Posts Tagged ‘Nocturnalia’

Abrasive Audio – The Year in Review

Part the Fourth (the second, and final, installment; so much metal one part just isn’t enough!)

thank you end of year lkit 19

This is it. The final installment. Before I continue I’d like to say a huge thanks to all concerned, the PR companies, the people I’ve interacted with, those I’ve reconnected with, those I’ve started new friendships with, those who continue to support my scribbles (you the reader) but most of all the bands who continue to strive to entertain even though the road is fraught with difficulty and the fact that it isn’t paved with gold as many might think. Here’s to another year overflowing with audio brilliance.

Without further waffling, I present my final picks;


Nocturnalia – III Winter

This offers a collective of radio friendly tracks with mesmerizing qualities running the gauntlet of traditional rock, folk and a style perilously close to speed metal. Never boring, this delights throughout and serves as a stunning palette cleanser for those evening when one just wishes to unwind. Fluid from the first until the last note with its fluid though varied composition, unique nature and thoroughly stunning delivery and execution.

Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove

Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove

Shattering my preconceived notions Novembers Doom have utilized all the death/doom genre is known for then added their trademark thunderous rhythm approach, passionate vocal diversity and stupendous epic arrangements (which tug at even the most hardened of emotions) and have fashioned an album which delivers from start to finish. This is perhaps their finest work to date.

sentient horror

Sentient Horror -Morbid Realms*

Somehow Sentient Horror have utilized a familiar style and have added their own flair making it fresh and exciting again. All the ingredients a fan of the HM2 genre have come to expect. However, this band have imbued the formula with a certain something; be it maniacal solos, fluid lead moments or instances of ominous atmosphere which combine to levitate this to another level entirely. Lay your ears upon this and rekindle your love of the ‘Stockholm sound’.

Schammasch hearts-of-no-light
Schammasch – Hearts of No Light

Atmospheric black metal with arrangements of astounding caliber the likes of which one will be surprised to discover here, this is so more than merely ‘black’ in any sense of the imagination. This takes the listener to realms which are quite unexpected though strangely don’t seem at all out of place. A release with both depth and cinematic opus qualities one needs to experience to fully appreciate, for my words cannot even come close. A fantastic introduction to the band and a style which is easily consumed for those like myself who are relative newcomers to this genre.

swampbeast void terror split

Swamp Beast/Void Terror SPLIT – Holocaust of Terrestrial Empires

Swamp Beast – Unrelenting death grind complemented by suffocating catacomb-esque atmosphere. A mesmerizing soundscape combining Napalm Death touches, passages of groove and a brutal whirlwind chaotic attack.
Void Terror – What Bolt Thrower “Realm of Chaos” might have sounded like if it had decidedly black metal undertones. Dirge laden and wickedly dark, yet chaotic and shot through with diabolical essence. A swirling maelstrom of audio madness one doesn’t wish to escape.

An excellent split with plenty on offer from two acts ripe for discovery. Keep an ear out for these guys they are both poised for greatness.

the deathtrip

The Deathtrip – Demon Solar Totem

The Deathtrip have created an album which has the potential to garner appeal from across the BM landscape. Varied in both scope and approach raw audio (with an intensity to appeal to traditionalists and those acclimatizing themselves to the variety the scene offers; aka me) cavorts alongside melancholic atmosphere hypnotic, trance inducing, rhythms and surprisingly melody drenched under occult skies an effect which holds the attention from first to last. And the more one sinks into the experience the greater detail and intricacies it provides. This boasts an appeal which cannot be argued, begs to be repeated and often.

unfathomable ruinantion

Unfathomable Ruination – Enraged and Unbound

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. 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.

Vampyromorpha - Herzog

Vampyromorpha – Herzog

Although this occasionally dips into ultra-melodic realms it remains intriguing throughout and is most likely to fit nicely in the ‘guilty pleasures’ folder of those whose daily audio is drenched in nature extreme. A Gothic nature, Southern groove and passion alongside hard rock sensibilities (including soaring solos), and rough vocal approach (which oddly fits) and a willingness to experiment makes this stand out but it’s the caliber which makes it stick, and instantly!


Warsenal – Feast Your Eyes

In moments one could well imagine this is what Destruction (Germany) might have sounded like if they’d have spent more time listening to NWOBHM. The music is often face-melting fast though imbued with undeniable traditional heavy metal elements and even on occasion a tone likened to crossover thrash. As a whole the album is neither “this” nor “that” but rather a stunning smorgasbord of styles combined with expert cohesion plucked with reverence from a myriad of genres. This only gets infinitely better after the initial listen.


WolfBrigade – The Enemy: Reality*

This is unapologetically formulaic at times, even a tad simplistic, but it hits home and has an effect that borders on hypnotic. Ungodly infectious and especially potent following a workout or participation in an activity with similar “results”, short and to the point this is to be played loud, but probably not in rush hour traffic as it tends to incite uncontrollable movements and a shit eating grin hardly anyone is likely to understand. Suffice it to say Wolfbrigade strike again and much like their last this destroys most everything in its path.



Bethledeign – Iconography of Suffering

Maniacal leads, slower paced passages and breakdowns for sorts with familiarity aplenty, riffs to leave one salivating and a varied style to please a great many bar those who yearn for silly, overburdening, technicality and heaps of progressive nature within their extreme audio. For fans of Cannibal Corpse, this will leave an impression.

death wolf

Death Wolf (formerly Devils’ Whorehouse) – IV: Come the Dark

This is slightly different, familiar but not for the reasons one might think and a little experimental. At times the times the album has a ‘if Ministry played black metal this is how it might sound’ vibe while in others epic triumphant qualities take center stage and rhythms take on more a simplistic groove approach ala more recent Satyricon. However, you slice it this is unexpected but cannot be written off. Be prepared though for it has the potential to grow to criminally infectious levels.

Hvile I Kaos

Hvile I Kaos – Black Morning, Winter Green

Intricate melodies writhe and duel for dominance, a narrative is carefully constructed utilizing an assortment of details and depth forming a rich tapestry to enrapt the listener. This is an experience sans a vocal accompaniment, for it doesn’t need such. It speaks volumes and stands testament to the talent, passion and composition brilliance of Kakophonix; the single soul behind the manipulation of the strings involved. A rich texture of melodies invoking darkness and beauty and the many grey areas in between. More classical than anything remotely extreme metal in nature.

oath of cruelty

Oath of Cruelty – Summary Execution at Dawn

Chaotic, tumbling melodies shot through with veins of maniacal madness and capillaries of diabolical finesse. This could well be Morbid Angel under the Kreator banner of old imbued with South American aggression. Unrelenting blackened thrash draped in a generous helping of sinister recommended for fans of the old school.

Revel in Flesh

Revel in Flesh – The Hour of the Avenger*

Boasting a collection of tracks with a slew of stylistic ambiance this album offers a great deal to enjoy. Comforting in its nostalgic familiarity this seethes with an undeniable air of superiority.

I don’t know where Revel in Flesh have been between albums. I only wonder if there’s a location someplace in a remote mountainous region whereupon enigmatic Monks strip one of everything they know only then reeducate one (in the most mysterious ways imaginable) in the true path of Godly extreme audio. For this really is that good! Fans of Entombed, Nocturnal Hollow, LIK, Dismember and Entrails cannot afford to miss out on this!

exhausted animal

And that’s it. A whooping 153 releases spanning January through December 2019, only the tip of the proverbial iceberg if truth be told (there’s a whole ton of releases I didn’t have time to get to) Showcasing a total of 36 (absolute favorites) which looking back I could probably have shortened this list down to. A tip of the hat to those who have made it this far, hurdling the obvious obstacles which my horrid grammar produces. As always free to share and comment. I’m always up for suggestions, perhaps even a few people who wish to aid me in my quest to entertain (I’m talking unpaid contributors, I’ve yet to make a cent, I require someone else with the equal dedication). The comment link is at the bottom of this article. It’s been a pleasure, and even though I’m exhausted it’s been worth every keyboard stroke if only to preach the word of metal and support acts who bring me a modicum of pleasure in an otherwise dull, tedious existence.


Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses (Part Twenty – Three)


headbangin gif

I’m having to sneak away in order to write this in record time as my little one is under the weather. Poor baby. Alas if only she were old enough to soak up all the energy and healing properties metal has to offer. Without further ado here are this week’s finds. Prepare those neck muscles!

ScreamerScreamer -Highway of Heroes
Release – October/11/2019
The Sign Records
Dewar PR

Vintage, retro, homage? Call it what you will but this Pegasus riding a fretboard (sure some might say it’s way too big for that and instead refer to it as more a ‘graph bridge’ but I prefer metal-themed descriptions, no matter how obtuse) into the cosmos is certainly stunning as if it’s been plucked screaming from 1978. If you look closely you can see the perturbed visage on the riders face as if to say I was just jammin’ to the BeeGees upon my trusty steed, and now this, what the hell-? But shit he’s got wings now, this is rad, it’s as if I’ve been tossed into the art of a Hawkwind vinyl cover, or something. But where’s the color? Did I go back in time too?


Whoa, I’ve just been blasted by a raging tsunami of NWOBHM and left soaked by an undeniably vintage heavy metal aura. I’m left with a permanent face-splitting grin, eager for more of the same.


tone, the melodies, the riffs, the voice, it’s all here! And to think this is from Sweden, it’s time to change my metal assumptions about the region. This is some next level audio right here. I swear if these guys would triple bill with Metalium and Traveler the Earth would spin so quick on its axis as to create a black hole (ha, that’s not how that works, I’m a far-reaching idiot). Suffice it to say this is NWOBHM traditional heavy metal everyone should aspire to perform to the level of. Addictive and enchanting doesn’t quite reach the words I need to utilize in this instance, I’m still reeling.

Favorite Tracks; Ride On, Rider of Death, Halo, Out of the Dark, Towers of Babylon, Caught in Lies.

FFO; Judas Priest, Saxon, Iron Maiden, Haunt, Traveler, Metalian.


Infirmity – Descendants of Sodom
Release -November/9/2019
Lost Apparitions Records
Clawhammer PR

Like the fall of Pompeii. It looks bloody hot there and tiresome. I don’t think a brolly will quite cut it this time!


A fiery inferno opens this release alongside a classic ominous piano tinkering bit (I’m betting the player was either far from the fire or smoldering as his/her fingers pranced across the keys, laughing maniacally ala Nero). Brutal guitar riffs slow into a spat of progressive action leading into passages of a tempestuous nature. An interesting and intriguing (instrumental) way to open the proceedings.


Thrash infused death (aided by a splash of punk) with plenty of breakdowns, catchy instances and passages begging reflection. Vicious, spittle-flying, vocals alongside a deeper companion style aid a style which has, at times, surprising depth miles from mere formulaic chuggery and brutality for the sake of it. For the most part the album is a hit and miss affair with a few tracks standing far and above their counterparts. Though enjoyable, far from horrid, I’m assured this is a stepping stone to a more consistent, fluid, future effort.

Favorite Tracks; Descendants of Sodom, Infatuated with Intoxication, Depths of Regression.

FFO; Malevolent Creation, Dark Angel, Exhorder, Atheist.

Toxikull Cand P

Toxikull – Cursed and Punished
Release – September/13/2019
Metal on Metal Records
Against PR (their previous effort)

Bright, menacing with archaic sacrificial undertones. Just ripe for a shirt!


An enlightening introduction of sorts leads into an 80’s thrashin motif. Infectious rhythms abound in a style which combines thrash/speed and traditional heavy metal with flair making this hard not to instantly appreciate. A great start to warm up the neck muscles.


With a style which spans a slew of genres including power, epic, speed, NWOBHM, traditional heavy metal, thrash even the occasional dip into territories some might tag with a glam rock moniker, albeit Motley Crew in style rather than Cinderella (thank the Dark Lord, I never thought I’d have to mention that name on this site) Toxikull have a lot to offer stylistically and therefore a wide audience to appeal to. Their speed passages are neck snappin’, usually silly fast (inciting impromptu air guitar madness antics) and often technical to boot, their melodies infectious (a glue holding the smorgasbord of styles together) combining for an overall grin inducing effect the while album through. The vocals are varied too; encapsulating a style found in earlier Helloween, Raven and a falsetto which even reaches the heights of King Diamond’s output.

Favorite Tracks; Cursed and Punished, Rising Dust, Speed Blood Metal, In the Name of Evil.

FFO; Helloween, Raven, Exciter, Iced Earth, King Diamond, Judas Priest, Riot, BattleroaR, Dokken.


Necrotombs – Embalmed in Rotten Flesh
Release – October/5/2018
Against PR

Seriously. I’ve been chopped half. I’m dragging myself across this dusty tomb for your amusement and I’m holding my own entrails. Not to mention I’m chilling with these strung up dudes (whose conversation skills are dull to say the least). Have I not done enough yet to be part of a Cannibal Corpse album cover? What does it take? (Editor’s Note* Sorry fella, the “Eaten Back to Life” era has sailed!)


It took a while but to me it sounds like (Obituary’s) Tardy in the vox department. I could be wrong but it’s oddly similar.


A solo project courtesy of Xerberus (who plays bass in a number of acts I’ve yet to lay ears upon) this is pretty much standard/run of the mill orthodox death with thrash elements centered on gore, acts of depravity and the like (the track list reads like rejected titles from a slew of Exhumed, Obituary and/or Cannibal Corpse releases), with liberal splashes of doom tossed in to add atmosphere. The first track here is the albums highlight with only a myriad of certain passages and riffs standing out above average/standard death fair. One does however need to give this extra points by way of it being a solo project, I can’t imagine it’s all that easy to do everything yourself. I’ll mention that the one review I’ve read on this has been kind of harsh and although I do agree for the most part I will however state that this is (IMO – do I still need to say that at this point?) worthy of repeated listens. Sure, it could be better, needs a little tightening up in certain areas. But it could also be worse and I’ve experienced infinitely more atrocious audio from bands with label backing.

Favorite Tracks; Strangled with Guts, Born from a Corpse, Frozen to be Eaten.

FFO; Orbituary, Baphomet, Vomitory, Master, Cannibal Corpse.

Resurrect tomorrow

Resurrect Tomorrow -The Wolf
(The Awesome, Deluxe, Remastered Edition)
(The Netherlands)
Release – October/10/2019
Profane Records
Against PR

Once you see it, you can’t unseen it! To quote Monster Squad (the film) “The Wolf man’s got nards!” Thankfully he’s faced the other way so one can’t see them. A retro image bringing to mind classic Universal Studios affairs albeit with a slightly modern approach.


The swift pace, vocal cadence and accent brings to mind vintage Helloween. Overall, little in the way of anything new to add to the scene (or genre I’m assuming this belongs to at this juncture) however this is catchy audio which nods towards both speed and power/epic metal arenas.


Combining speed and thrash metal passages, epic, power and traditional heavy metal sensibilities alongside splashes of folk and punk touches RT offer audio which isn’t wholly easily categorized though is distinctly European in flavor (heavy accented vocals are the main indicator here, though the style is indicative too) and easy on the ears in a radio friendly context. Rhythms are often simplistic yet undeniably catchy for an often ‘anthem’ feel sure to appeal to those who have penchants for European power/speed acts, tastes which are far from brutal realms.

(Six tracks here with four of those represented again but in a live setting)

Favorite Tracks; At the End, The Wolf.

FFO; Volbeat, Avenged 7X, Five Finger Death Punch, Helloween.

rank nd vile

Rank and Vile – Redistribution of Flesh
Release – October/18/2019
Mind Eraser PR

An intricately detailed black and white image mixing cannibalism, an oversized meat grinder and social commentary. Lovin’ it!


The “Jesus Wept” soundbite is certainly a plus followed by plodding riffs which raise goosebumps. When the main body of the track kicks in its mid-paced with a wicked vocal entourage. A fantastic, albeit frustratingly short, start.


It takes one glance at the track list to assume the genre of this release based on the length of the tracks themselves. It’s grindcore. But it’s refreshingly different. First and foremost, tracks last longer than a minute, but barely (the eight tracks on offer run close to twenty minutes). Speed is often replaced by crushing heavy, slower, riff passages. Social commentary and angst however, is still front and center and highly influences the content of an often twin-pronged vocal assault which will carve a grin on any extreme fan’s visage. Overall this release offers more variety in tone and pace than one might have initially assumed, each track has its own identity and, to be honest, the style here encompasses a fair few genres rather than being able to fit comfortably into just one. Categorization be damned! Give this a moment in your ears, you won’t be disappointed!

Favorite Tracks; Apotheosis, Redistribution of Flesh, Grey Goo, Global Scaphism, The Grigori.

FFO; Grave, Napalm Death, Carcass, Disrupt.


Nocturnalia – III Winter
Release – November/2019
The Sign Records
Dewar PR
(previous album “Above Below Within” 2015)

I’d swear this was an atmospheric black release if I hadn’t already read the promo materials.


I didn’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. Rock bordering on NWOBHM with hypnotic melodies, a melancholic, slightly ominous nature and excellent traditional vocals with fantastic range. A slight western vibe ala Old Man Wizard permeates this throughout and I’m left wicked intrigued.


Miles from what I normally set my ears upon this offers a collective of radio friendly tracks with mesmerizing qualities running the gauntlet of traditional rock, folk and a style perilously close to speed metal. Never boring, this delights throughout and serves as a stunning palette cleanser for those evening when one just wishes to unwind. This held my attention from the first until the last note with its fluid though varied composition, unique nature and thoroughly stunning delivery and execution. To think this is first I’ve reviewed from Scandinavia, the bar has been set and it’s stratospheric.

Highly Recommended!

Favorite Tracks; The Calling, By Nature, Forsaken, The Son.

FFO; Old Man Wizard, early (Dio fronted) Rainbow, Kyuss, Tribulation, Cloak.

coffin rot

Coffin Rot – A Monument to the Dead
Release – October/18/2029
Blood Harvest/Rotted Life

Is that an experimental dungeon of sorts where the dead are operating on each other? Or something more entirely sinister still? “Dr. Freudstein your 10:35 is here!” (There’s a nod for all you European cult film aficionados out there!)


Old school death with enough energy bounce and oomph to get one up and moving although it sports gutter values akin to dirgey grindcore it boasts driving passages which would drive even the most docile of moshpit insane. A great start to make one drop they’re doing, perk up and take note.


A wicked mash up of Death metal styles from a slew of genre standouts concocted with style. This album boasts high caliber rhythms throughout, a fantastic tone reminiscent of the top notch acts of the past twenty years (not the crystal clean production a slew of acts chose to recently adopt) and also incorporates a stunning blend of dynamic pace, traditional vocals and an occasional lazy tempo to marry doom and (old school) death in an ideal setting. For a debut this is eye-opening audio. Shit, even for a second, third or fourth album this leaves an impression. Who am I kidding? Expect these fellows to make waves for this is a stellar example of what fresh talent can bring to a scene which many think is out of ideas and steam. Coffin Rot have successfully injected a shot of wake the F up into the extreme arena. And to think the ingredients were always there ripe for the mix. Sit up and take note, this is prime end of years best audio right here!!

Favorite Tracks; Compremesis, Miasma of Barbarity, Incubation of Madness,

FFO; Cannibal Corpse, Gorguts, Khazaddum, Abysmal Dawn, Grave, Deeds of Flesh, Vomitory.


Lindsay Schoolcraft – Martyr
Release – October/7/2019
Dewar PR

Replacing the obvious iconic figure, in a stained-glass setting, with a stylized image of the artist surrounded by piano keys rather than an angelic crown is quite brilliant. The forlorn, distant distracted look and font nods towards audio of a Gothic nature. There’s only one way to know for sure.


Up-tempo, driving rhythms, sporting a slight Industrial nature as well Gothic qualities. The kind of beat you might expect to dance to in a sinister themed nightclub. Great start which showcases a fantastic voice and intriguing rock meets classical compositions.


I’m stating the obvious here by stating this will appeal to fans of Epica, Nightwish, Evanescence and Lacuna Coil. Driven by classical arrangements; piano and harp (played by classically trained and multi-talented Lindsay) the occasional Gregorian chant as well guitar and bass driven rhythms with heavy drum percussion (with assistance from Rocky Gray the drummer associated with Evanescence) this oozes talent, know-how and boasts fantastic flow throughout. Arrangements are often melancholic, always classically tinged and the album throughout is surprisingly radio friendly. Lindsay’s voice is impressive, adds significant presence to the audio with its ethereal qualities, mood and range; smoky, sultry and angelic. Admittedly, this is not what I usually set ears upon but this is fantastic for those moments you might want to share audio with the significant other who perhaps (if your situation is anything like mine) doesn’t enjoy the more brutal/extreme side of the metal spectrum.

Favorite Tracks; Savior, Stranger, Blood from a Stone, Dawn, See the Light.

FFO; Evanescence, Epica, Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, Her Despair.

syncronized headbangin

And that brings me to the end of this installment.

Until our paths of audio interest meet again, don’t fear discovery,