Jun 022023

(In mid-April the Munich-based “Oriental Extreme Metal” band Eridu released their expansive second album, and it caught the welcoming ear of our writer DGR, who prepared the following review.)

Heavy metal as a genre has been especially good at loaning itself out to bands who want to sound absolutely massive. The giant walls of distortion, the huge drums, the intimidating vocals, and big rumbling bass lines have often been a tool/weapon – depending on whose hands are wrapped around it – for groups to appear much larger in scope than they actually are. The ambition and reach of a genre like this are often used by groups wanting to appear cinematic in scale as part of their search for something grander than just the consistent ass-kicking that heavy metal is known for.

With groups like SepticFlesh and Fleshgod Apocalypse at the forefront of full-blown symphonies as backing and integral parts of the band – doing the heavy lifting on the melody end of things most of the time – and bands like Behemoth and Hate making a name for themselves by sounding gigantic despite their band photos basically just featuring ‘four dudes’, it’s interesting to see the bevy of groups that have cropped up on the in-between lines, sounding just as massive and embracing a lot of orchestral and ethnic instrumentation to help break them out from the usual pack of bruisers. They’re just as ambitious as many of their peers and often just as expansive, with releases that come in just short of needing a label in the corner that says ‘soundtrack to the major motion picture!’ on the right hand side of the cover art.

Germany’s Eridu are that style of band, with a weighty fifty-plus-minute release in Enuma Elish, tackling large subject matter and mythology with an equally heavy emphasis on both brutalizing rhythms and folk instrumentation and with a movie-maker’s eye for sound atmospherics and a metal fan’s taste for punching through walls. Continue reading »

Jun 012023

Not so long ago we wrote here that while many musical extremists add new layers of brick and mortar to old walls surrounding well-established genre structures, the anonymous Parisian duo Non Serviam take a wrecking ball to genre walls. Their music is about catharsis and confrontation, and to extend the alliteration, it can be confounding — because it goes where the creators’ passions and wild inmventiveness take it, outward into the world from a burning inner core of rage.

You would conclude that the music on their new album Death Ataraxia is confrontational even if you didn’t know what inspires it. It has the effect of getting in the face of listeners and shoving them out of comfort zones and off-balance, teetering but fueled. But what inspires the music is also confrontational, an anarchist and antifascist ethos that condemns the abuses of capitalism and hate-mongering directed against the least powerful among us.

Yet it would go to far to brand the music, or what inspires it, as nihilistic, even if sometimes it sounds ruinous or hopeless. In the midst of superheated resistance there seem to be goals beyond not surrendering or becoming complacent, beyond furiously swinging the wrecking ball at what confines our bodies and minds. Goals like embracing those who need support when we can, (furiously) seizing the opportunities for rapture when they present themselves (no matter how fleeting), or just letting your head spin away from the ugliness of the real into the very un-real.

Another way to put it is that in listening to Death Ataraxia you’ll find times when you might want to sway and bounce, or to let your mind wander in intriguing but dangerous dreamscapes, but plenty of other times that might make you want to put your head back and howl, or hurl yourself like a missile into violent collisions, or feel your brain spin (dazzled) through a kaleidoscopic sonic collage where nightmares thrive. Continue reading »

Jun 012023

(With the month of May now behind us, Gonzo reflects on five albums released during the month that got him excited.)

As I type this, I’m sitting at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, haggard as hell after the three-day whirlwind of Northwest Terror Fest. I’m not on speaking terms with my liver just yet, and my ears are still ringing despite having fairly high-quality earplugs in every night.

I’ll have a separate write-up coming soon enough about all that, but here’s a spoiler: It was fucking glorious.

Before we get to all that, there were some seriously noteworthy releases that saw the light of day through this month, and I’d be remiss if I skipped over them in favor of getting right to recapping my 72 hours of complete batshit insanity. Continue reading »

May 302023

(Andy Synn attempts to atone for our lack of coverage of Moonreich over the years)

While we’ve written about France’s Moonreich here and there before now, the sad truth is that we’ve never fully given them their due (in my opinion, at least).

But the recent release of their truly exceptional new album, Amer offers us an opportunity to make up for this. And I plan to take full advantage of it.

Continue reading »

May 302023

(What you will find below is NCS writer DGR‘s review of a new EP by Finland’s Omnium Gatherum, which will be released on June 2nd by Century Media Records.)

There’s always a fair share of carny/used-car-salesman when it comes to catching someone’s eye with a new release, and especially when it comes to an EP, so if you had told us ages ago that Finland’s Omnium Gatherum were going to put out an EP that included a cover of the song “Maniac”, we probably would have assumed that’s what was going on. However, in 2021 Omnium Gatherum would put out Origin, which was a release so bathed in musical neon and earworm synth lines that it makes perfect sense for them to cover a song like “Maniac” – if anything it’s perfectly in line with what the band are up to these days.

That forthcoming EP, Slasher, consists of the new title song, the aforementioned attention grabber of a cover, and then two songs that were taken from the Origin recording sessions, roughly translating to the simple conclusion that if you loved Origin, you’re going to like Slasher because it is quite simply more Origin.

If you’ve enjoyed Omnium Gatherum throughout the years, and especially as they’ve embraced their campier side post-The Burning Cold, you’re also going to dig hard into the Slasher EP because even with an eighteen-minute run time, Omnium Gatherum still find a way to create some absolutely lush music with plenty of hair-blowing-in-the-wind-esque guitar and keyboard soloing to justify its time with you. Continue reading »

May 292023

(In the following review DGR catches up with the latest release by the Australian band Orpheus Omega, an EP that surfaced last month.)

Even though we’ve often dwelled within the realms of the dark and heavy – our site background having been a giant pile of skulls for over a decade now – we’re not above and beyond traipsing into the ligher side of metal from time to time. We’ve featured a-plenty of clean singing over the years, usually when used effectively and not just as ‘product’ to provide a radio-worth chorus, and yes, there are a few of us in this burnt-out shell of a building that like them some good ol’ fashioned melodeath keyboard cheese.

When a band buys wholly into that sort of bullshit, it’s difficult to not cheer along, and Australia’s Orpheus Omega have proudly flown that flag for some years now, fully ensconced in the ‘no, this is what we make’ mentality with full admiration for the era of early-aughts melodeath when the synth work became especially prominent and was a constant traveling companion of whomever decided to kick out the next guitar solo.

Orpheus Omega are just that sort of band, and while their 2019 album Wear Your Sins didn’t quite gel with us as well as we would’ve liked, 2015’s Partum Vita Mortem was a near-perfectly constructed one of those sorts of albums, with plenty of glory-flag waving and power-choruses to turn any listener into a massive dork. Obviously, time doesn’t stand still for anyone and the group have evolved since then but thas one of a handful of things that made the April release of their new EP Portraits interesting. Continue reading »

May 262023

(Not long ago DGR stumbled across the debut EP of Wyoming-based Virulent Genesis, which was released earlier this month, and it struck a nerve, leading to the review you’ll find below.)

Wyoming’s Virulent Genesis arriveD to us by way of AN internet spelunking trip, part of a collection of ‘oh, that looks interesting’ captured in the great maw that is the review backlog. We could wish to provide a much better origin story, like them crashing into our burnt-out shell of an office by way of meteor, or somehow them fixing the goddamned elevator and finding their way into the lobby, but that isn’t the case.

Sometimes, the stars align just right and you get a wild hair to write about an upstart death metal group based out of Wyoming. That’s the case here with Virulent Genesis‘ first release Introduction To Misrule. Continue reading »

May 252023

(Come join Andy Synn as he gazes deep into the oculus abyss, set for release tomorrow)

Ever since I first heard Teitan‘s excellent 2021 EP, Vákuum (which you can read a little more about here), I’ve been looking forward to hearing what they would come up with next.

And while it seems like it’s been a long time coming – even though it’s really not – I can attest that the wait was more than worth it.

Continue reading »

May 252023

(Terranoct is a death metal metal band based out of Akron, Ohio, and what you’ll find below is DGR‘s review of their debut album, which is out now.)

Traveling with Ohio’s Terranoct through their first full length release Icon Of Ruin is an interesting journey, as it comprises not only new material that the band have written for the album but also collects the singles that the group have put out since becoming their current form in 2016.

The songs – mostly released in 2021 ’til now, save for one in 2017 and minus one Decapitated cover – add to an incredibly dense album that weighs out to about an hour and three minutes. Terranoct’s Icon Of Ruin has a lot of ideas swirling within it and seemingly leaves nothing behind, and with that, not only tells the tale of the band as a whole but also feels like a series of snapshots throughout an entire death metal scene, as influences grow and wane, ideas enter and leave, and a band themselves mature and mutate into the form they are now. Continue reading »

May 252023

(Professor D. Grover the XIIIth returns to our site with the following enthusiastic review of the second album by Montreal-based Pronostic, which was released in mid-May.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. The fretless bass holds an impressive position in the history of death metal, especially as it pertains to death metal’s more technical sub-branch. Present at the subgenre’s inception thanks to legends like Steve DiGiorgio and Sean Malone, the fretless bass has become especially popular with the current popularity of tech death, thanks to modern practitioners like Dominic “Forest” LaPointe, JP Thesseling, Linus Klausenitzer, and Hugo Doyon-Karout. LaPointe probably set the high water mark for absolute fretless mastery on the most recent First Fragment album, a performance that may never be surpassed.

If this seems like an odd way to start off a review, I say all of this because Pronostic‘s new bassist, Xavier Sperdouklis (also of the excellent Killitorous) has definitely added himself to the conversation on this new Pronostic record Chaotic Upheaval. Continue reading »