Islander

Sep 122019
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Imperium Dekadenz, which was released on August 30 by Napalm Records.)

I’ve known the name Imperium Dekadenz for quite a number of years but never checked them out. Their music was classified as black metal, which I hated in my early years as a fledgling metalhead and later on because the label “atmospheric black metal” in particular seemed to be frequently assigned to the absolute worst of bedroom production and gimmicky tripe.

Nevertheless, with the impending release of their new album I decided to check them out for the first time ever, because my metal palate has expanded and because, while atmospheric black metal as a label can still be associated with some of the worst music I’ve heard in my life, I’ve discovered that it also harbors an interesting form of black metal, one that embraces the vocal style and the vibe of occult or generally spiritualist mysticism, but is just doomy melodic death metal when you really break it down. Continue reading »

Sep 122019
 

 

You scuffle along dirty sidewalks that edge mean streets, kicking the detritus in front of you, head down and lost in your own gloomy and frustrated thoughts. Suddenly the gloom becomes a fury. Maybe you’ve walked right into someone else in your blind momentum, and the shock springs a fragile lock in your head. Maybe everything that’s been seething just suddenly reaches a violent boil of its own accord, because nothing you’ve been thinking leads to any solution, and all the agony and rage you’ve been trying to work through or suppress just won’t be held down any longer.

Repression only works for so long, and the growing pressure you’ve been trying to contain only magnifies the explosiveness of the release. Nothing is solved, no solace presents itself. But what else are you supposed to do? You eat yourself alive, or you let it go, and give the nitroglycerine in your veins something else to consume, with fire.

With emotionally powerful music, what we take away from it is always unique, because that’s an alchemical product of the immutable sounds and what’s inside of us, which is never exactly the same as what’s inside someone else, including the band who made it. The first paragraph above is just what I imagined and felt in listening to “Svinakungens sal“, the track we’re presenting today from the new album by M:40. You might get a different feeling, but whatever that might be, it’s bound to be intense — because this is a damned intense song. Continue reading »

Sep 122019
 

 

(This is Wil Cifer‘s review of the new album by Japan’s Coffins, which is due for release on September 20 by Relapse Records.)

2019 has been a really strong year for death metal. Here is an album that continues the trend.

Not the biggest fan of these guys going into this album, but familiar with their work. There is still some rough around the edges grit, but here their sound is much more dialed in. When they lock into a more palm-muted chug you can really hear the difference. It’s their fifth album in 20 years, and this sounds like the one they have taken the most time with. There are more sparse touches of punk. They are more deliberate on songs like “The Tranquil End”, but not jumping on this year’s death-doom bandwagon by any means. Continue reading »

Sep 112019
 

 

I’ve been closely following the work of Texas-based Wings of Dahak since coming across the tracks released in advance of their 2017 debut album, Unholy Wings. Initially drawn to the music by the pedigrees of the band’s three members — guitarist/vocalist/bassist Dave Tillery (Embalmed, ex-Gruesome Fate), lead guitarist Cody Daniels (Giant of the Mountain, Dour), and drummer Matt Thompson (King Diamond, and more) — I quickly became sold on the ravaging ferocity and immense evocative power of their particular amalgam of death and black metal (to mention only two ingredients).

Named for a legendary three-headed dragon (Azhi Dahaka) created by the spirit of destruction, whose reign brought to the earth “misery, hunger, thirst, old age and death, mourning and lamentation, excessive heat and cold, and intermingling of demons and men,” and creating music “with this spirit in heart and mind”, the band have succeeded in summoning those terrible visions through sound.

Wings of Dahak followed that debut album with a new single last fall — “The Day They Burned” — which we reviewed soon after discovering it. Now, the band are about to release a new EP named Death At Your Side, which includes both that single and two new tracks. Today, on the eve of that release, we’re premiering both the EP as a whole and a video for its title track. Let’s take the songs one at a time, beginning with the one we’re presenting through a frightening video… Continue reading »

Sep 112019
 

 

Rapidly approaching their fifteenth year of existence, the Finnish black metal band Aegrus have pursued their visions of Luciferian darkness with unwavering dedication, but with increasing skill. As the years have passed, the band has also grown from its two founding members (vocalist Darkseer Inculta and guitarist Lux Tenebris) to include long-time session live members Serpentifer (drums) and Praestigiator (guitars), and they have all joined forces for the recording of the group’s remarkable third album, In Manus Satanas.

This new full-length will be released on October 11th by the band’s new partner, the cult Finnish record label Saturnal Records. One song from the album (“Nemesis“) has previously surfaced, and today it’s our privilege to present another, aptly named “Ascending Shadows“. It’s a tremendously dramatic and emotionally powerful piece of music, with an atmosphere that’s both reverent and fearsome, both ominous and tortured, and ultimately spellbinding. It builds in intensity at the same time as it’s methodically digging its razor claws ever more deeply into the imagination and the memory, to the point when its haunting after-effects seem to go on and on even after the song has concluded. Continue reading »

Sep 112019
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by Portland-based Vitriol, which was released by Century Media Records on September 6th.)

I reviewed Vitriol’s debut EP in 2017, which you can read here for context, and I gave it VERY high praise. I found the band to be a refreshing new face eager to return death metal to its late ’90s/early 2000s zenith with a manic style that combined excessive technicality, song-writing prowess, overpowering posture, and commitment to their craft in the vein of Cryptopsy, Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Hate Eternal, Origin, etc.  Don’t misread my words though. I don’t think these guys are THE NEW FACE of death metal, but in the current age they do have an acute and rare understanding of what makes death metal, especially on the more technical front, so cathartic and engaging.

And now we’re here, with Vitriol’s debut LP To Bathe From The Throat Of Cowardice.  One thing worth noting is that all four songs from the debut EP are on this record, with the EP’s title track in fact closing the album.  I’m just gonna put my initial hot take about this album out there, and digress from there. Continue reading »

Sep 112019
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the debut album by the Israeli band Obsidian Tide, which was released on August 29th.)

It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the proggy end of the Rock/Metal spectrum.

Not only have Tool just released their long-awaited fifth album, but the end of the month will see the release of both a brand new Opeth record AND a remixed/remastered (and even proggier) version of Cynic’s brilliant 2008 comeback album, Traced In Air.

But what if I told you that a little-known group from Israel had recently released an album combining the best elements of all three of those bands?

Would you be interested?

I thought you might. Continue reading »

Sep 102019
 

 

(Our Seattle-based contributor Gonzo re-joins us with another lively concert review, this time reporting on Iron Maiden‘s performance in Tacoma, Washington, on September 5, 2019.)

“It’s only gonna get better from here,” bellows a spry Bruce Dickinson, addressing the Tacoma Dome crowd while standing under a replica Spitfire plane. Dickinson and his band of merry men in Iron Maiden had just torn through iconic opener “Aces High,” complete with said plane dangling from the top of the stage like a marionette during the song’s entirety. This alone would be an impressive spectacle for any live act to pull off, but for Iron Maiden, it’s the warmup.

At this point in the band’s storied career, to expect anything less than this from Iron Maiden would be silly. At 61, Dickinson is as energetic as someone half his age, and Steve Harris and the rest of his bandmates in the indispensable UK metal crew aren’t far behind. Not surprisingly, then, would the band’s 2019 Legacy of the Beast tour be anything less than spectacular? Continue reading »

Sep 102019
 

 

The debut album by the Belarusian black metal band Downcross, which we premiered in February, proved to be one of the best surprises of the new year, which was then barely two months old. The duo of vocalist/drummer Ldzmr and guitarist Dzmtr demonstrated impressive skill as songwriters and performers, creating emotionally powerful tracks loaded with magnetically attractive melodic hooks, physically compulsive rhythms, and dynamic changes of mood. With such abundant talent on display, Mysteries of Left Path left me quite interested to hear what Downcross might do next. I just didn’t expect I would find out so soon.

Not even seven months later, Downcross are on the verge of releasing a second album, What Light Covers Not, on September 11th. Of course Downcross didn’t start working on these seven new songs for the first time after their debut album was released. The process probably began long before that. But it might still be fair to wonder how good the album is, given the relatively short time between the two releases. Though my own opinion is obvious — because today we’re premiering the new album, as we did the first one — I’ll just make it explicit: What Light Covers Not is really, really good. Continue reading »

Sep 102019
 

 

(After a hiatus due to personal obligations, DGR returns to our devoted cadre with this review of the new album by the UK band Necronautical, which will be released by Candlelight Records on CD and gatefold vinyl on September 30th.)

It’s funny that in total run-time, black metal group Necronautical’s latest album Apotheosis is actually two minutes shorter than its predecessor, The Endurance At Night. There exists a temptation after a few spins, to describe Apotheosis as a much bigger album than its predecessor but in terms of actual time spent that is clearly not the case.

Apotheosis marks Necronautical’s third foray into the black metal void, adding their own cinematic and melodic flourishes along the way. It is also the group’s third album to feature seven songs, re-establishing one of a handful of patterns now recognizable throughout Necronautical’s music. Continue reading »