Jul 312015

Ape Cave-Primordium


I have for you a big selection of new and newly discovered songs and videos that I’d like to recommend. As you can tell, I got tired of using the “Seen and Heard” title for these round-ups, at least for today. Also, the riffs really are the kings and queens of most of these songs (but not all). I’m presenting all this stuff in alphabetical order by band name. Genre-wise, the music is all over the place….


Ape Cave are from Portland, Oregon. At the end of May they released what I think is their debut EP, named Primordium (with the eye-catching cover art above). I found out about it through a link posted by a Facebook friend.

When you press “play” on the Bandcamp stream below, you’ll hear the EP’s final track first. It hooked me hard, and the other two songs are just as good. Ape Cave blend thick, heavy riffs and gut-rumbling percussion with psychedelic lead guitar machinations and raw, wretched vocal vituperation, creating a bleak and often disorienting atmosphere while punching hard enough to rattle your bones.

Jul 212015

Carcinoma-ST art


I’ve been devoting almost all of my posts today to a series of short releases that I discovered since the end of last week. This is the fifth and final one.


Carcinoma are based in Plymouth, England. I found out about them through a Facebook recommendation by Pyrrhon, who played with Carcinoma on the last show of Pyrrhon’s recently completed European tour.

Last weekend the band released via Bandcamp a two-song, self-titled single. The two songs are named “Rectify” and “Inner Tyrants Become External Parasites”.

Jul 212015

Sentience-Splinter the Cross


I’m devoting almost all of my posts today to five short releases that I discovered since last week, all of them very strong, and this is the fourth of those.


I discovered New Jersey’s Sentience in April of last year thanks to a tip from Patrick Bruss (Crypticus), who knows a thing or two about old school death metal, coupled with these words from the legendary Dan Swäno, who knows a thing or two about the subject himself:

“One of the best SweDeath projects I have come across in the last 20 years”.

Jul 212015

Altarage-MMXV Demo


I’m devoting almost all of my posts today to a series of short releases that I discovered since the end of last week, and this is the third one of those.


Altarage are a Spanish death metal band whose debut 7″ EP, MMXV, will be released by Iron Bonehead on September 4 (and a tape release is coming from Sol y Nieve/ Sentient Ruin Records). The two songs on MMXV are “Altars” and “Vortex Pyramid”.

Jul 212015

Acero Letal art



I’m devoting almost all of my posts today to a series of five short releases I discovered since last week, and this is the second of those.


Acero Letal (“lethal steel”) are from Chile, which seems to be a hotbed of speed metal and thrash — and I do mean hot. The band released a demo in 2008, and in February of this year the most excellent Witches Brew released a two-song single from the band on black vinyl, with a download available on Bandcamp. The two tracks on the single are “Veloz Invencible” and “Duro Metal“.

Fairly late in my metal life, I’ve discovered a lust for old-school speed metal — maybe because I wasn’t listening to it when it had its genesis in the ’80s — and these two songs feed that hunger quite nicely, while bringing in other elements of “classic heavy metal”.

Jul 212015

Human Bodies-Demo MMXV

Today I’ve prepared brief reviews of five short releases that I discovered since the end of last week. All five of them are very strong, and all but one are available on Bandcamp. This is the first.


I first came across Boston’s Human Bodies in May of 2014 and foamed at the mouth (here) about their eviscerating 2013 demo and a subsequent single named Scapegoat. And then last October I foamed at the mouth some more about their No Life demo, which included “Scapegoat” (here). And now I’m about to slobber some more.

Jul 142015

Old Witch - Keeper


(Grant Skelton makes a quick pitch for the new split release by Old Witch and Keeper.)

There have been some amazing splits released of late. I’m still heavily imbibing the Altars Of Grief/Nachtterror Of Ash And Dying Light split that came out this past Friday. I recently discovered another split that should also be in your collection. Old Witch and Keeper will be releasing it this Wednesday, July 15, via Grimoire Cassette Cvlture/Cvlt Nation. The hideous, but completely appropriate, artwork was designed by Meghan MacRae at Cvlt Nation Design.

According to their Facebook page (here), Old Witch is the solo project of Stephen H. Heyerdahl. Heyerdahl could not have christened this project with a more fitting name. While listening to it, I felt certain that sweet Henrietta was going to erupt from my living room floor and swallow my soul. Good thing I always keep a boomstick within reach.

Jul 082015


Into Weeping Firmament, the new EP by Barghest from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is simply overpowering. From the obliterating drum assault in the opening seconds of the first song it seizes the listener’s throat in an iron grip and never lets go. All sorts of other metaphors come to mind — and I’ll probably use all of them — but what they have in common is the sense of being caught up by some force of nature that you’re far too small and frail to withstand — or to resist. But even though the music strikes with the force of a hurricane, there’s more to it than simply shock and awe — as I’ll explain after a digression.

We live in an age when black metal has become a diffuse genre of music. There are certainly fans and musicians who believe that black metal must be defined by the specific spiritual beliefs that inspire it and by the communion (or chaos) that it must help bring about: If it is not a genuine means of practicing Luciferian and Promethean ideals, then it does not merit the name — it is instead some kind of fraudulent posturing.

But many more people don’t embrace (or perhaps don’t understand) such rigid criteria. Instead, they define black metal by the presence of certain specific musical elements and/or by a certain emotional resonance that those ingredients produce. So many bands have borrowed those aspects of the sound (or some of them) and joined them together with other musical styles that “black metal” (or “blackened metal”), as I think most people understand the terms, has evolved into perhaps the most diverse and multi-faceted of all the genres of extreme metal. What accounts for this phenomenon?

Jul 082015

Wild Hunt-Scroll and Urn


(Andy Synn reviews the new EP by Wild Hunt from the Bay Area of California.)

So I’ve really been enjoying discovering all these EPs lately. It’s not exactly been a conscious thing though, it just seems we’ve been enjoying a fantastic run of short, perfectly proportioned releases during the first half of this year.

Scroll and Urn is another one to add to the list, although we’re actually coming to it pretty late in the day, as it’s been available since the 17th of April from the band’s Bandcamp page.

If you visit the esteemed site known as Metal-Archives and search for the name Wild Hunt (and then click on the correct entry… handy tip: it’s the one without a “The” in front of it) you’ll see that the band are listed as Progressive Doom Metal/Post-Black Metal. However, this seems something of a misnomer to me.

While there’s certainly a strong progressive, and enviably creative, undercurrent to the music (as well as a gloaming shade of ominous, oppressive Doom) this is Black Metal to the core, with none of this “Post” nonsense to muddy the waters.

Jun 282015


Negative Mantra is a new band, but its members are well known from other projects over a period of many years. When I saw those names — as well as the name they chose for their band — I had a high level of confidence that their just-released debut EP A Hymn To Disappointment would be heavy, grim, and hard to forget. I wasn’t wrong.

Here’s the line-up:

John Porada (Terminate, ex-Nachtmystium) – Vocals, guitar, bass
Jeff Wilson (Abigail Williams, Wolvhammer, Chrome Waves) – Guitar
Charlie Fell (Abigail Williams, Cobalt, ex-Lord Mantis) – Drums

The EP emerged last week on Bandcamp without any fanfare. No press release, no advance dribbling out of teasers or song excerpts. One day it wasn’t there, the next day it was. I discovered it only because I noticed brief Facebook posts about it by a couple of people in the band, mentioned almost in passing. But word of this release needs to be spread around, because it’s very good.

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