Mar 152019


I wonder what’s in the water in Utrecht, or whether the taps only stream some combination of alcohol and paint stripper. I wonder whether it will be possible to play this 7″ vinyl more than once, or whether it will simply ignite and melt down on the first spin. I wonder whether there’s any way I can teleport into Utrecht the next time Grafjammer and Wrang take the stage to destroy some local venue. Questions, questions, so many questions.

Any questions, or any other thoughts, will only come after listening to this new split we’re premiering today. While the songs are streaming, it’s hard to think at all. The music on these two tracks is such a wild, raucous, riotous experience, so full of blazing carnal vigor and blood-lusting ferocity, so supercharged with neck-wrecking rhythms and contagious riffs, that pumping your head like a piston or picturing yourself careening into other human beings in some sweat-soaked mosh pit become the immediate instinctive reactions. There’s no room left for rational thought.

The two bands on this split, Grafjammer and Wrang, are indeed both located in Utrecht, that ancient city in the center of the Netherlands. They share a drummer, and also a strong taste for sordid, filthy black metal. They recorded these two songs in a live setting at dB’s, which seems to be a combination bar, music venue, and practice space, and the energy of a live performance certainly emanates from these recordings. Continue reading »

Mar 152019

Photo by Cristian Carvallo


(Our Russian friend Comrade Aleks brings us a new interview, this time with Rodrigo Poblete, guitarist/vocalist and a founding member of the Chilean band Lapsus Dei.)

Starting as a melodic death-doom band in 1998, the Chilean group Lapsus Dei went through some transformations during their career, and now the band stand on the threshold of a new metamorphosis.

Their discography isn’t that huge for a band who have celebrated their 20th anniversary –- two EPs, three full-length albums, and a split album with Officium Triste — but this initially anti-clerical doom is damned expressive and too strong to pass it by. So let me introduce you to the band’s only remaining original member — Rodrigo Poblete (guitars, vocals). Continue reading »

Mar 142019


The members of Chicago-based These Beasts have a friend named Greg Shirilla. They say he loves a good bath. When the band worked out the song you’re about to hear in a practice-night jam session, they named it “Shirilla in a Tub“, as a kind of placeholder for something else that would be developed after the lyrics were written. As the band have told us, the song “actually has nothing to do with Greg, but we tend to give songs names before the lyrics are written and sometimes those names just stick”.

The name obviously stuck here. Funny name. But there’s nothing funny about the music. It will tear you a new one, and won’t apologize for doing so. Continue reading »

Mar 142019


It might be a good idea for you to take many deep breaths before you begin listening to the song we’re streaming below — because for more than 10 minutes you’ll be breathless. Eye drops wouldn’t be a bad idea either, because the music is also capable of leaving a listener wide-eyed and unblinking for just as long.

The song in question is “L’Hoirie de mes Ancestres“, and it comes from the stunning new album by the French black metal band Sühnopfer, which is the sole creation of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ardraos. Entitled Hic Regnant Borbonii Manes, it will be released on May 10th by by Debemur Morti Productions, which describes the music (quite accurately) as an amalgamation of “regal Bourbon madness with quintessential black metal fury”. Continue reading »

Mar 142019


Here’s Part 2 of today’s new-music round-up. Hope you dig what I’ve chosen.


I paid attention to (and wrote about) the 2017 debut album (Schatten in Schwarz) of the multinational band Schattenfall because their line-up included two former members (Vladimir Bauer and Yurii Kononov) of the band White Ward, whose brilliant debut album Futility Report I had the pleasure of premiering earlier that year. The third member at the time of that debut was vocalist/lyricist Ole Heidenblut. Now Schattenfall have finished a second album, Melancholie des Seins, on which Bauer and Kononov are joined by a new vocalist, Stefan Traunmüller (who also contributes additional solo guitar), whose work I’ve admired in Golden Dawn, Rauhnåcht, and Wallachia (among other groups). Continue reading »

Mar 142019


I have more than enough new songs and videos to recommend to your eyes and ears to justify two installments of this Thursday round-up, and (barely) enough time to introduce them. So let’s get right to it:


It’s been a long four years since the arrival of Profan, long enough for the Norwegian black metal band Kampfar to be almost out of sight and out of mind, but not buried so deep in the memory that a new song wouldn’t provoke a sharp burst in the pulse at the mere mention of their name. After all, they’ve been plying their trade for almost a quarter-century so far, and filling that time with seven albums of substantial worth. And now an eighth one has been announced. 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


After 20 years and more than 300 live performances operating under the name Attack Vertical, the Swiss quintet who are the subject of this premiere began 2019 by adopting a new name — Among Vultures — and readying the release of a new album which shares that name. It will hit the streets on March 29th via Tenacity Music, and today we’re presenting a video for the record’s hard-hitting opening track, “Coffin Of The Universe“.

Over those two decades of work, the music of Among Vultures has evolved, now manifesting itself as a ferocious amalgam of hardcore and death metal that’s bruising, battering, and guaranteed to put a high-voltage charge straight down your spine. 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


Between about 1930 and 1945, in an area of Europe that included eastern Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic republics, approximately 14 million innocent people were shot, gassed, or intentionally starved to death. As if in the most grotesque competition imaginable, Stalin and Hitler shared responsibility for the mass slaughter, and more than half of it occurred outside the Nazi gas chambers and death camps, often in more obscure circumstances, in villages and the countryside. Both Jews and non-Jews were shot to death by the millions, simply penned like animals and deprived of food, or otherwise forced into famine. The scale is unimaginable; in Belarus alone, one quarter of its population were killed as a result of the convergence of these two brutal, totalitarian regimes.

The details of these mass  exterminations were gathered together by Yale historian Timothy Snyder in a well-reviewed and award-winning 2010 book named Bloodlands – Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. To write it, he assembled an enormous mass of fresh research on Soviet and Nazi murder, much of it emerging from archives once sealed behind the Iron Curtain, and some of it his own, in order to produce, as one reviewer put it, “something like a final and definitive account” of these terrors. Continue reading »