Sep 202018


Based on the music in the song you’re about to hear — “Crippling Despair” — its title could be thought to have a dual meaning. Most obviously, it connotes paralyzing emotional devastation. But the track itself is crippling in another way — relentlessly heavy, mercilessly punishing, and remorselessly cruel.

Not for naught does Redefining Darkness Records drop references to early Cryptopsy, Monstrosity, Dying Fetus, and Deicide in describing the sounds of Mutilated By Zombies, a three-piece juggernaut from Iowa whose new album Scripts of Anguish the label will be releasing on October 5th. The music is undeniably vicious, and rhythmically compelling, and a throwback to a certain distinctively American style of old school death metal. Continue reading »

Sep 202018


Genetically Engineered to Enslave is the new (fourth) album by New Hampshire’s Solium Fatalis, and it’s set for release on October 13th. It includes guest vocals by Matt McGachy (Cryptopsy) and Haydee Irizarry (Carnivora) on one track as well as a guest guitar solo by Phil Tougas (First Fragment, Chthe’ilist) on another. And it’s conceptually devoted to the subjects of genetic engineering and artificial intelligence.

And with those intriguing details out of the way, let’s turn to the explosive new song we’re presenting today — which is a non-stop ticket straight to headbang city. But for such a relentlessly ferocious, neck-wrecking song, “Servile” also succeeds in generating a multi-textured atmosphere that’s terroristic, arcane, and haunting. Continue reading »

Sep 202018


(Our friend Conchobar has prepared the following guest review of the new album by the French project Esoctrilihum, which will be released by I, Voidhanger Records on October 19th with cover art by Jef Whitehead — and we are also presenting the premiere of a track from the album named “Exhortathyon Od Saths Scriptum“.)

There looms, within abjection, one of those violent, dark revolts of being, directed against a threat that seems to emanate from an exorbitant outside or inside, ejected beyond the scope of the possible, the tolerable, the thinkable. It lies there, quite close, but it cannot be assimilated. It beseeches, worries, and fascinates desire, which, nevertheless, does not let itself be seduced. Apprehensive, desire turns aside; sickened, it rejects. A certainty protects it from the shameful—a certainty of which it is proud holds on to it. But simultaneously, just the same, that impetus, that spasm, that leap is drawn toward an elsewhere as tempting as it is condemned. Unflaggingly, like an inescapable boomerang, a vortex of summons and repulsion places the one haunted by it literally beside himself.

Kristeva, Powers of Horror

Abjection is an appropriate sign under which this reaction to Esoctrilihum’s album, Inhüma, should be convened. The work represents a threat — a breakdown of the apparently clear strapping and structures of a consensus reality. The violence of the occult-agrarian, the protohistory of sacrifice, of bloodied fields, serve as auspex: this is a harrowing; a threshing through which preconceived meaning is grist for the machinations of the ritualist — it is taken apart, buried in the soil, and grown into things that horrify and make reality itself alien and other. Continue reading »

Sep 192018


When I first encountered the music of the French black metal band Hyrgal through their 2017 album, Serpentine, I was left stunned by its union of stupefying violence and mystical sorcery, shaken by its immensely powerful and dense cyclones of sound, moved by its dark, tormented melodies, and chilled by its haunted moods and apocalyptically grand vistas. And now Hyrgal are returning with new music through a very special split release with two other French bands, Bâ’a and Verfallen, who have proven through this split that they are formidable forces in their own right.

This new album-length split (more than 53 minutes in length) will be released on October 12th by the respected Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions. It includes two tracks by each of the three bands, and we present the first of Hyrgal’s two tracks today, a composition called “Césure“. Continue reading »

Sep 182018


The night holds unmistakable allure for this Swedish band, whose name is Night Crowned and whose song “Nocturnal Pulse” we’re premiering today. But while feelings of isolation and gloom, and of the chilling presence of hungering shapes shifting in the darkness, come through in this intense new song, the music is also vibrantly and viciously explosive, like the incandescence of meteors (or wraiths) rushing through cold midnight skies.

Nocturnal Pulse” is one of three tracks on Night Crown‘s debut EP, Humanity Will Echo Out, which will be released on November 30 by Black Lion Records. But while Night Crowned may be a new formation, its line-up includes current and previous members of The Crown, Dark Funeral, Nightrage, and Cipher System, with a combined catalogue of more than 20 albums to their credit, and thus this new record is far from a fledgling flight — which will quickly become apparent as you listen. Continue reading »

Sep 182018


We’ve been following, and helping spread the word about, the Montreal death metal band Samskaras since 2014, premiering both a track from their debut single Consecrate and a song from their 2017 EP, Asunder. Now this talented duo — vocalist/guitarist/bassist Eric Burnet (ex-Derelict, Unburnt) and drummer Alex Dupras (Unhuman, Teramobil) — have recorded a new EP, and once again it’s our pleasure to premiere a song from it.

The new EP, Lithification, is set for release on October 26th and includes four tracks recorded with Cryptopsy’s Chris Donaldson at The Grid Studio in Montreal. The music represents a further stylistic expansion of the sounds displayed on previous releases, adding doses of black metal, doom, and even deathcore into the band’s head-spinning framework of progressive tech-death. Continue reading »

Sep 182018


I was afraid something unfortunate had happened to Verminlord — death, dismemberment, or even worse, a decision to stop writing and recording music. An entire year had passed since this usually prolific musician’s last release (a track recorded for a Crushing Intolerance compilation), a year of silence after a string of impressive recordings (all of which I’ve enjoyed and almost all of which I’ve reviewed) that left me sadly resigned to the likelihood that the project had ended.

Fortunately, none of my fears was true. Neither death nor dismemberment befell Verminlord, and the man behind the project (Teo Acosta) hasn’t put aside music in favor of more mundane pursuits. He just needed some time to try to clear his head, and now, following a move from the Pacific Northwest to southern California, he has given us a new three-song EP, which we’re now sharing with you on the day of its release. Continue reading »

Sep 172018


Out of one death comes a new birth. The untimely passing of Frank “Killjoy” Pucci this past spring brought a halt to work on a new album by his long-running death metal band Necrophagia. Necrophagia guitarist Serge Streltsov then chose to turn his full energies to what had begun as a black metal side-project, a band called Automb that he had formed with vocalist/bassist/keyboardist Danielle Evans. They enlisted the aid of Morbid Angel drummer Scott Fuller, and have completed work on a debut Automb album named Esoterica, which will be released on October 22nd through Satanath Records (Russia) and Final Gate Records (Germany).

Whether there will ever be another Necrophagia album is an unknown, but what is abundantly clear is that Automb have created a new album (dedicated to Killjoy) that’s fueled by passion and delivered with immense dark power. One attention-grabbing track from the album has already premiered (“Into Nothingness”), and today we present another: “Call of Hekate“. Continue reading »

Sep 172018


One strong clue to Nuisible’s world-view could be found in the title of their last release, 2016’s Inter feces et urinam nascimur (“We are born between feces and urine”). Their new album is named Slaves & Snakes, and based on the music, it’s an easy guess that this title sums up the character of the human condition after birth. It’s a bleak perspective, and one that this French band channel into sound with traumatizing fury.

In describing their brand of brutalizing heaviness the band make references to Tragedy, Darkthrone, and Entombed. Crust and hardcore form the backbone of their assaults, which are undergirded by massive low-end weight and driven to heights of murderous blackened frenzy. The music is as merciless as the open mouth of Hell and meaner than a pack of rabid dogs, and yet the band have a knack for embedding both rhythmic and melodic hooks in these ten mauling tracks, and of switching gears often enough to keep you in harness for the whole bruising ride. Continue reading »

Sep 142018


The Vancouver, BC, band Truent made their impressive recording debut last year with an EP entitled Faith in the Forgotten, and they’re following that one with an even more impressive EP, To End An Ancient Way of Life, which we’re highlighting today — the day of its release — through the premiere of a full stream.

The four tracks on this new EP provide a turbocharged thrill-ride, each song displaying flamboyant technical fireworks, but within a framework of tremendously punishing and head-hooking grooves, and threaded with through-lines of melody (both bleak and boisterous) that further stick the songs in your head. The impact is ferocious, frequently explosive, and persistently electrifying. Continue reading »