Apr 172019


2019 is shaping up to be a banner year for medieval black metal. For those who are paying attention, it’s also proving the diversity of that particular sub-genre of music as different bands interweave strains of ancient melody from different parts of Europe into their compositions in different ways, and using different instruments, some very old and some modern.

The Spanish band Calyx will certainly be among the front rank of what 2019 has to offer to fans of medieval black metal — or fans of black metal of any stripe, for that matter — through their debut album Vientos Arcaicos, which will be released by Iron Bonehead Productions on May 17th. Their inspirations are described as “firmly entrenched in the Middle Ages, sweeping across the native legends of the Iberian Peninsula as well as castles, ruins, Aragonese Pyrenees, and decrepitude”, but they have channeled those inspirations in melodically memorable black metal of tremendous power and emotional intensity — as you shall discover through our premiere of a track from the new album called “La Sima“. Continue reading »

Apr 172019


Kneel is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Pedro Mau from Ponte de Sor in central Portugal, a former member of Kneeldown and Wells Valley. In 2013, with the aid of guest vocalist/lyricist Filipe Correia (Wells Valley, Concealment), Kneel released an album named Interstice, on which Mau was composer, guitarist, bassist, and drummer — and he produced and mixed the record as well.

On May 22nd, the Portuguese label Pulmonary Records will release an updated version of Interstice, which features new mixing and mastering of the music as well as ghostly new cover artwork drawn by Hernan Marin. Today it’s our pleasure to premiere a track from this revamped version of Interstice, a song called “Amend“. It’s a prime example of the visceral, bone-breaking, thoroughly electrifying impact of the music on Interstice. Continue reading »

Apr 162019


Those of you who are already familiar with Gabriele Gramaglia‘s work in his progressive black metal project The Clearing Path, or his progressive-sludge-post-metal endeavors under the name Summit, know that he is technically accomplished, compositionally inventive, and continually evolving. In his new project, Cosmic Putrefaction, he has turned all those talents in the direction of death metal — and the results are predictably unpredictable.

With the aid of some talented guests, he has recorded a debut album entitled At the Threshold of the Greatest Chasm, which will be released by the always-distinctive I, Voidhanger Records on April 19th, and today it’s our fiendish pleasure to present a full stream of this savagely head-spinning record. Continue reading »

Apr 152019


Two main impulses drive the music of Suspiral, and as you read what they are, they might seem incompatible.

On the one hand, they embrace chaos, unleashing terrific storms of gale-force intensity, with waves of blackened death metal slaughtering geared toward mind-rending impact. On the other, they draw influence from Kraut and drone bands such as Ash Ra Temple and Faust in a manner designed to induce trance-like immersion and the gradual accretion of aberrant psychoactive effects, reshaping the mind rather than obliterating it.

These strategies might seem incompatible, but Suspiral manage to unify them, and the experience is perhaps most stunning when they accomplish both things at the same time — as they do on the song we’re premiering today.

The track you’ll be able to stream below is “Crown of Chaos“, which opens their new album Chasm — set for release on May 10th by Sentient Ruin Laboratories in the U.S. and by Clavis Secretorvm in Europe. Continue reading »

Apr 152019


On their impending third album, the Portuguese band Martelo Negro (“black hammer”) have whipped up an intoxicating but thoroughly evil musical concoction. With ingredients that range from black metal to thrash, from death metal to d-beat punk, the music is brutish and bruising, bombastic and barbaric, demented and demolishing, occult and orgiastic. By turns it’s a demolition job, a chaotic romp, a dismal plague, and a ghoulish vision of ultimate horror. It’s also catchy as hell.

That’s a lot of diverse qualities for any one band to pull together in an organic way, and Martelo Negro do it in every song, which makes the album a relentless thrill ride (and a really nasty one too). You’ll get the chance to experience it yourself right now, because we’ve got a full album stream to share. And if you’re as high on it as we are, you won’t have to wait long to pick it up, because Helldprod Records is releasing it on April 17th. Continue reading »

Apr 122019


The Portuguese band Sacred Sin released their first demo in 1991, qualifying them as one of the country’s earliest practitioners of metallic extremity. Their debut album Darkside, released in 1993, began a sequence of five albums in which the first letters of the titles spelled out the word “Death”. The last of those, Hekaton – The Return To Primordial Chaos, come out in 2003. And then a long hiatus followed before the band resurrected themselves and released 2017’s Grotesque Destructo Art — which is their most recent album to date.

It’s fair to say that the sound of Sacred Sin has varied over time, with death metal being the core but with changing integrations of elements from other sub-genres. The band’s third album, Anguish​.​.​. I Harvest, is especially difficult to pigeon-hole in genre terms — and it might be the band’s best and most distinctive album of all.

Originally released in 1999, Anguish​.​.​. I Harvest will be reissued on April 19th by two Ukrainian labels — GrimmDistribution and Envenomed Music — in a special remastered edition that also includes six bonus tracks from a 1997 rehearsal demo, and today we’re premiering one of the remastered tracks, a song named “Fire Throne“. Continue reading »

Apr 112019


It seems like only yesterday (because it was only yesterday) that I was praising a thrash band (Inculter) who stand well out from a larger pack of modern thrash practitioners whose music tends to be quickly forgettable and easily interchangeable, and now I’m about to do that again — though Sacrilegia stand out in a different way.

While Inculter are an example of a group who had already blazed a path across the skies and are soaring higher with their new second album, Sacrilegia are making their first appearance, and what an explosive appearance it is: Their debut release, The Triclavian Advent, goes off like a Bouncing Betty landmine you’ve just unwittingly triggered, ejected into the air and then detonating with lethal results. Continue reading »

Apr 102019


It’s fair to say, looking back, that the Norwegian thrash band Inculter have had a meteoric career so far. To mix the metaphors, they took off like a rocket that had an explosive lift-off but have then gathered speed and altitude as they’ve soared ever higher. It’s also fair to say that they’ve reached the stratosphere with their new album Fatal Visions.

I say this as someone who finds most thrash albums by modern bands quickly forgettable, and easily interchangeable. Fatal Visions (which will be released by Edged Circle Productions on April 12th) is neither forgettable nor floating in a sea of mediocrity with all the other nearly identical fish. Even for a fairly jaded thrash listener such as myself, it makes an explosive and thoroughly eye-popping impact. Continue reading »

Apr 092019


Judging by the daily news headlines, most gods may have forsaken most of humanity, but the gods of Swedish death metal have not forsaken Gods Forsaken. To the contrary, they seem to have possessed this band and to live through them in riotous joy. Their new album, Smells of Death, already seems poised to take its place in the pantheon.

For those who don’t already know, Gods Forsaken began with a veteran lineup consisting of guitarist/bassist Anders Biazzi (Just Before Dawn), vocalist Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath, Henry Kane, Ashcloud, etc.), and drummer Brynjar Helgetun (Just Before Dawn, Crypticus, Johansson & Speckman, Megascavenger, etc., etc.). The first album included some notable guest appearances, including solos by Gustav Myrin (ex-Blood Mortized). On this new album Mr. Myrin is again on board, this time as lead guitarist, and Alwin Bassphyx (Asphyx) joins in as rhythm guitarist. Continue reading »

Apr 092019


I’m having trouble describing this album, Culś, because it has done something terrible to my mind, which didn’t work particularly well to begin with, but which is now quivering like a mouse in the corner of a small room occupied by a wolf from hell.

Sangue’s music is horrifying, cruel, hallucinogenic, remorselessly abrasive, and crushing. It is a summoning of bestial chaos and wretched catastrophe on a titanic scale. It raises the evil of perverse gods to a pinnacle. It scalds the senses and freezes the blood. It evokes a fight or flight response — but mainly flight. Continue reading »