Oct 222014

In this post, we’re premiering the title track to Random Cosmic Violence, the new album on Relapse Records by Usnea from Portland, Oregon. If you’re smart and/or impatient, you’ll scroll down and just listen to it. But I have some things to say about the album as a whole, and I will have my say.

Almost everything about the album is huge. The human skeletal structure is sturdy, but it wasn’t made for the utterly crushing force of this music. It’s enough to collapse bone like an accordion. And the parts that aren’t cataclysmic are mostly disturbing, except when they’re entrancing.

The music is kindling for metaphors, if you’re given to that sort of thing, which I am. The album was named for a line by Carl Sagan in his book The Demon Haunted World, a line that explains our existence and that of the cosmos itself. We and everything around us, out to the limits of the universe, are the products of violence on a titanic scale. The music imagines all that cold, careless, destructive vastness.

Oct 222014


(Austin Weber prepared the following introduction to our premiere of a new song from the forthcoming second album by The Crinn from Saint Paul, Minnesota.)

The further and further The Crinn have gone in their career, the more ideas they’ve incorporated in their songwriting and the more their music has grown in a progressive sense. Not content to merely overwhelm you or shatter you with speed and ferociousness, in their current state the band’s progressive inclinations have found a natural nest within their overall full-throttle, brain-scrambling, unpredictable intensity. With these elements co-existing within the same tracks, the band display a rare duality.

While The Crinn were previously signed to Nuclear Blast Records for the release of their debut album in 2010, they have returned to independent status and are releasing their new album Shadowbreather by themselves. Currently, no release date has yet been set, and the band are still in the midst of deciding whether to do a crowdfunding campaign in order to make a physical version of the album a reality. But one song from the album has already premiered (featured here), and today we bring you another.

It’s important to preface the discussion of this song with what I just mentioned regarding the cohesive collision of abject chaos and experimental progressive ideas in The Crinn’s sound. Otherwise, you may find yourself lost in a state of shock, as “Endless” is a head-spinning affair of unique brilliance, one that scrambles your brain hard enough to make returning to normal reality a difficult and disorienting task.

Oct 212014


On October 24 Season of Mist will be reissuing Mantiis, the debut album by Obsidian Kingdom from Barcelona, Spain, and today we’re premiering an official video for one of its fourteen bites — a song called “Ball-Room”.

The video was shot and directed by the band and Oyeme! Studio in a damp basement. In the band’s words, it’s a “shocking visual tale portraying sex, death, and a good load of frenzied pleasures… not recommended for the faint of heart. Don’t forget to wash your eyes after you’ve watched it.”

That’s certainly a fair warning, to which I’ll add “NSFW”. Looks like it was one hell of a party, and a damned site more lively than most parties I go to these days.

Oct 172014

In this post we bring you the premiere of the title track from the forthcoming debut album — All Sights Affixed, Ablaze — by a band from Ontario, Canada, named Idol of Fear. But first, a bit of background information.

The band took their name quote from a quote in Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 movie Det Sjunde Inseglet (The Seventh Seal): “We must make an idol of our fear and that idol we shall call God.” They recorded a three-song demo in 2013, and now plan to release their debut full-length on November 18, 2014.

The album includes 8 tracks, its total length is 44 minutes, it was mixed by Jeff Wardell, and it was mastered by Tore Stjerna at Necromorbus Studio. The cover art is by the viciously talented Mark Riddick.

Okay, enough background. What about the music?

Oct 162014


About 10 days ago we had the pleasure of premiering (here) a lyric video for “The Final Outcome”, the title track to a new EP by a Roman band named Black Therapy. Today we’re bringing you the official stream of the entire EP in advance of its official release tomorrow — preceded by this review.

There are four tracks on the EP, three of them original songs and one of them a cover. I already wrote about the title song that it was one of the most satisfying injections of Gothenburg-style melodic death metal I’d heard all year, and that turns out to be true of the second track as well, “Black Crow”.

Both songs are high-voltage gallops, with jolting verse riffs, sweeping choruses, and the kind of rapidly swirling lead guitar melodies that may cause you to form your hands into claws and lift them toward the heavens — while you bang your head like a crazy person.

Oct 102014

Eighteen months after the release of their debut album Fires of Life, Chicago’s Starkill have come roaring back with their second album Virus of the Mind, scheduled for release next week by Century Media, and today we’re giving you a chance to hear it from start to finish.

Speaking of starts, the fast-paced orchestral introduction to the album’s first song, “Be Dead or Die”, is about as blood-pumping a start to an album as you’re likely to hear this year. And the adrenaline rush doesn’t let up. Whether the band are ripping like razors or vaulting into the stratosphere with soaring choruses, they keep the energy in the red zone.

Oct 102014


Prepare yourselves for a big departure from our normal fare as we present a full-album stream of Be All End All, the new release by Norway’s Manes.

You would be hard-pressed to find a band who have led as many diverse musical lives at Manes. At the time of the band’s genesis in about 1992, and through the release of their 1999 debut album Under Ein Blodraud Maane, they were a black metal band. And then there was a hiatus — until the second album Vilosophe was released in 2003. It sounded nothing like what the band had been creating prior to the break, and it defied categorization. More releases followed, including a third album (2007′s How the World Came To An End), and then another hiatus followed.

Now the band have, in effect, begun a third life with Be All End All, which will soon be released by Debemur Morti. This follows a two-song single named Vntrve released at the end of the summer (reviewed here), and it’s the first full-length from the band in seven years.

Oct 072014

Eternal Khan came to life in Providence, Rhode Island, about five years ago. By 2012 they had released a two-song demo and then followed that in 2013 with an EP entitled A Primitive History, which appeared on several year-end lists posted on our site, including this one from our friend SurgicalBrute (and another one of our contributors, KevinP, wrote about it for Metal Bandcamp here).

After these auspicious beginnings Eternal Khan have now finished a full-length album, A Poisoned Psalm, and have scheduled it for release on October 21. In this post we bring you the premiere of one of the new songs — “Raging Host” — as well as a stream of a second one that is now up at Bandcamp.

As they’ve done before, Eternal Khan bring an interesting mix of styles to bear in “Raging Host”, and the result is a powerful and engrossing piece of very dark music.

Oct 062014


“Contempt” is a boiling cauldron of interesting extremity. I’m referring to the song we’re about to premiere from the third album by Florida’s Inferion, which is entitled This Will Decay and is scheduled for release by Horror Pain Gore Death Productions on October 21.

The music is seething in its ferocity, a flurry of scything riffs, weaponized drum and bass work, and scathing vocal vehemence that ranges from sulfurous black metal shrieks to cavernous death metal roars. And if that were all, this hybrid of black and death metal would be fine enough, but that’s not all.

Without missing a step, the song also includes an undercurrent of melody that, when it fully surfaces, proves to be quite entrancing. It adds a layer of depth and texture to an already dynamic, well-executed piece of music — one that still does an effective job just tearing your head off.

Oct 062014


Given my near-pathological affection for old-school death metal, and particularly the curriculum taught in old European schools, I was kind of stunned to realize that I’ve failed to write about Finland’s Decaying since reviewing their debut album (Devastate) back in 2011. Since then, they’ve released two more albums — Encirclement (2012) and The Last Days of War (2012) — and now their fourth album is almost upon us. The new album’s name is One To Conquer, and based on the song from the album we’re about to premiere, it should be another strong one.

Decaying have a penchant for including longer, doom-suffocated tracks in their military-themed albums, but they’re fully capable of rolling right over you in a crushing assault as well — and that’s the style of “Zero Hour”. If you like your old school death metal in the form of a smoking tank attack with a howling, rasp-voiced commander exhorting the battalion to show no mercy, “Zero Hour” is your thing. It’s definitely my thing: The song is a gassed up, heavy-grooved headbang trigger with a beautifully morbid melody — death metal militarism that will put a charge into your brainstem.

Especially with the timbre of the voracious vocals, you may think of Asphyx or Hail of Bullets, but fans of Bolt Thrower should eat this up, too.

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