Posts Tagged ‘NWOBHM’

Abrasive Audio 2020 Part Five

black metal gif

And its time for yet another instalment in the ongoing series which explores the spectrum of Extreme Audio showcasing releases both fresh and not so much (obviously this would have been the ideal place to add “rotting” but I felt it cliched so left it out). This installment is shorter than most due to other duties I’ve put off until the very last moment but have demanded completion. Without further ado I present a few releases which I consider worthy of praise.

February Releases

primeval mass nine altars

Primeval Mass (Greece) – Nine Altars

https://primevalmass.bandcamp.com/album/nine-altars

Release – February/21/2020

Katoptron IX Records

ARTWORK- 90

There’s certainly something sinister going on here. An altar, or nine, human debris and plenty of skulls. I’m left wondering though what or whom is he/she hoping to invoke?

FIRST TRACK- 92

Grin inducing silly paced riffs, mischievous rhythms, passionate solos, an undeniable diabolicalism (that’s a word now!) and a venom dripping vocal approach. Every blackened speed metal fan’s wettest dream come to fruition. Now, where are my wet wipes?

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

One moment you’re being dragged through murky blackened speed waters, the next crystal clean on the back of a vehicle propelled by a fuel garnered from the finest Maiden esque rhythms and solos. And then, when you start to feel comfortable, a chaotic narrative takes ahold, technicality in a blender, and whips you around to the point of utter disorientation. And then… Well I’m not gonna ruin it, apart from to say that the fourteen-minute closer will leave the listener panting for more. Black, Power, Speed, hypnotic atmosphere it’s all here but molded in such a way to keep the entire collective grinning with the digits poised on the repeat button. Expect to see this mentioned a great deal more (based on unmitigated reasoning) as Year End approaches.

Favorite Tracks; Delivers frequent stings (in this instance, and the purpose of this analogy, a good thing) much like I would imagine an unwanted caress of the “hair” of Medusa. “Fuckn’ ouch! But it stramgely felt good, I think I’m gonna do it again!”

FFO; Hellripper, Wraith, Inculter, Hellish.

asarhaddon

Asarhaddon (Germany) – Reysa

https://geisterasche.bandcamp.com/album/reysa

Release- February/29/2020

Geistarasche Organisation

ARTWORK- 85

Those poor birds. I’m guessing they were in the wrong place at the wrong time but at least now they won’t be cursed anymore for spreading discontent through aerial fecal assaults.

FIRST TRACK- 90

Grandiose yet majestic, ferocious yet atmospheric. A wicked concoction of styles here resulting in audio which is downright mesmeric and (it gets better yet) it’s topped off with my weakness (in the extreme audio world); feral female “vokills”. A fantastic start. I’m all ears!!

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

I have a weakness for female “throats” (hopefully that doesn’t sound wrong, though it might sound “funny”) and thankfully this wasn’t promoted as that, else it receive/garner special attention based on that factor alone. As honestly this deserves attention based on its caliber. It delivers! Riffs are melodic yet harsh and the lyrics although in German (?), delivered in a feral approach, add an enigmatic archaic quality which elevates this to another level entirely. In part it reminds me of vintage Katatonia, Dissection while also boasting numerous other elements from across the blackened spectrum, including passages of what could be described as “post” sporting surprisingly hypnotic rhythms. Doom is present as well plenty of atmosphere making this at times menacing, often ferocious and thoroughly ominous. The production is clean though there still remains a primal edge to the audio’s composition to sate those with more the “traditional” yearnings. Overall a stunning release with a quality I wasn’t expecting in the slightest. This is black metal I, truthfully a newbie to the scene, can subscribe to!

Favorite Tracks; This delivers throughout!

FFO; vintage Katatonia, Dissection, (Columbia’s) Lucifera, Mist of Misery, newer Satyricon.

March Releases

nexorum

Nexorum (Norway) – Death Unchained

https://non-serviam-records.bandcamp.com/album/death-unchained

Release- March/6/2020

Non -Serviam Records

ARTWORK- 86

A nest of snakes cradles a bronzed skull.

Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the details and colors which makes this image pop.

FIRST TRACK- 77

Grandiose riffs, groove and a touch of darkness. This is undeniably Blackened Death shot through with veins of melody and mischief. A utilized sound bite seems to be, at first, an odd touch though soon feels more comfortable as the track wears on. An intriguing start.

INITIAL LISTEN- 83

Undeniable dirge, ala Bolt Thrower, drives this beast. A creature with a blackened soul spawned from the melding of many minds and influence. This is sure to please many this showcases a style whose radius covers both Death and Blackened arenas with a splash of Thrash and diabolical nature tossed in for effect. And it works; the atmosphere is superb and the overall feel isn’t one that depends on keyboards and reeks of over-dramatic/anti-Christian silliness. Overall this is a fantastic debut sure to whet the appetite of those with a penchant for a style that’s neither Death or Black but both drenched in top notch archaic qualities.

Favorite Tracks; Saligia Moralis Codice, Antidiluvian Purification, The Luciferian Descent.

FFO; Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth, Abysmal Dawn, Bolt Thrower, Septic Flesh, Noctem.

medium (argentina)

Medium (Argentina) – s/t

https://mediumgrind.bandcamp.com/album/self-titled-grindcore-crust

Release – March/6/2020

Transcending Obscurity Records

ARTWORK- 78

Blunt, somewhat simple though at the same time hypnotic, but eye-catching.

Is this the Sun, the Moon, an eyeball? Or a combination of all three? A stunning image which hints at perhaps multi layers of audio for the listener to lose themselves in. However, this gives absolutely zero away in relation to the type or style of content within.

FIRST TRACK- 90

Whoa, just whoa! This is a wicked mash- up of genres bound together by angst fueled vocals, rhythm and a Grindcore/Crust undercurrent which isn’t at all overwhelming but is utterly present. A fantastic start for those who haven’t yet taken the plunge to fully immerse themselves in any one extreme genre.

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

Under twenty minutes in length and boasting seven tracks, this certainly has a Grindcore/Crust aura to it, although it’s admittedly longer than most it still delivers all the aggression one would assume. But wait, there’s more. Each track boasts its own identity, though not so wildly as to make this a release that hurtles without care toward Avant Garde territories. This is carefully constructed, meticulously crafted with plentiful nods to a wide radius of genres without over-saturation of any one in particular. In instances “Medium” yields a comfortable, hardly brutal approach while in others it displays a more in your face assault all the while rooted upon a dark foundation which only adds to the albums appeal. Not to fret however as this isn’t too different, or experimental as to be foreign, it’s strangely familiar in fact and will most definitely appeal to those with a wide array of audio interests, one might even call this a pallet cleanser of a type for those not fully committed to stepping away completely from their extreme audio realm of choice. Prepare the body for movement for this will yank you around like a marionette at the whims of a drunken puppeteer.

Favorite Tracks; Incites an immovable grin throughout its length. There’s not a dull moment to be found here.

FFO; Illivilja, NoMas and a plethora of acts who experiment with the boundaries of Grindcore and Crust.

holiday drumming animal

Bang the drum, bang the drum, bang the drum and keep a happy face

And much like something frustratingly short this is done, and I’m heading back to other duties which collectively leer at me, impatiently, from across the room. Until next time, don’t fear discovery of that which would normally be foreign to the ears,

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part the Third

black metal gif

It’s that time again. The earth has span enough to warrant my having a little time off in which to spew my thoughts on a myriad of audio (I’ve already posted a few film reviews in the past couple of days, what say I take a stab at a few audio outings?) Without further ado here are a few releases which garnered my attention. (Please stick around to the end there’s something of note If like to impart upon all whose eyes alight upon this.)

Left over from January

porta nigra

Porta Nigra (Germany) – Schöpfungswut

https://soulsellerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/sch-pfungswut

Release – January/17/2020

Soulseller Records

ARTWORK- 86

I’m honestly not sure what this is, even upon closer inspection (I probably need my eyes checked). But from what I can gather it’s a huge chalice of sorts overflowing with lifeless forms dripping crimson. Intricate, vivid and stark full of detail it leaves a lot for interpretation and isn’t typical if what one might imagine faced with a description which includes the words black metal. Although the words Avant Garde are also included, so there’s that!

FIRST TRACK- 92

It’s rare that a track has my complete attention as fast and as unwavering as this and to boot this isn’t even in a language I can understand. My German is rudimentary at best. Undeniable is that this seethes with brilliance, rhythms which are both majestic, ice cold and remarkably hypnotic. In effect the arrangements mesmerize nodding to remarkable knowledge of that which the scene offers but yet added to with ingredients which are hard to pinpoint.

An amazing start. Hold my calls!

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

Admittedly I balk at the merest mention of Avant Garde, in this instance however with the caliber of audio on offer I’ve somehow embraced the term. There’s no arguments here that this bursts at the seams with the darkest of metal influence (I don’t wish to type “Black Metal” adnauseum in this) but it also brims with a variety of other styles carefully interwoven in the mix as not to overpower in the slightest that which is on offer. Atmosphere is plentiful as too an ominous/sinister narrative (which I need to take the time to Google translate to make sense of). What might be surprising is that the concoction at times translates to a style which could easily fill the confines of a Gothic nightclub, I sense that fans of Rammstein and even early works by Moonspell might take more than a cursory glance towards this. Folk elements are also apparent as too a blend of styles which often brings to mind the more melodious side of blackened death outings. To keep this short, as my words fail me, this is an epic outing which sees time fly by as the listening experience enfolds. Without reservation I’d state it warrants curious ears upon it and all the praise it has amassed. In conclusion, occasionally a release comes along which shatters the misconceptions of what a certain genre offers whilst opening the eyes to insane diverse talent which seamlessly encompasses and incorporates a slew of styles into a fluid nature. This is one such release. Just bravo! This is sure to make an appearance again come end of year, I’d bet on it!

Favorite Tracks; outstanding and entrancing from start to finish!

FFO; Ruins of Beverast, Emperor, Moonspell and all manner of top-notch black metal outings which incorporate Doom and atmosphere into the mix.

February Releases

life taker

Life Taker (Germany) – Night Intruder

https://lckr.bandcamp.com/album/lifetaker-night-intruder

Release – February 2020 (digital)

March/13/2020 (physical)

Lower Class Kids/Black Omega Recordings

ARTWORK- 79

Menacing and certainly ominous. There’s someone (or something) lurking in the shadows with most probably dubious intents in mind. I’m thinking that’s a knife in his/her hand and not a flowerpot or a blank check.

FIRST TRACK- 81

Chaotic, menacing and multi directional. Grindcore colliding head on with extreme punk. If you’ve ever dropped a 2 liter of soda (fizzy drink, pop, soft drink for those across the pond or in different States) on its “head” and its top has come off it looks as this sounds, spinning erratically with undeniable pressure behind it affecting everyone in its wake (quite the comparison which I’m only hoping makes something of sense).

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

Much like a traditional grindcore/extreme release this sports tracks of brief length (a blunt and brutal approach reigns supreme here) which more often than not blend together with nary time for a breather in between. Vocals are fierce, force of nature/strip siding from the houses in the neighborhood vicious (there’s perhaps two throats involved but I’m not absolutely sure). The accompanying percussion is dense, dirge laden and often cataclysmic in its ferocity. What deserves mentioning, in every review I’d state, is the skill in the drumming department. Paired with both the guitars and vocals it serves to add another layer to the audio. Rarely settling down, it’s a whirling dervish, unpredictable salvo to say the least and I’d assume a marvel to witness in a live setting. Surprisingly the album displays a variety of emotion and pacing (even in instances groove and a pitch doom aura) and even steps away from the expected some might say traditional genre approach. But this is hardly traditional, rather an exquisite melding of a myriad of extreme styles to form a different beast entirely (reminiscent in part of the early British extreme scene) One which can ravage my ears whenever it wishes. Shit! I don’t even require a ‘safe’ word. I’m loving the way in which this tosses my form around like a possessed ragdoll!

Favorite Tracks; The whole album delivers!

FFO; Terrorizer, Brutal Truth, Between the Buried and Me (vintage) Chelsea Grin, No/Mas, Napalm Death.

starving for death

Starving for Death (China) – s/t

https://cultofosiris.bandcamp.com/album/starving-for-death

Release- February/3/2020

Cult of Osiris

ARTWORK – 60

Who is this frustrated fellow and who is he yelling at? A raw black and white image possibly showing the artist attempting to catch varied winged beasts with his mouth agape.

FIRST TRACK- 72

A classical and luxuriously ominous introduction leads the listener into raw and undeniably primal production realms showcasing melodious black metal, a touch of folk, with an underlying and rather unassuming malevolent synth accompaniment. An interesting mix leaving me curious for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 74

Yet another release from the mind behind Winter Dynasty and Star Devourer this sees the artist delve into more depressive (DSBM) waters incorporating emotion laden classical introductions, choruses, synth and epic soundscapes against a doom drenched black metal incantation bolstered by archaic production values, which (wait for it) strangely fit. The pace is varied throughout ranging from languid to swift with the vocal style adding to the dense atmosphere blanketed heavily in melancholia and hopelessness.

winter dynasty logo

This definitely isn’t a soundtrack to play at a family gathering and it probably won’t appeal to most within the metal scene looking for instant gratification. But for those who appreciate that which the genre offers it will hit the spot. It does however build (for those like myself unfamiliar with what the genre offers) in appeal the more its epic nature is allowed entry into the senses.

Favorite Tracks; Dark Winter Queen, Your Funeral, Embracing the Darkness.

FFO; Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal.

kings never die ep

Kings Never Die (US) – Raise a Glass (EP)

https://upstaterecords.bandcamp.com/album/kings-never-die-raise-a-glass-full-release

Release- February/7/2020

Upstate Records

ARTWORK- 65

Blunt and to the point there’s no doubt who this is by as the moniker is plastered all across the image itself.

FIRST TRACK- 84

It’s been a while since I’ve listened to anything in this arena of the metal universe, but thankfully I took the leap here. This is a fist pumpingly infectious hardcore track which is difficult not to instantly appreciate even for those who are most recently strangers to the scene like myself.

INITIAL LISTEN- 82

Simplistic at times but hard-hitting this supplies a barrage of riffs which instantly connect. Gang vocals and the trademarked style traditional of the NY scene will perk the attention of any fan of the aforementioned leaving them eager for more.

Favorite Tracks; Before my Time, The Juice.

FFO; Pro-Pain, Agnostic Front, Sick of it All.

amorphia

Amorphia (India) – Merciless Strike

https://amorphiathrash.bandcamp.com/album/merciless-strike-digital-album

Release- January/15/2020 Physical (Digital – February/15/2020)

Awakening Records

ARTWORK- 86

There’s a maniac at the Doomsday keyboard. Apparently hes clone himself either thatbor he has an evil super soldier army in mind. Ed Repka art? Regardless, this is awesome.

FIRST TRACK- 90

Vintage Sodom in tone even down to the “Angelripper” vocal similarity but with Vader on the throttle. Fast, aggressive and tight much like a meth addled nun in a Ferrari with the pedal to the floor. I’m all in!

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

Exactly what the Doctor ordered, thrash with attitude, pace and diabolical seasoning, most would call this “old school” and I would agree. No ballads just walk to wall neck crackin’ rhythms. Thrash the way it was meant to be!! Do not miss out on this!!

Favorite Tracks; the whole album rips!

FFO; Sodom, Slayer, (“Power and Pain”) Whiplash.

And a closer look at a couple of 7” (Keep that mind outta the gutter!)

orphan devil 7

Orphan Devil (Finland) – Victims of the Night/Drifting Away 7″

https://orphandevil.bandcamp.com/releases

Release- February/21/2020

Gates of Hell Records

ARTWORK- 78

Black and White imagery depicting a robed figure cradling an infant (with horns…what?) and a lighted staff. Is this an alternate opening to a film starring a sword wielding Emperor defying fellow wandering the countryside with his infant. Hmm…

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

First track (Side 1; to be technical) is criminally melodious and oozes with a brilliant NWOBHM aura ala vintage Maiden, Thin Lizzy and Blitzkrieg. Twin harmonious guitar melodies, strong bass lines, an unpolished traditional vocal approach (which makes up a large part of this releases charm) distinct drum rhythms and even the tone screams undeniable influence. Climaxing with the trademark late 70’s cataclysmic finale this bodes well and has me tapping my foot like one with restless leg syndrome to the nth degree. The second track (Side 2) has somewhat a Highland jig feel to it and sports more the raw, unpolished vocal approach than the track before but is no less addictive. Overall this is growing on me like an intestinal bacterium which is most probably the cause of last night’s hasty horrid gas station snacking decision. If a full length is anything comparable to what’s on offer here fans of NWOBHM should be clamoring for the pre-sale order deets.

FFO; Di’anno fronted Iron Maiden, Blitzkrieg.

gravebreaker road warrior split

Road Warrior (Australia)/Gravebreaker (Sweden) Death in Heels on Wheels/Death Promise Split 7”

https://cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com/album/road-warrior-gravebreaker-split-7

Release – February/21/2020

Gates of Hell Records

ARTWORK- 88

Larger than life characters, a mafia boss, huge guns, scars, skulls, a biker with a “I’m on a mission, nothing can stop me” look on his face and an explosion at an apartment block. This is gloriously Grindhouse complete with a comic book vibe all the way. I’m lovin’ it!

INITIAL THOUGHTS-
Gravebreaker – “Death Promise”

https://gravebreaker.bandcamp.com/

Hard rockin’ heavy metal with a dash of speed, rhythms which will leave the listener tapping their limbs, solid pairs with s 80’s electronic vibe, gruff vocals (aka “Carnage City State Mosh Patrol” Decimator) and the inclusion of brilliant synth soundbites plucked from a variety of raunchy cult celluloid. Think Carpenter’s “Assault on Precinct 13” and “The Warriors” mixed with a Bronson character out for blood and justice.

What’s not to love? I could honestly listen to this all day and not get bored. How is it this is the first I’m hearing of this band? This is downright criminally infectious audio!!

88
Road Warrior – Death in Heels on Wheels

https://roadwarrior-metal.bandcamp.com/

Is it really that hard to conceive that these guys are from Australia with a moniker like “Roadwarrior” …Not really? Moving on. Imagine if NWOBHM and traditional Doom collided, add theatrical vocals, a truckload of chugging riffs and a narrative seemingly yanked from a sexploitation flick doused in biker shenanigans and black magic elements.

At times this reminds me of King Diamond’s output on account of both the music and the vocal style. An intriguing track sure to garner the attention of those who have a penchant for a varied vocal range and the dramatic.

78

I’ve included links to each of the artists involved, as I was of the mind, I couldn’t find the release in question, alas at the last moment I uncovered its location.

winter dynasty ancient creatures of the east

The newest addition to the Winter Dynasty catalog of releases

In closing this installment my thoughts alight upon those less fortunate. In particular those ravaged by a virus which is sweeping its way across the globe at a faster pace than the insane appeal of the cute little package better known as Baby Yoda. My thoughts go out to Winter Dynasty at this time (who lives in China; one of the worst affected locations) as should yours and I’d like to dedicate this installment to him. Feel free to support him in his time of need to ensure his and his family’s safety and well-being. His Bandcamp is here https://winterdynasty.bandcamp.com/music and currently most of the releases therein are of a ‘Name your Price’ status so there’s no reason not to take the plunge and discover something that might normally be foreign to the senses (I’ve even imparted thoughts upon his newest release further up the page).

#SupporttheScene and those who create keeping it alive and thriving.

Cult

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

Metal Assault welcoming in the new decade with a Bang!

metal assault header

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

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

speed kills compilation

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

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

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

the devils rain gif

Ah… this nonsense is doing my head in!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

metal assault mixtape #2

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

 

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

The (All-Important) Tracklist;

Void Vator – Nitrus

Monolith – Man Without a Soul

Hydera – Witch King

Living Darkness – Destructible

Motor Gun Hotel – Leave It All Behind

Aparant – Home

Drift – From Within

Hell Kross – Howl of the Wolf Brigade

Circle of Sighs – Burden of the Flesh

Grim Earth – Ruins

The Blue Prison – Vengeance

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

holiday drumming animal

Bring on the tunage!!!

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

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

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

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

living darkness
Living Darkness – Destructible

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

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

Motor Gun Hotel – Leave it All Behind

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

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

the blue prison
The Blue Prison – Vengeance

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

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

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

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

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

Monolith – Man Without a Soul

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

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

circle of sighs
Circle of Sighs – Burden of the Flesh

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

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

Hell Kross – Howl of the Wolf Brigade

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

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

grim earth
Grim Earth – Ruins

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

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

 

Cult

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

Abrasive Audio – Part 32

headbangin gif

Tumbling uncontrollably downward into the abyss, I clutch to the comforting thought that I’ll be suffocated by that which I adore. Metal in all of its many forms and guises.

Diving face-first into an Inbox overflowing with promo material…

 

godless agenda

Godless Agenda -Death Awaits You All
(Norway)
Release -November/8/2019
Self-Released
Against PR
https://godlessagenda.bandcamp.com/album/death-awaits-you-all
ARTWORK – 76

*in a hushed tone*

Move those leaves.

Umm. Shit, it’s too late. They’ve seen us!  Prepare to have your insides served upon a bed of lettuce. And your head hallowed out to serve as a container for Kool-Aid.

FIRST TRACK – 84

Thrashy death with an unmistakable dirge tone and grinding aura influence (the first guess doesn’t count!) and a sprinkle of crust. Neat vocal diversity, the raw drum sound is a great addition. including a rasped narrative introduction and one’s gotta love the nod to a British comedy troupe (a skit within a film, hint; “Run Away, Run Away!”) who were way ahead of the curve.

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

Simple at times, formulaic in others, with obvious strong influences and moments where unsuspecting melody, blistering pace and groove leave an imprint. Really nothing new but this hits the spot and is designed to make the listener move. And it does just that! Another stellar example of a one- man outfit which proves it’s more than possible to get the job done w.o. an entourage. This is better than I expected and deserves respect!

I’m gonna ruin it…this even includes a track about the killer bunny from Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”; gotta appreciate the fan dedication and the gamble; it pays off and it’s a great start to an album which delivers throughout.

Favorite Tracks; Death Awaits You All, Fear Me (Inch Allah), Rising from the Pits, Devoured from Within.

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Jungle Rot, MOD, Slayer, Khazaddum.

blood incantation

Blood Incantation – The Hidden History of the Human Race
(USA)
Release – November/22/2019
Dark Descent Records
Clawhammer PR
https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hidden-history-of-the-human-race
ARTWORK – 90

Far from what one might expect. This is however, captivating, enigmatic and thought-provoking imagery bursting with fantastical sci-fi themes plucked from the 70’s which puts me in mind of Heinlein, Ildiss and others whose names escape me at this moment.

FIRST TRACK – 86

Putrid death, chaotic technicality, maniacal riffing and progressive themes (in moments channeling later Death sensibilities and in others honing in on a cavernous aura draped in vintage Morbid Angel frenetic fretboard devilry) combine for a track that’s multi layered, oozing with textures yet amazingly not overpowering.

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

A first glance at the track list might baffle some. An eighteen-minute track from an act of this ilk and in this genre? (Insert WTF emoji here). Somehow Blood Incantation manage to pull it off without dragging the listener into realms drenched in a tedious and boring nature.

Intoxicating passages are plentiful alongside melodies, which invoke wonderment and awe, they transport the listener to unfathomably vast cosmic landscapes. Cavorting with an amorphic, slithering, nature which is par for the scene (although nothing about the quality here screams anything but impressively far beyond par) the whole effect is one which is at the very least unpredictable and undeniably mesmerizing. Menacing, enveloping yet drenched in melancholia coupled with transcendental qualities (strangely wallowing in David Bowie and Devon Townsend pools in instances) which demand exploration this is an album which only blossoms the more it’s allowed the dominate the senses.

Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; The Giza Power Plant, Inner Paths (to Outer Space), Awakening from the Dream (Mirror of the Soul).

FFO; Morbid Angel, Ct’helist, Death, Nile, Drawn and Quartered.

vadiat

Vadiat – Darkness Proceeds (EP)
(USA)
Release – October/31/2019
Redefining Darkness Records
https://vadiat-us.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 77

An unearthed skull with a brand on the forehead surrounded by serpents amidst leaves and shrubbery. If this doesn’t scream ritualistic skullduggery (there’s a pun there someplace), a staple in the death metal realm, I don’t know what does. And again, in black and white ink. Did I mention that I’m a sucker for BnW imagery?

FIRST TRACK – 76

Hypnotic rhythm, mid-tempo death/doom with ominous vibes, distortion and groove aplenty. Slathered in diabolical qualities the intricacies within this unfold following several listens.

INITIAL LISTEN – 78

Old school qualities unbound and run riot throughout. And groove coupled by abrupt whipping pace transformations and a plodding bludgeoning approach are commonplace within tracks which display a surprising spectrum of emotion. Although some moments could be shortened for much the same effect and some instances are a tad repetitive this remains a solid effort leaving listeners, especially those of the old school guard, eager for a full length.

Favorite Tracks; The Entity, Darkness Proceeds.

FFO; Benediction, Vomitory, Grave, Bloodbath, Morgoth.

golgotha

Golgotha – Erasing the Past
(Spain)
Release -October/22/2010
Xtreem Music
https://golgotha.bandcamp.com/album/erasing-the-past
ARTWORK – 78

Crimson splatter, a myriad of frenetic scribbles and brilliant white comprise the outline of a face. Vivid and blunt, and a tad unconventional, this image conjures thoughts of order out of whack, a silhouette, the remains of a form worn down by the various forces forced upon it, the undoing of the mortal coil. I could turn this into a dissertation, perhaps I should hit play.

FIRST TRACK – 88

Grandiose riffs and sweeping melodies and dualistic vocal styles make for a sorrowful landscape the addition of cinematic atmosphere elevates the aura. An outstanding start.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

A smorgasbord of styles is on display here. Primarily doom draped with growling vocals, but also traditional heavily accented vocals which often give this more a Gothic Rock edge, much like samples from the finest Paradise Lost albums (‘Shades’ and ‘Icon’) some might be put off by the familiarity and similarities. Folk elements are subtle, undeniable power, presence and a stunning composition mastery are factors which can’t be ignored. Rhythms are both soulful, passionate and melancholic coupled with keyboard atmosphere the effect is an album which, if you’re a virgin to this act like myself, will make one want to sift through past efforts and pronto.

Powerful audio with undeniable fluidity and allure which makes an immediate impression.

Favorite Tracks; The Way to Your Soul, Distorted Tears, Enveloped in Fog, New Hope.

FFO; Paradise Lost, Novembers Doom, Moonspell, Amorphis.

the bleeding morbid porophecy

The Bleeding – Morbid Prophecy
(United Kingdom)
Release – October/18/2019
World War Now Records
https://thebleeding.bandcamp.com/
Clawhammer PR
ARTWORK – 82

I’m of the belief that this sermon carried on past its original, intended, parameters. His/her audience have since turned to dust forgotten all they’ve learned and became fodder for worms and various other beasties who prefer their meat tainted by fanaticism.

FIRST TRACK – 89

Introduced by a Slayer– esque creepy riff aura which later transforming into a blistering pace this is an explosive way to open any album! Limber up peeps, this is gonna be an exercise in stamina and self-control. If the album is anything as good as this track one will be hard pressed to not want to push the stereo above and beyond speaker destroying limits.

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

I don’t know why it took me as long as it did to wrap my ears around this (moods often transport us to realms we’d not visit). But now that I’m giving it my full attention I can honestly state that what this offers is huge. Atmosphere, when required, coupled with flesh melting riffs, a thrashy death approach and vocals seemingly plucked from the early Destruction (“Mad Butcher”) era. All raspy and seething with menace. However, that’s not all. Infrequent nods to traditional heavy metal are a fantastic addition with the occasion galloping riff and familiar feeling riff passage which serve to break up a pace that’s sure to please even the most demanding amongst us. An acoustic interlude also checks all the boxes and might be all too familiar in tone for those of the above forty age group living in the British Isles on account of a news/information program using a similar tune in its credits which aired many moons ago. (bonus points if you can name it, I can’t).

In short, if your mood demands furious fluid riffing, evil (as the inclusion of guacamole on a beef burger) and vocals which only make one want to serve at the altar of a Dark God then this will serve to placate and although the tone has changed somewhat is still as exciting as the bands previous effort. Highly recommended and again accept my apologies for not getting to this sooner, for it warrants attention!!

Favorite Tracks; Yea, I started listing tracks here only to stop realizing I was listing the whole damn album! Suffice it to say, this delivers throughout.

FFO; Slayer, Vader, Massacre, Destruction.

Ossuaire

Ossuaire – Derniers Chants
(Canada)
Release – October/15/2019
Sepulchral Productions
https://ossuaire.bandcamp.com/album/derniers-chants
ARTWORK – 91

Spectacular black and grey rendition depicting a man of the cloth beseeched by various demons and apparitions as he prays to his deity.

FIRST TRACK – 87

Epic, majestic and melodic. This is the type of black metal I can subscribe to without reservation. Though I should also mention that it’s chock full of harrowing atmosphere and a passage of surprising groove. An outstanding opener!

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

Furious and unmerciful, yet hypnotic. I don’t get how that works, it’s puzzling to be sure. But somehow, this has the power to enthrall. Unrelenting though often soothing in a strange way embellishing upon melancholic moments and slight doom accompaniments (acoustic at times bringing to mind a medieval age), this transports the listener through a realm that bursts with presence, a landscape drenched in a treacherous and harrowing nature. Ancient and mysterious, majestic and grandiose, this seethes with archaic malevolence and undeniable passion. A stunning feat, one which I’ll visit again and again at the behest of my spouse who always wants to converse when I have audio of an epic nature in my earholes.

Spend some time with this and let loose your preconceptions about the genre. This isn’t raw and doesn’t hail from an act with that much of a history within the scene. However, it has the feel of an album which reeks of experience and an act who have significant knowledge of what ‘works’ and have the talent to pull their vision together in a manner which is a wonder to have traipse across the senses. Assured to leave a mark this is an album which cannot be ignored.

Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Pestilence Rampante, Sous l’Autel des Immacul’es, L’Oeil-Sang, Derniers Chants.

FFO; Dissection, Stortregn, Wintercrown, Emperor.

hobostew

HoboStew – Legend of the Infected
(USA)
Release – August/2019
Grindhouse Ministries
https://open.spotify.com/artist/32XfKhtRwMi3rebT7Ws6Dg
ARTWORK – 84

Delightful black and white imagery depicting all manner of filth. Seriously who enjoys stew from a trashcan? I much prefer soup from the bowels of the sewer (wha-?)

FIRST TRACK – 78

Raunchy bass lines and groove complemented by a traditional gruff vocal approach. This is grindcore with a touch of crust, but it’s slightly different than merely that. It has my attention, and I’m impressed.

INITIAL LISTEN – 80

With fourteen tracks on offer and the length this runs (seventeen minutes) this is predictably grindcore or some other type of core which has its roots in angst or the gutter.

An undeniable sense of humor permeates this release coupled with the short, sharp delivery, tightness and groove it makes for a spot of extreme audio which stands out above the same old, same old. Chunks of infectious are scattered throughout and the vocals are (wait for it) somewhat decipherable. The bass is distinct, filthy in fact, and the tracks have identity. What more could you ask for? For a debut this makes an impression and I’m imagining theirs to be a name I hear a great deal of, in extreme core realms, in the future. Be it either on Splits, compilations or an upcoming full length.

Naturally these guys aren’t to be confused with the band with the same moniker hailing from Northwest Ohio who specialize in Alternative Rock with Psychedelic Folk Pop elements (whatever that may sound like).

Favorite Tracks; Micro-Aggression, I’m Hardcore, Needs Neglected, Total Loss, Radical Amputation, Hobocop.

FFO; MOD, SOD, VHS, Disrupt.

night goat

Night Goat – Milk
(USA)
Release – December/13/2019
Independent
Dewar PR
https://nightgoat13.bandcamp.com/album/milk
ARTWORK – 82

As if plucked from a cinematic event in which one is possessed by a myriad of slithering Lovecraftian entities/demons (is that a Kraken?) this exhibits vivid colors a dreamy, troubled, aura and undeniable menace (in this case hovering above the only person in the picture). One could also argue that this poor fellows’ thoughts/woes are overpowering his conscious sending him into a state of Flux or delirium. Whatever one chooses it’s certainly stark and demands closer inspection.

FIRST TRACK – 74

Loud, obnoxious and off-kilter. This is rock careening without a care into punk territories. Bursting with angst, distortion, energy and attitude this is far from the normal ear candy I gorge myself on but it is exciting, frenetic and enticing. I’m left dripping with intrigue.

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

Wholly unpredictable and miles from fitting comfortably into any one genre (especially not that which the words ‘Night’ and ‘Goat’ might conjure) this

incorporates huge riffs, distorted soundscapes and a vocalist whose ‘passionate’ abilities demand to be appreciated in a live setting. The overall effect is often dizzying, is never stale and flutters erratically (this isn’t a bad thing in the albums context) much like a Hummingbird who has dipped his beak (do they have beaks?) into ‘tainted nectar’, or “milk” way past its due date. Many words could be used to describe this; Gritty, Raunchy, Hypnotic, Experimental, Raw (and a slew of others) but not a single one, or even two, even comes close to giving it that which it deserves. Take your senses off the beaten track and give this a few spins. It’ll grow on ya!

Favorite Tracks; Chubby Leech, Jerusalem’s Lot, Gnarltooth Grim, Head Lice.

FFO; Freighter, Helmet, Brutal Juice, Wizard Rifle.

mortuary new release 19

Mortuary – The Autophagous Reign
(France)
Release – November/8/2019
Xenocorp Records
https://www.facebook.com/mortuarynancy
https://www.xenokorp.com/product-category/artist/mortuary/
https://mortuarynancy.bandcamp.com/music (this album isn’t represented as of this publication)
ARTWORK – 83

A rotting face with what I can imagine are various overriding influences from all sides, suffocating, driving one to follow blindly without thought or complaint.

FIRST TRACK – 91

Like an adrenaline shot of grindcore, with old school aggressive thrash sensibilities, this attacks like a horde of ravenous hyenas (thus the excitable gang vocals; thought that was a great tie-in) going straight for the throat; it knocks one back wide eyed. If you’re half asleep this is guaranteed to wake your arse up. A ‘rager’ of a start to an album and an amazing introduction to what the band offer.

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

After thirty years most have slowed, perhaps even changed styles completely to appeal to larger audience (I think we all know who I’m talking about). Mortuary however have shattered the ‘over the hill’ adage; if there ever was a hill, they’ve blasted their way through it! Incorporating a pulverizing, unrelenting, riff assault channeling a style that’s part grinding death/thrash (with just enough technicality thrown in) part South American aggressive thrash. complemented by a precise Misery Index esque drum barrage and all ungodly infectious. I’m left wondering how it is that I’ve not let this bands audio traipse between my ears before. Be it all-out or an acoustic introduction this boasts unquestionable prowess, oomph and is likely to be treated like a box of pringles; however, in this case it’ll be that you can’t just play it once. This is an album which’ll make you wish you were fit; a single track is likely to leave you sweaty and tired. Awesome audio with incredible allure.

Favorite Tracks; Delete, Replace, The Sapiens Order, Disposable, A Curse in Disguise, Eternal, Memorial in Vivo, Cheptel, Monuments.

FFO; Vader, The Haunted, Killswitch Engaged, The Crown, Dying Fetus, Benighted, Sodom.

chained to the dead

Chained to the Dead – Gruesome Encounter
(USA)
Release -November/29/2019
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
https://chainedtothedead.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 94

This red headed temptress appears more than satisfied drenched in crimson and chunks. Perhaps she’ll fashion herself a jewelry ensemble from the remains of her companion or alternatively string a collective of tennis racquets. One thing’s assured; clean-up will be a bitch!

FIRST TRACK – 86

Drenched in vintage cult qualities and grinding death elements supported by attention yanking angst-fueled vocals and limb twitching rhythms this garners attention.

INITIAL LISTEN – 93

With an album cover as striking as this one has their fingers crossed that the audio is worthy. In this case, thankfully, it is. Obviously, many have tried the horror/cult/exploitative/gore/metal angle (it would easier at this point to mention bands who haven’t). A fair few in the same vein as this with soundbites aplenty abetted by a similar audio style. C.t.t.D (an obvious abr.) have managed somehow to combine the usual elements (grindcore, death, crust) and exquisitely I might add then included a certain something to elevate the final result from the pack. The vocals are top-notch. Dripping with venom they add an undeniable quality to an infectiously groove laden percussion with an emphasis on melody and rhythm rather than blistering O.T.T brutality which is often over used and doesn’t always work. Whipping, frenzied, riff salvos (injected throughout) assist in the albums allure as well slower, doom-laden atmospheric, passages drenched in palpable ominous qualities. Overall, crimson, guts, stabbings, slicing’s, creepy soundbites and all this is an album which decimates unsuspecting earholes without falling into repetitive realms, alights furious fanboy cinematic horror/cult research and demands attention. Top of the year list material in my opinion, for the record.

Favorite Tracks; Are you in the House Alone? The Shunting, Head not Found, Butcher, Be Still (and know that you’re dead), What Lies Beneath the Gate?

FFO; VHS, Cropsy Maniac, Necrophagia, Exhumed.

Plucked from Metal Past

mass infection

Mass Infection – Shadows Became Flesh
(Greece)
Release – December/7/2018
Comatose Music
https://massinfection.bandcamp.com/album/shadows-became-flesh

Note: this could technically fit in the ‘main body’ of the review section seems as it has yet to reach its first-year birthday, but I slipped and placed it here instead. Nevertheless, I’ll continue…

The art here has a decidedly classical feel, as if it could well adorn the walls of a Gothic castle draped in cobwebs and mystery. From what I can fathom A gent is invoking ‘something’ only to be harassed by (the same?) spirits. A wicked image indeed but what about the audio?

From the very first note it makes one sit up and take note. The style here is technical, though not crazily over the top, with riffs tumbling over themselves in an unrelenting, pummeling, assault. Think a style that’s part Nile, part Origin and you’ll be close, though there’s also unmistakable majesty which hints towards blackened influences. Atmosphere is an undeniable element and oozes from the album’s composition aiding its depth and the myriad of grandiose textures it offers. The drums are handled in a manner which is so stunningly precise and tight a duck’s arse would be jealous. And the instruments addition to the sound is a huge factor taking the combination to another level entirely. This is top notch driving death metal folks! Cavernous, yet epic, with an awe-inspiring production quality which allows every instrument to breathe and stand out in the overall mix.

Is it too late to add this to the upper echelon of albums from last year’s best of list? Perhaps an addition to this one under a heading of “I could slap myself for missing this”. Don’t be like me, although there’s so much released its hard, near impossible in fact, to keep track. This demands respect and a place in any collection boasting stand outs and milestones of the genre from years past.

Set the senses upon it!

druadan-forest-fin-the-loremasters-time-cd.jpg

Druadan Forest – The Loremasters Time
(Finland)
(Original) Release – September/2016
GS Productions/Hammerbund
https://gsproduction.bandcamp.com/album/the-loremasters-time

Note: I’m assuming the version I’m listening to is a re-release as there are varying covers available online.

Described as atmospheric black metal the art here is what grabbed my attention. Vivid hues, bright greens and blinding light making its way through a sea of tree. This doesn’t seem like the typical black and grey (atmospheric) black metal album cover. The album commences with a brilliant epic instrumental and it certainly gets one in the mood for things of a fantastical nature, most probably war gaming (or I can only imagine, as I’ve yet to fall for its allure). As the album progresses traditional black metal elements (rasped vocals in particular) come to the forefront, although muted somewhat they weave in/around and amongst a keyboard audioscape showcasing various sounds of nature, including storms, to create a melancholy which is oddly relaxing. In other moments a deliberate chaotic environment is at the fore with a more transformative nature on display. Folk (both Baroque and medieval) elements cavort with cinematic symphonic compositions to form a fantastical realm draped in majesty, intrigue and history which is easy to imagine losing oneself within. Obviously, this won’t appeal to most but those whose penchants run to audio where rasped vocals are accepted without complaint. It’s hardly traditional in regard to what most would deem black metal and it often runs to soothing audio lengths which Enya or Disney might incorporate if not for the “unconventional” vocal approach. However, there’s no denying that this is powerful, masterfully created, audio which would serve as an excellent palette cleanser for those whose senses are accustomed to brutality in a wide array of its many forms. If you’ve yet to lay your senses upon that which many deem atmospheric, or even Ambient, black metal this is a great place to jump on board. Following this I’m sure my fingers will dance as my retinas flicker from one artist to another, as my mind expands to accept yet another genre I should have previously explored. Forget your preconceptions, or assumptions and give this a chance.

And an old favorite…”Recc’d by”

In this case from an anonymous Twitter user (I only wish I could give someone credit)

Assassin’s Blade – Gather Darkness.jpg

Assassin’s Blade – Gather Darkness
(Canada/Sweden)
Release – October/18/2019
Pure Steel Records
https://puresteelrecords.bandcamp.com/album/gather-darkness
Thoughts –

Obviously, I’m not a huge fan of power or even traditional speed metal (if you’re a reader of my other review pieces you might note the absence of the genre) but this managed somehow to catch my eye. The art is by a familiar artist, Juha Vuorma, whose work graces many an album cover (recently Usurper and Kalmah) and can be seen here in a plethora of its many guises http://www.opticmatador.com/ In this case it appears a collective of acolytes are about to encounter something other than that they summoned. In regards to the audio on offer I was surprised to read that the vocalist is none other than Exciters front man (from 97’ to 04’), Jacques Bélanger not to be confused with the drummer from Sarkasm (Canada) who has the exact same name. Other than that, the familiarities are null. That is until the music starts, then it’s nostalgia ville. “Tempt Not (the Blade of the Assassin)” is an opener which leaves the jaw agape. The rhythms are infectious to the nth degree and the beat enough to drive one to involuntary spasms of movement (I’d put this up there with a personal favorite of mine by Dio-fronted Rainbow “Kill the King”) And the album progresses from there to leave one with a grin plastered across their chops as if to say I’ve done something insanely wrong, quite naughty in fact, and I’ve gotten away with it. In this case that is not the case this is just that damn impressive! “Gather Darkness” oozes with an aura and vocal approach which screams NWOBHM, power metal and traditional speed metal (have I mentioned that I’m not normally a fan?). In this case however the vocals are the side of falsetto I can stomach (perilously close to that which ‘metal god’ Rob Halford and Dickinson exhibit) and this guy can sing. The melodies and riffs are just short of mind blowing, excitingm frolicking, galloping this checks all the requisite boxes one could ask. Seriously, it’s been a while (Riot’s “Thundersteel” was the last instance) since I’ve fallen ‘arse over tit’ as hard as I am at this very moment. There is undeniable fluidity on display here, there are zero dull instances, “no filler, just killer” (as the popular webzines are likely to spout) and the collective of tracks lifts you from the dull drum daily activities to a place where you forget all your ills and woes, let your hair down and bang yer’ head like one possessed (if you’re anything like me however, the days of having hair are a thing of the past). Without going into diatribe lengths I’ll leave this here, click on the provided link and feel free to tell me your thoughts, or give suggestions of a similar nature. I wasn’t expecting this to be this good. But it is. And I’m sure I’ll be mentioning it again come years end.

Recommended for fans of Exciter, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Iced Earth and Nocturnal Rites.

exhausted animal

That’s it for another installment, it’s nap time!

Until our paths of audio interest cross again, don’t fear the discovery of that which wouldn’t normally grace the senses.

Cult

 

Abrasive Audio – Part Twenty -Nine

Drowning in an avalanche of metal and there’s no end in sight.

A special edition because sometimes you just have to…

The Scourge.jpg

The Scourge – Warrant for Execution
(USA)
Release – October/25/2019
Seeing Red Records
https://thescourge-us.bandcamp.com/album/warrant-for-execution
ARTWORK – 92

I’m a sucker for black and white imagery, and this is no exception. Call this blatant homage to the Giallo genre, 80’s slasher movies or something else, there’s no doubt that it’s rendered with style, sports intricate details giving the image depth, has an instant effect and grabs the attention immediately.     Can you see me? I’m camouflaged in curious nature.

FIRST TRACK – 93

What initially caresses the ears as progressive soon transpires into snap the neck thrash. Rhythms of a galloping transformative nature are complemented by perhaps some of the finest vocals, sporting quite the impressive range, that I’ve heard grace the arena in quite some time. This isn’t fast for the sake of speed either; graced by intricate rhythms though isn’t overly technical rhythms weave their way through passages draped in melody and then back again hinting at influences (hard rock and NWOBHM) which aren’t normally invoked in this genre or even this early on in an album giving any new listener a chance to warm to a new acts style. Regardless this works, I’m all ears and about to plunge face first into a realm, which admittedly, I don’t frequent that often anymore. It took me a while but now I can say this reminds me, in part, of early Flotsam and Jetsam.

INITIAL LISTEN – 95

Rare is it that a release from outside of my comfort zone (currently black, death and atmospheric dark metal) will pierce my ears and grab my attention as much as this has. And it happened instantly! Between the albums delicate balance and masterful combination of a slew of styles (namely hard rock, NWOBHM, Southern groove and thrash among others) there lies utter undeniable brilliance. Swift pace cavorts hand in hand with melodies which would otherwise seem foreign, though somehow The Scourge have managed to syndicate the two much like PB n Jelly (who woulda’ thunk it?) and then topped the concoction off with stunning musicianship, creative genius and a vocalist whose skills I can’t believe haven’t been discovered and utilized up until this point. Naturally there are tracks which will appeal more to thrash fans and others more so to fans of vintage metal, more specifically NWOBHM, though overall the meshing and molding of the styles is exquisite bearing a fluidity which is erratic and rarely witnessed across the metal cosmos. Don’t let your friends tell you about this, be the first on the block to preach!!

This will top a myriad of best of lists if there’s any justice. I certainly have it bookmarked to do so!!

exhausted animal

This will leave you exhausted but more than willing to hit play again and again!

Favorite Tracks; Put a high velocity projectile launcher against my head and I still wouldn’t be able to pick a few out above others, this album shreds at a stellar level from start to finish!

FFO; vintage Flotsam and Jetsam, Iron Maiden, Annihilator, Anthrax, Forbidden, Exciter (at a stretch; vintage Wolfsbane).

Why the special edition? Well this knocked me on my arse that’s why and I couldn’t wait to preach!

Cult

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
(Sweden)
Release – October/11/2019
The Sign Records
Dewar PR
https://wearescreamer.bandcamp.com/album/highway-of-heroes
ARTWORK – 89

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?

FIRST TRACK – 88

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.

INITIAL LISTEN – 91

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

Infirmity – Descendants of Sodom
(USA)
Release -November/9/2019
Lost Apparitions Records
Clawhammer PR
https://theinfirmity.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 82

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

FIRST TRACK – 76

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.

INITIAL LISTEN – 71

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
(Portugal)
Release – September/13/2019
Metal on Metal Records
Against PR
https://metalonmetalrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://mosherrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-nightraiser (their previous effort)
ARTWORK – 76

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

FIRST TRACK – 79

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.

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

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

Necrotombs – Embalmed in Rotten Flesh
(Italy)
Release – October/5/2018
Independent
Against PR
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_ksx-hpAq5o9a9dEm8tV_iAQh_bciqS52Y
ARTWORK – 73

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!)

FIRST TRACK – 82

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.

INITIAL LISTEN – 68

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
https://resurrecttomorrow.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 68

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.

FIRST TRACK – 73

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.

INITIAL LISTEN – 64

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
(USA)
Release – October/18/2019
Self-Released
Mind Eraser PR
https://rankandvile.bandcamp.com/album/redistribution-of-flesh
ARTWORK – 87

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

FIRST TRACK – 82

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.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

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

Nocturnalia – III Winter
(Scandinavia)
Release – November/2019
The Sign Records
Dewar PR
https://thesignrecords.bandcamp.com/music
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko-1vWQiBqI
(previous album “Above Below Within” 2015)
ARTWORK – 76

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

FIRST TRACK – 89

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.

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

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
(USA)
Release – October/18/2029
Blood Harvest/Rotted Life
https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/a-monument-to-the-dead
ARTWORK – 83

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!)

FIRST TRACK – 86

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.

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

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.

lindsayschoolcraftmartyr

Lindsay Schoolcraft – Martyr
(Canada)
Release – October/7/2019
Self-Released
Dewar PR
https://schoolcraftmusic.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 79

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.

FIRST TRACK – 81

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.

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

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,

Cult