Mar 242018

Withered 2018 – photo by David Parham


(In this week’s edition of Waxing Lyrical, Andy Synn elicits thoughts about lyrics from Withered guitarist/vocalist Mike Thompson.)


If you don’t know the name Withered by now, stop what you’re doing and go listen to their latest oppressive opus Grief Relic (which I hailed as one of the best albums of 2016) right now.

Then, if you want to delve further back into the band’s discography, go check out Memento Mori, Folie Circulaire, and Dualitas, which I have fortuitously collected together for you here.

Now, despite being busy prepping for the band’s upcoming tour with Canadian grindmeisters Wake (which, by this point, will actually have begun), I was lucky enough to grab some time with the band’s long-serving guitarist/vocalist Mike Thompson and bully him into answering some questions for the latest edition of Waxing Lyrical.

Mar 232018


A long eight years have passed since the Finnish black metal band Cavus released their debut album Fester and Putrefy though the French label Listenable Records. Various difficulties delayed the completion of a second album, but the work is now done… and time has clearly not diminished Cavus‘ hunger for blood, fire, disease, and death.

The new album is named The New Era, and delivers 10 tracks and more than 40 minutes of mauling savagery. We have one of those tracks for you to hear today in advance of the album’s release on April 11 by Satanath Records (Russia) and Final Gate Records (Germany). “Divine Power” is its name

Mar 232018


In the late summer of 2016 we had the good fortune to premiere a song and accompanying video for a track from the debut album by the band Ultar from Siberian Russia. That song — “Azathoth” — left such a lasting impression that we also named it to our list of 2016’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. And it wasn’t the only song on that very promising debut album (Kadath) that left positive lasting impressions.

Today we’re happy to report that Ultar are returning with a second album later this year. The working title is Pantheon MMXVIII, and it will be released by the Swedish label Temple of Torturous in both vinyl and digital formats. In addition to that news, we’re presenting a stream of one of the new album tracks, the name of which is “Swarm“.

Mar 232018


(Today M-Theory Audio releases the first new album by The Absence since 2010’s Enemy Unbound, and here we present Andy Synn’s review along with a full stream of the album.)


Let’s get one thing clear right away – while Riders of the Plague, the second album by Floridian firebrands The Absence, is a bona fide underground classic, the band’s erratic follow-up, Enemy Unbound, singularly failed to capitalise on the critical acclaim and momentum generated by its predecessor, and the subsequent array of label woes and line-up changes certainly didn’t help matters either.

Thankfully, the general consensus appears to be that the group’s long-awaited fourth album, A Gift for the Obsessed, is a more than worthy sequel to Riders…, even if I’ve have seen more than a few writers/reviewers bemoaning the fact that the band haven’t massively changed or updated their style and still sound like “an American version of Arch Enemy.”

But while this comparison isn’t necessarily invalid – their penchant for thrashy, high-octane riffs, adrenaline-pumping drums, and shamelessly infectious hooks certainly shares more than a few similarities with the works of Amott and co. from before they became a toothless parody of themselves – it’s also not necessarily a bad thing.

After all, the overall decline of the Melodeath/Melodic Death Metal scene worldwide has left behind something of a void, which The Absence seem more than happy to fill with their vintage-yet-visceral brand of melody-infused metallic mayhem.

Mar 222018


On each of the last three days I intended to post a round-up of new music and videos that I thought were worth your time, and each day I failed. I would have run out of time again today if I hadn’t managed to throttle my usual verbosity. In fact, I’ve resorted to sentence fragments rather than complete sentences in order to get this done.

As the days passed, of course, some of the items in this post have become a bit dated, and the volume of selections has swelled with newer discoveries.


After more than 20 years of musical activity, Blut Aus Nord finally released their first-ever music video a few days ago. The chosen song is “Metanoïa“, which appears on Deus Salutis Meae, which I reviewed here, accompanying our premiere of the first publicly revealed track from the album.

Mar 222018


Wesenwille is a new project that has brought together the talents of two men based in Utrecht, the Netherlands — drummer D. Schermann (a.k.a. ValrWeltschmerz, Wrang, Grafjammer, Iron Harvest) and guitarist/vocalist R. Schmidt (Verval, Iron Harvest, Apotelesma, ex-White Oak). With bass and additional vocals performed by M. Van Der Werff, they have recorded a debut album — I: Wesenwille — which will be released on April 27 by Redefining Darkness Records.

Stylistically, their music draws strongly upon elements of black metal, but with a modern approach that incorporates other ingredients as well, providing an experience that is harsh, barbaric, and unsettling, but also engrossingly atmospheric, emotionally evocative, and quite memorable. The band identify musical influences in the realms of Svartidauði, Svart Crown, Deathspell Omega, and Sweden’s Shining.

Wesenwille’s dynamic approach to songwriting and performance is vividly displayed on what might be considered the album’s centerpiece — a 10-minute track named “Golden Rays of the Sun” that fully earns every minute of the attention it requires of you. And we’re fortunate to bring you a stream of that song today.

Mar 222018


Feast your eyes upon the vibrant cover art up above, which was created by that famous connoisseur of the grotesque, Ed Repka. Now imagine it beginning to move, to swarm, to pulsate with ghoulish life.

Actually, you don’t have to tax your imagination, because the video we’re bringing you today does all of those things with Mr. Repka’s creation. And it provides a very fitting accompaniment to the song you’ll hear — “Rompe El Cepo” — which is one of many electrifying thrill rides on Formador, the debut album by Pánico Al Miedo from Barcelona, Spain. The album will be released by a consortium of fine labels in a variety of formats on April 27th.

Mar 212018


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new 10th album by Swedish stalwarts The Crown, which was released by Metal Blade on March 16th.)

Look at that fucking gorgeous cover art….

The Crown is a band that should be a go-to staple for any true hot-blooded metalhead. The band’s iconic blend of thrash, melodic death, death’n’roll, and straight death metal has been distinctive and, in this writer’s opinion, never really equaled. Johan Lindstrand has one of the most unique bestial voices in metal, the very materialization of a priest turned psychopath, preaching sermons of death and sickness. Marko Tervonen’s riffs feel like getting grenades lobbed at you constantly while you sprint for your life.

I’ve also always felt that over a long stretch of years The Crown have managed to release a pretty consistently baller discography. I don’t think you can classify a single album of theirs as mediocre, or even only “pretty good”. They have set a high standard… but have somehow surmounted it with this latest release.

Mar 212018


Obsessively devoted as I obviously am to the sounds of extreme metal, it’s rare that I’m able to indulge genuinely beautiful music, unless it’s delivered in the context of something heavy and harrowing. With that confession offered as a context of its own for what I’m about to write, I will say that the album we’re premiering here is the most beautiful and the most thoroughly enthralling listening experience I’ve had this year (and longer).

The album is Au Devant du Gouffre by Wÿntër Ärvń, which is the solo project of a French musician who calls himself Arvernian. It will be released on CD by Antiq Records on April 10th, although a digital version has become available today on Bandcamp.

The album is almost entirely an instrumental performance, and the instruments used are entirely acoustic. It could be characterized as Neofolk or Darkfolk, although its creator has disclosed that his influences (perhaps more spiritual than in any other way) “remain very strongly embedded in the black metal of the ’90s”.

Mar 212018


Bodies On Everest are a trio of noisemongers who come from Liverpool and Manchester. They wield two bass guitars, drums, and assorted implements of electronic torture; their voices are also weapons. They describe their music as “Dungeon Wave” — “a caustic mix of drone, doom, noise and cursed psyche-sludge”, as their labels would say. Their new album is A National Day of Mourning, “a funeral dirge for modern life”. It is dedicated to:

“…a car park in Sarasota FL / a wall in Harrisburg, PA / a chlorine tank / A photograph of a fishing net / A fire extinguisher / A lawyer at a railway station / a section of the pacific ocean near the coast of Chile…”

The album is also described by the band as “the very urgent and desperate result of an accident.”  “Welcome to Hell,” they say, and it is an apt greeting they give us.

Tally of  Sevens” is the second single to be presented from the album, which will be released in its entirety by Third I Rex and Cruel Nature Recordings on April 29th. The band have written some words about the song (or perhaps these words are in the song), which are no less cryptic than the others we’ve already quoted:

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