Sep 262019


On the surface (and it’s the kind of surface you don’t want to touch without wearing surgical-grade antiseptic gloves), the South Texas black metal band Venereal Baptism is naaaasty. From their band name to the outrageous song titles on their new album Repugnant Coronation of the Beast, they just blare filth and depravity (and a complete disregard for modern mores and tender feelings) straight out of a bullhorn. It’s all so over the top in its offensiveness that it might even make you dubious about listening.

However, if you choose not to subject yourself to the full album riot that we’re premiering today on the eve of the record’s release by Osmose Productions, you’ll be missing a balls-to-the-wall thrill-ride, and one that proves to be fiendishly addictive. Continue reading »

Sep 252019


As we rapidly approach the last quarter of the year, 2019 has already proven itself to be the bearer of some tremendously good post-metal and sludge releases, but it’s far too soon to close those chapters of the year’s book. In particular, the debut album by the Italian band LAMBS‡ hasn’t been released yet — though it will be on Friday (September 27th), via Argonauta Records — and it more than holds its own with releases by more established and widely-heralded names.

Aptly entitled Malice, it combines elements of post-metal and sludge (along with black metal and hardcore) in ways that deliver catastrophic heaviness, unearthly atmosphere, unnerving tension, harrowing gloom, and absolutely obliterating violence. It’s relentlessly gripping, and unsparingly intense, and we have a full stream of it for you now. Continue reading »

Sep 242019


After a seven-year hiatus (interrupted only by their 2017 split with Techne), the Russian dissonant black/death metal band Horror God are returning this year with their third album, and their most electrifying, unpredictable, and thoroughly explosive creation yet. Bearing the title Cursed Seeds, it will be released on September 27th by Lavadome Productions, but today we present a full stream of the record — and the following thoughts about the impact of listening to it.

The releasing label makes comparative references to Gorguts and Deathspell Omega, to Ulcerate and Aosoth, to Immolation and Sunless, among others. As those references suggest, the music is multi-faceted — delirious and devastating, technically extravagant and ruthlessly bludgeoning, hallucinatory and harrowing. In its rapidly changing and often riotous permutations, it has an experimental, avant-garde quality, yet is unmistakably bestial in its ferocity. Keeping your balance as you listen is difficult; tearing yourself away from it would be even more difficult. Continue reading »

Sep 242019


Just as Ossuaire do in this song we’re about to present, we’ll begin without preamble:

Without delay, Ossuaire flood the senses with hellfire as the guitars immediately sear and roil in such an all-enveloping storm of sound that it makes one gasp. A solitary bass note can be heard, followed by the advent of rolling drum thunder and a scorching howl. The riffing continues in cyclonic fashion, broiling the ears and boiling the brain, as that howling demon continues to imperiously and viciously proclaim his poisonous message. The timbre of the superheated chords rises and returns, the drums take short breaths and detonate like cannon fire, then resume their extravagant pummeling and tumbling. The riffing never really relents at all.

The experience is damned intense and savagely glorious, like being swept aloft in a hellish chariot by gale-strength winds into skies that are on fire, split by lightning and shattered by thunder. It tests how hard your heart can beat without exploding, yet it also has a hypnotic, spellbinding effect. And even though it just goes and goes, without any real detour or diversion, it’s such an electrifying experience that it seems to end too soon. Continue reading »

Sep 232019


It is our privilege and pleasure today to present, on the day of its release, a full stream of a new split recording by two bands we’ve been avidly following for years — the German duo Owl and the Slovakian trio 0N0. The split includes five songs by Owl and two by 0N0. Through each band’s Bandcamp page it’s now available as a digital download and as a cassette tape, limited to 111 copies, with eerie and immersive cover art by T.

As always, we’re sharing our own reactions to the music, as well as a few insights into the inspiration for all these songs, and some background about the bands for those who might not be familiar with them. But of course, if you want to just be completely surprised, skip down to the very bottom of this article and start listening now. Continue reading »

Sep 232019


The German duo Blasphemous Putrefaction staked their place in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of underground death metal when they chose their name. Through their long-sold-out debut demo tape, 2017’s Abominable Premonition, and now the new EP which includes the song we’re premiering today, they’ve devoted their diabolical talents to the unapologetic creation of foul and festering musical horror — the skull-fracturing sounds of cruelty and the mind-mangling transmission of deviancy and derangement, devoid of hope (and not caring much for melody either), but capable of sending jolts of adrenaline through a listener’s bloodstream.

This new three-track EP of primitive, rotten death metal is appropriately entitled Festering Plagues, and it will be jointly released on tape by Death In Pieces Records and Macabre End Productions in early October. We’ll present a written preview of all three tracks, including the one we’re presenting, but won’t be offended if you just dive straight-away into the swirling cesspool of foul and fetid sensations via the stream of “Grief” below. Continue reading »

Sep 202019


Genre hybrids within the general ambit of extreme metal tend to be hit-or-miss affairs, and perhaps more miss than hit the further the hybridized ingredients differ from each other. Yet when the creative splicing of divergent ingredients and tonalities truly succeeds, the experience can stand out in ways that don’t often happen in the general run of genre monochromes, and reward the constant search of metal adventurists for something different. In my humble opinion, the self-titled premiere EP by Oktas, which is being released today, is one of those stand-out successes.

By way of background, an okta is a unit of measurement used to describe the amount of cloud cover at any given location. That term became the basis for the name chosen by this group of Philadelphia musicians, led by visual and musical artist Bob Stokes (Drones for Queens), who performs vocals and bass, and including friends of his from previous bands — drummer Rob Macauley and fellow bassist Carl Whitlock of Dirt Worshipper, and minimalist composer Jason Baron from Cloud Minder, who plays the cello with Oktas. (We did mention unusual tonalities, and here we have two bassists and a cellist, but no guitar.)

As forecast, this new EP embraces a range of influences, from ambient minimalism to atmospheric black metal and epic doom metal (and I hear a bit of gloomy post-punk in the mix, too), woven together with a cinematic edge. Lyrically “based in the filth ridden streets of south Philadelphia”, as Bob Stokes has told us, the words transport us “to a world destroyed by mankind’s own hubris, plagued with endless war, constant natural disasters and humanity desperate for redemption”. Continue reading »

Sep 192019


Prepare your hardened ears for a mutated offspring of death and doom that’s as foul as a rotting corpse, as punishing as a jackhammer applied to the spine, and as horrifying as a runaway cancer. All of those ghastly sensations come through with blood-congealing power in “Sickness“, the sickening song we’re presenting today off the debut album by a quartet from Melbourne, Australia, who fittingly call themselves Carcinoid.

Speaking of fitting names, the title of that album, which will be get a vinyl LP release on November 1st through Blood Harvest, is Metastatic Declination. In keeping with these naming conventions, Blood Harvest‘s publicist writes (and we can’t resist quoting him): “So odorous, pugnacious, and hideous is the music that this quartet belch forth, it verily sounds like a radioactive, cancerous growth bubbling up from a post-apocalyptic landscape.” Continue reading »

Sep 192019


The broad genre of doom metal bears that name for a reason. In different ways, the sub-genres under that banner summon sensations of dread, despair, gloom, and grief, sometimes of supernatural origin and often deriving from the familiar afflictions of daily human existence and the ultimate one that awaits us all at the end. But while the genre label of doom may have the naming rights for all our woes, it has no monopoly on the channeling of those feelings through extreme music.

Certain schools of atmospheric black metal are equally devoted to soul-crushing sensations, and arguably are even better suited to capturing the severity of intense suffering and the madness it can produce. The self-titled debut album by Iffernet that we’re premiering today in advance of its October 2nd release is a prime example. It presents emotionally wrenching music that penetrates deeply, relying on continuing cycles of squalling and searing riffs and severely tortured vocals to saturate the mind with changing moods of abandonment, fear, pain, delirious agony, and crushing grief. The album is a colossal panorama of despondency and despair that’s unrelenting in the intensity of its devotion to those visions, and so powerful in its achievements that it won’t leave most listeners unaffected. Continue reading »

Sep 182019


The California-based black metal band Blasphemous Covenant is a rabid and riotous assault force created by members of Byyrth and Thy Sepulchral Moon. They describe their debut album, the accurately titled Disruption… Havoc, as “blind chaotic hatred sealed against its will inside a cage, frothing at the mouth, ready to destroy those that dare to open the gate.” Also absolutely accurate. The music violently assaults the senses with pure fury and sears the brain with its abrasive intensity and mutated tonalities. It is raw black metal that will indeed leave you scraped raw and gibbering like a lunatic.

But as you’ll find when you listen to the partial track we’re premiering today in advance of the album’s September 20 release by Grey Matter Productions, there are qualities in the music that you might not be expecting from that preceding description, and a method of execution that isn’t typical either. Continue reading »