Mar 192019
 

 

(DGR catches up to the debut EP by Tribe of Pazuzu, which was released in February this year.)

It’s not hard to imagine why the announcement of Tribe Of Pazuzu and their debut EP release Heretical Uprising turned some heads on first notice: It’s not often you get a group that unites musicians with credits to their name like Cryptopsy, Incantation, Soulstorm, and Pestilence. Yet that’s what this hybrid Canadian/American death metal band does, combining the forces of bassist/vocalist Nick Sagias, guitarists Randy Harris and John McEntee, and drummer Flo Mounier. Together they’ve recorded five songs and just over fourteen minutes of high speed death metal that is surprisingly straightforward, bludgeoning, and clear-sounding from a collective of musicians whose previous groups have alternated between sounding like cavernous whirlwind maws of death metal and sheer technical chaos.

Tribe Of Pazuzu‘s somewhat thrashier offering moves quickly, with a take-no-prisoners approach, and is so surgical about it that after its fourteen minutes wrap up, you’ll likely be a couple of spins into Heretical Uprising before you can even sort your thoughts from the first run-through. Continue reading »

Mar 182019
 

 

(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the horrifying new EP by San Francisco’s Body Void, which was released on March 15th by Seeing Red Records, Dry Cough Records, and Crown and Throne Ltd.)

I’m not sure if any of you have noticed, or if it’s bothered you at all, but the majority of my writing over the last several weeks has focussed on covering a variety of big names, famous faces, and iconoclastic figures… plus the occasional up-and-coming contender… which has left surprisingly little space for the more underground or esoteric bands which NCS has generally been more famous for covering.

Does this mean I’m… whisper it… on the verge of selling out?

Hell no. It just means that I happened to have listened to a fair few artists/albums who (deservedly) have also been receiving a lot of coverage elsewhere recently, and that I felt like writing about them.

But for those of you who might have been a little concerned, fear not, as it looks like this week is going to be all about the underappreciated and the underground, kicking off with this quick smash ‘n’ grab review of the new EP from Body Void. Continue reading »

Mar 182019
 

 

Over the course of nine albums, two splits, and one live recorded album, Evergreen Refuge (the solo instrumental project of Colorado musician Dylan Rupe) has created music of varying styles, ranging from atmospheric black metal with post-rock and acoustic elements to blackened folk. In all these variations, however, Evergreen Refuge has drawn from experiences in the wild and a deep reverence for nature as sources of inspiration for creating music designed to foster self-reflection.

But in the newest album by Evergreen Refuge, which its our pleasure to premiere in full today, Dylan Rupe has turned his attention to the stars, to the vast reach of the cosmos that surrounds our own tiny home. Entitled Skyward, the album is a single 66-minute composition, and it will be released on March 20 by A Moment of Clarity Recordings. Continue reading »

Mar 132019
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Fallujah, which will be released on March 15th by Nuclear Blast.)

Addressing the obvious elephant in the room up-front, what most people will immediately notice about this album is the higher-pitched, more emotive snarl of new vocalist Antonio Palermo, which straight-away presents quite a contrast to his predecessor’s guttural grumble.

But while I’m sure that Palermo’s sharper, more Hardcore-inflected bark (and, even more controversially, occasional use of clean vocals) will have certain reactionary-types screaming “METALCORE!!!” like poor Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (google it), once you get past the vocal switcheroo you’ll find that Undying Light isn’t a major departure for the group (despite the actual departure of long-time guitarist Brian James).

At the same time, however, that doesn’t mean it’s a simple carbon-copy of what’s gone before either. Continue reading »

Mar 132019
 

 

(Here’s TheMadIsraeli‘s enthusiastic review of the new album by the Italian melodic death metal band Lahmia, which was released on January 18 of this year by.)

 

I’ve been intensely busy and my attention diverted elsewhere, which sunk my original review plans.  Expect multi-reviews in the future for catch-up purposes.  However, I want to highlight today’s subject in particular.

I think it’s pretty hard for any sane metalhead to hate Amon Amarth. They are one of metal’s most consistent darlings; their brand of Viking-themed melodic death metal has been a staple of the genre for quite some time. Although, with that said, I think most people who like Amon Amarth aren’t Amon Amarth FANS who like the band’s whole discography from beginning to end.

When most people think of the band, there are probably many who first remember their run of albums from 2002 to 2008 — that being Versus The World, Fate Of Norns, With Oden On Our Side, and Twilight Of The Thunder God.  A lot of the band’s live-set staples, the majority, come from these four albums, and it’s the sound we most often associate with them.

There’s definitely a collective sense that Amon Amarth have been running out of gas since then.  Surtur Rising, Deceiver Of The Gods, and Jomsviking, while all good, didn’t hit the inspired, firing-on-all cylinders feeling that the previously mentioned albums did.  I’m not putting too much blame on the band for this — Amon Amarth is TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OLD, and fatigue of their own sound and diminishing returns are bound to set in. Continue reading »

Mar 122019
 

 

(Vonlughlio prepared this review of the new album by the Slovakian blackened death metal band Ceremony of Silence.)

It’s been quite a bit since my last small write-up and I was planning on something else, but I needed to write about Ceremony of Silence‘s debut album Oútis, to be released via Willowtip Records on April 5th.

The project is guitarist Vilozof and drummer Svjatogor – both already deeply-rooted in the Slovakian underground metal scene – who formed Ceremony of Silence in 2015. The duo spent countless hours immersed in freeflowing, improvised jams and writing sessions. As they continued, they developed the 7 chapters of this effort, which can be described as death metal with a dissonant/atmospheric feel that is evident, with blast beats that emerge rapidly out of nowhere and riffs that are in constant motion and very addictive. Continue reading »

Mar 112019
 

 

(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of Devin Townsend‘s new album, which will be released on March 29th by InsideOut Music.)

As much as we like to think of ourselves as being a cut above the average consumer of “popular” music, the truth is that the Metal scene is just as vulnerable to the same trends and biases, the same prejudices and predispositions, as any other style of music.

One of the most obvious (and most egregious) is our collective tendency to buy into the pervasive “cult of personality” surrounding certain artists, and become unwilling/unable to offer or accept even the slightest criticism of their work, sometimes to the extent of responding to even the mildest suggestion of fault with the sort of overblown outrage that serves mainly to remind people that the term “fan” is derived from the word “fanatic”.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that there’s no requirement that if you like a band/artist that you have to like everything they do.

But, as long as it’s done well, with honesty and integrity, you should at least be able to respect it.

Which, coincidentally (or not), is exactly the position I find myself in with Empath. Continue reading »

Mar 102019
 

 

The first Part of today’s column focused on individual advance tracks from forthcoming albums. This second Part includes brief reviews of two complete albums. There’s a full stream of the first one included below, and half of the songs from the second one. Both records display the more depressive colors of the black metal spectrum, though they’re more similar in mood than in sound — and both are gripping achievements.

HORCRUX

Released on March 8th, Loss and Grief is the second album by the Dutch black metal band Horcrux, but my own first exposure to their music. Actually, I should say “his music”, because it appears to be a one-person project.

As the album’s title suggests, the music is suffused with shades of gloom, which range from throes of painful turmoil to a kind of dismal, glowering hopelessness, from the tension of despair to the moaning exhalations of bereavement. as well as moments that betray a soulful yearning. Horcrux creates those moods through music that cross-breeds a range of styles — black metal of course, but also doom, sludge, and atmospheric post-metal. Continue reading »

Mar 072019
 

 

In April 2016 we premiered the self-titled debut EP of a Norwegian black metal band named Gjendød, released by Darker Than Black Records. The following year we premiered a stream of the duo’s first album, Nedstigning, which was released by Hellthrasher Productions and Darker Than Black. And now we’re re-joining Gjendød again for another release, a new album named Krigsdøger, which Hellthrasher will present on March 9th (CD and digitally — it was released on tape by Darker Than Black last October) — but which you will have a chance to hear in its entirety right now.

When I heard the band’s debut EP my first impression was that if we could plug the energy of those tracks into electrical grids, we could decommission vast numbers of power plants — though we wouldn’t do much to reduce global warming, because the songs were hot as hell. I found it terrifying and hallucinatory, ingeniously conceived and expertly performed. Continue reading »

Mar 062019
 

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Venom Prison, which will be released on March 15th by Prosthetic Records.)

So this weekend just gone I had the pleasure of seeing Bryan Adams playing to a packed out arena full of people, performing tracks from across his fourteen(!)-album back catalogue with all the verve and vitality of a man who has built his career, and his life, around a simple love of music.

On the surface, of course, the former’s uplifting pop-rock anthems have very little in common with the hideously abrasive assault of Venom Prison, whose second album is arguably an even more aggressive, no-holds-barred barrage of Death Metal fury than their first, but I find it interesting all the same to see how the basic building blocks of both artists’ music – guitars, bass, drums, vocals – are basically the same, yet the execution and end result are so strikingly different.

One thing that the two do have in common, however, is that their music undeniably comes straight from the heart (pun intended)… although in the case of Samsara it does so in a much more bloody and brutal way than anything which the (in)famous groover from Vancouver has ever released! Continue reading »