Feb 062018


I’m continuing to parcel out new and newly discovered music as time permits today, almost all of it displaying cyclonic ferocity in different ways, hence my decision to give the “SEEN AND HEARD” title a rest in favor of something more connected to the sounds.


We’ve been writing about Pennsylvania’s Rivers of Nihil since January 2012. I count 14 posts featuring them since then, including album reviews, song premieres, and live concert reviews. I guess you could say we’re fans. And now they’ve given us a reason to add Post No. 15 to the list.

On March 16, the band will release a new album entitled Where Owls Know My Name, and today the first advance track from the album appeared on Bandcamp. “The Silent Life” is the song’s name, but it isn’t a quiet and contemplative piece of music… though surely no one would have expected that anyway.

Oct 272016



(Andy Synn turns in this review of the live performances by Obscura, Revocation, Beyond Creation, and Rivers of Nihil in Sheffield, England, on October 24, 2016 — along with videos of the performances.)

Our readers in the UK who play guitar or bass will probably have noticed something rather peculiar over the last couple of days. Riffs that they used to be able to play turning into a mangled, lumpen soup of glitches and errors… Fluid solos that they used to rip out with ease skittering away from stumbling fingers… even, in the most extreme cases, a complete inability to even lift their instrument anymore, as if they were no longer “worthy” to wield its power.

And I know why.

You see on Monday night I was there when Obscura, Revocation, Beyond Creation, and Rivers of Nihil selfishly used-up the entire country’s supply of notes and riffs, leading to a crisis of near biblical proportions amongst the string-slinging section of the UK metal community.

Thankfully, however, I’ve been informed that a fresh shipment is being piped in from the mainland, and so normal proceedings should be resumed by the weekend or thereabouts.

Feb 102016



It’s conceivable that there are people out there who actually noticed that notwithstanding my earlier promise about posting one of these installments every day this week, I failed to do that yesterday. In between other posts that were more urgent and interference from my fucking day job, I just couldn’t manage it. So, to keep on schedule, I’m posting two installments today!

In case anyone happens to stumble on this post with no idea what I’m talking about, this is my year-end list of 2015’s “Most Infectious Metal Songs”, which will come to an end on Sunday, and there are 20 previous installments you can inspect via this link.


I am so damned happy that Khemmis‘ 2015 album has been so damned successful. Lots of people knew how good they were before I had my first taste of their music at the 2014 Denver Black Sky festival, but I still like to think I was at least hanging around the launching pad before the rocket took off.

Aug 042015

Ares Kingdom-The Unburiable Dead


I’ve been distracted by a combination of personal obligations and the demands of my fucking day job. As some of you may have noticed, we didn’t post anything on Sunday, which was only the seventh calendar day in five and a half years when that has happened, and we had only two posts yesterday. So great is the daily flood of metal that even a few days of distraction means that we get very far behind in our attempts to keep up with all the new music. Catching up would be a herculean task, but in this post I’ve made a modest effort to round up some (and only some) of the good new music and video streams that have surfaced since the end of last week.

This collection is incomplete, but it’s still a long playlist of recommendations — presented in alphabetical order by band name, with a rare paucity of words from me about the music. Your thoughts about these sights and sounds will be welcome, as always.


Roughly two years after the release of their last album, Veneration, Kansas City’s Ares Kingdom are about to drop a new one. The name is The Unburiable Dead, and the CD release is projected for early September on Nuclear War Now!, with LPs to follow. The album cover, which I think is wonderful, is based on a piece by the German artist George Grosz (1893 – 1959) called “The Pit“. When a friend of the band told me about the cover, he included this quote by the artist, who led a fascinating and tumultuous life:

Jul 272015

Rivers of Nihil - Monarchy


(Austin Weber reviews the new album by a band we’ve been following since early days — Rivers of Nihil.)

While it’s only been two years since Rivers Of Nihil dropped their fantastic debut, The Conscious Seed Of Light, the band are already about to release their sophomore follow-up, Monarchy, at the end of August. It’s been interesting to see the band’s evolution from their more stripped-down beginnings to the truly top-shelf act they’ve become. After even a single listen to the record, it becomes clear that Monarchy is a big step up for their sound, achieving the potential that in some ways they only hinted at on The Conscious Seed Of Life — and I say that as someone who is a massive fan of their debut.

Their growth from then until now manifests itself in different ways, but arguably the biggest change is that the atmospheric quality present in “Mechanical Trees”, “Rain Eater” and “Airless” from the last record has become the direction the band have pursued throughout Monarchy. They have done this tastefully, overall adding an epic extra sheen to the music that contrasts well with whatever segment it’s paired with. Often it lends moments of pure esoteric beauty, not something you’d normally find in furious, technically-leaning death metal.

Jul 082015

Rivers of Nihil - Monarchy


(Andy Synn introduces our premiere of the title track to the new album by Rivers of Nihil.)

I absolutely loved Rivers of Nihil’s debut album, The Conscious Seed of Light. Though it’s not a perfect release, it is very, very good (particularly for a debut full-length), and absolutely packed to the gills with nascent potential.

Potential which they’ve fully realised on their new album, Monarchy.

From start to finish it’s an intensely heavy, stunningly technical (though always in service to the greater themes of the song), and viscerally passionate album, that sees the Reading, Pennsylvania quintet capitalising on the momentum gathered by their debut in order to really expand the scope and breadth of their sound.

Aug 112014

Collected in this post you will find news of three U.S. or North American tours. News about the first two is still somewhat incomplete, and I’m a bit late reporting on the third one. All three are enticing.


Last month news surfaced about a tour to be headlined by Deicide, named after their most recent album, In the Minds of Evil. Last night Inquisition posted an announcement on their Facebook page about the tour, which was interesting because when the tour was announced last month Marduk was named as one of the support bands, but now it appears that Marduk are out and Inquisition are in. In addition, Abysmal Dawn have been added to the line-up. Here’s the complete list of bands:


An updated official tour flyer hasn’t been released yet, so I decided to use a photo of an embryo of the short-tailed fruit bat (embryonic stage 19).

Inquisition also included an initial schedule of dates in their FB post, while noting that more dates will be added. Here’s the schedule so far:

Oct 102013

(In this post guest writer Austin Weber reviews the new album by Rivers of Nihil.  He also took the live photos included with the review.)

For the last few years, Reading, Pennsylvania’s own Rivers Of Nihil have seen their profile continue to rise through a combination of excellent EP releases and a lot of dedicated touring. Last year all that hard work payed off as Metal Blade Records decided to sign them, and now that October is upon us, their full-length debut The Conscious Seed Of Light arrives.

While Rivers of Nihil began as a hybrid of rich old-school and new-school death metal influences, they’ve wisely developed their sound further. On this debut the band have matured and are just as comfortable easing back on the aggression and letting reflective atmospheric moments develop and flourish. Unlike some other bands who have incorporated these kinds of sounds into their death metal framework, Rivers Of Nihil never allow them to become the focus for whole songs. They merely let those moments flavor and enhance parts of most tracks. So in the end you still get the experience of being bombarded by an angry wall of sound, and the songs don’t lose any aggressive appeal. Then, as an added bonus, their sorrowful excursions lend a gnawing melancholy to the music that is quite emotive.

Sep 182013

On October 15 Metal Blade Records will release the debut album by Rivers of NihilThe Conscious Seed of Light — and today we bring you the premiere of the album’s sixth track, “Mechanical Trees”.

We’ve been following this Reading, Pennsylvania band since January 2012, close on the heels of their second EP, Temporality Unbound. We didn’t know for sure what the future would hold in store for them, but the potential was undeniable. And, as things turned out, that potential blossomed into a contract with Metal Blade last December and then an intense recording session in St Petersburg, Florida, with Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal) at his Mana Recording Studio in March. And now we have the results.

The Conscious Seed of Light began with the idea that it would be the first of four albums, each one reflecting a particular season of the year. Vivaldi meets death metal? Bassist/vocalist Adam Biggs explains that this debut album “is intended to be representative of Spring and explores various themes concerning new beginnings, growth, and an attachment to the natural world in a post-human Earth.” That’s right — post-human. It is a death metal album after all, one graced by the cover art of Dan Seagrave, which isn’t exactly the typical imagery of spring. As guitarist Brody Uttley observes, “What we see on the cover is a landscape of a world that doesn’t need mankind, we are relics here, and the sun is the only true master.”

Aug 132013

Here are a few things I saw and heard last night that I thought might be of interest.


We’ve been following Pennsylvania’s Rivers of Nihil since all the way back in January 2012. Last December we reported that they had signed to Metal Blade Records and would be recording their full-length debut for the label with Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal) at Mana Recording Studios in March. We also streamed a demo version of a new song that will appear on the album named “Rain Eater”.

Yesterday we got a good look at the album’s cover by veteran metal artist Dan Seagrave, and it’s quite the eye-catcher, don’t you think? We also got the album’s name (The Conscious Seed of Light) and the release date: October 15.

On July22 , the band played one of the new tracks — “A Fertile Altar” — live at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, and it was caught on video. The sound quality is good and the song rocks hard. Check it out next.

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