Oct 262020


So far, the experimental black metal band MRTVI, which is the solo project of Serbian musician Damjan Stefanović, has released two albums — Perpetual Consciousness Nightmare (2015) and Negative Atonal Dissonance (2017). Both are fascinating, and well off the usual beaten paths of black metal. As we wrote around the time that the second album was released (by Transcending Obscurity Records), MRTVI “makes a determined effort through this music to fracture reality into a shower of sharp shards and splinters, to plow madly through the constrictive channeling of experience through our perceptions, in search of an inner cosmos”.

Now MRTVI is only 11 days away from the release of the band’s third album, Omniscient Hallucinatory Delusion, also via Transcending Obscurity Records. The album is divided into four chapters, and each chapter consists of multiple songs. The final chapter, “View of Denial“, unfolds through two songs, and today we’re presenting the first of those — “Perceived Entirety“. Continue reading »

Oct 262020


(Here’s Comrade Aleks‘ interview with drummer Dennis Lefebvre of the Belgian band Marche Funèbre, whose new album Einderlicht was jointly released on September 25th by Hypnotic Dirge Records, Solitude Productions, and The Vinyl Division.)

We did an interview here with Belgian Marche Funèbre about a year ago. Back then they had new EP, Death Wish Woman (released on October 14th), a tour, and a lot of fun… Now the band has a new full-length album Einderlicht and no gigs at all.

I think it was a matter of luck that Marche Funèbre got finished in time and managed to record the album with Markus Stock at his Klagschmiede Studio in February 2020 before actual shit started to hit the fan. But well, we’ve completed quite a good interview with the band’s drummer Dennis Lefebvre, and I welcome you to read it. Another portion of good and fair doom death doesn’t hurt anyone. Continue reading »

Oct 252020


I got a late start on the day and therefore have had to adjust my plans for this week’s column. Running short on time, I’ve had to postpone brief reviews of some recently released albums that richly deserve attention and instead focus on new singles and advance tracks from forthcoming records. But they richly deserve attention too.

I’ve arranged these tracks in a way that provides a flow that made sense to me, starting off one way, taking a turn in a different direction, and then changing course one more time at the end. Coincidentally, one thing these tracks have in common (and they don’t have a lot in common) is that blast-beats are in short supply.


The title of the first song, “Eviscerate My Withered Soul“, tells you a lot about the mood of the music. Launched by ritual drums, ominous symphonic swells, and grim, seething chords, it stalks forward in a way that leaves feelings of oppressiveness and despair in its wake. Augmented by bestial growls and withering screams, the music’s intensity mounts, creating tension and tragedy in equal measure. There’s a sense of horrible grandeur in the music, commingled with fever and pain. Continue reading »

Oct 242020


What a week it’s been. The virus is running wild again, like rabid dogs — that lots of people apparently still want to hug. Anxiety levels over our coming election seem to be reaching a zenith. My fucking day job has been pounding me like a harp seal on an ice floe, which is melting fast. And bands and labels are still releasing so much music so fast it’s like they think tomorrow may not come. And I ain’t going to say they’re wrong.

The long and the short of it is that I’ve fallen even further behind in trying to keep up with new metal. And to make that Sisyphean task even more daunting, we’re rapidly approaching Listmania season. I for one can’t wait for this miserable year to end, but we still can’t let that happen without indulging in our usual list-making around here. Looking backward, of course, makes it tougher to look ahead, and sideways.

But for now I did have a slice of time to myself this morning and used it to dart around among some recent releases. I picked the following songs and videos to recommend.


When you watch this first video, which premiered at Decibel a few days ago, you’ll quickly learn that in 2017 and Nader Sadek invited Karl Sanders (Nile), Derek Roddy (Serpents Rise), and Mahumud Gecekusu (Perversion) to visit Egypt. Of course, they made music together. Continue reading »

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 »