Posts Tagged ‘Mist of Misery’

Abrasive Audio – The Year in Review

Part the Second
pissed easter day bunny

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

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



Allegaeon – Apoptosis

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

Archaic Decapitator – The Apothecary

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

Belezebubs – Pantheon of the Nightside Gods*

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

black sites exile

Black Sites – Exile*

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

Gruesome Stuff Relish /Choked by own Vomits SPLIT

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

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

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

Hath – Of Rot and Ruin

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

black arts n alchemy

Hellripper – Black Arts and Alchemy

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

Inculter – Fatal Visions

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

Mist of Misery – Unalterable

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


Teleport – The Expansion

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

West of Hell – Blood of the Infidel*

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


Wormwitch – Heaven that Dwells Within

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


Body Harvest – Parasitic Slavery

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

evil angel

Evil Angel – Unholy Evil Metal*

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

Funeral Storm – Arcane Mysteries

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

Haunt – If Icarus Could Fly

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

Idle hands mana

Idle Hands – Mana

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

Inanimate Existence – Clockwork

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


Krypts – Cadaver Circulation

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

Kull (formerly Bal Sagoth) – Exile

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

Misþyrming – Algleymi

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


Monasterium – Church of Bones

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

Nihility – Thus Spoke the Antichrist

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

Paladin – Ascender

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


Possessed – Revelations of Oblivion*

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

Sathamel – Horror Vacui*

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

Vale of Pnath – Accursed

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


Varaha – A Passage for Lost Years

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

War Curse – Eradication

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

Widower – Cataclysmic Sorcery

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

witch ritual.jpg

Witch Ritual – Death: Beyond

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


Atlas Entity – Beneath the Cosmic Silence*

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

Beheaded – Only Death can Save You

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


Concilivm– The Veiled Enigma (EP)

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

Consecration – Fragilium

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

Gravefields – Embrace the Void

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

memoriam a requiem

Memoriam – A Requiem for Mankind *

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

Ov Lustra – Tempestas

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

pestis inferos

Pestis Inferos – Beyond the Veil of Light

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

Superstition – The Anatomy of Unholy Transformation *

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

the odious

The Odious – Vesica Piscis

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

mix tape action

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

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


Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses (part the Tenth)


Ten of these things already, damn and only half that amount in readers.

Up for this installment’s deliberation…

widower CAt Sorc

Widower – Cataclysmic Sorcery
Release – May/24/2019
Black Market Metal Label
Clawhammer PR
Artwork – 8.5

Wicked black and white imagery which leaves very little to the imagination. A priest, a sacrifice and a town in flames. Better call the Fire department and/or the local clergy. There’s going to be some cleaning up to do.

First Track – 8.5

A rapid pace, constant rhythm transformations, riffs for miles, rasped vocals and a certain familiarity. Straight from the get-go these guys are out to make an impression, and they’ve done just that.  I can foresee I’ll need to limber up if I don’t wish to hurt myself before this audio assault is through.

Initial Listen – 9

This is a classic example of an album I’ve returned to only to find I like it infinitely more the second time around. ‘Cataclysmic Sorcery’ is a fantastic example of aggressive thrash that borders on blackened death realms (dangerously so in the case of ‘Fornicate Upon Mass Graves’). Riffs are fast and furious and delivered with exquisite precision. The production is spot on, every instrument can be appreciated for its addition to the sound and the vocal style fits like a tailor-made glove which both complements and adds to the overall appeal. The whole concoction is one with a myriad of moments which might make the listener think upon other acts and specific tracks. However, the word copycat never comes to mind as Widower have injected this with enough of their own uniqueness and rhythmic technicality to separate it from the amassed hordes (in the same arena) all hoping to also make a name for themselves. And there’s no doubt with a release such as this Widower have done just that!

Favorite Tracks; Hell Sent, Fornicate Upon Mass Graves, Cosmic Holocaust, Forgotten Realm.


Délétère – Theovorator: Babelis Testamentum
Release – May/18/2019
Sepulchral Productions
Artwork – 7.5

Fantastical yet still somewhat biblical in tone and draped in a crimson hue this tells of a release in a blackened arena, am I wrong?

First Track – 8

Menacing yet draped in majesty, raw in nature, boasting swift riff passages and atmosphere, this channels traditional black metal sensibilities yet boasts more melody and ‘groove’ than one might expect. Surprisingly this has grabbed my attention and I’m not, admittedly, a fan of audio of this type. Extra points there!

Initial Listen – 8

Only three tracks make up these releases twenty-one-minute running length. With its epic nature, stunning composition and Gothic atmosphere this is more than enough to whet the appetite for more and have fans searching through the bands back catalog for more of the same. ‘Theovorator: Babelis Testamentum’ tells of “the tale of Babel, survivor of the Great Deluge, who undertakes the construction of Babylon and the Tower of Babel with his minions, to liberate Tervenificus so he can begin the Theovoration – the consummation of God”. Melodic and powerful, far beyond what one might expect of a ‘concept album’, this warrants attention, even from those not normally visiting such realms of the extreme metal spectrum.

Favorite Tracks; Theovoratoris Aduentus, Milites Pestilentiae III – Babylonia Magnissima.


Aftermath – There is Something Wrong
Release – February/15/2019
Zoid Music
Artwork – 7

This image leaves me pondering upon what could possibly “be wrong”. Did I do something? Why is that beast looking at me the way he is? Should I be worried about my safety, should I hire a bodyguard?

First Track – 7

Punchy hardcore/thrash (‘crossover’) with gang vocals and a definite agenda. This starts out slow but picks up, eventually, offering inciteful, exuberant and addictive rhythms.

Initial Listen – 7

Think D.R.I, MOD (minus tongue in cheek, hilarity) and Biohazard (minus the popular music leanings) and you’ll be close to what’s on offer here. With lyrical themed based on injustices, socio-political unrest and everyday BS shenanigans Aftermath have a lot to say with the talent & attitude to get the ‘word’ out. Various soundbites help get the point across in an effective manner. The audio is varied across a slew of tempos and styles Alas, the overall effect doesn’t appeal to me (although it does include the occasional upbeat passage which gets my limbs a’ flailing uncontrollably, Slayer riffs are amongst others which aren’t quite so recognizable) I can see how this might appeal to others with tastes across the hardcore arena and interests stretching to Government and corporation ‘overreach’ and the extent to which they control a largely ignorant population.

Recommended for fans of Rage Against the Machine, D.R.I and Biohazard.

Favorite Tracks; Dietanasia, Gaslight, There is Something Wrong.

black sites exile

Black Sites – Exile
Release – April/19/2019
Hoover Child
Dewar PR
Artwork – 7.5

Is that a boar, or a pug with an audience basking in the glow of a fire advancing quickly? Either way, the setting and meaning is up for discussion, an interesting image indeed.

First Track – 8.5

A wicked mash-up of Dream Theatre and 7 Foot Ninja this track incorporates rhythms which are far from the extreme metal arena but rather more melodious in tone. Accompanied by strong, somewhat traditional, clean, vocals and rhythms which transform from a progressive approach to that of alternative hard rock this track offers a wide audience a great deal to be excited about.

Initial Listen – 9.5

With a style that’s a hearty mixture of doom, ala Paradise Lost, Black Sabbath and even Old Man Wizard, alongside progressive elements which bring to mind Dream Theatre, the occasional nod to greats within the NWOBHM scene (Iron Maiden) and rhythms straddling the hard rock arena and occasionally alternative (think Therapy?)with a splash of blues which make this most certainly far beyond merely an intriguing release. There’s even a track that could well have been a B side for an act fronted by Pete Steel (whose name escapes me at this moment, it isn’t Carnivore). However, it’s the delivery, composition, strong vocal style, invocative melodies and infectious nature which makes this album instantly worthy of attention.

I was unsure what to think having no knowledge of the band but I was pleasantly taken aback at the audio which graced my senses and will not hesitate to recommend this to others.

Favorite Tracks; This delivers from start to finish. A strong contender for album of the year in a category which isn’t one I usually frequent.

If only the wife would drop Five Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold for this, I’d be ecstatic.

nucleas entity

Nucleus – Entity
Release – June/14/2019
Unspeakable Axe Records
Clawhammer PR
 Artwork – 7.5

An abandoned monolith-like craft drifts through the cosmos, or something close. It’s the color palette however, which make this eye-catching. Pastels against earthly tones leads the imagination to soar. Is it just me or is the logo somewhat Voivod in appearance?

First Track – 8

Complex and unpredictable rhythms on a constantly shifting audioscape with surprising passages of groove. This is hardly what one imagines based on what one usually hears given a release in the death meal arena to set their senses upon though it is utterly intriguing, fueled by undeniable talent and creative ingenuity.

Initial Listen – 8

The approach here is certainly not typical of the genre. Riffs often tumble over themselves, in instances they attack like a pack of ravenous, rabid, hyenas who care not for stealth, only slaughter, darting in and out for a nip, a taste, teasing then drawing closer for the kill and food. A deliberate diabolical nature is unmistakable, menace seeps from every track with the practiced poise and delivery of a seasoned executioner. Science fiction elements are front and center, hammered in with brilliant atmosphere and deliberation, with the tone of each track boasting a narration of sorts as it flows towards its climax, and the next chapter.

Favorite Tracks; Arrival, Approach krypts


Krypts – Cadaver Circulation
Release – May/31/2019
Dark Descent Records
Clawhammer PR
Artwork – 8

“Giving back to nature” about wraps this image up, in a few words. In essence the recycling of mankind, albeit in a dank, mysterious locale minus the ceremony of traditional burial or incineration.

First Track – 8.5

Arcane catacomb-esque chaos wrapped in dirge and cinematic atmosphere.

A doom and death concoction executed with precision. Hold my calls, I’ll be busy for a while!

Initial Listen – 9

Malevolence, menace, grandiose atmosphere, an ominous nature and nuance. All that and a myriad of woven passages of rhythmic intricacy. Overall an album which is guaranteed to offer something new with each listen, its appeal will only grow on the listener as they continue to let its infernal majesty and epic aura wash over their senses.

Highly recommended for those who prefer atmosphere over outright brutality.

Favorite Tracks; Sinking Transient Waters, Mycelium, Vanishing.


 Smoulder – Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring
Release – April/26/2019
Cruz del Sur Music
Clawhammer PR
Artwork – 7.5

Epic, vivid, fantasy (swords, sorcery, muscle bound combatants and… cleavage) in a Frazetta vein, what’s not to like and what else would you expect with the featured title?

First Track – 8

An undeniable vinyl aura (cracks and fizzles) permeates this track, a nice touch. Epic, power metal values collide with traditional heavy metal sensibilities and doom complemented by fantastic, somewhat vintage, production values. Add ‘smoldering’ female vocals and you have all the makings of a track which tosses the listener back to a golden era, the age of the riff, theatrics and melodious tunage, the roots of heavy metal. A great start!

Initial Listen – 8

Vintage through and through, and applaudable in its ‘toned down’ bare- bones approach this album is sure to make long-time fans of the genre reminiscence. That’s not to say this is a copycat, riding the coattails act, Smoulder add to the celebrated twin harmonizing style with their wicked mixture of epic, power metal, traditional doom and a style which will carve a smirk into the chops of most fans of the NWOBHM scene. Riffs, riffs, riffs added to with enough melody and heart to please even the most seasoned of genre fan. Naturally there’s a little room for improvement, a little trimming and tightening up to do. However, with that being stated this is a stellar debut worthy of attention, much like the band’s progression from this point on. Keep an ear/eye out for these guys.

Favorite Tracks; Ilian of Garathorm, Bastard Steel, Shadowy Sisterhood. monasterium

Monasterium – Church of Bones      
Release – May/6/2019
Nine Records
Clawhammer PR
Artwork – 8.5

Gothic imagery seething in an occult nature and dripping in arcane sensibilities. Simply an amazing piece of art.

First Track – 7.5

A delight marriage of traditional doom and epic metal leaning on a style which Candlemass are renowned for. Vocals are dramatic, reminiscent of Messiah Marcolin with the occasional nod to King Diamond. An intriguing package which I very much want to hear more of.

Initial Listen – 8.5

Doom obviously isn’t a genre one associates with Poland but Monasterium could well change that. Channeling traditional doom in a similar style to Dio fronted Black Sabbath, Candlemass and (strangely, ha!) Dio’s solo output and complemented by grandiose vocals, laden with melodies, exquisite lead work and epic rhythms there’s a lot here to be excited about. A style in fact, which is sure to pack arenas around the globe showcasing an execution that shows the band have done their homework/research and know how to take all the finest elements from relevant genres to create a style which draws instant appreciation.

Favorite Tracks; Liber Logaeth, The Order of the Dragon, The Last Templar.


Split/Cross – Rise of Discontent
Release – January/31/2019
Last World Records
Qabar PR
Artwork – 7

I can only assume this is baby Jesus (not the Baby Jesus, obviously). Bleeding from the eye sockets he’s cradling an assault rifle, a fistful of cash and an American flag. I can only therefore assume, dear readers, we are about to be thrust into a vortex of audio turmoil complete with political discord and angst. Brace yourself, this is going to be a bumpy ride!

First Track – 8.5

Angst and groove drenched in distortion and an aura any fan of Disrupt will and can instantly appreciate. A great start to incite a riot, or a peaceful demonstration depending on your personal approach.

Initial Listen – 8

Short, blunt and to the point.

A cavalcade of Grindcore soaked dirge- crust wrapped in soundbites spewing discontent and an awareness of topics everyone needs to take seriously (and learn more about). With a tone which could well dent sidewalk and shake the foundation of any listeners residence this is a release which displays more than merely the predictable. typical, whirlwind audio shenanigans. Rise of Discontent offers distortion, groove and viciousness in equal measure to great effect. This shouldn’t be taken lightly, though should be included in any fan of the genre’s rotation playlist. Keep an ear out for these guys!

Favorite Tracks; Blindspot, Rat Cult, Fallen Victim, Soaked Ground.  pestilent death

Pestilent Death – Chapters of Depravity
Release – March/22/2019 (May/24 – physical formats)
Blood Harvest Records/Rotted Life
Artwork – 8.5

Putrid and vile, vivid and blunt. This is impressive black and white imagery which tells quite the tale of the audio within. But is it accurate? Only one way to know for sure.

First Track – 8

An invocative introduction is highly effective in setting the mood. The music itself commences with lazy bludgeoning movements (with an old school Swedish intensity ala Carnage) and slowly transforms into a mid-tempo huge riffed assault recalling a tone similar to Bolt Thrower ‘Realm of Chaos’. A good start sure to incite interest from old-school audio sickness aficionados

Initial Listen – 8

Punishing, draped in a raw aura and a dirgey tone this bears spats of surprising groove whilst still offering the vile nature, molasses audio quality and guttural vocals fans of old-school, underground, death yearn. (Extra points if you can name the movies from which the soundbites have been plucked at the finale of ‘Upheaval of the Dead’)

Favorite Tracks; Pulsating Entrails, Anthropophagy, Exhumation of Festering Cadavers.


Mist of Misery – Unalterable
Release – April/12/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR
Artwork – 8

Bleak imagery effectively conveys utter loss and devastating grief.

First Track – 9

An uplifting angelic chorus plays against a crackling, whispering, fire. An overall stunning effect which lets the listener know they’re in for what might be yet another masterpiece from the collective minds behind Mists of Misery.

Initial Listen – 9.5

Two CDs encompassing nearly two hours of audio might spark a myriad of thoughts and even a few doubts. Seriously, can a band hold the attention for 2 hours without sounding repetitive?

Mist of Misery shatter any notion of such with the brilliance of the second track following an exultant introduction. Classic melodies wrapped in black metal shrieks and rhythms (which do so much more than merely make one want to tap their foot) encaptivate, putting one in a trance. The atmosphere is quite unlike what one might expect especially with the description I just gave. The effect is majestic, brutal, uncompromising yet beautiful and undeniably powerful. The album continues to only deepen the effect of the trance like state pulling the listener into an enveloping menacing, melancholic, beauty complete with exquisite ominous atmosphere.

I could list each and every track though due to the constraints of this piece I’ll attempt to keep this as short as possible

Side note; this includes two covers; ‘Red Snow’ by Coldworld and ‘StormblAst’ by Dimmu Borgir.

Favorite Tracks; Rather than list each and every track, (this has fourteen) I’ll state each captivates in its own way and this album delivers from start to finish offering a myriad of symphonic soundscapes, aided by a majestic black metal accompaniment, which drag the listener through a veritable minefield of emotion.

Highly recommended. Mist of Misery have yet again proved themselves to be monoliths within the scene, within the last three years especially. Within that time their output has sat upon various end of year lists and has proven invaluable to any extreme metal fans collection. Suffice it to say this is another such example.  illimatable dolor

Illimitable Dolor – Leaden Light
Release – March/20/2019
Transcending Obscurity Records
Artwork – 9.5

(A rating for this version, there are four altogether making up different format sets.)

A figure stands, in a state of meditation, engulfed in flame as varied collective of presence converge menacingly behind him (?) This image jumps from the page, the details are sublime, the flame effect has a texture so vivid you can almost feel the heat. I want this on a shirt!

First Track – 9

Gothic orchestration and superb atmosphere complemented with slow, bass, growls.

I’ll subscribe, what’s the address?

Initial Listen – 9

With five tracks making up over fifty-minutes of material one immediately knows they’re about to be in for one epic audio experience. And, that is indeed the case.

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

Favorite Tracks; Armed He Brings the Dawn, Horses Pale and Four, 2.12.14.

Fans of My Dying Bride, Mourning Beloveth, Novembers Doom will salivate over what this offers.

Laying the Ears Upon a Reissue

SYC Sun +1

Somali Yacht Club – Sun + 1
Release – August/17/2018
Original Release – 2014
Robustfellow Produtions
Against PR

I’ve never given SYC a fair shot, I don’t know why. I just haven’t. Perhaps I thought them to be too experimental for my tastes, maybe the description accompanying their promos just didn’t ‘speak to me’? Honestly, I’m not one to try too many new things. I’m stuck in my ways; I’m getting older and less willing to dive blindly into fresh audio. Or…something along those lines.

Either way, now I’ve given them a shot. And I can honestly say I should have done so a while back, when first given the chance. I’ve been missing out.

On a first tracks listen basis (the opening track, Loom, and my sensorial first experience with SYC) my mind veers towards a Hawkwind collides with a Stone Roses sound. The sound/style is a little experimental, it twists, turns, has definite rhythm of a fluid hypnotic nature (at times akin to seventies rock ala Carlos Santana) and leaves me intrigued, colored curious, in fact.

The second track, ‘Sightwaster’, incorporates more a stoner rock, fuzz-laden aura and meanders a little, well, perhaps more than a little. Leading me to ponder upon adding the term ‘jam band’ to my description. This is typically a horrid thing (in my book), I would avoid any album with this in its description, in fact. But, in this albums case, it’s a great addition and doesn’t linger into sleepy time lengths. I am hooked. Line and sinker! This far in though I believe I’m missing ‘something’ for the whole experience. I won’t spell it out, suffice to say it’s green, sometimes purple, often crystalline but always well worth taking time out for to quash the woes of the day.

Sans, running through the album like a commentator at a sporting event I’ll merely gloss over the remainder of the album, lest this run into diatribe lengths. The next track delves into typical doom lengths (mammoth is the word here) though never fails to hold the attention, naturally this isn’t music to make one bolt from a relaxed position into a frenzied state of movement, its an experience to melt into, bad ground audio to relax to. And it hits the spot when something a little different is required. The title track, ‘Sun’, makes me ponder upon an act who’ve been touted as ‘similar’ and I’d agree. Kyuss are also quite undefinable yet mesmerizing, stoner rock rhythms laden in fuzz with a pronounced drum beat which adds sufficient weight. The bonus track is an outtake, from the original recording sessions, and was designed as a logical continuation to the title track in order to enhance the albums ‘story’. Utilized as a cork it places a stopper on the release utilizing the same hypnotic tone making for a release which though not essentially metal or even hard rock is a slab of audio open minds should take time out to discover. inferi end of n efra rebirth

Inferi – The End of an Era/Rebirth (fully re-recorded version of the original)
Release – April/12/2019
Originally Released – 2009
The Artisan Era

The chaotic medieval fantastical artwork from these guys never fails to impress me, their last release, ‘Revenant’, sported perhaps the finest cover art of 2018. This boasts art that’s a tad different than the original (giving it a ‘Pleasure to Kill’ aura, which is never a bad thing) but makes it in no way any less impressive.

Even after ten years this album shines. Yes, it’s gone through an overhaul of sorts, there’s a different vocalist (Steve Boiser, of Equipoise and Ashen Horde, replaces Chris Brocius). The production is cleaner, crisper but the compositions are the same, they still excel, and the rhythms remain tighter than a nun’s arsehole (visuals), perhaps more so now with the new, improved Inferi lineup and they transform often enough (at hyper speed I might add) to keep even the most jaded of fan happy. So why the newer, re-recorded, version? I’m only imagining it’s because they’re now under The Artisan Era banner. And now is the best/prime time/opportunity to give the release the attention it so rightfully deserved before, and probably never received. The added oomph of a well-known label’s presence will certainly help in that regard. That, and in recent years Inferi have released some ‘belters’ transpiring into them become giants of the scene. So why not ‘strike while the iron is hot’.

In regards to this album the rhythms are tight, tempestuous, wickedly boisterous and varied in pace (how’s that for a brief overview). Various nods to other styles and genres are varied, though never overutilized, to keep the listeners attention and their curiosities enrapt.  Many have likened this to early Black Dahlia Murder material meets early Arsis, I’d agree though I’d also add spats of Cradle of Filth, Emperor and Iron Maiden. Sure, this is tech death but it also celebrates what has gone before, somehow without turning the mixture into an undefinable audio mess.  On a personal note, I prefer this to their newest, ‘Revenant’, based on the fact it isn’t as “chaotically busy”. Each to his/her own however. Regardless this is another must purchase from a stable who’s proven themselves to be one of the forerunners in the scene.

mr bean wtf #2

And, because I didn’t forget this time…

Reccd’ BY Void

Aoratos – Gods Without Name
Release – March/22/2019
Debemur Morti Productions
Thoughts –

This installment finds me face to face with a ‘one man’ outfit’s offering, a ‘Black Metal’ affair, if I’m to believe the description numerous locales applaud it. The person responsible is Naas Alcameth known for his work in AKHLYS and NIGHTBRINGER whom I’m not at all familiar with either, it appears some research is in order (oh, Void, what are you leading me to blindly stumble into this week?) Without further ado lets get this party started!

The album commences with a Vitrola-esque introduction, a brilliant effect/tone which brings the turn of the century to mind. Complementing this is a definite aura of ominous menace which only heightens as the track nears its midway point and finale. A flawless transition brings about the second track and a darkened tone. A snarling voice, ritualistic drums and the first notes from a guitar. Then the crescendo, in typical black metal fashion. But there’s something different, other than the air of cold darkness, a complementing melody to heighten the tracks effectiveness. A brilliant opener.

The album continues and I am literally rooted to the spot. A marriage forged of nightmarish atmosphere, a cavalcade of hyper speed drums alongside varied, cresting, guitar melodies offering majestic highs, haunting melodies and passages of a chilling nature a frequent visitor to this musical arena might not expect. Instrumental interludes aid the atmosphere leading the listener toward a landscape that’s foreign, cold and devoid of hope. No two tracks are alike though each offers an aura which envelopes the listener in a palpable, sinister shroud.

Naturally I’m not doing this any justice with merely my inane ponderings.  Best you listen yourself. And I’m always interested as to your opinion. Much as Void is mine, thus the reasoning why he directs me towards releases I might not normally discover on my own.

Favorite Tracks; Holy Mother of Terror, Gods Without Name, The Watcher on the Threshold.

The dark side beckons and I am ever closer to its frigid embrace.