Apr 222021


If extreme metal were a big map pinned to a wall and you got a running start and hurled the contents of a bucket of paint at it, the scattered blots would give you something like the following collection of songs and videos — though one of the splashes lands off the map altogether (I put that one dead center in this playlist, surrounded by everything else).

DÖDSRIT (Sweden)

I’m leading off with “Shallow Graves“, because it so thoroughly swept me off my feet right from the start, thanks to the thrill of its opening riff, the pulse-pounding impact of the racing drums, and the grandeur of the panoramic cascades. The song changes, moving through a variety of rhythms and tempos as well as variations in the riffing that alters the moods, though the vocals are blisteringly intense at all times. Continue reading »

Apr 222021

(The long-awaited new album from Ageless Oblivion comes out next week on Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings, and Andy Synn wants you to know all about it, and why you should buy it)

It’s a common, and widely accepted, truism that you should never meet your heroes, because chances are they’ll only disappoint you.

The same could, and perhaps should, be said about listening to the long-awaited follow-up to one of your favourite albums, an album which has become accepted by many to be a modern-day classic.

After all, there’s simply no way it could live up to or even come close to satisfying the sheer weight of expectations surrounding it.

…or could it?

Continue reading »

Apr 222021


(DGR has been spending his listening time with some strange musical creatures and has offered his thoughts about them in a two-part collection of reviews, of which this is the second. Go here to check out Part 1.)


At this point in my metal fandom I think its safe to admit that there will always be room in my heart for something a little more theatrical when it comes to music. I’m a sucker for things appearing larger than life, buried in bombast, and suffocated by symphonics. If you’re incredibly ambitious and it seems like you may be swinging for the fences on even your first release and coming off just a little bit campier than expected, then you’ll probably have someone who enjoys what you’ve got right here.

Of course all those things don’t necessarily have to apply, so they can be larger than life without having the veneer of a B-grade horror movie, but sometimes the stars align just so that I can’t help but be attracted to it. Like I said, a larger-than-life spectacle can often be just as interesting for me in the world of the extreme, which is how I landed at the debut album from Ghosts of Atlantis. Continue reading »

Apr 222021


In 2015, which seems like a geologic epoch ago at this point, we came across a two-song debut demo by Altarage from the Spanish Basque Country and summed it up as “primitive, poisonous, electrifying music from a band that’s now squarely on my radar screen for the future”. They stayed squarely on our radar screen over the course of three subsequent albums, even though they eventually left it in sharp shards of wreckage.

We characterized 2016’s Nihl as “a monster of an album… that will melt your insides”, combining “sheer malignant intensity” and “catastrophic dirges” capable of “dragging your staggering body down into an abyss of despair”. Then came 2017’s Endingent, which we described as “dealing in a brand of pitch-black sonic horror” (“horrifically dense and devastating”), creating an atmosphere “so thick and choking that this album isn’t recommended for anyone who suffers from even a hint of claustrophobia”.

Altarage followed that with 2019’s The Approaching Roar, which we found even more “grim and gruesome” — “one of those records that hits you like a veritable force of nature, and leaves you with no other option except to kick and struggle as hard as you can to keep your head above the water”.

And now comes Succumb, the new Altarage album that Season of Mist has authorized us to put before you in full, the day before its April 23 release. What should you expect? Continue reading »

Apr 212021


We’ve all had the experience of being misled by PR descriptions of forthcoming metallic extremity, when the night-blooming rhetoric proves to be an exaggeration or a calculated inaccuracy. And so we take such linguistic previews with a grain of salt, even when they generate a reflexive eagerness to listen.

In the case of the new album by the Italian death metal band Hadit (from Varese), the advance press variously portrays the music as “an obfuscating spell of dark cosmological death metal destruction”, “occult ritualistic divinations of total aural chaos”, “sonically annihilating and aesthetically majestic”, “impenetrable and supernatural”, and “hallucinations shrouded in mysticism and esotericism”.

How sad it would be if such evocative and enticing written flourishes weren’t well-founded! Even though Hadit’s last release, the 2015 EP Introspective Contemplation of the Microcosmus, already provided a solid foundation for those descriptions, that was six years ago after all. The question is whether their debut full-length, With Joy and Ardour Through the Incommensurable Path, lives up to the advance billing.

Well, you know where we’re going with this: The answer is Hell Yes It Does. The fact that it’s being jointly released (on May 7th) by such tasteful labels as Caligari Records, Sentient Ruin, and Terror From Hell Records is evidence of that, and so is the song we’re premiering today: “The Quest for Hearts and Conquest of Time“. Continue reading »

Apr 212021


The Czech death metal band Sněť released a promising demo in 2019 (which we reviewed and streamed here.) and they had planned to follow that with an EP, but their drummer’s broken leg and a global pandemic interfered with those plans. In this case, however, there was a silver lining to the cloud, because the band used the time to write and eventually record more songs, enough to fill out a compact debut album. Entitled Mokvání V Okovech, it’s now set for release on May 14th via Blood Harvest Records on CD and vinyl LP formats, with a cassette version handled by Lycanthropic Chants in Europe and Headsplit Records in the US.

Two arresting album tracks have premiered so far, and today we bring you a third one, accompanied by a DIY video that gives you a chance to see the band in action. This song is “Folivor“. Continue reading »

Apr 202021


Sometime in the middle of next month billions of so-called Brood X cicadas will emerge from the earth for the first time in 17 years, blanketing areas of the eastern and midwestern United States and lending their engine-revving cacophonies to the sounds of daily life. Theories abound as to why these periodic cicadas emerge during these synchronized moments separated by so many years, but no one really knows. It’s an evolutionary mystery.

But regardless of the reason, it’s fitting that on the eve of this great emergence Cicada the Burrower will be releasing an album that in itself represents the emergence of something new — the result of years of stylistic experimentation by the band’s sole creator Cameron Davis. It certainly represents a departure for us, because although the songs on Corpseflower incorporate recognizable metal ingredients, the sounds and styles extend well beyond conventional metal boundaries, resulting in an unusual and unusually captivating collage of contrasts. Continue reading »

Apr 202021


(DGR has been spending his listening time with some strange musical creatures and has offered his thoughts about them in a two-part collection of reviews, of which this is the first.)

I could probably pay off a month’s worth of bills if I had a nickel for every time I’ve started a dive into a particular release with some variation of ‘this is gonna be a weird one’. But there’s a certain joy I take in continuing to do that in between the varying issuances of brutality and violence that we typically cover.

Sometimes it’s a good breather and other times it feels like a peek into where metal might be expanding in the future, a gaze into realms otherworldly and difficult to describe, where the artiste roams free and unshackled. Mostly, it’s because, despite the fact that strangeness may abound and take us off the beaten path, that can still appeal to many a listener in the world of No Clean Singing.

It’s still metal, because I guarantee you that the constant breaking of conventions and the fusing of different moods into strange creatures is certainly enough to challenge a listener on what they may consider musical. Sometimes it’s in the atmospherics. Sometimes it’s how a band might embrace minimalism. And other times it can be due to just how strange the collection of influences and instrumentation is. Often  it might feel like this is the room where we get to adjust our turtle-neck sweaters, sip on our classiest alcohol, and pretend to be as high-minded and pretentious as we can possibly get.

Long story short, the two that I’ve paired up today are albums I’ve been listening to quite a bit since their release, and while one name is likely more recognizable, I assure you that for both you’ll probably want to buckle up, because this is gonna be a weird one. (I have another pairing of reviews still to come tomorrow.) Continue reading »

Apr 192021


(Comrade Aleks has brought us another very interesting interview, this time with Artyom Krikhtenko, the main man behind the fascinating Ukrainian band Odradek Room, whose newest album was released not long ago through a division of Solitude Productions.)

Odradek Room (from Mariupol, Ukraine) is one of those rare bands with their own vision and ways of unleashing their creative stream. Named after Franz Kafka’s imaginary creature, they have held on to an abstract emotional doom-death pattern with progressive feeling (and avant-garde edge) for about twelve years. They paint vast canvases of despair and grief in gloomy and violent colours, but this elegant and sometimes complex mix has its play of light and shadow.

Odradek Room’s third full-length album Painted Mind was released about seven weeks ago, and together with the band’s mastermind Artyom Krikhtenko (vocals, guitars, keyboards), we try to explore Odradek’s nature for you. Continue reading »