Feb 202024
 

(Life Promised Death is out now on Lupus Lounge)

Farsot‘s 2017 album, Fail·Lure, is – in my humble opinion, at least – one of the best Black Metal records of the last ten, if not twenty, years.

Which means, of course, that Life Promised Death has a lot to live up to, especially with almost seven years of built up expectations to contend with on top of that.

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Feb 192024
 

(We present DGR‘s review of the latest album by the Norwegian death metal band Blood Red Throne, which is out now on Soulseller Records.)

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have the book of death metal read to me. The classic chapters would probably be incredible, set in stone and defined by an era of wild experimentation, gore obsession, and studio production ranging from ‘what the hell were they thinking’ to ‘wow, that’s impressive’.

For a genre that has been around as long as it has, it remains to this day impressively fluid. Both an extreme sport by which modern athletes test their mettle but also one wherein people take that blueprint and mutilate it into many other forms. They twist, morph, contort, and absorb so much that at times the ‘death metal’ genre-tag becomes more like a filter through which other things are forced through than the starting seed.

The modern chapters that are still being written are the ones that would be most intriguing based simply off of ‘where do you even start to approach it?’. You have regional scenes, all with their own hallmarks, you have outside influences that have gone unacknowledged that simply become part of death metal, and you have the blastbeat vein that became its own throughline. and that’s just the starting part.

You have experimenters and vanguards alike, and over the course of an eleven-album career Blood Red Throne have shown themselves to be perfectly fitted into the ‘vanguard’ role. They’ve added their own sentences and addendums to the modern segment of death metal’s book over the years, recent attempts bringing their name well into the limelight in the world of brutality, and with late-January’s Nonagon, Blood Red Throne are finally sitting down to read those segments back to you. Continue reading »

Feb 192024
 

(Andy Synn is ready to join the fight for freedom alongside French firebrands Griffon… are you?)

Aux armes! Aux armes! To the barricades my friends, to raise our flags and spit death in the eye once more!

You see, I’ve been on a bit of a Black Metal binge recently – just this weekend I attended a fantastic event in Manchester where I got to see the likes of AndraccaThe Sun’s Journey Through The Night, Abduction, Devastator, The Infernal Sea, and Ninkharsag all performing their latest releases in full – and discovering the new album from Griffon early last week has only further helped reignite my passion for the genre.

And so, like any good son of the revolution, I felt it was my duty to spread the word and enlist more names to swell our ranks and bolster our forces!

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Feb 182024
 

Like yesterday, I was able to assemble a big round-up of fairly new music for today. It seemed like a way to welcome myself back to doing what I habitually did before I got thrown way off course by my job. And now I’m wondering, as I habitually used to do, whether I’ve overdone it.

What you’ll find below are singles from three forthcoming records, followed by five complete albums or EPs, all of them released this month. I only stopped at the total of 8 so the cover art would line up neatly in the collage I made.

If you have the patience to move through everything, you’ll find as you go deeper that the doors start coming completely off the hinges, in bizarre and even horrifying ways, but with something profoundly dreamlike at the end. Continue reading »

Feb 152024
 

(Andy Synn offers some insight into A Giant Bound to Fall, out tomorrow on Transcending Obscurity)

Spanish sensations Eternal Storm have found themselves in an interesting position in the run-up to the release of their long-awaited, highly-anticipated, second album, A Giant Bound to Fall.

The group’s first full-length, 2019’s fantastic Come the Tide, was such a breath of fresh air in a segment of the scene which had, for the most part, grown rather stagnant that many outlets (including this one) declared it to be one of the best albums of the year.

But success like that can be just as much of a curse as a blessing, setting such a high bar – one inevitably raised even higher by the sheer flush of excitement engendered by a new discovery – that nothing they ever do afterwards will ever be judged to match it.

And with the not-insignificant gap between their first and second releases having raised audience expectations ever further, the question now is – can Eternal Storm recapture that same Melodic Death Metal magic from their debut or are they… bound to fall?

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Feb 142024
 

(We bring you DGR‘s review of a new EP by the Venetian band Obscura Qalma, which was released earlier this month by the Dusktone label.)

The nice thing about Italian symphonic death metal group Obscura Qalma is that they make absolutely no pretense of the style of music they’re going to make nor are they hiding who their influences are.

Obscura Qalma have been kicking around since 2018 and already have two albums and a few EPs – though one of each of those is the instrumental and orchestral version of songs from a previous album, much in the same way Fleshgod Apocalypse have taken to including the purely symphonic tracks as bonuses to their full-lengths recently. Adding to their name, all you need to do is look at a press photo of the band and you can tell there’s likely going to be a rich vein of SepticFlesh running through the group’s DNA.

Obscura Qalma don their lab coats and joyfully smash their death and symphonic elements together, cackling all the while, with lightning crashing in the background. Drawing heavily from the occult for lyrical inspiration – recently pulling large buckets up the well from the Aleister Crowley mines – Obscura Qalma are playing in a very wide musical sphere. The group’s latest EP Veils Of Transcendence punches in at four songs and a little under twenty minutes of boulder-heavy death metal with a huge symphonic and synth line buttressing the events and doing the melodic heavy lifting. Continue reading »

Feb 132024
 

Let’s pretend you can’t listen to Stellar Remains‘ new EP right now, even though you can if you just scroll further down the screen you’re now looking at.

Let’s take our game of make-believe a move further and pretend you have no idea who this band is and have never heard a note of its music. That requires less suspension of disbelief, because Wastelands is in fact the first release of Stellar Remains, and only one song from the EP has been available for streaming before today.

Moreover, all that most of us know or could find out about the band (apart from that one song) is that it’s the solo work of Brisbane-based Dan Elkin, who has no resume on Metal-Archives yet.

So, if you indulge all this pretending, then you have to put some amount of weight on what we now have to say about Wastelands. How nice for us. Continue reading »

Feb 132024
 

(No Name Graves was released last Friday by Unique Leader Records)

Despite the many bands who’ve done great things with it, the term “Deathcore” is still a dirty word for some.

And while personal taste is always a major factor, I do happen to think that a lot of the inherent, knee-jerk prejudice can be traced back to the way the nascent genre was originally promoted by labels and the like who saw this “brand new thing” (although we can argue about just how new it was until the cows come home) and set out to make as much money off of it as possible, quickly leading to over-saturation and exploitation (you see, there is money to be made in the Metal scene… just not really by the bands, most of the time).

As a result a lot of potential listeners were put off by the excessive, artificially-inflated hype and the seeming lack of quality-control surrounding that early glut of guttural lovin’, breakdown-heavy bands who helped popularise the scene in the short-term but who, depending on their circumstances (and their resolve) either quickly fell apart or evolved into something different in order to survive.

But while we may quibble about the relative merits of the genre’s early years, the foundations laid by its early adherents have proven remarkably resilient and served as fertile soil for many different variants to bud off and bloom, meaning that even if the Platonic ideal of “Deathcore” that you have in your head doesn’t necessarily appeal to you there’s probably a version of it out there that will.

Which brings us, nicely, to The Last Ten Seconds of Life.

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Feb 132024
 

(We present DGR‘s review of a new EP by the Andorran band Persefone, which was released not long ago by Napalm Records.)

A guarantee with Andorra’s Persefone is that you are going to get a lot of music. Persefone have made a career out of albums hybridizing progressive metal, melodeath, and as wide a smattering of other genres as they could into a form of tightly controlled chaos with multiple vocal approaches serving as the icings on the cake.

They’re a full-album band and very rarely, throughout a surprisingly long career, have done any sort of single or EP as part of their discography. Persefone have always dealt in releasing densely packed albums, and as of 2022’s Metanoia were up to a grand total of six.

With all of those elements making up Persefone‘s career it is surprising that the band have seen relatively little change on the lineup front – especially since they really found their groove with 2013’s Spiritual Migration. Since then, other than a re-recording of their first album Truth Inside The Shades in 2020, the band have refined upon the eastern sprituality subject matter and massive keyboard-wall approach to their writing style.

Which is why it is both fitting and very interesting that the group’s newest release is just an EP but also has a ‘Part I’ tacked onto its name. Continue reading »

Feb 122024
 

(Moon Healer is out on 23 February on Metal Blade Records)

2024 looks set to be an interesting year for comebacks, and few of those, I’d imagine, will attract as much interest – or generate as much divisive discussion – as the long-awaited new album from resurrected Death Metal revenants Job For A Cowboy.

That’s right, I said “Death Metal” rather than “Deathcore”, because it’s high time we all acknowledged that, whether you like them or not (and I’m sure there are many who don’t) the band haven’t been “Deathcore” since the release of Genesis way back in 2007.

Not only that, but in the years preceding their hiatus – culminating in the challenging technicality and churning intensity of the career-defining Sun Eater – it became clear that the band were more interested in pushing their sound in an increasingly unorthodox and unpredictable direction, rather than giving in to any outside pressures to conform to anyone else’s ideas of who they should be.

And although it’s now been almost (but not quite) a full decade since they last saddled up, there’s no question that on Moon Healer these cowboys have continued to ride even further down the proggy path laid out by its predecessor.

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