Sep 152014


I had a strong intuition that I would like the song we’re about to premiere before I ever heard it. Because the band’s name is Piss Vortex. And if that weren’t enough temptation (which it definitely was), the song’s name is “Of Bodily Waste and Desire”. (I was tempted to use yellow font for this entire post instead of using it selectively, but I decided to just let the music piss all over you instead.)

Piss Vortex are a newish band from Copenhagen, Denmark, who have recorded a self-titled debut album — because with a band name like Piss Vortex, you really don’t need to spend time trying to think up a more eye-catching name for your album. The debut consists of 14 tracks lasting 23 minutes and includes such other memorable song titles as “Voice of the Worthless”, “Beaten Womb”, “Organic Shrapnel”, “Shit Life”, and “Filth”. But “Of Bodily Waste and Desire” remains my favorite title.

You may be getting the idea that Piss Vortex give no fucks, and in some ways they don’t — for example, they sure don’t seem too concerned about conforming to specific genre constraints. “Of Bodily Waste and Desire” is eerie, discordant, explosive, and hammering — and difficult to classify.

Sep 152014


Usually when I label one of these round-ups “Shades of Black”, I’m focusing on newly discovered black metal songs — but not always. Today, for example, there’s only one song in the collection that’s black metal. But all four songs, in addition to be strikingly good, do share a very dark and dramatic aura.


Atrum Tempestas are a Finnish band whose debut album Nêant will be released by Nordavind Records on October 13.  It consists of two long songs and one in the six-minute range, for a total of almost 32 minutes of music. Yesterday Nordavind began streaming one of the two long tracks on Bandcamp – ”Quitter ceux qui étaient déjà partis” — and I’m really liking it.

The song is a work of dramatic atmospheric black metal and will probably draw comparisons to the more hard-edged works of Deafheaven as well as possibly Ash Borer and Agalloch. It’s a mix of storming guitar distortion, reverberating clean notes, and shimmering atmospheric melody accompanied by wretched howls. It’s a gripping though melancholy song, and one marked by an effective rhythm section that becomes a source of engagement all its own, especially during the wall-of-sound guitar parts. Check it out below; the album can be pre-ordered at the following Bandcamp link:

Sep 152014


About an hour ago, and almost exactly one year after the release of Surgical Steel, Carcass posted the image you see above on their Facebook page, with no further explanation other than the words “Sshhhhhh! Mum’s the word!” (as if). But it appears to be an announcement of a forthcoming vinyl EP to be released by Nuclear Blast on November 11, 2014, entitled Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel.

If I’m interpreting the flyer correctly, the release will include five tracks. “A Wraith In the Apparatus” appeared as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of Surgical Steel; “Intensive Battery Brooding” was the B-side on a 7″ vinyl single for “Captive Bolt Pistol” and also appeared as a Japanese bonus track on Surgical Steel; “Zochrot” was a single recorded during the Surgical Steel sessions that appeared as a Flexi-disc in the October 2013 issue of Decibel magazine; I’m pretty sure “Livestock Marketplace” was another song recorded during the Surgical Steel sessions but so far as I know it hasn’t been previously released; and “1985 (Reprise)” may be some sort of re-working of Surgical Steel’s first track.

That’s what I know or have discovered from my researches.

Sep 152014


(In this post our guest Kunal Choksi, editor of the Transcending Obscurity webzine, recommends releases by four bands from The Czech Republic.)

The Czech Republic is considered to be one of the most important countries for grindcore. However, it must be noted that the country’s music, especially in this style, came to the fore only in the last decade. Bands like Lykathea Aflame, Alienation Mental, Cerebral Turbulency, Malignant Tumour, and Ingrowing were very important and led the way. Most of them broke up and many of them veered toward the style where they imbibed “gore” influences. But whether grindcore or goregrind, it’s still grind and even to this date, the country is kicking ass like no other in doling out excellent top-notch grind. While some lost their way, like !T.O.O.H! and Alienation Mental, bands like Fleshless turned completely death metal and left a mark, and others changed names and started new bands like Opitz, Rubufaso Mukufo, Eardelete, Duobetic Homunkulus, and more.

Currently the scene is still vibrant, with most bands employing the groovy/slammy style that’s become popular of late, but these are the bands who are leading the way and remaining outstanding.

EARDELETE (sci-fi robo-grind/gore/death metal)

Eardelete rose from the ashes of Negligent Collateral Collapse (N.C.C.), who were a sensational band back in the day. N.C.C. were virtually incomparable, with the music sounding like an amalgam of grindcore, goregrind, and of course death metal. It had this futuristic vibe to it, seemingly influenced by early Squash Bowels and Dead Infection, which has been carried on quite well by Eardelete, having retained most of the members.

Sep 142014


We had a big collection of things that are metal but not music earlier today, so I thought we ought to follow that with some actual metal music — sort of.

We knew as long ago as November 2013 that the French band Trepalium were working on something that was going to swing. Back then we came across (and wrote about here) a short video clip of Trepalium guitarist Harun Demiraslan practicing a new song that seemed to be taking the band’s signature “boogie death metal” sound even more directly into swing jazz territory. Oh man, little did we know how far they would go…

Today Trepalium released a music video for a new single named “Moonshine Limbo” that put a ginormous smile on my face. It comes from a new six-track EP named Voodoo Moonshine that will be released October 6 by Klonosphere. Not only have the band dived head first into swing, they’ve backed it to the hilt with a brass section, which gives the song a big-band sound. It’s got one foot in the 30s and one foot in 2014, and a couple more feet straddling the line between swing and groovy metal, with harsh vox on top of the whole hybridized, multi-legged thing.

Sep 142014


Here we have the landmark 90th edition of THAT’S METAL!  I wish I could say that two months have passed since the 89th edition because I was assiduously preparing for this special occasion, but instead I’ve just been dragging ass. I wish I could say I will be less drag-ass in posting future installments of this series, but I doubt that would fool anyone. Anyway, after two months I’ve collected an enormous number of candidates for this installment and from that list I’ve sifted the following 10 items (some with subparts).

For any newcomers out there, this series is devoted to images, videos, and occasional news items that I think are metal even though they don’t consist of metal music.


I’m going to start with some volcanic activity. Item One is a video with the somewhat misleading title of “Diving Into An Active Volcano”. Despite the fact that no one literally dives into magma in this thing, George Kourounis does get awfully damned close. I’m guessing that even with the protective suit he was wearing, it got pretty toasty. And even the beautifully filmed footage of the lead-up to his walk along the brink of hell had my stomach doing flip-flops.

The location for the video is the Marum volcano on Ambrym Island in the South Pacific republic of Vanuatu. The camera work was done by Kourounis and Sam Cossman, and the dramatic score for the film is a piece called “I Still Have A Soul” by Gabriel Shadid and Tobias Marberger. Kourounis and Cossman were guided to the magma lake by Geoff Mackley, who originally pioneered this stunt and is responsible for other earlier videos filmed at the same location (see this).

I don’t think I have to explain why this is metal. I’m including a second video that shows different scenes from the same excursion.

Sep 132014


I find myself once again with a long list of new items I think are worth sharing but not enough time to write about all of it. I’m beginning to think this is a perpetual state of existence: TOO MUCH METAL. But rather than be stymied by this predicament, I’ll just have to pick a random assortment of new things — something is better than nothing, right? The first three items in this collection first caught my eye because of the visual art — in each case you can see larger versions of them by clicking the images.


There may be a metal artist whose work I’ve featured on this site more than Eliran Kantor, but I doubt it. And yesterday I spotted his latest work, the cover of a forthcoming live album by the long-running British heavy metal band Satan. The new album is named Trail of Fire: Live In North America, and it will be released by Listenable Records. Kantor created the cover for the band’s previous album Life Sentence, and he explained the concept behind this new one as follows:

“As fire sets the tone of the last album cover, I wanted to focus this one on what you usually get afterwards – ashes left behind. Hence the burnt coal frame. The band came up with the title ‘Trail of Fire’ probably referring to being on the road, and it’s symbolized by the judge’s wig morphing into a trail of burning wooden logs, and the trail of fire actually leads to a trial by fire. I wanted the story told on the band’s covers to move forward too - ‘Court in the Act’ was a trial scene, ‘Life Sentence’ showed the incarceration stage, and now we’re witnessing the execution.”

Sep 122014


If you’ve been hanging around the site today you can probably figure out what kind of mood I’m in. And I just decided, fuck it, I’m gonna stay in this mood all day.

Basically, the music I’ve featured so far today (including our two song premieres) has been fast-paced and furious. But I’ve decided to turn it up a notch, to punch the accelerator further to the floor, and to amp the filthiness quotient, too. And I’m not limiting myself to new music — but I am limiting myself to music that’s new to me. These are all songs I’ve discovered recently. The first three come from South American bands and then we move to Finland, Spain, and Greece.

This is really just a thrashing sulfurous speed metal play-list –I’m not going to write anything about the individual songs. I’ll just let them do their adrenalized dirty work by themselves. In alphabetical order:


Band location: Brazil
Song: “Speed Metal Ataque”
Album: A Meia Noite Levarei Tua Alma (2010)

Sep 122014


The artwork by Alejandro Leon for the new second album by SoCal’s Madrost is pleasing to the eye — colorful, alien, and gruesome. It’s an attractive kind of tease for the music, engendering curiosity in part because it doesn’t provide many clues about what the music will sound like. I mean, other than it’s not likely to be a Katy Perry clone.

Although guessing games are fun, we’re going to remove the guesswork by providing a glimpse Into the Aquatic Sector through our premiere of the new album’s sixth track, “Subterranean Nightmare”. And before you listen, you’d best buckle your seatbelt and strap on your crash helmet, because you’re in for a careening and destructive ride down the highway to hell.

Madrost fuel their engines with a full tank of high-octane thrash riffs and then jam the pedal to the floor. The drummer more than keeps pace, with a frenzied but controlled performance, and at the end of this barreling ride you’ll be treated to a very cool harmonized guitar solo (and the band are generous enough to let the bass share the spotlight, too). The song begins and ends with a hair-raising shriek, and in between, their howling frontman keeps the mayhem at full throttle with words you can actually understand.

In a nutshell, this is heavy-grooved, high-energy death/thrash that will get its hooks in you pretty damned quick.

Sep 122014

My ears have feasted upon a big smorgasbord of new and newish metal over the last 24 hours, a big spread of many different styles of delectables. However, in deciding what to assemble for this round-up I was influenced by the Obscure Burials EP I reviewed for today’s first post. Which is to say I was in the mood for more jet-fueled mayhem. Sometimes you just want to have your head torn off, you know what I mean?

Because there’s so much stuff in this post, including two new videos, I’m going to dispense with complete sentences and keep my blather short and sweet. Presenting this alpha music in alphabetical order:


Location: The Netherlands
Song: “Carved To Pieces”
Album: Rites Ov Perversion
Release date: Sept 12 (Europe) and Sept 16 (NorthAm)
Label: Metal Blade

Ravenous, ripping, spine-smashing, skull-cleaving, roof-collapsing, gruesome, atmospheric, sing-along music.

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