Oct 222021

We’ve had the thrill of premiering the music of Cleveland’s Curse of Denial on previous occasions, helping to spread the word about the band’s 2017 debut album The 13th Sign (which included appearances from underground Cleveland mainstays such as Nunslaughter, Embalmer, Decrepit, From the Depths, Ringworm, and Keelhaul) as well as their 2019 full-length follow-up, Coming For Your Soul. And thus we jumped at the chance to do it again today.

This time the music comes from a new EP named The Reckoning, which is set for a November 12 release by Redefining Darkness Records.

If this happens to be your first encounter with Curse of Denial, its line-up is made from veteran talent consisting of powerhouse vocalist Rob Molzan (ex-Decrepit and From the Depths), plus three musicians who shared time in the instrumental metal band Pawns In Chess, two of whom were also members of Descend — bassist Michael Perez, drummer Shawn Hapney, and guitarist Jeremy McLellon. Continue reading »

Oct 222021

Adam Burke‘s fascinating symbolic cover art for Abscession’s new album Rot of Ages stuck in the heads of most people who saw it (certainly including me) before any of the music had been revealed. It turns out that the songs get stuck in the head too, like needles in a pin cushion.

Abscession’s music punches damned hard and grinds bones, deploying in expert fashion many of the traditional weapons of old-school Swedish death metal to create a potent visceral impact. The music is undeniably ferocious, but what makes it stand out from a lot of similarly inclined revivalist bands is the incorporation of evocative melodies, which really make the songs songs, each with its own character. And they really do irresistibly get stuck in the head.

Dead Man’s Hate“, the song we’re premiering today in advance of the November 19 album release by Transcending Obscurity Records is a great example of these qualities. Continue reading »

Oct 212021


The French funeral doom band Funeralium named their 2004 debut demo Ultra Sick Doom, and the name has stuck as a shorthand for their music. But what does it mean? As portrayed in their formidable fourth album Decrepit, it’s music that plumbs the depths of human illness — not so much the magnitude of the diseases that afflict the human body (though as you’ll see, this plays a role) but the deep-seated flaws in humankind which cause us to relentlessly ruin the Earth, our only home.

More precisely, we’re told that the concept of Decrepit was born in 2019 from the conviction that mankind was working tirelessly toward its own demise, diligently destroying its own habitat and the habitat of all other species — only to have these convictions reaffirmed during the first year of the pandemic, a year that seemed to cement the certainty of these convictions, and a likely forerunner of even worse times to come.

And so it was during the pandemic that Funeralium went back to studios in scattered locations to record the four imposing songs that make up Decrepit, creating devastating music on a scale (and with a sound) that matches the magnitude and nuances of the self-destructive human sickness that inspired it. Continue reading »

Oct 202021

What’s in a name?

In the case of extreme metal bands, there has been a long tradition of names that invoke evil, violence, dark fantasy and mysticism, horror, nihilism, and of course death itself in all of its guises. The impact of such names as Slayer, Emperor, Immortal, Immolation, Suffocation, Darkthrone, Hellhammer, Entombed, Mayhem, Bloodbath, and of course Death (to pick just a few) has been long-lasting.

Of course, the tradition hasn’t been rigidly honored — for example, remember the “verb-the-name” formula that dominated at the height of deathcore? — but naming rites to this day still tend to signify something about musical inspirations, many of them continuing to reflect the transgressive nature of the music in serious and shuddering words.

Which brings us to SexMag. So what’s in a name? In the case of this band and their debut EP Sex Metal, more than you might guess. Continue reading »

Oct 192021


The Australian band Tyrannic have already established themselves as a weird and wild force to be reckoned with, harnessing together elements of classic doom and savage black metal, but not really beholden to any genre constraints in their haunting and harrowing explorations of Death and what lies beyond. Yet what they’ve achieved on their forthcoming second album Mortuus Decadence is nevertheless a fierce and frightening leap forward from what they’ve done before.

As absolutely vivid proof of this, we present today the premiere of “Singe of Orgiastic Waste“, a song whose name may be confounding before you listen to it, but then begins to make horrifying sense as it spills its demon seed. In a nutshell, the track is a startling collage of calamity, a changing rendition of downfall, degradation, and derangement. Continue reading »

Oct 192021


What we have for you today is a beautiful lyric video for a fascinating and intensely gripping song by an equally fascinating and gripping Scottish band. That band, the husband-and-wife duo of Sophie and John Fraser, chose for themselves the name Hand of Kalliach. We’re told that the name comes from the legend of the ‘Cailleach’, “a Scottish witch god of winter – and in mythology one tale holds that she sleeps at the bottom of an enormous whirlpool in Corryvreckan, off the western isles of Scotland where John’s family is from, arising to usher in winter”.

As you might have already guessed, Hand of Kalliach draw upon from the folklore, history, landscapes, and seascapes of the Scottish islands, and they characterize their music as “Atmospheric Celtic Metal”. But instead of using traditional instruments they draw inspiration from the rhythms, time signatures and patterns used in folk music and adapt them for distorted guitars and other familiar metal instrumentation.

The particular song we’re presenting today is the third track on the band’s forthcoming debut album, Samhainn, named after the ancient Celtic festival of winter (and pronounced ‘Sah-win’). The title of the song is “Each Uisge” (roughly pronounced eyach oosh-keh) and it translates to ‘water horse’. Therein lies the tale of the track…. Continue reading »

Oct 182021


The bizarre Italian black/death metal band Unctoris have been quiet for eight years, for it was in 2013 that they released their last music, a split that culminated a series of demos and EPs which began in 2005. Those of us who were unaware of their mad and mutilating experiments might therefore be forgiven for our ignorance. But at last Unctoris have revived, or perhaps finally escaped from whatever asylum confined and attempted to treat them.

They completed work on their debut album Shout Demise, which seized the attention of Iron Bonehead Productions, who will release it on November 19th. What we have for you today is evidence that whatever asylum treatments they received were utter failures. If anything, Unctoris have been reveling in their loss of sanity in even more weird, wild, and wondrous ways.

Witness “Cercherò Il Passaggio Di Ritorno O Sarò Cancellato“, a song that in its diabolical ingenuity will shake your sanity like a rag doll but paradoxically becomes mesmerizing. Continue reading »

Oct 182021


Autokrator is one of those bands whose music I think of as the soundtrack to world-ending calamity. The almost unmitigated savagery and destructive power of this French duo’s death/black/industrial assaults are overpowering, even though their music also exerts a powerful primal appeal — you can become easily intoxicated by their brand of blown-out violence. And so it was more than a little frightening to read the comment by guitarist/bassist Loïc Fontaine that the song we would be premiering today is “probably the most brutal song Autokrator has ever composed and played”.

This song, “DCLXVI“, appears on Autokrator‘s forthcoming fourth album, Persecution, which is set for a November 5 release by Kruyator Productions. As has been true of previous albums, this one again takes historical episodes as its theme. Here, they recount the persecution of Christians during the ancient Roman Empire — under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius, Diocletian, Domitian, and Trajan.

They make clear that “the record has nothing to do with glorifying the barbarity; it rather conjures up the cruel and dreadful sufferings of the victims — be it decapitation, execution, lapidation, damnatio ad bestias, dislocation, imprisonment, or banishment”. That is a harrowing mission, and the music Autokrator has created is equal to the task. Continue reading »

Oct 182021


The fire-breathing band photo of Demonic Temple featured above hearkens back to ancient black metal days, to the fiery expulsions of Quorthon, Frost, and Abbath. Apart from linking arms with the vanguard of black metal’s second wave, the photo also serves as a mission statement for the music of this Polish duo, as revealed through their forthcoming third album, Through the Stars into the Abyss.

The sensations of the album are incendiary, but they also set fire to the imagination, creating both blood-freezing and blood-heating visions that seem both subterranean and celestial. Put differently, the trip through the album is very much what the album title portends — a dazzling but terrifying excursion through the stars above into the abyss beyond.

You will get a very good sense of this by listening to the album’s title track, which we’re premiering today in the lead-up to its November 11 release by Putrid Cult and Dark Horizon. Continue reading »

Oct 152021


I grew up in central Texas in a household of three generations that included an old-time folk fiddler and a square-dance pianist. Sometimes other musicians would drop in for rehearsals or impromptu performances for friends and family. I’d sprawl on the floor with my brother, mesmerized by the sometimes fiery sometimes forlorn bluegrass and mountain music they made.

This was long before black metal (or really any kind of extreme metal) existed. I mention it because it may help explain how thoroughly my mind was blown when I first heard Primeval Well‘s self-titled debut album two years ago, though that was probably evident from the run-away words that spilled out of me at the time:

Primeval Well make you understand what black metal would have sounded like if it had originated along the Mason-Dixon line in America or in the Appalachian mountains, instead of Norway. It swirls and spins, it dances and cavorts, it soars to grandiose heights of sheer ebullience, it takes us under sodden wisteria beneath crescent moons. It unleashes hellfire and black magic, lunacy and seizures, the savage delight found by lean, hard-living people who were given nothing by anyone and found their own pleasures in the devil’s dream, and the woozy somnambulance brought about by corn liquor from the still.”

All this comes back to me because I’ve had my mind blown again, this time by Primeval Well‘s second album, Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits, which is set for release on October 20th by Moonlight Cypress Archetypes, and which you will now have a chance to hear for yourselves. Continue reading »