May 112021
 

(Andy Synn dives back into the darkness once more with the new album from Russian Blackened Hardcore bruisers Morokh)

You know what they say… once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.

And, as it happens, this is the third album from Russia in just over a month that’s instantly established itself as one of my favourite records of the year, which suggests that either someone out there is purposefully targeting me and my listening tastes… or I’m just being paranoid (or am I?).

Continue reading »

May 092021
 

 

I think it’s fair to say that I’ve gone off the deep end. Between the new-music round-ups I prepared on Friday and Saturday and the column you’re now staring at, I’ve thrown out 28 advance tracks, EPs, or albums, almost all of which surfaced just within the last week or two. I don’t expect any normal person to pay attention to all of it, and I don’t really know how any normal person would pick and choose among all those tracks. So why have I done this? Don’t know… still waiting on the psychiatric evaluations….

BEASTLOR (U.S.)

I decided to begin with one of the two complete albums in today’s collection. It landed, fully formed and without warning, on the most recent Bandcamp Friday, two days ago. As you can see, I didn’t defer paying attention to it, because the man behind it is Mick Barr (of Krallice and Encenathrakh). Continue reading »

May 082021
 

 

Even after yesterday’s humongous round-up of new music, I’m still playing catch-up with new songs and videos, and picked seven more entries to include here today. These are mostly individual songs, but I’ve mixed in a pair of new EPs. As usual, part of my goal in making this selection was to provide diverse experiences.

SOL DE SANGRE (Colombia)

On April 30th this killer Colombian band released a new EP named Despair Distiller, and I’m way late in crowing about how really fucking good it is. Better late than never, I hope! Continue reading »

May 062021
 


Ereb Altor

 

(Nathan Ferreira wrote the following reviews of four new EPs that are all well worth your time.)

In these pandemic-ridden times, I’ve had online discussions with internet cretins about how EP releases may be a more viable format for artists, especially those that rely on touring as an income source. There’s less time and expense required to record, produce, and promote them, and it allows the artists in question to focus more on moving other projects forward – in theory, anyways.

Plus, how often do you actually make it through all those hour-long albums you own front to back in one sitting? Is there really that much of a difference between 25- and 40-minute runtimes in terms of how complete an album feels? If the music is good enough, probably not.

For the reasons above, and because I’ve been seeing an unusual number of artists both bigger and smaller embrace the EP format recently (a sign of the times, perhaps), I thought it was appropriate to give some attention to some of the more bite-sized musical snacks that have caught my ear in the past couple of months. Mini-albums need love too, you know. Continue reading »

May 062021
 

 

(Todd Manning rejoins us with the following review of the debut album by Obsolete, which was released not long ago through Unspeakable Axe Records.)

I don’t know about anyone else, but as time goes on, I find myself more obsessed with groups such as Watchtower, Atheist and Sadus. And now it’s time to add a new name to the list. Riding a fine line between Tech-Thrash and early Death Metal, Animate//Isolate is the stunning debut full-length from Minneapolis-based band Obsolete.

While some bands from the Tech-Thrash movement could create a pretty obscure sound (see Watchtower or Sieges Even’s Steps),  Obsolete never sacrifice immediacy in their quest for mind-bending technicality. The riffs stampede relentlessly, and the harsh vocals are firmly rooted in Death Metal. And while most the beats deconstruct and reassemble classic Thrash workouts, they find opportunities to squeeze in blast beats as well as softer moments. Continue reading »

May 052021
 

(The long-awaited debut album from Italian Black/Death duo Hadit is set for release this Friday via Sentient Ruin/Caligari Records, and Andy Synn has volunteered to act as Virgil on this journey into the inferno)

After my shameless flirtation with – dare I say it – the “mainstream” (ok, not really, but you know what I mean) earlier this week, it’s high time I got back to the underground, the underdogs, and the underappreciated.

And what better way to do so than with a quick look at the long-awaited, soon-to-be-released, debut album from Italian Death-duo Hadit, whose elaborately titled new album conjures up a sound that is distinctly more occult and “old school” in demeanour and delivery than that of the band’s more popular and blast-happy contemporaries/countrymen?

Continue reading »

May 052021
 

 

Those of us who toil at this site draw pleasure from what we do in many ways, but perhaps the most fun comes from presenting explosive surprises — helping to spread the word about new, unheralded bands whose appearance turns out to be something like a big meteor blazing through a night sky. And that’s exactly what we have for you today, in our premiere of the debut EP of the multi-state U.S. band Empty Throne in advance of its release this coming Friday by Wise Blood Records.

This EP, Glossolalia, really is a spectacular experience, one that’s perhaps best enjoyed after hyperventilating, because you may need the extra oxygen. In a nutshell (to borrow the label’s words), “this is hellish and ornate blackened death metal with thrashing rhythms and an epic scope”. It draws upon “the violent propulsion of ‘80s thrash, the agile savagery of death metal circa 1994, with Gothenburg adornments and rabid vocals”, blended with an ambitious scope and the dark atmospherics of late-stage black metal.

And it must also be said that the high-speed instrumental pyrotechnics are likely to find fans among devotees of technical death metal too. Continue reading »

May 042021
 

(For his first post of the week, Andy Synn takes aim at three of last month’s most sacred cows… but is he here to slaughter them, or just give them a little push?)

Last month saw the release of several new albums from some pretty big and (in)famous names (well, in Metal terms at least) and a resultant storm of press and PR both leading up to and following on from these releases.

And, to be honest, I wasn’t sure whether it was really worth us commenting on them. After all, they’re all well past the point where write-ups and reviews are going to have any sort of major impact on album sales, and have reached a stage in their careers where the fans are going to praise, and the haters are going to hate, no matter what.

Case in point, I’ve seen people calling the new Cannibal Corpse album “boring” even as others declare that it “pushes the Death Metal genre forward” (it doesn’t, but it’s far from “boring”), I’ve read posts claiming that Gojira are either “just a generic groove-metal act” or “the greatest band of the century” (they’re neither, as it happens), and observed several sites giving the latest Vreid a perfect 10/10 score (c’mon guys, it’s good, but do you really think it’s on the level of, say, Master of Puppets or are you just spitting hype because you know it gets clicks?).

That being the case, however, I still feel like there’s a place for a more measured and “objective” analysis of each of these releases, one which doesn’t exist just to confirm the pre-existing prejudices of its readers, which is why I decided to step up to the plate, take one for the team, and attempt to bring a little bit of balance to the force, by reviewing them all myself.

Continue reading »

Apr 302021
 

 

This marks the fourth time in five years that we’ve written about the unorthodox, genre-splicing Russian band Cage of Creation. The first time, in 2017, was our review of a record named III, which completed a trilogy of EPs. The second, in 2018, was a discussion of another EP named I Am the Void, which was the commencement of yet another trilogy. And then last year we premiered and reviewed their most recent full-length, Into Nowhere II. The persistent theme of all these written reactions was one of continual fascination with the band’s unbridled experimentation — within the context of songs that were nevertheless so seductive that they were damned difficult to get out of our heads.

The occasion for today’s happy reunion with Cage of Creation is the premiere stream of a new EP entitled I Am the Void II, which will be released on May 16th by Devoted Art Propaganda on 12″ vinyl. As the title suggests, it’s the second part of the new trilogy that began with I Am the Void in 2018, a three-part work that thematically focuses on experiences related to psychoactive explorations. This new EP presents two original works and a cover of Bethlehem’sNexus“. Continue reading »

Apr 292021
 

 

“The band name ‘Aschenvater‘ is inspired by the universe of Warhammer 40K. The sound is raw and destructive, like the rotting battlefields of the drop site massacre. Oldschool Death Metal is the perfect way for us to bring the content and the energy of the lyrics together with the music. The HM-2 is sculpting the violence and brutality of the fights in clay”.

This is how this German death metal trio introduce themselves, along with references to the inspirations of Bolt Thrower and Hail of Bullets. And to underscore the influence of Warhammer 40K, they named their debut EP Landungsfeldmassaker, in memory of a battle on Istvaan V, the “drop site massacre” as rendered in German, which is the language used for all the EP’s lyrics.

But when you listen to the EP’s seven songs you’ll come away convinced that this is no game, but is instead a viscerally powerful rendering of the mayhem, the bloodshed, and the desolating misery that plagues all human warzones. The grooves in the music are often massive and the riffing often highly infectious, but the overarching atmosphere of the EP is one of shattering decimaton and soul-crushing hopelessness.

And today we invite you to experience all of that for yourselves via our premiere of a complete stream of Landungsfeldmassaker in advance of its April 30 release (tomorrow!) by Dead Center Productions. Continue reading »