Feb 152018

 

(This is a guest review by The Metal Elitist of the new album by the Utah band Visigoth, which was released by Metal Blade Records on February 9th.)

 

I consider myself a wary person. So, while I generally do agree that there exists a “golden era” of heavy metal long since passed, I tend to eye with suspicion many of the so-called NWOTHM bands which seem to coast their way to success on the waves of nostalgia. Though it is certainly true that we’ve been blessed with several excellent releases in this vein (think Sumerlands, Eternal Champion, or Night Demon), there are also countless me-too retro acts which have left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Visigoth, however, is no such band. When I, like many others, first discovered them in 2015 after the release of their debut, The Revenant King, I knew that they had created something very special.

While The Revenant King certainly had its flaws, I sensed in it a maturity and passion that is missing from many of Visigoth’s leather-clad contemporaries, which is probably why the mournful wails of “Blood Sacrifice” and the thundering grooves of “Mammoth Rider” still manage to hold my attention almost three years later. Not content to simply rehash classic bands like Cirith Ungol, Heavy Load, and Grim Reaper, the Salt Lake City quintet had crafted a perfect chimera of both old and new.

Nevertheless, it was with caution that I patiently anticipated their follow-up. I knew the potential was there, but I felt the ol’ pessimism rising up within me, which couldn’t help but wonder, “Has the band already peaked? Will the successor be a disappointment?”

Feb 142018

 

“Crushing” is a word we see tossed around frequently in the case of death metal and some doom metal bands. Bible Black Tyrant isn’t either of those (sludge might be the closest genre term, though it’s an imperfect term here), but you’d have to look long and hard to find any album this year, in any metal genre, more stunningly crushing than this band’s debut album, Regret Beyond Death. The sound is overpowering, the mood is catastrophically bleak, the overall impact is nothing short of flattening. It is, in short, a devastating assault on the senses — and it exerts a primal appeal that’s just as unstoppable.

Bible Black Tyrant is the collaboration between three experienced musicians based in the Pacific Northwest: vocalist/bassist/guitarist Aaron D.C. Edge (Lumbar), percussionist Tyler Smith (Eagle Twin), and additional guitarist/vocalist and soundscape engineer David S. Fylstra (KVØID). They come from different musical backgrounds, but in this project they’ve found a meeting ground and executed on a vision that really is remarkable.

The album will be released on February 14th by Argonauta Records (CD) with a tape release coming from Anima Recordings, and today we have the honor of presenting a full stream of the album, which we’ll introduce first with comments by the band, and then with a few more impressions of my own. This is how Bible Black Tyrant introduces the album:

Feb 142018

 

Morbid Angel’s release of Kingdoms Disdained last year provoked a lot of discussion (and heated arguments) about where the album stood among the most revered works of that hugely influential band. Meanwhile, Australia’s Depravity were readying an album that might be an even more powerful bringing-forward of Morbid Angel’s legacy into the current era. Its name is Evil Upheaval.

Transcending Obscurity Records, who will be releasing Depravity’s new album on April 30, also recommends it to fans of the New York Death Metal elite — Immolation, Suffocation, and Incantation — as well as such bands as Hour of Penance, Ingurgitating Oblivion, Drawn and Quartered, and The Furor, whose Louis Rando (also in Impiety) is Depravity’s drummer.

Such adjectives as “vile”, “twisted”, and “deafeningly heavy” also appear in TO’s promotional missives, and that’s not fake news, as you’re about to discover through our premiere of an album track named “Insanity Reality“.

Feb 142018

 

(Last November the Colorado black metal band Sar Isatum released their excellent debut album Shurpu, an album from which we premiered a song that shares the name of the band, with an introduction to the premiere by our Norwegian ally Gorger. Today we have an interview of the band by another Norway-based ally, Karina Noctum.)

 

First things first, the band’s name. The only fact I retrieved when I searched for Sar Isatum was some connection to a Babylonian incantation. So what’s behind the name?

The name was taken from Sumerian dialect and it means Lord of fire.

Feb 142018

 

The opening bars of “Heathen Shores” transports the listener’s mind like a time machine, deep into centuries long lost. And then, without losing the thread of the melody, Wallachia rocket forward again, jabbing and jolting, galloping and gliding, snarling and shrieking, in a display of highly head-bangable heavy metal might.

Heathen Shores” is a track off Wallachia’s new album Monumental Heresy, which will be released by Debemur Morti Productions on April 13th, and we’re joining with other sites around the globe in bringing you the premiere of the song.

Feb 132018

 

In 2015 we devoted significant attention to the Saskatchewan band Altars of Grief, premiering a track from their superb split with fellow Canadians Nachtterror, publishing an interview by Comrade Aleks with Altars guitarist Evan Paulson, and naming that same song from the split (“In Dying Light”) to our list of that year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.

Now, roughly three years later, Altars of Grief will be releasing their second album, Iris, through Hypnotic Dirge Records, and it’s our pleasure to bring you the stream of an album track called “Desolation“.

Feb 132018

 

More than three years ago the Montréal black metal band Basalte released a debut album named Vestige that hit me like a bolt from the blue. It affected me so strongly that I did what I have a tendency to do when experiencing such episodes of euphoria — I launched into a spontaneous spate of metaphors (here):

Vestige consists of three long songs (from 9 minutes to almost 17), ‘Mirage’, ‘Luminaire’, and ‘Obtuse’. They are guitar manifestos, strange journeys across distortion-shrouded alien soundscapes that sometimes seem like the eruption of volcanos on a Saturnian moon and then at other times shine like the Saturnian rings themselves, shimmering with the glint of sunlight on ice crystals. The drumming is just as unpredictable and just as transfixing, like a comet with a mind of its own that moves around and through the cosmic lightshow, heedless of the pull of gravity.”

I didn’t stop there, but the subject of this post isn’t a reminder of Vestige but an introduction to Basalte’s new album Vertige, which is being released today, and which you can stream after the bulwark of paragraphs I’ve written on this occasion. I’m not surprised I’ve become euphoric again; I am surprised that Vertige not only reaches the heights of its predecessor but exceeds them.

Feb 132018

 

In the summer of last year Dark Descent Records released a sampler of music that consisted of nothing but previously unreleased tracks from forthcoming albums — 11 premieres in one fell swoop. One of those was a song called “The Unchaste” by the veteran Southern California death metal band Gravehill. I was sold immediately, fired up like a Roman candle by that grisly, gruesome, up-tempo dose of barbarity, which included both spectral and face-melting solos and a highly headbangable interlude.

The Unchaste” is one of 8 tracks on a new Gravehill album, The Unchaste, the Profane, & the Wicked. It’s now set for release by Dark Descent on March 16th. Pre-orders have just gone up today, and to help spread the word, we get to bring you the premiere another track from the album. To go along with “The Unchaste”, today we present “The Profane“.

Feb 132018

 

I have no trouble expressing my enthusiasm for individual songs in words that usually spill out in a rush. Reviewing albums, on the other hand, isn’t so easy for me. Reviewing albums like this one by Starkweather and Concealment (set for a March 9 release by Translation Loss and available for purchase here) is an especially difficult challenge.

I’m not a musician, and I’m certainly under no delusions that I’m some kind of music critic. I like to think I have a discerning ear, but about all I know how to do is describe the sensations of what I hear, the way the sounds make me feel, and perhaps provide a bit of guidance to readers. And in the case of this massive, labyrinthine split, that somehow seems grossly inadequate.

The fact that this is a split release poses a further challenge:  I usually refrain from comparing the music of one band to that of another, even as a short-hand reference point. With any split release, however, it’s very tempting to compare and contrast the two sides. After all, they’re being served up in a single package, and sometimes (but not always) the music of the participating bands has a stylistic, conceptual, or aesthetic connection, i.e., they’re intended to function as integral parts of a unified whole, to provide a single experience rather than separate ones. Here, I haven’t resisted the temptation to compare, as you’ll discover at the end of this very long review.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you thinking, Will you just shut up and get on with it? So I shall.

Feb 122018

 

(We present Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Virginia’s Grethor, which is out now via Edgewood Arsenal Records.)

 

As the old saying goes, “too many cooks spoil the broth”. And the same could be said of influences too.

But while every Tom, Dick, and Harriet out there seems to be dead set on mashing together as many different styles and sub-genres as possible, often in a desperate attempt to maximise their appeal and marketability, there are still some bands – call them purists, call them elitists, call them whatever you will – whose primary goal is not to be all things to all people, but simply to be the best that they can be.

Blackened Death Metal demons Grethor are one such band.

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