Mar 272020



(Andy Synn prepared this collection of reviews, all addressing fine albums that are being released today.)

It’s a very busy Friday for releases this week, both big and small. Some of them we’ve covered here already (Aodon, Perdition Temple, The Malice), some of them we’ll probably get to over the next couple of weeks… maybe… and some of them have already received significant coverage elsewhere.

The purpose of today’s column however is to highlight a handful of bands/albums which might not necessarily receive the same amount of attention and/or adoration as some of the bigger or more high-profile releases, beginning with… drum roll please… Continue reading »

Mar 252020



(Herein, Andy Synn sings the praises of three recent releases by French bands who present varying forms of Gallic metallic extremity.)

While many of us may be locked down right now, waiting for the current crisis to pass (which it will, I promise you), that doesn’t mean we can’t travel the world… musically speaking anyway… so today we’re off to France to check out three killer new records from three exceptionally talented bands. Continue reading »

Mar 242020


For those of us who relished and reveled in Perdition Temple‘s last album, 2015’s The Tempter’s Victorious, it has been a long wait, but that wait is nearly over. On Friday of this week, March 27th, Hells Headbangers will release the band’s third album, Sacraments of Descension, on CD, LP, tape, and digitally. It fully deserves that kind of royal release treatment because listening to this record — which we’re giving you the chance to do today — is like sitting in on a masterclass in breathtaking musical demonism.

For the new album Gene Palubicki (co-founder of the legendary Angelcorpse) again makes hellish and harrowing guitar sounds but also returns to vocals, and he was joined by bassist Alex Blume (a longtime member of Ares Kingdom and also Palubicki’s bandmate in Blasphemic Cruelty) and drummer Ron Parmer (of Amon and Brutality). That’s a lot of veteran talent, and it shows in spades on this new album. Continue reading »

Mar 232020


(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by North Carolina’s Feminazgul, which was released on March 17th.)

There’s a lot of things I love about Metal. Heck, I wouldn’t have been writing here for over nine feckin’ years if that wasn’t the case. But, truth be told, there’s a lot of things about the Metal scene which I don’t love.

For one thing, our tendency to bend over backwards to excuse or justify something reprehensible which our favourite artists have done, purely because of how good their music is, has always struck me as pretty distasteful (and I’m not excusing myself from this either, as I’ve certainly done it in the past).

But, similarly, the idea of simply praising a band for having the “right” ideology, for saying the “right” things, doesn’t sit quite right with me either, and I’ve seen far too many instances recently where people seem willing to overlook a band’s relative mediocrity simply because they’ve got the “right” message.

Don’t get me wrong, a band’s message, a band’s meaning, can be just as important as their medium (though it doesn’t have to be), but I don’t think, with the wealth of options available to us all these days, we should feel like we have to sacrifice one in favour of the other.

Which brings me, smoothly, to Feminazgul (FYI, love the name), a band whose music and meaning is so tightly interwoven that there’s simply no question of separating the art from the artist. Continue reading »

Mar 232020


The cover art for Legions of the Dawn (by Remy from Headsplit Design) is sure to seize attention. The sight of all those humanoid horrors shambling through horned tentacles sprouting from hellish ground makes a vivid and ghoulish impression. There’s murder in those eyes and ruthless hunger behind those teeth. But what lies within the album behind that ghastly artwork? You’re about to find out.

Legions of the Dawn is the work of The Malice, a two-headed death-metal monster consisting of Hubeister (Father Death) Liljegren from Sweden and Claudio (CorpseFührer) Enzler from Germany. With a pair of EPs and a single behind them, they first released this album as a demo last September under the title of The Unholy Communion, but it has now been picked up by Satanath Records and More Hate Productions for re-release on March 25th with new mastering, that eye-catching new artwork, and of course the new title. Continue reading »

Mar 232020


The half-witted editor of this site (that would be me) didn’t realize until this past weekend that Wil Cifer had sent in this review a week ago. And thus it is purely a coincidence, and a very sad one, that it’s now being posted the day after we learned that Chuck and Tiffany Billy and members of Testament’s crew have tested positive for COVID-19, apparently contracted during the band’s recently completed European tour. Members of their tour-mates Death Angel and Exodus have also tested positive for the virus. We wish them all the best under these unfortunate circumstances. Titans of Creation will be released on April 3rd by Nuclear Blast. And now, on to Wil’s review…


Testament lurk just outside of the “Big 4 “ but, The Ritual aside, they have held their own against Slayer over the years when it has come to putting out quality heaviness. The New Order might have been the metal album of 1988. That year had some tough competition, so at least in the top five. The first song on this album, “Children of the Next Level”, feels like it is fueled with the same fire that propelled their glory days. Continue reading »

Mar 222020


I’m still working my way through that list of 80 potentially interesting new songs and full releases that I mentioned in Part 1 of this big round-up. Of course, not all of those 80 are going to pass my smell test, and I couldn’t write about all of them even if they did. But there’s still a lot I want to recommend, and so with the exception of the first item below, I’ll just be offering brief impressions along with the streams.

If all goes as planned, there will be a Part 3 tomorrow. A SHADES OF BLACK column will follow this one today, whenever I finish writing it.


From 1989 to 1994 Winter released only one demo tape (Hour of Doom), one album (Into Darkness), and one EP (Eternal Frost), and nothing since then. But those recordings were enough to cement their place in the history of extreme metal and to become the jumping-off point for countless other bands in the doom and sludge genres for the last 30 years. And thus when Svart Records announced weeks ago that it would be releasing an album by a band it characterized as “a long-awaited continuation of what Winter would have been”, I sat up and paid attention. Continue reading »

Mar 202020


On March 24th W.T.C. Productions will release the long-awaited fifth album by the German black metal band Membaris. Eight years is indeed a long time in between records, and that’s how much time has elapsed since their last one, Entartet. But holy hell, the return they have made with Misanthrosophie is nothing short of spectacular.

To crib from some of the many words to follow in an introductory review, there is a theatrical quality to the album as a whole, like a fantastical Baroque pageant that seems to put the richness of humanity, in all its wildly swinging emotions — its madness and its never-ending grief, its joy and absurdity, its soulful poignancy and heedless cruelty — onto a grand stage. And to do this Membaris have seamlessly incorporated a wide range of musical styles across many decades, from both metal and rock, into their thorned framework of black metal. Every song holds wondrous surprises and thrilling experiences, every one of them fueled with undeniable passion and executed with tremendous skill. Continue reading »

Mar 202020


Within the ever-expanding realms of black metal there are bands who will always be content to follow the old, well-trod paths, from the grim sounds of cold northern darkness to the vicious, thrusting revels that are fueled by hate and inspired by the worship of demons.

But there are others whose ambitions are greater, who seem to extend their reach toward vistas beyond our time and outside our tangible plane of existence, who seek to manifest visions that can’t be put into words, to channel forces beyond our normal perceptions, and to up-end the minds of listeners at the same time. To be sure, this kind of music may also be spawned by disgust for humankind and hatred for the chains with which some bind others, or with which we bind ourselves. But the music seeks not only to capture the dystopian terrors brought about by our own deeply flawed natures but also to cast off and transcend such imprisonments.

Which brings us to the new album by Aversio Humanitatis, and the song from the album we’re presenting today. Continue reading »

Mar 202020


(Yesterday DGR turned in a double-review, but in his own inimitable fashion he wrote so many words about each of the two albums — one by Berzerker Legion and one by Wombbath — that your humble editor decided to split it in two, and now we present the second one. It may make some sense to read the other review first (here), since these were originally packaged together.)

Over the many years that we’ve spent in our comfortable little corner of the internet, one of the things we’ve learned how to get real good at is identifying genre-fare: the sort of musical red meat where it is clear the crew behind them just want to add to the overall cauldron that is their music of choice. Not necessarily the most ambitious or ‘paradigm changing’ — though the times where a group lands on that sort of lightning-in-a-bottle formula is always great — but music that is enjoyable for what it is, well-executed within the blueprint of its chosen genre.

One of the examples of this which practically fuels this website is the sort of rock-stupid, pulsating thud of death metal that gets by purely by appealing to the early cave-dweller parts of our brain, and another is the type of music that is so predisposed to headbanging guitar work that you can’t help but want to tag along, whether or not you have the long hair for it.

In this case it’s weird that these two albums feel like catching up a bit, since these two projects share a vocalist whom we’ve written about numerous times before and both of them are right in that wheelhouse described above. One is more modern and melody-focused despite its overall insistence on how world-ending it paints its protagonists in the songs, and the other is flavored with apocalyptic flair but with the chainsaw guitar aimed at a more old-school crowd. And thus we find ourselves catching up with Berzerker Legion and a crew more familiar to our site’s readers, Wombbath. Continue reading »