Feb 282018


Are you sitting down? Have you got a firm grip on something that’s solidly anchored to the floor? Is your crash helmet in place, and some kind of bit between your teeth so you don’t bite off your tongue? If so, you’re probably good to go on this new song, but no guarantees. If not, call 911 for an ambulance before you press Play — because “Massacre Reaction” is pure audio murder, like a combination of riding an electric chair and being hit by a rushing freight train, or perhaps more appropriately, like being at ground zero in the crosshairs of a carpet-bombing campaign.

Perhaps there’s a slight exaggeration in those words, but not much. What Cave Bastard have pulled off on “Massacre Reaction” is genuinely electrifying, and stunningly brutal. The song comes from this San Diego band’s debut album, The Bleak Shall Devour The Earth, which is set for release by Accident Prone Records on March 23rd. Continue reading »

Feb 282018


Visitation is the name of the new EP by the Israeli band HAR, and it does indeed conjure the atmosphere of a terrifying intrusion into our own world by hungering forces from shadow realms where death reigns supreme. This ghastly offering of black/death terrorism will be released by Sweden’s Blood Harvest Records  on March 2nd, and to help spread the word we’re offering you a full music stream today.

The three songs encompassed by Visitation sound as if they were recorded in a sepulcher cut from basalt deep underground, everything reverberating as if bounced back and forth off massive dank walls and a vaulted ceiling lost in the darkness. The sounds are dense, unearthly, and inhuman. And those sounds give rise both to explosions of violent chaos and to a pervasive air of horrible grandeur. Continue reading »

Feb 282018


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Phantom Winter, which will be released on March 2nd by Golden Antenna Records.)


Metal is, as we all know, a genre intimately acquainted with darkness in all (or at least most of) its forms.

For some bands their music is an attempt to express and expel the darkness within them in an explosion of convulsive catharsis. For others it’s a chance to celebrate and even indulge in their darkest impulses and desires. And then there are those who use their talents to explore the darkness of the world which surrounds them in all its ugliness and horror.

For German quintet Phantom Winter, however. the question appears to be less about which of these approaches they wish to take, and more about which one they wish to take first. Continue reading »

Feb 282018


(Here’s DGR’s review of the new album by Wake from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.)


Some albums take a while to review. On a personal note: I’ve always been the type to really want to listen to a disc a ton, really learn what each song is about, how it flows, get a general sense of what informed the disc, before writing about it.

Going from a first glance often feels like criminally short-changing bands sometimes, although by that same token the first impression can also be an immensely valuable take on things in a world where time is incredibly limited, and some — like many of our readers here, given the constant refrains about how much music we post — have limited listening time. So it doesn’t hurt to have a sense of immediacy in the delivery.

And therein lies the opposing side of the “album that takes a while to review”. You have the ones that are so up-front, so immediate, the kind that grab you by the throat and ragdoll you around the room so quickly that you can’t help but almost immediately lock-in with the group’s chosen sense of ferocity. The urgency with which the material is delivered becomes the driving force behind it.

Those album’s don’t take nearly as long, because as a listener you can recognize every aspect and every weapon deployed from moment one, and from there the experience becomes more about how a band uses them and with what amount of lethal auditory force. And that brings us to the recently released Misery Rites, by Canadian noise-heavy grinders Wake. Continue reading »

Feb 272018


I’m beginning today’s round-up with two recent videos, which are quite different both visually and musically but which share two common features: Both were directed and produced by the same person (Eric Revill-Dews of Bigger Boat Film), and both include the voice of our own Andy Synn, in all its increasingly varied range of tones.

And then I’m following those two wonderful videos/songs with a selection of other recently discovered releases that also helped make my listening session last night a real joy.


Until watching this first video for the song “Dying Earth” I had no idea that any place in England could look as vast, as inhospitable, or as starkly beautiful as Derbyshire in the wintertime. Until reading the credits I assumed that the three grim-visaged gentlemen in Twilight’s Embrace had smuggled themselves on board a flight to Scandinavia (though of course I’ve never been there either). Apart from teaching me something new about the landscape of England, the video also proved to be a wonderful match for the music… which is itself as powerfully moving as the vision of those snow-covered reaches. Continue reading »

Feb 272018


Let us speak first of the tones of the music on Galvanizer’s debut album, Sanguine Vigil, because they are so delicious. Two of them are prominent.

The first is the deep, gut-rumbling, smoke-spewing, chain-sawing grind of the guitar. You know that tone. It sounds as if you could set the speakers next to a block of concrete and watch with a smile as the music vibrates it into a pile of gravel. You might also imagine it sending a web of fine fractures through your skull, like the appearance of a windshield that’s been crazed by an errant rock kicked up from the highway in front of you.

The second prominent tone in the music is the snap and crack of the snare drum. It’s as sharp and hard-edged as the guitar tone is murky and corroded. It sounds like an ax biting into wood, or the rapid fire of a handgun. Continue reading »

Feb 272018


The invocation of chaos is a pillar of black metal — not the only one, but perhaps the central one, at least for those bands whose music is fueled by Luciferian flames and created in glorification of the Adversary. Yet the freedom granted by chaos has different dimensions, and so does the vast array of black metal that attempts to channel it. There is a difference, for example, between “music” that is itself simply chaos (and thus doesn’t merit the term “music” because it becomes painfully unlistenable) and compositions that cut the chains which bind us to a drab existence in ways that not only make connections to primal emotions but are also… interesting to hear. The song we present today is in the latter category.

The German black metal band Chaos Invocation proclaims its mission in its name. As time has passed, it has become more and more adept (and increasingly interesting) in the fulfillment of that mission. The progress becomes evident as you move from their second album, Black Mirror Hours (2013), and onward to the band’s 2017 split with Thy Darkened Shade (Saatet-Ta Apep) and now the new third album, Reaping Season, Bloodshed Beyond, which will be released by W.T.C. Productions on March 10th.

One example of Chaos Invocation’s increasing strength was revealed through DECIBEL’s premiere of a track from the new album (“Calling From Dudail“) earlier this year, and the one we have for you now — “MenSkinDrums Of Doom” — is a further impressive sign. Continue reading »

Feb 272018


(Michigan’s seafaring Dagon have set sail again after seven years ashore, and DGR follows along in their wake like a gleeful porpoise with this detailed review.)


Few albums out there start with a song quite as victorious as Dagon’s Back To The Sea does. Its title track is an anthemic opening number, leading off the lengthy excursion back into the world of nautically themed melo-death from the Lansing, Michigan based group after a seven-year absence. Holding more thinly veiled symbolism than one might expect from a band who’ve made their headway in the metal scene by pulling tales from mythology, the history of piracy, and general apocalyptic tales of the ocean, the song “Back To The Sea” quickly throws aside all pretention in favor of a quick-moving guitar part and a constant refrain of “going back, back to the sea!”, which is an event that has been a long time coming for fans of the band.

The comeback disc is a hard trick to execute, but after a succesful crowdfunding campaign (which we posted about here, mostly to get folks some foam shark fins because the merchandising opportunity amused us) the group, who had developed a bit of a cult following after the release of their 2009 album Terraphobic and its followup EP, 2011’s Vindication, have managed to do just that. Back To The Sea contains 13 songs of hydro-powered, lead-guitar-charged melodeath led by a combo of cat-shrieking highs from drummer Truck and hefty low growls from bassist Randall, and while it’s not exactly breaking the mold genre-wise, it proves to be a whole hell of a lot of fun. Continue reading »

Feb 262018


There’s no typo in the title of this post. Methistopheles is indeed the name of the debut album by the Southern California band Sixes. Think for a moment about such a union, about the scourge of meth joined to a conception of Lucifer not as a fallen angel but as the master of eternal tortures. Imagine desperation, derangement, and pain without end.

To be clear, I don’t know if that’s precisely the linguistic suggestion that Sixes had in mind when they coined the album title. My imagination could simply have fallen prey to the influence of the album’s music, which draws from poisoned wellsprings of sludge, stoner doom, and black metal to express abject misery in particularly devastating but perversely entrancing ways.

The music may turn your imaginings in other directions… none of them very pretty or comforting… but the best way to find out is to listen to the album. And you can do that now through our premiere of the record a few days before its March 1 release by Black Bow Records. Continue reading »