Nov 252022
 

How could we possibly begin this write-up other than by contemplating all the messages signaled by the name KRUSHHAMMER (and yes, it must be written in ALL CAPS).

There’s no pretension in that name. It functions as a blunt instrument, and doubles down on the concept — not just a hammer, but a hammer that KRUSHES (rather than “crushes”, because “K” is unmistakably harder than “C”). It signals not tenderness or refinement but mania and destruction. And lest there be any doubt, these Brazilians from Belo Horizonte named their forthcoming debut album Blood, Violence & Blasphemy — which follows a debut EP named Speed Blacking Hell.

“So it’s fair to expect from it, to say the least, a seminal shredding metallic speed force possessed by hell, darkness and thrashing holocaust.” So says the Portuguese label Heldprod Records, which will be releasing the new album on November 28th.

How accurate are all these signals? We shall find out together now. Continue reading »

Nov 242022
 

Here in the U.S. today is Thanksgiving Day. For 13 years our site has made a point of observing no holidays, but instead continuing to focus without pause on the heavy music that inspires us. But on this holiday we can kill two birds with one stone — presenting music that kills, and being thankful, for the gem that is Jade.

To be clear, we are talking about a gem of a band, not the gemstone, though both share certain qualities, with a capacity to seize attention as the facets turn. And undeniably, the debut album of this part-German, part-Catalonian band provides music of many elaborate facets that’s altogether stunning. Entitled The Pacification of Death, it will be released tomorrow by Pulverised Records, but we’re providing a chance for everyone to hear it now. Continue reading »

Nov 232022
 

It is with considerable pride and pleasure that we present a complete stream of It Never Ends…, a new album by the Danish band Maceration — pride, because this marks the return of a group who made a heavy mark in the old annals of death metal with their 1992 debut A Serenade of Agony, and pleasure, because the new second album is really fucking good.

In a time when metal re-births seem increasingly common, the resurrection of Maceration after three decades still seems worth an extra measure of attention, in part because for their new album Dan Swanö has again stepped in to fill the session vocal role, as he did under the name Day Disyraa for that 1992 debut. He hasn’t done growled vocals since the halcyon days of Edge of Sanity, but you couldn’t guess that from his performance here. His monstrous growls, ravenous howls, and wretched gagging emissions are frighteningly powerful throughout.

But as vital as those vocals are to the success of It Never Ends…, it is of course the quality of the songwriting and musicianship that weighs most heavily in the balance between success and failure, and there the credit goes to original guitarists Jakob Schultz and Lars Bangsholt, bassist Robert Tengs, and drummer Rasmus Schmidt (Illdisposed, ex-Myrkur). Continue reading »

Nov 222022
 

Not long ago the Athens-based, genre-bending band Euphrosyne provided a starting introduction to their debut EP Keres through an official video for a song from the EP named “When My Fears Conquered All”. The video shrouds the music with haunting and harrowing imagery which well-suits the song’s haunting and harrowing lyrics, interspersed with views of the band performing, fronted by the frightening countenance of vocalist Efi Eva.

The music is also unsettling, but also functions as a statement of intent for the EP as a whole — and the statement is to expect the unexpected.

In that one song the band push and pull the listener through a genre-labyrinth, creating an amalgam of bone-bruising bass blows and frenzied, squirming, and darting fretwork, of skull-snapping beats and eerie astral keyboards, of gasping whispers and blow-torch screams, of grand chords and rapidly ringing melodies, of wailing yet anthemic soloing, suddenly high-flown singing, and anguished spoken words.

If there’s a thread that holds all the moving parts together, it’s a steadily encroaching aura of darkness that spans moods of confusion, desperation, agony, and fury, with glimpses of grandeur and reprieve that seem just out of reach. Continue reading »

Nov 212022
 

We’re about to premiere an extraordinary album in its entirety. We’re also about to open the floodgates on a waterfall of words, in an unnecessary and probably fruitless effort to explain why it’s extraordinary.

Where to begin? Maybe by saying that although you will see genre labels affixed to the music of Australia’s Estrangement on their album Disfigurementality — principally referring to it as a blending of funeral doom and classical music — there’s no kind of shorthand reference that could be accurate. To borrow from the press materials, “Funereal-Flamenca-Nuclear-Jazz-Fusion-End-of-World Music” comes closer to the mark, but still falls short.

Does it go too far to claim that Disfigurementality is unique? Well, you’ll be the judge of that, but in our estimation that’s what this music really is, something so astonishingly eclectic, so wildly creative, and so mind-blowing to hear that it really does seem unparalleled in the annals of extreme doom. Continue reading »

Nov 212022
 

 

From the birth of our site (exactly 13 years ago today!) one of our founding principles was, and still is, to write only about music we enjoy and want to recommend. Of course, that doesn’t mean everything we’ve written about stands on equal footing. Based on their growth and consistent achievements we’ve put some bands on higher pedestals than others, and few have garnered the kind of praise over many years that we’ve heaped upon Alaska-born, Texas-based Turbid North (see for yourselves).

Almost exactly seven years have passed since the release of Turbid North‘s last album Eyes Alive. But even seven years weren’t long enough to dim the memory of that record, or for that matter its predecessor Orogeny (from 2011). As proof of the point, our own Andy Synn listed a new Turbid North record as one of his “most anticipated albums” of 2017… and of 2018… and probably would have continued doing that if we hadn’t scrapped the early-year “most anticipated” columns.

Well, you can imagine the burst of excitement we experienced when Turbid North at last announced that they would release a new full-length on January 20th of the coming year. Continue reading »

Nov 182022
 

As long-time fans of metallic extremity are well aware, the revival of old school death metal that began in all its many shapes over the last decade or so has reached the proportions of a flood tide. Like other kinds of retro revivalism the results have been mixed, ranging from bland nostalgia worship to music that manages to authentically breathe new life into the old traditions without morphing them into something unfamiliar. Updated production values may be added to the mix, or a sprinkling of new ideas capable of seizing attention.

And in some cases, current bands are just so outlandishly good at what they’re doing that your thoughts don’t drift away into “hell, I’ve heard this a hundred times before”, because you’re too busy getting your head wrecked and your nerves ignited.

Which brings us, as a prime example of that, to the criminally under-noticed Faithxtractor from Cincinnati and their new album Contempt for a Failed Dimension, which will get a January 20th release through Redefining Darkness Records. Continue reading »

Nov 182022
 

It’s our great pleasure today to premiere the second advance track from the forthcoming fourth album by the Spanish band Frozen Dawn, their first one in five years. Entitled The Decline of the Enlightened Gods, it will be released by Transcending Obscurity Records.

As its title may suggest, the new music of Frozen Dawn plays out on a grand stage. It’s well capable of scathing and scorching the senses, but it continually soars to ravishing heights of startling magnificence, and the melodies play moving lead roles in the unfolding pageantry.

These are the kind of stirring songs that not only get hearts pounding (and breaking), but also prove to be intensely memorable. Not for naught is it said that Frozen Dawn pay tribute to the likes of Dissection, Necrophobic, Sacramentum, and Naglfar, and the choice of cover art by the late great Mariusz Lewandowski is also entirely fitting.

The song we’re presenting today, “Oath of Forgotten Past“, is a great example of all the qualities noted above. Continue reading »

Nov 172022
 

There’s something admirable in standing fast against powerful headwinds, even when the position may cause some to cringe.

Bob Malmström staked out their position long ago as the true originators and crowned kings of “borgarcore”, and they have taken delight since 2010 in jabbing their fingers into the eyes of standard “against the system” punk mentality by celebrating the benefits of Dom Perignon, lap dances by pretty girls, fast cars that can be run by you instead of over you, and favorable swings in the stock markets. Maintaining that position in recent years has gotten tougher, but these Swedish-speaking Finns haven’t backed down. In the context of their new EP Segla med Satan they write:

It’s 2022 and everything is going to hell. The stock market is tanking, the waves are full of poisonous algae porridge and in the east a mad tyrant force-feeds his brain virus to the people like a Frenchman force-feeds geese. The world is on the brink of an abyss…. Salvation is not what anyone expected, nor asked for, but it gives you the Zen to ski down the slopes of the Alps waving your middle fingers to the poor. We’re ready to rock the gold teeth out of your mouths.

Punk is for poor losers. Folk metal is for stupid losers. Bättre folk metal is for rich geniuses! Continue reading »

Nov 172022
 

“Can you imagine the raw savagery of early Black Metal mixed with monolithic Death Doom, a pinch of Crust Punk and some spastic Plasma Pool type of EBM all placed inside a jar? Wolok did, they made a molotov of it and they are now ready to throw it at us all and see the world burn”.

That’s a tag-team wrestling match of words from Brucia Records, who will be releasing Wolok‘s new album The Bilious Hues of Gloom on December 8th. It’s a valiant effort at linguistically trying to grapple Wolok‘s music to the mat, as well as a sign of how difficult it is to do that. Brucia also leaps from the turnbuckle with this characterization:

“Too Punk for Black Metal, too Doom for Punk, too Industrial for Doom… deranged, demented and disjointed… bipolarly shifting from majestic to decrepit and back for all of its duration… completely psychotic….” Continue reading »