Oct 092020


With a song named “Castrate the Perpetrators“, conceived and executed by a band named Depravity, you’re already expecting a savage experience even if you haven’t previously heard the music of these Australian death-dealers. And trust us, your expectations will be satisfied, in spades. Yet you’ll also discovery that maniacal savagery is only part of the experience (albeit a significant part), and that the other dimensions of the music are just as gripping. And thus this is the kind of death metal brutality and rage that doesn’t wear out its welcome.

Of course, many of you already know something about the musical proclivities of Depravity thanks to their 2018 debut album Evil Upheaval, which was an eye-popping display of the belligerent yet ingenious talents of Depravity’s experienced line-up. Their new album Grand Malevolence is likely to open eyes even wider. It will be released by Transcending Obscurity Records on December 4th, and it’s home to the song we’re premiering today. Continue reading »

Oct 092020


In May of this year the Greek black metal band Prometheus independently released a superb EP named Astrophobos, whose title track took its inspirations and its lyrics from a mystical, otherworldly poem by H.P. Lovecraft that (as one writer described it) “tells the tale of a misinterpreted golden star and its truly terrible reality”. Where once the narrator beheld with yearning a place in the night heavens that he imagined to be a utopia of happiness and virtue, he realizes, as the glorious light turns crimson, that instead demons gaze back from a realm of haunting horror.

Now Prometheus have expanded upon that EP, adding three more songs to create an album-length work that will be released by I, Voidhanger Records on October 23rd. Its title is Resonant Echoes From Cosmos Of Old. As the label explains, the music carries forward the heritage of both Hellenic and Scandinavian black metal (from early Septic Flesh and Rotting Christ to Emperor and Setherial), while also interweaving elements of the esoteric death metal of such bands as Morbid Angel and early Absu.

To help introduce the new album, we are today presenting that stunning song that grew from the seeds planted by Lovecraft’s frightening poetry. Continue reading »

Oct 082020


Bewildering and distressing times we live in, where the unstopped global migration of a microscopic organism has exposed a multitude of fissures in human societies that have been accumulating for countless generations, and turned them into gaping fractures. The scale of these terrible consequences is vast, a devastation writ large, but in some ways a reflection of what happens in so many solitary lives, where the accretion of seemingly minor problems over time can lead, and often does lead, to tragic and unmanageable outcomes.

The persistent failure of both individuals and societies to deal with mounting flaws until it’s too late is a kind of seemingly incurable ailment in the human condition. And thus it’s fitting that Kneel‘s new album, which was inspired by such thoughts, is itself named Ailment.

As the solo project of Portuguese multi-instrumentalist and producer Pedro Mau (ex-Kneeldown, Wells Valley), Kneel released a debut album named Interstice seven years ago but at last is returning with this follow-up full-length, set for an October 16 release by Raging Planet and Planet K, with vocals and lyrics contributed by Mau’s Wells Valley bandmate and Concealment guitarist/vocalist Filipe Correia. What we have for you today is a full stream of Ailment, preceded by thoughts about what you will be hearing. Continue reading »

Oct 072020


We have for you today one of those uncommon music videos that both effectively interprets and amplifies the potential messages of the song and runs the risk of making it hard to concentrate on the music. This isn’t intended as a criticism. It’s just that the video is so explosively wild and so surprisingly unnerving that you probably need a second chance to really pay attention to what you’re hearing. Fortunately, that’s an easy thing to do because the song is such a ravager on multiple levels.

That song, “Disinfect the Soul“, is a vicious and arresting track off an album named Seismic that’s set for release on November 20th by the band Without Mercy from British Columbia, who draw their inspirations from such groups as Cattle Decapitation, Meshuggah, Whitechapel, Pantera, and Decapitated. In addition to the talents of these four Canadians, the album also features guest appearances by Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy, ex-Nevermore) and Chris Broderick (Act of Defiance, ex-Megadeth, ex-Jag Panzer), and “Disinfect the Soul” happens to be a song that features Broderick‘s eye-popping talents. Continue reading »

Oct 072020


Somewhere, someday, an enterprising metal-head will devote a massive doctoral thesis to analyzing in meticulous detail the music of Rogga Johansson‘s numerous bands, attempting to compare and contrast them as they’ve popped in and out of existence over the last quarter century. Perhaps the work has already begun. Perhaps it will provide a nuanced roadmap to why this music went here and that music went there. Or maybe it will end in confusion and a re-thinking of careers, with the aspiring academic turning toward the relative simplicity of something like brain surgery.

Either way, a central subject in the analysis would have to be the band Revolting, a Johansson group whose releases have been exceeded in number only by the hallowed Paganizer. As a vehicle for the inspirations of the Bard of Gamleby, Revolting has clearly been a favored one, given that beginning in 2009 Revolting was on pace to release an album a year, until taking a three-year break between 2012’s Hymns of Ghastly Horror and 2015’s Visages of the Unspeakable. Another three-year break led to 2018’s Monolith of Madness, but we’ve only had to wait about two-and-three-quarter years for the next full-length, The Shadow At the World’s End, which will be discharged by Transcending Obscurity Records on November 27th. Continue reading »

Oct 062020


Quite by coincidence, one of my colleagues earlier today ventured the opinion here that a lot of music stands on the shoulders of giants. Really, it has always been that way. In the case of the Russian band Wombripper, the giants on whose shoulders they proudly stand include the likes of Grave, Entombed, and Dismember. From Russia they may come, but it’s iconic death metal from Sweden that fuels them. And what they’ve done with that inspirational fuel makes them sound like giants.

They’ve already made a fine name for themselves through a series of releases that began in 2014 and extended through their 2018 debut album From the Depths of Flesh. Now operating as a trio, they’re approaching the release of their second full-length, Macabre Melodies, which will happen on October 26th through the good graces of Memento Mori, a label with a refined taste in vintage death metal.

The new album reflects the increasing mastery that has come to Wombripper with time and devotion to their craft. It displays spine-shaking power, ravenous ferocity, dynamic songwriting, and a knack for conceiving melodic hooks that are just sharp enough to get stuck under the skin without detracting from the sensations of savagery and the supernatural that they’ve become so adept at creating. It’s hard to imagine any true fan of this style of death metal who won’t fall hard for Macabre Melodies (I sure have), and the song we’re premiering today is a great example of why that is. Continue reading »

Oct 062020


For those of you who may only now be discovering Throane for the first time, it is the solo project of Dehn Sora, whose name will be familiar to many as the visual artist whose creations have adorned the covers of albums by a multitude of well-regarded bands. Because he is a graphic artist and designer, and a collector of vinyl records himself, the visual presentation of Throane’s music in its physical packaging is inseparable from the sound. And so the conception of Throane’s new EP Une Balle Dans Le Pied (which will be released on October 16th by Debemur Morti Productions) was as much rooted in an image as it was in an imagining of the sound, and thus there are multiple layers of meaning to be found here.

The EP’s title translates to “a bullet in the foot”, a French expression symbolizing the act of sabotaging oneself. The cover image depicts Sora’s sister, a choice that recalls previous releases in which Sora has featured individuals close to him, with a personal symbolism. He explains: “Working as a nurse in different services, her daily routine makes her face death, addicted personalities, terminally ill people. Walking through their homes, their souls. Walking on broken glass. But forced to get rid of it, at the end of every day. To stand still. And keep walking.”

But the image is ambiguous. Sora again explains: Continue reading »

Oct 052020


I’ve never witnessed a live performance by Kratzer, though they’ve played over 100 shows in their native Germany, but it doesn’t take much imagination to envision the brawling mosh pits they must stir up from the stage. Just listening to their songs makes you want to kick over the furniture and ram your head into the walls. Maybe that’s just me, but I doubt it.

That primal, explosive power and riotous energy in their music leaves an immediate and lasting impression, but it’s not the only memorable aspect of their songs. They don’t waste time and they favor short, sharp shocks, but they have a talent for packing a lot of sensations into the generally short run-times of their tracks. We’ve got a good example of that talent in the song we’re premiering today from their debut album …Alles liegt in Scherben, and perhaps even better examples in the streams of previously released tracks that we’re also sharing. Continue reading »

Oct 052020


Misperceptions are often based on insufficient investigation. This has always been true, but seems even more pervasive in the current era, when opinions are often formed based on superficial experience and then become immune to change. When did we become so unreceptive to reconsideration and so self-assured in our ignorance? (I don’t mean you in particular, of course, but rather humanity in general.)

In the grand scheme of things, in which we have daily reminders of ignorance leading to misery and death, black metal may be a relatively inconsequential example of this phenomenon, but it’s an example nonetheless. On a daily basis I come across sentiments to the effect that black metal is hide-bound and resistant to change, stuck in the past and plagued by monotony. But that’s just because too many people aren’t willing to investigate, and to challenge their own conceptions (or pre-conceptions).

Which brings us to Void Paradigm. Continue reading »

Oct 022020


The title of Ventr’s debut EP — Numinous Negativity — is nearly perfect for the music. Numinous, Luminous Negativity might be slightly better. But the title has meaning beyond the sensations of the music and the visions they spawn in the mind. We’ll come to that momentarily.

The EP may be a debut recording, but it certainly doesn’t sound like a first effort. The band are Portuguese, and the EP will be released by Signal Rex (on October 9th), but the music doesn’t fit neatly into the kind of raw black metal aesthetic that you might expect from those facts.

As for the conceptual underpinning, we’re told that the title refers to “a spiritual and/or religious form of negative perception – the mysteries in the works within the omnipresence of the Devil.” Continue reading »