Sep 302016

Vanhelga-Ode and Elegy


I discovered Sweden’s Vanhelga three years ago through the release of their wonderful EP, Sommar (reviewed here). For that EP, Vanhelga’s creator Jacob Ottosson (aka “145188”) was joined for the first time by Johan Gabrielson (“1853”), a former member of the late, lamented Lifelover, as a vocalist and lyricist. To be honest, that Lifelover connection was what first drew me into Vanhelga’s music, although the band had previously released two full-length albums and five shorter works. Sommar made such a deep and lasting impression that I included one of its tracks on our list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.

Vanhelga’s third album in 2014, Längtan, was yet another wondrous revelation, and by then Jacob Ottosson was joined not only by Gabrielson but also by guitarists J. Ejnarsson (Taketh) and Wadström (ex-Skogstron) and drummer D. Franzén.

And now we find ourselves on the verge of yet another Vanhelga album, this one entitled Ode & Elegy. It will be released on October 1, and today it’s our pleasure to bring you a stream of the album in its entirety.

Sep 292016



A few people reading these words might not recognize the name Mark Riddick, but I’m guessing it’s a small percentage. Since 1991 he has been creating gruesome artwork for a countless number of album covers, posters, shirts, and more… and although he has been often copied, his style is so distinctive that you know a Riddick piece when you see it.

But I would guess that a larger percentage of readers don’t know that Riddick is also a vocalist and musician who has been involved in both bands and solo projects for about as long as he’s been making visual art. One of his solo projects is Fetid Zombie, and the new album Epicedia will be the sixth full-length created since 2008 (along with an EP and a large number of splits).

Epicedia is set for release on November 25 by Transcending Obscurity Records. So far, one song from the album (“Devour the Virtuous”) has premiered at DECIBEL along with an interview, and today we’ve got another one for you — “If the Dead Could Speak“.

Sep 292016



Profanal come our way from Italy with their second album, Supreme Fire. It will be released by Iron Tyrant Records on October 31. As you can see, it includes colorful, abominable cover art — which is what first induced me to explore the music. Having done that, I am enthusiastically bringing you a track from the new album named “Eternal Curse of Blood“.

Profanal have a thirst for Swedish death metal… but if you’re expecting a simple re-tread of that classic sound, think again.

Sep 282016



(Austin Weber brings us this premiere of a new song by the Pennsylvania band Burial In the Sky.)

In the least few years, the technical death metal scene has undergone some very interesting mutations that have helped push the genre forward. Within this field of growth there seem to be two camps, one moving toward more atonal, skronky tech-death inspired by groups like Gorguts, Ulcerate, and Deathspell Omega, and another propagating a more atmospheric and proggy sound inspired by groups like Fallujah and Rivers Of Nihil. While I’m a fan of both takes on the sound, the group I’m covering today falls into the latter category.

While I can honestly say that Burial In The Sky are doing their own thing, influences from both Rivers Of Nihil and Fallujah can be heard at times, though the music is less imitative per se than in the way it’s been done recently by a few other groups. Having heard all of their new album early, I can also state with certainty that their form of atmospheric tech-death often encompasses a near-ambient psychedelic feeling that is uniquely their own.

Sep 282016

Auroch-Mute Books


On October 21, Profound Lore will release the third album by Vancouver’s Auroch, which is named Mute Books. The album will be released in different formats, with each of them featuring differing artwork by Cold Poison connected to the different aspects of the album. On one of them, these words are visible: “Silentium est aureum” — the Latin source of the phrase “silence is golden”. And if there is a “title track” to the album, it is probably the one you are about to hear:”Say Nothing“.

These related phrases have meaning yet to be revealed, but the music itself is anything but quiet.

As the album’s title may correctly suggest to you, however, the songs are organized into “chapters”. Because this is music, you could also think of them as movements in an interconnected compositional narrative. The title of the first chapter is “Trefoil Is the Grail of Perdition“. It consists of three songs, all of which are connected to each other thematically and musically. Last month, DECIBEL premiered the second song in this first movement of the album, a track named “He Wreathes the Cross“, and “Say Nothing” is the third of those.

Sep 282016



Last fall we had the pleasure of premiering a full stream of an album called Ei valo minus seuraa (No Light Follows Me) by the six-man Finnish band Vorna. There was considerable diversity on that album, ranging from hard-charging gallops to solemn, atmospheric sagas, each one filled with drama and passion, each one a powerhouse of sound. Since then, Vorna have not been idle — and today we’re helping bring you a brand new Vorna song called “Aalloista“.

If you are familiar with that fine 2015 album by this band, you will notice a few changes of direction on the new single. Vorna’s lead vocalist Vesa Salovaara shared these thoughts about “Aaloista” and Vorna’s future endeavors:

Sep 272016



More than a decade ago a Texas band named Vpaahsalbrox came together long enough to record a three-song demo labeled 14 Sovereign, and then disappeared into whatever hellish dimensions gave them birth, with its members later reborn in other obscure black metal incarnations such as Erraunt, Nivathe, Triphane, and Khimaat. Only 50 copies of the tape that captured the music were produced, yet it made a lasting impression in certain quarters — one strong enough that on the first of next month Pale Horse Recordings is going to re-issue 14 Sovereign on limited-edition vinyl as well as digitally.

The band’s confounding name is an expression in Enochian, a language recorded in the private journals of John Dee and his colleague Edward Kelley in late 16th-century England — the language of angels, given to Dee and Kelley by angels, or so they claimed. In Enochian, Vpaahsalbrox seems to mean “Lucifer’s Wings”.

Sep 272016



On October 15, two very interesting and very talented one-man bands from California — Oskoreien and Botanist — will release an album-length split. The Oskoreien side is called Deterministic Chaos; the Botanist side is named Green Metal. Later this week we will be publishing a special guest review of the split, but what we have for you today is the premiere of one of Oskoreien’s two contributions on the split, “Without You I’m Nothing“.

Oskoreien is the alter ego of L.A.-based Jay Valena. This split is Oskoreien’s fourth release overall, with the last being a 2011 self-titled debut album. Along the way, Oskoreien’s music hasn’t followed a single, predictable path, instead reflecting variations in style and strategy. Of the two tracks on Deterministic Chaos, the title song is a 13-minute piece, and the one you’re about to hear is an unusual cover song.

Sep 272016



The bloodlines of metal are deep and varied. They’ve mixed and morphed in countless ways over more than 30 years, but some of the original strains have proved to be timeless — they haven’t lost their appeal, and they summon the primal force of evil, blood-pumping heavy metal in ways that more recent permutations have trouble matching. Vornth carry one of those primal strains in their own blood. Its purity hasn’t been diluted through interbreeding in the passage of time. Yet their music doesn’t sound worn out or too by-the-numbers. Instead, it sounds hot as hell.

Vornth come from Uddevalla, Sweden. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2013, and their second one — Black Pyres — will be released by Iron Tyrant on October 31. Today we’re bringing you the premiere of one of the new songs, “Traveller Of The Dark“.

Sep 262016



The name of Eufori’s new album — Humörsvängningar — is a mouthful of a tongue-twister for those of us who don’t speak Swedish or any other Scandinavian language. To understand how it is pronounced, you can hear the word spoken at this page. And if you were to google the word in an effort to understand its meaning in English, you would find definitions that refer to rapid or inexplicable “mood swings”, sometimes in the context of mental instability brought on by stress, drugs, problems sleeping, or disorders of various kinds.

Of course, you need not understand the album’s title in order to follow the sense of the music, but understanding it may lead to a deeper appreciation of what you will hear — and hear it you can, at the end of this post.

By the way, if you’re in a googling mood, you can also look up the word “eufori”, and will likely find that its English equivalent is “euphoria” — a strong feeling of happiness or intoxication. But don’t forget the name of the album….

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