Posts Tagged ‘Wraith’

Abrasive Audio – The Year in Review

clothing-optional

C’mon, even seals love the sun.

Part the Third

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

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

July

abominism

Abominism – s/t

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

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

Baleful abyss

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

https://balefulabyss.bandcamp.com/

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

Beastmaker – Eye of the Storm

beastmaker

https://beastmaker.bandcamp.com/

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

desecresyDesecresy – Towards Nebulae

 

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

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

disowning human cattle

Disowning -Human Cattle

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

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

 

ecliptic visionEcliptic Vision – s/t

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

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

freighter the den.jpg

Freighter – The Den

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

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

gates to the morning

Gates to the Morning – Return to Earth

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

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

pathetic

Pathetic – Rat King

https://pathetic666.bandcamp.com/

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

shades of deep water

Shades of Deep Water – Death’s Threshold

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

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

Thy_Art_Is_Murder

Thy Art is Murder – Human Target *

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

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

vagrant

Vagrant – The Rise of Norn

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

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

August

abysmalist.jpg

Abysmalist – Reflections of Horror

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

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

anticosm call of the void

Anticosm – The Call of the Void

https://anticosm.bandcamp.com/

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

Book of wyrms album

Book of Wyrms – Remythologizer *

https://bookofwyrmsrva.bandcamp.com/

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

Cruickshank

Cruickshank – s/t

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

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

darkened

Darkened – Into the Blackness

https://edgedcircleproductions.bandcamp.com/music

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

detherousDetherous – Hacked to Death

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

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

graveview.jpg

Graveview – Demos 18-19’

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

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

lllvilja livet

lllvilja -Livet *

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

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

nomas last laugh

No/Mas – Last Laugh

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

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

 

overt enemy possessionOvert Enemy – Possession

https://overtenemy.bandcamp.com/

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

wraith

Wraith – Absolute Power *

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

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

wizard rifle self titled

Wizard Rifle – s/t

https://wizardrifle.bandcamp.com/

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

September

arctos.jpg

Arctos – Beyond the Grasp of Mortal Hands *

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

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

alcoholocaust.jpg
Alcoholocaust – Necro Apocalipse Bestial

https://brigadantiposers.bandcamp.com/releases

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

algebra

Algebra – Pulse?

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

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

ankhara

Ankhara – Sinergia

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

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

coldclaw.jpg

ColdClaw – Anti Martyr: Decades to Suffer

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

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

come back from the dead album

Come Back from the Dead – Rise of the Blind Ones

https://comebackfromthedead.bandcamp.com/

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

cult of sorrow.jpg

Cult of Sorrow – Invocation of the Lucifer

 https://cultofsorrow.bandcamp.com/

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

ethereal riffian.jpg

Ethereal Riffian – Legends

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

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

high command

High Command – Beyond the Walls of Desolation *

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

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

Horror God

Horror God – Cursed Seeds

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

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

 

IATT
IATT – Nomenclature

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

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

netherbird.jpg

Netherbird – Into the Vast Uncharted

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

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

Sempiternal Dusk

Sempiternal Dusk – Cenotaph of Defectuous Creation

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

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

void king

Void King – Barren Dominion

https://voidking.bandcamp.com/

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

wintercrown

Wintercrown – Northern Lights

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

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

mix tape action

Keep it up, you maniac!

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

Cult (a certifiable slave to audio extreme)

 

Abrasive Audio – Part Twenty

head explosion abrasive audio header

I’m so proud, my teen has finally flourished into an adult. It’s enough to warrant the shedding of needless saline. I’m only left with the quandary of when to tell him/her (insert any gender here, it matters not in a purely hypothetical situation!) that adulthood isn’t all its cracked up to be. Although, on the bright side there’s always the vast world of metal to brighten the mood and disperse the cloud of schiite that may or may not happen on a daily basis.

Cheer up kid, it isn’t all bad!

Book of wyrms album

Book of Wyrms – Remythologizer
(USA)
Release – August/23/2019
Twin Earth Records/Stoner Witch Records
Dewar PR
https://bookofwyrmsrva.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 91

A fantastic color palette nods at audio which may or may not have psychedelic qualities, in regards to the unicorn (is it a unicorn, is it rotting…?) Well, why not. Deadpool rides one, so therefore they have to be cool AF.

FIRST TRACK – 90

Hypnotic rhythms with plenty of nuance and clever touches accompanied by clear traditional vocals help an evocative narrative. A fantastic start.

INITIAL LISTEN – 95

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

Note; My two-year old loves this and has somehow gotten it into her head that Tinkerbell is the vocalist (Insert smiley face here).

Favorite Tracks; Black light Warpriest, Undead Pegasus, Dust Toad.

FFO; Candlemass, (Dio fronted) Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Hawkwind, Witch Mountain, (early) Iron Maiden, Magnum and Lord Weird Slough Feg.

abysmalist

Abysmalist – Reflections of Horror
(Limited edition cassette)
(USA)
Release – August/23/2019
Caligari Records
https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/reflections-of-horror
ARTWORK – 81

Wicked black and white imagery depicting a skull screaming in torment as it’s about to be pulled under the murky depths.

FIRST TRACK – 87

A dense, steamroller audio assault bordering on death/doom with unquestionable old school values complemented by surprising depth and atmosphere. An outstanding start.

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

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

Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Lascivious Rapture, Black Lacquer, Chain Ripper.

FFO; Morgoth, Obituary, Bolt Thrower and a great deal in between.

awakening sun

Awakening Sun – Into the Light
(Lithuania)
Release – March/5/2019
Unsigned/Independent
https://awakeningsun.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-light
 ARTWORK – 81

A snarling werewolf (a two headed one?) breaking free from his chains, is this a statement of some kind or merely an artist’s rendition of a beloved Universal Monster caught in yet another bi-polar moment, the verdicts out. Either way, I’m diggin’ it.

FIRST TRACK – 77

I’m getting a part Hatebreed, part The Haunted vibe here with a splash of early Slipknot. Crunchy and jagged riffs, huge drum sound and a melodic death feel combine for an intriguing commencement.

INITIAL LISTEN – 70

This starts out great with fantastic energy, whipping leads and plenty of groove. But as a progressive element becomes stronger towards the tail end of the album it starts to wane and loses its exuberance and energy. Influence is undeniable and those who enjoy Soulfly and hardcore/thrash infused melodic death this will come very close to hitting the spot.

Favorite Tracks; Shout it out Loud, The Butterfly Effect, Bloodthirst.

FFO; Hatebreed, The Haunted, Soulfly, Soilwork.

sabotage

Sabotage – The Order of Genocide EP
(India)
Independent
Release – August/3/2019
Qabar PR
https://sabotageindia.bandcamp.com/album/the-order-of-genocide-ep
ARTWORK – 80

Decapitated heads, spears, skulls and what appears to be a toppled monarch. Simple yet effective, this leaves me curious indeed!

FIRST TRACK – 79

With an intro that’s somewhat familiar (think Vintage Sepultura) and a style that’s crunchy thrash bordering on crossover with an Exodus slightly maniacal Slayer vibe this immediately tugs at the reminiscent strings. Wicked accented vocals add to the fun. A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 75

The four tracks on offer bode extremely well at further efforts displaying knowledge and talent but most importantly exuberance, energy and a vigor which shows a love for the genre which is instantly appreciated. Influence is varied and obvious but this in no way deters from the fun one will have placing this in their ears. Keep an ear out for future output from these talented guys.

Favorite Tracks; The Order of Genocide, Bloodthirst, Public Enemy.

FFO; Exodus, early Flotsam and Jetsam, Anthax.

slaughtbbath

SlaughtBBath – Alchemical Warfare
(Chili)
Release – September/6/2019
Hell’s Headbangers Records
https://slaughtbbath-chile.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 73

Aided by a voice in his ear, and a snake in his hand, Mr. Smith, a malnourished gent, prepares to make pie ala naughty children. A tale inspired by the collective Grimm’s Brothers fairy tales if ever I saw one.

FIRST TRACK – 74

Very little intro to ferocious rhythms, an avalanche of vicious intent riffage with a War metal blunt attack unrelenting assault. A fantastic soundbite ends the track. A blade pulled across flesh resulting in a crimson Jackson Pollack– esque splatter.

INITIAL LISTEN – 76

Frenzied and ferocious intent death tainted by black metal sensibilities. An unrelenting cavalcade of wicked riffs accompany rasped vocals blessed by blast beats and rhythms which will spark movement.

Favorite Tracks; Resuscitated by Immortal Scorn, Amulets of Carnage, Ascension to the Dragons Throne.

FFO; Vader, Mayhem and other acts who manage to inject maliciousness into their fast paced brand of audio darkness laced with just enough majestic nature to break up their barbaric audio assault.

wraith

Wraith – Absolute Power
(USA)
Release – August/16/2019
Self -release
Clawhammer PR
https://wraith219.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 84

Seethes with definite cult movie influence, the inclusion of the Grim Reaper adds a slight comedic edge, just me?

FIRST TRACK – 95

Damn, an infectious nature such as this doesn’t happen too often. Instantly yanks one from the “I wonder what this album offers” state to “Holy balls, I need room to move!” For those who need a description, think speed metal with a dash of thrash sans frilly bits, which rarely let’s up!

INITIAL LISTEN – 94

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

Favorite Tracks; Devils Hour, The Curse, War of Aggression, At the Stake, Eyes of the Sacred Ram, Death Comes Ripping (Misfits cover)

FFO: Exciter, Hellripper, Bewitcher, Whipstriker, Toxic Holocaust, Bastardizer, Exciter, vintage (“Kill em All”) Metallica and Vintage (“Have no Mercy”) Slayer.

megaton sword

Megaton Sword – Niralet
(Switzerland)
Release – September/20/2019
Dying Victims Productions
https://dyingvictimsproductions.bandcamp.com/album/megaton-sword-niralet
 ARTWORK – 72

A classic image depicts craggy mountains divide a vast panorama. Should one therefore assume this us epic in scope, fantastical in nature or atmospheric. I’m curious.

FIRST TRACK – 72

For having the word ‘Vulva’ in its title this track is surprisingly ‘manly’. Traditional heavy talk with strong riffs, somewhat simplistic but they get the job done, and an epic fantasy vibe aided by a vocal style which may or may not take a little while to get accustomed to. I’m diggin’ it!

INITIAL LISTEN – 76

Mid paced/galloping heavy metal bordering on doom with a “NWOBHM” edge accompanied by a vocal style which might take a few listens to fully appreciate (at times a tad Martin Walkyier, Skyclad, in tone and cadence). The album is a little theatrical in moments, mostly lyrically, however this bears a vibe and fluidity about it which is difficult not to get behind. In short, this could be categorized as infectious testosterone fueled “arena metal” which only gets better the more it caresses the ears.

Favorite Tracks; Pristine War, Born Beneath the Sword.

FFO; Judas Priest, Saxon, Cloven Hoof.

carnal tomb

Carnal Tomb -Abhorrent Veneration
(Germany)
Release – July/26/2019
Testimony Records
https://carnaltomb.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 83

Grotesque yet fascinating. Is that a pirate’s face making its way out from that poor fellow’s intestines?

FIRST TRACK – 75

This has a Stockholm ‘buzzsaw’ sound but with the drums turned to 11 and an overall chaotic element that follows the drums boisterous nature.

An interesting take on a familiar sound with vocals akin to Bolt Thrower circa “Those Once Loyal”.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

Familiar yet different enough to be miles from copycat realms this entertains throughout with tracks of epic lengths showcasing busy evolving rhythms which never dip into boring realms. Often hinting at doom/death this offers fantastic atmosphere and tracks which can easily be differentiated from each other. I honestly don’t know how I haven’t of these guys before. Highly Recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Cryptic Nebula, Amid the Graves, Dissonant Incubation, Feeding Mold, Sepulchural Descent.

FFO; Grave, Entombed, Dismember, Gorguts.

ecliptic vision

Ecliptic Vision – s/t
(USA)
Release – July/6/2019
Independent
Mind Eraser PR
https://eclipticvision.bandcamp.com/album/ecliptic-vision
ARTWORK – 89

Ominous other-worldly tones emanate from this imagery, is this a celestial being? One intent on domination or one hoping to right wrongs? Or is ‘he’ merely chilling? Either way, this is a stunning image boasting eye-catching colors and is most certainly up for discussion as to its meaning or intent.

FIRST TRACK – 83

Ambient tones plunge the listener head long into a cavalcade of crunchy riffs (bearing brutal death/slam tendencies) and a vicious vocal attack (a dual assault which lends a nice edge to the track). Rhythms are tight, precise and evolve to give the track an epic edge complete with undeniable sci-fi leanings.

INITIAL LISTEN – 88

This album reeks with unarguable talent and creative know-how. Progressive themes knit tightly, and flirt constantly, with technical passages injected with nuance, varying pace and abrupt transforming rhythms. Packaged with flair and precision the combination makes for a collective which shouldn’t be passed up. Ambient interludes add to the albums overall effect; the combination is bathed in other-worldly themes resulting in an album which thankfully stays this side of the gone too far to be saved cosmic tech-wizardry fence. Far from the typical brutal/progressive death affair this is an effort which delivers throughout and demands multiple listens to fully appreciate.  Ecliptic Vision deserve especial praise in an arena which, as of late, has become rather overcrowded. Bravo!

Favorite Tracks; Cosmicosm, Lobotomizer, Cephalic Anomaly, Fear the Horizon, Dark Flow Remnants.

FFO; Benighted, Suffocation, Abysmal Dawn, Morbid Angel, Black Dahlia Murder, Nile, Vale of Pnath.

Well, there you have it yet another diverse entry, both globally and musically, in the Abrasive Audio series showcasing talent which unfortunately might normally, for one reason or another, slip under the radar.

Until our paths of audio interest cross again, don’t be afraid to open the mind and the ears to discover new genres, new talent and arenas you might not be altogether too familiar with.

Support the scene!

Cult

bestof18Audio
 
It’s been a strange, turbulent and exciting year. But I will stray from the court of public opinion seems as this is an article intended solely about my opinion on this years audio. 
Turmoil, fueled by opinion and belief, has torn it’s way through several genres and shredded many hopes for resurgence to the shitheap. In regards to audio, there’s been a dizzying amount (much like every year) and I honestly think no one can lay claim to hearing everything of worth, no matter the genre. I’ve listened to as much as I have been able to in between life’s daily, often mundane, responsibilities though I fear I will never catch up. 
Which brings me to this. 
I never intended to write a ‘best of’, but have found my way here, prodded by peer pressure,(with fingers poised above a screen racking my brain for any semblance of order) in hopes that someone, anyone, may stumble upon a release that might have otherwise passed them by. Before I continue I’d like to point out that I’m neither a professional journalist, a musician or a record label exec. But, most of all I don’t receive compensation for any of my opinions or scribbles. I am a fan. I know what I like and will recommend/praise releases based on my own preference and tastes developed over thirty years of being a metal acolyte. 
It’s likely my list will differ greatly from that of your own, or others out there, but that’s OK. I’m not competing. I’m merely tossing out into the cosmos my personal choices and opinion. 
Great audio is for sharing and last I checked this is a community, no matter it’s infinite divides. 
As an added bonus I’ve enlisted the help of a few friends to aid in the overall diversity of the albums on offer.
In no particular order and not divided up into semblance of genre, for they are convoluted to say the least at this point.
My picks.
Diving Face First into Extreme Audio Insanity….
 
Reissues 
(a category that often gets overlooked)
DnQ
Pharoah – After the Fire
I’m not a fan of Power metal nowadays, in the slightest, but this album speaks to me. The rhythms, the vocals, everything is exquisite and tosses me back to my youth and to the bands which started my gradual decline into audio darkness. 
CIST – Frozen Casket
Whatever your thoughts on this, be it Pestilence or Death worship there’s no doubt this is beyond top notch. Highly recommended audio from out of Russia which will incite movement. 
Drawn and Quartered – Hail Infernal Darkness
This stands, easily, alongside Morbid Angels finest. Diabolical, infernal and drenched in an infectious nature which is beyond addictive. No collection is complete without this nestled in it.
Rotting Kingdom – s/t
Death/doom with outstanding atmosphere and groove. The fact that this has managed to pass me by in the past is mind-blowing.
Honorable Mentions
(Be prepared this list runneth over)
dirge
Aborted – Terror Vision 
Why is it that I haven’t discovered Aborted before now? This is amazing. Enuf said!
DIRGE – Ah Puch
The sheer depth of this is astounding. It boasts amazing atmosphere amidst stunning diversity all under a sludge/doom umbrella. A must audio discovery from India of all places!
Alkoloid – Liquid Anatomy
Fuck me if this doesn’t envelope an unfathomable amount of extreme metal genres all the while staying utterly fluid and enthralling.
Amazing road trip tunage sporting unfathomable diversity and musical talent.
oxygen destroyer
Oxygen Destroyer – Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death 
Who would ever conceive that an album based upon Tokyo nuclear beasties would be as attention grabbing as this. Be prepared to howl, break shit and dance around like one possessed for this is inciteful audio indeed.
Terrorhammer – In the Name of Hell (EP)
Ice span this so many times I’ve lost count. This album drips with old school values, blackened speed par excellence, and is criminally addictive. You have been warned!
AlterBeast – Feast
Tech death that leaves me in a state of euphoria. Riffs upon riffs, speed, a dualistic vocal approach and the occasional teasing nudge at styles found in bordering genres.
I could spin this till the wife’s head explodes in appreciation.
Xenoblight – Procreation
This came out of nowhere to kick me on my arse. Intricate guitar riffs, a top notch intro, eye opening female vocals and Artwork that demands closer inspection. This kidnaps the attention from start to finish!
Ruin-Human-Annihilation-001
RUIN – Human Annihilation 
With nods to cult cinema and a style harkening vintage Carcass and an assortment of Grindcrusher acts (from the 90’s) this vile creation warrants respect and offers undeniable groove in return.
Psycroptic – As the Kingdom Drowns 
These Tasmanian riff masters never fail to deliver, this is no exception! Added atmosphere keeps the sound lively, fresh and exciting leaving fans eager for what comes next.
Human Cull – Revenant
Straight to the point Britsh grindcore that’ll leave the listener dazed and broken.
Lik – Carnage
Exquisite Carnage, Nihilist and Dismember worship. Although this resides in an overcrowded arena it rises above on account of its production, style, lyrical content, vocals and the fact that’s it’s so GD addictive. An amazing package, all that’s missing is the bow and the pass off from the coolest Santa ever.
hatalom
Hatalom – Of Sorrow and Human Dust
Another tech death release bursting with intricacy and atmosphere that left me with my jaw on the floor and jittery like a crack addled primate.
Ingested – The Level Above Human
The artwork intrigued me but it was the music that held me in thrall. An intriguing Slam release that invades a multitude of other genres with excellent effect. I usually hate Slam, however, this might be that one release to have me dip my toes more often into uncharted waters.
Veld – S.I.N
Tight, intricate and technical rhythms with often epic, cinematic in scope, atmosphere. Their last release impressed, this only added to my appreciation of the band and their talents. An underrated album that deserves more attention.
desalmado
Desalmado – Save Us From Ourselves
I could not sit still whilst this invaded my senses. Grindcore that goes above the genres typical appeal. Dangerously addictive audio that’ll leave the listener exhausted and hurting for oxygen once it’s through.
Infected Dead – Archaic Malevolence (EP)
This came out late last year, but as I discovered it early this year and it’s just so damn good I’m including it here. Tech death that’s tight, vicious, immerse and boasts outstanding vocals.
Don’t pass up this slab of best of British metal.
hellish
Hellish – The Spectre of Lonely Souls
Unfathomably inciteful hyperspeed rhythms that may well result in your head toppling from your shoulders. Add in a vicious vocal style that drips venom and you have a release which never let’s up that can’t be ignored.
Angerot – The Splendid Iniquity
Yearning for audio of the Entombed and Dismember variety and nothing’s cutting it? Give this a shot!
Ostura – The Room
Bursting with epic themes and progressive qualities this made an impression on even me and I usually reside miles from the anthing even remotely near the genre. Mellow for sure, and far from what usually bounces between my ears, this albums caliber cannot he ignored. Shit, even the wife likes it!
Deadborn – Dogma Anti God
Another brilliant tech death release that yanked at my short and curlies. Think a style that’s part  Decapitated and part Vader add in some technical aspects and then you’ll be close to what Deadborn offer.
Cradle of Filth – Cryptoriana
Edging closer to a style that’s vintage, CoF are working their way slowly back onto my playlists and my heart. Gothic, symphonic, black, atmospheric, melodic this encompasses all the above. And there’s even a bad ass cover of one of my favorite Annihilator tracks. Need I say more..? I didn’t think so. 
1914
1914 – The Blind Leading the Blind
From out of the Ukraine a slice of metal dedicated to W.W.I And what a release! A delicate balance of soundbites, traditional anthems alongside rhythms and atmosphere which are hard to ignore all making for an album which demands respect. A cover by The Exploited adds to this albums overall appeal. However, it’s the vocal style which puts the icing on the cake for me. An outstanding album in every way. Recommended for everyone but especially fans of Bolt Thrower, obviously.
Whipstriker – Merciless Artillery 
Even though the logo has changed, the music hasn’t. Glorious old school production adds weight to a style that drenched in speed, heavy metal and bestial values. How can one not like this? So G.D addictive!
putrisect
Putrisect – Cascading Inferno (EP)
Bursting with old school influences and a cavernous, suffocating, nature this might make many reminisce, though it also adds enough ‘unique’ to make it standout from those surrounding it in the same arena.
Sol de Sangre – s/t
Bursting with international flavor, classical elements and energy this is hard to categorize. Why bother, just enjoy it for what it is, a slab of metal which will make one forget the days woes. Be prepared to nod more than merely your head. I can’t understand a single word but I love it regardless (ignorance is indeed bliss).
ocean of griefpic
Ocean of Grief – Nightfall’s Lament 
There’s doom, and then there’s doom of a quality that sweeps you away, such as this.
Grandiose, majestic, mournful and melancholic.
Shut the phone off and prepare to melt in the rhythms this provides.
Nocturnal Graves – Titan
This band just keeps getting better and better (IMO) as they evolve from one album to the next. This is stunning, infernal, diabolical and tight audio that only gets more impressive the more you let it invade your being.
sepulcher
Sepulcher – Panoptic Horror
Thrash/death from Norway showcasing boisterous though familiar rhythms and a vocal style that’s a little different. An overall sound that digs in and encompasses the senses the more you listen.
Stortregn – Emptiness Fills the Void
Viking, black, death, acoustic, symphonic and atmospheric metal. It’s all here wrapped up on a pristine package which had me bouncing back and forth in recollection from my love for (legendary) Dissection tunage to my various auditory explorations of Amon Amarth material and a great deal in between.
traitor
Traitor – Knee Deep in the Dead
Awesome Artwork enfold audio which proclaims loudly that thrash is indeed thriving. A vintage Kreator style with smatterings of vintage Sodom accompanied by Bonded by Blood era Exodus gang vocals make this an aggro thrash release that can’t be ignored.
Note that this is a last minute entry I had to stop the presses in order to include as I was just so impressed.
 
 
In order to tease installment part the second here’s a brief ‘best of’ from the (solitary) genius behind Hellripper (whose Coagulating Darkness appeared prominently on my best of year list from last year)
hellripper
Wraith – Heed the Warning
Obscura – Diluvium
Tribulation – Down Below
Necrophobic – Mark of the Pentagram 
markofthepentagram
Horrendous – Idol
Bonehunter – Children of the Atom
 
And in the Non-metal arena
Ghost – Prequel 
Editors – Violence
 
With that in mind I have a few releases I’d like to mention, before I close this up. Albums which don’t typically fall into traditional metal categories.
COILGUNS_MILLENIAL_FRONT_3000px_FINAL
Coilguns – Millennials
Imagine if you will Faith no More with a splash of Ministry, a sprinkle of Mr Bungle and…something else. Quite undefinable but I’m loving this on being-placed-in-an-institution type levels. 
Ackeron – Polarity
Like a bulldozer careening into your residence from out of nowhere, this hit me like a ton of bricks. Influence and familiarity oozes from every pore (The Used and Beartooth come to mind) though the album boasts diversity and inventiveness enough to stray from copycat waters. This and the album below are my go -tos when the mood demands something other than extreme tunage.
oldmanwizard
Old Man Wizard – Blame it on the Sorcery
This about blew me away when I first laid ears upon it. Reeking of 70’s influence and shining with melodic and acoustic genius this is quite simply a release which is stunningly different yet criminally addictive. Suffice it to say I’ve left the best to last. Seek this out and surround yourself with ‘green’ (if you catch my drift) for an unforgettable audio experience.
Here’s to next year…
Cult