Islander

Oct 232020
 

 

In Hong Kong, where a population of roughly 8 million people are packed into a confined area in which little developable land remains, landlords have resorted to illegally subdividing space into tiny cubicles for rent in which all living activities must take place within areas as small as 15 square feet. Known as “coffin apartments”, these nightmarishly claustrophobic holes have been condemned by the United Nations as “an insult to human dignity”.

Coffin Apartment is also the name chosen by a Portland trio whose unsettling music is the subject of this premiere — though in the age of the coronavirus the name has different and perhaps even more relevant connotations.

Trying to succinctly describe the audio assaults of Coffin Apartment is not an easy task. In a freewheeling way they’ve thrown elements of death metal, grind, hardcore punk, sludgy noise rock, and even prog and psychedelia into a blender. The results are heavy as hell, rabidly raging, and mentally destabilizing. Calling the music “off kilter” would be an understatement. But the results are also so surprising and so electrifying as to become unexpectedly transfixing. Continue reading »

Oct 232020
 

 

(Another work-week is ending, and Gonzo again helps usher it out with a selection of new songs and videos from forthcoming or just-released records.)

It only dawned on me this morning that we’re a week away from November, and given that most of this year has felt like floating in some nebulous void in an endlessly dystopian universe, that was a weird thought.

Even as snow falls just south of my Colorado home as I type this, wildfires continue to burn just north and west of me. It’s a confounding juxtaposition of fire and ice that’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Just another day in 2020, I suppose. With any luck, the plummeting temperatures and prevailing snowfall will help extinguish the flames that have been turning the sky into an unsettling shade of apocalyptic as of late.

All that being said, here’s a few bangers this Friday to make you forget how fucked up the world is right now. Continue reading »

Oct 232020
 


Photo by Florian Moritz and Rikard Östberg

 

We’re about to premiere a red-hot song and video from the new EP by Katapult. It’s so damned tempting to just quote the title of the EP — Shut the Fuck Up and Press Play — and get out of the way. But we have to have our own fun too, even if it probably pales in comparison to the amount of fun it looks like the Katapult crew are having in this video. So, on we go….

You can see the name of this first single from the EP up above, but there’s a sub-title: The complete name is “Load the Katapult (your old band is shit)“. They’re probably not talking about your old band in particular, so settle down. Though, actually, settling down is not what any red-blooded listener will do when they hear this track and watch these Swiss and Swedish thrashers stomp on the gas pedal. Continue reading »

Oct 232020
 

 

(This is Wil Cifer‘s review of the new album by Pallbearer, which is being released today by Nuclear Blast.)

“This is going to be our heaviest album yet” or “We just wanted to strip things down and get back to our roots” are stock answers for many metal bands when asked about their next records. So much so they have become tropes. Yet that is what has happened on Pallbearer’s fourth album, which is their first for Nuclear Blast.

The title track that opens the album is even more Sabbathy than anything from Sorrow and Extinction, which of the three previous albums has the most in common with this one. Some of this is due to the rawer production. The vocals are mixed to sit back more in the guitars, bringing out the heft of the guitars. Continue reading »

Oct 222020
 

 

(Although Andy Synn hasn’t completely recovered from his recent debilitating injury, he’s well enough to continue forging ahead with reviews, and brings us three more today.)

Continuing with my Sisyphean task of attempting to cover each and every album which I don’t think has received enough attention or acclaim over the past several weeks and months, today I’m both pleased and proud to present the Progressive Death Metal delights of Cellar Vessel, the crushing Cosmic Doom of Hexer, and the alchemical Black Metal assault of Skáphe. Continue reading »

Oct 222020
 

 

Two years ago we had the pleasure of premiering a full stream of Psalter of the Royal Dragon Court, the second album by the Australian extreme metal duo Mongrel’s Cross. As we wrote of the album in an accompanying review: “It’s ravaging and regal, sinister and searing, warlike and overflowing with a kind of mythic grandeur. It’s the sound of saga, with an aura of larger-than-life fantasy surrounding all of its movements. And it’s almost relentlessly explosive, blazing like a comet in the heavens, or like the fireballs erupting from that clash of titans on the cover.”

We might have gotten carried away with words (as we admitted at the time), but the album had such high-flying splendor (and feral savagery) in its amalgam of black thrash and epic heavy metal that it was hard to stay calm. And thus it was exciting news to discovery that Mongrel’s Cross would be returning this year with their third album, Arcana, Scrying and Revelation. Like the first two, it will be released by Hells Headbangers Records, and we again have the chance to spread the word with another Mongrel’s Cross premiere, in advance of the record’s November 27 release. Continue reading »

Oct 222020
 

 

Montreal’s Synastry first came together in the early 2000s, at a time when MySpace dominated social networking and the metal scene was in many ways very different from what it is today. The band released their first EP, Pallets of My New World, in 2006 and followed that with a debut album named Blind Eyes Bleed in 2008. But in 2012 the band went dormant, and only this year have revived.

In making their comeback, Synastry have recorded a new EP named Civilization’s Coma, with plans to move forward with work on a new album. The EP is a three-track affair set for release on November 27th, and today we’re premiering, through a lyric video, a single from the EP entitled “Dead To Me“. Continue reading »

Oct 222020
 

 

(Comrade Aleks brought us the following discussion that he had with two members of the multi-national funeral doom band Aphonic Threnody, whose latest album is out now on Transcending Obscurity Records.)

A bit of good deathly funeral doom won’t hurt anyone. International project Aphonic Threnody proves it with their third album The Great Hatred released by Transcending Obscurity Records just a few days ago.

Formed in 2012 by Riccardo V (guitars, bass) and Roberto M (vocals), who are also known with their doom death band Dea Marica (put on hold since 2013), Aphonic Threnody gained a fair reputation delivering their artistic and grim litanies at full capacity. The lineup changed from album to album and now the project consists of Riccardo V, Juan Escobar on keys, and Justin Buller on guitars. Juan joined Aphonic Threnody six years ago, and he took part in over a dozen different bands (you know for sure the Chilean melodic death doom band Mar de Grises, one of his most well-known outfits). Justin Buller has a shorter list of bands he was involved in, and funeral capella In Oblivion is one of them.

So… The Great Hatred is a killer title, something most of us know well nowadays. Let’s learn more about it with Riccardo and Juan. Continue reading »

Oct 212020
 

 

In the first minutes of the opening song “Of Being“, the Athenian band Kevel lay before the listener a blueprint of what will become the foundation for the imposing and wondrous edifice of their new album Mutatis Mutandis, which we’re premiering today. In that opening, a riveting drum solo is joined by heavy groaning chords and shrill discordant arpeggios. In one fell swoop, the music hybridizes primal physical punch, dismal and depressive moods, and spine-tingling sensations of flaring madness.

The band’s ability to create teeth-on-edge tension and earth-quaking heaviness comes to the fore again and again over these 50 minutes. The nuanced yet persistently skull-cracking drum performance repeatedly threatens to steal the show, both amplifying the songs’ most intense moments and creating fascinating contrasts within all of the band’s other richly multi-faceted movements. The bass tone possesses the heft of granite but the nimbleness of larks. And the guitarists are highly adept at creating tension and turmoil.

But it turns out that all these riveting contributions really are just the foundation, and what Kevel have created around it is a gnarled, frightening, yet shining tower that reaches into the stars, almost as astonishing and awe-inspiring in its visions as it is shattering in its impact. Continue reading »

Oct 212020
 

 

(Here’s Gonzo’s imaginative review of the new album by Colorado’s Wayfarer, which was released last week by Profound Lore Records.)

In this writer’s humble opinion, there are two hallmarks of truly breathtaking music: 1) It gets better with every listen, and 2) it elucidates vivid imagery when listening to it with your eyes closed.

There are, of course, other criteria for evaluating the quality of music, but when talking about A Romance with Violence, the newest dust-covered output from Denver post-black metal crew Wayfarer, those two items are the perfect place to start. Continue reading »