Sep 212021


For most of us, our introduction to the new album by Iskandr came through a video for the song “Bloeddraad“. It presents a fascinating collage of images, and the music is equally fascinating. It’s the sound of a sinister dream, an embroidery of acoustic chords and ringing guitars, of bestial snarls and flesh-flensing screams, of shimmering synths and eerie, mercurial arpeggios. It includes a slower, spellbinding break near the end that features choral vocals and a feeling of rising, ominous grandeur. And in addition to that, the song has tremendous visceral appeal, thanks to a simple but compelling drum rhythm, accented by bursts of rumbling double-bass.

That was an extremely tantalizing teaser for the new album Vergezicht, but its multi-faceted power was not surprising, given the high standards that this enigmatic Dutch duo had already established through two previous albums and two previous EPs. As tantalizing as “Bloeddraad” is, however, it doesn’t present a complete picture of the experiences that the entire album creates. Vergezicht is, after all, more than an hour long, and it’s that long because the scope of Iskandr’s musical ideas and techniques was wide-ranging. Nor does it represent simply another iteration of the stylistic ingredients of the album that preceded it.

Some sense of this is evident in press materials for the album, which make references to Bathory’s mid-era albums, King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King, the early works of both Enslaved and Hades, as well as Neurosis’ A Sun that Never Sets. Those references are tantalizing in themselves, but also don’t fully capture what Vergezicht presents — and indeed, becoming immersed in the music itself from beginning to end is the only sure way to understand it. Fortunately, you can do that now via the full streaming premiere of the album that we’re presenting in advance of its September 24 release by Eisenwald and Haeresis Noviomagi. Continue reading »

Sep 202021

(Please stand by for an emergency message from Andy Synn)

Attention! Atención! Achtung! This is not a drill.

The dead have risen and are voting Republican feeding on the flesh of the living.

The only way to stop them is to sever the head or destroy the brain.

I repeat: sever the head or destroy the brain.

Evidence shows that the virus spreads through direct contact with the afflicted, but there have also been reports of individuals becoming infected due to exposure to toxic gas, contaminated language, and the new album from Send More Paramedics.

So whatever you do, please, avoid all contact with this album.

Continue reading »

Sep 202021


(Todd Manning reviews the third album by Copenhagen’s LLNN, which will be released via Pelagic Records on September 24th.)

Seems like not so long ago “Neur-Isis” was the hottest sub-genre in Metal. It saw vicious Sludge Metal re-purposed into a widespread and cinematic apocalyptic feel, and there were also heaping servings of Post-Rock to set the mood. While Neurosis and Isis put out some of the most fascinating and important Metal albums in recent memory, their legions of imitators did not fair so well.

The aforementioned Post-Rock sections so skillfully employed by those two bands became an overwhelming obsession for many of the imitators and eventually the music lost much of its visceral impact. While Copenhagen’s LLNN certainly fall under the “Neur-Isis” umbrella, they understand that heaviness is the top priority. Their latest full-length, Unmaker, is both epic and crushing. Continue reading »

Sep 172021


We invite you to enter a world of terrors, a world created from sound that spawns electrifying visions of horror and disease, of madness and mayhem, and of blood-freezing intrusions from spectral realms. We invite you experience Crepitation Of Phlegethon.

Through several previous track premieres we’ve already teased what lies within this new album by Atlanta-based Occulsed, but now we reveal the full album in all its macabre glory on the day of its release by Everlasting Spew Records. As someone famously said when contemplating the Brundlefly, “Be afraid, be very afraid”. Continue reading »

Sep 172021


(The new Carcass album is being released today by Nuclear Blast, and to celebrate the occasion we have a review by DGR that compares them to… well… you’ll see.)

In the before times when restaurants were a thing and you were lucky enough to live in a mid-sized town, then you had an increasing chance of finding a restaurant in town that you loved and that treated everybody like shit. There are, of course, gimmick places like this where the service is a Disney-fied version of the sort of genuine scorn you’d encounter at such a place. But, if you had the real thing, you’d immediately recognize the atmosphere — of you being an inconvenience by being there, and the sort of “get your food and get out attitude” that would color your whole impression of the place.

Usually, places like that made about four or five dishes, tops — the one I frequented only made three, and to be honest, I’m convinced the third one was a myth because I only ever saw the spaghetti and the garlic bread and that was it — but those four to five dishes were really, really good. Those sorts of restaurants were unyielding, in that you as a customer were a known quantity, and likewise, so was how they would treat you. You came to an agreement, though: As long as you understood that, you could generally get by and, dare I say it, enjoy yourself.

Over the years this is how I’ve come to view Carcass. Continue reading »

Sep 162021


(This is DGR’s review of the new EP by Insomnium, which will be released on September 17th by Century Media Records.)

Insomnium are one of those bands for whom the impact of an addition or change of a lineup member is almost immediately felt. This may sound strange but the two big additions to the group over the years have been on the guitar front, and both the musicians chosen have proven to be quite multi-faceted in their approach to Insomnium’s music.

The addition of Omnium Gatherum’s Markus Vanhala to the fold in 2011 brought his penchant for some glorious guitar leads and solos to the forefront of the band, and giving them ammunition for times when the group weren’t entirely ensconced in their own frozen wasteland of melancholy. The more recent addition of Jani Liimatainen has been a bit more immediately felt, as the band quickly made use of his talent for vocal melody alongside his own guitar writing, such that he was already imprinted into the blueprint of the band for Heart Like A Grave and now is one of the defining elements of the group’s 2021 EP Argent Moon, which sees the band adding four new songs to the overall repetoire – all titled with the formula of “The _______” – for another twenty-plus minutes of distant and lightly depressed music. Continue reading »

Sep 152021

(Andy Synn sits down to do “the work” with the new album from Rivers of Nihil, scheduled for release on September 24)

There’s a certain type of person – hell, for all I know it may just be the same individual over and over again – who responds to any article about Rivers of Nihil with the cut-and-paste comment “Death Metal’s Pink Floyd!”.

And while I can appreciate their enthusiasm (to a point) not only is it getting a bit tiresome (and also suggests that the commenter(s) in question don’t really know much about Pink Floyd) but it totally misunderstands what the band are trying to do.

Because the Pennsylvania quintet aren’t trying to be “Death Metal’s Pink Floyd”, or even “Death Metal’s King Crimson” (which would, arguably, be slightly more accurate, though still not right).

They’re just trying to be Rivers of Nihil. And each and every album they create is another opportunity for them to further define, refine, and redefine, exactly what that means.

Continue reading »

Sep 152021

“Spewed from a place of utter anxiety, extreme metal harbingers COGAS impose a new strain of dark death-black metal annihilation entirely their own, stitching together the timeless brutality of old school death metal and the transformative sonic bedlam of the current visionary black metal crop, to create a majestic and emotive extreme metal behemoth of epic magnitude”.

We almost never quote from promotional materials for music we’re premiering or reviewing, preferring to lay out our own thoughts in our own words — and we will certainly do that here. But that paragraph above is worth quoting because it does provide a useful and accurate introduction to the debut album of this UK band we’re now premiering in full, in advance of its September 17 release — as does this further paragraph from the press materials:

“Weaving together layers of dense textures, ceremonial rhythms and looming atmospheres, COGAS excels at the art of organized chaos through sound. Across this new material the London-based band blends elements of extreme metal and macabre stories of Sardinian witchcraft (the Italian island is the homeland of two of the band members (frontman Piero Mura and guitarist Davide Ambu) with ambient explorations, epic sensibilities and grinding walls of sound that defy categorization”. Continue reading »

Sep 152021


(Aborted‘s latest album was released last Friday by Century Media, and DGR reviews it today.)

I’ve pontificated a lot over the years about the idea of gateway bands, mostly because its always amusing to see which groups ascend to that role as pathways into the deeper and heavier traverses of metal. It never quite seems to be who you’d expect until years later, when you have the gift of hindsight to scry into the past and see who wound up there.

One hallmark of all groups who wind up in the gateway position has been a consistent sort of quality. Ata certain point they become known quantities within the music world. You can pretty much rely on the expectation that a disc will not be bad by any conventional measure and that the group have long since found a sound that works for them. Often, every release after that particular point can feel like an iteration or a spin on that particular sound but overall is still pretty recognizably them.

It also means there’s a pretty good argument for being able to take everything the band has done and throw it on shuffle and generally have a pretty good time. It’s the sort of plateau that groups like Amon Amarth, Revocation, The Black Dahlia Murder, Gojira, and even to some extent Skeletonwitch, tend to inhabit. Continue reading »

Sep 142021


(A Los Angeles band whose 2020 release hit the No. 5 spot on DGR’s year-end list has already returned with a follow-up, and he gives it an enthusiastic review below.)

If you were one of the unfortunate victims to cross paths with my end of the year tome/list – which somehow still managed to happen in the face of 2020 as a whole – then you likely caught my sincerely held belief in the final issue of the list that people had fucked up by letting Choke Me‘s debut release The Cousin Of Death fly under their collective radars.

All joking aside, as a piece of punk-fueled grind, The Cousin of Death was a furious album that wrapped up as shockingly fast as it started. Even were it just a proof-of-concept style release, it showed that there was a lot of potential to whatever spark ignited the Choke Me sound. That is why – even with reservations about the year-over-year churn when it comes to music – it was exciting to learn that the group had issued a follow-up release. We even gave it a brief shout-out in one of our weekend round up posts which archives everything that manages to hit in the back half of the week.

Entitled Hauntology, it consists of six songs and is still very much in line with what worked for the Choke Me crew in their debut. With six new songs – most around two minutes plus – Hauntology only comes in a couple of minutes shorter than its predecessor yet still manages to strike with the same sort of righteousness that blazed through that initial twenty-minute outburst. Continue reading »