Sep 222023

Any year that sees the release of a new album by New Zealand’s Bulletbelt is a very good year, no matter how much shit is raining down around the rest of the calendar. At least that’s the conclusion you’d draw from all the many expressions of enthusiasm we’ve showered on the band at this site going back to 2014, when their second album Rise of the Banshee came out.

Now they’ve got another full-length, Burn It Up, which is officially being released today via Impaler Records. In many ways it’s surprising, as compared to what we’ve come to expect, due in part to the advent of a new Bulletbelt vocalist, whose talents have led to band to expand the influences of classic heavy metal, power metal, and rock in their songwriting.

On the other hand, the new album also includes songs that are more in line with the kind of verbiage we’ve used in the past (which included frequent comparative references to the band Midnight), words and phrases like “viscerally appealing”, “stunningly contagious”, “absolutely electrifying”, “hard-hitting”, and “anthemic”.

All of which is to say that Burn It Up is quite a varied album — and even more varied than the preceding paragraphs might lead you to expect. Vivid proof of that comes in the form of the frightening video we’re premiering today for the new album’s devastating fourth track, “No Afterlife“. Continue reading »

Sep 222023

Although I thought for sure that we had passed along some comments about the Grievous Psychosis debut album from Poland’s Martyrdoom six years ago, alas, we didn’t, though we did share an interview by Comrade Aleks of guitarist Grzegorz Młynarczyk.

Ours was a regrettable oversight, because that first album was packed with grisly charms. It leaned into doom-soaked old school death metal, with plenty of heaviness and hooks, revealing an evolution from the band’s earlier releases.

And yet maybe it’s just as well, because the band’s forthcoming second album, As Torment Prevails, is even better. The songwriting is more capable and dynamic, the melodies more blood-congealing, the grooves even more bone-smashing, and the production is improved, though still dirty enough to suit the band’s old school devotions.

To back up these opinions, what we have for you today is the premiere of the new album’s fifth track, “Shedding of the Soul“. Continue reading »

Sep 212023

Death comes for some people suddenly, and often far too soon. For others it waits at the end of a slow process of physical and mental decline, far later than some would wish.

In times greatly distant from our own the harshness and hardships of life, coupled with an inability to treat illnesses, caused people to age and diminish faster and die sooner. But even then, as well as now, it has often fallen to children to care for declining parents, past the point when the pleasures of companionship have vanished and only pain remains.

In many cultures at different times around the world the problems of aging were solved by the practice of senicide — the killing of the elderly. In some places the aged were expected to relieve the burdens on their clans by killing themselves. In others, they became the victims of ritual sacrifice.

It is said that in ancient Scandinavia “the practice consisted in elderly people throwing themselves, or being thrown, from precipices after becoming unable to take care of themselves or perform everyday tasks.” And that practice, as described by the Portuguese band Lacrau, is the subject of their debut album Axioma, which we’re premiering in full today on the eve of its release by Monumental Rex. Continue reading »

Sep 212023

For those of you who might be experiencing the music of the band Dungeon for the first time today, don’t misunderstand their name: They don’t play dungeon synth or creeping and rotten old school death metal. In fact, you’ll soon discover that they’re somewhere over on the opposite end of a spectrum that might include those other genres.

But surely many of you already know that, because Dungeon (whose members are divided between the UK and Germany) have already made their searing mark through three previous releases whose titles very openly brandish the kind of music they’ve been making: the Unholy Speed Attack demo in 2015, the English Hell demo in 2016, and the Purifying Fire EP in 2018.

Fans have waited five years for Dungeon‘s next audio attack, and today you’ll hear it through our full stream of a new EP named Into the Ruins that’s set for release tomorrow by Dying Victims Productions. Those five years, it turns out, have done nothing to quench the hellfire that burns in their songs. Continue reading »

Sep 202023

The Norway-based duo Hammerfilosofi came together in the plague year of 2020 with the goal of creating primeval black metal that would represent a “cleansing fire that aims to eradicate every trace of the civilized, the harmless, and the mediocre”, and to function as “an instrument to initiate a violent cathartic inner journey – and a celebration of strength and vigor, of terror and strife, and of glorious death.”

The results of their dark and imperious endeavors are captured in a debut album entitled The Desolate One, which is set for an imminent release on September 22nd by ATMF. Did the band achieve their goals? You’ll be able to answer that question for yourselves through the music player below, which provides all six tracks and nearly 45 minutes of sound.

Of course, we have our own answers. Continue reading »

Sep 192023

The stories and ideas that inspire the lyrics and music in metal albums are, at least in the minds of most listeners, of secondary importance to an album’s audio sensations, even when those narratives and notions were vital to the people who created the album. The same is true of stories about how an album came to exist at all.

To be honest, many times (most of the time?) a metal album’s conceptual themes just aren’t that novel or compelling, or they’re poorly rendered, especially in the lyrics. Just as often, the events that brought a band together and led to the making of the music, usually involving the surmounting of myriad misfortunes, turn out to be not very interesting, which in many instances might mainly be the fault of how the story is told.

In all these respects, however, the comeback album of the Belgian death/doom band My Lament is an exception to the norm. Continue reading »

Sep 182023

It’s been an interesting day at our site today. We began with my compatriot Andy‘s review of a well-hyped death metal album that he lauded for (among other things) its “outlandishly proggy approach” and “indulgently weird wavelegths”. Now we’re following that with something that has all the elaborate nuance of a atomic detonation.

Don’t get the wrong idea — Uranium‘s weaponization of power electronics, industrial noise, and black metal (among other ingredients) does create weird, head-twisting experiences, but in service of channeling mental ruination and inflicting terror on a seemingly world-ending scale rather than exercising a listener’s higher faculties.

In their sonic assaults, Uranium grasp the “godliness” and horror of nuclear annihilation most famously summed up by Robert Oppenheimer‘s somber yet shattering (and all too accurate) reflection: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds“.

Not for naught, Uranium have named their new album Pure Nuclear Death, and it’s the album’s title track we have for you today. Continue reading »

Sep 182023

The first song on a new EP by the Italian band Magnitudo, and the first single from it released for streaming, is named “Monument“. As we wrote here when we first heard it, it proves to be a fitting title given the immensity of the sounds.

The band erect a towering wall of guitars above humongous pounding drums, and then they make the wall writhe as horrific roars and howls intrude. Bent on destruction, Magnitudo also inflict slugging jolts as the drums hammer the spine, and they also spin out sweeping waves of ominous melody and slowly slithering filaments of sonic poison that put the frighteners in the bloodstream while the band attempt to break every bone in your body.

And so with that one track Magnitudo don’t just demonstrate the worthiness of the song name, they make one wonder whether the EP’s other three songs create music of similar imposing magnitude. You’re about to get the answer to that question. Continue reading »

Sep 152023

Twenty years ago Black Lotus Records released Waltzing Mephisto, the second album by the Italian progressive black metal band Hortus Animae. And on October 31st of this year, just in time for Halloween, Symbol of Domination and BlackHeavens Music will celebrate the anniversary with the release of Waltzing Mephisto 20th Anniversary, a special two-disc record that will please fans of this distinctive band and provide a fascinating introduction for newcomers.

The first CD includes a remastered edition of the Waltzing Mephisto album, along with two new bonus tracks. The second disc is Godless Years Live, which is a previously unreleased recording of a live performance by the band. Collectively, the two CDs include 23 tracks, packaged with new artwork.

Hortus Animae have a storied history of both recordings and performances that has made them a cult favorite among fans of unorthodox music. And the music definitely is unorthodox, intertwining “gothic atmospheres, progressive rock majesty, orchestral grandeur and the primal fury of black/death metal” (to quote the labels’ comments).

The band are also known for recording unusual cover songs, and the new 20th anniversary release includes several of them. One of those is a two-part cover of “You’re Dead” by Norma Tanega, a folk song first released in 1966 that many decades later has used as opening theme song for the What We Do in the Shadows TV series.

That two-part cover is included as the bonus tracks for the remastered edition of Waltzing Mephisto, and what we have for you today is “You’re Dead (Part 1)“. Continue reading »

Sep 152023

The animation in the video you’re about to see creates images of disgustingly gruesome horror, but you would likely get visions of horror simply from listening to the song, because foul supernatural sensations ooze, stalk, and spasm in the music. The song is also a certifiable neck-ruiner.

The name of that song is “Metamorphosis“, and it’s the title track from the upcoming second album by the Dutch death metal band Ecocide, set for release by Memento Mori on October 23rd — more than a decade after the first one, with nothing but a few singles scattered across that long gap.

This one song, standing alone, proves how lucky we are that Ecocide are making their album-length return. Continue reading »