Mar 292020


At last, I’ve called a halt to my effort to pump so much new music into your ears that your brain drowns in it (though I still have plans for a SHADES OF BLACK column later today, so I guess I’m only pausing rather than stopping). Picking up from Part 2, the alphabetical ordering of bands continues here, R through V.


We begin with four tracks of roaring, howling, mind-warping death/grind courtesy of these North Carolina marauders. Veering between gargantuan roars and shattering screams, the vocals are truly ferocious; there’s a mountainous bass presence; and the riffing shifts from utterly crazed to sickeningly dismal and apocalyptically calamitous. The band inflict truly brutish, skull-flattening punishment; sometimes the distorted fretwork sounds like a giant excavation machine at work in a quarry; and they are equally adept at igniting conflagrations of ravaging chaos. Explosive and electrifying….

I’ll add the summing-up of Rennie (from starkweather), who opened my eyes to this release: “Sturdy, driving death metal from North Carolina. Very Morbid Angel, extremely bouncy bass tone, a touch of Asphyx with the doomed-out riffs”.

This 2020 demo was released on March 15th and you can (and should) grab it on Bandcamp.







REEK (Sweden)

Opening with an attention-grabbing solo, “Flesh Golem” brings the chainsawing Swedish chugs in highly addictive fashion, as well as skull-snapping drumwork and a great vocal tandem of gothic crooning and gritty, throaty bellowing (a la L-G Petrov). The song is a death ‘n’ roll mauler for sure, but will also treat you to a second flame-throwing solo — and did I mention that it’s highly addictive?

Taken from Reek’s album Death is something there Between, which will be out on April 24th via Testimony Records. You’ll find more info about the band (which includes Håkan Stuvemark, Rogga Johansson, Jon Skäre, and Mathias Back) and the album in our February premiere of another track.








This is a new video for the song “Destroy” off the album Imago Clipeata, which was released a year ago by this post-metal band from Nantes.

The song erupts as a hard-charging dose of heavy-weight rhythms and throat-cutting vocals, with melodies that bespeak a grim and hopeless grandeur. When the band slow down, the enormity of the bass becomes even more prominent, the vocals even more shattering in their yells of anguish, and the trilling guitar bespeaks desperation. At about four minutes in, a pulsing riff surfaces over athletic drum fills and proves to be both head-moving and memorable.

The video is a collage of scenes that proves to be as attention-fixing as the music.








Sometimes what you need in hard times such as these is a reminder why Scandinavian melodic death metal is such a blood-rush. This song delivers darting arpeggios and galloping drums, sweeping riffs that cascade and soar and others that jolt and jab. The song’s fiery energy is undeniable, and the vocalist has a fierce growl that adds to the song’s adrenaline-triggering impact.

However, just after the song’s mid-point, when the full-throttle drive dissipates, the rippling and gleaming guitars give the music a mesmerizing and mystical aspect, and when the riotous drums return, the music has a sinister and gloomy feeling — and there’s one more hell-for-leather surge to come.

The Messenger” comes from The Great Demise, a debut album set for release on May 22nd by Testimony Records.







SUMMIT (Norway)

Two long offerings of traditional doom make up this new EP by Trondheim-based Summit, who draw inspiration from the likes of Black Sabbath, Candlemass, and Solitude Aeternus.

These Norwegians don’t break or re-mold the old urn of woe, but they are very good at pouring black ichor from it into your ears like old masters of the art. They combine slow and stately rhythms that deliver gut-punching heaviness with hopeless groaning riffs, spectral leads that create an unearthly atmosphere, beautifully wailing solos, and clean vocals capable of spanning an impressive range — and channeling both a feeling of occult spell-casting and penetrating grief.

Haunting music that harrows the soul and, through its many dark enchantments, leads us willingly into deep troughs of sorrow and despair.

The End was released on March 15th, and you can grab it on Bandcamp.








Great opening to this next megaton mauler — granite-heavy bass tones and an electrifying, skull-rattling, drum progression. Raw, larynx-splitting vocal fury comes in, and eventually so do some mammoth, twisting riffs with a tone you can feel in your molars. This thing will get your whole body lurching, and it’s also unmistakably bleak and angry. Also be prepared to be pounded deep into the ground near the end, while dismal, quivering guitar vibrations wind around you like tendrils.

This new song is drawn from the self-titled debut album by thus Utah sludge band, which Prosthetic Records will release on April 17.








Brutal and blazing, “Wrath Encompassed” is well-calculated to beat a listener senseless while churning up the grey matter with vicious, fleet-fingered riffing and spidery arpeggios as the vocalists savagely bark and roar in your face and the soloist does his level best to melt his strings. Damned good obliteration.

This is the title track to Unmerciful‘s new album coming on April 24 via Willowtip Records.







VENTR (???)

I know almost nothing, beyond what I can hear, about the final track in this weekend’s giant three-part round-up. I don’t know where the band are located, or anything about its members. The song seems to be one that will be included in some kind of larger release, but don’t know when or how that will happen, though it seems that the Signal Rex label will be delivering it.

It’s fitting that “Omnipresent Abominations” comes last, because it provides a segue into the SHADES OF BLACK column that’s coming next on the schedule. As manifested here, Ventr‘s approach to black metal combines jet-fast drumming with eerie, ghostly guitar emanations that flicker and fly. The supernatural ebullience of the riffing contrasts with the slow, deep, chant-like vocals, whose reverent yet ominous tones occasionally shift into demonic growls and wild cries.

For variety, the drumming shifts into different cadences, and the riffing begins to channel a kind of beleaguered desperation as well as nightmarish sensations (the swirling wraiths in the music have become cruel and threatening). All in all, a thrilling, chilling, and frightening concoction….



  1. Been a Ditch fan since I first heard “Fuck on Asphalt” off of Hives in Decline, and I think they’ve made something incredible with this new record. And even though you’re totally right about Summit not “re-molding the old urn of woe,” I’ll be damned if those songs didn’t hook me.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.