Posts Tagged ‘metal reviews’

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses – Fulci

Fulci Tropical sun

Fulci – Tropical Sun
(Italy)
Release – May/31/2019
Time to Kill Records
Anubi Press

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7rVqpafX58

https://timetokillrecords.bigcartel.com/product/pre-order-fulci-tropical-sun

Let’s be honest, death metal going hand in hand with cult celluloid isn’t a rare occurrence. In fact, if it wasn’t for horrific deeds, carnage and grotesque tableaus the majority of death acts would sport a rather sparse lyrical output. Naturally, homage to the cinematic greats and specific, celebrated, features isn’t rare either. Necrophagia (sometimes known to feature Phil Anselmo) are known to string together a homage montage of gross-out, grisly moment, movie sequences as a visual element to complement their brutal tunage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBM2RHNIZCI&t=49s

Of the three bands named after Lucio Fulci (an Italian cult director famous for his mountainous legacy of celluloid spanning a plethora of genres from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s) Fulci is the only one based in the same country in which the prolific director and writer actually lived; Italy.  This has to score them extra marks, right?

’Tropical Sun’ is based on ‘Zombie’ (Flesh Eaters – 1979) one of Lucio Fulci’s most infamous slabs of celluloid, whilst their first, full length, was based on another entitled ‘City of the Living Dead’.

https://cbcunited.bandcamp.com/album/opening-the-hell-gates

‘Tropical Sun’ isn’t a “traditional” death metal release, it sports depth, context and stylistic variety due, in part, to the addition of somewhat of a novelty; Synth elements. Complete with, somewhat lengthy, soundbites. (lifted from the feature itself) they incite a smirk on the faces of those familiar with the feature, serving to inject intrigue (like a contagion) into those who (for some reason) aren’t. This element alone adds a certain uniqueness and identity to the release propelling it above the ‘run of the mill’ brutal death affair.

Tracks are unique and delightfully different from each other, and are often separated by over the top theatrical dialogue exchanges from the movie. Exchanges which often showcasing ignorance coupled with arrogance upon the residents of the country in which this movie is based from those hailing from a ‘more’ developed country.

Zombi_2_poster_01

The album starts with an electronic passage which should toss anyone familiar with the movie (the genre and the synth style from the period the soundtrack itself is courtesy of Fabio Frizzi) back in time to the last time it flashed across their retinas, and perhaps even the first time the movie assaulted their senses. Then the title track, ‘Tropical Sun’, drops and the listener begins to understand they are about to be submerged into an audio experience they might not have expected.

Influence is wide and fleeting in ‘Tropical Sun’. ‘Legion of the Resurrectionist’ and ‘Church of the Undead’ have a definite a Bolt Thrower dirge vibe, whilst other riffs and melodies swatches bursting with familiarity come and go with frequent regularity. Within ‘Tropical Sun’ styles are appreciatively varied. Old school sensibilities cavort with grindcore and Slam frolics with brutal death. AS this bounces betwixt the ears Suffocation might flash across the cortex as too Cannibal Corpse and a slew of others known for incorporating the occasional doom-laden riff/melody into their brand of audio.

The introduction to ‘Palms by the Cemetery’ adds a spot of levity to the proceedings in juxtaposing gurgling, throat-ripping carnage against a Caribbean guitar ditty. The mixture and combination of extreme and synth works excellently, the overall mix isn’t too heavy in any one area and the production is top-notch and surprisingly there’s more than enough groove to go around.

(for those curious the Zombie trailer courtesy of BloodyCinemaUSA)

It’s obvious that Fulci are talented, have done their research and know how to create and compose straying, as they do so, from copycat realms whilst frequently tugging at reminiscent strings. More impressive still is how they weave their influence alongside the electronic soundtrack elements it makes for an interesting audio experience (one might wonder if it were longer whether it could in fact synchronize to the film, much like the debates surrounding Pink Floyd, ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’) which any fan of nineties death can and will appreciate.

the-wizard-of-oz_a_l

Scarecrow, Lion, Tinman…what are we doing here? I’m scared!

The album ends on a high note. ‘Immortality Virus’ is an instrumental conclusion of sorts, an epilogue of sorts. The final track, ‘March of the Living Dead’ shows Fulci do with the ‘Zombi’ soundtrack as Entombed did with the ‘Phantasm’ soundtrack (better known as Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’). By doing so they give it definite presence, a highly effective distorted doom edge in effect transforming it into a track sporting limb tapping, infectious, rhythms which will haunt the listener’s thoughts for days afterwards. A ‘treatment’ which has been long overdue in my opinion. An overall effect which aids tremendously in sparking curiosity, in effect bringing the Italian maestro (the ‘godfather of gore’) output to a larger audience; the metal masses with a penchant for the horrific.

fulci midwest tour 19

Keep the eyes open and the ears to the ground for this release, it combines the best of both worlds. Cult, gore-splattered lumbering undead cinema and intoxicating death melodies, brutality and groove. What more, could one seriously, ask for?

 

In the next few Fulci will be touring in support of the release across the Midwest US

 

Cult

Abrasive Audio (Part the Ninth)

the rough seas of metal

 

I’ve been riding the rough seas of metal and I’ve survived to tell of my exploits.

Keeping it basic this week. Onward to audio extreme…

 

Chevalier – Destiny Calls
(Finland)
Release – April/26/2019
Gates of Hell Records
Clawhammer PR

https://chevalier.bandcamp.com/album/destiny-calls-2

chevalier

Artwork – 8.5

A detailed, intricate medieval-esque image boasts a somewhat mystical religious aura. Imagery which drips in mystery, treachery and an enigmatic agenda.

First Track – 8.5

A guitar crescendo immediately brings to bear thoughts of audio of a NWOBHM leaning as too do the tracks rhythms, vibe production and tone. Speed metal with an epic unpredictable nature, and an intriguing vocal style, meets power and epic metal. Quite against my opinions on the genre, I’ll admit I’m rather liking this.

Initial Listen – 8

Sporting a nature that’s part traditional heavy metal, part speed metal with splashes of avant-garde amidst a lyrically heavy fantastical setting “Chevalier” have managed to carve their own niche, albeit one that’s somewhat familiar to fans with a hankering for audio which whips up nostalgia from the very roots of the scene. Classical and baroque folk touches alongside narrative-esque introductions add depth, separating this from the majority of other releases all vying for attention in the exploding revival movement. Strangely several passages had me thinking upon the ‘Princess Bride’ movie (due partly because of the similarity to Andre the Giants voice, though also due to the tone of the audio itself). As with any releases within this genre the vocals of of a love it or hate it, break it or make it style. Oddly they’re growing on me with each and every revisit. Undeniable too, is this releases ‘vinyl vibe’ if that’s not a nod to the early scene and a treat for fans from around the same era, I honestly don’t know what is.

Recommended for fans of vintage Helloween, Iron Maiden, Candlemass, Voivod and Sabbat (UK) and those with a penchant for epic metal drenched in infectious rhythms and fantastical themes.

Favorite Tracks; The Curse of the Dead Star, Stormbringer.

Crestfallen Queen – Queen of Swords
(Germany)
Release – May/25/2019
Church Within Records
Against PR

https://crestfallenqueen.bandcamp.com/

cover_1553611973987586

Artwork – 8

Classical imagery with an occult and slightly macabre twist.

First Track – 8.5

Listening to the introduction is like being plunged into a pitch-black abyss where ominous sounds converge, striking, from every angle. This effect disappears, to be abruptly replaced by an acoustic doom soundscape that transforms into a galloping traditional heavy metal pace complete with smoldering vocals which occasionally reach a surprising feral intensity. A varied track which climaxes in surprisingly melody an effect which only heightens the intrigue for the remainder of the album to come.

Initial Listen – 8

Moody with definite rhythm, groove, and atmosphere this release bursts with varied influence, undeniable nostalgia, and covers a wide stylistic radius. Epic tracks showcase interwoven melodies and galloping riffs to form a constantly shifting doom/heavy metal landscape dotted with a myriad of emotion. The exemplary vocal range adds another layer to an album that slightly different, reeks of 70’s progressive somewhat “fuzzy” hard rock, yet utterly captivating.

Favorite Tracks; Queen of Swords, Eurydice’s Lullaby.

Nocturnal Witch – A Thousand Pyres
(Germany)
Release – March/25/2019
Evil Spell Records/Undercover
Against PR

https://nocturnalwitch.bandcamp.com/album/a-thousand-pyres

nocturnal Witch

Artwork – 7.5

Anyone up for the immolation of a collective of undesirables?

…There’ll be pizza!

*Sudden rush of hurried footsteps.

(I knew that would work!)

First Track – 7.5

An unrelenting mixture of black n’ thrash metal that’s reminiscent of the S. American scene with an intensity which screams familiarity. Intriguing indeed.

Initial Listen – 8

Chock full of unmerciful rhythms (albeit sometimes simplistic – verging on D-beat) and crescendo type riffs result in limbs moving of their own accord. Although, overall, it boasts nothing new to add to the scene it’s easily appreciated.

Perhaps not for true traditionalists/ Kvltists, but rather for those who, like myself, are slowly submerging themselves into a genre which offers considerably more than one might originally assume.

Favorite Tracks; A Thousand Pyres, Scorn and Wrath, Raise the Swords.

Bastardizer – Dawn of Domination
(Australia)
Release – April/30/2019
Evil Spell Records/Undercover
Against PR

https://bastardizer.bandcamp.com/

bastardizer

Artwork – 8.5

There’s definitely something arcane and evil afoot here. Perhaps a sacrifice  to the gods of rock n roll? This bears somewhat of a mid-era Morbid Angel vibe, perhaps that’s an indication of the audio on offer?

First Track – 8

A militaristic introduction, of sorts, doesn’t give much away (as to the genre, this could be speed, thrash or epic metal at this point) unlike the opening guitar rhythms and the venomous vocals slide into the mix. This is blackened speed metal folks, and I’m bobbing around like a buoy in a raging tsunami.

Initial Listen – 8.5

Falling neatly into the Motorhead, Venom and the blackened speed dynamic this album offers nothing stunningly new to the genre (however, it does waver from the traditional formula on occasion to great effect). But, with that in mind, this is a top-notch example of that realm. The rhythms are tight, addictive and inciteful, the vibe one of wickedness, and the vocals drip with an attitude that’s reeks of a South American bestial, blackened speed influence.

The audio concoction here is fantastic and when through will leave the listener sweating, panting, but eager for more.

Fans of Hellripper, Whipstriker and Venom will not be left disappointed!!

Take note – the Land Down Under is famous for more than merely the obvious, in fact it offers a delicious array of metal which fans of audio such as this are sure to devour greedily.

Favorite Tracks; Demons Unleashed, Whiskey till Death, A Dose of Vengeance, Midnight in Hell, Mongrels Wrath/The Depraved Nazarene.

Frust – Recurring Dreams
(Austria)
Release -April/4/2019
901514 Records DK
Against PR

https://frust-at.bandcamp.com/album/recurring-dreams

frust

Artwork – 7.5

Complete with the title, and the style of the band’s logo, the artwork could mean several things. I’m leaning towards a guppy flushed down the toilet, out for vengeance (is this a Troma title? If not, Why?). Though the album’s title text suggests something, perhaps, a bit more classical in tone.

First Track – 7.5

Bleak, cavernous and suffocating. Black in tone and drenched in an industrial tone with a synth dressing and dreamy atmosphere certainly makes for an interesting start.

Initial Listen – 7

The varied tone, pace and atmosphere of this album makes for a real mixed audio bag and quite a listening experience.

An industrial audio landscape drenched in cinematic synth elements often makes itself known, occasional black metal rhythm duck in for quick how-de-dos whilst more folksy classical elements frolic alongside guitar rhythms and an angelic voice to make up the softer side of the album keeping the listener unable to predict which direction this might take next, and whether they should let loose with a neck snappin’ impromptu dance routine or merely let allow the music to wash over them as they relax in a semi- inebriated state.

This is rather hard to categorize but delivers a smorgasbord of familiarity amidst a sonic bombardment which hints at mid-era Bathory worship as well a love for the symphonic and atmosphere by way of a synth accompaniment.

Favorite Tracks; Sfrawd Dica, Frei im Traum, Verfall.

War Curse – Eradication
(USA)
Release – May/10/2019
Svart Records
Dewar PR

https://warcursemetal.bandcamp.com/

war-curse-eradication-cover-400x400

Artwork – 8

A lone crow/raven perched in the remains of a tree kaws over a desolate landscape. The palette of this image is exquisite, moody and bears undeniable ominous qualities.

First Track – 8.5

Polished, in your face, aggressive thrash with infectious rhythms, fantastic pace and a vocal approach which’ll excite those you just can’t get enough of the style proudly displayed by (in particular) Chuck Billy and also that heard within mid-era Annihilator.

For some reason the thrash arena suddenly appeals to me again.

Initial Listen – 8.5

This burns with a tone which screams instant acceptance for fans of aggressive, high energy thrash. Those within the frenzied following of Forbidden, Overkill, Testament and Annihilator will have no problem whatsoever in allowing this entry into both their ears and prized audio collections. A fantastic introduction to the band and their brand of top notch, dynamic, riff heavy, thrash.

Favorite Tracks; Asylum, Eradication, Polluted Minds.

BAT – Axestacy
(USA)
Release – April/26/2019
Hell’s Headbangers

https://bat-richmond.bandcamp.com/

BAT

Artwork – 7.5

Raw and crude yet this seethes with a wicked vibe which makes one think of “demos” from decades past and audio of an underground origin.

First Track – 8.5

It isn’t long until one realizes this is unadulterated raunchy rock n’ roll dipped in speed metal values. And there’s no complaints here. This, ladies and Gentlemen is going to be a fun ride. Break out the beers and prepare to loosen up.

Initial Listen – 8.5

So, what does a release with a length of under fourteen minutes and six tracks offer someone who’s unfamiliar with the moniker ‘BAT’?

“You can’t stop what we came here to do, and you know our intentions are crude!” About nails it! Channeling Motorhead, Anthrax and Venom rhythms with a certain Raven cheekiness with no two tracks alike makes for a head bangin’ good time and BAT does not disappoint as they expertly careen across a myriad of styles, leave necks sore and leave no pulse unraised.

Highly recommended!!

Favorite Tracks; Wild Fever, ICE, Axestacy.

Appalling – Inverted Realm
(USA)
Release – May/3/2019
Redefining Darkness Records

https://redefiningdarknessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/appalling-inverted-realm

AApalling

Artwork – 8

Based on the brilliant artwork here

there’s really no doubt what the listener might be letting themselves in. The question remains, however, where does the audio lay in the extreme metal spectrum?

First Track – 7.5

Hardly typically death metal chuggery, this track offers the same chaotic-type approach favored by Morbid Angel and then builds on it with melodic Gothic passages. Vocals are of the rare variety, where every word is clear and concise, a style which Goatwhore fans will find familiar and might instantly appreciate.

Initial Listen – 8.5

For a debut this tells of infinitely more experience. Tracks are of an applaudably condensed length, as if all the fat has been shed leaving only the ‘prime cuts’ remaining for listening to eagerly devour.

An exquisite audio mixture sporting grandiose death stylings, smattering of black metal atmosphere, evocative passages and sprinkles of doom all overlaid with arcane/medieval sensibilities.

This is an act which needs tabs kept upon. If this is any indication of what’s to come their future is indisputably akin to staring at the sun through a microscope. My only qualm is that this is woefully short, 27 minutes and only seven tracks. I want…need, more!

Favorite Tracks; Hot Coals for Branding, A Mutilation at Large, Critical Thinking, Templar.

Necrosexual – The Gory Hole Overture in F#
(USA)
Release – May/17/2019
Dewar PR

https://necrosexual.bandcamp.com/album/the-gory-hole-overture-in-f

necrosexual

Artwork – 6

I’m honestly not even sure what I’m looking at here. A tombstone with an eye dripping pus from its center. And a coffin wrapped in chains in the middle of that. One thing’s for certain this is crude, hinting at, perhaps, audio of the same nature…?

First Track – 7

Traditional heavy metal rhythms, complete with crescendo wailing guitars and the occasional, abrupt, high pitched scream, doused in an 80’s style speed metal vibe. I can’t help but think of GWAR, though the similarity is slight, not in the least overpowering.

Initial Listen – 7

Akin to Gothic, sexually-charged hard rock/heavy metal seething with 80’s speed metal attitude this is certainly not a run-of-the-mill release, I honestly believe it wouldn’t have been thought of such decades ago either when a style such as this was more ‘in vogue’. An intriguing mixture of styles (recalling acts, in instances as far afield as The Misfits, Venom on account of the vocals in particular the Cronos era and the exuberance of early Raven) which might take someone like myself, unaccustomed to the style, some getting familiar with.

Favorite Tracks; The Gory Hole Overture in F#, In Ancient Daze (Black Widow).

Cabrio – Devotion and Hate
(Chili)
Release – April/5/2019
Against PR

https://toxicrecords.bandcamp.com/album/devotion-and-hate

cabrio

Artwork – 8

Like a twisted version of the Holy Mother Mary in which instead of kindness, compassion and love, destruction and wrath exude from her embrace.

A wicked image indeed!

First Track – 8

With a title which could be a nod to the infamous metal cruise of the same name Cabrio deliver pulverizing riffs and an assault akin to that of Overkill colliding with Soulfly. A heavy accented vocal approach complements the aggressive riff aplenty, in-your-face, thrash style that drips with a certain South American flavor.

Initial Listen – 8

High-energy aggressive thrash, bordering on melodic death (in moments aggressive hardcore), channeling a myriad of influences (Machine Head, Soulfly, Suicidal Tendencies, Hatebreed, Fear Factory among others) seething with unmistakable exotic flavor, atmosphere and attitude.

This audio that’s sure to incite a frenzy in a live setting.

Favorite Tracks; I Have Become, The Rapture, Dios Sin Fe.

Sxuperion – Endless Spiritual Embodiment
(USA)
Release – May/3/2019
Bloody Mountain Records
Clawhammer PR

https://bloodymountainrecords.bandcamp.com/album/endless-spiritual-embodiment

SX

Artwork – 7.5

A ghostly apparition, a wraith of sorts, in angelic form in limbo with its arms spread in an all-inviting gesture. But, there’s something amiss. An air of menace lies over this image like a shroud.

First Track – 8.5

Whirling hyper-speed rhythms and blast-beats conspire to form a Cosmic-esque fury. This transforms into an audio soundscape akin to slipping into the unknown and then again into chaos.

An intriguing start prompting me to search for a thesaurus so that I might get close to describing the audio experience which beckons.

Initial Listen – 8.5

An unrelenting tapestry of brutality interspersed with passages of doom- laden cinematic atmosphere and intriguing soundbite snippets which suggest a science fiction setting akin to discovering the unknown and plunging into mysterious, often tempestuous, occasionally suffocating, realms. A varied vocal assault consisting of wails, screams, growls and grunts add depth and invoke a smorgasbord of mood making for an unpredictable audio journey. Overall an intricate composition, an audio experience which demands several listens to fully appreciate but captivates from the first.

Favorite Tracks; Sacred Chamber of the Enlightenment, Phallic Point of Periapsis, Infinite Ethereal Vault.

Kull (formerly Bal Sagoth) – Exile
(UK)
Release – April/30/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR

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

KULL

Artwork – 8

Classical yet too dark and moody for a Running Wild release (it has a Pirate ship). Boasting an ominous title like ‘Exile’ one knows there’s something ominous afoot and I’m criminally intrigued.

First Track – 8.5

I’ll admit the introduction threw me for a loop. It plays like a fantasy platform game and bears a glorious, grandiose, militaristic nature, as if a battle and enemy has just been vanquished and all is on glorious display. The music itself at first sounds like it doesn’t mesh. However, as the track progresses the elements come together. A symphonic backdrop against epic melodies with a certain underlying menace yet undeniably fluid in nature. An overall infectious combination complete with snarling vocals. A concoction which puts me in mind of ‘Damnation and a Day’ CoF material and the first (and my favorite) Black Guard release.

Initial Listen – 9.5

I don’t honestly know why I haven’t taken the time to listen to Bal Sagoth, I’ve seen the logo a few times. As if this is any indication of what’s on offer, I’m missing out.

Grandiose in tone and scope Exile offers that which many have tried, in vain, to capture. Exquisite rhythms, thundering riffs as well passages of beauty complement a symphonic backdrop, epic in scale. The vocal department is varied and ranges from narration like accents to wails, screams, whispers and growls. Suffice it to say I’m a long- time fan of Cradle of Filth and I’m blown away with what this release offers!

I’m tempted to say that this careens into power metal realms, it certainly carries the ‘weight’ though has a black feel to it which I would only imagine will make many fans of the aforementioned scene run for the hills (how’s that for a tip of the hat?) Hardly traditional of any one genre this overflows with menace, majesty and at times a certain viciousness, even a narration of sorts, a fantastical concept unfolds if you will. This might at first make heads spin. As it progresses, however, confusion is sure to translate into admiration, appreciation and frantic research into a back catalog which demands attention based on the brilliance of this alone. I’m floored!!

Prepare to scoop your jaw from the floor, this will make waves!

Sins of the Damned – Striking the Bell of Death
(Chile)
Release – March/3/2019
Shadow Kingdom Records

https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/striking-the-bell-of-death

sins of the damned

Artwork – 8.5

This art reeks of a 90’s thrash/death crossover vibe. Zombies, skeletons a Grim Reaper, a militaristic vibe and crimson soaked carnage. I’m loving it!

First Track – 7.5

Rapid paced thrash/speed which’ll raise the blood pressure and make those limbs a twitch. Injected with a splash of heavy metal ala Iron Maiden and a vocal style which is easy to get behind.

Initial Listen – 8

Fans of European thrash from the late eighties will lap this up. Similarities to Sodom, Vendetta and a slew of other acts which strive to be the fret board-melting fastest come to mind. And although this really adds nothing new to expand upon the genre it showcases an act who know how to create pleasing audio and also have an understanding of which buttons to pummel to keep the listeners attention. Enjoyable throughout, this sports a cavalcade of riffs and rhythms sure to spark abrupt movement into the most exhausted of torso, deserving placement among others in any self-respecting speed metal fans audio arsenal.

Favorite Tracks; They Fall and Never Rise Again, The Outcast (Rise of Cain), Death’s all Around You.

That’s it for this mammoth installment, until next time our paths of audio interest meet.

Cult

Abrasive Audio part the Eighth

bestof18Audio

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

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

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

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

leather glove

Artwork – 8

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

First Track – 7.5

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

Initial Listen – 8

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

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

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

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

https://wormwitch.bandcamp.com/

wormwitch

Artwork – 8.5

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

First Track – 9

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

Initial Listen – 9

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

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

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

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

bloodphemy

Artwork – 8

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

Nevermind.

First Track – 8

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

Initial Listen – 8.5

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

Favorite Tracks; Spree Killing, Mental Atrophy.

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

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

teleport

Artwork – 8

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

First Track – 8.5

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

Initial Listen – 9

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

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

Favorite Tracks; This delivers from start to finish!

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

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

haunt mosaic vision

Artwork – 8

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

First Track – 9

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

Initial Listen – 9.5

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

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

Four tracks of exquisite heavy metal.

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

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

imprecation

Artwork – 9

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

First Track – 8.5

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

Initial Listen – 9

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

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

Don’t miss out on this, I nearly did!

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

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

https://entrapment2.bandcamp.com/

entrapment

Artwork – 8.5

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

First Track – 8.5

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

Familiar sounding vocals add to its appeal.

A great start!

Initial Listen – 8.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

blind monarch

Artwork – 7.5

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

First Track – 8

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

Initial Listen – 8.5

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

Favorite Tracks; Suffering Breathes my Name, Living Altar.

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

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

bonehunter

Artwork – 9

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

First Track – 9

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

Initial Listen – 9

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

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

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

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

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

pissgrave

Artwork – n/a

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

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

First Track – 7.5

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

Initial Listen – 8.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

frosthelm

Artwork – 8.5

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

First Track – 9

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

Hold my calls, this is great stuff!

Initial Listen -9

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

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

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

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

hannes grossmann

Artwork – 8

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

First Track – 9

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

Initial Thoughts – 9

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

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

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

Plucked from Metals Past

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

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

aggravator

Thoughts-

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

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

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

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

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

 

Cult

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

Your slave to audio extreme.

Attack of the Compilation – Extreme Metal Attack (anno XVI)

bestof18Audio

Extreme Metal Attack (anno XVI)
HelldProd Records
Release – March/22/2019

(Celebrating the 16th event of its kind in Portugal scheduled for March 22/23, 2019)

https://helldprod.bandcamp.com/album/extreme-metal-attack-anno-xvi-2019-tickets

Release date March/22/2019

extreme metal attack 2019

Well hello again.

Cult’s house is empty.

It’s quiet. Which is strange as the spawn of Cult usually leaves a tornado of destruction in her wake, she isn’t shy about letting loose amplified power from her infantile pipes either, the words “I’m a princess!!” Never fails to leave a smirk on my gnarly visage.

I’m discovering new stuff every day. Like where Cult secretes his sugary goods in order that his lips are the only ones to taste them (clever bastid!). I believe I’ve found his weakness however, if it even comes down to it all I’ll ever need do is hold one of his beloved Funkos hostage and he’ll be like putty in my grasp.

Now, where was I? I got distracted.

Ah, there’s his computer. One nudge of the table on which it’s perched and the screen flashes into life. It appears Cult has left me a template (what a nice fellow), either that or he didn’t get around to finishing this. Ha! I’ll make his day and do it for him.

Now what do we have here? An underground metal compilation supporting a festival in Portugal. I’ve visited numerous times. The people are tasty (though there’s no ketchup in sight) and the language is like the exquisite howling of a tortured soul to my ears.

Hmm-! My interest is perked, my nipples are hard, I’ll spare you the description of my aroused genitals. Let’s take a listen, shall we?

Well, would ya look at that. It seems as though, on visual contact anyway, this compilation seems right up my alley (there’s a ‘double-entendre’ if ever I visualized one, yuck!)

The track title is enough to raise the hackles of a hell hound with a hankering for audio extreme.

hellhound

Wait. I smell audio extreme. I’ll save you for later!

‘Fire’, ‘Daemons’, ‘Abominations’, ‘Deathchant’ and ‘Unholy Semen’ (full of salty protein nutrition, no doubt, at least that’s how I’d spin it on a first date) all words which I’m intimately familiar with though which still never fail to grab my attention. Now, where was I? A tray full of snacks, Chef mix, donuts? I jest, I have the attention of a flea. But, strangely, where metal is concerned, I’m hyper-vigilant, if only I had the memory to match.

Perusing articles of a similar nature I can see that Cult has devised a rating system especially for the purpose of releases such as this. I like it, but it won’t work in this instance, I need my own flavor.

Let’s try this instead.

Abysmal.

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

 

Hrrrrrhhhhh-!

Better, this shows potential. Much like, I’d imagine, your mother on a first date. But it still leaves me wanting.

The Goblin are going crazy!

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

Time for a Crimson Splattered Moshpit!

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

All Mine!

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

confued Orc

I’m confused, still!

 

That’s better, get the point? I don’t care, let’s continue.

Nine tracks in all, and I’ll be if each one of them doesn’t excite in their own way.

Nocturnal are to first to rip into the senses, the track appears oddly ironic. I’m bouncing around like a primate with its a lit firecracker in its anus. Let’s just say Cult is going to return home to find shit all outta’ whack. The place is destroyed, his coffee is on the carpet (not to fret it’s in a spill proof type container thing) one of the legs of his side table is reduced to splinters, several (of the various) notebooks from his desks is confetti and the picture of the smiling green guy above his desk is slightly askew. I need to calm down. But what a start. Damn!

The audio continues. There’s no frilly crap to be found here folks I can make that out within no time at all. Blackened speed/thrash, black metal and black every-goddamn-thing else is on the menu, venomous vocals which would strip primer from a myriad of vehicles in a gangsters paradise (whatever that means) complement rhythms inciteful enough to raise the Dead (keep the ‘toilet water’ handy, corpses have a stench to cut through even the most wicked of sinus blockage).

After a solitary listen, I’ll grant this a rating of Time for a Crimson Splattered Moshpit within spitting distance of the All Mine! rating.

Overall this collection is one I’d gladly take a few lashings for, my boss is a split-tongued, pitch fork wielding, demanding cock-nugget, what can I say?

Within the collection there are a handful of tracks I lost total control of my body over whilst listening, tracks I’d gladly place on an infernal playlist and irreparably damage my misshapen torso to.

In order…

nocturnal

Nocturnal – Rising Daemons

Fast as unholy fuck with rhythms to match and wicked vocals and a nod to vintage speed metal. An amazing introduction to this, or any compilation. My neck is broken, again, from the vigorous head bangin’, I’ll have to reset it (but it was worth it!)

Dethronation – Deathchant Assyria

Try as hard as I might I can’t help but bounce from one wall to the next with this between my ears. Old-school blackened speed and attitude with a South American feel. What’s not to like?

Did I mention this has an epic length and passages of doom tinged atmosphere, nope? Well I apologize. Great track!

blackevil

Blackevil – Between Fire and Fire

What is it about “speed” that gets to me so?

This question might never be answered, in much the same way human males have a fascination of over-sized mounds of chest fat fit to bursting.

Blackevil have somehow fused NWOBHM with blackened speed with a familiar vocal style I can’t for the infernal life of me place (there’s that shit memory again). Regardless this fkn’ rips!!

Nefastu – Belica Neblina

Blistering black metal similar to Tatgren’s scorching Abyss output. Need I say more, probably not, but I will.

Alcoholocaust – Supreme Heavy Metal Negro

Chainsaws and machine guns and there’s the N word in the title. One of these three things is enough to incite a riot in the liberal mind, the other two are used to exhaustion every night in the suburbs of Chicago. Take your pick, I’ll be busy acting like a frenzied force of nature as I prance around without a care in the world.

martyrium

Martyrium – Abominations

Easily the most polished sounding track here. This boasts epic values and sports black, death and doom, albeit pitch in tone, elements.

It’s the sacrificial aura that does it for me, however. Gteat stuff!

Necromutilator – Unholy Semen of Doom

I swear if this track sucked especially with the words ‘unholy semen’ in its title I’d hurt a Mfer’. Thankfully it doesn’t! Groove aplenty.

toxik attack

Toxik Attack – Loucos Pelo Old School

I can’t for the life of me make out what they are saying but I’m loving this. It has a folk/heavy metal/speed metal vibe which I’m finding irresistible.

That’s about it, this compilation made me jizz all over the damn place, several times in fact, caused me a concussion from slipping in the mess and resulted in an unfathomable amount of broken bones. Not to worry they’ll knit together again, and I’ll become infinitely uglier.  This is par for the course and I’ve become accustomed to it.

Fuk, I hear footsteps, I’ve no time to clean up. Perhaps a note will suffice…?

There, I’ve placed it where it will be easily spotted.

Oh, what does it say?

Sorry Daddy, it was me.

Love M.

No one will ever know.

Now to secreting myself where no one will find me. Wait a minute. She’s barely two, do you think she even knows how to brandish a crayon, or use punctuation?

extreme metal attack banner

B

Charging Forth – Hoisting the metal standard defiantly towards the heavens

(yet another installment in the Abrasive Audio series)

bestof18Audio

Mortal Scepter – Where Light Suffocates

(France)

Release – January/22/2019

Xtreem Music

https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/where-light-suffocates

wherelight

Artwork – 8.5

Something lurks under the water, it’s hungry, and this Artwork is stunning.

First Track – 8.5

Brisk and oozing with appreciated influence. If this doesn’t carve a smirk on the chops of any vintage Sodom or Kreator fan, I don’t know what to say.

Initial Listen – 9

Fast, ripping and dripping with old school evil influence. Infectious riffs played at light speed and rhythms which will damn near tear the head from its fleshy anchor. All that’s missing is a cover of ‘Under the Guillotine’. This is the first I’ve heard of Mortal Scepter but something tells me it most certainly won’t be the last!

My favorite album of the year so far, by far!

Recommended for fans of vintage Sepultura, Kreator and Whipstriker.

It’s hard to comprehend this is their debut!

Favorite Tracks; Where Light Suffocates, Murder the Dawn, The Carpathian Castle, Swallow Your Tongue and the epic The Scepter Reigns.

Tytus – Rain After Drought

(Italy)

Release – January/8/2019

Fighter Records

www.fighter-records.bandcamp.com

tytus

Artwork – 6.5

Ominous tones and an image drenched in themes of karma, a god like retribution of sorts about to unleashed.

First Track – 7.5

Gravely vocals complement galloping riffs showcasing passages which are dynamic and get the blood pumping. Speed/heavy metal with arena venue values which is certainly intriguing, especially notable as I rarely frequent this genre.

Initial Listen – 7.5

With influences which’ll make any long-time fan reminisce upon the golden era of metal Tytus have created an album which is exciting, fluid and at times diverse (‘Rain After Drought pt. 2’ is a good example) in its approach.

Fans of vintage Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Halloween, the NWOBHM scene and earlier power/speed metal standouts rejoice for this release delivers, inciting movement and interest in a scene which somewhat of late has found an appreciated resurgence.

Favorite Tracks; Disobey, The Dark Wave, Rain After Drought (pt 1), Move on Over and A Desolate Shell of a Man.

Blood Feast – Chopped, Sliced and Diced

(a reworking of “classics”)

(USA)

Release – December/21/2018

Hell’s Headbangers

https://blood-feast.bandcamp.com/album/chopped-sliced-and-diced

bloodfeast

 Artwork – 8

This ghoul is out for bloodletting and he’s eaten his ‘wheaties’ so watch out!

First Track – 9

Incendiary rhythms and a drum beat that grabs you by the short n’ curlies.

An amazing start, I’m sweating already!

Initial Listen – 8.5

Somewhere bands lose it with age (no names) Blood Feast however have only seemed to become more energetic and tighter. Showcasing a style that makes me think fondly upon vintage Slayer mixed with DRI. This is a reworking of classics with enough gusto to make the listener impatient for new material and leave them searching frantically for releases which are probably somewhat difficult to locate (and to think I had the original ‘Chopping Block Blues’ on cassette many moons ago).

Favorite Tracks; Concubine, Chopping Block Blues.

Maestus – Deliquesce

(USA)

Release – February/8/2019

Code666 Recordings

http://maestus.bandcamp.com

maestus

Artwork – 7.5

Awash in a bleak and desolate nature this image depicts the many furrows and peaks of a mountain range akin to the turbulent nature of the ups and downs of a depressive nature, the Hills and valleys of grief, loss and hopelessness.

First Track – 9

Cinematic in its scope ‘Deliquesce’ drowns the listener in all manner of emotion with the excellent utilization of symphonics, melody, a turbulent unpredictable pace and shifting brutality. A stunning opener that’s effective in holding the listener in thrall till it’s final note.

Initial Listen – 8.5

Four tracks running fifty minutes could only mean one of a couple of things. Either, lots of dead air, meandering experimentalism, or an album draped in doom sensibilities. Thankfully, this is of the former variety.

Frolicking across many genres ‘Deliquesce’ dips into funeral waters as well black depths to effectively invoke emotion, with influence that’s varied, including Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Novembers Doom. Balancing beauty and brutality exquisitely Maestus effectively whisk its audience across a bleak sonic landscape devoid of light. An excursion best taken in its entirety, undisturbed, for full effect. A fantastic audio experience that’s sure to spark interest. Keep an eye on these guys!

Favorite Tracks; Deliquesce, The Impotence of Hope and The Knell of Solemnity.

 In the Fire – Volatile Beings

(USA)

Release-February/15/2019

Horror, Pain, Gore Death Productions

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/volatile-beings

inthefire

Artwork – 7.5

A skull, serpents and fire (…fire, fire!) What else do you need?

Seriously.

First Track – 8

Influences abound. I’m detecting Cradle of Filth (vocal wise) and a myriad of speed metal influences as too thrash and traditional heavy metal. An interesting mix which bursts with energy, melody, mystery and vintage occult leanings (ala King Diamond/Mercyful Fate) and makes for an intriguing listen and only makes me more curious still as to the direction this album will take.

Initial Listen – 7.5

Hardly an album one could place in one category, and be pleased with their decision, this is an album oozing with a plethora of styles and perhaps a few many might imagine would not play well together until, that is, they give this a listen. That’s not to say this is wildly experimental, not in the slightest in fact, it’s just that as it plays out it isn’t quite what one might expect but is wholly, wildly, consumable. Melodic and soaring with rhythm, associated more to a genre one would imagine HPGD would not normally step foot into, ‘Volatile Beings’ is an album which might throw the listener for a loop (especially when one does research into the bands ‘construction’) perhaps the title is hint alone at a source of one of its influences (Dokken)? Nevertheless, give this a peek and marvel at the rich, diverse, audio tapestry it offers.

Favorite Tracks; Feral, Into Battle and Inside Out.

Festerday – iihtallan

(Finland)

Release – January/4/2019

Season of Mist Records/Underground Activists

https://festerday.bandcamp.com/album/lihtallan

festerday

Artwork – 6

Is the Earth covered in filth about to be consumed by something wholly incomprehensible in its deviant nature?

Perhaps, but isn’t this just another day of normalcy?

First Track- 7.5

Carnage meets a grindcore vibe with sickening vox and groove to spare.

Carry on… I’m curious.

Initial Listen – 7

The influence radius is wide and undeniable. Bulldozer riffs accompanied by a Stockholm vibe with track titles a fan of vintage Cannibal Corpse would appreciate. But, let’s not forget about the groove amidst all the old school homage.

Recommended for fans of Vomitory, Bolt Thrower, Prostitute Disfigurement, Grave and mid era Carcass.

Favorite Tracks; Control Not Your Soul, Vomiting Pestilence, Flowers of Bones and Gravelove.

Archangel AD – Warband

(USA)

Release – January/11/2019

Self-Released

https://archangelad.bandcamp.com/album/warband

archangelad

Artwork – 7

Raw, primitive yet this undeniably shines with old school appeal. The Four Horsemen in BnW complete with banners and skulls.

First Track – 8.5

Blistering and aggressive, riff laden, old school thrash. Think Vintage Exodus mixed with ‘Kill em All’ era Metallica. A fantastic way to get those hooks in, my ears are thanking me!!

Initial Listen – 8.5

These guys have done their homework. Complete with ‘Kill em All’ production values ‘Warband’ drags the listener on a wild excursion to old school thrashville (influence is plentiful including the obvious and Overkill, among others) a landscape dotted with applaudable lyrical content, riffs aplenty and vocals which scream metal! Shit, there’s even a nod to the almighty Candlemass with the track ‘Evil Dreams’.

A great audio experience to start the year!!

Bang yer’ head and break out the denim.

Favorite Tracks; Unto the Evil, Warband, Evil Dreams and Metal Hordes.

Chainbreaker – Lethal Desire

(Canada)

Release – February/15/2019

Hell’s Headbangers

https://chainbreaker-canada.bandcamp.com/album/lethal-desire

chianbreaker

Artwork – 7.5

A helmeted champion, skulls and chains. I’m getting a Manowar vibe here with possible aggressive speed/thrash metal undertones.

Only a listen will tell for sure.

First Track – 8.5

I only know of a few tracks which commence with a nuclear blast. Megadeth’s ‘I don’t Wanna Set the World on Fire’ and this. And, I’m glad to report, both are rather memorable. ‘Atomica’ sears it’s way into your brain.

“You’re gonna die in the fire!”.

Initial Listen – 8.5

Bearing vintage Venom-esque raw, electrified, adrenaline production values and a vibe that’s part (fun) Exodus, part filthy rock n roll and all late 80’s speed metal this album never lets up. ‘Constant Graving’ and ‘Born Loud’ add a spat of diversity to the album and bear more a Celtic Frost, Stockholm Buzzsaw sounding attack.

Overall, if this album doesn’t put a smile on yet metal lovin’ chops, get you moving or add to your nights drinking and revelry experience I’m at a loss for words. Frankly, this tossed me back to a time when metal was loud, rude, crude but mostly riotous in the best possible, naturally.

Favorite Tracks; Leatherized, Atomica, Postmortem Dreams and Born Loud.

Hollow Leg – Civilizations

(USA)

Release – January/25/2019

Argonauta Records

https://hollowleg666.bandcamp.com/music

holowleg

Artwork – 6

Grandad, did you know your face is on a Mayan calendar?

– Surely you jest?

Nope, it’s there. And it looks like you’re eating your way out of a television.

– That’s odd!

First Track – 7.5

A mammoth track vomits this album from out of the starting gate, albeit it at a pace of its own terms. A slight middle Eastern vibe, perhaps to throw the listener off? But it doesn’t last long. Groove is soon at the top of the menu aided and abetted by distortion, a smidgen of progressive nature and riffs carrying enough weight to make any subwoofer tap out in exhaustion. Surprisingly the concoction is a pleasure to have bounce betwix the ears, it’s oddly soothingly in fact especially on account of the gravelly vocals accompanying the tracks rhythm.

Initial Listen – 8

Often monstrous in its bludgeoning, though fluid riff approach, Hollow Leg gives the listener a glimpse into its ‘softer’ side, drenched in progressive elements, albeit briefly to cleanse the palette, displaying their diversity and willingness to switch things up and adapt (if need be). Other tracks showcase a myriad of styles woven together to great effect whereas the bread and butter of Hollow Leg remains the stoner, sludge approach which, by itself, is enough to sate any yearnings for mammoth groove basted riff consumption.

Prepare to lose yourself in a winding, often tempestuous, river of meandering melody.

Favorite Tracks; Litmus, Black Moon, Chimera and Hunter and the Hunted.

Mo’ynoq – Dreaming in a Dead Language

(USA)

Release – January /11/2019

Independent

Self-Released

https://moynoq.bandcamp.com/album/dreaming-in-a-dead-language

moynoq

Artwork – 7

Intriguing, artistic and full of enigmatic detail and depth. This has my attention!

First Track – 7

Straight outta the gate these guys go for an explosive assault. Suffocating, blistering and chaotic, there’s no doubt this is going to be one helluva’ dark ride draped in mysticism and occult values.

Initial Listen – 7.5

Blending progressive, death, doom and traditional black metal elements Mo’ynoq have created an album which demands several listens to fully comprehend though kidnaps the attention from the very first. An audio collective which boasts surprisingly melody, majestic heights and cavernous lows. Intricately harrowing rhythms invoke dread and paranoia and are complemented by a vocal attack that’s varied, abrasive and at times even oddly haunting.

Go into this with an open mind and you’ll enjoy the experience.

Favorite Tracks; The Collector, Carve my Name and Witness to the Abyss.

Arsis – Visitant

(USA)

Release – November/2/2018

Nuclear Blast Records

https://www.arsisofficial.com/

arsis

Artwork – 7.5

Typically Arsis in tone. Skulls and cobwebs draped in a Gothic vibe. I’m only left wondering what one is whispering to the other, perhaps a joke to tickle the ivory, or a query as to how it is another has managed to crash their intimate surroundings.

First Track – 9

Furious, frenetic, tight and melodic. Arsis are back! And it’s about time as many have been patiently wondering. A fantastic introduction to the newest addition to their already impressive discography. (There’s an awesome B movie splatterific video that accompanies this track, ‘Tricking the Gods’, for all those interested, and I have no idea why one wouldn’t be!)

Initial Listen – 9

Technical, intricate and… a breath of fresh air. I honestly don’t know how Arsis do it as this isn’t ground-breaking audio. It is, however, excellent in its composition, flow and execution, and makes me reflect upon the brilliance of vintage Arch Enemy material and certain Black Dahlia Murder tracks.

Top notch from its opening riff to its last I’m kicking myself as to why it was that I hadn’t jumped on this sooner. Thank the Dark Lord for end of year lists, otherwise I might have missed this. Oh, the horror!

If you have yet to discover this act, do so at your earliest convenience!

Favorite Tracks; Hellsworn, As Deep as Your Flesh, Funereal Might, Easy Prey and His Eyes.

Cancer – Shadow Gripped

(UK)

Release – November/2/2018

Peaceville Records

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlCFUD-b7wI

cancer

Artwork – 5

If I wasn’t already familiar with the band and their legacy I would’ve probably passed this by based on its somewhat generic artwork. Although, I do understand one should never judge a book by its cover. Perhaps this is a case when a simple approach would’ve worked more effectively. I’m of the belief that a large, bold, logo (ala’ Master) would’ve worked better.

First Track – 6.5

Mid-tempo thrash/death which puts me in mind of a similar band, Benediction, from around the same era, arena and geographic area.

Initial Listen – 7

It’s been a while since fresh Cancer audio has graced the ears, so I was more than excited to dive into all this offered.

‘Shadow Gripped’ succeeds in sparking nostalgia though unfortunately doesn’t quite offer that which is needed to elevate it above the myriad of other releases in the same genre. With that in mind, however, it does have its moments, a handful of rhythms which will bounce the head back n’ forth ferociously and a well-executed delicate doom/thrash/death balance. But not nearly enough to pluck this from the grasp of eager, patient, long-time fans into that of its placement upon end of year lists.

I’m intrigued as to how this will be received by the metal community at large. Perhaps I was expecting more, and I’ve been too hasty to judge based on the bands previews efforts.

Favorite Tracks; Garrote, Organ Snatcher, The Infocidal, Though Shalt Kill and Shadow Gripped.

 

As always feel free to tell me your thoughts, leave a comment or a suggestion. I’m all ears!

Cult

bestof18Audio

Voidhanger’s Best of 2018

Better late than never, right?  2018 was a Hell of a year, and narrowing it down was difficult.  That’s why we’re thankful for extensive honorable mentions lists!

Honorable mentions:

mortuous

Mortuous – Through Wilderness

Abigor – Höllenzwang – Chronicles of Perdition –

Eskhaton – Omegalitheos

Funeral Winds – Sinister Creed

Hyperdontia – Nexus of Teeth

Mortuous – Through Wilderness

Pagan Hellfire – At the Resting Depths Eternal

Ulthar – Cosmovore

ulthar-cosmovore-01-500x500

Ulthar – Cosmovore

 

Now, on to the meat and potatoes.  The cream of the crop.  The best of the best.  Starting with…

 #10: Nécropole – “Solarité”

An indisputably French sound with delicate strings of melody weaving through the cold harshness, Nécropole are a shining example of how black metal can forge brave new sounds without betraying the old style.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLA7UOUvxTY

necropole

“Necropole” doesn’t translate as  a dead Polish fella

#9 Outre-Tombe – “Nécrovortex”

Three years after dropping their massive debut “Répurgation,” Quebecois death metal band Outre-Tombe continue their old school, Sweden-worshipping death assault with a flailing, unrestrained follow-up.

https://templeofmystery.bandcamp.com/album/n-crovortex

outre-tombe-necrovortex-001

#8: Akitsa – “Credo”

Quebec’s long-running black metal flagship returned in 2018 with their sixth album.  Raw, powerful and with lots of punk influence, “Credo” is Akitsa’s clearest and most focused statement of intent to date.  Awesome cuts like ‘Le monde et ma bile’ showcase Akitsa in prime form and not losing even a smidgen of steam.

https://akitsa.bandcamp.com/album/credo

credo fullbleed coverWHITE TEXTcorrected letter spacingGOLD

 

#7: Clandestine Blaze – “Tranquility of Death”

Clandestine Blaze continues to fly high the banner of unrepentant, no-frills black metal.  While “Tranquility of Death” isn’t quite on the same lofty level as “City of Slaughter” (my #1 album for 2017), it holds its own and Clandestine Blaze keeps representing the best of what the genre has to offer.

https://clandestineblaze.bandcamp.com/album/tranquility-of-death

clandestine blaze

#6: Old Tower – “Stellary Wisdom”

The only non-metal entry on this list, Old Tower channel the sound and emotional resonance of early Mortiis, especially “Født til å Herske.”  A morose journey through medieval dusks and lunar sanctums, it compels you to let go and forget everything else.

https://oldtower.bandcamp.com/album/stellary-wisdom

old tower

#5: Summoning – “With Doom We Come”

A bit of a dark horse in the Summoning discography, “With Doom We Come” seems to have come and gone with little fanfare.  This might be due to it being a more sullen affair than their comparatively bombastic releases like “Let Heroes Sing Your Mortal Fame” or “Oath Bound.”  Contemplative, introspective, mournful and melancholic are all words that apply to “With Doom We Come” in addition to all the various adjectives for “epic” that are usually found in conjunction with Summoning.  Sit back and let these visions of the darker regions of Middle-Earth engulf you.

https://summoning.bandcamp.com/album/with-doom-we-come

summoning

#4: Spectral Wound – “Infernal Decadence”

Firmly entrenched in the Quebec black metal sound with Finnish flairs, “Infernal Decadence” is aggressive but with copious melody and an organic, full sound.  Not a single filler track to be found on the album and they’re a killer live act to boot, so catch ‘em if you can.

https://spectralwound.bandcamp.com/album/infernal-decadence

spectral wound

#3: Drawn and Quartered – “The One Who Lurks”

Managing to release top-tier material over 20 years into a career is a damn impressive feat, but Drawn and Quartered make it look easy by remaining at the top of their game and unleashing one of their most accomplished albums yet.  “The One Who Lurks” brings Drawn and Quartered to unprecedented levels of savagery and complexity.

https://krucyator.bandcamp.com/album/the-one-who-lurks

dnq

#2: Moenen of Xezbeth – “Ancient Spells of Darkness…”

The very soundtrack to a lich awakening in its musty crypt after aeons of restless sleep, Moenen of Xezbeth masterfully echo the mystical feel of Samael and early Hellenic bands Zemial, Agatus, Twilight and Necromantia.  “Ancient Spells of Darkness…” sounds like it could have been recorded in the early nineties and is an absolute gift to anyone who adores that era.

https://nuclearwarnowproductions.bandcamp.com/album/ancient-spells-of-darkness

moenen of xezbeth

#1: Tomb Mold – “Manor of Infinite Forms”

“Manor of Infinite Forms” is a savage flying dragon kick of death metal to the throat that takes the blueprint from their 2017 debut and steps it up in every way.  Sounding like classic Finnish bands Demilich, Convulse and Demigod exploded and spattered their gore-drenched viscera all over Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower and Entombed, Tomb Mold is way closer to death metal perfection than a band this young has any business being.  Here’s hoping the already-announced 2019 album continues their meteoric rise.

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

tomb-mold2

Thanks Void. Thanks for your invaluable input, thoughts and mind numbing knowledge on the darker corners of the extreme metal universe.

Here’s to another stunning year of metal, minus the bullshit drama.