Posts Tagged ‘Novembers Doom’

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

Nocturnalia – III Winter

https://nocturnaliamusic.bandcamp.com/album/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

 https://novembersdoom1989.bandcamp.com/album/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*

https://sentienthorror.bandcamp.com/album/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

https://schammasch.bandcamp.com/album/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

 https://mesacounojo.bandcamp.com/album/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

https://the-deathtrip.bandcamp.com/album/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

https://unfathomableruination.bandcamp.com/album/enraged-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

https://vampyromorpha.bandcamp.com/

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

Warsenal – Feast Your Eyes

 https://open.spotify.com/album/58SvjDQbXqTG2Ng5qHohme?autoplay=true&v=L

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

WolfBrigade – The Enemy: Reality*

https://wolfbrigadesl.bandcamp.com/

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.

December

bethledeign

Bethledeign – Iconography of Suffering

https://edgewoodarsenal.bandcamp.com/album/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

https://helterskelterproductions.bandcamp.com/album/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

https://rednebula.bandcamp.com/album/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

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/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*

https://open.spotify.com/album/1vXNFib8ODt2uuRMIkzYbt?autoplay=true&v=L

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.

Cult

Abrasive Audio – Special Edition

kmans champions

Challenging Kman’s “Champions” 

This has been a busy year for metal, an outstanding one, again. And with so many releases to keep track of the prospect of doing so is daunting. I’ve attempted to scribble a few words upon that which has caught my ear from time to time, but the spectrum of metal is quite the unrelenting mistress. There is an individual however who weathers the storm and reports like no other, whose tireless dedication is a wonder to behold (I believe in order to do this he must be ‘besties’ with Doc Brown or alternatively, that he drives a DeLorean on a regular basis).

kman riffs

As the year reaches its climax this same individual took it upon himself to tackle a myriad of genres (some which I’m honestly quite unfamiliar with if truth be told) to stand triumphant with a short list plucked from each. A list featuring his choice for the years champion and runners up, or the” champion’s entourage”, if you will. Naturally tastes vary, and my list is most probably going to be different from his, yours, hers and the guy who runs the off license down the street on the corner. With that in mind I thought it prudent to take it upon myself to do a spot of exploration. The task is daunting. But it didn’t take me but a few seconds to consider an approach to start upon such a quest. Then it struck me, I need a companion who’s willing to also take the same plunge, a glutton for audio punishment if you will. Enter Paul PMZ, (@paul_pmz on Twitter) a chirpy like-minded fellow whom I shoot the shit with from time to time. Paul is the editor of a new tabletop gaming and music zine SIX IN THE HEAD (the first edition dropped recently. I even have a few words featured in it). https://sixintheheadzine.com/

Reluctantly he agreed to my demands, though I did promise to send him a few pictures of the wife’s Yorkshire Pudding to sweeten the deal.

holiday drumming animal

Yorkshire Pudddinnnnggg-!

Without further preamble, Paul imparts a few words on the task at hand and his surroundings;

Where I am right now the weather isn’t just frightful – it’s brutal. “Man overboard!” levels of rain and wind lash and howl outside (Ed* And there I was thinking …” the rain in Spain fell mostly on the plane…”). Lives will be lost in this today, mark my words. So, I’ve stayed inside with the dogs and listened to all the following albums in their entirety (pretty much).

These are my thoughts –

Insomnium-heart-like-a-grave_

Melo- Death
Insomnium – Heart Like A Grave 
https://open.spotify.com/album/5pIG0iF4OvplbceJAx73ys?autoplay=true&v=L

Paul – Not for me. I can totally see why somebody would totally love this but I don’t. Too anthemic. Too melodic. I imagine this is what it would sound like if Europe never wrote The Final Countdown and became a death metal band instead. Would make great theme music for an anime series about freezing to death.

CultWith rhythms which are criminally infectious, an aura which feels part Amon Amarth, part Arch Enemy, part Swallow the Sun, soaring leads and melodies which make one want to close their eyes and drift away (to where I do not know) an effective atmosphere to match and arrangements which scream expertise there’s no doubting that this will continue to delight as its audience grows reaching near bubonic proportions. Probably not for every mood but for when the mood fits, this delivers! Prepare to be swept away.

dimhav.jpg

Power Metal
Dimhav – The Boreal Flame 
https://dimhav.bandcamp.com/album/the-boreal-flame

Paul Great cover art and the intro to this is wild. Sounds like three separate albums all playing at once on fast-forward. The rest of it though, you can keep. The vocals alternate between over earnest and over shrieking. Also, it’s far too musical. Keep your musicianship to yourself I don’t want to hear it.

CultPower Metal is a realm I rarely frequent, if truth be told. However, the art here has me intrigued; I’ll give this a once over. In short; The introduction is fantastic, the musicianship superb, there’s enough pace variation to please most anybody and the album burns bright with an epic flame. But it’s all a little too much for me. Hardly horrid, this is a release I would really have to be in the mood for to be able to sit through in its entirety.

Demiurgon

Tech – Death
Demiurgon – The Oblivious Lure 
https://everlastingspewrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-oblivious-lure

Paul OK now we’re talking – fast, hard-hitting and guttural. No idea what any of this album is about but, based on its title alone, maybe it’s about fishing. A pummeling 39 minutes of music. Nothing negative to say about this apart from the band’s logo, which should by rights be a lot more unreadable. Beautiful stuff.

Cult Upon discovery of the album’s art one is immediately hit with an image which brings to mind a “World Eater” type creature. Which is either a scene from a StarWars film or the title of a legendary Bolt Thrower track all depending on one’s tastes. The album hits hard immediately and continues to deliver all one could wish in a tech-death release; Brutish Orc vocals, a ferocious twin pronged assault, tight riffs, a pace which is diverse, head spinning and unpredictable and pummeling precise drum salvos. All without offering too many layers (one would require a scalpel to dissect) or going overboard like a few other acts in the same genre I’ll refrain from mentioning. I honestly can’t see a single reason why a fan of the genre won’t fall ass over tits for this. Top notch from start to finish, this will leave one feeling exhilarated and sweaty!

zig zags.jpg

Hardcore/Punk/Crust
Zig Zags – They’ll Never Take Us Alive 
https://zigzags.bandcamp.com/album/theyll-never-take-us-alive

PaulI hear echoes of Metallica, The Stooges and Saxon in this but the Zig Zags play it punk and fast. This is music for drinking cheap beer, skating makeshift ramps in backyards and travelling about LA with scabs on your shins in the back of a stinking van. If that’s the feeling the band were hoping to conjure up with this record then they’ve achieved it perfectly.

CultHemorrhaging nostalgia this pummels the listener with influences plucked from when the scene itself was in its adolescence. Metallica, Misfits, Blitzkrieg and even a slew of nods to landmark tracks (from around the time), surf rock and plenty of punk attitude. Sheesh! The vocal style even brings to mind Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies) in some tracks. Get out the skateboards (forget the pads and helmets. We’re rebels, what a little blood harm anyone!) and the Walkmans. Let’s ride! Do not miss this!!

finterforst.jpg

Pagan/Folk/Viking Metal
Finsterforst – Zerfall 
https://finsterforst.bandcamp.com/album/zerfall

Paul Pagan metal intertwined with orchestral “soundscapes” that thankfully are used to great effect and don’t disappear up their own arse into Jean-Michel Jarre/prog-opera territory. I’m not a huge fan of choirs in metal but everything else on this is just so good that I can live with it. Warhammer music and I say that as a huge compliment. Tonight, gentlemen, we ride into battle. Epic.

Cult Admittedly, this is a genre I visit rarely but I’ll state without reservation that I was left stunned by the first tracks impact. One might think this to be akin to atmospheric black with the cover art in mind. It has elements but there’s so much else on display and arranged in such a way that any newcomer to this will instantly sprout a smile upon experiencing what caresses the senses. Doom, melodic death, black and folk elements (showcasing traditional instruments) with no value over crowding the other, everything co-exists in grandiose, exquisite, harmony. And the fact that the lyrics are in German only makes it infinitely more intriguing. I’d usually balk at seeing a thirty-seven-minute track listed, but not here. It crosses off every box and obliterates all expectations. I foresee this featuring heavily in my play history in the coming months. Don’t be the last to jump on this!

ruadh

Atmospheric Black Metal
Ruadh – Sovereign
https://ruadh.bandcamp.com/album/sovereign

Paul I’m not saying this isn’t very good indeed because it is. For some reason though it left me feeling a little underwhelmed. As atmospheric black metal it does exactly what you want it to do. Nothing more and nothing less. It’s very good but then so are mashed potatoes and I don’t want to eat them on a daily basis.

CultWrapped in an effective storm atmospheric motif, dramatic and epic qualities this album provides a rich tapestry bursting with depth, emotion and majestic rhythms. Even a few in a style one might not expect (based on genre assumptions) and a few passages one might. A symphonic accompaniment, including vast nature-scapes fits perfectly, executed in such a manner that one can close their eyes and imagine actually being a part of the scene. An aura the listener can easily melt within. In short, an experience which showcases just how diverse the genre can be, is, and the surprising heights an excellently crafted album within its ranks can attain if handled with care such as this. A fantastic jumping on point for those even slightly interested in a genre which has yet to garner the attention it deserves.

First Hellripper, now this. Glasgow is getting quite the moniker for its high-quality metal output.

Evergrey

Progressive Metal
Evergrey – The Atlantic 
https://open.spotify.com/album/7IBDcZQla4fTMEmjzcHneu?autoplay=true&v=L

Paul If I were to draw you a Venn diagram for this, I would put Soundgarden, Korn and Whitesnake on it and stick these guys in the overlap. I don’t really have anything else to say about this. It’s not really for me. “All I Have” has a good intro. Sorry that’s all I have.

CultAudio which brings to mind both the 70’s, 80’s and more recent audio with hints of thrash, djent, melody and riffs for days. Top notch vocals and an eye-opening level of musicianship certainly aid the intrigue. And all in a manner far from what many might perceive as traditional extreme audio. Doom shrouds the whole affair although this is at times rather upbeat there’s still an underlying melancholy. And a surprising diversity which spans Gojira, Devon Townsend, Nevermore and Dream Theatre qualities. Hardly what I listen to on a regular basis but with quality such as this on offer it’s not going to be hard to persuade me to dip my ears into the genre on a more regular basis. This may well be the type of audio which is served as a stepping stone towards the spectrum of metal for this is extremely difficult not to like.

necropanther the doomed city.jpg

Black/Thtrash/Speed Metal
Necropanther – The Doomed City 
https://necropanther.bandcamp.com/album/the-doomed-city

Paul Thrash, black, death, who cares what it’s called? Is it any good? Yes, it is! It’s very good. The guitars are thrash, the vocals are a combination of black and death and the drumming is totally berserk. This one got my head bobbing and my legs bouncing vigorously. Which, bearing in mind this is the eighth album I’ve listened to in a row and this chair is hurting my arse, is no mean feat.

Cult A melting face, body bits floating around in a crimson stew storm, with a “Darkman” type character front and center. I am intrigued. The vocals grab the attention immediately, a dual assault. A growling approach and another which is a doppelganger for Chance Garnett. This isn’t a bad thing in the slightest, as who doesn’t love SkeletonWitch in their prime? The audio is a likely result of drunken night slippery (?) shenanigans including the minds behind 3 Inches of Blood, Arch Enemy and SkeletonWitch with liberal sprinkles of darkness and wicked flourishes of criminally infectious power metal flair tossed into the pot. Thrash, speed, death, blackened death, call it what you will, it certainly doesn’t feel like a “concept” album, but be sure to set a timer as listening to this will make the hours fly. This, much like their last, is (in short) beyond top-notch. With another release such in their future I’ll predict Necropanther to resident in a league of their own. Damn good doesn’t even come close to how I would describe this! Pick this up at your earliest convenience.

thelordweirdsloughfeg

Heavy Metal
Lord Weird Slough Feg – New Organon 
https://thelordweirdsloughfeg.bandcamp.com/

Paul After listening to all of the above, this album of classic heavy metal jams welcomed me like a pure and loving embrace. This is what it’s all about. Forget all that other nonsense. Death? Thrash? Black? You kids think you bloody invented music you do. Get a dose of this down you son. This is all you need. Now go on get out of here.

CultTwin harmonies, galloping riffs, lyrics saturated in intriguing historical themes, playful folk rhythms, an aura which tosses one back, grinning, several decades and a style which is a timeless often imitated but rarely achieved in a quality and tone such as this (did I mention the production is crystal clear but also finagled in such way as to make one think this could well have been plucked from assorted vinyl racks in a store circa 1979). There’s little not to like here. A somewhat unique vocal style, one could easily place among the likes of Dickenson, Dio and Kilminster (it’s ‘Lemmy’ for those not in the know) adds to the overall fun. I’ll admit this grows on me the more I allow it entry into my system.

haze maze.jpg

Stoner/Doom/Fuzz/Psych Riffs
Hazemaze – Hymns of The Damned 
https://hazemazeband.bandcamp.com/album/hymns-of-the-damned

Paul Imagine smoking a shitload of strong weed, dropping acid and listening through the wall to Sabbath playing next door. That’s what this album is – the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Not that I’ve ever done acid. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. This is chunky, groovy masterpiece. A great listen and an addictive vibe. Man.

Cult If the Psychedelic sacrificial, goat head wearing cultist, art doesn’t pull you then the audio certainly will. Sabbath-esque in tone sporting plodding riffs, surprising agility (for an album of this ilk) and a production which only heightens the intensity of the heavens are gonna fall riff assault. If you only buy one doom album this year this is where the money should be spent. I’m not a fan of the more traditional end of the genre. This however, is captivating and its rhythms downright trance-inducing. Now, where are my Bell bottoms, Denim jacket and that large bucket of Kool-Aid?

Basilysk – Emergence

Death Metal
Basilysk – Emergence 
https://basilysk.bandcamp.com/album/emergence

Paul A bit like the Ruadh album this one is what it is. If you like death metal, which I do, there’s nothing not to like about it. It’s very good indeed but so what.

CultBoasting a collection with no track sounding the same as another is a mean feat. But Basilysk pull it off! Channeling a myriad of influence, a technicality which brings to mind Pestilence, progressive elements veering heavily towards Schneider worship and passages which scream OSDM, whilst others growl grindcore with undeniable groove this is an album which doesn’t disappoint. It might not possess your senses on the first listen, but its hooks are in. After another its grip is tighter, deeper and there’s absolutely no denying this is far and beyond the typical “death” release. There’s something here for everyone and this becomes clear as the album plays out. Doom weaves its way alongside the tendrils of an occasional cavernous aura which frolics with South American aggressive thrash, melody appears as if out of nowhere to levitate the intrigue and a diabolical essence seeps from out of the ether adding to the enjoyment. Let’s not forget, however, the epic closer; a maniacal arrangement with a second act. An exquisite Arabian themed tribal drum affair which hints at much more than merely a little (Black) Sabbath here and there in the bands past listening habits. Seek this out if you haven’t already!

Overkill – The Wings of War.jpg

Thrash
Overkill – The Wings of War
https://open.spotify.com/album/2IUZN5c0AVdrnQKfxdMaPK?autoplay=true&v=L

Paul On the other hand, I’m never really sure if I like thrash. I don’t dislike it so that’s something. But you know what? This album fucking kills. I don’t think I’ve ever used that phrase before but I’m pretty sure I want to listen to this album over and over again and cover my wall in this band’s posters and buy everything they’ve ever done.

CultA few moments in and I’m hit with as perplexing question. Why did I ever stop listening to Overkill? I wore out the Horrorscope cassette If any band is deserved of a place in the ‘Big 4’ now Metallica have ‘defected’ it’s this band and this album proves it. Trademarked “Blitz” vocals accompany incendiary rhythms which scream we’ve been doing this for years and we aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Add a Ramones -esque tribute to the bands home state (New Jersey), a touch of crossover, a handful of riffs which will have the mind reeling as to whom it reminds you of, a diverse lineup of tracks and you have an album that’s repeatable without complaint and sure to get the listener twitching with delight every time. For the record, this isn’t my favorite of the year, it’s close and damn enjoyable!

Arctic Sleep – Kindred Spirits.jpg

Doom
Arctic Sleep – Kindred Spirits 
https://arcticsleep.bandcamp.com/album/kindred-spirits

Paul I appreciate what they’re trying to do here and it’s an enjoyable enough listen but it’s not for me. It’s too emotional. I like to keep my emotions tightly wrapped up and locked away where I don’t have to think about them thanks very much.

CultAt times dreamy, often mesmerizing but always captivating, this runs into epic lengths and boasts a fluid nature which is outstanding. Occasionally it might put one in mind of a “light” November’s Doom. The vocals however are miles from what one might expect, with this in mind, not in the slightest “growly” they’re more on a par with tranquil Pink Floyd output, an aura this album also boasts in equal measure. Ideal for those nights when a blazing hearth is the only light in the room and one is bathing in the comfort of a self- induced haze (I’m not going to spell it out). This is an album you can lose yourself within, surprisingly it’s also radio-friendly. Shit, the wife (or significant other of choice) might even like this. Truth be told. It’s extremely difficult not to appreciate even if, like me, ‘extreme’ is your preferred audio arena of choice.

Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove.jpg

Death/Doom
Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove 
https://novembersdoom1989.bandcamp.com/album/nephilim-grove

Paul First of all, can somebody please explain to me why this band doesn’t have an apostrophe in its name? That aside, this doesn’t do much for me sorry. If you come around my house you can stick it on if you want. I won’t complain. I’ll enjoy it. But I won’t ask to borrow it.

CultAdmittedly It’s been a while since I’ve laid ear upon a release by these guys. However, I’m glad to report that trend has come to an end, and how. Shattering my preconceived notions Novembers Doom have utilized all the death/doom genre is known for them 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. Seriously, who can look upon the covers art and not be curious? Expect to find this upon many a year end list. It’s more than deserved!

Borknagar – True North

Black Metal
Borknagar – True North 
https://open.spotify.com/album/6rgxoXvmfe33dbnm8CdVlU

Paul You head true north and I’ll head true south and let’s keep it that way (*Ed – I’m guessing he didn’t like this one!)

Cult Hardly what I expected, though if truth be told I’ve little experience with the band, this is epic themed, melodic, emotional and irrefutably stylistically diverse. Boasting symphonic elements, intricate arrangements, a wide vocal range/approach and unmistakable progressive heavy metal leanings this is probably not for the casual black fan, or one who demands instant, primal raw, gratification but rather for one whose tastes run to audio which demands exploration through several immersive experiences. To be honest this might take several listens to fully appreciate. With that in mind this is far from horrid, just unexpected, one might even go say far as to state; “different”, at times bordering on Avant Garde. If Amorphis were a smidgen “blacker” in tone this might be close to the result.

werewolves in Siberia avatar

And, as a bonus a few words on a release featuring dominantly in Werewolves in Siberia’s ‘Best of 19’ List’
Voyag3r – War Mask
https://voyag3r.bandcamp.com/album/war-mask

Voyag3r - War Mask

Paul

CultAlthough the albums art, a bold image surrounded in what first appears to be flames, suggests the audio might belong to the metal arena, it surprisingly doesn’t. This is synth. Far from the usual/traditional this showcases both a drum and guitar accompaniment. The result; added depth and an epic audio narrative overflowing with intrigue, adventure (and all manner of audio which would typically accompany the type of on-screen action one would expect of an over the top dramatic cinematic affair) which successfully evokes a myriad of emotion and nostalgia. Effectively conjuring images from a slew of celebrated (usually for the wrong reason) features more often than not boasting a Goblin-esque score, and various television fodder from the 80’s, this gets the imagination reeling as the arrangements flow seamlessly. Rhythms are dynamic, smooth, smoky, suspenseful and occasionally drip in palpable sinister values. Transforming they slip over each other much like dialogue but more often akin to a montage scenario telling a story which doesn’t need words. Befitting a wide array of cinema ranging from Tarantino, Guy Richie, Bava and Fulci (seriously if this doesn’t make you think of Zombie Flesh Eaters at least once there could be something seriously amiss with your viewing habits) this boasts the potential to appeal to a huge audience, as it should. Honestly, if more soundtracks were of this quality my collection would be full of them. Forget your presumptions about the genre and dive into this with a mind willing to appreciate something other than the usual. I’ve played this more than a few times today, and I’m sure I will tomorrow.

 

Well, that was exhausting. Here’s raising a glass to another year with more of the same.

Cult

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses – Part 36

headbangin metalhead

As the year draws to its close, I’m left pondering upon all the releases I know I’ve missed. With that in mind I’ve included a Recc. from an individual who demands a ‘follow’ on social media based on the priceless “services” he offers the metal community at large. Obviously, it’s hard to know where to look, or turn to, for releases which warrant investigation when there is such an immeasurable amount released on a week by week basis. I try to do my part but I pale in comparison to that which this individual, a generous Australian fellow indeed, covers on a daily basis in his prolific posts. Without further ado…

Carnifliate - Disgusting Festivities.jpg

Carnifliate – Disgusting Festivities
(Slovenia)
Release – October/23/2019
Self-Released
Qabar PR
https://carnifliate.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 76

Odd, creepy and deranged are words which come to mind upon setting the eyeballs upon this art. This is a rather unsettling party atmosphere to say the least. I’m glad I tossed my invite.

FIRST TRACK – 81

Grinding death, blast beats, Slam elements, somewhat technical riffage and rhythms which immediately impale the listener with unquestionable curiosity. And all executed with surprising tightness. Add a diverse vocal attack and this is a fantastic start to an album from an act I’ve only just now been introduced to.

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

Channeling the unpredictable dizzying nature of grindcore, adding to it ferocious brutal death elements and a smidgen of technicality Carnifliate have somehow managed to create an album which is intriguing and dynamic in comparison to those in the same genre which is fast becoming far beyond overcrowded. As a debut this is far and beyond that which is expected boasting a production that certainly aids in its overall appreciation. Showcasing a precision which appears beyond the bands relatively short existence rhythms are fast furious and evolve at a pleasing pace certain to place an ever-widening smirk on the listeners face and set festival crowds alight in a frenzy. The vocal style is varied; ranging from guttural values, a hardcore esque approach and assorted occasional pig squeals sporting a quality that which fans of Benighted are sure to salivate over. Fun from beginning to end this is sure to perk the interest of fans of melodic brutal death/grindcore who are in the market for new audio to scar the place between the ears.

Favorite Tracks; Fist Class Cunt, Fried in Fat, Paraphilitic Infantilism, Compel Insemination.

FFO; Benighted, Fleshless, Aborted, Dying Fetus.

MXD Endurance

MXD – Endurance
(Switzerland)
Release – November/1/2019
Tenacity Music
Against PR
https://mxdmusic.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 77

A purple Worm Ouroboros encircles a demonic visage against a shape (which may or nay not be mystical in context) with many angles and sharp pointy edges. This grabs the attention though really gives little away in regards to what manner of audio one is about to place between the ears.

FIRST TRACK – 74

Whoa, this is a little different than what I normally set upon the senses. Synth elements collide with an introduction which includes an everyday busy street aura (the backing up of trucks, a honking of a moped) and a filthy industrial tone takes over. Infectious guitar riffs complement an audio landscape and vocal accompaniment (reminiscent of British Goth Rock) which one might expect to hear in a Gothic nightclub or on a soundtrack to an edgy 90’s movie. This is a damn sight more listenable than I was imagining, with zero introduction. I am intrigued, onward…

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

Varied in its approach this album drags the listener through a varied audio landscape with a backdrop of vastly differing influence and a terrain which varies from hypnotic smooth, futuristic drone, cinematic soundtrack, deviant soundbites to jagged razor wire. The mind reels with similarities to other artists as it leaves an impact often settling upon Ministry, Prodigy, Rammstein and various others whose names flutter upon the synapses only to be recollected in the most obscure of moments. Certainly not for those who prefer audio which fits easily in predetermined parameters this is recommended for those who can accept experimentationalism with little complaint. Although with that in mind this isn’t wildly Avant Garde or of the quality which a small fraction of society will want to pin to a wall in order that they may lay their college degrees to work and argue over what it actually symbolizes. This is drenched in an undeniable dark tone that’s often grandiose in nature, it isn’t what one might expect though does exhibit elements which will do naught but grab the attention as the album seeps into the part of the brain labeled slow- burn appreciation. Far from what usually bounces between the ears I must admit I’m liking this; the dark humor is a nice touch although I could do without the injected, occasional, urban element (much like anything noted here that’s a personal preference). Step away from the norm, broaden your musical horizons and give this a listen.

Favorite Tracks; Eraser, Ain’t Dead Yet, Sisyphus, Black Metal Shopping List.

FFO; Ministry, Rob Zombie, Prodigy, Rammstein.

Unbounded Terror - Faith in Chaos

Unbounded Terror – Faith in Chaos
(Spain)
Release -January/2/2020
Xtreem Music
https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/faith-in-chaos
ARTWORK – 72

Seraphim and Demonic beings fighting across a fiery landscape. Is this what happens when Granma invokes house rules in Monopoly and then loses? All hell breaks loose.

FIRST TRACK – 75

From a placid to an energized heartbeat introduction (a nod to the bands recent resurgence from a 26 year slumber) a dirge slathered mid-tempo groove rhythm awakens, an Old School approach which doesn’t in the slightest break any new ground for the genre, but it does make an impression and gets the limbs a twitchin’.

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

(Put this in initial listen) This album took twenty-six years to come to fruition following prompting from rabid fans and a reignited passion. The band hold the honor of releasing g the first death metal release in Spain (on various formats) in 92′. And now this. Huge riff, mid-tempo melodic brutality with more groove than a treasured vinyl. This might be meat and potatoes, somewhat simplistic but it hits the spot! Showcasing rhythms which range from plodding Candlemass doom to dirge laden Bolt Thrower with an OSDM vocal style (Willetts/Ingram) to match.

Favorite Tracks; Hiding from the Light, Hated in Hell, They Will Come from the Pain, Engulfed by the Gods.

FFO; Gorefest, Benediction, Jungle Rot.

CRS - The Collector of Truths

CRS – The Collector of Truths
(Mexico)
Release – December/6/2019
Concreto Records
Dewar PR
https://play.google.com/music/preview/B4dzyhyaiyuessiqvz2w7w6vznu?play=1
https://www.iheart.com/artist/crs-cirrosis-32507413/albums/the-collector-of-truths-81576855/?autoplay=true
ARTWORK – 76

Tentacles, babes in the woods and an ominous looking milky liquid which I will refrain from commenting on in a juvenile manner.

FIRST TRACK – 74

Crunchy riffs slightly djent in nature display a tribal, heritage heavy edge forming an aura that’s a shifting mix of Soulfly, Fear Factory and Meshuggah. Diabolical leads are a nice touch to lift this from waters which have been muddied to the point of boredom as of late.

INITIAL LISTEN – 77

What I was assuming to be a rather run of the mill djent influenced chuggery laden release turned out to be far from it. Although it has passages which are saturated in the theme progressive elements run riot, and at times bring to mind Opeth even, in instances, a later Death vibe. Groove and melody rather than brutality is the general theme which runs throughout the album placing this release somewhat on the borders of aggressive thrash/melodic death accompanied by vocals which will appeal to fans of Soulfly/Sepultura. Diverse and surprising this has the potential to grow on the listener and offers something new with each listen. My by qualm is that the vocal style is a tad stagnant, it rarely changes tone I believe this factor may have upped the interest level somewhat.

Favorite Tracks; Tan Lejo de Dios – Nowhere but Here, Resistencia, The Daydreamer Nightmare, I Am the Universe.

FFO; Soulfly, Sepultura, Meshuggah, Fear Factory.

My Funeral - Graveblaster.jpg

My Funeral – Graveblaster (EP)
(Finland)
Release – December/13/2019
Self-Released
Against PR
https://myfuneral.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 70

Instead of a ‘Ghetto-Blaster’ this is a ‘Grave-Blaster’ utilizing a coffin as a huge speaker and tape deck. I get it though I’m not entirely sure what to expect as the logo has an urban slant to it while the album title and the image itself boast somewhat a grindcore/crust vibe. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 71

Melting paint from the walls fast thrash in a similar vein to Germany’s Violent Force, early Kreator and vintage (“Howling Furies”) Anthrax. The vocals, aren’t what’s expected, especially based on the opening “scream”, they’re gruff and lend the music a hardcore edge, whereas ‘gang vocals’ lend it a crossover feel. An interesting start with a mix of styles smashed together giving little away as what to expect from this audio collective.

INITIAL LISTEN – 69

Thrash, speed, crossover, groove, hardcore it’s all here. And sometimes all in the same track. Both ends of the EP are quite different. One is primarily aggressive fast as balls speed metal with a crossover leaning whilst the other is more akin to (newer) Sepultura meets Machine Head meets Hatebreed.

While “Retro Satan” is closer to Exodus thrash in tone and sandwiched between. The audio here is diverse even slightly misleading at times, showcasing a myriad of influence ranging from raunchy metal, speed, thrash, punk and more modern sounds.

Favorite Tracks; Thrash n’ Destroy, Retro Satan.

FFO; Hatebreed, (newer) Sepultura.

Coffin Curse - Ceased to Be

Coffin Curse – Ceased to Be
(Chile)
Release – January/27/2020
Memento Mori
https://coffincurse.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 80

The likelihood of this being from the same hands responsible for the last couple of Drawn and Quartered albums seems highly likely. The image flows with undeniable malevolence and an unfathomable diabolical nature. But it only leaves me wondering; is this how one creates Goulash? And then…who’s left to package it?

FIRST TRACK – 85

Tumbling drums accompany slightly chaotic riffs which brings to mind “Blessed are the Sick” era Morbid Angel. The vocals stand out and top the style off like a rotting cherry. Grindcore esque sensibilities, albeit draped in a sinister tone, bring the track to a close making me even more intrigued as to the audio to follow. A wicked start indeed!

INITIAL LISTEN – 92

Ferocious and filthy draped in undeniable infernal sensibilities. This is as if Drawn and Quartered decided to collaborate with Morbid Angel, Vader and Immortal with the resulting audio showcasing each act distinct influence throughout. Toss in a smidgen of black metal, a sprinkling of black and roll, a little groove and a boisterous mischievous quality which binds the whole and the diabolical concoction is near complete. Toss in a cavernous tone and this could now be Folk music for the Underworld. Highly recommended and this came out of nowhere to pummel me like a red headed stepchild caught elbow in the butter dish (huh?!)

Favorite Tracks; Where Sickness Thrives. Chopped Clean off, Extinct, Deep in Streams of Putrifying Dirt.

FFO; Drawn and Quartered, (“Cursed” era) Morgoth, Morbid Angel, Vader, Immolation.

Time for an Old Favorite; Reccd’ By

heavymetalyeti

Reccd’ by Heavy Metal Yeti @heavymetalyeti on Twitter
Iapetus – The Body Cosmic
(USA)
Release – November/9/2019
Independent
https://iapetus1.bandcamp.com/album/the-body-cosmic

Iapetus - The Body Cosmic.jpg

Thoughts –
This release’s stunning art depicts a celestial being. Entwined with the universe she’s exploding with essence; one could even say “heart” as that’s where the ‘power’ originates. The colors and details are exquisite and the look on her features are sublime.

With little indication of what to expect the music captivates from the first. Intricate swift riffing brings to mind black metal influences but this is far beyond what one might assume with this in mind. This is unquestionably hypnotic rather than raw. Occasional vocal accompaniment (soft female and something skin to reflective/narrative soundbites) adds to the same effect and elevates a cosmic presence woven expertly into the mix. I’m floored! The combination of black, progressive and doom elements alongside an atmosphere which transports the listener so effortlessly to another plane are seamless and I’m less than third way through the first track.

The album continues and offers its first sojourn into harsh vocal realms, accompanying angelic choruses and chants, acoustic interludes and rhythms which are assured to change the listeners outlook on their immediate surroundings.

In lieu of mentioning every track here I’ll mention that this flows with an uncommon and undeniable brilliance throughout. Showcasing a love of the genre which is unquestionable and a talent for composition which is awe- inspiring Iapetus have formulated an audio collective which is both epic, intricate, diverse, unfathomably distracting and mesmerizing to the Nth degree. In effect, an album one might want to tether themselves to reality to before embarking upon.

For those who have the patience, time and willingness to allow this to seep into the system the rewards are immeasurable. Probably best to keep track of the cord for the Bluetooth enabled wireless headphones for this is an epic diversion from the everyday that one will want to discover it again and again. Expect to see this mentioned atop many an end of year list which features an author’s appreciation of a wide variety of genres.

For fans of Ne Oblivicaris, Insomnium, Be’lakor, Opeth and Aggaloch.

kman riffs

Reccd’ by KmanRiffs @KManriffs on Twitter
Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove
(USA)
Release – November/1/2019
Prophecy Productions
https://novembersdoom1989.bandcamp.com/album/nephilim-grove
Novembers Doom - Nephilim Grove
Thoughts

Huge thanks go out to Kman for this Recc. I honestly had no idea that Novembers Doom were still active, so it was a huge surprise and delight to hear they were and are. Admittedly it’s been a while since I last laid ears upon them. Their earlier output, especially “To Welcome the Fade” (I believe is the title), remains one of my go-to death/doom albums.

Before I dive into the audio, a few words upon the art. A creature resembling an aging Pan type-Diety traverses a rough track as a motley crew of misshapen creatures look on in wonderment. I’m left wondering if they’re hungry and perhaps have just happened upon their next meal or is this something entirely more sinister still? One thing stands out, above all others; this is stunning art. perhaps one of my favorite pieces of the year (again thanks to Kman without whom I would not have known or probably even discovered this until perhaps years from now). The color contrast here is superb, the style intricate, shrouded in shading, texture and detail aplenty, and the wicked scythe looking moon adds ominous qualities galore. The design and characters included aren’t that which normally grace an album, unless this fellow is a goat then he’s desperately in need of a vacation/break from all of the recent exposure. I need this on a shirt, it’s perilously close to the gift giving season (*takes time out to drop hints to the wife and Santa).

In regards to the music on offer it takes mere seconds to realize this is indeed the Novembers Doom of old, and not a reimagined line-up hoping to cash in on the name and bands notoriety.

The arrangements are drum heavy and boasts supreme build up. Part acoustic mastery complementing huge riffs and driving rhythms. And the voice, oh that voice, the timbre is the one instantly recognizable as that associated with the band. The twin pronged, clean and harsh, vocal approach has returned, back to form if not better than before. The writing is intelligent and reflects upon a reinvigorated vitality, but it’s the composition and arrangements and passion which grab and hold the attention. Miles from mere chuggery and Gothic keyboard antics and overused accompanying atmosphere this is an album which showcases beauty and darkness, melancholy and an element which is rather hard to pinpoint but has Novembers Doom written all over it.

Sans scribbling upon each track (lest this turn in an unreadable narrative diatribe event) in turn I feel it best to mention that the album as a whole bears the power to sate any fan in need of a passionate death/doom injection. It goes without mentioning that this will have me, as well I’m sure a great many others, (re)discovering the bands discography.

Expect to see a great many more mentions of this album as the year draws to its conclusion.

Animal - music is meant for sharing

Because…great audio demands to be shared!

And that brings another installment to a close. Until our paths of interest cross again don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the senses.

Cult