic Silence*

https://atlasentity.bandcamp.com/

A fluid, precise and intricate marriage of progressive elements, technical rhythms and death metal. Think the beauty and classic nature of Opeth entangled with the often, flowing like a river, mesmerizing rhythmic brutality of Inanimate Existence, Add solos which are blistering, a nature which has more facets than my infants personality and elements which are often associated with atmospheric blackened affairs and you have a release which is unpredictable, surprisingly agile and altogether fathomless in its depth.

Beheaded – Only Death can Save You

https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/album/only-death-can-save-you

This is guarantees to send fans of Misery Index into a frenzy. Grinding, unrelenting, rhythms with inhuman drums topped off with top notch production values and a style that’s perilously close to grindcore yet has whispers of death/doom. Did I mention the drums?

portada

Concilivm– The Veiled Enigma (EP)

https://concilivm.bandcamp.com/album/the-veiled-enigma

Showcasing a mid-pace with death doom sensibilities, groove and enough menace to incite nightmares for an entire kindergarten class (including the unsuspecting teacher) coupled with dirge and a diabolical nature with often intriguing rhythms. Give this a moment of your time and I believe you’ll be impressed also.

Consecration – Fragilium

https://consecration666.bandcamp.com/album/fragilium-album-2019

Funeral doom cavorts with rhythms that nod to 90’s Gothic rock and the earliest incarnation of doom with heavy metal undertones, even at times showcasing an aura which hints at experimental black metal realms. This seethes with a myriad of styles one might not initially expect whilst still holding firm to doom foundations one would. Go into this with an open mind and no assumptions and you’ll find yourself sinking into the unhurried epic nature on offer.

Gravefields – Embrace the Void

https://redefiningdarknessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/gravefields-embrace-the-void

For a debut this shows stellar promise, offering a vibe which brings to mind Abysmal Dawn mixed with Nile and Black Dahlia Murder toss in a sprinkle of hardcore and the mix is complete. A phenomenal talent appearing as if from nowhere, play this loud and level the neighborhood!

memoriam a requiem

Memoriam – A Requiem for Mankind *

https://willettsio.bandcamp.com/

A genius creation of dirge/crust/grindcore now, this is a beast of many facets, a creation to influence a whole new breed of musicians. The logical progression from “Those Once Loyal” for fans of the legendary Bolt Thrower. This shows Memoriam taking the style to another level, leaps and bounds from their last effort. An upgrade (as if the style and band members have been whisked away to a secret facility for a full body advancement ‘comic book style’) which leaves a definite impression. With an album of a quality such as this the metal community is left stunned and probably pondering where do Karl and crew take us next?

Ov Lustra – Tempestas

https://ovlustrablacklion.bandcamp.com/album/tempestas

Showcasing exquisite musicianship, a powerful symphonic backdrop, rhythms which constantly shift and a vocal accompaniment which fits the style Ov Lustra have managed to capture the delicate balance needed to keep the listener intrigued and the audio far from being overwhelming in its intensity. The overall audio is fluid, seamless in its approach and bears unmistakable cinematic scope which only aids in its appeal and invokes vivid imagery along with the sinuous fantastical narrative.

pestis inferos

Pestis Inferos – Beyond the Veil of Light

https://pestisinferos.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-veil-of-light

Chock full of majesty, fury and an overall style which borders on black metal meets punk meets death meets speed metal (what a mouthful) with oodles of atmosphere tossed in for effect this is sure to drum up some attention. On a personal note it’s the drum sound and style in the mix which makes me a salivating fool who hits the repeat button like a hopeless addict. Don’t miss out on this!

Superstition – The Anatomy of Unholy Transformation *

https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/the-anatomy-of-unholy-transformation

It’s the arrangements, the aura, the supreme coalescing of maniacal, diabolical, old school and cavernous elements which makes the (“no time to slow down, this is gonna hurt”) impact. Riffs are furious, fierce and tumble over each other. Relentless, often harrowing and part nostalgic with undeniable and unmistakable homage to celluloid boasting invocative synth accompaniment from decades previous. This crosses all the right boxes without veering too far into over the top realms, in short, a delicious combination of filthy tone, unholy rhythms, sinister riffs which combined superimpose Underworld menace over that which is everyday familiar.

the odious

The Odious – Vesica Piscis

https://theodious.bandcamp.com/album/vesica-piscis

Impulsive and unpredictable is the name of the arena in which this release resides and it has a great deal to offer those who are willing to step outside of traditional audio realms. Borrowing heavily from the most impressive elements from a slew of genres The Odious have somehow managed to expertly fuse audio in a way which brings forth a myriad of emotion as it passes through the senses, incorporating rock and extreme metal elements, brutal face-crushing riffs, melodic passages and a slew of rhythms which have the listener pondering in which direction they should turn next.

mix tape action

Time for me to start compiling Part the Third, until then feel free to comment, share and laugh at the horrid grammar

There’s a little something more to dig your teeth and ravenous senses into until I drop get around to compiling, sorting and posting Part the Third, which promises to be even more epic yet. My apologies again for dropping this well into the New Year, life got in the way as it often does. I’m determined, however, to journey to quests end. In short there’s a great deal more on the way.

Cult

Abrasive Audio – The Year in Review (Part the First)

2019

It’s been a hell of a year for extreme audio, again. So, rather than call this an(other) End of Year list I thought I’d tackle this from a different angle. I have several reasons. I won’t bore you with them all, suffice it to say this is easier for me, slightly more interesting for the reader (I hope) and quite honestly, I’m not too keen on scribbling a one through however many, opus, especially when the amount is more than I’d care to narrow down. (note my out-and-out favorites are marked with an *). Naturally my absolute favorite will depend on the day, the mood and the weather or any other truly mind-boggling immeasurable factor.  Without further ado here are a few (ha, as if) releases which I deem worthy of looking for/into if you might have (for one reason or another) missed them. Obviously, this “list” (which will need to be broken up into sections based on its size. Fear not, I’ll attempt to keep my notes brief, but I can’t promise anything) isn’t based on every album released, but rather the ones I’ve laid ear upon as the year has progressed. Its easy to see the months in which I ‘slacked’ based on one reason or another, most probably laziness. One might notice there’s a theme here. And it needs to be stated that these choices are based on my opinion, yours might (and probably will) differ drastically. This is intended for purposes of spreading the word of fantastic audio.

The Corona Australis region (containing, at its heart, the Coronet cluster) is one of the nearest and most active regions of ongoing star formation. The Spitzer image shows young stars forming out of the surrounding dusty nebula.

As multiple as the stars and planets; the music on offer within the “Metal universe”

My labors are purely for the love of the realm of metal (no matter how loose that term has become as the metal spectrum itself continues to splinter) I haven’t been paid one single cent, so I can’t consider this a job, but rather a hobby of passion. As always, a huge thanks go out to the bands, the PR firms who have continued to send me materials to sift through (my apologies I can’t get to everything) and the folks who continue to support my endeavors.

Without further ado…

Part the First

January

Haunt – Mosaic Vision
https://hauntthenation.bandcamp.com/album/mosaic-vision

That Trevor William Church fellow is a genius. In between the caliber of the Beastmaker albums and the quality heard here one might think he was manufactured in a top-secret lab. His output is extraordinary (he’s been involved in at least seven releases this year), alone that would be impressive but the fact that the albums are always top-notch is truly mind blowing. This is no exception!

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Mortal Scepter – Where Light Suffocates
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/where-light-suffocates

One of the first albums of the year to really “capture me”. This is thrashy, raw at times, reminiscent of older aggressive thrash/death releases for the most part, but only gets increasingly catchier (that’s probably not a word!?) as it plays out. It’s not perfect. But it hits the spot for those thrash/death metal attack cravings!

February

AD Patres – A Brief Introduction to Human Experiments *
https://adpatres.bandcamp.com/album/a-brief-introduction-to-human-experiments

Tight, tech death in a similar vein to Dying Fetus and Benighted. This seized my full attention from the first listen and hasn’t relented its grip since. Insane, inhuman, drumming, dizzying fretboard manipulations and overall track arrangements make the listening experience a jaw dropping event. This cannot, and should not, be ignored!

Basilysk – Emergence

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

Admittedly, this has grown on me the more I’ve given it time. A wickedly well-executed mixture of technical and thrashier rhythms accompanied by injections of passionate melody (which will only have the listener grasping at straws for possible influences) with a surprising two-part climax. Prepare to smirk like a loon, as your appendages start to twitch.

Deathswarm – Shadowlands of Darkness
https://deathswarm-chaos-records.bandcamp.com/album/shadowlands-of-darkness

It’s clear where the influences originate in this album. However, it doesn’t matter as this kicks derriere from start to finish and sports surprising diversity far from what the first track might suggest. One might say this is a supergroup, I’m not sure about that, but this is, in part, damn impressive OSDM ‘homage’ with a fresh coat of paint that’s well worth placing between the ears.

Destroyers of All – The Vile Manifesto
https://destroyersofall.bandcamp.com/

Viciously addictive audio. An avalanche of riffs awaits all of whom decide to place this between the ears. Thrash/death complete with technical leanings, a sprinkle of crossover and a splatter of diabolical nature. Melodic to the point where one would wish they limbered up before hitting play. You have been warned!

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Lucifera – La Cacería de Brujas*
https://dunkelheitprod.bandcamp.com/album/la-caceria-de-brujas

I’m a sucker for two things above all else in the spectrum of metal; black and white raw artwork, blistering speed and… (scratch that, there’s a third!) female leads who can growl like the best of them. This album sports two of the three! From the very first the listener understands they are in for something special indeed. This lady sounds possessed; perhaps by an ancient entity who understands there aren’t enough female leads in the extreme audio universe and is out to change that. In this case the effect is so vivid (coupled with the percussion) that the listener in between movements befitting one also possessed is left dazed. The vocals drip venom of an ancient nature, naturally lyrics ‘sang’ in the band’s native tongue aid the overall desired result and the spell is cast. This is mesmerizing, a game changer in fact! Did I mention the harrowing ritualistic/chant track midway through? It’s yet another reason why a great many people should be discussing this album for years to come.

Ossuarium – Living Tomb
https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/living-tomb

There’s good reason why this is atop a plethora of year end lists. It has an aura about it, a permeating dread which is palpable and a tone which screams the aftermath of a collision between OSDM and death/doom drenched in cavernous and outright sinister qualities. And that groove!

plaguebringer

Plaguebringer – Diablos*
https://plaguebringercanada.bandcamp.com/album/diabolos

Rare is it that an album has an instant effect such as this. In this instance I’ll agree with a fellow who has recently deposited his thoughts and year end favorites list for me to post. The musicianship and arrangements here are astonishing be this whatever you chose to call the style, is this Tech-death? Blackened death or a combination? It doesn’t matter, it reminds me of a myriad of acts in differing instances and for a number of reasons, but not overly so. In short, a stunning audio concoction combining symphonic elements, blast beats, Gothic sensibilities and jaw dropping musical precision in a tightly wrapped package any fan would be pleased to find under the tree (too late?) Another album which can’t be ignored and delivers with each and every spin. It’s hard to fathom this is a debut.

The Elysian Fields – New World Misanthropia
https://hammerofdamnation.bandcamp.com/album/new-world-misanthropia

To quote a YouTube comment I scribbled close to a year ago…” My first experience of the band and I’m gobstruck in awe. Outstanding audio” Much like Septic Flesh this is epic, archaic, cinematic but most of all damn effective and all this following a fourteen-year hiatus. Symphonic black/death at its finest, thankfully without the ‘cheese’ accompaniment!

unendlich

Unendlich -Thanatopobia*
https://unendlich1.bandcamp.com/album/thanatophobia

This probably isn’t what most would think of when they think Black metal, but that’s what makes this so unerringly intriguing. It has rhythm, groove and a beat (often close to D-beat, often bordering on Crust, if truth be told) which would raise the dead. And it’s still closer to black metal, stylistically, than anything else, although it’s the little touches which raise it far above the surrounding hordes.

Witchgoat – Egregors of the Black Faith
https://morbidskull.bandcamp.com/album/egregors-of-the-black-faith

Yearn for riffs, melody and speed with your morning quotient of raw blackened death? I believe I’ve found what you’re looking for, all that and South American attitude (whatever that means?) But seriously folks, this is blistering in both its intensity and passion. And the bass is deliciously filthy! Believe the hype. Following their “Umbra Regit” Ep this dropped and boy, was it worth the wait!

March

Bleeding Utopia – Where the Light Comes to Die
https://bleedingutopia.bandcamp.com/album/where-the-light-comes-to-die
The album art is a bit dull but the audio certainly isn’t! Infectious head nodding death, a splash of black, a touch of Viking and more than enough ominous nature to go around. An unfathomable number of bands play with this style, they only wished they could come close to the quality heard here.
Frosthelm – Pyrrhic
https://frosthelm.bandcamp.com/album/pyrrhic

Searing maniacal leads, galloping riffs, blackened vocals, and a style and overall (somewhat raw) tone which any fan of classic Dissection and/or Necrophobic will fall ‘ass over tit’ for.

hannes grossmann

Hannes Grossmann – Apophenia
https://hannesgrossmann.bandcamp.com/album/apophenia

Hannes and crew are setting the bar for this arena incredibly high incorporating progressive and brutal elements amidst constantly evolving rhythms, passages which are unexpected to say the least, thought-provoking lyrics and drum salvos which are simply inhuman. The bass and guitar partnership are incredible and chuggery is, thankfully, at a minimal. Overall this audio package is intricate, expertly weaved and a testament to the fact that tech-death doesn’t have to go OTT or fall overboard in wizardry obscure realms.

Illimitable Dolor – Leaden Light
https://illimitabledolor.bandcamp.com/album/leaden-light-atmospheric-death-doom-metal

Unhurried rhythms, an ambient nature, complemented with underlying Gothic tones makes for a mesmerizing listen and Illimitable Dolor have delivered just that in spades. Cinematic in scope and captivating from the first results in this being an album which is difficult to pull oneself away from, easier to let it wash over you eventually drowning your senses in its inescapable morose beauty. To put it bluntly this is exquisite, atmosphere laden, funeral doom of a hypnotic caliber which demands attention.

Imprecation – Damnatio Ad Bestias
https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/damnatio-ad-bestias

Primate, archaic and raw, yet refined. Fans of Gravehill, Morbid Angel and audio of the old school death camp with a blackened aura and chaotic passage infusions will lose their shit over this audio feast!

And there’s plenty of groove and rhythm to sate those with yearnings for such.

nocturnal hollow cover.jpg

Nocturnal Hollow – A Whisper of an Horrendous Soul*
https://nocturnal-hollow.bandcamp.com/album/a-whisper-of-a-horrendous-soul

Try to ignore the obvious spelling error on the album cover, as soon as the music starts its going to be the furthest thing from your mind. This is Stockholm/HM2 taken to the next level, a style many employ but rarely at a level such as heard here. A genuine leap into the stellar void from the bands last effort. This is not to be missed for fans of Entombed, Dismember, Unleashed, Grave, LIK and Entrails. No album has the right to be this infectious!

Prostitute Disfigurement – s/t *
https://open.spotify.com/album/2iRsQRJIvW3BrN7td9XBYE

This flows like a river and is equally as vicious in its temperament. Riffs, rhythms, track titles and even the covers artwork tosses me back to when I first encountered the death metal arena (shit, this is “Jack” doing exactly what the album’s title and band name might suggest) and I couldn’t be happier. No progressive nature, little atmosphere just solid death pure and simple with zero gimmicks, perhaps a soundbite here and there but that never hurt anyone.

putrid coffin

Putrid Coffin -Desecrated Tombs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ErdaDnIGzc&t=5s

Part infernal menace, part grindcore, part blackened death with the entire mixture blanketed in rhythms which are unfathomably inciteful. Chaotic rumbling riffs, drum salvos which are hard to ignore and a vocal style which is instantly acceptable. It’s safe to say this crawled from the very depths.

The Flaying – Angry, Undead
https://theflaying.bandcamp.com/album/angry-undead

This release about has it all! Progressive passages, technical prowess, enough breakdowns to please the Slam crowd and groove to keep those limbs a flailing. Also, brutality and melody in equal measure, a delicate balance. Overall, for a debut this is stunning offering considerably more than any debut is expected to.

mix tape action

That’s it for this quarter. Part the Second (for this is a monstrous endeavor) will cover the next three months, and I still have a lot of work left to do.

Cult

head explosion cavity colors
Abrasive Audio to soothe the Senses (part the Fourteenth)

Yet another in the ongoing series showcasing fresh, extreme, tunage to “Soothe the Senses”.

Without further ado here is the varied assortment which has pleased my senses in the not so distant past.

(I’d like to thank Cavity Colors for the use of this image. The wife bought me the shirt for Fathers day. I am chuffed! Shop their amazing array of genre shirts and marvel at the quality and customer service standards. https://cavitycolors.com/ )

The Lord Weird Slough Feg – New Organon
(USA)
Release – June/21/2019
Cruz Del Sur Music
Clawhammer PR

the lord weird slough feg

 

https://thelordweirdsloughfeg.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK – 7

Honest and simple; The title in cursive font against a green background.

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

Not normally one to delve into depths far from my normal stomping grounds; extreme audio. I was surprised to find myself quite enjoying that which graced my ears upon hitting play. A grandiose drum tattoo heavy style in a vein similar to that heard within the late 70’s early 80’s. Rock tinged with doom sensibilities, a splash of folk, driven by both melody and lyrical content. With a progressive nature and direction which can and does change on a whim. Grandiose, traditional, Heavy Metal would be a simpler way to put it if I were so inclined.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

NWOBHM styled hard rock bursting with progressive elements, doom passages, folk melodies and a few instances of audio which is beyond destination ‘mellowsville’. Narrative based, boasting intriguing fantastical lyrics a stunning vocal accompaniment (up there with Bruce Dickenson and Ronnie James Dio), melody driven with galloping riffs and twin harmonies. This will certainly grow in you as it plays out, again and again and again (if you’re anything like me). This is my first experience of the band which is growing on me, I’m leaving impressed and curious enough to dive into their past works.

Recommended for fans of Blind Guardian, Dio fronted Rainbow, Magnum, Rhapsody, early Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy.

Favorite Tracks; The Apology, Being and Nothingness, The Cynic.

Mispyrming Algleymi

Misþyrming – Algleymi (translated as “Oblivion”)
(Iceland)
Release – May/24/2019
Norma Evangelium Diaboli

https://misthyrming.bandcamp.com/album/algleymi

ARTWORK – 7.5

Triumphant, a celebration of the earth and mother nature. A sacrifice to the storm which approaches. This could be discussed ad nauseum but there’s no doubt it screams a release that promises audio of the black metal variety.

FIRST TRACK – 9

 A fantastic, blistering, pace to start off my first encounter with the band. Bursting with atmosphere, by way of a synth accompaniment, the resulting effect is mesmerizing and has me glued to my headphones eagerly awaiting what else the band has to offer next, color me intrigued with corpse paint.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Obviously, I couldn’t understand a bloody word spoken throughout this release. But that matters not as the experience is one I relish (and Encyclopedia Metallum offers a track list translation if one so desires.) Melodious yet majestic, triumphant yet atmospheric, and epic in tone this is far from what many might expect if given the moniker of black metal to ponder upon. This sports exquisite atmosphere, rhythms which incite movement and an edge which is decidedly arcane in nature though far from the raw production which, again, many might expect. Think doom laden black metal, think black metal with production values which doesn’t sacrifice what the genre stands for, think a release you shouldn’t ignore… seriously. For this is damn good and it came out of nowhere, Iceland if truth be told and that’s a little surprising in itself.

(Did I say the word “Triumphant” enough in this review? Please excuse my limited lexicon.)

Favorite Tracks; Orgia (With Whips Aloft), Með svipur á lofti (Iceland, Castrated Dump), Og er haustið líður undir lok (And When Autumn Ceases), (Fuck this…I believe I might write every track down complete with translation, the whole album captivates from start to finish! Enough said!)

haunt if icarus

Haunt – If Icarus Could Fly
(USA)
Release – May/17/2019
Shadow Kingdom Records

https://hauntthenation.bandcamp.com/album/if-icarus-could-fly

ARTWORK – 7.5

A statue esque representation of a fellow pondering “what if”. Perhaps his wings aren’t strong enough for his weight or the sun, seen smirking from behind, is just too damn persistent in melting the glue that holds his feathered creation together. Icarus is in quite the predicament indeed.

FIRST TRACK – 9

An immediate response from me. At first, I’ll admit, I started to think of vintage Dokken then rhythms and solo work representative of Randy Rhoads from earlier Ozzy releases. But it’s the glue that holds it all together which is so spellbinding; the aura, the voice, the melodies. I can tell this is going to be another release (from Haunt) which people will not want to miss out on.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

I was correct, barely a year after their last full length, and following on from ‘Mosiac’ (an Ep from March of this year), this makes much the same impact and leaves the same impression. Blending 80’s and 70’s hard rock with speed and epic metal elements this showcases the power of Trevor William Churches’ (Beastmaker) voice combined with the melodious enchanting rhythms and eye-opening solo mastery which are hard to ignore the criminally infectious nature of. Fluid and limb-tappingly inciteful this is a release that’s hard to ignore. With this one must ponder; with the bar set so high where does/or can Haunt go from here?

For fans of vintage Iron Maiden, Dokken, earlier Ozzy output and anyone who still yearns for bands who precisely execute the distinct NWOBHM vibe.

Favorite Tracks; Run and Hide, It’s in my Hands, Clarion, If Icarus Could Fly.

stygian crown

Stygian Crown – Through Divine Rite
(USA)
Release – August/2/2018
Independent

https://stygiancrown.bandcamp.com/releases

ARTWORK – 7

A crown fashioned from serpents against a serpentine backdrop, this really doesn’t say much about the enclosed audio but I’m intrigued just the same.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

Female fronted doom – I’m sold! The crooning styled voice fits perfectly and only adds to the exquisite nature of the music. This is doom folks, raw in nature and somewhat traditional in style but better yet this is executed with passion.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Overflowing with excellent atmosphere and riffs (both plodding and galloping), which aren’t foreign to the genre but rather bring about a certain reminiscence/nostalgia element, and rhythms which exemplify the finest the (more traditional arena of the) genre has to offer, this release stands proud as an introduction to an act who know exactly how to press the right buttons and incite interest in a genre which is passed over and still isn’t fully appreciated.

I for one can’t wait for what comes next as this is an outstanding introduction. Bravo!

With only three tracks on offer, it doesn’t seem a great deal but when you consider that many albums run barely the same length in time and the quality within this release it transpires into quite the teaser and value for money. Especially when you can “name your own price” (remember to support talent folks, so that they might continue to create and produce) on the above Bandcamp link.

bleeding utopia

Bleeding Utopia – Where the Light Comes to Die
(Sweden)
Release – March/22/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR

https://bleedingutopia.bandcamp.com/album/where-the-light-comes-to-die

ARTWORK – 8.5

It looks as though one could break a whole lot more than merely their phone on those rocks too. Foreboding, moody, dark and treacherous and that’s just what I look like with a mustache. All jokes aside this is much the same but minus the look of a 70’s porn star ‘gone to seed’.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

An At the Gates vibe with significant oomph and an emphasis on drum rhythms which do naught but incite movement. I’m eager for what’s to follow, although I will state that the Hellraiser soundbite is a tad over-utilized in the genre; otherwise brilliant audio

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Think Eucharist, as this is similar in tone and riff structure, and a Stockholm melodic style but with considerably more punch and energy. The injection of mid-era Grave is hard to ignore based on the combination of the vocal style and music.

In short this rips, melodies are pounding, energetic, the production is spot on (with an emphasis often on the drums) and the style is fluid, oftentimes bringing to mind Amon Amarth (“Already Dead” could have been plucked from one of their albums and no one would be any the wiser as similar as it sounds) and newer Unleashed audio. The listener will want to move as this fills the space between the ears. A damn fine slab of melodic metal indeed!

FFO: Unleashed, Amon Amarth, Eucharist, Graveworm and (Souless, Hating life era) Grave.

Favorite Tracks; Ascendant of Hate, Enhance my Wrath, Crown of Thorns, Heralds of Hate and Defiance.

kavara

Kavara – Weathered and Lost
(Canada)
Release – May/31/2019
Self-Released
Clawhammer PR

 https://kavaraofficial.bandcamp.com/album/weathered-lost

ARTWORK – 7.5

Crow, headstone, graveyard, gloomy atmosphere and a full moon highlighting the whole tableau; check! And, a ‘Scrarecrow’…wait wha-! Isn’t this where the artist would normally place a nod to a religious element. Such as an unfortunate strung up by his hands and feet. Perhaps the listener is in for something a little off center with disregard for the norm.

FIRST TRACK – 8

The introduction boasts a dark fantastical element and more than enough creepiness to go around. The music bursts with riff after riff and an air of unpredictability, ala Arsis. Slightly technical Rather than traditional. I’m beginning to see how it is that these guys won an award for their talents. A fantastic start which isn’t what was at all expected though isn’t too far from the genre to be able to instantly relate to and appreciate.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8

Shred-tastic death in a similar vein to Arsis as opposed to acts who offer mere chuggery and depend on formulaic structures.

Gotta give em’ props they have a track entitled “Lawn Care” how against the grain is that, seriously?

Favorite Tracks; Tormentor, The Reaper, Lawn Care, Walk of Shame.

plague of carcosa

Plague of Carcosa – Ocean is More Ancient than the Mountains (EP)
(USA)
Release – July/19/2019
Sludgelord Records
Dewar PR

https://plagueofcarcosa.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK – 8

An image which showcases the oceans, its depth and tempestuous nature. I’m intrigued as to how the audio rolls out (pardon the pun!).

FIRST TRACK – 7

Plodding riffs, a thick sludge-laden distorted aura, varied tempo and a definite ominous nature. An unrelenting nature which appears to be sublime in its approach though bears a definite menace boiling beneath the surface.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

Only two tracks in this instrumental doom opus, though this bears enough riffs and atmosphere to please most fans of the genre.

Invoking a myriad of emotion, the instrumentation herein is varied ranging from calm to raging, from a mellow texture to more one embroiled with a surface which is precarious to traverse. The second track depicts a descent into madness exquisitely utilizing white noise elements as frothing waters against palm muted effects to illustrate an abrupt break from reality. Of course, that is merely my take on this. Decide for yourself and support the scene by clicking on the above link.

Favorite Track; Madness at Sea.

nihility

Nihility – Thus Spoke the Antichrist
(Portugal)
Release -May/24/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR

https://nihilityblacklion.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK – 8.5

Renaissance, Dante-esque in aura. An intricate grey tone print which may or may not speak volumes about the music itself.

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

An Entombed buzzsaw texture, with an At the Gates feel. Melodic death with punch, complete with a blackened ominous nature and plenty of atmosphere.

A fantastic introduction to the band and a fantastic way to set about showcasing a debut release.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Oftentimes thus makes me wonder if this might have been Bolt Thrower if they’d developed a darkened edge, the style is dirge laden and often laced with black majesty.

Favorite Tracks; Shallow Ataraxia, Thus Spoke the Antichrist. Prophecy of Denial.

the eldritch truth

The Eldritch Truth – Sanguinary Origins
(USA)
Release – May/17/2019
Independent

https://theeldritchtruth.bandcamp.com/releases

ARTWORK – 8

Quite the mystical palette of colors here, an enigmatic/otherworldly aura completed with the inclusion of one of the Great Old ones complemented by a font which might make one take a closer look in order to decipher. I am intrigued.

FIRST TRACK – 7

A kaleidoscope of styles assaults the listener almost instantly within a mix that incites disorientation, discombobulation, a state of nauseum of sorts leading to madness I would only predict following a slew of repeated listens. Synth dances erratically with gore grind sensibilities against a growling backdrop bringing to mind the more experimental works of The Berserker.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7

Only two tracks in this one, a teaser if you will, a mere sampling of the audio lunacy on offer. This is certainly different than the normal, uhh… anything. It can’t be classed in any one genre though it does have elements from a wide radius within its ranks.

Recommended for those who like to traipse into realms of the audio obscure, the brave and those who demand audio to tug at their curiosity.  I’m interested as to where these guys will venture next and how their style/audio vision will be received.

Favorite Track; Frenzy.

descendency

Descendency – Generate the Genocide
(USA)
Release – June/28/2019
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/generate-the-genocide

ARTWORK – 7.5

A skull motif superimposed on an industrial site. I have good reason to believe these chaps have a great deal to say about something, and a cause to rally upon. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

Gritty and energetic sporting go for the throat riff attacks broken up by breakdowns leading into swirling rhythms. This is thrash boasting riffs aplenty bordering on death metal boundaries and I’m liking what I’m hearing!

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

An undeniable Slayer influence (newer styled) comes through strong in both the vocal (Tom Araya’s aggression mostly devoid of melody) and rhythm departments in instances sporting a diabolical, maniacal, solo rendering, which isn’t at all a horrid thing. Thankfully, other influences weave around the obvious, there’s a little hardcore and punk splashed around liberally, to make this a release which rarely stands still, will often grab one by the titties and proceed to toss them around like ragdoll, never wanders into boring territories and will surely appeal to a wide variety of fans across the thrash genre.

Favorite Tracks; Arduous March, Hate Prop 1.98-4, Extinguish, Island off the coast of Earth.

UHF on Twitter

Another Recc from @uniquehifi (Twitter)

Praise the Plague – Antagonist
(Germany)
Release – September/13/2018
Black Omega Recordings

https://praisetheplague.bandcamp.com/album/antagonist

praise the plague

Initial Thoughts

Based on the albums artwork one knows, deep down, that this is going to be an audio affair drenched in either black metal values or a vibe that’s unmistakably doom in nature. Well, as it happens, this album sports both. Fantastic build up adds to the albums atmosphere to draw the listener deeper. Whilst plodding and majestic riffage exchange leading roles resulting in an album that’s a delicate balance of black and doom but an exquisite example of how the two can play so well together if handled with care.

Conclusion

An atmosphere that’s cloaking, majestic riffage, cavernous (death metal styled) vocals and an epic aura combine to produce an album that’s grandiose in nature and quite simply captivating. Six tracks run close to twenty-nine minutes but the album boasts a damn sight more depth than one might, at first, imagine based on those figures. An intoxicating blend of harrowing black and doom metal cavorts displaying at times a suffocating atmosphere and often oozing with a melody which makes one want to sway rather than destroy their immediate surroundings. Add this to the list of albums you probably missed out on though need to definitely check out! Thanks again tom Emil for this Recc.

Void Reccs

 

 

Another Recc From Void

Marduk – Viktoria
(Sweden)
Release – June/22/2018
Century Media Records

 

https://www.centurymedia.com/artist.aspx?IdArtist=275

http://marduk.nu

marduk viktoria

Initial Thoughts

Many in the metal community will want to stone me for the following revelation…This is the first I’ve heard a complete Marduk album. (I believed them to hail from Norway too!) There, I’ve said it. Although I’ve always admired their album covers, I’ve never taken the plunge. Take my credentials away, banish me to the wastes, do what you may. Truth be told I’ve never really been into ‘black metal’. Until recently that is, when I discovered for myself that the genre is a lot more diverse than I had originally imagined (in effect blasting its stereotype to smithereens!) Hitting play, I realize immediately that I should have jumped on the ‘M-Panzer’ (I would normally say ‘train’ but ‘Panzer’ seems more fitting in this context!) years before now. This is exactly what I demand/wish my extreme audio to be. Blistering, vicious, wicked with an emphasis on sharp riffs, speed, insane drumming and snarling venom-fueled vocals to match.

Conclusion

Well, would you look at that! I apparently now have a thing for Marduk.

From its opening passage I was intrigued but it didn’t take long until I was bouncing around in my chair like one possessed. Naturally the child chorus and industrial tone in ‘Werwolf’ are a tad odd but they strangely fit. From that point on I was transfixed, the opening bars of ‘June 44’ made me wish I had hair in order that I might flail it around like a madman (with hair). The album continued and my love affair blossomed in full radiant bloom. ‘Equestrian Bloodlust’ bears a rhythm which keeps me from sitting still, a majestic aura accompanied by the occasional effect which is a tad science fiction in tone. Weird though unconventional is a better term but again, it works and I don’t care one iota. ‘The Last Fallen’ and ‘The Devils Song’ are examples of other tracks which only make me wish I would have gotten into the genre that much sooner. I’m going to spin this again and again this goes without saying. Damn, I’m outta’ shape! Perhaps I need a nap in between future, repeated, listens?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3V1I9XyB4-E

Marduk ‘Viktoria’ video for your retinal pleasure.

Though I’m of the understanding that this album is a tad more polished in terms of production than their past efforts I’m still of the inkling to want to delve deep into their discography to discover what exactly it is that I’ve been missing out on; the delicious audio that lay beneath the wicked nature of the artwork I have taken such a shine to in the past though have never taken the next step to get past.

Suffice it to say I recommend this album wholeheartedly and I am only that much closer to full immersion into the waters of the dark side.

 

Cult

Abrasive Audio part the Eighth

bestof18Audio

Onwards onto undiscovered arenas. Now, where did I put my wellies?

Disclaimer; I usually won’t mention or review releases I don’t take a liking or can’t get into, alas that’s why the scores shown here are relatively high. As always beauty is in the eye (or ear) of the beholder, and my opinions most probably vary from yours. Feel free to suggest, recommend or comment.

Leather Glove – Perpetual Animation
(USA)
Release – March/8/2019
Sentient Ruin

https://leatherglove.bandcamp.com/album/perpetual-animation

leather glove

Artwork – 8

It might take a few glances to realize what’s going down. My guess; picking up a corpse for removal in an area ridden by plague. The already partially loaded cart would suggest it’s from several centuries ago and that’s there’s definitely an epidemic or worse ravaging the local area.

First Track – 7.5

Doom meets synth meets old school dirge/death. Quite the combination, it has an experimental aura about it but also an air of familiarity. Dark, dense and heavy with unhurried growling vox, I’m liking this!

Initial Listen – 8

A myriad of styles on display here, though thankfully none which are wildly removed from their companions. Dense sludge runs hand in hand with elements teasing the grindcore arena with ill begotten groove side effects, whilst mid-tempo death cavorts with funeral doom pacing and atmosphere all encased in a package which, though somewhat out of the ordinary, is still oddly familiar. And all composed/created by a mixing engineer, Greg Wilkinson, who’s especially well known for his abilities behind the board representing EarHammer Studios.

Recommended for fans of earlier Carcass, Bolt Thrower, Nuerosis and a plethora of other acts who embrace multi-genre mingling, integration and whom strive to open the minds of fans of extreme audio.

Favorite Tracks; Perpetual Animation, Embrace those Grim Decisions, A Visceral Notion of Death, The Resurrectionist.

Wormwitch – Heaven that Dwells Within
(Canada)
Release – April/5/2019
Prosthetic Records

https://wormwitch.bandcamp.com/

wormwitch

Artwork – 8.5

Classical with a renaissance edge. A serene image, heavenly whites amidst a forest setting though there’s something amiss. A sense of malevolence lurks, an ominous nature that’s unmistakable, camouflaged but present. Perhaps our maiden is exhausted from ‘the kill’?

First Track – 9

Galloping melodies and ultra-catchy rhythms grab the attention immediately, an undeniable wickedness builds intrigue. Drum salvos are front and center giving the style somewhat of a unique quality which is difficult not to appreciate. An excellent introduction.

Initial Listen – 9

A crushing, inciteful, drum tempo is the back bone of this release balanced by delicate folk elements, symphonic accompaniments, exquisite atmosphere and cresting majestic black metal rhythms the overall effect is a wonder to have betwix the ears. Neither fully black in tone nor completely crust in vibe (the drum style often gives it this edge) this precariously traipses a slew of genre boundaries offering a myriad of stylistic temperaments to delight all whose senses this audio falls upon. Admittedly my first experience of the band, and I’m left wanting more!

Favorite Tracks; Disciple of the Serpent God, Vernal Tomb, Spirit Braid, Dancing in the Ashes, Lord of Chains.

Bloodphemy – In Cold Blood
(The Netherlands)
Release – April/12/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR

https://bloodphemyblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/in-cold-blood

bloodphemy

Artwork – 8

Daddy, daddy…daddy? Oh, you’re a Mummy.

Nevermind.

First Track – 8

Mid-tempo bludgeoning groove ala Grave and Bloodbath. The intro hints at something denser, more cavernous in nature, but I’m still happy.

Initial Listen – 8.5

Oddly the feel of some of the riffs here remind me of Candlemass, Messiah Marcolin could so stomp around the stage to these jams. In other instances, the influences are unmistakable. A diabolical nature aka Morbid Angel appears as too rhythms which recall ‘Tomb of the Mutilated’ era Cannibal Corpse, in other instances yet a slight experimentalism adding a certain unique flavor to the album. Overall, a release which keeps the listener on their toes (sporting a myriad of rhythms which transform just when one feels they have a track and artist in mind) though reeks of unmistakable familiarity.

Favorite Tracks; Spree Killing, Mental Atrophy.

Teleport – The Expansion
(Slovenia)
Release – April/5/2019
Edged Circle Productions

https://teleport1.bandcamp.com/album/the-expansion

teleport

Artwork – 8

Enigmatic yet draped in a theme which scream cosmic-sized scope. Wait, is that chunk of floating rock a skull..?

First Track – 8.5

Complex and chaotic, steeped in cosmic, celestial, themes and a remarkable ominous nature.

Initial Listen – 9

An odd name for an extreme metal outfit but don’t let it fool you, this ‘album’ runs the gamut with grandiose themes, progressive, unpredictable rhythms and an often-disorienting aura. Technicality careens headlong into a death/doom shroud making for a release that’s highly pleasing with an appeal which spans a wide radius ranging from atmospheric chaotic black metal through death/doom and also brutal technical progressive death, often elements which are expertly weaved together in the space of a matter of moments. Each of these three tracks have their own identity sporting unique qualities showcasing talent which isn’t afraid to make itself known.

Highly recommended for those who have a penchant for audio spanning a wide radius in the extreme metal arena.

Favorite Tracks; This delivers from start to finish!

Haunt – Mosaic Vision (EP) Digital release
(USA)
Release -March/22/2019
Shadow Kingdom Records

https://hauntthenation.bandcamp.com/album/mosaic-vision

haunt mosaic vision

Artwork – 8

Is that a Phoenix rising from the ashes or an albatross emerging from a nest with a skull within it? I’m not entirely certain. This is miles from art I’m accustomed to, in an arena far from that which this band resides, though I still remain intrigued.

First Track – 9

Galloping rhythms, riff aplenty, decipherable lyrics and a vocal style which tosses one back decades to a time when Heavy Metal was a term still exotic, somewhat foreign, and relatively fresh on everyone’s lips. Needless to say, the grin plastered across my chops in monstrous and maniacal. Holds my calls!

Initial Listen – 9.5

Fluid rhythms, infectious melodies and an overall style which harkens back to the heyday of NWOBHM putting one in mind of early Iron Maiden, Diamond Head and White Spirit with exemplary solo and lead work evoking strong emotions and thoughts reminiscent of Randy Rhoads era Ozzy material.

Haunt continue to impress bearing the standard, leading the charge of the Heavy Metal revival this follows on in the grand tradition of the amazing ‘Burst into Flames’. Haunt’s future is blinding!

Four tracks of exquisite heavy metal.

Imprecation – Damnatio Ad Bestias
(USA)
Release – March/22/2019
Dark Descent Records
Clawhammer PR

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/damnatio-ad-bestias

imprecation

Artwork – 9

Intricate, detailed, chaotic and ‘busy’. Vivid imagery which leaves little to the imagination in regards to the audio that’s about to assault the senses.

First Track – 8.5

Diabolical and steeped in a vibe that’s part black, part bestial, part death and draped in a vintage Morgoth (‘Cursed’ era) and Morbid Angel infernal wickedness. I’m hooked!

Initial Listen – 9

Primate, archaic and raw, yet refined. Fans of Gravehill, Morbid Angel and audio of the old school death camp with a blackened aura and chaotic passage infusions will lose their shit over this audio feast!

And there’s plenty of groove and rhythm to sate those with yearnings for such.

Don’t miss out on this, I nearly did!

Favorite Tracks; Temple of the Foul Spirit, Damnation Ad Betias, The Shepard and the Flock.

Entrapment – Imminent Violent Death
(The Netherlands)
Release – May/11/2019
Dawnbreed Records
Anubi Press

https://entrapment2.bandcamp.com/

entrapment

Artwork – 8.5

Intricate black and white imagery, the more one looks the more details become apparent. I’m a sucker for these, especially when they’re of the grotesque variety complete with tentacles. Seriously, who doesn’t like Lovecraftian themed art?

First Track – 8.5

Considerable ‘bounce’ to this track and a rhythm which will incite all kinds of movement.

Familiar sounding vocals add to its appeal.

A great start!

Initial Listen – 8.5

Death metal that’s both energetic and old school. With melody aplenty and nudges towards grindcore-esque boundaries. Vocals are akin to both Karl (Bolt Thrower) and Martin van Drunken (Comecon, Hail of Bullets, Pestilence).

Overall this is a solid release and will appeal to fans of Asphyx, Bolt Thrower, Pestilence and others who delicately balance brutality and melody in their extreme metal assault.

Favorite Tracks; Mortality Unleashed, Sacrilegious Congregation, Morbid Habitation, Process of Dehumanization.

Side note; This is the bands final album scheduled for release on the same day of their last show; Graveland open air fest on May/11th.

Blind Monarch – What is Imposed Must be Endured
(United Kingdom)
Release – April/5/2019
Black Bow Records
Dewar PR

https://blindmonarch.bandcamp.com/album/what-is-imposed-must-be-endured

blind monarch

Artwork – 7.5

A ghostly apparition traipsing across rocky gradients with an ancient temple of sorts in the back ground. This could only mean one thing its time for a ‘Pot Noodle’, headphones and an uninterrupted hour or so in which to submerge oneself in new audio.

First Track – 8

Shrieks and howls nestled in funeral doom values basted in dread and shrouded in sludge pacing and cinematic atmosphere. A great start with an intriguing ‘break’ and reincarnation, of sorts, to nudge at the curiosity.

Initial Listen – 8.5

An epic release showing definite promise. An excellent marriage of bleak audio landscapes, sludge pacing and funeral doom elements accompanied by a varied vocal range which effectively adds depth and palpable atmosphere. The last track is a fantastic finale with its rainy-day temperament and the addition of a female voice.

Favorite Tracks; Suffering Breathes my Name, Living Altar.

Bonehunter – Children of the Atom
(Finland)
Release – September/28/2018
Hell’s Headbangers Records

https://bonehuntermetal.bandcamp.com/album/children-of-the-atom

bonehunter

Artwork – 9

As if lifted from an 80’s fantastical movies VHS cover this makes an immediate impression and only warrants more attention based on the amount of insane details displayed within. Rabid animals, mutated creatures, a mushroom cloud and beast warriors wielding wicked looking weapons.

First Track – 9

Black metal rasped vocals against a speed metal/punk attitude with splashes of atmosphere and the occasional majestic riff passage, it doesn’t seem as it though it would work, but it does, and my ears are perked!

Initial Listen – 9

Hard to pinpoint exactly what this is but it incorporates a great deal from speed, heavy metal and black arenas. The overall concoction is filthy, boasting riffs which will stick for the listener for days. Think Venom, Witchery and early Bathory boiled in a South American pot stirred by a torso adorned with chains, denim and spikes. I can’t believe I missed this last year!

Recommended for fans of Hellripper, Whipstriker and speed infused black metal tainted by heavy metal values.

Favorite Tracks; Demonic Nuclear Armament, Children of the Atom, The Reek of Reapers Scythe, Devil Signal Burst.

Pissgrave – Posthumous Humiliation
(USA)
Release – March/1/2019
Profound Lore Records
(Cassette release by Night Shroud)

https://pissgrave.bandcamp.com/album/posthumous-humiliation

pissgrave

Artwork – n/a

Grisly stuff indeed, I feel that I can’t rate this as it’s a photo rather than artwork perse’.

Though I will comment that it certainly grabs the attention and depending on the constitution might demand that a bucket be at the ready. Poor chap should’ve read the label on the new taste sensation that’s sweeping the galaxy; ‘Extreme Pop Rocks’. Apparently, they aren’t for just anyone.

First Track – 7.5

Grinding unmerciful death that’s undeniably unrelenting and steeped in a vile nature that’s palpable. In a similar vein to early The Berserker sans soundbites. Suffice it to say this has my attention.

Initial Listen – 8.5

Influences here are varied and runneth over. The albums unrelenting assault puts me in mind of The Berserker, Immolation and Hate Eternal (and in part vintage Carcass) although draped in a dirgey grind shroud whilst infrequent diabolical and infernal elements recall vintage Morbid Angel. The vocal approach has an all-consuming effect, a blunt flesh-peeling harshness, a beckoning presence of sorts sounding as if filtered from another realm entirely.

Following the first two tracks the album picks up offering distinct riffs rather than, what many would consider, an attack that’s in the most part merely ‘noise’.

Definitely not for the faint for heart, though recommended for those whose passions slip into waters made murky by the enigmatic, the archaic and the primal. Much like a lovable (?) fungi this album’s appeal festers, growing on the listener over time.

Favorite Tracks; Funeral Inversion, Into the Deceased, Emaciated, Rusted Wind.

Frosthelm – Pyrrhic
(USA)
Release – March/23/2019
Revenger Records
Clawhammer PR

https://frosthelm.bandcamp.com/album/pyrrhic

frosthelm

Artwork – 8.5

Ominous, treacherous and foreboding. This guy is on a mission. An excellent image more traditionally befitting a death album which leaves me highly curious indeed!

First Track – 9

Inciteful rhythms, effective atmosphere and a change of pace and neck snappin’ riffs which could well spike blood pressure into dangerous territories. A fantastic blend of atmosphere, melody and evil.

Hold my calls, this is great stuff!

Initial Listen -9

Melodic and doom-laden black death which has depth, atmosphere and boasts significant and abrupt changes in pace which only adds to the albums overall allure. Clean, crisp production might mean that traditionalists and Kvlt fans steer clear, however this sports a great deal to be excited about. A solid effort from start to finish which delivers varied elements and overflows with infernal influence though not the raw aura some might come to expect from the genre.

Favorite Tracks; A Gift of Razors, Pisslord, The Sorceress, Pyrrhic pts. 1 and 2.

Hannes Grossmann – Apophenia
(Germany)
Release – March/11/2019
Independent
(a Recc’ via Fiend Gottes – former “Thydemonsbescribblin” site partner)

https://hannesgrossmann.bandcamp.com/album/apophenia

hannes grossmann

Artwork – 8

Unconventional art for a metal release, more befitting what one might assume a Duran, Duran album might sport or even a slice of deviant fan art for David Bowie’s Labyrinth. A feral spirit rests (readying to pounce?) on the edge of a table with technical illustrations as the backdrop. Does this image signify primal nature in juxtaposition to human nature, experientialism with hybrid DNA or am I just scribbling inanely? Nevertheless, based on the unfathomable talents of the author I am excitably curious.

First Track – 9

Classical, intricate, technical and exactly what I would expect from the mind of Mr. Grossmann, (based on his work in Necrophagist, Alkaloid, Obscura, Blotted Science among others) with that being said however I am still utterly impressed at the varied audio, incorporating a myriad of stylistic elements, which graces my ears.

Initial Thoughts – 9

There is a slew of words which aptly describe this release, though none of which come to mind at the moment. Unpredictable is one, Virtuoso (talent) is another, Jaw dropping, bloody brilliant (this is four!) is yet another. I think you catch my drift. Hannes and crew are setting the bar for this arena incredibly high incorporating progressive and brutal elements amidst constantly evolving rhythms, opassages which are unexpected to say the least, thought-provoking lyrics and drum salvos which are simply inhuman. The bass and guitar partnership are incredible and chuggery is, thankfully, at a minimal. Overall this audio package is intricate, expertly weaved and a testament to the fact that tech-death doesn’t have to go OTT or fall overboard in wizardry obscure realms.  This demands attention, and to think I had to be pushed into its direction.

Recommended for fans of Alkaloid, Opeth, Amorphis, Necrophagist and Alterbeast.

Favorite Tracks; Deep, Reeks Insidious, They, The Flying Pizza Conundrum.

Plucked from Metals Past

Aggravator – Sterile Existence
(USA)
Release – November/24/2016
Dead Center Productions

https://aggravator.bandcamp.com/album/sterile-existence

aggravator

Thoughts-

Rouge Trooper comes immediately to mind (a blue fellow plucked from the pages of 2000AD, any fellow readers here?) the artwork also bears comic book imagery similarities. Needless to say, I’m colored, not green or blue much like the person in the image, but curious.

Energetic and aggressive, bordering on death territories, this sporting vicious vocals dripping in spite. Plentiful nods to Slayer, Kreator, Exodus and Destruction makes for an album that’s exciting and dangerously infectious from the first track to the last. However, fear not for although Aggravator channel and borrow from the greats (within the same scene) they boast enough (of their own) identity to stray from ever being deemed copycats.

Highly recommended for those requiring fresh talent to add to their collection and their thrash roster playlist. ‘Sterile Existence’ is Aggravator’s third full length and shows a band at the top of their form offering the hungry metal asses fluid breakneck rhythms and seamless transitions from galloping pace to passages of a more technical nature, but better yet no ballads in sight!. This is an album which demands attention from newcomers to the thrash arena and aficionados alike.

Favorite Tracks; Decapiter’s Temple, Subconscious Blind, Future Rephased, Target Obliteration.

Keep an ear out for Aggravators newest slated for release around spring of 2019.

 

Cult

As always feel free to suggest, recommend or comment, or better yet share.

Your slave to audio extreme.

confusion

In no particular order, or even broken up into genre categories, these are the album that distracted me from my daily life and responsibilities in an unfathomably captivating manner oftentimes leading to scenarios where all that was left was for me to do was blame the metal (wasn’t my fault!)

Note, there’s more than ten and this might drag into deep waters on account of my furiously happy scribbling digits. The reasons; I get excited, I can’t count, but more importantly because I can’t decide as all albums herein are just so blisteringly impressive.

Now new and improved complete with Bandcamp links where applicable. 

Without Further Ado…

Ironflame – Tales of Splendor and Sorrow

ironflame

https://ironflame-music.bandcamp.com/

NWOBHM/Heavy metal par excellence. This album is so damn impressive you’ll want to call Granma and tell her.

C’mon Granma this is fkn’ excellent, crank up the Victrolla, clear the kitchen, and let’s move!!

Made all the more impressive as it’s all conceived, created and performed by one ultra-talented fellow.

Nightbreed – Beyond Inferno

nightbreed beyond inferno

https://witchesbrewthrashes.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-inferno

This is what I call Thrash! Be prepared for the limbs to twitch in a spastic manner and the vertebrae to complain for days.

Rifftastic brilliance from Greece in a similar vein to vintage Kreator and Destruction.

Thron – Abysmal

thron

https://thronkvlt.bandcamp.com/

The artwork is stunningly subtle but, strangely, it’s the music which is the more distracting of the two. ‘Blackened Death’ or Death metal with Black elements who cares, just let this wash over you in all its majestic epic exquisiteness.

Fans of Abysmal Dawn and Dissection rejoice this will shatter your recent audio disappointments.

Haunt – Burst into Flame

haunt

https://hauntthenation.bandcamp.com/album/burst-into-flame

Released thirty years ago this may well be heralded today as a genre masterpiece (channeling as it does NWOBHM sensibilities and production values of the same inkling) as it is, today, it’s still stunningly impressive though surrounded by Infinite audio that it might well have been missed.

Don’t let this gem pass you by.

Dissentience – Mask of Pretense

maslk of pretence

https://open.spotify.com/album/1QETLuN3qfn1cQUpxAdrjS?autoplay=true&v=L

(no Bandcamp link available)

I’ll admit, the thrash genre hasn’t done much for me in the past couple of years, but this somehow grabbed me instantly. The multitude of riffs and its gruff vocals aided in its overall distracting qualities, but I believe it’s the fact that it came from nowhere (with zero hype) that impressed me the most. Don’t let this pass by the radar unheard.

Vanha – Melancholia

vanha

https://vanhablacklion.bandcamp.com/album/melancholia

Doom that embodies the best qualities that My Dying Bride, Novembers Doom and Mourning Beloveth have to offer. Turn everything off and sink into this and let it transport you to realms where every day worries and anxieties are no more.

Tomb Mold – Manor of Infinite Forms

tomb-mold2

https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/manor-of-infinite-forms

I’m going to blame Void for introducing this album to me. This isn’t your typical death release, it’s complex, varied in form and unpredictable in its course. Most of all however it’s everything that a fan could ask for. There’s bursts of speed, diabolical passages, technical prowess and controlled chaos.

Thanks again Void. I about rear-ended several vehicles, bobbing my head and a multitude of other limbs, whilst driving listening to this!

Ripped to Shreds -Mai-Zang

ripped to shreds

https://rippedtoshredsdeathmetal.bandcamp.com/album/-

Old school values all the way! This album had me hopping around like a meth-addled primate on a quest for that one misplaced banana.

Grindcore and a filthy dirgey-death style encapsulated in an album with themes that are exceptionally far removed from the ordinary.

Fans with extreme musical tastes stuck in the 90’s will devour this!

Obscura – Diluvium

obscura

https://obscura.bandcamp.com/album/diluvium

These guys never disappoint.

Jaw dropping Tech death with progressive elements and everything in between, this album delivers from the first to the very last note. As unpredictable as a forest fire within the clutches of a hurricane it makes much the same impression on the listener without the insurance claims and heartache.

A must own, every worthwhile collection needs this to be considered somewhat complete.

Serocs – The Phobos/Deimos Suite

serocs

https://everlastingspewrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-phobos-deimos-suite

Tech, brutal death to scramble the brain.

I’m envisioning a plethora of octopus on stage performing this as the beats, melodies and rhythms are inhuman. This was my first experience with the band and I’m left floored, I’m placing this alongside Benighted’s Asylum Cave as the other go-to tech death album when nothing else quite cuts the mood. If you enjoy Archspire, Benighted and the like this is a must discovery!

 Omnipotence – Praecipitium

omnipotence

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/album/omnipotence-praecipitium

If that cover isn’t enough to make one drop what they are doing to give this a listen I don’t know what to say. It isn’t typical of the genre, but neither is the music – I’ve had disagreements over whether this is (in part even) black metal. Regardless of its genre placement (for it straddles many of them) it makes an indelible impression even on first listen. If I owned a vinyl playing device, I’d purchase this I’m an instant, the cover would live on the wall and the record itself on the player.

This reigns!!!

Piah Mater – The Wandering Daughter

piah mater

https://piahmater.bandcamp.com/album/the-wandering-daughter

Place this in ‘albums to transport the listener to another plane’ entirely folder for it has that power. Think along the lines of Opeth, Amorphis, Alkoloid and Obscura for that is what this spinning slab of awesomeness delivers. A plethora of genre styles, musical virtuosity, beauty and brutality accompanied by an excellent diverse vocal approach combine for an album which can’t be ignored or even listened to just the once.

Helrunar – Vanitas Vanitatvm

helrunar-vanitas.vanitatvm-wolf.078

https://helrunar.bandcamp.com/album/vanitas-vanitatvm

Admittedly I’m typically not a fan of music in the black metal arena but this, so early on in the year, helped change that (opening up my senses to a whole new world draped in eternal darkness).

Oozing with presence, atmosphere, majesty, depth, an epic nature and power it matters not that the lyrics are in another language entirely for this is impressive on ungodly levels. I’m mouth agape listening to it now, to be honest, and I’ve heard it on numerous occasions before now. Cancel your plans for the day, let this seep into your system. You won’t be disappointed!

Burial Invocation – Abiogenesis

burial invocation

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/abiogenesis

Here’s another that Void has suggested I give a listen to, and he’s right it’s outstanding in every way. This tosses me back to numerous death albums I’ve listened and thought highly of over the years, it oozes with influences and might well leave one’s head spinning as to acts certain passages reminds one of. The whole package is a delight to let wander between the ears. Comes highly recommended to fans of 90’s European death although it has a delicious modern-day technicality and take that transforms it to elevated levels.

Another must discovery!

Shallow Grave – Threshold Between Worlds

shallowgrave

https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/album/threshold-between-worlds

However one chooses to place this amongst their collection there’s no doubt its placement will leave a gap. As odds are it’ll spend most of its time being played.

Huge riffs flirt and epic soundscapes with an ominous nature and venomous vocals making one look down often to ensure their feet are still planted in the dirt and not in an uncharted quadrant of the cosmos saturated in unearthly presence and menace.

This might well be the soundtrack to an invasion of ‘The Old Gods’. Or something along those lines. Either way, this release cannot be ignored.

Spectral Wound – Infernal Decadence

spectral wound

https://vendetta-records.bandcamp.com/album/infernal-decadence

Here’s another example of the impact Void has had on my listening habits this year.

To say that this album is massive is an understatement of unfathomable proportions.

The audio herein epitomizes what many thinks of when they ponder upon the genre yet it’s better still. It’s complex, infernal, diabolical yet shot through with melody and purpose that might surprise even the most veteran of fan.

This might well be the album, alongside those already mentioned, to tip my precariously balanced form into dark waters.

Bring on the Corpse paint, bullet belts and let me loose in a Scandinavian forest (with a satellite phone) I’m can feel my restraints and ignorance of the genre fading away.

Hyperdontia – Nexus of Teeth

hyperdontia

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/nexus-of-teeth

Imagine being embroiled in a knife fight within a whirlwind of razor blades upon a cliff side that’s threatening to fall into the depths of the ocean. I found it hard to do so before I discovered this album (and the band), alas now it’s not so difficult.

This is everything one would hope a death release to be, complete with exquisite drums and vocals drenched in gutter values.

Ask your dentist to recommend an album. If they don’t mention this, I suggest seeking out another dental hygienist preferably one who submerges themselves in audio worth a damn. But obviously still one who bears license to dig around in strangers’ mouths with instruments of assorted torture.

That’s it, I’m out.

Here’s to another year of fantastic tunage.

Cult