Jan 122017


(Austin Weber reviews the new album by the Belarusian band Leprous Vortex Sun.)

Try as I might, it’s just not possible to catch every new gem that dropped in 2016, especially among releases that dropped in December, such as the Youdash which Islander covered and I recently covered myself elsewhere. But, since Youdash has been covered here, let’s focus instead on the Belarus black metal band Leprous Vortex Sun, who dropped a terrifying new album on December 21st. Thankfully, my fellow geeky friends often tip me off to stuff like this, so thank you Amir for sharing this with me!

I had to translate the album title (По направлению к Солнцу, плавящему изнутри кости), as it’s originally written in the band’s native tongue using the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, if I’m not mistaken. Roughly translated, what it comes out to in English is: Towards the sun, melting the bones inside. Couple that creepy title with the freakish artwork, and the vibe is set for something grim and otherworldly before you even hit play.

Once you do, it’s a veritable carnival of feverish horror at every turn, mainly consisting of lengthy lumbering songs punctuated by intense chaotic shifts. It poisons you with skin-crawling dissonance masked as “riffs” amidst waves of bestial hoarse screams and growls, while the drumming alternates between a lurch and a full-on weaponised full-throttle assault on a whim. To call this fucked up and deranged-sounding is almost an understatement.

Jan 112017


(This is Todd Manning’s review of the debut EP by Australia’s mysterious Miserist.)

A new year is upon us and there’s no reason to believe we’re not just one more step closer to the carnivorous abyss. No wonder extreme music just gets nastier and more oppressive, the most recent torchbearers coming in the form of the Australian mystery collective Miserist. This self-titled debut EP is a cavern-borne Death/Industrial hybrid, and strangely, considering the style, entirely instrumental. This one facet proves to be most compelling, coming across as a strange absence at first, but then as an abstraction upon repeated listens. The more one listens, the more this one facet opens itself up to speculation about the thought process behind the decision.

For the most part, Miserist alternate between devastating yet obscure slabs of blast-beat-driven Death Metal, often reminiscent of the mighty Portal, and more mid-paced Industrial-fueled sludge. Without vocals, the music becomes both inhuman and weightless; even the most straightforward riffs become atmospheric. And there is a layer of grime and filth overlaying the whole affair as well. The listener is invited to imagine all sorts of post-apocalyptic futures stimulated by their assault.

Jan 092017


I first paid attention to the UK black/death metal band Vacivus when discovering their 2015 EP Rite of Ascension, much as one might pay attention to a nuclear air burst overhead, just before the shockwave hits. We delivered the premiere of Rite of Ascension in all its terrible glory, and today we bring you the premiere of another Vacivus EP, this one a two-song detonation named Nuclear Chaos that will be released in March on 7″ vinyl by Goatprayer Records. It can be considered a prelude to the band’s next full-length album, which this time will be released by Profound Lore Records.

I frothed at the mouth over this band’s last EP, writing of Rite that “it’s not for the faint of heart, but I think it will hold a strong appeal to fans of savage, void-faring death metal that brings both killer riffs and a poisonous, otherworldly atmosphere.” I also ventured the guess that it marked “the stunning appearance of a band whose name we expect to see praised throughout the dark places in the underground where ancient death worship is the order of the day.” The Profound Lore signing could be seen as confirmation of that forecast.

Jan 022017



(TheMadIsraeli wrote this feature about Connecticut-based Stone Healer.)

About a week ago I spent some time digging for older releases by bands people should know about. Stone Healer is such a band and seemed a good choice for this post-holiday feature.

Dave Kaminsky, the mastermind behind Stone Healer, is an interesting character in the super-underground black metal scene just because of his style and overall production aesthetic. We’re talking the real garage tier; you’d have to be looking in the right places to find his obscure projects.

I had stumbled upon his previous band Autolatry, a progressive black metal band that also incorporated elements of post-hardcore into their sound, resulting in music that was abrasive, caustic, yet forlorn and melancholy.

Dec 232016



(Andy Synn has pounced with alacrity upon the just-released Prelapsarian by Krallice and prepared this timely review.)  

Oh you poor, deluded fools… did you really think we were done with reviews, simply because we’re currently mired in the depths of Listmania? And did you really think that I was done writing, just because my week-long list-stravaganza, was finally done?

Perish the thought.

In truth I’d actually intended to get more writing done this week, but I ended up being busy practically all day (and all night) Tuesday, and somewhat hungover on Wednesday… so this is my first real chance to sit down and get my brain back into gear. Worry not though, as I have at least one more review, and this month’s edition of The Synn Report, planned for next week.

But, in the meantime, let’s cast our eyes (and ears) over Prelapsarian, the latest dose of extravantgarde extremity from the ever-prolific Krallice.

Dec 152016

M012 digipack 3P_1CD 6 x 8mm.cdr


I listen to a lot of new black metal every week. As most serious metal lovers are well aware, the genre has become remarkably diverse, so much so that I’d venture to say that it now encompasses more variety than any of the other well-recognized genres of extreme music — which is one reason I listen to a lot of black metal every week. Some branchings of this immense, gnarled, and thorny tree have gone off in experimental directions; others have twisted back down into the roots, intertwining with them to the point that the new growth is indistinguishable from the old.

The debut EP Hail Death by the Polish black metal band UR isn’t experimental, or mind-bendingly intricate. It honors certain aspects of the genre’s roots, yet it’s also not a re-tread of the dominant forms of the second wave. But among all the varied branchings of black metal that I’ve explored this year, it has proven to be one of the most enjoyable. I’ll explain why — but I wouldn’t blame you if you chose to skip past my verbiage immediately and jump straight to the player at the end of this post, where you can launch a full stream of the EP in advance of its December 15 release by Arachophobia Records.

Dec 122016



As the title says, this is the second part of a round-up of new music I thought was worth sharing to begin this week. As often happens, in between posting Part 1 and this Part 2 I came across some more new songs I thought were very good, and I’ve added one of them at the beginning of this post.

As explained in Part 1, this particular Seen and Heard includes more minutes of new music than usual because of the presence of numerous full EPs — three of which are to be found below.


This morning brought the premiere of yet another track from the new album by Belgium’s Emptiness. I’ve enjoyed all of them so far, but I think this one is my favorite.

Dec 092016



This post is divided into three parts. It includes a review of the new EP, AYFKM, by Colorado’s Call of the Void, which will be released by Translation Loss on December 16. You’ll also find a brief interview of the band that offers some insights into the music, the EP’s title, and the cover art.

But first, I’d like to ask you to watch the following video trailer for the EP, which we’re debuting here. I’m going to stifle my usual tendency to give away the game and spoil surprises. I think after you see it, and hear it, you’ll be even more interested in the other two parts of this post — or at least you’ll want to hear more music from the EP. I can help you with that, too.

Dec 022016



Last month we premiered a song from the debut EP Döda Vägar by the mysterious Swedish band Mylingar. At that time I decided to defer my thoughts about the EP as a whole, with the idea of completing a review closer to the release date. That’s one plan I managed to complete, and just in the nick of time, because the EP is being released today by Amor Fati Productions and can now be heard in full.

The music on the EP is a nightmarish hybrid of black and death metal that seems designed with the objective of inflicting torment and terror on a thermonuclear scale. It ignites one violent hurricane of hate after another, each song ravaging the listener’s head with horrendous and even stupefying power. The effect is to produce the kind of adrenaline surge in the listener that I imagine is akin to a near-death experience in a midnight war zone, where you’re surrounded by combatants that aren’t fully human.

Dec 012016



Lots of people are starting to make year-end lists, and we’re continuing to gear up for our own LISTMANIA extravaganza (we invited our readers to begin sharing their lists here earlier today), but time hasn’t stood still for all that:  New songs and new albums continue to roll out, and I continue to make lists of what I come across.

Here are new songs from seven bands among the many that grabbed me over the last week. I decided to use a different title for this collection than the usual “Seen and Heard” heading, for reasons that will become evident as you listen.


Aksaya are a French band whose new album Kepler will be co-released by Satanath Records (Russia), More Hate Productions (Russia), and The Ritual Productions (The Netherlands) on December 15. Two songs are now available for listening, the first of which is a free download at Bandcamp: “Anomalie, Prélude À La Découverte” and “Non Morietur”.

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