Posts Tagged ‘Switzerland’

Abrasive Audio 2020 – The Sixth

March on! March!! March on!!!
march on header

Are you afraid of a virus named after a beer? Pussy!

This is the mantra of the oncoming tidal wave of metal about to be released, I’m sure of it. I’m taking cover, this month is set to showcase quite the audio onslaught, if only we could use it to our advantage against the approach of that which is a virus and is named after a South American lager (I could be wrong it could be manufactured in Boston). But before I do, I’m grabbing a few supplies; my headphones, a few titles which I believe looked rather interesting, hand sanitizer, butt wipe (for some weird reason all the stores I’ve visited lately appear to be out) among other things. Without further ado here are my thoughts on a few ‘audio treats’ I’ve already spend a great deal of time sampling.

Slipping Through the Cracks/Left Over from 19′

phantasmal

Phantasmal (Finland) – Ansaan Syntyneet- Ansaan Kuolleet
Release – May/31/2019
Self-Released

https://phantasmal.bandcamp.com/releases

ARTWORK- 83

Dark, ominous and dismal. I’m left wondering if the figure in the foreground is happening upon this place by accident (in an exploratory jaunt through the unknown) or returning to it; their home?

FIRST TRACK- 82

Commences with riffs which would make Messiah Marcolin (vintage Candlemass frontman, as if you need informing!?) grin. But the vibe soon changes to channel both later era Chris Barnes Cannibal Corpse mixed with shades of Celtic Frost. An interesting start and fantastic use of mid-tempo and transforming rhythms against a brutal vocal approach.

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

Hardly traditional of the genre this melds Doom, complex riffs, groove and passages of progressive quality folk and even delves into majestic black realms. The lyrics are in Finnish (as far as I can tell, with my limited language skills) a fact which adds intrigue and a slight archaic element if truth be told. The vocals themselves sound akin to Chris Barnes “The Bleeding” era bringing a familiar aura to an album which is deliciously different and only truly unfolds the more it’s allowed entry into the senses.

Favorite Tracks; Aseeton, Ansaan Syntneet, Ruumis,

FFO; Unleashed, Cannibal Corpse, Opeth.

January Releases

Rat King

Rat King (USA) – Vicious Inhumanity
Release – January/17/2020
Within the Mind Records

https://ratkingband.bandcamp.com/album/vicious-inhumanity

ARTWORK- 81

For some reason this reminds me of an early Gorguts release (same artist perhaps?) There’s definite horror/sci fi themes here, the giant hypnotic slug from the Italian cult celluloid gem Contamination is what pops to mind instantly,  but is this for cloning purposes or for sustenance? Regardless this is a fantastic and vibrant image which only makes one ponder upon what’s “going down” within it.

FIRST TRACK- 78

This commences with Doom/Sludge grandiose horror undertones but it soon changes, (much like the transition from their last albums style to what follows here) transforming into scorching riff, blast-beat laden Grindcore. Aggressive and surprisingly well-structured for its ilk. An impressive start complete with intriguing garbled messages to put one in mind of black web/secret society nefarious activities.

INITIAL LISTEN- 78

I’ve had this on the backburner for a while. Admittedly when I see the word “experimental” in a promo release I get a little nervous as it can go one way or another (which might mean wildly into ‘left field’ territories). Thankfully this stays this side of that boundary. Sticking to the grindcore, colossus/crushing riff foundation the album veers into many a realm to leave one with purely grindcore assumptions scratching their head. However, and rather surprisingly, “Vicious Inhumanity” delivers. Galloping riffs are frequent, expertly inserted and groove is commonplace, even the more “experimental” passages keep the interest level high and usually showcase either the bassists dancing digit talents or the ability of the guitarist to pull one from spastic brutal realms into something entirely different and then back again without the whole endeavor seeming that out of sync. Doom and Sludge elements are present (to please fans of their past release) as too, in instances, Nuerosis-esque tendencies, in short this isn’t a non-stop blasting traditional Grindcore affair but rather one which will please fans who prefer their audio from scattered influence.

Favorite Tracks; Matanza, Soledad, Zero, Rotting from Inside.

FFO; Terrorizer, NoMas, Wizard Rifle.

February Releases

Arcaine

Arcaine (Switzerland) – As Life Decays
Release- February/14/2020
Black Sunset/MDD

https://arcainemetal.bandcamp.com/album/as-life-decays

ARTWORK – 91

Stunning art with fantastic colors and plenty of detail. Here’s a few words from the PR firm in explanation; “The band also wants to make the listeners aware of their responsibility for the actions of mankind. People’s decadent way of life, their development and their handling of nature is in the foreground and is taken up by the graphic concept of Polish artist Xaay and visually implemented on the cover artwork”.

FIRST TRACK – 77

A sinister toned introduction complete with an angelic chorus and acoustic guitars leads into the first track. A Deathcore style slathered with Djent, Groove and Technical elements takes over. As well as infectious rhythms there’s plenty of ‘bounce’ to get the listener moving. The production is top-notch, crisp and allows every instrument to breathe. A great start to get anyone (this is the first I’ve heard of them!) unfamiliar with the band, interested.

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

Utilizing a style which is part Djent, Metalcore with plenty of melody thrown in, enough breakdowns to keep those excited by such happy and a smidgen of added Technical nature, Arcaine have managed to release an album which is damn catchy from start to finish although honestly doesn’t add anything ground-breaking to the surrounding scene. With that being said however, the album delivers from start to finish. There’s a certain vibrancy and exuberance which can’t be ignored, the talent is undeniable, the composition brings everything a fan of the scene could want, the vocals fit perfectly and it has repeat play written all over it. Tiny qualms if truth be told for this is a highly addictive example of what the finest within the genre offers. Add this to the collection, you won’t be disappointed!

Favorite Tracks; As Life Decays, Still Alive, Tyrants, Rebuild,

FFO: Arch Enemy, At the Gates, Dark Tranquility, In Flames, Soilwork, Darkane, Devildriver.

banisher

 Banisher (Poland) – Degrees of Isolation
Release – February/29/2020
SelfMadeGod Records

https://selfmadegod.bandcamp.com/album/degrees-of-isolation

ARTWORK- 76

There’s definitely something tearing this fellow apart. Stress? Family? His relationship? Or all of the current political coverage everywhere one seems to look? Regardless this is an intriguing image with highly effective dizzying qualities.

FIRST TRACK- 82

Grinding death/thrash which transforms within no time into tech death/grindcore with infectious driving rhythms, striking melodies and a vocal style which is uncannily similar to anyone which I can’t pinpoint at the moment.

INITIAL LISTEN- 78

Most might believe this is merely a Thrash/Death outing with the way it starts out, for first few seconds anyway. However, it soon shows its diverse coat of ‘colors’ in displaying Technical prowess, Djent properties, Deathcore tendencies, Grindcore-esque elements, Hardcore tendencies and truckloads of angst. Shit, there’s even a smidgen of Progressive and Post in here also. All this amidst rhythms which tumble over each other, collide with vicious intent and continually fight for superiority. As the album hits its stride a familiarity takes ahold, a style heard before, although it might take a few moments to nail down its a style associated with the Cavalera Bros, aka Soulfly and that heard in mid era Sepultura. Overall this provides an interesting mix, refusing to settle in one arena for too long.

Favorite Tracks; Actors Accomplices, Extradition, Lockdown, Apothesis, Echoes.

FFO; Benighted, Dying Fetus, Decapitated, Mortuary, Soulfly.

March Releases

absentation

Absentation (Syria/Damascus) – Antimatter Rites
Release – March/1/2020
Independent

https://absentation.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK- 88

Why does this cover make me think of Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, a painting with a regal figure sporting a scowl and… where the hell did I put my keys?

FIRST TRACK- 85

Technical, brutal and hyper fast (similar in style to Kataklysm) sporting enough rhythm transformations, and influence nods to intrigue most across the Death spectrum. The eyes should be wide open by now and the body primed for movement.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

Hard to fathom that this is another example of a ‘we don’t need more than one person to make a band’. This is complex, displays a slew of influence ranging from the above-mentioned through Dirge, Djent and Thrash with sprinkling of Progressive tossed in for good measure, yet throughout it sticks to its “fast as f” guns. And somehow it remains exciting with an undeniable aura of never let up. Although at times a little hit and miss (some parts drag while others feel a little “samey” and the drums are obviously computer generated. Minor qualms if truth be told which shouldn’t turn any away in discovering what this has to offer), it obviously requires extra points based on the fact that it was all conceived, created and produced by a single person, huge props must be given. Overall, I’m fascinated that one fellow is capable of such as this, of the belief this will grow on me over time and will happily praise this to all who’ll give it a chance. This deserves attention!

Favorite Tracks; Quantum Nothingness, Echoes of Distant Astronomical Giants, The Velocity of Relativity Talisman, Gravitational Singularity.

FFO; Kataklysm, Behemoth, Origin.

trauma ominous black

Trauma (Poland) -Ominous Black
Release- March/6/2020
SelfMadeGod Records

https://selfmadegod.bandcamp.com/album/ominous-black

ARTWORK- 89

From the same artist responsible for Bell Witch and the latest Abigail Williams this is stunning, harkening perhaps to an album with atmosphere and melancholy aplenty? I guess we’ll see.

FIRST TRACK- 78

Melodic Death, bordering on Djent at times, with a multitude of choppy galloping rhythms, a few interesting riffs/note passages and a myriad of breakdowns. However not quite so many, thankfully, as to have it enter Rings of Saturn or Slam territories. An intriguing start that’s a little, though not wildly, different from the traditional Death entry.

INITIAL LISTEN- 82

A varied mix of melodic death showcasing a variety of stylistic elements plucked from a variety of extreme genres, namely Brutal Death, Tech Death, Slam and Djent with a smattering of atmosphere and Arch Enemy esque passion tossed in for good measure. It takes a while for the album to warm up but once it does it’s a fantastic introduction to an experienced act (who unfortunately have fallen to the wayside, left in the shadows of others, a few in particular come to mind) who really should garner more attention. I’m surprised it took me until their eighth outing to discover them if this is any indication as to what’s on offer a little “digging” is in order. A great effort which really doesn’t sound like what might expect given the covers art.

Favorite Tracks; Inside the Devils Heart, Among the Lies, I am Universe, The Black Maggots, The Godless Abyss.

FFO; later Decapitated, Meshuggah, Grave.

Sutrah

Sutrah (Canada) – Aletheia (EP)
Release- March/13/2020
The Artisan Era

https://sutrahmetal.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK- 88

“Go on, take a peek.”

“What in the Holy F is that?”

“Well, some have described it as a kaleidoscope of inner turmoil, the gradual descent into one’s own abyss of madness. Many have commented it’s what might transpire from watching “The Kardashians” on an endless loop for days straight. Others merely know it as art from the “Aletheia” album from the band Sutrah. It is what you make it.”

“Ah, for a moment there I thought you were going all physiotherapist on me…?”

“Nah, I’m a veterinarian. It’s not my field of specialty. Now, what seems to be the problem with Fred?”

FIRST TRACK- 77

An instrumental for an Introductory track? Now there’s a gamble. Though there are possible indicators of how this album might turn so far it bears definite atmospheric/post/progressive elements with a dense audio, somewhat frenetic, background to leave me curious.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

Broken in four parts (variations if you prefer) this release showcases the bands stellar abilities to transport the listener from outright Progressive realms into Brutal and Tech- Death arenas all the while displaying top-notch musicianship, vocal prowess and composition ingenuity. Ranging from a dreamy, somewhat relaxed classical, soundscape with heavy Middle Eastern influences to audio slathered in ferocity this isn’t for those demanding instant gratification. Although it does offer a variety of whirling dervish and incendiary rhythms combined with vocal “exchanges” which are sure to delight. In short, it’s a collection of tracks to melt into, a progressive treat for those wishing for a slow burn with a catastrophic payoff. The epic fifteen-minute closer is sure to turn a great many heads. This might take a few spins to get fully comfortable with, but once you’re there it’s a fantastic destination well worth revisiting and frequently

Favorite Tracks; Variation I.ii – Lethe, Variation II.ii – Genese.

FFO; Howling Sycamore, Between the Buried and Me, Cynic.

necrogusto

Necrogusto (Brazil) – Ancestral Bestiality
Release -March/15/2020
Nuclear War Now! Productions

https://nuclearwarnowproductions.bandcamp.com/album/ancestral-bestiality

ARTWORK- 71

A wicked, raw and depraved black and black archaic ink invocation. Is this really a true representation of Sunday lunch at the In-Laws in days gone by?

“Dammit son. You forgot the goat”.

FIRST TRACK- 75

Primal thrash with maniacal South American roots. Think a collaboration between Venom and Sarcofago and you might be close. The introduction leads the listener towards the unfathomable depths whilst the guitar and drum percussion are what prods them over into the pitch unknown. Barked vocals add a diabolical edge this isn’t “clean” in the slightest but it still has an eerie appeal which has me very much intrigued.

INITIAL LISTEN- 74

Without regard for trend or keeping to genre stereotype Necrogusto deliver 6 tracks of “Satanic Black Noise” (using their own words). Thrash, black and definitely not for the faint of heart or those pussy footing around genres to pick something which might be slightly off kilter from the traditional and to their liking. This isn’t nice, it certainly isn’t polished, in fact raunchy is a great word to use here, with plenty of homage to those acts who coined the term ‘deathcore’ in Brazil (important not to be confused with the same term tossed around today) and seething in menace and intent. Recommended for the brave.

Favorite Tracks; Baphometic Noisy Cult, Intoxication and Ecstacy.

FFO; Sarcofago, Holocausto, Venom, Sex Thrash.

Upon Request

Occasionally I have recommendations tossed in my direction with the words “you have to hear this” attached. In this case however @AtomicHeartbeep mentioned this was the best he’s heard and asked me to give this the “full treatment”. I’m left intrigued. Seriously, how can I resist?

Epiphany from the Abyss

Epiphany from the Abyss – s/t
Release – May/24/2018 (digital)
Self-Released

https://epiphanyfromtheabyss.bandcamp.com/

ARTWORK- 89

An obelisk in the middle of nowhere about sums this stunningly detailed, black and white, rendition up. Intricate details and an enigmatic aura makes the mind whirl. But what about the audio encapsulated within?

FIRST TRACK- 92

Jaw-droppingly impressive technical precision with undeniable deathcore tendencies and a touch of darkness. This is bloody good, hold my calls. I. do. not. want. to. be. disturbed!

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

Whipping neck ferocious intensity, fretboard inhuman flourishes, riffs aplenty, frenetic pace transformations and genius progressive breakdowns from seemingly out of the ether. And yet there’s so much more to wrap the ears around, it blows me away that I haven’t heard this or the acts name (in this case the same thing) circulate around the metal message boards and social media with a rabid fanaticism even years after its initial unleashing. The arrangements and composition showcased here boasts an undeniable fluidity and expert melding of styles I can’t help but instantly appreciate. As the album winds down it blossoms, displaying the bands stellar abilities and willingness to branch out with stylistic diversity. The effect only adds to a listening experience which is captivating pushing further into realms of godliness. In conclusion the metal community at large need this in their collection if only in respect to an act who could’ve been so much more if they were praised that much earlier for their utter brilliance. (For sadly, they are no more.)

Favorite Tracks; Blisteringly impressive all the way through.

FFO; Black Dahlia Murder, Alterbeast, Allegaeon, Arsis, Inferi.

A Guest Spot
He11fir3 Returns!

This week I am in deep debt to the great CultMetalFlix for keeping my interest in mind when selecting this long-awaited installment for me to indulge on. That gem being Thy Dying Light’s debut self-titled full length.

thy dying light debut album cover

(The album is not yet up on BC so I’ve included a few links to others alongside pertinent links to be able to contact the artist and label – Ed*)

https://pestproductions.bandcamp.com/album/forgotten-by-time

https://deathkvltproductions.bandcamp.com/album/cold-in-death

https://wulfhereproductions.bandcamp.com/album/the-last-twilight

www.facebook.com/thydyinglight

www.purity-through-fire.com

Knowing not everyone is going to be familiar with this bands work I’m going to attempt to cover it as best as I can for new listeners. What Thy Dying Light (UK) offers with their debut is a pillar of tradition. A paragon to the strongest, most powerful virtues of black metal’s true form. Classic second wave elements make up the plinth of their sound, being naturally cold, tortured, emotionally hollowed, and hopelessly dark. The band also deliver a very unique form of utterly antisocial sounding attitude, something like a quiet hatred from somewhere unknown. A feeling of unwelcome and discomfort for both messenger and onlooker poison these shrieks and tones like a bad omen.

Thy dying light raw BM

Now as a fan of the bands previous work, one of the first things I noticed when getting a look at this track list was there were some familiar titles on it. It’s not uncommon at all for bands to take previous material they may have not felt content with and give it one final reworking, and I myself was equally eager to hear these songs in their new trve form. Not only are these tracks beefed up with the new fuller, richer, and cleaner sound quality, you can also tell these reworked songs have been rehearsed, practiced, and experienced over and over, through live performance and constant tweaks self-critiquing to be presented here.

The overall album features an evolutionary step forward for the band in the sense that these new tracks and rerecording’s give us something the previous releases needed more of. Hostility and pure aggression. TDL have always wrote songs with a fine tension of hatred, but this time around the ferocity became a big part of the focus, and the result is the evillest sounding TDL yet. The vocals are no longer static-like and entwinned to the background due to raw production (which don’t get me wrong, worked fantastically well before) Now they are truly a fist in the face of god. It’s not just on the vocals either. Every note is played harder, angrier, faster and full of warning. Stay out of the way.

corpse painted dude yielding a candelabra

I give this 8 out of 10 corpsepainted dudes with candelabras. I will be preordering (Available on Worship Tapes Facebook page)

The highest of thanks to CultMetalFlix for not only allowing me to chime in on #AbrasiveAudio but also gifting me this album to review knowing it was something I was already getting pumped for.

And this brings yet another exciting, diverse, Abrasive Audio installment to a close. For fear of sounding repetitive don’t fear discovery of that which would normally sound foreign to the ears.

Cult

Abrasive Audio 2020 – February

black metal gif

Well, here we are again. My life is somewhat back on track following a three-week period of “ahh-fuck, my back!” However, during this time, I still put aside a few moments in which to discover fresh extreme audio and scribble upon its allure. Here’s hoping at least someone else, other than me, is actually reading this. This is a free service I’m offering here folks, all I ask is that you bathe your eyes in horrid grammar, my attempts at atrocious humor and that you support the scene. Metal is after all important to the mental well-being of millions, or am I just talking about myself again? As always feel free to comment, share and click whatever links provided so that you may listen as you investigate all the spelling errors I’ve also so lovingly provided. Onward to extreme audio as yet undiscovered (you’ll note I’m trying something new; a month by month theme in order, and hopes, that the releases covered herein are easier to lay ears upon in a timely manner and not forgotten).

Left over from January –

ceifador

Ceifador (Brazil) – All Hell Breaking Loose

https://ceifador.bandcamp.com/album/all-hell-breaking-loose-2020

Release – January/15/2020

Invincible Records

ARTWORK – 55

Honestly, I’m not even sure what this is. Is it an x-ray SNAFU? This gives little indication as to what to expect from the audio without, regardless I’m still curious.

FIRST TRACK – 86

Unlike that which I assumed this isn’t a play on the famous Venom track (it’s missing the “s”) however it is in the same vein; punk and speed with an underlying black metal vibe. And I’m please to say its raw nature has grabbed the attention.

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

Yet another one-person outfit, Clayton Maximinus other than in a live setting, bringing the blackened speed metal attack. I’m beginning to think there’s really no need for a full act to ‘create’. Do “many cooks spoilt the broth?” after all? This much like James McBain’s Hellripper incites uncontrollable limb movement and delivers the goods. Although this gets a little repetitive in instances, seems ‘recycled’ in others and the tracks could be shortened some with much the same result it still makes an impression and leaves a definite mark, demanding praise and an instant replay. If your penchants run to raw audio, punk and blistering blackened speed this requires attention! As an added bonus this guy creates like a possessed fiend so there’s plenty offered by way of a back catalogue to sift through until he chooses to release another. Dive in!

Favorite Tracks; All Hell Breaking Loose, Gods of Evil, Don’t Pray for the Dead.

FFO; Wraith, Hellripper, Bastardizer.

macabre demise

Macabre Demise (Germany) – Awakening

https://macabredemise.bandcamp.com/

Release – January/17/2020

Rebirth the Metal Productions

ARTWORK- 82

Hide the Paramedics, there’s a zombie invasion! Apparently, they’ve already eaten the kids in the short bus.

FIRST TRACK- 68

An atmospheric intro with synth horror undertones leads into short stabbing riffs, significant bass ‘bounce’, a slam edge and even a diabolical passage or two. I’m intrigued. I think I’ll stick with this till its through.

INITIAL LISTEN- 73

Brutal death, crust, slam, blunt riffs with abrupt pace transformations and occasional forays into djent ville is what’s to be find here. Coupled with an obsession with horror and carnage (as their moniker suggests) this makes for nothing that’s totally unexpected, or even new, in the genre. However, it’s the tight drumming and willingness to pull/pluck/yank/rip elements from a myriad of genres and the ability to pull it off which keeps this entertaining.

Favorite Tracks; Mirror, Darkness, Gore and Guts, Slush Brains,

FFO; Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation, Vomitory.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia (Belgium) – Voices (EP)

https://www.facebook.com/Schizophrenia.Officialband/

Independent

Release – January/31/2020

ARTWORK – 88

Driven by shadowy forces out of his control a man is depicted with a knife to his throat by his own (manipulated) hand. Stunning art sporting fantastic light and dark play and vivid details make this image pop.

FIRST TRACK –88

Thrash bordering on death which boasts attention-grabbing pace transformations, a wicked vocal tone with plenty of dynamic movement and an aggression which is hard to ignore.

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

Displaying a style which is a delicate balance of Bay Area, European, old school and new school Schizophrenia have somehow managed to create five tracks which seethe with undeniable dynamic and exuberant presence. Lead and solo fretboard manipulations drip in diabolical qualities coupled with rhythms doused in adrenaline keep the eyes wide and the mouth agape while the body flails of its own accord. The intriguing vocal range in moments brings to mind a trademarked Tardy style and tone but this is hardly a complaint, rather another example of what makes this so damn listenable. Set your ears on this and rekindle your adoration of brutal aggressive thrash, but be warned you’ll want to play this again and again. Here’s eagerly awaiting the band’s first full-length.

Favorite Tracks; Structure of Death, Perpetual Perdition, Beyond Reality.

FFO; Exhorder, (vintage) Sepultura, Kreator, Slayer.

hazzerd

Hazzerd (Canada) – Delirium

https://hazzerdthrash.bandcamp.com/album/delirium

Release – January/24/2020

M Theory Audio

ARTWORK- 60

Not sure if that’s a crazy person or a zombie, or a crazy person in a zombie getup nowhere near the night when candy is handed out wilynily. Perhaps it’s the bands mascot and I’m looking at this all wrong? Regardless, something of interest is taking place in the background; riot gear, strait jackets and Billy clubs. Surprisingly, this still grabbed my attention enough to hit play.

FIRST TRACK- 88

Thrash with a huge dose of speed metal, traditional heavy metal leanings, crossover vocals sporting dazzling lead and solo work. A great start which puts me in mind of the thrash style dominant in the late 80’s/early 90’s.

INITIAL LISTEN- 90

This is a great example of “you can’t judge a book (in this case an album)” by its cover. Hardly aggressive the audio here is a stunning blend of speed metal traditional heavy metal, thrash crossover and old school thrash. Rhythms are criminally infectious; the lyrics are often drenched in humor (with an undeniable Destruction edge to the vocals) and the guitar work is a stunning and passionate mix of Dragonforce and Steve Vai which thankfully stays this side of OTT fretboard maniacal wizardry realms. Layered with a playful nature and doused in a vibe which harkens back to the golden age of thrash this tips the hat to a variety of influences whilst still imbuing an essence of its own. A dynamic, energetic affair which bursts with talent and creative know how. I’m not normally a fan of the genre but this is remarkable and deserves all the praise it gets and I can give.

Favorite Tracks; A Tormented Reality, Call of the Void, Dead in the Shed, The Decline.

FFO; Forbidden, vintage Flotsam and Jetsam, Coroner, vintage Annihilator, Exodus, Destruction.

 February Releases

goblinsmoker

Goblinsmoker (United Kingdom) – A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze

https://goblinsmoker.bandcamp.com/album/a-throne-in-haze-a-world-ablaze

SludgeLord Records

Release – February/7/2020

ARTWORK – 85

Fantastical themes, conflict and smoking paraphernalia all encompassed within a delicious comic type setting. A I the only one who wishes to see as well hear more?

FIRST TRACK – 84

Atmosphere aplenty layered upon by a mammoth menacing build (ala monolith fuzz laden Doom riffs) as if seeing an army slowly appear on the horizon blocking the sun’s rays, eradicating all hope, gradually filling the sky with dread. An infrequent EyeHateGod shrieking vocal approach adds to the overall menace and enveloping aura. A plodding dirge, in effect the perfect soundtrack for evoking scenes of conflict disrupting the normal run of things in the swamps (does this even take place in that location? This remains to be seen).

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

There’s already a sludge/tech death band (give me a few I’ll find out their name… SLUGDGE) fixated on slug warfare and perhaps even a handful of others with the same approach but on all other manner of creepy crawlies. And now, Goblinsmoker. Apparently, this is “Part two in the ‘Toad King’ trilogy” and sees a narrative unfold (this isn’t the first time I’ve “watched” the sequel without watching the original first if truth be told). Here’s the story track by track direct from the band’s Twitter feed;

“1. Smoked in Darkness

This track picks up the story where ‘Toad King’ ended. Following the shamans warning, the Toad King has marched his goblin army to the city of his own kind. He delivers a battle cry before leading his goblin hordes in a charge on his ancestral home, burning anything and anyone in sight. “Death everywhere, none for the smoke. Death everywhere, just for the throne.”

  1. Let Them Rot

Set immediately after the city has fallen. The Toad King sits on his new throne in the city, the throne he never should have been granted. Still full of rage, he sits as the bodies of his own kind, as well as his fallen goblin subjects, smolder around him and he cries out to “let them rot”.

  1. The Forest Mourns

This track deals with feeling that change has come and the anxiety of the new, dark future. The world is not what is was and the goblins have come out from the shadows. It also hints at the third and final part of the trilogy, proclaiming the shaman has one final move to make. “True darkness awaits.”

goblinsmoker toad king

Toad King

A king who happens to be a Toad and more loyal goblin subjects than you can shake a stick at. I am intrigued, and you should be too as this is far from what I initially expected. In shirt this is Doom (of that there’s no doubt) captured in its natural lazy state, draped in ground shaking reverb, often doused with groove, which frolics with a cavernous death presence, occasionally a funeral doom epic nature, aided by blackened shriek vocal accompaniment. But let us not forget the effective bludgeoning drum accompaniment. This combination might sound odd. But it works! And somehow only allows the fantastical narrative; crimson splashing about, slime trails (wait, is that toads too or am I still thinking of slugs?), a bug catching tongue and myriads of squabbling spindly green fellows to blossom in the mind’s eye. The question remains; why isn’t there a graphic novel and/or a slew of animation videos (or even a board game) to help showcase the story (perhaps there is and I’m needing to hunker down to a spot of research?) Regardless as it progresses this puts me more and more in mind of the scene from the Hobbit whereupon our trusty heroes are being chased deep underground by a horde of goblins and their slothenly leader. But I digress, suffice it to say this is epic, transfixing and often suffocating. An experience which the listener will want to immediately dive back into in order to fully appreciate what’s on offer. The first dip may well have been slightly overwhelming which is to be expected but none the less highly enjoyable and infectious. I’m off to listen to the first entry, which is where I seriously should have started, I suggest you do the same.

Favorite Tracks; Let Them Rot.

FFO: Black Sabbath, My Dying Bride, Bolt Thrower, Cathedral, CHTHE’ILIST.

total annihilation

 Total Annihilation (Switzerland) – …on Chains of Doom

https://total-annihilation.bandcamp.com/album/on-chains-of-doom

Release – February/7/2020

Czar of Crickets Production

ARTWORK – 80

There’s little doubt what the listener is in for with this image on hand. You got it.! This is ‘hair rock’ draped in ballads, glitter and unicorn sprinkles. I jest, for there should be little confusion as to what to expect here with the inclusion of flames, a death machine, varied forms getting squished under tank treads and guns glowing red-hot in activity. But the question remains is this audio anything like another act obsessed with warfare and tanks (bonus points if your guess is correct).

FIRST TRACK – 79

A vintage war coverage newsreel and various news clip sound bites add intrigue to the introduction, leaving little left tom ponder upon as to what this might be about. Bouncing, groove laden, thrash rhythms take the lead as the clip intro disappear introducing the bands style to those, like myself, who have yet to experience what they have to offer.

INITIAL LISTEN – 77

Although one might assume this is merely run of the mill thrash/death there’s a variety of pace on offer throughout; mid-tempo groove switches places, and often transforms, into tear your head from your spine in intensity thrashin’ instances and also surprisingly a little something in between. Build up is commendable and rhythms are such that fans will have no choice but to reminisce upon standout thrash artists whose influence here, a mix of vintage European and American, is unmistakable. The rough vocal style adds to the albums level of aggression as too a” Troops of Doom” drum approach which helps propel the finished product into realms fans of the aggressive arena of thrash are sure to pounce upon. Although this sports really nothing new to the scene, the musicianship is on point and the arrangements top-notch and it remains entertaining throughout.

Favorite Tracks; Falling Fast, Reborn in Flesh, Experience the Terror, Tunnelratten, Black Blood.

FFO: Sodom, Nuclear Assault, Destruction, Kreator.

ironflame blood red victory

Ironflame (USA) – Blood Red Victory

https://ironflame.bandcamp.com/

Release – February/7/2020

Divebomb Records

ARTWORK- 78

Stepping away from what’s been showcased on albums before Ironflame have chosen to depict a warrior (I’m assuming) standing proud with a sword in hand and torn cape billowing in the wind. And, if I’m not mistaken, the sword has a certain glow as if its energized, perhaps following slaughter. Does it have a life of its own? Perhaps, it certainly looks wicked enough. Here’s to bloodshed, carnage and the caress of flashing steel upon an enemy’s flesh. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK- 92

Foot tapping melodies, soaring passionate leads and powerful vocals (sans a falsetto element). If this is any indication of how the album is to continue, I’m shutting the outside world off, turning the headphones up and bathing in the absolute undeniable allure of exquisite heavy metal!

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

Feudal medieval themes, rhythms to promote air guitar silliness and drum tattoos to provoke limbs to twitch of their own accord. This is damn good audio and an amazing example of what makes heavy metal (with splashes of speed metal) so GD enjoyable and why its attraction continues to build. Excellent production aids the overall enjoyment here. If they haven’t already fans of mid era Maiden and Haunt have a new hero to add to their audio collection. I’m sure I’ll play this up until and mention it copiously come years end.

Favorite Tracks; Not a dull moment to be found, bathe in its glory.

FFO; Iron Maiden, Haunt, 3 Inches of Blood, Halloween, Dio, Saxon.

the spirit cosmic terror

The Spirit (Germany)- Cosmic Terror

https://thespiritmetal.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-terror

Release – February/7/2020

AOP Records

ARTWORK- 73

A classic image offering an optical illusion/visual trickery of sorts (wrapped around a globe sporting either an eye or an explosion on one side) which is certainly up for discussion as it could mean many things ranging from inner struggles through glorified global turmoil.  Or, I could be miles off, it’s happened before now.

FIRST TRACK- 92

This is like “Storm” era Dissection but with a vintage Eucharist vibe. Melodies are wicked yet playful and the lyrics bear a fascinating narrative nature, which can be understood completely. But there’s something else…a tip of the hat to the traditional metal arena by way of galloping riffs and melodious leads which aren’t too brutal, but rather fluid. A fantastic start leaving me salivating for more.

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

Fluid rhythms, a definite, familiar, black metal (melody rather than raw primal power) vibe and distinct majesty and coldness within the riffs though this offers so much more. Influences from traditional metal arenas, melodic death and even a splash of symphonic accompaniment to dd depth to the album’s undeniable presence. Fans of both (‘Storm’ era) Dissection and classic Eucharist rejoice for this combines the two and then some. Enthralling from start to finish they is amazing but merely a stepping stone for the jaw dropping audio to follow for the act only appears to get better and better. Do not miss out on this, although if you do, I’m sure I’ll be there to remind you come years end! Did I mention two bands in particular enough during this review? Yes, I believe I did. I think you get the point!

Favorite Tracks; This is near hypnotic and delivers from start to finish!

FFO; Dissection, At the Gates, Necrophobic, Eucharist, Saramentum, Tribulation, Cloak.

skumstrike

Skumstrike (Canada)- Execution Void

https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/execution-void

Release – February/14/2020

Caligari Records

ARTWORK- 71

A raw image appearing to depict a face under extreme duress. This could well be a reflection from a witness’s eye or a look into a porthole upon one’s final moments.

FIRST TRACK- 89

Strap in tightly folks! A vintage Carcass– esque intro starts things off and leads into straight for the jugular audio. A primal seething raw beast draped in darkness exhibiting a ferocity which is typical of a terrified rabid critter backed into a corner. You will seriously have wished you lumbered up the neck muscles before you hit play.

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

I was not prepared for this!

Imagine, if you can, a crust outfit with black sensibilities and industrial leanings (especially in the vocal department) ala “The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste”/”Psalm 69” era Ministry. This hits hard, rarely leaves one enough time to breath before it assaults the senses again. This isn’t pretty. It’s raw if truth be told but it obliterates the yearning for hard, brutal fast and ornery.

This is a five track EP but it leaves me sweaty, exhausted, exhilarated and wanting more.

Favorite Tracks; The whole damn thing!

FFO; (Psalm 69 era) Ministry, No/Mas, Disrupt.

ithzmi

Izthmi (USA) – The Arrow of our Ways

https://izthmiseattle.bandcamp.com/album/the-arrows-of-our-ways

Release- February/14/2020

Within the Mind Records

ARTWORK- 80

Depicting a picturesque clearing this image also showcases a prone form in a small body of water. The beauty of nature scarred by the vicious nature of the creatures who roam upon it (how’s that for a spot of poetry?)

FIRST TRACK- 84

An apocalypse noise salvo paired with an “awakening” synth accompaniment. Little indication is given as to how the album will proceed from this point so when a mellow drum beat and majestic cresting riffs break the silence the ears immediately perk up. As the track progresses details become clear. This isn’t a typical black or even atmospheric black metal release, as this is oozing with a myriad of influence and styles. Acoustic guitar melodies weave in and around a malevolent mid pace, which doesn’t linger for too long in any one direction, supported by an often-frenetic drum salvo and a diverse vocal approach (encompassing shrieks, OSDM growls and grunts) making for a unique listening experience which makes an instant impression.

INITIAL LISTEN- 88

Both technical and intricate the melodies and arrangements here are varied, chaotic in instances. Touch upon folk sensibilities, yet still somehow flow in a cohesive, downright hypnotic, manner. Interludes serve to break up the album with bursts of cataclysmic intensity, in the case of (The Angels are Lost) bring about a contemplative nature but then it’s back to business. Multi-faceted, dynamic, busy and complex bearing cavernous qualities as well cosmic tones this release probably isn’t for everyone. But for those who relish in the process of dissecting audio like peeling back layers of an onion, rather than the instant gratification usually resulting from a release draped in a single genre blanket, this will provide hours of entertainment. A solitary listen will not suffice, this bears an odd familiarity about it and the intrigue is piqued, this requires several to get an understanding of the brilliance within. A striking debut sure to garner interest from far and wide across the metal spectrum.

Favorite Tracks; This is yet another example of an album which captivates from beginning to end.

FFO; vintage Katatonia, Opeth, Between the Buried and Me, Ne Oblivicaris, Swallow the Sun, Akercocke.

runescarred

Runescarred (USA) – The Distant Infinite

https://runescarred.bandcamp.com/

(album, or any of its tracks, isn’t “up” as of this publication)

Released – February/21/2020

Self-Released

ARTWORK- 86

The image here looks a little like one rendered by an artist Psycroptic has commissioned in the past (on their self-titled release). It really gives no indication as to the audio within but is vivid in detail and intricacy, which leave me quivering in anticipation.

FIRST TRACK- 84

The album commences as if it’s travelling along similar tracks as “South of Heaven” (do I really need mention the artist?) but then veers into Exodus adrenaline thrash realms. And boy does it ever deliver. Dramatic gruff vocals with a slightly unique edge add to the enjoyment. A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN- 88

Passionate and intricate not at all what I was expecting. Tons better in fact.  Overflowing with a smorgasbord of influence soaring leads are commonplace as too rhythms which will strike an instant chord. Surprising are progressive and folk instances although they don’t feel out of place but rather add significant depth to the album. To top the brilliance off (yes, I said ‘brilliance’) the vocal approach is striking often bringing to mind Dio, in other times Warren Dale and then again Bruce Dickinson but also the later ‘frontman’ for Exodus (whose name escapes me)

Favorite Tracks; The album doesn’t disappoint; delivering from start to finish.

FFO; Exodus, Nevermore, Hell, Iced Earth, Testament, Bruce Dickinson’s solo output.

kvaen

Kvaen (Sweden) – Funeral Pyre

https://kvaen.bandcamp.com/album/the-funeral-pyre

Release- February/28/2020

Black Lion Records

ARTWORK- 85

Black and white imagery. A robed hand holds a sword to consumed by licking flames. Ouch! This would make an amazing tattoo.

FIRST TRACK- 93

Containing quite possibly the most infectious black metal riff I’ve heard in some time this starts with a blistering jolt only to slide into epic and exquisite majestic realms though still boasting ungodly melodic qualities. A great fukn’ start, if I’m to be blunt!

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

Top notch melodic black metal with mischievous rhythms, surprising tempo transformations, blast beats aplenty (but thankfully not to the point of overkill), plenty of atmosphere and at times even an epic grandeur. Venomous vocals complete an intricately crafted package which is topped off with admirable production values. Part traditional yet bursting with an appeal which most new comers to the scene (me included) will instantly be able to appreciate. Do not be the last one on board the Kvaen train, these guys are gonna scorch the earth, mark my words!

Favorite Tracks; This doesn’t disappoint at any given moment.

FFO; Dissection, Arctos.

exhausted animal

And that concludes another installment of Abrasive Audio. Hopefully you’ve gotten this far down the ‘page’ and have found something to keep your senses occupied for at least a short while, I even attempted to keep this entry somewhat diverse. Here’s to discovering something which might normally be foreign to the senses.

Your exhausted slave to audio extreme, in a wide variety of its many guises,

Cult