Posts Tagged ‘Netherbird’

Abrasive Audio – The Year in Review

clothing-optional

C’mon, even seals love the sun.

Part the Third

Half the year has disappeared already and one might be wondering where, as it certainly doesn’t move that fast when one wishes it to. The lawn is demanding attention as it’s sprouting faster than a leopard after a potential mate and clothing is apparently optional (which isn’t always a bad thing). The world of extreme audio is still chugging along and the intensity only seems to be building. Now if only the kids could find something to do (for more than five minutes at a time) I might be able to fully immerse myself within all that the metal universe has to offer. (“…but, Dad!”) Onward.

(As is traditional my absolute favorites are marked with an *)

July

abominism

Abominism – s/t

https://abominism.bandcamp.com/album/abominism

Occasionally, albums and artists come from out of nowhere to kick one on their ass. And this did just that! Only six tracks on offer here but they are more than enough with their epic qualities to whet the appetite and leave the listener wanting more. Atmosphere is rampant as too dissonant rhythms, technical passages and progressive elements concocted and woven with such creativity and professionalism as too only draw the listener into the album’s entrancing spell the deeper in the listener gets. There’s a great deal for everyone to enjoy here as the style blankets a wide radius of the extreme metal spectrum all balanced delicately with absolute precision.

Baleful abyss

Baleful Abyss (F.K.A Zombieslut) – Death Propaganda

https://balefulabyss.bandcamp.com/

Dirge driven groove that’s highly nostalgic of the 90’s which demands respect and makes a fantastic addition to any collection bursting at the seams with death/doom laden dirge and death bordering on grindcore.

Beastmaker – Eye of the Storm

beastmaker

https://beastmaker.bandcamp.com/

Think traditional heavy metal with speed metal tendencies draped in a fine shroud of occult doom. This flows so damn well it should be criminal, and that voice. And although it’s short, barely four tracks I can honestly say this is dangerously infectious audio.

desecresyDesecresy – Towards Nebulae

 

https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/towards-nebulae

Crushing, heavy machinery, sonic barbarity with unmistakable influences aided by a suffocating atmosphere and an occasional cavernous doom presence which teases dragging the listener through grindcore waters. Highly effective and evocative audio with a vast cosmos conflict type narrative.

disowning human cattle

Disowning -Human Cattle

https://xenokorp.bandcamp.com/album/human-cattle

A myriad concoction of styles assaults the listener herein add a splash of technical expertise, undeniably excellent production and the album offers ten tracks any fan of the genre can readily consume without complaint and each with their own identity. Add vocals which fit perfectly and the album rockets into unforgettable realms. This album begs to be played again and again. Jump on this at your next earliest convenience!

 

ecliptic visionEcliptic Vision – s/t

https://eclipticvision.bandcamp.com/album/ecliptic-vision

Far from the typical brutal/progressive death affair this is an effort which delivers throughout and demands multiple listens to fully appreciate. Progressive themes knit tightly, and flirt constantly, with technical passages injected with nuance, varying pace and abrupt transforming rhythms. Ambient interludes add to the albums overall effect; the combination is bathed in other-worldly themes resulting in an album which thankfully stays this side of the gone too far to be saved cosmic tech-wizardry fence.

freighter the den.jpg

Freighter – The Den

https://freighter.bandcamp.com/album/the-den

Hard to describe, even harder not to instantly like. There’s truly something unique and utterly mesmerizing about the style, or rather the mixture of styles here. The lyrics are comic book-esque and fantastical in their scope with a style that’s somewhat comical and the audio is a hodge-podge of styles which are familiar yet hard to instantly place. Riffs here and there leer at the listener with an air of arrogance as if to say I dare you to pair me with an act, track and album. I dare you to tackle the quest.

gates to the morning

Gates to the Morning – Return to Earth

https://gatestothemorning.bandcamp.com/album/return-to-earth-ep

Odd how Jazz and Metal are two genres so vastly separate from each other yet they come together so amazingly well. Close to an hour in length this is so much more than merely an album, it’s far from traditional in any senses, more a journey through an audioscape which offers an experience demanding the undivided attention. A sojourn through a wilderness fraught with melancholy, bliss and exhilaration. Melody intertwines with majesty; brutality cavorts with the innocence of beauty accompanied by rhythms which are soothing yet shot through with an undeniable sinister air.

pathetic

Pathetic – Rat King

https://pathetic666.bandcamp.com/

A glorious mixture of influences keeps this album rolling. D-beat rhythms cavort with old school values and plodding riffs akin to that of the earliest Grave material. Lyrics often reek of a deliciously jaded Pungent Stench vibe, add this to an occasionally wicked soundbite, a dirge-laden tone ripped straight from the basement of the underground 90’s (think Bolt Thrower, Terrorizer) and a pace which often picks up frequently offering groove one cannot sit still to and you have all the right ingredients for an album which feels like it might have been released twenty-something years too late.

shades of deep water

Shades of Deep Water – Death’s Threshold

https://dunkelheitprod.bandcamp.com/album/deaths-threshold

Although this doesn’t seem that complex in rhythm or composition (at times it appears to dive deep into drone waters) it has a certain undeniable quality, a power, a captivating quality which is difficult to ignore. The album is only made even more impressive based on the fact that it was composed, mixed, recorded and mixed by a single soul, a talented individual indeed, J.H. A Fantastic mood accompaniment!

Thy_Art_Is_Murder

Thy Art is Murder – Human Target *

https://open.spotify.com/album/6P55RLLgax6WruBMdKWlvf

The partnership of Djent, Slam, melodic, brutal death and one of the finest voices in the industry is stunning; mixed to genius levels and appreciatively differing ratios within each track. Atmosphere, brutality, melody and a caliber of production only elevates the albums grandiose nature. It’s all here, in spades, making for a release which demands respect and the senses upon it.

vagrant

Vagrant – The Rise of Norn

https://vagrantblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/the-rise-of-norn

Weaving a masterful combination of melodies and atmosphere with lyrics based around warriors, folklore, fate and superstition Vagrant have managed to create an album which flows exquisitely. Rhythms intertwine with galloping and heavy riffs forging a release which is far from the run of the mill melodic death or even blackened death album. Offering symphonic death, melodic death exquisite acoustic elements, doom, folk and Viking metal this has the potential to appeal to a wide audience.

August

abysmalist.jpg

Abysmalist – Reflections of Horror

https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/reflections-of-horror

Only four tracks on offer here but as an introduction to what the band offer this is stunning, an outstanding example of how death and doom realms can be manipulated to great effect. A delicate balance of atmosphere and brutality presented by considerable oomph to grab and hold the attention rapt. With this as a debut the future is blinding!

anticosm call of the void

Anticosm – The Call of the Void

https://anticosm.bandcamp.com/

Dynamic, ever evolving, melodic, passionate and draped in atmosphere yet miles from what could be termed traditional, both in rhythm and vocal departments. For those who aren’t quite willing to fully immerse themselves fully in any one genre this is great location to start a life-long exploration drenched with realms of amazement and wonder which is guaranteed to set the senses on fire.

Book of wyrms album

Book of Wyrms – Remythologizer *

https://bookofwyrmsrva.bandcamp.com/

A true celebration of epic heavy metal and traditional doom with NWOBHM stylings, cantering and galloping rhythms, swaying melodies and wicked leads topped off with ethereal vocals. Overall a fantastic achievement which thankfully never wanders too far into psychedelic waters, though on occasion dips more than a toe into its murky depths. Now this is Doom I can subscribe too!! Tear me away from this now, it’s fast becoming an addiction.

Cruickshank

Cruickshank – s/t

https://crckshnk.bandcamp.com/album/cruickshank-s-t

Driving rhythms, which often fight for supremacy in chaotic standoffs, traipse through a slew of styles offering the listener a great deal to discover. Overall a release which will please fans of Kyuss, Olde, Tool, EyeHateGod, Acid Bath and a slew of others acts who refuse to conform to a style that defined by any one genre. Someone is going to have to pull me away from this with considerable force, it’s growing on me like a ravenous parasite.

darkened

Darkened – Into the Blackness

https://edgedcircleproductions.bandcamp.com/music

Although the familiarity is undeniable there is also something else which makes this stand apart. Presence, subtle atmosphere or the audios leaning toward death/doom territories. Whatever it is it works and I’m eager for more.

detherousDetherous – Hacked to Death

https://redefiningdarknessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/detherous-hacked-to-death

Channeling Malevolent Creation, Death and Asphyx, Detherous have managed to create a style that’s exuberant, furious (boasting exquisite time changes and abrupt mosh frenzy changes in pace) and technical. This is audio which unceremoniously pulls one back to the old school (both European and American) and does a great job of doing so. Call it homage, call it what you will but there’s no doubt this is executed with passion, flair and precision.

graveview.jpg

Graveview – Demos 18-19’

https://graveview-us.bandcamp.com/album/graveview-demos-18-19

Influences are undeniable but it’s what the band does with the tone and the myriad of other factors and how they incorporate it into their style which makes this special. Abrupt pace shifts and breakdowns executed with precision, know-how, flair, the fact that this is stunningly fluid, will incite grins aplenty and will delight long-time fans of the scene.

lllvilja livet

lllvilja -Livet *

https://phobiarecords.bandcamp.com/album/illvilja-livet-lp

A primitive, mysterious, spice heats up that which is already incendiary, both in its nature and infectiousness. Touches of stylistic diversity, and appreciative breaks from the same old, same old (which could well be expected based on this albums categorization, hailed as “Dbeat/Blackened-Crust”) propel this to refreshing heights making this a release set to be the bar which others in the genre will struggle to reach. This came out of nowhere to catapult me to the nearest medical facility on account of my abrupt skyrocketing excitement levels, it’s that damn impressive!

nomas last laugh

No/Mas – Last Laugh

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/last-laugh

I can honestly say I believe this to be their best work to date, as it makes an instant impression and is criminally infectious/inciteful from its nuclear-powered launch. Six tracks and perilously close to eight minutes in length. Yep, this is grindcore! And these fellows have an axe to sharpen and senses to obliterate.

 

overt enemy possessionOvert Enemy – Possession

https://overtenemy.bandcamp.com/

Slayer worship through and through (there’s even a ripping cover of “At Dawn They Sleep” and the bassists name even has a decidedly “Slayer” slant to it) of that there’s no doubt but Overt Enemy execute the style so damn well that odds are they’ll take the vacated throne without a qualm and little complaint.

wraith

Wraith – Absolute Power *

https://wraith-us.bandcamp.com/album/absolute-power

Like an adrenaline shot to a form weary of hype this awakens immediately the same feeling one had when first introduced to the scene. With splashes of punk, a style which rarely lets up pounding maniacally at blackened thrash/speed gates and a myriad of influence which vomits from near every track this is an album not to be missed. Add a double billed Hellripper, Wraith show to my bucket-list and I’ll leave this plane a happy fellow.

wizard rifle self titled

Wizard Rifle – s/t

https://wizardrifle.bandcamp.com/

The sound is altogether mesmerizing, even from the albums first notes, while wholly unclassifiable. The exuberance and energy are undeniable and infectious whilst the rhythms and tempo are ever evolving, shifting like an amorphous beast the likes of which you’d kindly invite in from the cold for a spot by the fire. Dense riffs collide with sacrificial drum salvos and plodding rhythms transform into galloping frenzied moments all accented by a diverse vocal tirade which incorporates melody, shouting and angst in equal measures. An epic feel underscores the whole shebang though its hardly given much heed as the music whisks the listener away to undiscovered realms, vistas and valleys frequented by constructs which are nonsensical yet accepted as easily as a birthday check, in the mailbox, from a long lost relative.

September

arctos.jpg

Arctos – Beyond the Grasp of Mortal Hands *

https://arctos-northernsilence.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-grasp-of-mortal-hands

I’m not normally a fan of the Black Metal genre but this blows me away with its diversity and delivery in every way. Enthralling, hypnotic and stunning from start to finish, a must visit genre experience!!

alcoholocaust.jpg
Alcoholocaust – Necro Apocalipse Bestial

https://brigadantiposers.bandcamp.com/releases

Aggressive speed metal with the occasional splash of punk accompanied by maniacal and archaic heavily accented vocals. This could well be the foreign long-lost twin to Whiplash’s “Power and Pain” release. Criminally addictive and requires limbering up before hitting the play button. Prepare to have this reside in your audio equipment for an extended duration of time.

algebra

Algebra – Pulse?

https://unspeakableaxerecords.bandcamp.com/album/pulse

There’s an undeniable fluid nature here. Timing changes are exquisite, rhythms infectious and dynamic. Melodies are plentiful and change enough to keep a listener on their toes. A sense of familiarity abounds, leaves one scratching their heads as to which band or album this or that part sounds like, but it doesn’t take away from the listening experience in the slightest. Oftentimes an epic narrative unfolds by way of the music alone complementing the thought-provoking lyrical content. In short, a winning combination which if someone could bottle it would most probably be titled something along the lines of ‘Excuse me for a second while I blow your mind’, or” Forget the Remainder of your day you’re about to be Unfathomably Distracted”. Naturally words, as they often do, fail me as I attempt to imprint my appreciation upon the flashing screen beneath my hands. Don’t, DON’T, don’t, allow this to go unnoticed.

ankhara

Ankhara – Sinergia

https://fighter-records.bandcamp.com/album/sinergia

Showcasing passionate rhythms, galloping riffs and dynamic, high energy, percussion there are zero dull moments here to be discovered. The style varies and brings to mind a plethora of acts some more distinct than others as the album unfolds. If your interests lay more in hard rock more so than the darker end of the metal/rock universe this is where you’ll want to rest your ears for a while.

coldclaw.jpg

ColdClaw – Anti Martyr: Decades to Suffer

https://ritualsoundrecords.bandcamp.com/album/anti-martyr-decadess-to-suffer

Coldclaw’s is a style which captures the essence of black metal. Crust as experienced throughout the album in various passages featuring dominant drum salvos; which are difficult not to move to and death metal as heard within various chugging riff approaches and the brutality which is displayed dominantly throughout. The result is a collection of tracks which has the potential to appeal to a wide audience, some who are curious about arenas they perhaps haven’t discovered before and others whose interests lay within the styles mixed with such passionate precision here

come back from the dead album

Come Back from the Dead – Rise of the Blind Ones

https://comebackfromthedead.bandcamp.com/

With melody and groove throughout this rarely let’s up in the infectious department. Think a hybrid of 90’s European death, old school British grind/death with a complementary sprinkle of doom and a maniacal essence. A mixture no doubt which has been perpetrated before but, in this case, somehow it feels fresh and leaves quite an impression.

cult of sorrow.jpg

Cult of Sorrow – Invocation of the Lucifer

 https://cultofsorrow.bandcamp.com/

Traditional, melodic, riff heavy with just the right amount of fuzz, keyboard laden, passionate doom with heavy metal leanings. Think The Obsessed with vocals of an Ozzy era Black Sabbath slant. This has undeniable staying power, shows experience beyond only being a second full-length and is extremely difficult not to instantly appreciate. And this only gets better with repeated listens.

ethereal riffian.jpg

Ethereal Riffian – Legends

https://robustfellow.bandcamp.com/album/legends

A varied smorgasbord of doom, wall to wall melody and influence ranging from across the metal spectrum. Vocal inflections channeling Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies) a musical style often akin to that of early Faith no More, and unpredictable, driving rhythms with occasional strangely soothing qualities. Highly entertaining audio that’s dangerously infectious and pleasingly varied throughout.

high command

High Command – Beyond the Walls of Desolation *

https://highcommandsl.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-wall-of-desolation

Every once in a while, there comes an album which has a buzz surrounding it. This is one such example. Often this buzz has much to do with unique qualities; a quality which has the potential to take genres in new and exciting directions. This is hardly another run of the mill, dime-a-dozen thrash album although it bears the ingredients which most exhibit if only in part, and all wish to master. Is this the thrash album of the year for me? It’s certainly up there in the mix and unashamedly guilty of rekindling my interest in the genre.

Horror God

Horror God – Cursed Seeds

https://lavadome.bandcamp.com/album/cursed-seeds

Melody and groove take a backseat to the menace and ferocity on display though it’s still apparent albeit in frenetic doses. The constant timing and rhythm shift as well the musicianship on offer and the booming vocal cadence elevate this above the herd. A dark nightmarish, punishing, narrative is what’s on offer here and I’m taking the trip again.

 

IATT
IATT – Nomenclature

https://iattblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/nomenclature

Once over the initial foreign aura the album’s foreign nature grows on the listener, starting its enthralling conquest of the senses. In short, this will appeal to those with an open mind whose penchants run to blackened realms as well arenas which are often referred to as a tad experimental. Be prepared for you’ll want to lose yourself in its grandeur again and again.

netherbird.jpg

Netherbird – Into the Vast Uncharted

https://netherbird.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-vast-uncharted

A remarkable invocation of the blackened death style crafted with precision showcasing passionate guitar leads, acoustic brilliance and sweeping evocative melodies. A veil of doom, a definite well-executed presence, accentuates the palpable emotion throughout making for a release one will only want to experience repeatedly.

Sempiternal Dusk

Sempiternal Dusk – Cenotaph of Defectuous Creation

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/cenotaph-of-defectuous-creation-2

Catacomb-esque mid-tempo rhythms with subtle nuance and oodles of archaic, cinematic quality, atmosphere in the form of an unmerciful steamroller assault. Suffocating audio with a slight funeral doom aura, dense yet also flirting with a blackened vibe, a myriad of tempo and time changes under epic skies offers the listener plenty to chew upon. This might take a second listen to fully embrace but it’s worth the effort!

void king

Void King – Barren Dominion

https://voidking.bandcamp.com/

Took me a while but now I’m thinking the raw, unbridled, emotion-laden vocal style is a hybrid of Staind Channel Zero (although my only experience is the album “Unsafe”) and Danzig it’s highly effective against the slow to mid-tempo rhythms and presence, the combination is nothing short of powerful and utterly mesmerizing. The fact that this is radio friendly should not deter one from giving it a fair few spins. An altogether brilliant slab of doom/stoner rock with Southern rock touches. Highly recommended!

wintercrown

Wintercrown – Northern Lights

https://cultofosiris.bandcamp.com/album/northern-lights

I can’t pinpoint it, perhaps it’s the fact that Wintercrown aren’t afraid to branch out (ever so slightly) to encompass elements from other genres both musically and vocally. Or the fact that the combination works so ungodly well. Whatever it is, it’s executed excellently, I’m sold! And this has been one of the most impactful Black Metal experiences I’ve heard in recent memory. Bravo!

mix tape action

Keep it up, you maniac!

Well, there’s another couple of months’ worth of releases to dive into. Naturally, I haven’t heard everything within these three months, not even close in fact. I was slightly distracted with the summer holidays and the kiddos not being in school. However, I did make an attempt which often resulted in virtually sleepless nights and varied exciting moments of zoning out at work the following day. And all in the name of metal! (What a trooper). Due to the sheer volume of releases unleashed during the final three months of the year I’ve come to the conclusion that what I believed to be an initial four-part endeavor will now transpire into what I’d like to think of as a five-part opus. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Cult (a certifiable slave to audio extreme)

 

Abrasive Audio (Part twenty – eight)

headbangin gif

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

torpor

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 82

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

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

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

FFO; Nuerosis, Isis, Boris, The Ocean.

profanation

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 80

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 75

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

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

FFO; Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation.

Byzanthian Neckbeard

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 73

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 73

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

Favorite Tracks; Coffin Bomb, Extinction.

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

xoth

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

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 89

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

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

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

FFO; Death, Pestilence, Abysmal Dawn, Aborted.

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

witchwood

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 80

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

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

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

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

ghost;hello

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 70

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

INITIAL LISTEN – n/a

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

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

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

And, Returning to the Regular Broadcast

netherbird

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 87

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

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

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

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

unfathomable ruinantion

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 88

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

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

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

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

aggressive perfector

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 77

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 75

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

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

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

zarraza.jpg

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 73

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 73

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

Favorite Tracks; Grudge, Chaos, wRRong Song.

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

body harvest.jpg

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 82

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

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

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

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

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

the flaying

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 83

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

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

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

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

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

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

atomic cretis.jpg

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

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

FIRST TRACK – 77

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

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

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

Favorite Tracks; Out of the Coffin, Spiritual Cancer.

FFO; Hellripper, Wraith, Bastardizer, Disrupt.

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

infected dead - the rache

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

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

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

Infected dead Archaic maloevolence.jpg

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

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

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

#BestofBritishMetal

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

he11fir3-on-twitter.jpg

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

1349 - hellfire

Thoughts –

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

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

Void Reccs

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

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

verdugo - perversion

 

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

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

verdugo - altar del rencor

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

 

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

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

 

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

Cult