Posts Tagged ‘heavy metal’

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses – Year End List #2

heavy metal santa
Courtesy of He11fir3

It’s still that time of year, the trees are whispers of their former selves, white stuff is everywhere frustrating even the most seasoned of driver and the pets are indoors reminiscing upon simpler times when it was a damn sight easier to leave a steaming present on the neighbor’s lawn. Hats with bobbles on top are all the rage and yoga pants are packed away, at least until spring.  However, the climax of the year also means End of Year lists, a time when a large number of audiophiles stun their compadres with mention of releases which remain largely unheard though deserve praise from on high. Without further ado, a few words and a myriad of suggestions from an old pal.

The year’s top ten from the mind of He11fir3
(starting with the #1 then working down to #10)

Mirror - Pyramid of Terror

Mirror – Pyramid of Terror

The fact that my AOTY is Heavy Metal and not Black Metal should be enough to let you know that this must be an amazing album. It became an all-time fav, and I know I will be listening to it for the rest of my life.

http://stareatthemirrorandweep.bandcamp.com/album/pyramid-of-terror

Infernal Conjuration – Infernale Metallum Mortis

Everything we don’t have enough of. Evil Death Metal. Knew it was special from the first listen and it has not once caught me “not in the mood”

http://infernalconjuration.bandcamp.com/album/infernale-metallum-mortis

Elegiac – Thirst for Vengeance

Pagan Vicious Black Metal. I found this band this year and it became one of my all-time favorite projects. Bought almost everything he has put out.

http://elegiac.bandcamp.com/album/thirst-for-vengeance

Forgjord - Ilmestykset
Forgjord – Ilmestykset

Hauntingly beautiful and FuckUgly Grim Black Metal. Does everything right to build perfect atmospheres.

http://werewolfrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ilmestykset

Is – Another Side of Existence

Cold Frostbitten Winter Wandering Black Metal. I always hear something new to appreciate and love this album even more with each listen.

http://kareliannokken.bandcamp.com/album/another-side-of-existence

Devil Master – Satan Spits in Children of Light

Punk Attitude, Heavy Metal Influences Great Energy and Black Metal Spirit. I wish it was higher on the list but goddamn this year was like a piano landing on you over and over again.

http://devilmaster.bandcamp.com/album/satan-spits-on-children-of-light

Zeit - Drungsal
Zeit – Drungsal

Black Sludge. Evil Metal Covered in mud. Atmospheric, Dark, Clumpy, Heavy, Pretty, Earthly, Scratchy, Ugly, and very natural sounding.

http://rumsdiezeit.bandcamp.com/album/drangsal

Tanith – In Another Time

70s/80s inspired rock/prog with fantasy themes, like having a whole new world born just for your ears. Russ Tippins is the great Satan.

http://tanithnyc.bandcamp.com/album/in-another-time

Denial of God – The Hallow Mass

Melodic Horror themed black metal. Haunting and Spooky but Tragic and mystical too. Makes me want a fog machine.

http://denial-of-god.bandcamp.com/album/the-hallow-mass

Arnaut Pavle - Arnaut Pavle
Arnaut Pavle – Arnaut Pavle

Chaotic but focused black thrash. Does everything right. Every song has its own power, but the whole thing speeds through with unstoppable fury.

http://arnautpavle.bandcamp.com/album/arnaut-pavle-2

 

Editor’s Note; I believe I’ve heard only of a few of these, this just shows how unfathomably huge the world of extreme audio is and how little I actually get to even though my days are packed to overflowing with tunage.

foehammer metal podcast

Whoops -nearly forgot… He11fir3 is half of the Foehammer Metal Podcast found here

https://www.tumblr.com/search/foehammer

https://www.facebook.com/foehammerpodcast/

and on Instagram.

 

Abrasive Audio – Part Thirty-Four

headbangin metalhead

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

Onward stumbling around in the darkness

 

Esogenesi – s/t

esogenesi.jpg

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 87

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

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

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

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

wolfbrigade

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 92

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 94

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

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

FFO; Agnostic Front, Motorhead, Disrupt.

midnight prey

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 75

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 74

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

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

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

oath of cruelty.jpg

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 80

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

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

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

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

sentient horror.jpg

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

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

Dorothy…

Dorothy?

*bark…bark

Fuck. Toto. Did you just eat Dorothy?

*burp!

FIRST TRACK – 90

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

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

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

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

Time for an old Favorite; Reccd’ By

fistful of doom

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

grond graceless split

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

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

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

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

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

Graceless (last four tracks) –

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

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

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

Animal - music is meant for sharing

Good, because great music is meant for sharing!

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

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

Cult

Abrasive Audio – Part Twenty -Nine

Drowning in an avalanche of metal and there’s no end in sight.

A special edition because sometimes you just have to…

The Scourge.jpg

The Scourge – Warrant for Execution
(USA)
Release – October/25/2019
Seeing Red Records
https://thescourge-us.bandcamp.com/album/warrant-for-execution
ARTWORK – 92

I’m a sucker for black and white imagery, and this is no exception. Call this blatant homage to the Giallo genre, 80’s slasher movies or something else, there’s no doubt that it’s rendered with style, sports intricate details giving the image depth, has an instant effect and grabs the attention immediately.     Can you see me? I’m camouflaged in curious nature.

FIRST TRACK – 93

What initially caresses the ears as progressive soon transpires into snap the neck thrash. Rhythms of a galloping transformative nature are complemented by perhaps some of the finest vocals, sporting quite the impressive range, that I’ve heard grace the arena in quite some time. This isn’t fast for the sake of speed either; graced by intricate rhythms though isn’t overly technical rhythms weave their way through passages draped in melody and then back again hinting at influences (hard rock and NWOBHM) which aren’t normally invoked in this genre or even this early on in an album giving any new listener a chance to warm to a new acts style. Regardless this works, I’m all ears and about to plunge face first into a realm, which admittedly, I don’t frequent that often anymore. It took me a while but now I can say this reminds me, in part, of early Flotsam and Jetsam.

INITIAL LISTEN – 95

Rare is it that a release from outside of my comfort zone (currently black, death and atmospheric dark metal) will pierce my ears and grab my attention as much as this has. And it happened instantly! Between the albums delicate balance and masterful combination of a slew of styles (namely hard rock, NWOBHM, Southern groove and thrash among others) there lies utter undeniable brilliance. Swift pace cavorts hand in hand with melodies which would otherwise seem foreign, though somehow The Scourge have managed to syndicate the two much like PB n Jelly (who woulda’ thunk it?) and then topped the concoction off with stunning musicianship, creative genius and a vocalist whose skills I can’t believe haven’t been discovered and utilized up until this point. Naturally there are tracks which will appeal more to thrash fans and others more so to fans of vintage metal, more specifically NWOBHM, though overall the meshing and molding of the styles is exquisite bearing a fluidity which is erratic and rarely witnessed across the metal cosmos. Don’t let your friends tell you about this, be the first on the block to preach!!

This will top a myriad of best of lists if there’s any justice. I certainly have it bookmarked to do so!!

exhausted animal

This will leave you exhausted but more than willing to hit play again and again!

Favorite Tracks; Put a high velocity projectile launcher against my head and I still wouldn’t be able to pick a few out above others, this album shreds at a stellar level from start to finish!

FFO; vintage Flotsam and Jetsam, Iron Maiden, Annihilator, Anthrax, Forbidden, Exciter (at a stretch; vintage Wolfsbane).

Why the special edition? Well this knocked me on my arse that’s why and I couldn’t wait to preach!

Cult

Abrasive Audio (Part twenty – eight)

headbangin gif

The juggernaut of metal rolls on, unstoppable, crushing everything and everyone in its path. In other news my Inbox is overflowing and I’ve just returned from a vacation. I guess it’s about time to don the suggested attire in order that I dive right back in. Damn, this suit is tight! I’m guessing gaining weight and vacations go hand in hand. Sans further, obvious, observations which have very little to do with the audio under scrutiny…

torpor

Torpor – Rhetoric of the Image
(UK)
Release – September/20/2019
Truthseeker Music/Sludgelord Records/ Moment of Collapse Records/Smith’s Food Group/Medusa Crush Recordings
Dewar PR
https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/album/rhetoric-of-the-image
ARTWORK – 72

Unless one had knowledge of what this image is or what it may mean they might be confused, I am. But after learning of a Japanese art which restores beauty to the broken through a process which includes materials one might not expect one might have an idea of where the music might lead. Or one can only assume. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 82

Here’s one hell of an opener! Both brutally crushing yet shot through with passages of undeniable beauty. An audio journey which drags the listener from mammoth distortion saturated riff sludge laden depths through cinematic plains drenched in minimalistic tones and then back under again. An epic trip to say the least. Wholly unpredictable and quite unlike what one might initially expect. I’m impressed and eager for more!

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

Ambient, nuanced and soundtrack-esque in scope though utterly absorbing and captivating this is hardly what one could/would or should consider ‘run-of-the-mill’ but rather an immersive experience. A bass driven doom/sludge hybrid, a temperamental beast against a dystopian, apocalyptic soundscape which demands respect and attention. Suffocating in times, harsh in others, yet wholly enveloping throughout this runs varied depths of sparked emotion leaving the listener dazed, enlightened, bludgeoned and overwhelmed but yet strangely, in moments, oddly relaxed. Dive in and discover for yourself why this album is not to be missed!

Favorite Tracks; Benign Circle, Enigmatic Demand, Mourning the Real.

FFO; Nuerosis, Isis, Boris, The Ocean.

profanation

Profanation – Into Cascades of Blood and Burning Soil
(Germany)
Release -April/26/2019
Hostile Media
https://profanation.bandcamp.com/album/into-cascades-of-blood-and-burning-soil
Against PR
ARTWORK – 84

The Pope, “Jesus” with a demonical look upon his visage (who yields a hatchet rather than a fish), a sacrificial offering, demons in the smoke and a city burning to the ground, is that Hitler in the background? Awesome art which leaves little to the imagination regarding what to expect. There’s no sparkles and unicorns to be found here folks!

FIRST TRACK – 80

A spoken word introduction alongside ominous, powerful, riffs open the scene. A prophecy talking of an Apocalypse and rebirth. Fading to black this is replaced by a Cannibal Corpse-esque approach (hints of technicality) and tone aided by a wicked thrash aura the stage is set for an album which should invoke a few grins, incite impressive ‘pit’ activity and snap a fair few necks as it plays out (if this is any indication of what’s to follow).

INITIAL LISTEN – 75

Showcasing breakdowns, groove, galloping thrash pacing and an approach hinting at technical leaning and influence the nine tracks here show definite promise and a delicate balance which works well. Undeniable is that Profanation are an act who know how to compose and create tracks with a proven formula and an air of familiarity to garner interest. My only qualms are that a few tracks could be shorter, for much the same effect, and that although commendable and pleasing to most, this unfortunately isn’t a style which breaks any new ground.

Favorite Tracks; Into Cascades of Blood and Burning Soil, Bloodbath in Heaven, Unholy Brutality Unleashed, A Place to Pray.

FFO; Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation.

Byzanthian Neckbeard

Byzanthian Neckbeard – Extinction (EP)
(Guernsey)
Release – September/27/2019
Independent
Dewar PR
https://byzanthianneckbeard.bandcamp.com/album/extinction
ARTWORK – 60

Primitive yet blunt and to the point. An image which showcases what I can only assume to be a large mass/rock (?) colliding with ‘something’ resulting in obvious devastating effect.

FIRST TRACK – 73

Doom with considerable pace and weight complemented by growling vox and significant groove. I could move to this!

INITIAL LISTEN – 73

Nothing here in the way of technical rhythms or anything complex in the slightest but these tunes are so seductively addictive that one cares not one iota. Death/doom, groove/doom call this what you will, but there’s no doubt whatsoever that this is infectious audio. Three tracks are way too short; this only leave me wanting more (which thankfully comes by way of “Minator” on November/1st and it can’t come fast enough!)

Favorite Tracks; Coffin Bomb, Extinction.

FFO; Mid-era Pungent Stench, Doom with undeniable groove qualities with a darker than normal vocal accompaniment.

xoth

Xoth – Interdimensional Invocations
(USA)
Release – October/18/2019
Self-Released
Clawhammer PR
https://xoth.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 91

“I asked for extra meat on my pizza, but a small city will suffice”. Seriously, who do I tip for this amount of generosity. Humans are delicious!”

Humor and Sci-fi elements collide in this comic book-esque imagery. If the audio is as impressive the listener is in for a treat!

FIRST TRACK – 89

Thrashy death with technical and progressive elements draped in maniacal values. An injection of well-executed Lovecraftian horror and sci-fi result in this holding the attention throughout.

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

Infectious melodies, technical intricacies and progressive passages combine with a soundscape that’s part brutal death, part technical and slightly traditional metal in tone add to this lyrical content slathered in cosmic elements and a little levity and the result is a release which (if there’s any justice) should garner a great deal of attention. The shredding quotient in this is damn impressive the style dynamic yet diverse, suffice to say this releases appeal has the potential to turn a great many heads. With this quality in offer I’m surprised this is the first I’ve heard of Xoth (I expect that to change very soon). Highly recommended and did I mention criminally addictive?

Favorite Tracks; Exceptional quality throughout, I refuse to pick a few to mention.

FFO; Death, Pestilence, Abysmal Dawn, Aborted.

A Break in the Regular Schedule for “Something Completely Different”

witchwood

Witchwood – Litanies from the Woods
(Italy)
Release – May/4/2015
Jolly Roger Records
https://jolly-roger-records.bandcamp.com/album/litanies-from-the-woods
ARTWORK – 79

One might have immediate assumptions based on the music with this image in mind, it’s dangerously close to what one might expect to find on an atmospheric doom-laden black release. I’ll ruin it, because I’ve perused the promotional materials, this isn’t in any way extreme audio. I’m intrigued, let’s move on.

FIRST TRACK – 80

Southern ‘easy’ groove with a decidedly Cosmic tinged edged introduction leads into ‘Zeppelin’ esque melodies with ‘Skynard’ and vintage ‘Priest’ undertones. Toss in alternate instruments, keyboards and a definite seventies feel and you have a track which exhibits a myriad of influence. This isn’t what I normally place betwix the ears but I’m finding it difficult not to appreciate the audio on offer.

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

Soulful, passionate, laden with folk elements, remarkable presence (by way of acoustic brilliance and melodies which bring to mind times of yore and banquets in a forest setting featuring an eye-popping cleavage motif) and huge seventies rock influence this offers epic soundscapes to lose yourself within and a vocalist whose range and skill are a fantastic accompaniment. Certainly, far from what I usually lay my thoughts upon this offers audio which an open mind can easily embrace especially when there’s a little smoke in the air and in the system (if you catch my drift. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Fans of early prog rock, hard rock and alternate (vintage) heavy metal will most probably grin as the acts undeniable talent works its way through the senses. As a huge fan of vintage Rainbow this hits the spot whilst also offering enough rhythmic and stylistic variety to entice discovery of similar releases from around the same time (with the same label attached) which I’ve yet to give the time of day to. Naturally this isn’t for everyone but for those whose tastes run to the acts mentioned below this will serve to lighten the mood and spark interest in an act who are more than worthy of the attention.

Favorite Tracks; Shade of Grey, Farewell to the Ocean Boulevard, A Place for the Sun, Golden King

FFO; Jethro Tull, Lord Weird Slough Feg, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Allman Bros Band, Dio fronted Rainbow.

ghost;hello

Ghost:Hello – Sound of Color in Space
(USA)
Release – September/20/2019
Self-Released
Dewar PR
https://ghosthello.bandcamp.com/album/the-sound-of-color-in-space
ARTWORK – 80

Either that Octopus is emitting fumes or those astronauts have been dining at a dubious intergalactic establishment and are experiencing the unprecedented after-effects. Is that a ‘space taco’ in the foreground? Who else is thinking Douglas Adams and/or “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”?

FIRST TRACK – 70

Cosmic bells introduce the album and the stoner rock infused with definite psychedelia undertones which follow. Synth blanketing melodic stoner rock/doom sans vocals at this time.

INITIAL LISTEN – n/a

If the track listing alone isn’t enough to inform you that you’re about to enter into surreals-ville then perhaps the album’s title or art will. This album is (to put it bluntly) an exercise in how much diversity one can handle in an album. Tracks dipped in angst are side by side with others undeniably the opposite. Spoken word soundbite affairs drenched in synth accompanied by a drum beat percussion and others displaying more a Marilyn Manson aura with crawling pace. A Cosmic vibe permeates the whole affair, varied vocal aesthetics and experimental effects are commonplace resulting in a listening experience for the brave, those with a taste for the off the beaten path, an album, to be blunt, many might not be able to fully consume. An eclectic taste for sure much like cinematic output which begs to be dissected and discussed. To be honest this isn’t suited to my tastes though I can understand how it might appeal to those who yearn for more in their sensorial consumption.

Favorite Tracks; The Mouth of the Gift Horse, Poison Swan.

FFO; The more theatrical rather than audio which delivers instant gratification.

And, Returning to the Regular Broadcast

netherbird

Netherbird – Into the Vast Uncharted
(Sweden)
Release – September/27/2019
Eisenwold
Carcosa PR
https://netherbird.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-vast-uncharted
ARTWORK – 80

Classic imagery (known as “Älvalek” to those in ‘art circles’) depicting a tranquil landscape at dusk. A ‘familiar’ setting yet not so much in this light, this is otherworldly showcasing a parade of spirits frolicking, cavorting, in a realm many might consider they have an intimate knowledge of. Perhaps this isn’t the case at all. This leaves me curious as to the audio itself.

FIRST TRACK – 87

A thunderous mix of melody and blacked death with unexpected passages bringing to mind stylistic elements one might not expect additions which elevate this far above the jostling genre hordes. A fantastic introduction to the band and a unique spin on a genre which is fast becoming overcrowded

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

Rather than rely upon symphonic accompaniment Netherbird accentuate their audio with, among other things, sweeping, passionate, melodies. An element far removed from what one might expect in a traditional melodic death outing; a pigeonhole in which this act doesn’t comfortably reside. It is this touch which shrouds the release at just the right moment in exquisite emotion. A stunning companion to the other stylistic elements found throughout resulting in an album which instantly makes an impression and only grows the more it’s allowed to caress the senses. A remarkable invocation of the blackened death style crafted with precision showcasing passionate guitar leads, acoustic brilliance and sweeping evocative melodies. A veil of doom, a definite well-executed presence, accentuates the palpable emotion throughout making for a release one will only want to experience again and again.

Favorite Tracks; Harvest the Stars, Eventide Evangel, Obsidian White, Nexus of Unlight.

FFO; Dissection, Stortregn, Vagrant, October’s Tide, Be’lakor, Swallow the Sun.

unfathomable ruinantion

Unfathomable Ruination – Enraged and Unbound
(United Kingdom)
Release – November/22/2019
Willowtip Records
Clawhammer PR
https://unfathomableruination.bandcamp.com/album/enraged-unbound
ARTWORK – 90

A tad reminiscent of Cannibal Corpse’s “The Bleeding” this image showcases manifested demons resulting from all manner of emotion. A rendition which is certainly striking.

FIRST TRACK – 88

Wicked adrenaline spiking rhythms, plentiful timing changes, groove and a vocal style which will place a grin on any genre fans face and all within a package which incorporates Slam, technical brutal death and grindcore elements. I wasn’t expecting audio of this caliber to be honest, it’s difficult not to be suitably impressed.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

Regardless of whether one believes these guys to be Britain’s answer to (Americas) Misery Index or (Frances) Benighted there’s little doubt that they play with blazing intent, exhibit stunning talent and know how to strike a chord (pun) with fans and new listeners alike (it’s my first time. Be gentle and please don’t put it ‘there’). Track structures, although longer than most in the same genre, are infectiously contagious showcasing abrupt pace transformations, frenzied and maniacal moments and technicality the likes of which precariously straddles the fence between technical death and grindcore arenas, occasional Slam and infrequently progressive realms, though rarely dwells for too long in one forum. In short, this audio depicts an act who have no desire to fuck around. It’s straight down to business and these guys are bringing all the requisite ingredients to make a lasting impression, albeit one which will leave a mark whose after effects will require meds and most probably a trip to the ER. Limber up before this one folks!

Favorite Tracks; An Obsidian Perception, Enraged and Unbound, Maniacal Disillusion, Protoplasmic Imprisonment.

FFO; Misery Index, Dying Fetus, Ingested, Benighted.

aggressive perfector

Aggressive Perfector – Havoc at the Midnight Hour
(UK)
Release – November/22/2019
Dying Victims Productions
https://dyingvictimsproductions.bandcamp.com/album/aggressive-perfector-havoc-at-the-midnight-hour
ARTWORK – 82

This screams adoration of cult European genre celluloid. Guts worn as neck adornment, a wild-eyed man of the cloth wielding an ax, a barely dressed maiden witnessing a mansion go up in flames (as if it’s an everyday event) and front and center a visage engulfed in an undeniable possessed motif. Be it Fulci, D’Amato or Bava there’s undeniable similarities afoot which have grabbed my attention.

FIRST TRACK – 77

Draped in a style plucked screaming from the early eighties (metal scene) this is neither speed, thrash nor anything instantly appearing to fit comfortably in any extreme genre by today’s standards, but it is an intriguing concoction complete with a vocal style that makes an impression which is neither traditional nor harsh (think death, black metal and grindcore) for those who need an act for comparison think a more melodic Venom for it nears a similar raw tone and style.

INITIAL LISTEN – 75

The similarities to a (bonus) Slayer track end at the title alone, this is decidedly more heavy metal in tone with complementing sides of diabolical speed and blackened values. Channeling melodies of a ‘Maiden’ and Blitzkrieg ilk and unarguable NWOBHM stylings this is certainly not for everyone. But for those with a penchant for the acts mentioned this is a great album harkening to the ground-breakers within the scene (whose influence is still heavily commented upon even in today’s heavy hitters) yet charged with attitude and a vocal style closer to that sported by Cronos (Venom).

Favorite Tracks; Chains of Black Wrath, Into the Nightmare, Vengeful One,

FFO; Raven, Venom, Judas Priest, Exciter, Dokken, early Bathory.

zarraza.jpg

Zarraza (meaning “infection” or “unbearable person” in Russian) – Rotten Remains
(Kazakhstan)
Release – November/29/2019
Self-Released
Dewar PR
https://zarraza.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 72

An undead type (which appears to be a Mummy of one type or another in this instance) doused in glow in the dark green nuclear liquid (complete with fallout mask) although this has been done many a time before I’m left, nevertheless, curious as to what audio lies within.

FIRST TRACK – 73

Driving rhythms, shifting tempos and gruff vocals, a style which is perilously close to brutal death territories though remains firmly attached to the extreme thrash arena. An intriguing style which incorporates familiar influences, the origins of which I haven’t quite figured out just yet.

INITIAL LISTEN – 73

Huge props first off to the band who’ve persevered through various difficulties and the hardships their geographical location affords them in order that this might grace our ears. Obviously, when one discusses metal (in any way, shape or form) the location of Kazakhstan rarely, if ever, appears in the same sentence, unless of course Sasha Cohen has donned another disguise if only to cover an unlikely track under the moniker of “Borat” (this might not be so strange seems as goats, I’ve heard they are commonplace in the area are associated largely with a specific genre of extreme audio) This however, might soon change. This is dynamic audio, multi genre styled and angst ridden, familiar yet refreshing but better yet delightfully more polished than what one might expect. If you enjoy audio from any of the bands listed (below) in the FFO section by all means give this a listen your interest will be perked just in time for fresh material which (fingers crossed) should be released in the near future.

Favorite Tracks; Grudge, Chaos, wRRong Song.

FFO; Hatebreed, modern Sepultura, Pantera, Machine Head.

body harvest.jpg

Body Harvest – Parasitic Slavery
(United Kingdom)
Release – May/3/2019
Comatose Music
Imperative PR
https://comatosemusic.bandcamp.com/album/parasitic-slavery
ARTWORK – 81

Rabid, werewolf/alien hybrid in appearance, alien’s intent on cosmic domination by way of putting people in pods and draining their life force (or something along those lines). I have the feeling this has been done before, under many guises. But I’m diggin’ it. Hitting play.

FIRST TRACK – 82

Unrelenting and straight for the throat audio. Diabolical and unmerciful this is a tsunami of sound which is menacing, Sci- fi laden and all-consuming in its intensity. Do I have your interest yet? I should, this is quality stuff.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

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. Utilizing an all-out approach (for the most part) Body Harvest have somehow managed to create an album which is mesmerizing in its undeniable brutality. A rare feat far removed from ‘harsh noise’ realms the audio herein boasts maniacal values, diabolical surges, pummeling salvos and moments of ear screeching (controlled) chaos (excellently placed to provide added atmosphere and depth) as well apocalyptic heights. A fantastic combination which somehow flows exquisitely and is all bathed in delicious dirge qualities fellow countrymen Bolt Thrower would be jealous of (if they were still “grinding”) Funfact; this is from Bristol, not Birmingham. Void states (for the record; his metal knowledge is far superior than anyone else’s I know of) that this is Morbid Angel worship taken to the extreme and mentions the band Eskhaton also.

Intrigued? I’d be surprised if you weren’t. This audio floored me with its stellar caliber and though it’s a little off-center from what I normally place between the ears I’ll admit it floored me. Highly Recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Hierarchy of Grief, Consumed by Tyrants, Darkness Descends, Apocalyptic Abomination.

FFO; Nile, Hate Eternal, Krisiun, Immolation, Vader, Eskhaton.

the flaying

The Flaying – Angry, Undead
(Canada)
Release – March/2019
PRC Music
Asher PR
https://theflaying.bandcamp.com/album/angry-undead
ARTWORK – 78

Chaos, carnage, crimson and the marauding undead what more could you ask for upon a metal release, seriously?

FIRST TRACK – 83

Audio from what could well be a torture porn opus kicks this album off and it quickly transforms into go-for-the-throat riffage a mix of black and technical death complemented by a vocal style which most every fan of the scene will instantly be able to appreciate. Just me, or does anyone else hear slight Nuclear Assault (“Handle with Care” era) and or Xentrix (“For Whose Advantage”) riffage here. This isn’t in anyway a complaint, not in the slightest, merely an observation. A great start. Hold my calls!

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

This release about has it all! There are progressive passages (bringing to mind, in instances, Atheist and Cynic) technical prowess (with enough bass presence to leave fans of the instrument salivating), enough breakdowns to please the Slam crowd, groove to keep those limbs a flailing. Also, brutality and melody in equal measure, a delicate balance. More exciting yet is that the production is top-notch and the compositions are intricately curated with zero moments which appear ‘out of place’ or awkward in their place and setting. The bass is accentuated more than is usually heard within the genre adding considerable weight to the rhythms and drive to the tracks structure. Overall, for a debut this is stunning offering considerably more than any debut is expected to.

The horizon looks bright indeed if this is any indication of what’s to follow.

Highly recommended and deserved of a nomination for Quebec GAMIQ (“Gala alternatif de la musique indépendante du Québec”) Awards “Metal Album of The Year” and “Artist of The Year”.

Favorite Tracks – Disloque, Genuflect, Elegy of Emptiness, Angry, Undead.

FFO; Benighted, The Black Dahlia Murder, Suffocation, Archspire, Pestilence, Alterbeast, Ingested.

atomic cretis.jpg

Atomic Cretins – Spiritual Cancer
(USA)
Release – October/26/2019
Suicide Bong Tapes
Qabar PR
https://atomiccretins.bandcamp.com/album/spiritual-cancer
ARTWORK – 76

There’s a fire in the Basilica and corpse painted musicians from Norway are nowhere in sight. Is this an alternate reality, or is there mutiny amongst the upper echelon of the holy?

FIRST TRACK – 77

Raunchy audio, groove (think early Exodus in a blender with crust anarchists Disrupt) and blackened rasped vocals are introduced by introductory instrumental passages (by way of old school crossover thrash) and soundbites which state that which everyone should already know.

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

Mid-tempo old-school thrash values and plentiful groove collide with crust and extreme punk attitude resulting in a filthy listening experience which is surprisingly infectious. This isn’t what I was expecting but it woke me up and put considerable oomph/get-up-and-get-em’ in my morning.

Favorite Tracks; Out of the Coffin, Spiritual Cancer.

FFO; Hellripper, Wraith, Bastardizer, Disrupt.

A brief look at singles and/or ‘Official track premieres’

infected dead - the rache

Infected Dead -The Rache
(United Kingdom)
Release – September/27/2019
Hostile Media
Future PR
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uw4-5mkqVdA
Thoughts –

Within the last couple of years, I’ve been fortunate to be able to review this act’s last release. It actually featured on my ‘best of’ year-end list in account of its fluidity and all-round eye-opening brilliance. But then, nothing. I honestly it could be the end, but I was hoping it wasn’t. I needed more. Then from out of the blue, an email, a summons, a spark of hope. Infected Dead are back! They had a single and wanted me to share my thoughts upon it. I pondered for a moment, then went on vacation, then went back to my day job then remembered that I couldn’t forget. And now here I am sharing the video (above) in support of the new audio.

For those who need an introduction here’s a link to their eye-opening full length

Infected dead Archaic maloevolence.jpg

https://hostilemedia.bandcamp.com/album/archaic-malevolence

The first thing to strike the senses is that this has rhythm, riffs with instant effect (this far in I’m glad to report that the act haven’t lost any of their previous brilliance) and atmosphere. The vocals do naught but complement the percussion. And then, part way through, technicality and progressive elements yank control away from the infectious, inciteful, rhythms. This isn’t at all a complaint as it works alongside the atmosphere (which isn’t at all overpowering but rather only makes itself known in the most opportune of instances to add weight) and serves to add depth and presence to a track which already has the full attention. As “Rache” comes to a climax the symphonic shroud is ramped up to take on more of a darker tone and dominance. A fantastic conclusion to a track which again introduces Lovecraftian elements to the listener and only leaves me salivating, rather than hoping, for a future full length. And if it’s to be anything near the quality of the last, “Archaic Malevolence”, then I can foresee myself travelling to the nearest peak to shout its praise.

Suffice it to say I am suitably impressed and ecstatic that this band are back.

#BestofBritishMetal

And… the Reccd’ segment is back (it’s about time!)

he11fir3-on-twitter.jpg

Reccd by He11fir3
1349 – Hellfire
(Norway)
Release – October/2005
Candlelight Records
https://candlelightrecordsuk.bandcamp.com/album/hellfire

1349 - hellfire

Thoughts –

In recent weeks I’ve started to tackle laying thoughts upon singles and/or ‘official track premiers’ naturally the inclusion all depends on whether I can find the time to do so. Of the very first ones I laid to the site 1349 was one of the acts featured. Following a brief discussion, I was directed to their past output (I was pleased to discover they have quite the impressive history, discography and undeniable imprint on the scene itself no matter how diluted and fractured it might seem in recent years) and I decided, why the hell not? I’m game!

From its opening, abruptly barked, “I am fire” this captivates. With a blazing melting the face off approach which incorporates black metal in many of its forms this doesn’t sport a dull moment but rather instances of jaw dropping intensity, musicians in full on beast mode and a myriad enstumblement (huh, I just invented a word!) of thoughts such as “how is it that it’s not until now that I’ve discover 1349?” Truth be told I’m not normally a black metal fan, though recently I’ve warmed to the black flame this could well be what my curiosity has been hankering for. A full submergence of that which the genre offers from an act who are undeniably masters of the craft and aren’t afraid of tinkering with their representation of it. If you have yet to discover 1349 this is most probably a great place to start, I only say ‘most probably’ as this is my introduction to them and I am contemplating taking another vacation in order that I can dive into their discography and give it the attention it deserves. #ScrewThosePeskyBills

Void Reccs

Reccd by Void
Verdugo – Perversión y Destrucción
(Chile – not the similar titled act from Spain)
Release – January/2010
https://verdugometal.bandcamp.com/album/perversi-n-y-destrucci-n
Thoughts –

(Before I start, I’d like to point out that this isn’t what Void Reccd. *Insert howls of disappointment here. But it is from the same band. My reasoning is that I couldn’t find but two tracks from the album he pointed me towards. So rather than do a half assed job I’d rather tackle a full release, in this instance a four-track introduction of sorts.)

verdugo - perversion

 

Well, if you aren’t intrigued by the primitive artwork alone, I’m not sure what to say. A dungeon, an executor and an “attached” lithe female who appears to wearing part of a Nuns habit. But one can’t forget the goat looking gent in the corner who’s probably more than aroused at the sight, or alternatively the sharpened ax in the hooded fellows grasp. I must mention he looks like he appears to have a genius level sense of balance too what with the activities taking place and his considerable ‘girth’.

In regards to the music on offer there’s no denying that this is old school thrash with a decidedly wicked jaded edge (and to answer a query from Void; Yes. This is, “right up my alley”) Apart from the fact that it’s old school it’s also catchy as a vintage baseball mitt and offers twice the enjoyment (no matter how soft that gloves ’embrace’ might be). The drum salvo has the effect of making the limbs twitch with uncontrollable spastic movements, the rhythms and pace are enough to sate even the most discerning of fan and the vocals enough to raise goose flesh. Odd that the language is one I’m not native to but it matters not the while effect is one to send a fan into a frenzy. This might be raw; it might not sport the production qualities one desires but there’s no doubt it fits perfectly. In short, this contains four tracks any speed freak with old school leanings which warrant attention.

verdugo - altar del rencor

In regards to that which Void Reccd “Altar Del Rencor” if I can find a full-length copy, I’d be happier to review it also (if Verdugo is reading this. I’m up for it. Hint, hint.)

 

For those of you who are still intrigued this is the link that Void originally sent https://verdugometal.bandcamp.com/album/altar-del-rencor

It contains a teasing two tracks, which only leaves one wanting more.

 

Well that’s about it for this installment, my apologies for the wait, I only hope this was worth it and will suffice until the next entry (whenever that might be). Until our paths of audio interest meet again, don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the senses.

Cult

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses (part twenty-seven)

headbangin gif

Yet another “Vacation Edition”

It’s been six months since my last vacation and any length of time I would consider time enough to relax within (so stop the whining). I probably wouldn’t publish anything at this time but the temptation is too overpowering not to what with the release of… (I’m not going to ruin it you’ll have to read on)

orodruin
Orodruin – Ruins of Eternity
(USA)
Release -October/25/2019
Cruz Del Sur Music
Clawhammer PR

 

https://orodruin.bandcamp.com/album/ruins-of-eternity
ARTWORK – 82

This seethes with a Viking/folk aura, enigmatic mists surround a picturesque craggy mountain landscape but where are the wizards and dragons?

FIRST TRACK – 82

Huge riff, melody laden, doom laced with undeniable NWOBHM sensibilities, passion and an excellent vocal accompaniment.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

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

Favorite Tracks; Forsaken, Man of Peace, Grave Illusion, Hell Frozen Over, Ruins of Eternity.

FFO; Haunt, Beastmaker, Dio fronted Black Sabbath, vintage Judas Priest, vintage Rainbow.

arctos

Arctos – Beyond the Grasp of Mortal Hands
(Canada)
Release -September/20/2019
Northern Silence Productions
https://arctos-northernsilence.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-grasp-of-mortal-hands
ARTWORK – 76

Frigid, cold and typical of traditional black metal releases, mountains, snow and wilderness, but accompanied by a logo which is a little different. This makes me wonder about that which is about to grace my ears. I am intrigued.

FIRST TRACK – 95

An epic outing to start the release. Atmosphere, a folk nature and a significant presence bolstered by majestic rhythms and outstanding melodies. Overall an enchanting effect to certainly spark ones interest in a genre they might not look twice upon before now. Hold my calls I’m diving in!

INITIAL LISTEN – 97

Spanning a wide radius within the black metal arena the audio here encompasses atmospheric realms, though also sports traditional, majestic, cresting rhythms whilst even touching upon folk realms. Occasionally it even visits blackened death arenas and also includes passionate leads making for a release which is a tad untraditional, varied and executed with surprising excellence throughout. I’m not normally a fan of the Black Metal genre but this blows me away with its diversity and delivery in every way. Enthralling, hypnotic and stunning from start to finish, a must visit genre experience!!

Favorite Tracks; This delivers throughout at an extremely high standard, it’s hard to pick a clear ‘winner’.

FFO; Cradle of Filth, Emperor, Immortal, Dissection, vintage Katatonia.

the world without us incarnate album

The World Without Us – Incarnate
(USA)
Release – October/25/2019
Self-Released
https://www.facebook.com/theworldwithoutus/
Dewar PR
ARTWORK – 86

Vivid, colorful and eye catching though miles from traditional. I believe what we have here is going to be quite the audio journey.

FIRST TRACK – 86

Whoa-! The track commences with some of the finest harmonized vocals I’ve heard in a while. Gentle rhythms complemented by undeniable ominous qualities. But it all changes. I won’t ruin it, suffice it to mention it gets “growly”, the pace picks up considerably and the track attains a ferocious nature. A great start.

INITIAL LISTEN – 78

The briefest look at the track list gives one an idea that this is going to be a little different, and it is. Incorporating elements spanning far and wide including death, hardcore, djent, technical death, progressive and black this release offers a great deal to digest. As much as I personally enjoy the more extreme end of the spectrum, I believe their mellower audio leaves more of a lasting impression. Their harsher material however, works though with a little tightening up could well leave a huge

impact. As it is this seems at times a little disjointed though still enjoyable.

Favorite Tracks; Listen in Obsidian, I am the Mist.

FFO; Between the Buried and Me, Opeth, Rings of Saturn, Casket Robbery.

Totengeflüster

Totengeflüster – The Faceless Divine
(Germany)
Release -October/11/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR
https://totengeflsterblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/the-faceless-divine
ARTWORK – 93

Ominous, menacing and stunningly medieval in its overall vibe. I want this image across my meager chest!

FIRST TRACK – 86

An excellent foreboding Introduction, majesty qualities, untraditional phrasing, evocative melodies and symphonic brilliance make this stand out from the pack. It’s traditional, yet not quite but utterly captivating!

INITIAL LISTEN – 89

Imagine black metal but often played with an “Industrial” tightness, rhythm and blistering pace ala Ministry (circa “The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste”/”Psalm 69”) add to it a classical/Gothic symphonic backdrop and an excellent blackened death aura and you have an album which balances on the black/death fence sporting vintage Kataklysm/Origin pace, an occasional splash of war metal, vicious vocals and a presence which is superb throughout. Keep the ears peeled for this one it has me by the short and curlies and I don’t mind one bit, with both this and Arctos in mind I believe I’m falling down the ‘untraditional black metal’ rabbit hole.

Favorite Tracks; The Hunt, Affliction, Vermin, The Hollow Wanderer (Satin version. Bonus Track)

FFO; Emperor, Cradle of Filth, Kull, Marduk.

Plucked from Metal Past

God of Lies -Merciless Destiny

God of Lies -Merciless Destiny
(Columbia)
Release – July/17/2017
https://godofliesmetal.bandcamp.com/releases
ARTWORK – 72

The four Horsemen enjoying a spot of carnage beneath a claret soaked sky. I think we can all guess what audio we have here. Anyone up for switching the playlist in a stuck elevator?

FIRST TRACK – 74

A lengthy introduction (which could be shortened considerably or taken out completely with the same effect) brings about the first riff and one’s initial greeting to that which God of Lies stylistically offer.

INITIAL LISTEN – 77

Occasionally I’ll get something tossed in my path (accompanied by words of praise) which will make me curious enough to stop what I’m doing to take a listen. This was one such time. This is thrash bordering on death showcasing wicked heavily accented vocals. The audio here really isn’t anything new, it isn’t technical, it’s been done before, but with that being said it hits the spot and will please the vast majority of aggressive thrash fans looking for fresh headbanging fodder.

Favorite Tracks; He Controls the World, Final Attack,

FFO; Sodom, Toxic Holocaust, Nuclear Assault, Slayer, Whiplash.

So. Did you guess what got me so excited? Naturally all of these releases are worthy of spinning until the audio equipment goes on strike but there was one (two) in particular which really got my torso a spinnin’. Admittedly your choice might be worlds removed from my own and this is obviously what makes the world of extreme audio so exciting and diverse.

krusty the clown wtf was that diversity in metal gif

Until next our paths of audio interest cross, don’t be afraid to discover that which is foreign to the ears.

Cult

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses (Part 26)

headbangin gif

Tumbling downwards into the ever-yawning abyss. Constantly changing form, ever evolving. Will I be able to dig myself free from the onslaught and unrelenting barrage of promo material, probably not. Truth be told, I don’t even make a dent, but I will strive to make an impression.

Onward…

Slutvomit – Copulation of Cloven Hooves
(USA)
Release – October/4/2019
Invictus Productions
https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/album/copulation-of-cloven-hooves

slutvomit

ARTWORK – 78

A scythe, fire in full blaze and a couple of hoodlums (I jest!) And I betting this is all taking place as part of some secluded wooded area shenanigans. Don’t get lost fellas, here’s hoping you packed a flare with the corpse paint and the rusted farmyard equipment.

FIRST TRACK – 85

Tolling bells and chilling melodic riffs start this album off. This might sound like a vintage Slayer unreleased ‘B side’. But hold on… a whirlwind demonical maniacal element soon gains supremacy, an eye-opening space of time interrupted by a blackened speed infernal assault and rasped vocals. I’m all ears, and you should be too. I’m not sure what I was expecting, it wasn’t this. Color me impressed!

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

Initially I though this is “Altars of Madness” madness but at played at vintage Vader speed. However, other stylistic elements join in the fray to make this more than simply an album caked in filth, infernal nature and frenetic diabolical mischievous riffs aplenty. Rare is that the band play all out, the passion for the scene and what they do is all too obvious and that shows in every lethal intent laden riff and dizzying rhythm transformation. Add to the above-mentioned influence vintage Slayer, a splash of levity by way of Witchery and pitch darkness ala Mayhem and you have an album that drips black sensibilities though is weighted in speed tropes, maniacal values, instantly appreciateable raunchiness and, naturally, wickedness.

In short this is quite the experience for both the listener and the speaker set up. In fact, certain passages would make an excellent accompaniment to cult celluloid affairs on account of their atmosphere and palpable ominous presence.

Favorite Tracks; Endless Graves, Scythe of Mass Damnation, Copulation of Cloven Hooves, Evil Commands You, Acolyte of Deaths Destruction.

FFO; Vintage Slayer, Mayhem, Morbid Angel, Witchery, early Bathory.

warcrab

Warcrab – Damned in Endless Night
(UK)
Release – August/30/2019
Transcending Obscurity Records
https://warcrabuk.bandcamp.com/album/damned-in-endless-night-death-sludge-metal
ARTWORK – 79

Medieval in tone, gloomy, dark and ominous. Is that a plague bearer, or an acolyte or someone who’s merely lost? Why is he guarding that wall? Was it a castle, keep, or a building of some importance at one point or another? There’s not much left now, should someone tell the poor bloke?

FIRST TRACK – 77

Undeniable Carcass vocal inflections. Groove within a sludge nature and a hypnotizing mid paced bludgeoning aura. This is death encased doom with undeniable nods to Bolt Thrower but it’s different.

INITIAL LISTEN – 76

Stylistically this encompasses a hybrid of genres though cannot be placed comfortably in just one. It has atmosphere, melancholic moments and a plethora of passages akin to old school death drenched in dirge doom undertones suffice it to say there’s plenty of groove here too. Nods to Bolt Thrower are unmistakable, there’s a track centered on a Chaos god (Khorne – The God of War) originating from the Games Workshop fantasy gaming universe whom BT were associated with in their early career (“War Master” and/or “Realm of Chaos” anyone?) Atmosphere is plentiful also with a myriad of tracks incorporating rhythms which are repetitive though hypnotic in their effect.

Favorite Tracks; Halo of Flies, Abyssal Mausoleum, Damnation.

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Carcass, Cathedral, vintage Katatonia, vintage Paradise Lost.

A Break in our Regularly Scheduled Programming to peek at an Official Track Premier

hideous divinity

Hideous Divinity – The Embalmer
Official Track Premier taken from November/8/2019 full- length entitled “Simulacrum”
Century Media Records
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlnqtDP6Kzs
Artwork (album) – 90

From out of the crimson murk a form arises. It’s evolving and pissed! Amazing color play and details adorn this image making it a must have piece of merchandise (be it shirt, tapestry or patch) to support an act who have yet to disappoint in my opinion.

Initial Listen – 91

Before I move onto my thoughts upon the track, I’d like to lay a few down upon the video (above). It’s as though Nacho Cerda (if you’re into extreme horror celluloid his should be a name you recognize. His works include Genesis and Aftermath) has stepped into musical video territories. This is a little strange if I’m to be honest, a tad artsy and most probably the realization of a fantastical dream (based on a lifelong career?) The imagery is stark, vivid and disturbing and nods to Godlike aspirations (malleable human bodies carved from clay) and fetish behaviors. The effects are grisly, gruesome and outstanding. And there’s little doubt that it is of top-tier quality, an amazing accompaniment to the extreme audio on offer. In regard to the music. The staggeringly swift, precise, unrelenting drum salvo is probably the first one notices, that and the epic atmospheric aura. Symphonic elements are somewhat hidden in the background adding just the right amount of nuance when required. Rhythms are technical and tempos are pleasingly diverse. Divided between hyper speed aggressive passages and reflective breakdowns the track has a certain depth draped in menacing tones with just the right amount of diabolic elements tossed in to keep this at elevated heights.

There’s no doubt Hideous Divinity know how to carve a track to make one sit up and take note, this is no exception. If you’re anything like me this only makes you more excited for their next full-length.

November eighth can’t come fast enough!

FFO; Nile, Origin, Misery Index.

And now, Back to Regularly Scheduled Programming…

abythic

Abythic – Conjuring the Obscure
(Germany)
Release – September/11/2019
Xtreem Music
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/conjuring-the-obscure
ARTWORK – 84

Mummy looks pissed. Did someone steal an egg?

FIRST TRACK – 76

Crunchy riffs, an ominous nature, mid- tempo death/doom melodies and the occult. Toss in German language soundbites and the intrigue level goes through the roof.

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

It took my youthful, insensitive, juvenile sense of humor a while to get over a cursory glance at the track list and in particular “Order of the Gash”. With the abrupt spell of uncontrollable laughter out of the way I hit play.

Atmosphere aplenty here amidst a steamroller riff approach. The occasional passages are undeniably Bolt Thrower in tone whereas a mid-tempo approach permeates the remainder of the album ala Benediction and Morgoth. Groove elements add to the albums allure alongside an undeniable menacing/ominous aura

Favorite Tracks; Order of the Gash, Drifting Among Shadows, Shadows of Becoming Might, Let the Purge Begin.

FFO; Morgoth, Abysmal Dawn, Benediction.

solicitor ep

Sölicitör – s/t EP
(USA)
Release – October/25/2019
Gates of Hell Records
Clawhammer PR
https://solicitor-speedmetal.bandcamp.com/album/solicitor-ep-2019
(the original release from May minus the demo tracks)
ARTWORK – 74

Primitive black and white imagery. A Mad Max bike, a mushroom cloud, skulls, whips and chains. Count me in! I have only the one question; is that lady wearing corpse paint?

FIRST TRACK – 81

A chilling introduction (ala early Slayer) with ominous qualities leads into a technical speed metal assault complemented by production values which toss me back to the late eighties and a vocal approach which is passionate (including crooning elements which put me in mind of Messiah Marcolin though others say a mixture of Halford and Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth; Overkill which I can also hear) though a little different than what might have been expected. A great start.

INITIAL LISTEN – 80

A fantastic mash up of speed metal and traditional heavy metal this sports a delicious pace throughout, wicked leads and melodies you can lose yourself in. it might take a few listens to get used to the vocal approach (for me anyway) but once that’s settled there’s little to not instantly appreciate. This is infectious, addictive and will leave fans of the earliest forms of speed metal excited and eager for more, perhaps a full length to be released early next year. Stay tuned.

Six tracks in all; four and two demo versions of the first two featured (“Nightstalker” and “Speed Tyrant”). It’s intriguing to discover how a band’s sound has progressed through different stages of development and this is no exception.

Favorite Tracks; Nightstalker, Vulture Command, Execution Squad.

FFO; Exciter, Whiplash, Chastain, Blitzkrieg, Overkill.

stench of profit

Stench of Profit – Human Discount (EP)
(Italy)
Release – May/20/2019
Lethal Scissors
Imperative PR
https://lethalscissor.bandcamp.com/album/human-discount-ep
ARTWORK – 72

Whoa! Hey, you have a little something. Here let me grab at it with my greasy, untrained, paws.

Ouch! Although that’s a baby hammer it still looks like it hurts like a bitch!

FIRST TRACK – 81

Noise, but discernable rhythms, shifts in tempo, breakdowns, angst and groove aplenty I’m digging this!

INITIAL LISTEN – 78

Four tracks and seven minutes in length there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind what manner of audio this is! I’m happy to report that this beast delivers. Grinding percussion, a supreme diverse abrasive vocal assault (harsh, screaming and grunts) and melodies you can break every bone in the body too. Seriously what else do you need? Answer; best no to think about it, easier to let this drive your form to frenetic, spastic, jerking movements your spouse might wonder upon your state of mind if witnessing.

Favorite Tracks; Leaches, What’s Left.

FFO; Nasum, Brutal Truth, Napalm Death, Misery Index.

vagrant

Vagrant – The Rise of Norn
(Germany)
Release – July/26/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR
https://vagrantblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/the-rise-of-norn
ARTWORK – 82

The sun breaks through threatening skies bring a ray of hope. All might seem saved but for the beckoning vortex which has opened in the body of water. Great colors and a classic nature make this image pop.

FIRST TRACK – 84

Melodic death in overall appearance and feel yet has an undeniable folk edge and a menacing blackened vibe. Plenty of excellent atmosphere and powerful symphonic presence bode well for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

Weaving a masterful combination of melodies and atmosphere with lyrics based around warriors, folklore, fate and superstition Vagrant have managed to create an album which flows exquisitely. Acoustic passages are a great touch and pair brilliantly with masterful symphonic touches. The rhythms intertwine with galloping and heavy riffs forging a release which is far from the run of the mill melodic death or even blackened death album. There’s a lot to take in stylistically here but it’s melded with care and executed with precision. A great touch is that the album goes full circle. Highly recommended!

Offering symphonic death, melodic death exquisite acoustic elements, doom, folk and Viking metal this has the potential to appeal to a wide audience.

Favorite Tracks; Blinded by Destiny, Deceptive Similarity, Spirit of Valor.

FFO; (vintage) Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth, At the Gates, Hyperion, Rotting Christ, Unleashed, early Katatonia.

a3436626892_10

Singularity -Place of Chains
(USA)
Release – October/11/2019
The Artisan Era
Mind Eraser PR
https://singularityaz.bandcamp.com/album/place-of-chains
ARTWORK – 80

This could well be a still from a movie where an alien force is holding humanity captive for one reason or another. Is this the soundtrack to said movie? Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 90

What starts out as a symphonic possibly power metal opus soon transforms when the riffs and the million miles an hour precision drum assault kicks in. Then there’s the vocals, progressive leads, melodies, stunning atmosphere and the fretboard frenetic spider work. Damn impressive opener which stays this side of overboard insane guitar wizardry madness to please any fan of technical brutality.

INITIAL LISTEN – 93

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

Top of the heap audio here!

Favorite Tracks; Victory or Death, Sisyphean Cycle, Consume and Assume. Dead Receptors.

FFO; Inferi, Inanimate Existence, Necrophagist, Cradle of Filth, Equipoise, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Alterbeast.

And Now for “Something Completely Different”

the neptune power federation

The Neptune Power Federation – Memoirs of a Rat Queen
(Australia)
Release – September/27/2019
Cruz Del Sur Music
Clawhammer PR
https://theneptunepowerfederation.bandcamp.com/album/memoirs-of-a-rat-queen
 ARTWORK – 74

There’s most definitely something going on here. A priestess of sorts (with horns) sitting on a throne atop a pile of vanquished foes. Let’s just say I’m intrigued.

FIRST TRACK – 72

This bears an unmistakable Cosmic narrative vibe as well a rock n roll aura straight from the 70/80’s. Like Heart meets Hawkwind with considerable fuzz and relaxed beat. This is most definitely not extreme audio, that much is clear even from the tracks first opening bars so those hoping for words something akin to that might want to skip to musings upon the next act for all others whose thoughts drip with intrigue and minds are drenched in curiosity read on…

INITIAL LISTEN – 76

Heart meets Girlschool meets Muse meets Hawkwind meets Deep Purple with a splash of Motorhead and then some. In short, this album is diverse, passionate, boasts a concept narrative aura, is set in a late 70/early 80’s alternate musical landscape and has a great deal to offer for those who are willing to let it. Open those minds and be prepared to explore something far from the usual beaten track folks and you’ll have fun with what this offers. Admittedly it took a few spins to appreciate and I had to approach listens in ‘certain’ moods but it’s nice to leave the familiar occasionally and explore that which is strange, unfamiliar and unusual. Sure, this has passages which are galaxies removed from my usual listening arenas though for those are willing to explore this is an intriguing step away from the safe, the “normal”, predictable waters. Hard to categorize this is easier to place in the love it or leave it folder. It’s far from horrid or unlistenable, it’s “experimental” bordering on Avant Garde spanning a great many familiar genres and incorporating each in its own way. Obviously, this type of audio doesn’t appeal to everyone, usually only the brave. Jump in blind with zero assumptions!

Favorite Tracks; Watch our Masters Bleed, Bound for Hell, The Reaper Comes for Thee.

FFO; Queen, Motorhead, Hawkwind, Muse, Heart, Rush, Girlschool.

Well. That about brings things to a close for this week.

excited animal gif

Until our paths of audio interest cross again, don’t be afraid to explore that which you normally might not.

Cult

Abrasive Audio Part Twenty – Five

headbangin gif

A quarter of a century and still ticking. The world of metal is ever giving, what can I say? Prepare for an international array of diverse audio offerings in this installment. Without further ado let’s get this under way, shall we? As always, I’ve included Bandcamp links (or links from another format if not available) so that one might be able to listen as the atrocious grammar which flows from my fingertips washes before the retinas. Onward…

alcoholocaust

Alcoholocaust – Necro Apocalipse Bestial
(Portugal)
Release – September/5/2019
HellDProd
Against PR
https://brigadantiposers.bandcamp.com/releases
ARTWORK – 81

A possessed bulldozer on the rampage in glorious black and white. Lovin’ the primitive vibe.

FIRST TRACK – 82

A somewhat diabolical introduction transforms into wicked riffage and addictive galloping riffs. Heavily accented vocals add a blackened edge and I’m eager for more.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

Aggressive speed metal with the occasional splash of punk accompanied by maniacal and archaic heavily accented vocals (lyrics are in Portuguese mostly and the tracks titles are strangely a 50-50 split) This could well be the foreign long-lost twin to Whiplash’s “Power and Pain” release. It’s obviously nothing ground-breaking but it is criminally addictive and requires limbering up before hitting the play button. Prepare to have this reside in your audio equipment for an extended duration of time.

Favorite Tracks; Solucao Abysmal, Bulldozer Infernal, Necro Ritual, Patrulha Thrash, Assalto Metalico.

FFO; Whiplash, Exciter, Hellripper, Bastardizer, vintage Slayer.

thrashfire

Thrashfire – Into the Armageddon
(Turkey)
Release – October/10/2019
Xtreem Music
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-armageddon
ARTWORK – 80

A crimson shrouded sky in an altogether menacing comic book-esque image.

A dastardly looking fellow complete with a Reapers scythe appears to be collecting the souls of the children within the immediate radius. I can hear the teachers chant in jubilation “At last, a day off!”

FIRST TRACK – 80

Opens with an Arraya- esque scream, frantic, maniacal, guitar riffs and a style which is part early Slayer and part later Exodus accompany this for an adrenaline-fueled start to the proceedings which leaves me sweaty, sore and very much intrigued.

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

Takes a little while to get going but once it does, shit…you might wanna’ add badass metal talent to the list of things Turkey is known for (other than being named after a delicious flightless bird which has the odd effect if making he/she who eats it tired, an odd defense mechanism that!) Bordering on thrash/death this boasts rarely a boring non- nuclear fueled moment. A South American styled vocal assault adds significant “black” to the albums tone. Slayer nods are frequent enough to be noticed. Overall a fantastic introduction to an act who demand respect with a release which will garner the attention of a significant number of ears for good reason.

Favorite Tracks; Katacomb (The Kingdom of Resurrection), Supreme Command. Through the Crimson Darkness, Post-Apocalyptic Holy Terror.

FFO; Vintage Slayer, Nuclear Assault, Exodus, Malevolent Creation, Toxic Holocaust.

stortregn

Stortregn – Evocation of Light
(Switzerland)
(Re)release -September/20/2019 on a vinyl format (originally released in 2013)
Non Serviam Records
https://non-serviam-records.bandcamp.com/album/evocation-of-light
ARTWORK – 85

Something foreboding is on the horizon (has the sun turned it a blender?) The mountains care not as they are timeless. Humanity on the other hand could well be fuked!

FIRST TRACK – 85

A Dissection esque symphonic backdrop bursting with classical Gothic elements against a Stockholm melodic death assault add to that exquisite blackened touches rasped vocals, the occasional “Storm of the Lights Bane” nod, an excellent flow and you have a fantastic start.

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

Channeling the nature of early Dissection and adding to it with varied yet somewhat stylistic similar influences (Amon Amarth, Necrophobic and Emperor) Stortregn have fashioned an album which is able to be appreciated immediately. Classical acoustic, melancholic, interludes add depth and serve to break up the album nicely. Some may find the similarities to the above-mentioned album at times over-powering. However, I’m of the other collective who believes this is a solid slab of melodic blackened metal showcasing an act who are finding their path whilst giving obvious homage to those who have laid the groundwork, making waves in the scene while doing so.

Favorite Tracks; Epitaph; An Evocation of Light, So Much Dust, Throughfares, The Call.

FFO; Dissection, Emperor, At the Gates, Necrophobic.

illvilja

lllvilja -Livet
(Sweden)
Release – August/2019
Halvfabrikat Records, Phobia Records, Dark Elk Vinyl
https://phobiarecords.bandcamp.com/album/illvilja-livet-lp
ARTWORK – 72

Blunt and primitive with no frills there’s no doubt who this album is by and what it’s entitled.

FIRST TRACK – 94

Commences with a Bolt Thrower vibe circa the “IVth Crusade” (spoken words and all) then the beat kicks in and is more than successful in knocking one on their arse. Infectious and inciteful of that there’s no doubt but the star however is the vocalist, his pipes the quality of his approach and the level of angst which is through the Fn’ roof.

I am most definitely awake!

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

Although all the lyrics are in a foreign tongue (to me anyway) they sound, at times, almost oddly familiar. The fact that I can’t understand a bloody word doesn’t take me out of the album’s enjoyment at all, but rather, adds to its allure. A primitive, mysterious, spice to heat up that which is already incendiary, both in its nature and infectiousness. Touches of stylistic diversity, and appreciative breaks from the same old, same old (which could well be expected based on this albums categorization, hailed as “Dbeat/Blackened-Crust”) propel this to refreshing heights making this a release set to be the bar which others in the genre will struggle to reach.

This came out of nowhere to catapult me to the nearest medical facility on account of my abrupt skyrocketing excitement levels.

Favorite Tracks; Krossa Spegeln, Offerbalet, Svet,

FFO; Disrupt.

A Break in our Regularly Scheduled Programming to peek at a few “Singles”/Official Track Releases

goddess of fate

Goddess of Fate – Orchard Gardener
(India)
Release – October/26/2019
Self-Release
https://goddessoffate.bandcamp.com/
Dewar PR
ARTWORK – 72

Whoa, this takes a moment to fully (attempt to) digest. There’s a baby in there, a devil, a giving hand, a smiling face, a maze and something which might or might not represent recycling. And it’s all in black and white. Hardly traditional but it does grab the attention and demands closer investigation, and for reason I say that it succeeds.

INITIAL LISTEN – 76

What starts out as tight percussion ala early Iron Maiden although with a splash of folk soon transforms into technical progressive territories with a touch of Avant Garde’. Later, after a brief tumble into groove laden death metal realms (think later Death material though with a more abrasive vocal approach) it slides into dreamy realms leaving the listener all the while wondering where this may head in the next moment. It certainly boasts enough rhythm shifts and tempo changes to keep the most discerning amongst us intrigued though seems to subtly revolve around and return to its initial riff structure as the track reaches its climax. The transitions here are seamless and showcase folk, progressive, traditional heavy metal, groove and death cavorting and frolicking amongst themselves for superiority within an epic arena which gives each their time and never wallows for too long in any one realm. If this is any indication of what’s to be represented upon an upcoming full-length one can expect a wide variety of styles embodied, diversity personified and impressive musicianship. Keep an ear to the ground and an eye out for this creative collective as with quality like this I can well expect their name to grace the pages of respected genre tabloids across the globe soon enough.

FFO; Dream Theater, Atheist, Between the Buried and Me, Opeth.

obscure album

Obscure – Curse of my Race
Taken from upcoming full-length “Darkness must Prevail” with a tentative release date of November/5/2019
(Spain)
Xtreem Music
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/darkness-must-prevail
ARTWORK (album) – 83

This image reminds me of the slow progress of ‘uncle Frank’ from the first Hellraiser film (from a franchise which is about to run into double digits). Bones, sinew and musculature and a look as if to say “see, I can do it. Whatcha’ think?”

Its unique tonal effect gives the impression that its origin is a place with minimal light. A great touch rather than the crimson most would expect to see on a cover from this genre.

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

Initial choppy riffs develop into a rhythm which is part Bolt Thrower (dirgey in tone), and part Jungle Rot in feel with a splash of Cannibal Corpse in the vocal department. The track continues breaking down slightly into a slower tempo with a European doom/death edge. The intensity builds both in pace and ferocious nature towards the tracks climax. Rather than rely on straightforward speed or brutality Obscure have chosen to incorporate a style which embodies a myriad of pace and a slight old school feel making for a track with a decidedly death/doom aura which boasts depth and somewhat of a narrative texture. It works and this is a fantastic teaser for what’s to follow.

FFO; Morgoth, Bolt Thrower, Jungle Rot, Abysmal Dawn.

1349 album

1349 -Striding the Chasm
Taken from the upcoming full-length “The Infernal Pathway” with a tentative release date of October/18/2019
(Norway)
Season of Mist Records
https://1349som.bandcamp.com/album/the-infernal-pathway
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFu2sWn987s
ARTWORK (album) – 82

A decapitated head within a pentagram of sorts with gold inlay hints at mysticism and rather sinister activities. A fantastic image draped in detail and symbology.

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

Better limber up before hitting play on this one. It’s blazing fast both in the riffage and skin pounding departments and takes very little time to get to where it’s headed. Rhythms incite movement and it bears an infectious nature which is damn near criminal. The rasped vocal approach adds a menacing edge which elevates the package to addictive realms to put a smile on any blackened speed demon’s visage. This is the type of no-nonsense blackened death I can subscribe to, suffice it to say I’m awaiting the full length watching the seconds tick by.

FFO; Rotting Christ, early Septic Flesh.

Back to Regularly Scheduled Programming

fateful finality

Fateful Finality – Executor
(Germany)
Release – October/11/2019
Fastball Music
https://fastball-music.bandcamp.com/album/fire-and-brimstone
Against PR
ARTWORK – 77

A comic book-esque representation of the seven deadly sins with a “Reaper” character amongst the Sinners contemplating on whom to “collect” next.

FIRST TRACK – 88

Huge impact with the first riff! Aggressive thrash with South American influence. The high-octane approach does not let up and I’m headbanging like one possessed.

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

A pleasing mixture of styles incorporating a slew of genre trademarks, a smidgen of crossover a sprinkle of djent and aggression from start to finish. Vocal styles are varied pulling from hardcore arenas and traditional thrash realms. The bonus track (Moonchild) seems odd at first but the ‘hidden track’ (Overkill) more than makes up for it. Overall an album fans of early The Haunted material will most likely salivate over. This is my introduction of the band and if this is any indication of their past or future audio theirs is a discography which needs paying close attention to.

Favorite Tracks; Fire and Brimstone, The Raid, Wreckage of the Flesh, Venomous.

FFO; The Haunted, Killswitch Engaged, Lamb of God, Kreator.

consecration fragilium

Consecration – Fragilium
(United Kingdom)
Release – June/28/2019
Solitude Productions
Imperative PR
Grand Sounds PR
https://consecration666.bandcamp.com/album/fragilium-album-2019
ARTWORK – 91

A beatific form arching towards the light as a myriad of tendrils/hands attempt to pull “her” back into the earth. A stunning play on good and evil on the forces they play upon everyday life as one strives to rise above. An intricate, delicate, black and white image which seethes with emotion.

FIRST TRACK – 85

A melancholic though passionate instrumental which overflows with depth and a deep sense of mourning. A wonderful start which places the listener in a state of readiness for what’s to follow, or one could only assume.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

Traditional yet unfamiliar. This seethes with a myriad of styles one might not initially expect whilst still holding firm to doom foundations one would. 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. Accompanied by vocals and often rhythms which tell of definite old school influence and occasional moments of an Avant Garde nature this certainly makes for a listening experience which is familiar, yet pleasingly different. Go into this with an open mind and no assumptions and you’ll find yourself sinking into the unhurried epic nature (long intros included so be warned!) of the audio on offer. Recommended with a side of “green” (if you catch my drift).

Favorite Tracks; A Sentinel for the Fragile, An Elegy for the Departed, To Welcome the Grey.

FFO; Anathema, My Dying Bride, Mourning Beloveth, early Paradise Lost

BN

Byzanthian Neckbeard – Minaton
(Guernsey/Channel Islands/United Kingdom)
Release – November/29/2019
Independent
Dewar PR
https://byzanthianneckbeard.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 82

Why does this remind me of that scene in Time Bandits with a young Sean Connery? Ah yes, it’s the Minotaur’s head dripping in crimson. I’m of the mind that the audio herein is going to also drip in mythological elements, though I have no clue as to the style which will support it. Here goes nothing…

FIRST TRACK – 91

A chilling and poetic Brothers Grimm fairy tale esque narrative drenched in mythology and dipped in a Cradle of Filth Gothic sauce. I’m hooked already, hold my calls!

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

I doubt that many amongst us have even heard of Guernsey. I have, but that’s only because I originally hail from the South West of England. All that, however, is about to change. This collective pound out a style which is heavily doom/sludge infused though tainted with an undeniable thrash/death aura courtesy of the blackened vocal approach. But let us not forget the mythology lyric base. Minotaurs, Were-spiders, Devil worms and an occult Gothic vibe which binds the whole together. Blanket the package in irresistible groove, a bluesy black and roll passion and you have a winner. An introduction to the band (for me anyway) which only warrants dropping everything in order to dive into their past work.  Forget the recent connotations which come with the term ‘neckbeard’ and jump in. But be warned, you might not want to leave the catacombs anytime soon. Bring a snack!

(If you’re reading this guys, next time I’m in town (England) I’ll be looking you up in hopes to catch a show. Guernsey is only a ferry and a short road trip away.)

Favorite Tracks; The Tale of Raymond, The Were-spider, Devil Worms, Minaton, Necron 5, Out of the Deep.

FFO; Candlemass, Pungent Stench and mid-tempo death/doom output which bears significant groove.

shadow limb

Shadow Limb – Burn Scar
(USA)
Release – October/11/2019
Seeing Red Records
https://shadowlimb.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 93

Is that a superhero of some kind tangling with a mystical shapeshifting pachyderm?  Or is it a muscled gent in a tight-fitting leotard “tripping balls” at a local zoo? Regardless, the art is eye opening, original, wickedly visualized and far from the everyday album adornment. It only leaves me pondering upon what manner of audio is encapsulated within.

FIRST TRACK – 84

A delicate mixture of styles. Doom, sludge cavorting with progressive elements and aggressive angst-ridden vocals paired with melodic spoken word passages make for an interesting opener which is rather hard to describe if truth be told but leaves an impression, nevertheless.

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

Stoner rock, doom, sludge, progressive and yet there’s so much more on offer. These cats deliver and execute a smorgasbord of styles which combine to form a mesmerizing audio tapestry, a tableau which is familiar while at the same time intriguingly unique. An audio landscape which is unpredictable and exhilarating though on the other hand is also soothing and hypnotic. A contradiction in terms which exemplifies excellence in musical creativity resulting in a release which might well take a few spins to fully soak up though is well worth the investment. Go into this with an open mind and leave with the knowledge that their name is one you will be hearing a great deal of in the future.

Favorite Tracks; Asger Arisen, Watered Down Alby, Cleanse the Ire, Line of Descent.

FFO; early Mastodon, Kyuss, Nuerosis, Acid Bath, Void King.

deathensemble demo

Deathensemble – (3 track) 2019 DEMO
(USA)
Release – July/13/2019
Self-Released
https://deathensemble.bandcamp.com/

Occasionally an act will reach out with hopes that I will ‘cover’ their material. Unfortunately, in most instances it’s difficult to do so. In between a job which demands my exhaustive attention and more than full-time hours, raising an infant and all the random duties associated with owning (whoever really owns…) a house and being part of a loving family unit, I find it hard sometimes to post anything on a regular basis. Thank the Dark Lord I have a supportive wife who understands this is my passion (which I don’t get paid for). In this instance however I’ve found a few moments and it also helps that there’s only three tracks here which don’t run into epic lengths, that and these guys asked so nicely and the fact that this was released on my birthday doesn’t hurt either (hint hint). Onward…

INITIAL LISTEN – 75

This release starts with riffage which is somewhat Dissection in tone. The feel soon transforms into a South American aggressive thrash flavor and then back again. A great opener dripping with blackened thrash values and a rhythm which is head-noddingly infectious. The vocals lean more towards hardcore arenas, a fast-flowing pace, though strangely fit the percussion. The second track flows well, has a doom-esque atmospheric breakdown, bears a Lovecraftian vibe though appears a little rushed. However, it’s still very much palatable with an aura which hints at undeniable crossover influence (M.O.D, D.R.I). The final track bursts with a thrashin’ madness vibe (putting me in mind of earlier Exodus material) boasting riffs which are somewhat repetitive, simplistic though do a fantastic job of hitting the spot. Overall, a solid effort in the going straight for the jugular thrash arena presented by a somewhat raw production (more pronounced in the final track) that doesn’t hinder the music’s effects any. The three tracks on offer are somewhat diverse in tone, show a willingness to explore surrounding genres and creativity in incorporating the research. Ranging from blackened thrash to hardcore/crossover this bodes well for a future effort with a little tightening up.

Give these guys a listen and support the scene.

Favorite Tracks; The Entity Returned.

FFO; Kreator, Dissection, Exodus.

Until our paths of audio interest meet again, don’t be afraid to discover that which may be foreign to your usual listening habits,

Cult