Jan 292015

Artist’s rendering of my life at the moment.

The old fucking day job has been railing me from behind so vigorously that I can’t sit down. I’m still stuck on the east coast of these United States, mired in one of those day-and-night projects that periodically consumes me like a school of piranha on a bloated cow carcass. On the plus side, the threatened snowpocalypse from earlier this week never arrived where I am. On the minus side, I’ll remain mired in work for the next 8 days.

I’ve barely had time to post what other people write this week. The “Most Infectious Song” list has gone into hibernation, and the “Seen and Heard” column has become virtually non-existent. I’ve collected links to new music I’d like to hear, but have had no time to actually listen to it. So all I’m doing in this post is embedding some of those new songs. I don’t know what they sound like.

Jan 292015


We’ve made no secret of our fondness for The Monolith Deathcult. It may go too far to say that everything they touch turns to gold — it would be more accurate to say that everything they touch turns to rubble and bone splinters. But when it comes to metal, destruction IS gold, isn’t it?

Given the quality and success of the band’s last album, 2013′s Tetragrammaton, we thought maybe they had retired to the Riviera, rolling in cash, bathing in champagne, and passing their days in the endless consumption of fine cigars and premium caviar. But it turns out they have actually torn themselves away from the delights of the flesh and recorded some music, of which we have the privilege of bringing you a first taste.

On March 24, Season of Mist will release a new TMDC EP entitled Bloodcults, and a few paragraphs from now you’ll be able to hear one of the songs on the EP, a hellish track named “Reign of Hell”.

Jan 282015


(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by a one-man Floridian band named Encircle.)

Anthony DiGiacomo has been my friend now for a couple years in some capacity or another even though we didn’t really get close until last year. I have to admit, I’ve never seriously listened to his music under the moniker Encircle until recently. With that said, I am giving full disclosure here: I am reviewing the music of a friend. Some bias may be unavoidable.

However, that doesn’t mean that the music under the Encircle name isn’t great. It is. It’s also exactly what I like, which is very hybridized music. Anthony mixes the best aspects of more modern tech death, technical metal core, and a bit of some big dumb death core skull-smashing to taste. Lost Chronicles is a pretty beastly record if what I just described sounds appealing to you.

Jan 282015


(DGR reviews the new album by Poland’s Hate.)

With most musical sub-genres and regional scenes, I have found that most people will have what I call a three- to four-pillar series of bands. These groups are generally the more popular bands. and sometimes even the cream of the crop. They do what they do the best and have come to define their particular musical realm.

In the case of the Polish death metal scene — which is a dangerous one to bandy about, since it seems like huge swaths of it have become the “blackened death metal scene” — the imperialistic, riff-heavy, relentless-blast-and-shouted brand of death metal that has hailed from Poland, and it seems like only from there for some time, would later become one of the progenitors, if not the most important one, for the sort of subtle genre-morph that Blackened Death Metal has gone through. It has reached the point where the two have almost become synonymous.

Jan 282015


(Andy Synn wrote this review of the December 2014 album by an Indianapolis band named Mapmaker.)

In a crowded scene where the word “Progressive” has been bastardised and bandied about so much that it’s become almost meaningless, a band like Mapmaker, with their melding of proggy, emotive instrumentation and bruising, Deathcore-ish heft, seems like precisely the sort of band you’d expect me to instantly dislike.

Yet I must admit I was drawn in by the fantastic cover art (never underestimate the value of a good album cover, kids), and decided to give the Indiana natives a chance, hoping to discover something new.

And I’m very glad I did, because this is a fantastic (if flawed) gem of a debut.

In fact although the album may not be perfect, Automation more than justifies the band’s use of the “Progressive” tag (de rigeur sci-fi concept, notwithstanding) with an enviable wealth of ideas and focussed ambition, every element being organically woven together in layers of carefully crafted texture and nuance, all bolstered by an extremely heavy low-end of juddering intensity.

Doubtless it won’t be for everyone, but in a scene where shallow superficiality and bland technicality are often used as a substitute for real creativity and credibility, Automation clearly stands head and shoulders above the rest, both on the strength of its song-writing and the impressive clarity of its vision.

Jan 282015


(Comrade Aleks interviews Markus Stock of the German band The Vision Bleak, among others.)

If you like really dark and mystic metal, then you should certainly know the German project The Vision Bleak, a duo of Markus Stock and Allen B. Konstantz. They boldly explore a world of myths and horrors, writing album after album; the fifth full-length record Witching Hour was released in 2013, and I felt a need to know if the band had plans for something new for us.

Markus is also a mastermind of the forest-influenced band Empyrium, and an honorable member of post-black-metal project Eudaimony; it was obvious that he had a lot of things he could tell us about.

Jan 272015

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by the UK/Ireland band Shattered Skies.)

I was rabidly a fan of Shattered Skies’ debut EP Reanimation back in 2011. Their odd djent-meets-heavier-power-metal like Symphony X and Evergrey style made them really stick out to me. I’ve waited FOREVER for these guys to put out a full-length, and I was honestly wondering if they ever would. The World We Used To Know completely blew away my expectations for a debut from them, and it’s a definite surprise first highlight of 2015.

The grooves on this record are like getting hit by concrete-filled boxing gloves, but it’s all punctuated by some absolutely angelic, infectious, and overwhelming vocal melodies, along with stellar keyboard and string incorporations.

Jan 272015

Dominanz 2014 – photo by Monika Kaczynska

(In this post Evita Hofmane of the Latvian e-zine P3LICAN interviewed members of the Norwegian black metal band Dominanz, whose new album Noxious can be streamed at the end of the interview.)

Dominanz is a modern and a hellishly powerful band hailing from Norway, a land with a tradition of extremity in its music styles. Therefore, this band could be no exception, but Dominanz have enriched their sound even more. The band members basically come from the Black Metal scene (Hades Almighty, Immortal, Taake, Thy Grief).

In late 2010 Dominanz presented “The End of All There Is”. “The End Of All There Is” was the title track of Dominanz ‘s first single, released on October 25, 2010. On August 2011 Dominanz debuted with their critically acclaimed first album As I Shine.

Jan 272015


We have the great pleasure of premiering for you a full stream of an extended split release by four very talented northeastern U.S. bands, an album-length work entitled Northeastern Hymns that has quickly become one of my favorite releases of 2015.

Three of the bands — Obsidian Tongue, In Human Form, and Infera Bruo — make their homes in Massachusetts, while the fourth — Autolatry — hail from Connecticut. In each case, these long songs mark the bands’ first recorded output since albums that appeared in 2013. In each case, there is a connection to the genre of black metal, but other musical elements are more dominant. And together, they provide a tremendously multi-faceted and tremendously engaging array of musical creativity and instrumental talent.

Jan 262015


I’m afraid I haven’t had much time to round up new music for today. My fucking day job has again carried me across the continent to the east coast where I’ll be working days and nights from now through February 8. As a result, there will be many days between now and then when there will be less content on the site than usual.

I would also like to mention that as I write this it is 13°F where I am, with a winter storm warning in effect and blizzard conditions predicted beginning this afternoon. I know this will not impress many of our readers who are used to this kind of thing, but for me I would like to say FUCK THIS SHIT.


Although I’ve had little time to myself this past weekend, I did listen to a couple of new things, beginning with a fantastic discovery named Katavasia.

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