Sep 292020


(We present Vonlughlio’s review of the new album by Incinerate, which will be released on October 9 by Comatose Music and features cover art by Jon Zig.)

This time around I have the opportunity to write about Incinerate, a project originally hailing from Minnesota in the United Stated, formed back in 1998. I have been a fan for over 20 years, while witnessing their changes and evolution.  Their debut album Dissecting the Angels in 2002 — that was in-your-face BDM with a raw production that worked rather well in their songwriting.

For their second album, Anatomize, it took them six more years to get it finished and released, and it was evident that the time brought about big changes in songwriting and sound, and the incorporation of a technical aspect in both. The song titles were simple and on-point, while the lyrics maintained their anti-religion sentiment. This was a great progression musically, it showcased guitarist/vocalist Jesse Watson‘s finest work to that date,  and the musicians on this release were spectacular.   This album gained a lot of attention and a lot of fans, and the release would become one of those that would pass the test of time. Continue reading »

Sep 252020


(In this post Andy Synn reviews three albums being released today or in the near future — by Deftones, Enslaved, and The Ocean.)

As anyone who’s been following this site for, ooh, more than five minutes, will know, we tend to aim our collective focus at the more underground and/or underappreciated albums and artists out there.

Not because we have to. Not because we think it makes us “cool” (trust me, we’re not cool). Not even because we’re trying to make some sort of point or big statement. It’s just because we want to, and because it’s generally more fun to write about these sorts of bands than it is to regurgitate the same generic platitudes you can see/read everywhere else about bands who already have more than enough exposure.

That being said, sometimes we like to turn our attention to some bigger game, and bigger names, because… well… because we feel like it, basically. Which is why you’re about to read my short, but sharp, take on three artists/albums who’ve already received a fair bit of praise elsewhere but whom I think deserve a slightly more critical (dare I even say, objective?) assessment.

Think of it as my attempt to restore some balance to the force, as it were. Continue reading »

Sep 242020


(DGR finally got around to writing about the second album from fellow Sacramento denizens Wastewalker.)

There is a part of me that worried for a while that I was holding Wastewalker to a much higher standard than I would have for most groups, which may be why this review took so long to hammer out.

Wastewalker are something of a local Sacramento tech-death “supergroup” as far as the term could be stretched, comprising members who have been involved in some of the more interesting projects to come out of that region in the past few years. Born from of the ashes of the “too death metal for the core kids, too core for the death metal kids” Conducting From The Grave, guitarist John Abernathy found himself accompanied by a stellar roster of musicians.

Their drummer Justin has been in a small collective of projects – the highlight of which is the angular madness that is Journal – while bassist Joel Barrera has been holding down the rhythmic fort for a handful of promising death metal groups, the most recent of which (actually written about here) is the newly launched Katholik. Vocalist Cam Rogers comes shrieking in from an impressive first volley on Alterbeast’s first album, and guitarist Nate Graham was involved in a later lineup of that same group, while also recently joining the promising The Odious Construct.

It’s such a promising lineup that you couldn’t help but be excited for them, which is why it was so frustrating that even though it found a foothold here, only half of the group’s debut album Funeral Winds seemed to stick with me. The group’s sophomore disc Lowborn, released in May after a sizeable delay, is proving to be a far different story. Continue reading »

Sep 232020



(Here’s another edition of Andy Synn‘s continuing series focused on the review of records recently released by bands from his native land.)

Isn’t it great when things just kind of… line up on their own?

Case in point, just last week I was thinking that it was about time to put together another edition of “The Best of British”, especially with new albums from both Scordatura and Svalbard on the horizon.

But, here’s the rub, I didn’t have a third band lined up to round out the article. That is until a passing comment clued me into the fact that Scottish Post-Sludge trio Bosphorus were also set to release their long-gestating debut album this Friday, making for a killer triumvirate of new records all scheduled to come out on the same day.

Like I said at the start – isn’t it great when stuff just falls into place? Continue reading »

Sep 232020


Not all metal bands, and in fact very few of them, unite behind a concept that’s as harrowing and as intriguing as the music they make. This isn’t intended as a criticism of bands who are content to make music that isn’t rooted in a conceptual vision or narrative. Good music is good music, regardless of its inspiration. And by the same token, a thought-provoking concept doesn’t make mediocre music any better. Yet when the two come together, the experience is even more special.

The Chilean trio Montaña Sagrada (“the Sacred Mountain”) have based their debut EP The Living Green, which we’re premiering in full today in advance of its September 25 release, on an especially intriguing (and mysterious) conception. Set during the 15th and 16th centuries, it focuses on a powerful group of people located on what would become known as Chiloé Island, a large island off the southern coast of Chile. “Shrouded in myth and protected by irrational fear”, these people had a firm hold on the population, with plans for domination that rivaled those of the European colonial powers. The band explain: Continue reading »

Sep 222020


(TheMadIsraeli wrote and packaged together this series of mini-reviews of 2020 albums he wants to recommend.)

So many albums I’m trying to catch up on and reviews I’m still trying to pump out, but I figured in the meantime I’d offer this collection of mini-reviews of albums I recommend.


Static-X I think are a pretty niche band, but I personally loved their brand of dance groove industrial metal.  I thought Wayne Static was a great vocalist, and except for a couple of questionable albums, their discography was always reliably good, assuming you liked the premise of their sound.  Project: Regeneration Vol.1 is the first in a series of two albums that Wayne Static had started demo-ing prior to his death in 2014.  Helmed by the band’s OG lineup of bassist Tony Campos, guitarist Koichi Fukuda, and drummer Ken Jay, the band decided they’d try to pay tribute to their departed friend and bandmate while doing something for the fans, and finish what he started. Continue reading »

Sep 212020


(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album from Anaal Nathrakh, which is set for release on October 2nd by Metal Blade.)

They say (whoever “they” are) that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

But when that dog has been outfighting, outfoxing, and outfucking the competition, cleanly and consistently, for pretty much the last twenty years, then why would you want to mess with success?

That’s the position that the two-headed rabid pit-bull named Anaal Nathrakh find themselves in right now, as while the band’s modus operandi may have evolved and mutated a fair bit since their Total Fucking Necro days, the underlying formula for their sound [grinding velocity x blackened venom + voracious hooks] remains practically unaltered.

The problem with this sort of approach, of course, is that at some point you’re going to run straight into the creative (and commercial) roadblock that is “the law of diminishing returns”, where just doing the same thing over and over again has less and less impact each time.

So, with the release of their eleventh album right around the corner, the big question now is… do Anaal Nathrakh have anything new to offer the world, or is it time to take them out back and put them out of their misery? Continue reading »

Sep 212020


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by the Icelandic band Cult of Lilith, which was released on September 4 by Metal Blade Records.)

It’s rare any more that modern attempts at technical death metal impress.  A lot of the bands who are producing good stuff were around at least five years ago, if not longer.  So when a band come around who are complete newbies, absolute new blood, and they come out swinging with a debut that crushes the status quo of the hum-drum of bad Beneath The Massacre worship, I have to give credit where credit is due.

The thing about technical death metal that a lot of the zoomers (for lack of a better term) don’t get, is that it’s about demonstrating instrumental virtuosity while still maintaining compelling songwriting chops.  Suffocation has this, Necrophagist had this, Exocrine has this, you get the idea.  It’s hard to find technical death metal bands nowadays who write real songs with definitive elements of progression and logical structure and cohesion while also writing crazy complicated riffs or sections that push both technical skill and endurance.

That brings me to today’s subject, Icelandic upstarts Cult Of Lilith. Continue reading »

Sep 212020


(Here’s DGR’s review of the new album by the Swedish band Night Crowned, which is out now via Noble Demon Records.)

Night Crowned‘s debut album Impius Viam came out in the tail end of February and it has felt like a musical mental roadblock on this end ever since. We were lucky in being able to cover the band’s premieres at this site and even got their drummer to sit down and talk with us for a bit, yet when the full album came out we never fully sat down to dedicate words to it. Yet it’s been in constant rotation here, an ugly sort of beast clawing at the back of the skull.

The group’s hybridizing of a collective of extreme metal genres — with a heavy ratio of melodic black metal dominating the recipe — seems to have spread like an infection, and in between the spinning of newer releases this year, there’s always that haunting voice in the back of the head with its incessant whisper “what if you gave that Night Crowned disc another listen?” Continue reading »

Sep 182020


(Kunstzone released a new album last week, and so, like clockwork, we of course have a review of it by DGR, who spares no words.)

I’ve often pitched the Kunstzone project around here as sounding like the results of an ongoing battle between Anaal Nathrakh and Fear Factory. Each disc successfully blurs the lines between the two, in differing ratios depending on how the duo of multi-instrumentalist Alex Rise and Khaozone artist Andy felt at that particular recording session.

Thus, with four discs and a scattering of remix EPs and singles lying in their collective wake, you have a project whose debut release Eschaton Discipline splits about 60/40 in favor of Nathrakh’s brand of madness, and the following releases The Art Of Making The Earth Uninhabitable and Solarborn splitting about 70/30 and 80/20 in that same general direction. Which brings us to the group’s newest album Exit Babylon, which saw release on September 11th of this year. Continue reading »