May 192022

(Andy Synn is stricken by the new album from New Hampshire nihilists Come to Grief)

Do you know Grief?

I don’t mean that in the metaphorical, metaphysical sense of “have you experienced great sorrow and loss”, I’m talking about the band, whose four albums played a pivotal role in defining the unforgivingly brutal Sludge/Doom sound of the late 90s.

If you’re not familiar with their work, well, that’s partially our fault, as we haven’t really written about them very much (the fact that they formed, broke up, re-formed, and re-broke up all before this site even existed certainly doesn’t help) though we’ve certainly recognised and remarked upon the heavy (and I mean that in all senses of the word) influence they’ve had on many, many other bands we’ve written about over the years, including HvrtMastiffBody Void, and more.

I ask this because, as some of you might have guessed, Come to Grief is the new (well, not that new, they’ve been going since 2017) project by former Grief members Chuck Conlon (drums) and Tony Savastano (guitars), and while familiarity with their former band isn’t a pre-requisite to enjoying When the World Dies, it might help prepare you for the brutal barrage of bitterness and spite which you’re about to experience.

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May 172022

(Andy Synn gazes into the undreamable abyss of the new album from Blut Aus Nord)

Call me an elitist if you will (though I think my track record would prove otherwise), but it’s both amusing and exasperating in equal measure to see people whose knowledge and awareness of Black Metal is… let’s say, limited… suddenly acting like an authority on the genre simply because their favourite rock star decided they wanted to dabble a little.

Don’t get me wrong, I actively welcome new blood, new voices, new ideas – the last thing I want is for the genre, or any genre, to become creatively stagnant – but maybe try and actively learn something about the scene, and all the bands who’ve been actively innovating within it over the years, before making wild, misinformed declarations that make you sound like an ignorant jackass?

Also, let’s face it, a lot of the time when people say “best” they really just mean “most accessible”, and while “accessible” doesn’t necessarily mean “bad” (I can give you umpteen examples of bands who actively got better once they started producing their more “accessible” material) it’s also worth pointing out that just because something is easy (or easier) to listen to that doesn’t necessarily make it good either.

This album, however, is most definitely not an easy listen… but, then, anything this good rarely comes easy.

Continue reading »

May 172022


Imagine turning the key in the ignition of a hulking road machine, feel your bones vibrating from the power building within it, and then having the thing take off of its own accord, slamming you back against the headrest and threatening to cause your heart to explode from your chest as it blazes ahead like a rocket fueled by hellfire.

That’s one way of thinking about the riotous onslaught of Violentor‘s new album Manifesto di Odio, which will be released on May 20th by Time To Kill Records. Speed metal and thrash are this Italian band’s weapons of choice in their campaign of defiance and rage, augmented by “blackened” armaments of blasting drums and merciless swarming riffs. It’s the kind of furious high-octane thrill-ride that will get your own motor running fast and hot. Continue reading »

May 122022


After looking at the cover art for the new Cartilage album The Deader The Better, plus imbibing the band photos and the first few singles and videos for the record, I decided to imbibe large quantities of alcohol before writing what you’re about to read. For this album, I figured no one would want to read anything sober about the music, because the music isn’t made for sober people. Or I guess I should say that it’s made for people, sober or not, who want to get drunk on the wild riot that this album provides, even if you choose not to consume intoxicants of your own.

People come to extreme metal for lots of reasons, and there’s so much variety in extreme metal that it’s capable of feeding almost whatever you hunger for, and whatever mood you’re in, or whatever mood you want to get into. If you’re already feeling wild, this is one of those album’s that will push that up to potentially dangerous levels. If you’re a morose asshole, this will make you feel mean and even more disgusted about yourself. If you’re just somewhere in the middle, the mayhem will make you ruin your neck and smile through broken teeth and churning viscera.

The album may not be what your psychotherapist would order, but they’re groping in the dark anyway, and they probably didn’t take any courses in fucked-ed up death/gore, more’s the pity. Maybe we should begin a letter-writing campaign to places that teach counseling and psychology/psychiatry? Yeah no, that’s the demon alcohol talking. Continue reading »

May 122022

(Andy Synn is here again to serve as ambassador for some of the mightiest Metal from his homeland)

If it seems like I haven’t done one of these in a while… that’s because I haven’t.

Partially because I’ve been pretty busy so far this year and partially because, to be honest, I haven’t been massively blown away by a lot of UK bands recently.

Of course, I dare say I’ve missed out on quite a few things over the last several months, and there’s a number of upcoming albums from the home scene that I’m looking forward to hearing in the future, but for the most part I just haven’t felt particularly inspired to do many “Best of British” posts so far in 2022.

Thankfully I recently came across three excellent albums – one from the end of March, one from the end of April, and one set for release tomorrow – which, together, have done a lot to restore my flagging faith in this year’s crop of home-grown metallic morsels.

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May 102022

(We may be well into May, but Andy Synn still has albums from last month he needs to talk about!)

As I stated in last week’s column, I don’t plan to make a habit of this, but April was so packed with excellent new releases by relatively unknown bands that I had to split up my usual “Things You May Have Missed” column into two parts in order to feature as many of them as possible.

Of course, there are still several things I/we didn’t get around to writing about, including AzaabBasatan, and – most notably – Dischordia, whose new album is currently sitting very high in my provisional year-end rankings.

But I only have so much space and/or time, and really didn’t want to extend this to a third part, so choices, and sacrifices, had to be made.

Still, I think you’ll be happy with the artists/albums I’ve selected for part 2 of “Things You May Have Missed” from last month, which this time includes some Prog and Hardcore influenced Post-Metal from Norway (Claimstaker), some esoteric and experimental Black Metal from Belgium (Dissolve Patterns), and a pair of bands from the good ol’ US of A, one dealing in gloomy shades of gargantuan Doom (Qaalm) the other delivering a noisesome plague of harsh Blackened Death Metal (Worn Mantle).

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May 092022

One week from today the German pagan black metal band Horn will release Verzet, its ninth album in a musical career that now spans nearly two decades. As ever, Verzet is the vision and solo work of Niklas, aided by a few talented guest performers.

The album’s name is Dutch for “resistance”, and three of the tracks (“Galgenblech”, “Aufstand”, and “Verzet”) deal with the topic of rebellion, while others concern the importance of perseverance and principles (“A Hill To Die On”) and the concept of agency and the lack thereof (“Protektor”). But the song that Horn chose as the lead “single”, which was accompanied by a beautiful video, was “Alpenrekorder”, and it manifested a reawakening of the classic Horn style, with its roots in folkloric traditions and a reverence for nature. Continue reading »

May 092022

(Andy Synn digs deep into the foul carcass of the new album by Switzerland’s Icare)

What would you say if I told you that one of the best Black Metal albums of the year so far – or, at least, one of the strongest contenders for that particular accolade – was a forty-three-and-a-half minute, single-track record from a Swiss grind band, based on the poem “Une Charogne” by Charles Baudelaire?

Would you call me a liar? A fraud? Would you think I was insane?

Well, in the grand scheme of things you might not be wrong, but – trust me – I’m telling you the truth this time.

Of course, referring to Icare as “just” a Grindcore band barely scratches the surface of their sound – they had, in essence, already transcended such a simplistic descriptor by the end of their first album, whose unique structure and flow showcased the group’s ongoing sonic evolution practically in real-time – but the general point still stands… sometimes the best things come from unexpected places, and in unexpected forms.

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May 092022


(We welcome a new writer to our putrid site, one who goes by the name fetusghost, and we’ll let him explain his particular interests in his own words.)

Hello, friends, and welcome to the first of hopefully many Bong Metal Round-ups. Bong metal, of course, is heavy metal from bands who have ‘bong’ in the name (eg, Bongzilla, Bongripper, Belzebong, etc). If pornogrind can be a genre, then why not bong metal? The round-up part comes from the fact that getting high leads to missed deadlines, so everything covered here has already been released and awaits your ears and hard-earned dough.

On another heavy metal website, staffed by fine and handsome writers, on the twentieth day of the fourth month of the (very shitty) year of 2020, I wrote a Bong Metal Primer. Having taken a hiatus and switched teams since then, it’s now back to the bongs for this dumb writer. I chose to focus on the underground (ie, I didn’t cover Weedsconsin, which is not Bongzilla’s best, but it’s still an excellent album and we should all be delighted that they are active again), and highlight each band’s most recent release.

As a final note before we do the damn thing, I would like to humbly request your suggestions and recommendations on all things bong metal/stoner metal/weird metal/etc. Holler at me in the comments, or send your electronic mail to, and gimme those sweet streaming links! Bong metal bands take precedence of course, but sharing awesome underground metal is my love language.

Now pack a bowl/hit the vape/roll a fatty, and join me on a Bong Metal Journey! Continue reading »

May 052022

Harvested are an Ottawa-based quartet (with members from Quebec as well as Ontario) who are on the brink of releasing their self-titled debut EP, and it is indeed an explosive debut. Drawing influence from the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Suffocation, Dying Fetus, and Hate Eternal, Harvested blast their way through five ferocious tracks that combine visceral destructive power, megawatt vocal intensity, and the kind of high-speed technically impressive performances that tend to pop eyes wide open.

That melding of speed, savagery, and technical fireworks makes the run through the full torrent of the EP an electrifying (and indeed breathtaking) experience, and it’s an experience we’re providing today through our premiere stream of the EP in its entirety. So, take some deep breaths, and proceed…. Continue reading »