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 »

May 232023

(We present DGR‘s review of the second album by Norway’s Nexorum, just released late last week by Non Serviam Records.)

If you’d asked how long ago it had been since the last time we dove into Nexorum‘s black metal world with their first album Death Unchained, the knee-jerk response would’ve been not that long ago. It couldn’t have been right? Yet a gentle tap on the shoulder and much belly-aching later we’re reminded that the time compression of the past few years has struck once again. It has in fact been three years since we stumbled into the world of Nexorum (alongside Centinex‘s 2020 release at the time as well) for their debut album, Hell.

Any band that has put a out a release through the past few years has been put through the fucking wringer. Every release since then has felt like a soft restart for those groups whether they want it to be or not. Any group would be forgiven for choosing to hang it up after dealing with the shape of the world and its touring situation since then, so its a glorious thing to see Nexorum returning with a follow-up album, one that maintains the hellfire and ferocity of that first full-length while stretching their wings just a little bit further in Tongue Of Thorns.

Tongue Of Thorns was released on May 19th of this year – an eternity ago, we know – and further refines upon its older sibling while adding about five more minutes of run time to the overall length, whilst also managing to trim the actual song numbers down by one. Bigger songs, angrier guitars, and the same throat-scarring vocal work that made the debut an impressive listen, why would you not want to leap in head-first again? Continue reading »

May 222023

In past years we’ve written extensively about the music of the Belfast-based solo black metal project Dratna, following their course across four EPs and a 2022 debut album (Fear Gorta & Tales of the Undead) since the first release in 2018. It has been a remarkable excursion, and one that has fueled increasingly high expectations for each new release.

We didn’t expect another Dratna album so soon, but that is what we have — a new full-length named Fom​óraigh that will be released on May 26th by the distinctive NY label Fiadh Productions. Maybe expectations were a bit tempered given the relative speed of this follow-up, but that trepidation only made the new record even more astonishing to hear.

In its inspirations and themes the new album draws on Irish mythology and the landscape of The Mourne Mountians. In its music, to use the rudest form of summing up, it interweaves atmospheric and raw black metal with folk music performed on a wide array of instruments, rich symphonic overlays, and hints of doom. It unfolds like a head-spinning, eye-popping musical pageant, one that seems to have one foot in an age lost to the millennia and another in the hear-and-now. Continue reading »

May 222023

(On Friday of last week Pelagic Records released a new album by The Ocean. DGR has thoughts about it. Many thoughts about it. Most of them are included in the review below, which unfolds as a journey through more than a decade of time.)

May 10th, 2010 – Walking through the park nearby my house, attempting to distract myself from an ongoing period where the only thing in life that isn’t going sideways is work. In an attempt to expand my musical horizons and thanks to MetalSucks posting about them consistently, I have picked up on The Ocean and their album Heliocentric. It has been the soundtrack to multiple walks like this in an attempt to understand why it seems to appeal to so many people, which is difficult to explain to a guy whose previous musical experience has been either in the -core scene or very Euro-centric melodeath until one day “Swallowed By The Earth” hits just right and we’re off to the races.

November 9th, 2010Anthropocentric has been released as part of the group’s continual pattern of pairing albums together. In the six-month gap the band have become an obsession and I wind up reviewing the album for The Number Of The Blog – the first website I’ve written for and at this point was basically co-editor. I enjoy it and its more up-front aggression and metallic atmospheres than Heliocentric, but the pairing etches itself into my brain. Continue reading »