Jun 032020


After 12 years operating under the name Endemise, the Ottawa band Serene Dark had undergone so many line-up changes and alterations of musical direction that the time seemed right for a new name. They chose their new moniker, as guitarist Dale Sauve has explained, to reflect the band’s current musical approach — it “can be soothing and melodic at times, and dark and heavy at other times, so Serene Dark was a perfect fit.”

The band have also shed some light on the concept behind their new album Enantiodromia, which will now be released on July 17th (a virus-related postponement from its original street date): Continue reading »

Jun 032020


Germany’s Sanctifying Ritual first staked their black flag in foul underground soil with their first demo back in 2009. They followed that with another demo three years later, and then came the Storm of Devastation EP in 2013 — after which the band fell silent. But now they have come roaring back with a long-awaited debut album which bears the band’s name. It will be released by the esteemed Iron Bonehead Productions on June 5th, with a digital edition available that day, as well as CD and vinyl LP formats also becoming available.

The new album, which we’re giving you the chance to hear in full today, could easily have been given the title of the band’s first demo — Sadistic Death — because that’s the kind of feeling it breeds. The music incorporates a range of stylistic ingredients, but everything sounds saturated with evil — not cold and brooding menace but poisonous, rampant, and blood-spraying malignance, nothing you could reason with or resist, a combination of seething pestilence and knives-out malice, of supernatural riot and noxious rot. Continue reading »

Jun 032020


Make Them Die Slowly was White Zombie‘s second album, released in 1989. Before that it was the name used in the U.S. for Cannibal Ferox, a 1981 Italian cannibal exploitation horror film written and directed by Umberto Lenzi. According to The Font of All Human Knowledge, “upon its release, the film’s US distributor claimed it was ‘the most violent film ever made'”, and it was reportedly banned in dozens of countries, “although this claim is dubious”.

And it’s the name of a new band formed by Mick Kenney of Anaal Nathrakh (who will themselves have a new album ready for release this coming fall). Continue reading »

Jun 032020


(Accompanied by the following review written by Andy Synn, we present the premiere stream of Vernal, the new album by Witching, which will be released on June 5th.)

Life often throws up some strange coincidences, does it not?

Case in point, we almost missed out on hosting the premiere for this album, the debut full-length from Philadelphia quintet Witching, as the initial invitation to do so wound up getting buried in our ever-overflowing inbox.

Wouldn’t you know it though, the same day I got in touch with Islander to see if we had received a promo for the album (having become enamoured with the handful of pre-release tracks available on the group’s Bandcamp page) we also received a follow-up email from the band’s PR rep, with the final result that we agreed to combine my review with the premiere you’re about to listen to.

Like I said, coincidence is a strange, but sometimes extremely satisfying, thing. Continue reading »

Jun 012020


We’re premiering a video here. It’s for one of 15 tracks on the new album, digitally released in April, by the British grindcore band Evisorax (with a vinyl edition coming from 7Degrees Records). But although you can find a track listing on Metal-Archives, the album is presented on Bandcamp as one track of nearly 28 minutes in length, and that’s exactly how it should be experienced — because it’s definitely not a “typical” grindcore record. Of course, you should watch and listen to the video, but definitely do not stop there.

The album, Ascension Catalyst, gradually builds toward an explosion of deranged off-planet warfare, which is insane when it happens, and then slows again at the end, descending into bizarre chaos. In between, things generally stay at a fever pitch — but not always. You really won’t see everything coming, in part because at some point your eyes may roll back into your skull. Continue reading »

Jun 012020


Killowner is the new EP by The Hallowed Catharsis, who make their home in Vancouver, BC. Over the course of six compact songs they tell “the desperate story of the end of life for a mutated human pet of an elitist extraterrestrial master after she has lost her merit and attempts at having her breed prove futile”. Consistent with the narrative concept, the music itself seems extraterrestrial, and it’s a wild thrill-ride from beginning to end.

“Unhinged progressive death metal” is the formulation applied to the music by Lacerated Enemy Records, who will release the EP tomorrow (June 2nd), and you’ll understand why when you hear it. And hear it you can, because we’re presenting a full stream right now. Continue reading »

Jun 012020

Photo by Linn Vilmann


(In this new interview Comrade Aleks spoke with Konstantin, a key figure within the Swedish band Head of the Demon, whose new album was just released at the end of April by Invictus Productions and The Ajna Offensive.)

Head Of The Demon from Sweden is one of those rare remarkable bands who have established their own individuality. Originally they mixed doom, a bit of black metal, and obscure rock influences with a Middle Eastern atmosphere of occult worship. But their debut Head Of The Demon (2012) and thr sophomore album Sathanas Trismegistos (2016) have their own distinctive features, and a new album with the title Deadly Black Doom leads even further through hallucinogenic fumes of thick toxic incense.

I’ve tried to find out about Head Of The Demon‘s roots with the help of Konstantin (guitars, bass), and this is where it leads us… Continue reading »

May 312020


I had grand plans for today’s SHADES OF BLACK, but they were derailed by the amount of time I put into an album premiere earlier today and by what happened across the U.S. yesterday and last night, events that fixated my attention and splintered my concentration on music (and on everything else except for the overflowing of frustration and rage in the nation’s urban streets).

I’m still distracted, but wanted to do something for those of you who might look forward to this Sunday tradition, maybe especially in these incredibly unsettling times. So I singled out one part of what I had originally planned to do, and will now focus only on that part — a new album-length split release by two remarkably talented black metal bands: Almyrkvi from Iceland and The Ruins of Beverast from Germany. It’s worth the sole focus, because I think we have here a record that will find its place on many a year-end list. Continue reading »

May 312020


Opium, the new album by the Romanian funeral doom band Descend Into Despair, is a classic example of a musical river. It began somewhere high in the mountains (a collective of minds). As the waters flowed down, they picked up an increasing variety of ingredients and became enriched, eventually gathering in a vast array of sonic textures and changing moods as well as works of visual art. By the time it reaches the sea (what by all rights should be a sea of listeners), it has become a flow of great and branching power. And as it mingles with the waters of that sea, it will become something different again, as the listeners bring their own experiences and emotions into the interpretation of what they hear.

The album truly is vast — an hour’s worth of music divided into only three tracks — and both the scale of its dramatic power and the intensity of its emotional impact are sweeping. It’s also musically rich, both in the variety of its instrumental and tonal textures (many of which are foreign to the traditional experience of funeral doom) and in the spectrum of the voices. And like a great river, it has the capacity to carry listeners away across changing soundscapes, and to submerge them in its extravagant depths. Continue reading »

May 302020


(In this May 2020 edition of THE SYNN REPORT Andy Synn combines reviews and streams of all the albums (and one EP) released to date by the California band Xibalba, including their latest album released just yesterday by Southern Lord.)

Recommended for fans of: Misery Index, Earth Crisis, Morbid Angel

Depending on who you ask, Death Metal and Hardcore are either mortal enemies or eternal blood brothers, divided or bound by a mutual love of pure heaviness and pulverising aggression.

Californian crushers Xibalba clearly see the two styles as different sides of the same coin, and have been paying their dues for over a decade now, producing, to date, four impressively intense albums of churning riffs, chunky breakdowns, and belligerent bellowing vocals.

But, for whatever reason, the band just haven’t had that major “break out” moment yet, which is pretty shocking when you consider how much crossover potential there is in their sound. After all, they’re pretty much the only band I could ever recommend equally and without reservations to fans of Earth Crisis or Entombed, Disembodied or Dismember, Misery Index or Machine Head or Morbid Angel.

Hopefully, however, the recent release of their fourth album, Años en infierno, should give their profile a major boost, meaning now is the time to jump onboard the hype train before you get left behind! Continue reading »