Posts Tagged ‘Metal’

Abrasive Audio- Turbo Edition #1

abrasive audio turbo edition header

I can’t fathom why I didn’t think of this earlier. The onslaught of Extreme Audio much like a raging tsunami is unforgiving. There’s no keeping up. I doubt even if I made this an obsession (more than it already is) I would still be behind. With this in mind I must give thanks to the metal community on Twitter for their Reccs, suggestions and their ability to pluck from the past that which I never knew existed

(Emil, Jay and Demnuts I’m looking in your direction here). Obviously, I’d like to mention each and every person who continues to make me feel like I belong and those who continue to allow me to continue to bug them with random Reccs, suggestions and offers. There are others yet who continue to bedazzle me with their knowledge on the scene (I have a hard time remembering what I ate for dinner yesterday!) Void is slowly pulling me into the BM fold, against my initial judgement I find myself resisting less and less.

I would be remiss not to mention Kman. His dedication, knowledge and determination seriously know no bounds and his FFF each week leaves me unfathomably frustrated as I understand there’s no consuming every release he’s promoting. I can but try, but to no avail. In between striving to ensure my bills are paid, various family duties and other not so important adult stuff (don’t grow up kids, it sucks!) I just haven’t the time.

Without further ado I’d like to present a new approach; multiple albums, multiple genres, both new and not so much. Each gets a few important details, a single listen and a couple of words. For those needing a FFO I’m sorry, much like my introduction to most of the bands/albums here like myself you’re also be going in blind. Let’s call it exploration!

Simple. What say we put on our spelunking helmets and get started?

WVRM - Colony Collapse

WVRM (USA) – Colony Collapse

https://wvrmgrind.bandcamp.com/album/colony-collapse

Release- April 2020

Genre – Grindcore/Brutal Death/Crust/Hardcore/Sludge

A Grindcore album with a handful of tracks over two minutes in length? Yeppers, it’s rare but this is what we have on display here. Untraditional for sure, but WVRM manage somehow to pull it off. Ragin’ brutality, lyrical angst, mature arrangements, humorous soundbites, grinding rhythms, a little bit of “noise” and a varied style which thankfully exists this side of the “bree-bree-bree” vocal (silliness) spectrum. Shit, there’s even a violin passage. This is ‘Grindcore’ I can subscribe to! Slightly different (but nowhere near experimental to the realm where it’s unfamiliar), angst ridden, groove-laden and exhilarating. In short, a twenty-four-minute workout which will exercise muscles you never knew existed.

Final Score – 83

The Antichrist Imperium

The Antichrist Imperium (UK) – Volume II; Every Tongue Shall Praise Satan

https://apocalypticwitchcraft.bandcamp.com/album/volume-ii-every-tongue-shall-praise-satan

Release – June 2018

Genre – Black Metal/Thrash/Avant Garde/Progressive/Blackened Death/Post BM/Atmospheric BM

The similarities to Akercocke here cannot be ignored (the two bands share a member). Much like the aforementioned TAI (an abrv.) compose sans a genre framework in mind. Theirs is a style much like the movement of a rock in a maelstrom. It changes direction at the drop of a hat producing considerable damage as it does so. Unlike that rock its movement is surprisingly fluid oftentimes transporting the listener to realms one might not consider (unless of course they’d previously heard of Akercocke) see above for the variety of genre descriptions. A wide array of vocal styles fitting the mood amp up the album’s enjoyment. Blistering speed bursts are a huge part of the albums appeal (for me) it also provides passages akin to a Brutal Death assault with an Industrial edge (in a style fans of The Berserker will enjoy) more so than the aforementioned act. Between the two I cannot pick a favorite, I guess it depends on the mood. One could perhaps think of this as a logical progression for Akercocke if they had stuck to themes revolving around Satanism. I will state this is an album I will place in a constant rotation playlist. It has quite literally blown me away. This is far beyond impressive…and diverse. Have I previously mentioned that?

Final Score – 94

Devil to Pay

Devil to Pay (USA) – Forever, Never or Whenever

https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/forever-never-or-whenever

Release – November 2019

Genre – Doom/Stoner Rock/Southern Rock

I must be living under a rock. I can’t believe this slipped by unnoticed (it dropped late last year).

Occasionally you come across an album with a flow, a collection of tracks which place the listener in a certain place, far from everyday woes and concerns. An album which captivates and doesn’t try too hard to be that which it’s not. This is one such release. A wicked mix of Doom and Stoner Rock, boasting an aura which is strangely both vintage and fresh. With plentiful riffs to spare and a powerful vocal accompaniment which completes the package this results in a release, much like their 16′ effort, that’s undeniably a strong top of the year contender. It’s difficult not to fall under a spell as these caresses the senses.

Final Score – 91

Heiligen

Heiligen (Chile) – Shadows in the Church

https://heiligen.bandcamp.com/

Release – June 2020

Genre – Heavy/Epic/Speed Metal

Energetic rhythms, great pace and exciting arrangements result in a familiar aura fans of traditional HM (Iron Maiden and Helloween) will find difficult not to instantly appreciate. One of my only qualms is that the vocal department needs tidying/polishing up, otherwise a fantastic listen.

Final Score – 73

Solothus

Solothus (Finland) – Realm of Ash and Blood

https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/realm-of-ash-and-blood

Release – March 2020

Genre – Death/Doom/Sludge

Despair, misery, endurance and determination are four words which come to mind when this assumes eventual dominance of the aural cavities. Slow and deliberate this rolls like a tank in low gear; trudging riffs, formidable presence and ominous atmosphere evokes vivid flashes of crimson soaked quests, carnage, desperation and loss which, much h like the finest fiction tome, leave a lasting impression. “Realm of Ash and Blood” is slightly different than the run of the mill Doom/Death affair but nevertheless impactful in its grandiose, unhurried, approach. As a bonus the album is enveloped by fantasy/Conan inspired artwork which slays.

Final Score – 87

Monolith

Monolith (South Africa) – The Lord Conspirator

https://mmdrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-lord-conspirator

Release – April 2020

Genre – Death Metal/Tech Death/Thrash/Melodic Death

Surprisingly agile and diverse this offers a variety of pace and style over and above what one might have initially assumed based on the accompanying cover art. With an aura of ominous which is palpable whilst refraining from the traditional tropes of the genre Monolith have etched an album which is no less impactful. Part Tech in its approach, sporting evolving rhythms rather than mere chuggery, a well-executed narrative which nods towards concept and benefiting from sufficient, calculated, atmosphere this is an audio collective that puts South Africa on the Extreme Audio map. A fantastic debut worthy of discovering.

Final Score – 84

Runemagick

Runemagick (Sweden) – Into Desolate Realms

https://runemagick.bandcamp.com/album/into-desolate-realms

Release – October 2019

Genre – Death/Doom

A delicate balance and marriage of movement, melody, melancholy and groove exists here. Epic qualities abound, occasionally to the overkill point.  Think Candlemass qualities combined with dirge elements courtesy of Bolt Thrower and Unleashed vocal sensibilities with a splash of the almighty Black Sabbath and you might be close, although there’s another presence in the mix I can’t quite put my finger upon (for the record similar artist comparisons have been made to Hooded Menace and The Chasm). This is guaranteed to grow following several listens and their discography is dense, it appears I have a little homework to do.

Final Score – 83

Human Infection

Human Infection (USA) – Gravesight

https://hiband.bandcamp.com/album/gravesight

Release – December 2019

Genre – Brutal Death/Grindcore

Tight arrangements which often border on Technical Death territories. Plenty of complex and swift rhythms with enough wicked transformation to make fans of (earlier era) Cannibal Corpse salivate.

Final Score – 87

Arcane Dread

Arcane Dread (Greece)- Mist and Marshes

https://arcanedread.bandcamp.com/album/mist-and-marshes

Release – April 2019

Genre – Death Metal

A mid-paced, one-person outfit showcasing agility, atmosphere and movement. Small qualms include one dimensional vocals, a “manufactured” aura and instances which tend to drag on. However this remains quite listenable.

Final Score – 72

Deathsiege

Deathsiege (Israel) – Unworthy Adversary

https://deathsiege.bandcamp.com/album/unworthy-adversary

Release – April/2020

Genre- Death/Black/Bestial Metal/Grinding Death/OSDM

Pummeling, bludgeoning and unquestionably unapologetic. Blunt, to the point, tracks with an early Vader feel. The outstanding drums are the highlight of the production which still seethes with a fitting raw edge.

Eleven minutes of audio sure to scramble the braincells and get the torso a twitchin’.

Final Score- 89

Lucifungus

Lucifungus (Australia) – Derek

https://lucifungus.bandcamp.com/album/derek

Release – April 2020

Genre – Stoner Rock/Doom/Sludge

Huge riffs, enough groove to sidetrack a speeding train and an ungodly infectious vibe cavorting with just the right amount of sinister. All drenched in a viscose sludge which only makes for an amplified raunchy experience. Did I mention the album’s art? I want it… I need it! Seriously how can I resist an album named after my favorite character in a movie?

Final Score – 88

The Holy Flesh

The Holy Flesh (UK) – Emissary and Vessel

https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/emissary-vessel

Release – March 2020

Genre – Black Metal/Post Rock/Ambient/Doom/Progressive

With the above description one might avoid this like the plague. I’m here to suggest you do the opposite. Obviously, this sounds, and is, slightly off the beaten path but it delivers. Rhythms overlaid upon ambient soundscapes (occasionally creating a mixture of produced effects akin to rapidly fading dreams and underwater auras) ensure the listening experience to be one that’s unmistakably off-kilter, often alienesque, though nevertheless providing for an enjoyable listen for those with an open mind and penchants that exist far from instant gratification realms. With all this in mind this still provides nods to various influences from Blackened realms resulting in an album which might be easier to digest than first imagined.

Final Score – 82

Shards of Humanity

Shards of Humanity (USA) – Cold Logic

https://unspeakableaxerecords.bandcamp.com/album/cold-logic

Release – April 2020

Genre – Thrash/Death/Tech Death

Invigorating, energetic and yes… somewhat fresh. This is Death Metal with an emphasis on leads and solos throughout. In essence – Thrash infused Death with a smidgen of Tech Death thrown in to mix things up. Think South American Aggressive Thrash bordering on Death with a sprinkle of Grindcore tossed in. Ha! This review is a mess but this album kicks major arse. The vocal style isn’t what’s expected (a tad ‘Barney’ at times) but it seeps in toward albums end to feel less foreign. If you prefer your Extreme audio energetic and less plodding, moody or Doom inspired this is for you.

Jump on this stat. But stretch first!!

Final Score – 89

Northern Crown

Northern Crown (USA) -In a Pallid Shadow

https://music.northerncrownband.com/

Release – July 2020

Genre – Traditional Doom/Heavy Metal/Vintage Doom/Epic Doom

To be honest this was not what I expected based on the albums cover art. The inclusion of a keyboard/organ in the sound elevates this from mere run of the mill Doom into more a vintage realm. Another aspect which places it in the same territory is the lyric heavy approach also the hard rock emotional vocal style (all of which often putting me in mind of early Rainbow and Deep Purple). An epic aura throughout with plentiful progressive passages makes for a listening experience which the listener can easily sink into when the mood demands audio of a mellower stance. Don’t sleep on this, especially if the physical collection (vinyl most probably) bursts at the seams with a wide range of rock albums from the late seventies/early eighties.

Final Score – 89

Descend

Descend (Sweden) – The Deviant

https://descend.bandcamp.com/

Release – June 2020

Genre – Melodic Death/Progressive/Doom

From the very first note this propels the listener to another realm. A landscape in which beauty teases the beast and nature cavorts openly with technology. The influences here are neon bright obvious (Opeth, Devin Townsend, among others) however it’s how Descend chooses to handle and manipulate them which makes this so special. Instrumental bliss, melodies which will leave fans of Melodic Death salivating and a vocal range which fits the albums transforming moods perfectly. This manages to check all the boxes and then obliterate them completely; it doesn’t get much better than this! This has Album of the Year potential written all over it!

The art grabs the attention, the music keeps it in rapture. This admittedly came out of nowhere to knock me on my hind quarters (what? Do I identify as being a horse now?)

Final Score – 94

Infer

Infer (Slovakia) – Aeon of Deathless Blight

https://tryznaproduction.bandcamp.com/album/aeon-of-deathless-blight

Release – June 2020

Genre – Blackened Death/Black/Dirge/Death Metal

Grandiose and unrelenting boasting maniacal flourishes this packs an unholy whollop which will leave one grinning from ear to ear. Heavy Black and Death influences and tendencies (from past and present) give this a huge appeal, and I’m glad to report this delivers from start to finish!

Final Score – 88

...And Oceans

…And Oceans (Finland) – Cosmic World Mother

https://andoceans.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-world-mother

Release – May 2020

Genre – Black Metal/Melodic BM/Symphonic BM

It’s been a while since this collective last released a full-length, eighteen years in fact. They’ve been through experimental stages and have traversed many an audio landscape in their time. This however, is a return to form to the more generally ‘accepted’ arena of BM; the blistering, melodic kind which instantly perks the attention (on a first listen basis, none of this slowly sinking it all it offers nonsense) and the bands talents and expertise shine. Majestic rhythms reign supreme accompanied by an often-icy ferociousness and grandiose atmosphere, an aura which rarely let’s up. Bolstered by hyper-precise lightspeed skin pounding (that might sound ‘naughty’ depending upon how far your mind descends into the gutter) and a vicious vocal attack – the result is stunning. A combination sure to alight many a fans passion and an album which I can’t believe I’m just now laying senses upon. This could well be the album to pull many into the BM fold. It really is that impressive!

For those needing a FFO think a combination of Emperor, Dissection, Satyricon and Enthroned.

Final Score – 90

Tethra

Tethra (Italy) – Empire of the Void

https://tethrablacklion.bandcamp.com/album/empire-of-the-void

Release- March 2020

Genre – Death/Doom/Melodic Death/Avant Garde/Gothic Rock/Funeral Doom

Combining the melody and grandiose nature of Paradise Lost and the devastating emotion of Novembers Doom and My Dying Bride as well touching upon the diverse nature of the Doom spectrum Tethra have carved an album which demands several listens. The arrangements are transfixing, the vocals range outstanding (the combined talents within “A Light Years Breath” makes for a track which is unforgettable) and the cover of Bowie’s A Space Oddity a great addition. In short this is sure to be played till years end and praised again when all those damn lists start to appear.

Final Score- 92

Nekropsie

Nekropsie (Germany) – Prophecies of Decay

https://nekropsie.bandcamp.com/album/prophecies-of-decay

Release – March 2020

Genre – Black Metal/Melodic Black Metal/Atmospheric

Biting cold riffs, atmosphere and depth. Far from what some might call traditional however this kept me entertained and tapping my limbs for its entire length.

Final Score – 85

Cracked Machine

Cracked Machine (UK) – Gates of Keras

https://crackedmachine.bandcamp.com/

Release – June 2020

Genre – Doom/Stoner Rock/Psychedelia/Progressive/Instrumental

A hypnotic, calming, multi-layered blend of Stoner Rock sensibilities, fuzz adorned riffs and a cosmic soundscape which is easy to lose yourself within. And although this is instrumental it still checks all the boxes. Prepare to drift away to unfamiliar realms in a vehicle whose dimensions are obscured by smoke (if you catch my drift?)

Final Score – 90

Necrovault

Necrovault (Germany) – Totenzug; Festering Peregrination

https://nekrovault.bandcamp.com/album/totenzug-festering-peregrination

Release- March 2020

Genre – Cavernous Death Metal/OSDM/Doom

Enveloping audio with depth and epic scope. Plenty of atmosphere, movement and even occasional groove to keep the listener on their toes.

Final Score – 86

Valdrin

Valdrin (USA) – Effigy of Nightmares

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/effigy-of-nightmares

Release – June 2020

Genre – Melodic Black Metal/Symphonic BM/Raw BM

Atmosphere collides with ferocity. Melodic yet still primal this offers qualities both traditionalists and those with Atmospheric penchants can appreciate.

Final Score – 80

The Great Old Ones

The Great Old Ones (France) – Cosmicism

https://thegreatoldones.bandcamp.com/

Release – October 2019

Genre – Black Metal/Post Black/Avant Garde/Doom

I’m not even sure how to convey the adoration of tentacles and unfathomably ancient cosmic beings into audio form (obviously Lovecraft’s work is more than merely that). However, I’d state that TGoO (an abrv.) have done a bloody good job! The mix of palpable atmosphere, dizzying arrangements and raging chaos here evokes abrupt terrifying scenarios, unimaginable forces at work (‘behind the scenes’ as it were) and factors far beyond the understanding of a mere mortals grasp of/on reality. Admittedly, this is an album one will want to give repeated listens to fully appreciate. However, even on a first listen basis it leaves an incredible impression opening the gates of intrigue for everything Lovecraftian.

Final Score – 89

exhausted animal

 And that brings another installment to a close, it’s taken me longer than I’d like. I’d usually drop my excuses here but I shan’t not bore you with my life details this time around. Suffice it to say I’ve tried to keep this varied and as informative as I can without diving into diatribe lengths (obviously in some instances I got excited as you can probably tell). There are twenty – three releases here to whet the appetite, all of which I quite liked (thus the generous ratings). Feel free to drop me your thoughts, comments, suggestions or queries. Shit, if you wanna’ scribble a few words on a release which has caught your fancy drop me an email.

And, as is traditional…don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the senses.

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Ten

fuk covid

…or listening to Metal!

At present these entries have transformed to a few and far between affair. And for that I apologize. It’s frustrating I’ll admit; not being able to scribble upon that which interests me and brings a spot of shining brilliance to an otherwise humdrum existence. But it’s become the norm as of late and I’m having to ‘steal’ time in order to correlate, compose and post anything. However, I’m dedicated and determined to keep this thing going, to get the word out to praise audio which, I believe, demands discovery.

Without further ado…

Plucked from Metal Past
Drontheim (Germany) Down Below

drontheim

https://wraithproductions.bandcamp.com/album/down-below

Release – February/22/2019

Wraith Productions

ARTWORK – 70

Shadows, more shadows and what could possibly be either water or an outcropping of rock. I’m not even sure. However, if the music is as dark as the image, we’re in for some gloomy, doomy audio.

FIRST TRACK – 90

This could well be the resulting mash up of Paradise Lost and Katatonia if only David Bowie were to take the vocal duties. Then add some 90’s Goth Pop, Abstract lyrics and you’re even closer to what this provides. This is miles from my usual wheelhouse of interests but I’m finding myself strangely drawn to its Alternative, Post, Progressive, Doom allure.

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

With no two Tracks here alike this (album) offers a great deal to discover and get excited about. Industrial tones, progressive arrangements and melancholy all filtered through a veil of a palpable ominous, cinematic, atmosphere. Far from harsh this provides quite the distraction from the norm and offers rhythms to sink within accompanied by a certain nostalgia whose origins only seems to escape from the tip of the tongue as the audio evolves from one track to the next. Simply put if you enjoy the unpredictable diversity of Faith No More and are open to the occasional dip into Industrial Goth and murky Doom waters this is a release you need between the ears. Keep the assumptions at bay and the mind open and this will serve excellently to break up the day’s woes adding a spark to the normalcy of the day’s playlist.

Favorite Tracks; Varied, exciting and hypnotic throughout.

FFO; Rammstein, The Prodigy, Seigmen, Zeromancer, Ljungblut, NIN, My Dying Bride, Ulver, Red Harvest, DHG, Faith No More, Peeping Tom, Anathema, Katatonia, Kent, Ved Buens Ende, 3rd & the Mortal, The Soundbyte, Calmcorder, KkoagulaA, Manes, Atrox. (This is cut and pasted from promotional materials as I fear I couldn’t quite nail its wide influence radius and promote it to the audience it deserves).

Degenerate

Degenerate (The Netherlands) Devastation Ahead

https://band-degenerate.bandcamp.com/

Release – November/15/2019

Independent

ARTWORK- 76

Simple, vivid and to the point. I like it!

FIRST TRACK- 91

It takes a few seconds to realize this is neither Grindcore, nor Tech Death, though it displays elements of both it soon finds its rhythm. This is Thrash, aggressive have no doubt of that, bordering on Melodic Death it has bite, a rabid intensity and a flow which will have the listener up and on their feet in no time. An awesome start!

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

I’m not normally a fan of thrash, unless it makes an instant impact. And this does just that! Razor wire vocals, searing riffs, amazing solos, heritage flavor and vertebrae snapping rhythms, this is just the start of the list which makes this album stand out. I cannot for the life of me wonder why this didn’t feature on a plethora of year end lists, it’s that impressive (and my neck hurts so good).

Favorite Tracks; Adrenaline spiking from start to finish!

FFO; Sepultura, (newer) Exodus, Machine Head.

Interrupting the Normally Scheduled Broadcast for Something Completely Different.

folian

Folian (USA) -Blue Mirror

https://folian.bandcamp.com/album/blue-mirror

Release- January/31/2020

Anima Recordings

ARTWORK – 72

A little artsy, but I get the point; someone has perished, possibly at sea. But is the kelp or seaweed (or is that hair?) to blame or something entirely more sinister still?

FIRST TRACK – 86

“Post Metal”, “Shoegaze”, “Doomgaze”, “Noise Rock”, “Drone”. I’m honestly not sure what either of these terms means but this has an undeniable appeal, a curious start if truth be told, and has somehow managed to capture me in its allure even though at first the track appears rather relaxed and unassuming it slowly builds into a magnificent cinematic arrangement seething with a grandiose nature.

INITIAL LISTEN – 89

Far from what I would normally place in my ear this still has an undeniable charm, a familiarity if you will which is distorted, slightly jaded, taken into Ambient and Drone realms then delivered, repackaged, slathered in each of the aforementioned elements to envelope the listener in (“spacey”) tones which effectively cover a wide radius of the emotional spectrum. There’s an aura here, a strangely relaxed one that wavers, which surpasses atmosphere, an all-encompassing vibe which transcends the typical listening experience transporting the albums audience across transcendental landscapes dotted with passion, intrigue, daunting lows and exhilarating heights. Admittedly, this is a release I had second thoughts about discovering (especially after reading the genres listed as descriptions) however after doing so I’m glad I took the plunge. This is quite simply brilliant, but keep those assumptions at bay, go into this blind without prejudices and make time for a complete listen without distraction. Guaranteed to make more of an impression the more it’s experienced.

Favorite Tracks; Enchanting throughout, this collection is downright hypnotic even though it’s far from “the usual”.

FFO; Somali Yacht Club, NIN, Oasis, Stone Roses, Nuerosis.

March Releases
Reccd by @LFCMFighter

raider

Raider (Canada) Guardian of the Fire

https://raiderofficial.bandcamp.com/album/guardian-of-the-fire

Release- March/20/2020

Independent

ARTWORK- 74

Am I about to plunge my ears into Power Metal, or audio with an Epic feel with a possible fantastical edge? Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK- 83

Well, this is hardly Power, or even Epic, metal. It’s definitely Thrash. The bang yer head wicked variety complete with breakdowns, solos and venom dripping vokills. Suffice it to say I’m diggin the shit outta this thus far.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

Who says one can’t have a kick ass Thrash album sporting cover art which might hint at more melodic arenas, perhaps audio of a more Epic nature? But that’s not to say that this isn’t. It is most definitely guilty of having riffs (for days) and rhythms you can most certainly without any doubt lose the last vestiges of your sanity too. Also, surprisingly, leads and solos which inspire air guitar aplenty, the air of old school Heavy Metal influence is distinct yet never an element which is utilized too often. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t let the cover steer you astray. Sure, this bears fantastical elements, lyrics hinting at conflict, menacing forces and the like. If truth be uttered this precariously teases jumping the boundary of the Death fence, though manages somehow to remain firmly rooted upon the Thrash side. This is inarguably audio which incites frenetic movement, sweat and exhaustion, for this makes one move and doesn’t let up till the digit moves against all restraint to hit the play button again.

Favorite Tracks; Blistering throughout!

FFO; Sodom, Annihilator, Crusadist.

Aodon

 Reccd by @uniquehifi
Aodon (France) – 11069

https://aodon.bandcamp.com/album/1-1-0-6-9

Release – March/27/2020

Willowtip Records

ARTWORK- 70

The onset of decay or time, I’m not sure which. This gives little away as to the audio within.

FIRST TRACK- 93

A dissonant nightmarish backbone complemented by evolving rhythms and ferocious vocals. A little different than most in the same arena but it certainly makes an impact.  This is rather hard to describe easier to enjoy. An unfathomable impressive commencement.

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

This is my first experience of these guys and just… wow! Honestly, I’m always a little put off by an album which might not make sense to me on first glance, seriously what’s up the title? But after a little proddin’ (thanks to @uniquehifi on Twitter) I allowed this entry into the ears. Fuck me (I never swear, just ask the Fn’ wife) this produced an instant reaction. It’s hardly traditional, actually rather hard to describe without making people shake their heads in confusion, but it works. The style is as equally as ferocious as one is lily to hear but the accompanying rhythms which set this apart from the pack, the feel, the atmosphere, the aura. This is different, you can be sure of that but it’s not so wildly obscure as to be totally out of left field (what, a baseball reference?) Give it a chance and feel free to thank @uniquehifi too.

Favorite Tracks; Astounding throughout!

FFO; Atmospheric Black Metal with a slight Avant Garde aura and a Post/Progressive edge.

Temple of Void

Temple of Void (USA) -The World that Was

https://templeofvoiddoom.bandcamp.com/album/the-world-that-was

Release- March/27/2020

Shadow Kingdom Records

ARTWORK- 94

Exquisite inks, oozing with detail and life, displaying an arcane location, a landscape painting which seethes with ominous atmosphere. I’m left to wonder is this the bands rehearsal space?

FIRST TRACK- 92

Slow, crushing, ritualistic with an atmosphere which is palpable. Albums don’t start any better than this. Death Doom of the highest order which makes me wonder why I haven’t laid ears on this band before now.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

At times the audio sounds as if Grotesquery and Paradise Lost got together and decided to combine their most notable talents. The vocal approach is a brilliant narrative (ala Grotequery) whilst the melancholic aura and arrangements of Paradise Lost (“Shades of God”/”Icon” era) is undeniable. This combination works superbly for the first few tracks offering a depth and aura which is quite simply astounding, but the album somewhat peters out, trudging into Groove Death depths, losing some of the magic the first half exhibited (although to be fair the bar was set extremely high from the get go). Climaxing with the near ten-minute title track the album reaches near the brilliance it started with to leave the listener hungry for another listen. Overall, this is a stunning effort sure to widen the eyes of anyone unfamiliar with how the band tackle the genre they choose to manipulate. Fans of Death/Doom take note this traipses into territories, both rhythmic and arrangement, one might not predict whilst still managing to return to familiar realms without alienating the audience, only one of many reasons why this deserves a slot in the collection amidst other greats. Make room!

Favorite Tracks; The Beast Among Us, Self Schizm, The World that Was.

FFO; Paradise Lost, Grotesquery, Novembers Doom.

Razgate

Another Reccd by @LFCMFighter
Razgate (Italy) – After the Storm…the Fire

https://razgatethrash.bandcamp.com/album/after-the-storm-the-fire

Release – March/27/2020

Punishment 18 Records

ARTWORK – 89

I’m all about Fantasy. Fantasy and Horror. Combine the two, in this case a questing Barbarian confronting an enigmatic entity perched upon a mountain of skulks, and I’m a salivating fool. Such is the case here!

FIRST TRACK – 91

A classical, Baroque, introduction sets the scene for pummeling, domicile obliterating, rhythms and a vocal style which is…wait for it…eerily similar to a certain Tom Arayas. This is my introduction to the band admittedly; Consider me sold!

INITIAL LISTEN – 94

This might ruffle a few feathers (keep in mind it’s my opinion) but experiencing this for the first time is akin to my virgin experience with Slayer audio. Daaammmmnnnn-! About covers it! This checks all the boxes I require checked to be able to enjoy a Thrash album (not all Thrash is the same, no matter what your parents tell ya). And then it rips the list from my hands and sets it on fire! This seethes with Ill-intent, with no consideration for the listeners well-being, seriously else why would those responsible make this so GD infectious. There’s even slivers of traditional metal and Speed influence in here and sufficient tempo changes to make one think for a brief moment that the punishment is through (but no-!) To make matters worse (just take my wallet!). Bastids the lot of em’, here I am spinnin’ this like one possessed and the day is just slipping away. You know, I’m sure I had things to do today. Ah, well. I can see my digits reaching for the Play button, again, I have zero control. Don’t get caught in the same trap. Save yourself!

Favorite Tracks; I’m going to burn this album before I lose my sanity, my job, my marriage and did I mention control of my appendages? I probably should have started with that, have a spotter when you listen to this and ear plugs for them so they might be about to hit Stop, every once in a while, but not too often.

FFO; Slayer, Nuclear Assault, Havok, Annihilator, Sodom, Three Inches of Blood.

April Releases

Carnal Savagery

Carnal Savagery (Sweden) – Grotesque Macabre

https://carnalsavagery-chaos-records.bandcamp.com/album/grotesque-macabre

Release- April/1/2020

Chaos Records

ARTWORK – 72

It’s as though someone ripped a page out of Seagraves book, blew up the image and added a Zombie, with a few scavenging companions, with his insides falling out. There’s little doubt as to what’s on offer here.

FIRST TRACK – 82

Filthy, mid paced madness with flourishes of abruptly inciteful rhythm (to send one into a moshtastic orgasmic salivating state) oozing with the trademarked genre’s HM2 menace, enough atmosphere to sate and unhurried commanding growls. All in all, a great combination with excellent delivery. A fantastic start to get one in the old school mood.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

As the title of the album suggests the feel of the album is one of blood, bone, carnage and obliteration. Obviously, this concept isn’t fresh, new, or even ground-breaking but is delivered here in such a way as to make the listener sit up and take note (shit, it even comes complete with atmosphere). Carnal Savagery aren’t another dime a dozen copycat act, these guys have been around (since the scenes inception). Add to that the fact that a certain Dan Swano decided to ‘help out’ and it means be prepared, as he most definitely knows his stuff and the myriad depths of the genre itself. The album itself benefits from a fantastic tone, a dirge, an electric charged distortion which recalls the heyday of the scene and the audio itself? Well, it could well have been recorded in the same era as it reeks of professionalism, wisdom and a quality which will be instantly accepted. Hardly a parody of, and miles from plagiarist material but rather an addition to that which has already left its mark. Jump on this as I can only imagine if these guys stick around, they will stand alongside Entrails, LIK and Nocturnal Hollow to hold the standard for the scene into the new decade.

Favorite Tracks; Not a single one but the whole damn thing.

FFO; Bloodbath, Vomitory, Ribspreader, Dismember, LIK, Entrails.

 Grieve

 Grieve (Finland) – s/t (12″ MLP)

https://werewolfrecords.bandcamp.com/album/grieve

Release – April/3/2020

Werewolf

ARTWORK- 86

Black and white ink mastery. A form, a ghost, a wraith looks toward the storm laden distance for meaning, as He/She does so it parts welcoming his arrival. This is my take. I could be miles away but it’s impressive nevertheless.

FIRST TRACK- 92

Malicious blizzard riffs complementing a somewhat Folksy/Viking aura with slightly Cosmic undertones. Howls and snarls makeup up the vocal accompaniment. Blanketed in atmosphere the track makes for an amazing introduction to the band and their style.

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

Only two tracks on offer here, barely ten minutes but it’s more than enough to whet the appetite for more of the same. Blistering frigid riffs, snarled venom, epic narrative lyrics and melodic majesty. This is Black metal with bite, emotion, rhythm and a smidgen of D-beat combined to leave an undeniable mark.

Favorite Tracks; Both tracks are unfathomable impressive.

FFO; The Abyss, Dissection, Emperor.

Graveir

Graveir (Australia) – King of the Silent World

https://graveircult.bandcamp.com/album/king-of-the-silent-world

Release – April/17/2020

Impure Sounds/Brilliaint Emperor Records

ARTWORK – 78

I’m honestly not sure what to think of this. An excellent shadow heavy image with hidden meaning. Guessing I need to break out my thinking cap. A skull is front and center draped in a shroud of sorts with a plethora of crosses hanging from his/her(?) neck. Perhaps she skull is surveying its domain; “The silent kingdom”. And everyone is also of the not breathing variety, thus incapable of making a sound.

FIRST TRACK – 72

Grandiose Post meets Atmospheric Black metal with wailing vocals and a rumbling dirge nature. Not entirely what I was expecting but I remain intrigued.

INITIAL LISTEN – 76

Hardly tradition Black or even Death or the “assumed” combination of the two this relies more on ritualistic dirge and borders on an industrial tone. Rhythms are often an undercurrent rather than a driving factor and cavort playfully within the arrangements. Post and Progressive properties are dominant as too an undeniable ominous nature though overall this isn’t too far from the ‘norm’ as to alienate fans of either Black or Death, although as it stands  it should appeal to those more with Cavernous penchants perhaps even Grindcore and Crust tastes as this shows slight elements from each realm also, rather than that of the straightforward chuggery variety. This has grown on me over several listens, and has blossomed to show a wide swath of influences, so I don’t expect an instant downright appreciation.

Favorite Tracks; The Fetch of Crooked, Immacolata,

FFO; Akercocke, Aodon.

Kurnugia

Kurnugia (US) – Forlorn and Forsaken

www.reverbnation.com/kurnugia

Release -April/27/2020

Momento Mori

ARTWORK- 78

I can’t get over the fact that the face reminds me of the ‘witch’ creature from the “The Dark Crystal”. Otherwise a nice image with excellent colors and details.

FIRST TRACK- 82

With an intro with sounds like a soundtrack which accompanies the money shot scene to a later day Gothic shocker questions arise as to what might be on offer. But fear not, the first real track on offer displays melodies of a remarkable nature any fan will be able to instantly appreciate. Classic Death metal ripped from the 90’s playbook strangely somewhat both American and European in tone. Chuggery and atmosphere and a vocal approach akin to that of “Corpsegrinder”. I’m all ears; this is quite the opener!

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

Grinding, rumbling Death with enough movement in its arrangements to stray from the realm of boredom. A classic of all that works merging the old school ala Bolt Thrower with a dynamic approach, barely this side of technical bordering on at times Grindcore sensibilities, and plenty of groove to carve a grin on any fans chops and keep it there. This is quite the find for any bored with the plethora of acts sounding the same ole and bringing little to the scene. These fellas know how to play, compose and deliver an album which delights.

Favorite Tracks; Top notch Death metal throughout.

FFO; Angerot, Grave, Unleashed, Benediction, Vomitory, Bloodbath, Gorguts, Morgoth.

And a new segment, because I’m literally drowning in Metal (not time) I wish to promote. Introducing; The “WTF Lightning Review”.

TUUNBAQ

TUUNBAQ (Russia) – Graves of Ice

https://tuunbaq.bandcamp.com/album/graves-of-ice

Release – September/13/2019

Artwork – 74

Ferocity – 88

Groove – 87

Infectiousness – 88

Originality – 76

Genre – Grindcore/Crust

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 87

Atmosphere, Grind, Sludge and Groove…Hell to the yes!!

Legendry

Legendry (USA) – The Wizard and the Tower Keep

https://legendry.bandcamp.com/album/the-wizard-and-the-tower-keep

Release – November/1/2019

Artwork – 74

Ferocity – 24

Groove – 72

Infectiousness – 83

Originality – 76

Genre – Heavy Metal/NWOBHM/Folk/Prog/Doom/Epic Metal/

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 84

Exquisite fantastical themed Traditional Metal bursting with nostalgia, diverse styles and an undeniably fluid nature.

Embodiment

Embodiment (UK) – Palingenesis

https://embodimentofficial.bandcamp.com/album/palingenesis

Release – April/24/2020

Artwork – 86

Ferocity – 89

Groove – 83

Infectiousness – 92

Originality – 65

Genre – Tech/Prog Death

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 91

Ungodly impressive tech/prog death w. classical elements and a hypnotic allure which is unfathomable.

Divine Chaos

Divine Chaos (UK) – The Way to Oblivion

https://divinechaos.bandcamp.com/album/the-way-to-oblivion

Release – April/24/2020

Artwork – 84

Ferocity – 75

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 84

Originality – 60

Genre – Aggressive Thrash/Melodeath

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 83

Insanely catchy, dynamic arrangements with wicked vocals topped off by impressive production.

Destroyed in Seconds

Destroyed in Seconds (USA) – Divide and Devour

https://destroyedinseconds.bandcamp.com/album/divide-and-devour

Release – April/24/2020

Artwork – 89

Ferocity – 86

Groove – 89

Infectiousness – 92

Originality – 70

Genre – D-beat/Crust/Hardcore/Thrash/Dirge-laden Death metal.

Will I Revisit? YES

Final Score/Remarks – 91

Top of the heap D-beat with varied influence which demands ears upon it!

It is impossible to sit still while listening to this!

exhausted animal Well shit, this turned into a Thrash lovefest, I didn’t intend for it to be the case but I just so happened upon a few Releases in the genre worthy of praise. I’m still hurting from Razgate (damn you @LFCMFighter!) And I suspect it might be the case for a great many others whom stumble upon its charm unsuspectingly. Again, this has taken a while, I only wish I could do more but alas thing while Covid thing has me working and babysitting (Can I call it that if it’s my child…?) rather than working and scribbling. Although I have inserted another segment in order that I might be able to promote more albums in a timely manner.

Until next time, don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the senses.

Cult

Abrasive Audio – Attack of the Compilation

Attack of the Compilation – Extreme Metal Attack XVII

exterem metal fest #2

Well, here I am again. It’s been a while. Admittedly I’ve been busy spreading chaos, strife and depravity across that which many call “The Heartlands”. But seriously, I’m having a grand ole time there’s no shortage of four-legged furry things to curb my appetite and the attitudes and people in this area put most Wal-mart parody websites to shame. My adventures have not been without strife however. The weather can put a damper on many things though from what I’ve heard this winter has been comparatively mild compared to ones before. But it doesn’t matter, there’s snow and I’m not used to the stuff. Seriously what the fuck is it anyway? And why does it have to impede upon all my fun? On the bright side there’s plenty to see following its aftermath. Comical scenes including sportscars and spinning wheels. Multi vehicle Pileups on that which most drive across at insane speeds. Highways, Interstates I’m confused. I’ll avoid traversing them at all costs. Though they do provide quite the entertainment.

syncronized headbangin

Not quite what my former duties entailed but I wish they would in the future

Now, where was I? Cult’s house, yes, I’m here! And surprise, surprise, his email is delivering quite the feast for the eyes and ears. Tons of promos to sift through. I’d say this fellow is drowning in promotional materials, but what do I know I’m merely a former denizen of the Underworld enjoying a prolonged vacation until the ether opens up and I’m yanked back to my former duties.

 

Now this, this is interesting indeed, and brings back a few memories of when my mishapen digits alighted upon Cults keyboard for the first time (actually the first time was when I pondered upon a single by Bewitcher. But who’s being counting?) What say we take another audio foray into a compilation which promotes yet another Extreme Metal Fest taking part in Portugal? This isn’t a question, and I don’t wish for your opinion. For I’m taking the plunge…

Extreme Metal Attack XVII

https://helldprod.bandcamp.com/album/extreme-metal-attack-xvii-2020

HelldProd Records

March/20/2020

etreme metalfest die hard pack

(The event itself is scheduled for March 20/21 (2020) in Metalpoint Porto and promises a grand time for all those wishing to bathe themselves in a festival atmosphere with like-minded individuals driven by the glory of underground metal)

And for those wishing to know the bands involved in both the fest and this compilation I’m happy to oblige (and they’re actually in order of appearance on the tape, for nothing screams Kvlt like a cassette, for those interested)

Ungod – Down to Tartaros

Alcoholocaut – Speed Metal Tornado

Supremative – Omnipresent Morbid Excitement

Rapture – Thriving on Atrocity

Fabulous Desaster – Faster Than Light

Deathwomb – Moonless Night Sacraments

Aggressive Perfector – Turbo-Evil

Vectis – No Mercy for the Weak

Necro Chaos – Infernal Flood

Now if this promises to be anything like the last ‘Extreme Fest’ outing the fleshy audio catchers are in for an old school party drenched in darkness, speed and evil.

Naturally I’ve devised a ratings system, which has a tad more flavor than that which Cult employs, for this very purpose (why do I sound like the bloke from Taken?) and here it is in all of its depraved glory;

confued Orc

Wait. I’m still confused

Abysmal.

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

Hrrrrrhhhhh-!

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

The Goblin are going crazy!

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

Time for a Crimson Splattered Moshpit!

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

All Mine!

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

Well there it is and I still have the compilation playing betwix my mishappen ears as I’m typing this (correcting a varied assortment of typos as I go) so it seriously can’t be all that bad. Unlike last year’s compilation this provides more a smorgasbord (I like this word I’ll have to use it more often!) of styles. Ranging from old school bleak cavernous drenched in evil black metal to more a heavy metal approach with “singy” vocals (as if plucked from the eighties) and a plethora of speed laden head bangin’ tracks between. There’s honesty plenty here to delight. However, I have my favorites and I’d like to bore whoever is still reading this with the tracks which left an impression. But before that and to sate those who are ravenous, eagerly yearning, salivating in fact for my conclusion, for my rating… I’ll gladly stamp this with a “Time for a Crimson Splattered Moshpit”. Onward, in no particular order) to that which left my earholes dripping in excitable liquids (just me?)

necro chaos

Necro Chaos – Infernal Flood

First off, great name. This track recalls old school melody-laden death (older Obituary and a slew of others Cult is probably more familiar with than I). Peppered with twin styled vocals, head bobbin’ evil rhythms and a strange sounding bass (?) it is certainly familiar, but different and serves as a fantastic finale to this compilation (see, I said this wasn’t in order).

Rapture – Thriving on Atrocity

Speaking of familiarity this is another track which puts me in mind of an artist whose name frustratingly escapes me. Driving thrash/death riffs and a vocal style/cadence which garners instant appreciation with added sinister elements. Admittedly it’s difficult not to ponder upon other artists in the collection when listening to this, with that in mind however this seethes with an aura of freshness, a touch of homage (think I’ve said that before now) and a style which will leave the listener wanting more.

deathwomb demo

Deathwomb – Moonless Night Sacrament

Bleak, raw and dripping in atmosphere this is black metal with a touch of melody. And there’s also backwards messages in its finale to leave fans of vintage Judas Priest salivating (that was a joke for all those taking notes). Bleak production values and throaty vocals add to this tracks appeal, but it probably isn’t for everyone, a fact I couldn’t care less about as I quite like it!

Aggressive Perfector – Turbo-Evil

I believe Cult has covered an album by these guys in the past but I’ve yet to lay ears upon their output, until now. Think heavy metal with speed metal tendencies ad to the concoction dramatic vocals and an aura which screams vintage cult horror and you might be close. But I could be continents off, best just to discover the band for yourself and make your own conclusions. This is a tad different. It grows on you much like a Goblin baby its damn ugly at first but somehow perks your mothering instinct (wait what!?) That’s not at all what I meant. Moving on…

Now, onto a few tracks which left me in exhausted disarray and Cults house in a sorry state indeed.

vectis

Vectis – No Mercy for the Weak

I must be getting old! This bears only slight smidgens of a black nature but boy does it make me wanna’ move. The rhythms here are dangerously infectious it might in fact make your torso move of its own accord (hide the fragile things lest they multiply into worthless shards). A wicked mix of thrash and black with awesome (did I just say that word? what am I a surfer now?) riffs which cannot be ignored, a tad repetitive in its lyrics but who cares this leaves a dent, and it has I’m hurting, the contact with that wall was hard!

Fabulous Desaster – Faster Than Light

To be Frank (why do I have to be ‘Frank’? Can’t I be ‘Steve’?) I’m not an Exodus fan. Sure there’s a few tracks which grab my attention but I can’t say that any full album of theirs have ever warranted purchase or even pilfering. With that in mind however their newer material is more to my liking. Strangely this sees me recalling their older output, and it’s hard not to as both the rhythms and vocals match perfectly that which most long-time Exodus fans have come to adore about the band (shit, their moniker is the same as one of the bands albums). Odd then that I’m liking this as much as I am. Its “Toxic Waltz” but different and I’m all over it! Just try not to move to this!

alcoholocaust

Alcoholocaust – Speed Metal Tornado

Yet another act Cult has covered, and there’s little argument as to why that might have been the case. This is blistering fast and the vocals wicked in tone although I believe all but a few words are in Brazilian/Portuguese it matters not. This “rips” and my neck hurts! This could well be an anthem for both the act and the Portuguese metal scene, it has that kind of undeniable vibe about it.

And that brings this to its conclusion. Weird that I’ve been drawn more towards the speed rather than the darkness within this release but there you have it. It’s been fun folks, but I’m hungry and there’s a sassy looking feline sneaking its way across the neighbor’s fence line with a smirk on her face (yes, I can tell such things even from this distance) as if to say “You can’t catch me”. Can I say that I am salivating? I’m certainly up for the challenge. Now where’s my fur removing tool?

B  

helldprod logo

Whoops – nearly forgot. Tickets can be purchased for this event at https://helldprod.com/shop/index.php?id_category=23&controller=category and range from a single day ticket to a packages including a shirt and the tape I have just spat a few words upon.

 

 

 

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Special Edition; Part the Last (for now)

(Yet another collaborative effort with a few friends)

Abrasive Audio Special Ed 2020 part 2

This installment is the third in a Special Edition Series. And again, sees a collaborative effort with friends (whose opinions I respect) from as far afield as the releases featured within. But first a few words from a co-conspirator, the SixintheHeadZine editor and someone whom I bother with suggestions, recommendations and silliness on a more than frequent basis.

sixintheheadzine

The “Original”

I was honored to be asked to write the intro for this – the last installment in a truly epic collection of reviews – because ever since I discovered your man Cult and Abrasive Audio, I haven’t got my metal recommendations from anywhere else. I probably should read other metal blogs but I find so many good n brutal listens on this one that I barely have the time to listen to any of the other music I like, let alone more bloody metal.

In fact, I’ve been spending so much time recently investigating the releases on here that I’m completely out of touch with all the latest pop groups, jazz singers and contemporary composers. I normally pride myself on knowing what’s happening in all the main genres – pop, jazz, classical and blues. Metal as we know isn’t a genre. It’s a way of life, a religion. Very similar to vaporwave. (and what’s that, prey tell. – Ed*)

Anyway, I suppose if Cult wanted anything from this introduction it was for me to impart some of the valuable knowledge I have gained after a long and storied career in the music business. So, my advice to you is this – whatever you do, do it 110%. You can achieve your goals and dreams. You just have to believe in yourself.

I really hope that helps you on your way as we reach the end of this “Odyssean” Abrasive Audio feature together. If it doesn’t, oh well. Here’s the final three recommendations (one of which I happen to have written something on) to put into your headphones, turn up to max and drown the world out with. Keep it up Cult, your services to metal are very much appreciated.

Onward to this installment’s selections dedicated, yet again, to a few which apparently…

Slipped Through the Cracks
(Releases of 19′ which I have somehow missed)

Obviously, this isn’t all or even close to those I’ve failed to cover before but rather a handful which have fallen under most radars though still deserve attention.

Tyrmfar

Tyrmfar (Switzerland) – Renewal Through Purification

https://tyrmfar.bandcamp.com/album/renewal-through-purification

Release- June/22/19

MTAF Records

ARTWORK- 84

A malevolent sky is the backdrop to a godlike figure comprised of many (forms) scrambling to become a part of ‘the whole’. An interesting image with a myriad of intricate details and a meaning which will likely spark discussion.

FIRST TRACK- 90

The album starts with an introduction that’s likely to accompany a cinematic scene in which those on screen are recuperating, thriving and finally overcoming insurmountable odds to stand triumphant. Par for the course in this genre to be blunt, though this is better than most. A blast beat rhythm takes up the charge when the introduction dies. Add industrial precise drumming, a dual pronged vocal approach and rhythms dipped in both black and melodic death qualities and to album is off to a highly satisfying start. A fantastic introduction to the band for any yet to lay senses upon them, like myself.

INITIAL LISTEN- 88

Melodic, yet far from what many might visualize with the term in mind. This bleeds with blackened majesty and an atmosphere which brings to mind a giant of, and still a huge influence within, the melodic black scene (and undeniably a variety of others) Dissection. Melodies and tone channel a myriad of top tier influence (Eucharist, Necrophobic and Amon Amarth, among others) add depth, unmistakable catchiness and fit amazing well nestled with the prowess of the percussion and stunning vocal accompaniment. Overall, this held my interest from its start through its final notes but leaves me pondering upon what could possibly be in the Swiss water supply. I’ve heard a few releases from the region in the past few weeks and this is as good as the impressive standard the others have set, if not better. Discovering this a few months prior would have resulted in its inclusion in my Best of Years list, it’s too late for that but it’s not too late to preach the good word. Make room in your collection for this. You won’t be disappointed!

Favorite Tracks; Crank this up, it delivers from start to finish!

FFO; Dissection, Amon Amarth, Necrophobic, At the Gates, Stortregn, Eucharist.

Need a Second Opinion?
six in the head zine iss 2

Issue the Second

 

Here are a “few words” from Six in the Head Zine creator Paul_PMZ (on Twitter) and if you haven’t already please check out the mag here; https://sixintheheadzine.com/ for general gaming silliness, recommendations and tips and tricks on painting, gaming and where’s the best location to hold the ‘event’ itself.  Currently on its second issue this publication is heading to heights scary for even the most rambunctious toddler to contemplate. Without further ado…

The Cult Himself has asked me to review an album for him. No doubt that will be a relentless, hellish racket. Just what I don’t need right now… Why can’t he ask me to review some Tibetan bowl music or whale song for once? Still, being a man of my word (most of the time), I opened Bandcamp, stuck the kettle on and the headphones in and pressed play on the album he’d suggested. There was a long blurb about it underneath the tracks but I didn’t read that. I never read stuff like that before doing a review. I don’t want to cloud my judgement with unnecessary facts and useful background information. I liked the title and I liked the cover art. I thought this might be up my street as far as metal goes, even if I wasn’t feeling particularly in the mood for someone screaming at me.

The album began, like all metal albums do nowadays, with an instrumental opening that immediately struck me as sounding very, “Warhammer”. As a big tabletop gaming and hobby fan this is always a positive for me. For the first 30 seconds I imagined a vast, planet-sized spacecraft slowly moving into view as opposing forces of the 41st Millennium engaged in fierce battle underneath. Then, disappointingly, I heard some piano. Oh FFS (Fer Fuck’s Sake – Ed*). Don’t tell me this is “piano metal” … I can’t listen to a whole album of piano metal Cult.

Thank the Emperor (not the band I think – Ed) though, when track two kicked in I was delighted by a barbarous and pummeling auditory assault without any trace of Rick Wakeman-like activity. Chunky, choppy riffs and fast fretwork, machine gun drumming and an abominable, interplaying combo of both low and mid-register vocals that I hoped would set the tone for the rest of the album.

Much to my delight, it did. So, by track four my head was enthusiastically bobbing along to the determined and merciless drumming that I refuse to believe it’s possible for an actual human being to perform. If there truly is a man (or woman – I didn’t read the blurb) behind the kit on this then perhaps humanity isn’t quite so worthless after all.

Overall, this is a quality piece of work from top to bottom. It never gives up, slows down or dips in quality and the actual sound of it is top-notch. I think it’s a perfectly balanced death metal record and that the man (or woman – I didn’t read the blurb) who is responsible for mixing it is quite clearly a genius. Then again, what do I know? I’m not a sound engineer or musician.

What I do know for sure is that “Renewal Through Purification” is fucking great and when came to an end and I had to write this review I put it straight back on again without hesitation. Then I listened to it again for a third time. Totally brilliant!

hellknife

Hellknife (Germany) – Dusk of Doom

https://hellknife.bandcamp.com/album/dusk-of-doom

Release -December/13/19

Phobia Records, Ecocentric Records and Wooaaargh

ARTWORK- 86

Skulls, maggots, a pentagram looking thingy and a masked kultist (for the record a dead ringer of the lead vocalist from Ghost) with Lovecraftian creations sprouting from his spine. And the whole concoction is in black and white. Does it get any better than this? Probably, but not by much.

FIRST TRACK- 82

No introduction, no soundbites and certainly not even the slightest indication of “frilly bits”. This leaps straight for the throat! Crust coupled with D-beat and sprinkles of hardcore showcasing bludgeoning riffs complete with sub-woofer annihilating bass. Keep a digit on the volume button when this puppy starts else something goes POP and your further enjoyment of the extreme audio arena is held at bay until the meds start to work.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

This is unapologetic Crust (with the punk vibe often more pronounced than other elements) slathered with D-beat complete with angst-ridden hardcore vocals (I feel like I’ve said that before, but it needs repeating!) The similarities to Motorhead and WolfBrigade are unmistakable as well the indelible imprints the sheer amount of groove here will leave on the senses when this is through. To keep this short and sweet if the pulverizing nature of this and the ‘catchier than catchy’ aura doesn’t make you wanna’ get up and break shit odds are you might be missing a pulse. Jump on this at your next given opportunity! But be prepared to apologize to everyone beforehand for this will leave a mess as your torso unceremoniously jerks you around like a marionette at the whim of an inebriated puppet master. Need I mention this grew on me the more I listened? (Probably not, but I did anyway.)

Favorite Tracks; Dusk of Doom, Violence, Burn it Down, The End.

FFO; Wolfpack, No/Mas, Martyrdöd, Napalm Death, Disrupt, Terrorizer.

Need a Second Opinion?

 

Here are a few words from synth maestro Werewolves in Siberia (who I can’t thank enough for putting up with my constant badgering and allowing me in this case to bent his ear). I highly recommend checking into his varied discography, especially if you have a soft spot for cult soundtracks with a Goblin or Carpenter-esque edge. His godly manipulation of electronic beats into an often suspense-laden soundscape can be found here; https://werewolvesinsiberia.bandcamp.com/

werewolves in Sioberia header

I hadn’t heard of Hellknife before this.  In all honesty, I’ve only recently started catching up with a bunch of metal bands I used to listen to.  I really haven’t paid much attention to the metal scene at all in the last 10 years or so; minus the few exceptions of those bands I absolutely have to listen to.

That said, my first thought was that if Hellknife is an American band, this is a terrible name.  If they’re from Europe or a Scandinavian country (anywhere English isn’t the primary language), somehow, it’s an awesome name, though.  Turns out they’re from Germany, so the name checks out and it sounds tough.

Werewolves In Siberia2

I’ll sum up the sound of the music to me; basically, they remind me of The Crown doing a d-beat record with a bunch of thrash meets Norwegian black metal influence in the guitar riffs.  I feel like there’s something missing from the songwriting to make it that standout it could be but this is still a killer record and I’m finding I like it more each time I listen.

Apparently, these guys even worked with a dude who has worked with Wolfbrigade for this album.  If you’re going to make d-beat music, working with people who have made some of the greats in the genre is always going to help you out.  They obviously had the same epiphany.

I’d be happy if the snare was louder in the mix but that might just be me nitpicking.  It’s kind of a crustcore staple to have that gritty guitar super loud in the mix and drowning out the drums, but I think that snare could cut through a little bit and really dive home how killer this band is.  Either way, I’m glad Cult sent this one along to me as I now have a new d-beat/crustcore band to listen to.  With how much it’s grown on me in just a couple listens, I’m sure I’ll be liking this one even more by next week.

novarupta

Novarupta (Sweden) – Disillusioned Fire

https://suiciderecordsswe.bandcamp.com/album/disillusioned-fire

Release- April/29/19

Suicide Records

ARTWORK- 76

Uh, oh, this image gives off a vibe as though the words “Post” (something or other) might appear in its description. It actually looks similar to an image on a couple of shirts I own when I went through a brief not wearing metal shirts all the time phase. Nevertheless, I’m intrigued.

FIRST TRACK- 83

Sludge sensibilities, mammoth riffs and angst fueled vocals. And something… else. Wicked pace transformations and a malevolent nature, a lurking, as if there’s something on the horizon which might soon pounce (but only when it’s good and ready to do so). A brilliant start seething with monstrous weight which leaves me eager for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

With a different vocalist highlighted in every track (with talents heard in bands such as Entombed, Dark Tranquility and The Moth Gatherer, to name but a few), the third track boasts three guest throats, this album boasts a smorgasbord of identities. Hard to describe without listing a diatribe-esque list of styles which often intertwine and or tumble over each other (in a surprisingly controlled manner), easier to enjoy, the styles herein are varied (feel like I’ve mentioned that before now) yet passages of a grandiose nature run rampant alongside riffs which could topple Godzilla and bring even the most wicked of dictator to his knees. The atmosphere here is undeniable, often overpowering, and adds a priceless quality to the album’s depth and aura. This truly is an album one can get lost in and to think that it’s not normally of a genre I often frequent makes me ponder upon that which I might be missing out on. Call this post, blackened sludge, atmospheric, doom, call it what you will but be sure to give it the time of day and I’m sure you’ll agree it far surpasses that which most might assume when faced with a description utilizing said genres. Place this between the ears post haste!

Favorite Tracks; Pyroclastic Flows, Mare Tranquillitatis, Only the Dirt Will Know Our Graves.

FFO; vintage Katatonia, October Tide, Tool, Nuerosis, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost.

mix tape action

Scribbling like one possessed, but it’s still not fast enough, dammit!

This concludes the sites first foray into having invited guests take the reins. A huge thanks go out to all involved. If you wish to become featured in a future endeavor of the same type feel free to drop me a line. Otherwise, feel free to comment, share and spread the word as eye-opening, ear carnage audio is meant to be shared – #SupporttheScene

As always keep those ears open for audio which might normally be foreign to the senses.

Your slave to audio in many of its extreme forms,

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – February

black metal gif

Well, here we are again. My life is somewhat back on track following a three-week period of “ahh-fuck, my back!” However, during this time, I still put aside a few moments in which to discover fresh extreme audio and scribble upon its allure. Here’s hoping at least someone else, other than me, is actually reading this. This is a free service I’m offering here folks, all I ask is that you bathe your eyes in horrid grammar, my attempts at atrocious humor and that you support the scene. Metal is after all important to the mental well-being of millions, or am I just talking about myself again? As always feel free to comment, share and click whatever links provided so that you may listen as you investigate all the spelling errors I’ve also so lovingly provided. Onward to extreme audio as yet undiscovered (you’ll note I’m trying something new; a month by month theme in order, and hopes, that the releases covered herein are easier to lay ears upon in a timely manner and not forgotten).

Left over from January –

ceifador

Ceifador (Brazil) – All Hell Breaking Loose

https://ceifador.bandcamp.com/album/all-hell-breaking-loose-2020

Release – January/15/2020

Invincible Records

ARTWORK – 55

Honestly, I’m not even sure what this is. Is it an x-ray SNAFU? This gives little indication as to what to expect from the audio without, regardless I’m still curious.

FIRST TRACK – 86

Unlike that which I assumed this isn’t a play on the famous Venom track (it’s missing the “s”) however it is in the same vein; punk and speed with an underlying black metal vibe. And I’m please to say its raw nature has grabbed the attention.

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

Yet another one-person outfit, Clayton Maximinus other than in a live setting, bringing the blackened speed metal attack. I’m beginning to think there’s really no need for a full act to ‘create’. Do “many cooks spoilt the broth?” after all? This much like James McBain’s Hellripper incites uncontrollable limb movement and delivers the goods. Although this gets a little repetitive in instances, seems ‘recycled’ in others and the tracks could be shortened some with much the same result it still makes an impression and leaves a definite mark, demanding praise and an instant replay. If your penchants run to raw audio, punk and blistering blackened speed this requires attention! As an added bonus this guy creates like a possessed fiend so there’s plenty offered by way of a back catalogue to sift through until he chooses to release another. Dive in!

Favorite Tracks; All Hell Breaking Loose, Gods of Evil, Don’t Pray for the Dead.

FFO; Wraith, Hellripper, Bastardizer.

macabre demise

Macabre Demise (Germany) – Awakening

https://macabredemise.bandcamp.com/

Release – January/17/2020

Rebirth the Metal Productions

ARTWORK- 82

Hide the Paramedics, there’s a zombie invasion! Apparently, they’ve already eaten the kids in the short bus.

FIRST TRACK- 68

An atmospheric intro with synth horror undertones leads into short stabbing riffs, significant bass ‘bounce’, a slam edge and even a diabolical passage or two. I’m intrigued. I think I’ll stick with this till its through.

INITIAL LISTEN- 73

Brutal death, crust, slam, blunt riffs with abrupt pace transformations and occasional forays into djent ville is what’s to be find here. Coupled with an obsession with horror and carnage (as their moniker suggests) this makes for nothing that’s totally unexpected, or even new, in the genre. However, it’s the tight drumming and willingness to pull/pluck/yank/rip elements from a myriad of genres and the ability to pull it off which keeps this entertaining.

Favorite Tracks; Mirror, Darkness, Gore and Guts, Slush Brains,

FFO; Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation, Vomitory.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia (Belgium) – Voices (EP)

https://www.facebook.com/Schizophrenia.Officialband/

Independent

Release – January/31/2020

ARTWORK – 88

Driven by shadowy forces out of his control a man is depicted with a knife to his throat by his own (manipulated) hand. Stunning art sporting fantastic light and dark play and vivid details make this image pop.

FIRST TRACK –88

Thrash bordering on death which boasts attention-grabbing pace transformations, a wicked vocal tone with plenty of dynamic movement and an aggression which is hard to ignore.

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

Displaying a style which is a delicate balance of Bay Area, European, old school and new school Schizophrenia have somehow managed to create five tracks which seethe with undeniable dynamic and exuberant presence. Lead and solo fretboard manipulations drip in diabolical qualities coupled with rhythms doused in adrenaline keep the eyes wide and the mouth agape while the body flails of its own accord. The intriguing vocal range in moments brings to mind a trademarked Tardy style and tone but this is hardly a complaint, rather another example of what makes this so damn listenable. Set your ears on this and rekindle your adoration of brutal aggressive thrash, but be warned you’ll want to play this again and again. Here’s eagerly awaiting the band’s first full-length.

Favorite Tracks; Structure of Death, Perpetual Perdition, Beyond Reality.

FFO; Exhorder, (vintage) Sepultura, Kreator, Slayer.

hazzerd

Hazzerd (Canada) – Delirium

https://hazzerdthrash.bandcamp.com/album/delirium

Release – January/24/2020

M Theory Audio

ARTWORK- 60

Not sure if that’s a crazy person or a zombie, or a crazy person in a zombie getup nowhere near the night when candy is handed out wilynily. Perhaps it’s the bands mascot and I’m looking at this all wrong? Regardless, something of interest is taking place in the background; riot gear, strait jackets and Billy clubs. Surprisingly, this still grabbed my attention enough to hit play.

FIRST TRACK- 88

Thrash with a huge dose of speed metal, traditional heavy metal leanings, crossover vocals sporting dazzling lead and solo work. A great start which puts me in mind of the thrash style dominant in the late 80’s/early 90’s.

INITIAL LISTEN- 90

This is a great example of “you can’t judge a book (in this case an album)” by its cover. Hardly aggressive the audio here is a stunning blend of speed metal traditional heavy metal, thrash crossover and old school thrash. Rhythms are criminally infectious; the lyrics are often drenched in humor (with an undeniable Destruction edge to the vocals) and the guitar work is a stunning and passionate mix of Dragonforce and Steve Vai which thankfully stays this side of OTT fretboard maniacal wizardry realms. Layered with a playful nature and doused in a vibe which harkens back to the golden age of thrash this tips the hat to a variety of influences whilst still imbuing an essence of its own. A dynamic, energetic affair which bursts with talent and creative know how. I’m not normally a fan of the genre but this is remarkable and deserves all the praise it gets and I can give.

Favorite Tracks; A Tormented Reality, Call of the Void, Dead in the Shed, The Decline.

FFO; Forbidden, vintage Flotsam and Jetsam, Coroner, vintage Annihilator, Exodus, Destruction.

 February Releases

goblinsmoker

Goblinsmoker (United Kingdom) – A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze

https://goblinsmoker.bandcamp.com/album/a-throne-in-haze-a-world-ablaze

SludgeLord Records

Release – February/7/2020

ARTWORK – 85

Fantastical themes, conflict and smoking paraphernalia all encompassed within a delicious comic type setting. A I the only one who wishes to see as well hear more?

FIRST TRACK – 84

Atmosphere aplenty layered upon by a mammoth menacing build (ala monolith fuzz laden Doom riffs) as if seeing an army slowly appear on the horizon blocking the sun’s rays, eradicating all hope, gradually filling the sky with dread. An infrequent EyeHateGod shrieking vocal approach adds to the overall menace and enveloping aura. A plodding dirge, in effect the perfect soundtrack for evoking scenes of conflict disrupting the normal run of things in the swamps (does this even take place in that location? This remains to be seen).

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

There’s already a sludge/tech death band (give me a few I’ll find out their name… SLUGDGE) fixated on slug warfare and perhaps even a handful of others with the same approach but on all other manner of creepy crawlies. And now, Goblinsmoker. Apparently, this is “Part two in the ‘Toad King’ trilogy” and sees a narrative unfold (this isn’t the first time I’ve “watched” the sequel without watching the original first if truth be told). Here’s the story track by track direct from the band’s Twitter feed;

“1. Smoked in Darkness

This track picks up the story where ‘Toad King’ ended. Following the shamans warning, the Toad King has marched his goblin army to the city of his own kind. He delivers a battle cry before leading his goblin hordes in a charge on his ancestral home, burning anything and anyone in sight. “Death everywhere, none for the smoke. Death everywhere, just for the throne.”

  1. Let Them Rot

Set immediately after the city has fallen. The Toad King sits on his new throne in the city, the throne he never should have been granted. Still full of rage, he sits as the bodies of his own kind, as well as his fallen goblin subjects, smolder around him and he cries out to “let them rot”.

  1. The Forest Mourns

This track deals with feeling that change has come and the anxiety of the new, dark future. The world is not what is was and the goblins have come out from the shadows. It also hints at the third and final part of the trilogy, proclaiming the shaman has one final move to make. “True darkness awaits.”

goblinsmoker toad king

Toad King

A king who happens to be a Toad and more loyal goblin subjects than you can shake a stick at. I am intrigued, and you should be too as this is far from what I initially expected. In shirt this is Doom (of that there’s no doubt) captured in its natural lazy state, draped in ground shaking reverb, often doused with groove, which frolics with a cavernous death presence, occasionally a funeral doom epic nature, aided by blackened shriek vocal accompaniment. But let us not forget the effective bludgeoning drum accompaniment. This combination might sound odd. But it works! And somehow only allows the fantastical narrative; crimson splashing about, slime trails (wait, is that toads too or am I still thinking of slugs?), a bug catching tongue and myriads of squabbling spindly green fellows to blossom in the mind’s eye. The question remains; why isn’t there a graphic novel and/or a slew of animation videos (or even a board game) to help showcase the story (perhaps there is and I’m needing to hunker down to a spot of research?) Regardless as it progresses this puts me more and more in mind of the scene from the Hobbit whereupon our trusty heroes are being chased deep underground by a horde of goblins and their slothenly leader. But I digress, suffice it to say this is epic, transfixing and often suffocating. An experience which the listener will want to immediately dive back into in order to fully appreciate what’s on offer. The first dip may well have been slightly overwhelming which is to be expected but none the less highly enjoyable and infectious. I’m off to listen to the first entry, which is where I seriously should have started, I suggest you do the same.

Favorite Tracks; Let Them Rot.

FFO: Black Sabbath, My Dying Bride, Bolt Thrower, Cathedral, CHTHE’ILIST.

total annihilation

 Total Annihilation (Switzerland) – …on Chains of Doom

https://total-annihilation.bandcamp.com/album/on-chains-of-doom

Release – February/7/2020

Czar of Crickets Production

ARTWORK – 80

There’s little doubt what the listener is in for with this image on hand. You got it.! This is ‘hair rock’ draped in ballads, glitter and unicorn sprinkles. I jest, for there should be little confusion as to what to expect here with the inclusion of flames, a death machine, varied forms getting squished under tank treads and guns glowing red-hot in activity. But the question remains is this audio anything like another act obsessed with warfare and tanks (bonus points if your guess is correct).

FIRST TRACK – 79

A vintage war coverage newsreel and various news clip sound bites add intrigue to the introduction, leaving little left tom ponder upon as to what this might be about. Bouncing, groove laden, thrash rhythms take the lead as the clip intro disappear introducing the bands style to those, like myself, who have yet to experience what they have to offer.

INITIAL LISTEN – 77

Although one might assume this is merely run of the mill thrash/death there’s a variety of pace on offer throughout; mid-tempo groove switches places, and often transforms, into tear your head from your spine in intensity thrashin’ instances and also surprisingly a little something in between. Build up is commendable and rhythms are such that fans will have no choice but to reminisce upon standout thrash artists whose influence here, a mix of vintage European and American, is unmistakable. The rough vocal style adds to the albums level of aggression as too a” Troops of Doom” drum approach which helps propel the finished product into realms fans of the aggressive arena of thrash are sure to pounce upon. Although this sports really nothing new to the scene, the musicianship is on point and the arrangements top-notch and it remains entertaining throughout.

Favorite Tracks; Falling Fast, Reborn in Flesh, Experience the Terror, Tunnelratten, Black Blood.

FFO: Sodom, Nuclear Assault, Destruction, Kreator.

ironflame blood red victory

Ironflame (USA) – Blood Red Victory

https://ironflame.bandcamp.com/

Release – February/7/2020

Divebomb Records

ARTWORK- 78

Stepping away from what’s been showcased on albums before Ironflame have chosen to depict a warrior (I’m assuming) standing proud with a sword in hand and torn cape billowing in the wind. And, if I’m not mistaken, the sword has a certain glow as if its energized, perhaps following slaughter. Does it have a life of its own? Perhaps, it certainly looks wicked enough. Here’s to bloodshed, carnage and the caress of flashing steel upon an enemy’s flesh. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK- 92

Foot tapping melodies, soaring passionate leads and powerful vocals (sans a falsetto element). If this is any indication of how the album is to continue, I’m shutting the outside world off, turning the headphones up and bathing in the absolute undeniable allure of exquisite heavy metal!

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

Feudal medieval themes, rhythms to promote air guitar silliness and drum tattoos to provoke limbs to twitch of their own accord. This is damn good audio and an amazing example of what makes heavy metal (with splashes of speed metal) so GD enjoyable and why its attraction continues to build. Excellent production aids the overall enjoyment here. If they haven’t already fans of mid era Maiden and Haunt have a new hero to add to their audio collection. I’m sure I’ll play this up until and mention it copiously come years end.

Favorite Tracks; Not a dull moment to be found, bathe in its glory.

FFO; Iron Maiden, Haunt, 3 Inches of Blood, Halloween, Dio, Saxon.

the spirit cosmic terror

The Spirit (Germany)- Cosmic Terror

https://thespiritmetal.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-terror

Release – February/7/2020

AOP Records

ARTWORK- 73

A classic image offering an optical illusion/visual trickery of sorts (wrapped around a globe sporting either an eye or an explosion on one side) which is certainly up for discussion as it could mean many things ranging from inner struggles through glorified global turmoil.  Or, I could be miles off, it’s happened before now.

FIRST TRACK- 92

This is like “Storm” era Dissection but with a vintage Eucharist vibe. Melodies are wicked yet playful and the lyrics bear a fascinating narrative nature, which can be understood completely. But there’s something else…a tip of the hat to the traditional metal arena by way of galloping riffs and melodious leads which aren’t too brutal, but rather fluid. A fantastic start leaving me salivating for more.

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

Fluid rhythms, a definite, familiar, black metal (melody rather than raw primal power) vibe and distinct majesty and coldness within the riffs though this offers so much more. Influences from traditional metal arenas, melodic death and even a splash of symphonic accompaniment to dd depth to the album’s undeniable presence. Fans of both (‘Storm’ era) Dissection and classic Eucharist rejoice for this combines the two and then some. Enthralling from start to finish they is amazing but merely a stepping stone for the jaw dropping audio to follow for the act only appears to get better and better. Do not miss out on this, although if you do, I’m sure I’ll be there to remind you come years end! Did I mention two bands in particular enough during this review? Yes, I believe I did. I think you get the point!

Favorite Tracks; This is near hypnotic and delivers from start to finish!

FFO; Dissection, At the Gates, Necrophobic, Eucharist, Saramentum, Tribulation, Cloak.

skumstrike

Skumstrike (Canada)- Execution Void

https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/execution-void

Release – February/14/2020

Caligari Records

ARTWORK- 71

A raw image appearing to depict a face under extreme duress. This could well be a reflection from a witness’s eye or a look into a porthole upon one’s final moments.

FIRST TRACK- 89

Strap in tightly folks! A vintage Carcass– esque intro starts things off and leads into straight for the jugular audio. A primal seething raw beast draped in darkness exhibiting a ferocity which is typical of a terrified rabid critter backed into a corner. You will seriously have wished you lumbered up the neck muscles before you hit play.

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

I was not prepared for this!

Imagine, if you can, a crust outfit with black sensibilities and industrial leanings (especially in the vocal department) ala “The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste”/”Psalm 69” era Ministry. This hits hard, rarely leaves one enough time to breath before it assaults the senses again. This isn’t pretty. It’s raw if truth be told but it obliterates the yearning for hard, brutal fast and ornery.

This is a five track EP but it leaves me sweaty, exhausted, exhilarated and wanting more.

Favorite Tracks; The whole damn thing!

FFO; (Psalm 69 era) Ministry, No/Mas, Disrupt.

ithzmi

Izthmi (USA) – The Arrow of our Ways

https://izthmiseattle.bandcamp.com/album/the-arrows-of-our-ways

Release- February/14/2020

Within the Mind Records

ARTWORK- 80

Depicting a picturesque clearing this image also showcases a prone form in a small body of water. The beauty of nature scarred by the vicious nature of the creatures who roam upon it (how’s that for a spot of poetry?)

FIRST TRACK- 84

An apocalypse noise salvo paired with an “awakening” synth accompaniment. Little indication is given as to how the album will proceed from this point so when a mellow drum beat and majestic cresting riffs break the silence the ears immediately perk up. As the track progresses details become clear. This isn’t a typical black or even atmospheric black metal release, as this is oozing with a myriad of influence and styles. Acoustic guitar melodies weave in and around a malevolent mid pace, which doesn’t linger for too long in any one direction, supported by an often-frenetic drum salvo and a diverse vocal approach (encompassing shrieks, OSDM growls and grunts) making for a unique listening experience which makes an instant impression.

INITIAL LISTEN- 88

Both technical and intricate the melodies and arrangements here are varied, chaotic in instances. Touch upon folk sensibilities, yet still somehow flow in a cohesive, downright hypnotic, manner. Interludes serve to break up the album with bursts of cataclysmic intensity, in the case of (The Angels are Lost) bring about a contemplative nature but then it’s back to business. Multi-faceted, dynamic, busy and complex bearing cavernous qualities as well cosmic tones this release probably isn’t for everyone. But for those who relish in the process of dissecting audio like peeling back layers of an onion, rather than the instant gratification usually resulting from a release draped in a single genre blanket, this will provide hours of entertainment. A solitary listen will not suffice, this bears an odd familiarity about it and the intrigue is piqued, this requires several to get an understanding of the brilliance within. A striking debut sure to garner interest from far and wide across the metal spectrum.

Favorite Tracks; This is yet another example of an album which captivates from beginning to end.

FFO; vintage Katatonia, Opeth, Between the Buried and Me, Ne Oblivicaris, Swallow the Sun, Akercocke.

runescarred

Runescarred (USA) – The Distant Infinite

https://runescarred.bandcamp.com/

(album, or any of its tracks, isn’t “up” as of this publication)

Released – February/21/2020

Self-Released

ARTWORK- 86

The image here looks a little like one rendered by an artist Psycroptic has commissioned in the past (on their self-titled release). It really gives no indication as to the audio within but is vivid in detail and intricacy, which leave me quivering in anticipation.

FIRST TRACK- 84

The album commences as if it’s travelling along similar tracks as “South of Heaven” (do I really need mention the artist?) but then veers into Exodus adrenaline thrash realms. And boy does it ever deliver. Dramatic gruff vocals with a slightly unique edge add to the enjoyment. A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN- 88

Passionate and intricate not at all what I was expecting. Tons better in fact.  Overflowing with a smorgasbord of influence soaring leads are commonplace as too rhythms which will strike an instant chord. Surprising are progressive and folk instances although they don’t feel out of place but rather add significant depth to the album. To top the brilliance off (yes, I said ‘brilliance’) the vocal approach is striking often bringing to mind Dio, in other times Warren Dale and then again Bruce Dickinson but also the later ‘frontman’ for Exodus (whose name escapes me)

Favorite Tracks; The album doesn’t disappoint; delivering from start to finish.

FFO; Exodus, Nevermore, Hell, Iced Earth, Testament, Bruce Dickinson’s solo output.

kvaen

Kvaen (Sweden) – Funeral Pyre

https://kvaen.bandcamp.com/album/the-funeral-pyre

Release- February/28/2020

Black Lion Records

ARTWORK- 85

Black and white imagery. A robed hand holds a sword to consumed by licking flames. Ouch! This would make an amazing tattoo.

FIRST TRACK- 93

Containing quite possibly the most infectious black metal riff I’ve heard in some time this starts with a blistering jolt only to slide into epic and exquisite majestic realms though still boasting ungodly melodic qualities. A great fukn’ start, if I’m to be blunt!

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

Top notch melodic black metal with mischievous rhythms, surprising tempo transformations, blast beats aplenty (but thankfully not to the point of overkill), plenty of atmosphere and at times even an epic grandeur. Venomous vocals complete an intricately crafted package which is topped off with admirable production values. Part traditional yet bursting with an appeal which most new comers to the scene (me included) will instantly be able to appreciate. Do not be the last one on board the Kvaen train, these guys are gonna scorch the earth, mark my words!

Favorite Tracks; This doesn’t disappoint at any given moment.

FFO; Dissection, Arctos.

exhausted animal

And that concludes another installment of Abrasive Audio. Hopefully you’ve gotten this far down the ‘page’ and have found something to keep your senses occupied for at least a short while, I even attempted to keep this entry somewhat diverse. Here’s to discovering something which might normally be foreign to the senses.

Your exhausted slave to audio extreme, in a wide variety of its many guises,

Cult

Abrasive Audio – Attack of the Compilation the first of 20’

Metal Assault welcoming in the new decade with a Bang!

metal assault header

Well, it’s been a ‘hot minute’ (I believe the cool kids are still using this ‘turn of phrase’?) since I’ve done one of these. Let’s hope I still know how to tackle the whole concept of reviewing a compilation release without making myself look like a total fool.

Where to start? Well, I could mention my love of the medium. Seriously there was a time before the internet when discovering ‘new’ music was a little tricky. Oftentimes one had to base their disposable spending on an album based on an anonymous person’s thoughts and feelings alone, unless one was lucky enough to be able to have friends who liked the same type of audio. Obviously, opinions and tastes vary wildly so hard-earned pennies were often spent on outings which really didn’t capture the attention (no matter how many times one listened or how hard one tried to ‘really’ like something. Most like it so it must be “good” … Right?) Compilations eased the trickiness of the situation somewhat. They served as a ‘porthole’ into an acts style, although it requires more than merely one song to get a feel for an act (I’ve come across a couple who present a few tracks from each act listed. I think is an outstanding way to go about this, more in the manner of a “split” but with more acts represented). Better yet they always showcased a variety of acts to widen the horizon. I’ll admit I spent hours with my finger poised on the stop, play, record button. I compiled a few tapes of my own (this was before CDs were in vogue) to trade with others, this was by far the cheapest way to do it but one still had to build their collection in order to get to this level.

speed kills compilation

Today my collection is bursting at the seams with At Deaths Door, Metal for the Masses, Speed Kills, various label and magazine samplers and a few residing under the themed homage umbrella. One day I’ll revisit and annihilate the dust bunny civilization which has no doubt taken up residence since last I visited, Moving on, for this is quite enough history and waffling on about the subject and myself. For the first entry of 2020 I’ve been lucky enough to procure the second volume in the Metal Assault ‘Mixtape Series’ considerately entitled (surprisingly) Metal Assault Mixtape – Volume 2 which finds its release on January/31 available on cassette tape (limited to 150 copies only), as well as digital download via Bandcamp

https://metalassault.bandcamp.com/album/metal-assault-mixtape-vol-2

Without plowing wildly into my thoughts I’ll include a rating system I’ve designed especially for this purpose. However, seems as this is a brand-spanking New Year I’ve mixed it up with a few changes.

the devils rain gif

Ah… this nonsense is doing my head in!

I don’t believe I listened to a single song here, in its entirety – to be quite honest I’d rather hear a recording of my significant other grunting in time with sloppy flesh-laden percussion provided by the neighbor’s thrusts.

I Skipped most of this, but found it comical but not in a humorous way – Seriously, was this compiled in a kindergarten class?

Didn’t skip any tracks, but my digits were poised, ready to strike – I may or may not revisit again. If I give it more time will it grow on me?

I believe I can actually remember a few of the band’s names here – This shows promise!

This leaves me with a smirk on my face and has me bobbing my head on a frequent basis –Be prepared to search for a reliable internet connection, in order to do some invaluable research on where to distribute the pennies.

Dammit, I can’t concentrate! – Break out the lube. Does this come in a format I can insert myself into? I’ll preach about this when I’ve cleaned up the resulting puddle.

(These rating are somewhat crude but self-explanatory.)

metal assault mixtape #2

So how does this fare? Showcasing eleven acts from around the Los Angeles area (…”and beyond”) With only a single act whom I’ve heard anything about, Void Vator (based solely on their stunning recent release), I feel like an eager, extreme audio, thirsting, teenager all over again. What say we all dive in blindly but not before at least giving a cursory glance to that which is about to invade the senses.

 

The cover artwork for this is based on Metal Assault’s “Face Melter” t-shirt from 2017, designed by Dan Lerner.

The (All-Important) Tracklist;

Void Vator – Nitrus

Monolith – Man Without a Soul

Hydera – Witch King

Living Darkness – Destructible

Motor Gun Hotel – Leave It All Behind

Aparant – Home

Drift – From Within

Hell Kross – Howl of the Wolf Brigade

Circle of Sighs – Burden of the Flesh

Grim Earth – Ruins

The Blue Prison – Vengeance

Sporting a wide variety of styles, the release delivers a little for everybody (although if truth be told the more extreme shadow ridden corners of the metal spectrum aren’t represented as much as one might think given the albums cover art). Starting with Void Vator and a splash of Latin flavor this collection of tracks progresses to offer NWOBHM flavor, Southern-fried alternate rock, speed metal, thrash metal, traditional doom, groove to spare and plenty of atmosphere, even a few tracks bearing a style which is moderately unexpected, given the surroundings.

holiday drumming animal

Bring on the tunage!!!

Naturally, I have a few favorites and a few others which instantly perked my interest and held the interest even after repeated listens. In all honesty I didn’t skip a single track, several tracks grew on me to far surpass my initial reaction. Without reservation I’ll gladly award this with a “This leaves me with a smirk on my face and has me bobbing my head on a frequent basis” rating, precariously teetering on the precipice of “Dammit, I can’t concentrate!” for although the styles differ, drastically in some instances, each track held my interest and piqued my curiosity to varying degrees.

In order of appearance these made an instant impression;
Hydera – Witch King

Traditional rock stylings with power metal sensibilities and brilliant head swaying guitar solos. Complete with thankfully close to zero falsetto vocal antics. This reminds me, for some reason, of Rhapsody in part early Riot, perhaps it’s time to revisit “Thundersteel”?

Check out what the band have to offer; https://hyderaofficial.bandcamp.com/releases

living darkness
Living Darkness – Destructible

Fluid speed/thrash with infectious rhythms and (wait for it) falsetto vocals but with great range. Strange I like this but I do.

Check out what else the band has to offer; https://livingdarknessmetal.bandcamp.com/

Motor Gun Hotel – Leave it All Behind

Seething with an alternative aura and an Alice in Chains vibe both in percussion and in the vocal department there’s little wonder this piqued my interest.

Set the ears upon the bands BC page; https://motorgunhotel.bandcamp.com/releases

the blue prison
The Blue Prison – Vengeance

I do believe this would perk the ears of my pal Werewolves in Siberia. Reminiscent of a style similar to that which The Berserker fine-tuned (minus the grindcore accompaniment) this marries synth, an industrial nature and guitar riff-driven metal (a ménage a trois if you will. Why is it that French people have capitalized upon all the coolest phrases?) and drags the listener on a wild narrative until its conclusion. A strange inclusion and finale to this compilation but a track which will have one exploring unchartered audio avenues.

Explore the bands discography here; https://theblueprison.bandcamp.com/

In order of appearance these had me nodding and twitching like one possessed;
void vator
Void Vator – Nitrus

Oozing with both Western and Latin flavors this incites uncontrollable appendage movement. Don’t believe me. Put it on and experience this for yourself. Even more outstanding is that this is sans vocals. This could easily find inclusion in a Tarantino film it has that sort of a vibe!

The BC page; https://voidvator.bandcamp.com/

Monolith – Man Without a Soul

This track picked me up and threw me back several decades. Much like Dio fronted Rainbow meets vintage Iron Maiden, White Spirit with a splash of Blitzkrieg this has undeniable flow bordering on criminal catchiness. Speed metal but not quite the melodies here are exquisite coupled with passionate vocals this is an undeniable standout!

More of Monolith can be explored here; https://www.facebook.com/MonolithSD/

circle of sighs
Circle of Sighs – Burden of the Flesh

Atmosphere aplenty accompanied by a vast cosmic ethereal nature. Huge riffs and an undeniable ‘presence’ you could well lose yourself within if given the appropriate accouterments. In short, doom, but doused in Bowie-esque progressive elements and dark synth. An outstanding combination whih needs to be heard to be appreciated.

And look, I have a link to explore; https://circleofsighs.bandcamp.com/releases

Hell Kross – Howl of the Wolf Brigade

Speed themed doom with heavy metal tendencies drenched in dramatic flair and hilarious lyrics (“it was the peanut butter which stopped the wolves, cus they’re just like dogs!”). Need I say more? Probably not, but I will. This is the type of audio the metal community needs more of. I believe The Joker said it best “Why so serious?” If you enjoy Tenacious D and Zimmers Hole You’ll enjoy this.

Their limited discography can be explored here; https://hellkross.bandcamp.com/releases

grim earth
Grim Earth – Ruins

Because every compilation deserves some angst ridden, sludge laden, heaviness. Prepare to be floored! Fuzz encapsulated mammoth riffs and (wait for it) … groove. What’s not to love? Even more surprising is that these cats are from Washington, not California. But who cares, this track rocks the compilation kicks ass and I’m done! I’m going to spin this again.

Grim Earth’s output badass cover artwork, and all, can be found here; https://grimearth.bandcamp.com/

 

Cult

Again, for those not paying attention, this compilation goes live on January/31. I highly recommend it and it can be found at this location; https://metalassault.bandcamp.com/album/metal-assault-mixtape-vol-2