Sep 202023

The Norway-based duo Hammerfilosofi came together in the plague year of 2020 with the goal of creating primeval black metal that would represent a “cleansing fire that aims to eradicate every trace of the civilized, the harmless, and the mediocre”, and to function as “an instrument to initiate a violent cathartic inner journey – and a celebration of strength and vigor, of terror and strife, and of glorious death.”

The results of their dark and imperious endeavors are captured in a debut album entitled The Desolate One, which is set for an imminent release on September 22nd by ATMF. Did the band achieve their goals? You’ll be able to answer that question for yourselves through the music player below, which provides all six tracks and nearly 45 minutes of sound.

Of course, we have our own answers. Continue reading »

Sep 202023

(Didrik Mešiček prepared the following review of a debut album by the Budapest-based band Grymheart. It will be released soon by Scarlet Records.)

You wouldn’t have thought so if you knew me today, but power metal was my entry point into metal and, for a while, probably my favourite subgenre, However, as years passed and tastes evolved I realised I’m not finding many new power metal releases that are interesting or engaging, yet alone complex enough to really satisfy my desires.

But once in a while something pops up that seems fun as well as actually musically interesting, which is why I’ll be talking about the debut album, Hellish Hunt, from the Hungarian Grymheart today, which will be released on the 22nd of September on Scarlet Records. Continue reading »

Sep 192023

The stories and ideas that inspire the lyrics and music in metal albums are, at least in the minds of most listeners, of secondary importance to an album’s audio sensations, even when those narratives and notions were vital to the people who created the album. The same is true of stories about how an album came to exist at all.

To be honest, many times (most of the time?) a metal album’s conceptual themes just aren’t that novel or compelling, or they’re poorly rendered, especially in the lyrics. Just as often, the events that brought a band together and led to the making of the music, usually involving the surmounting of myriad misfortunes, turn out to be not very interesting, which in many instances might mainly be the fault of how the story is told.

In all these respects, however, the comeback album of the Belgian death/doom band My Lament is an exception to the norm. Continue reading »

Sep 192023

(This is Wil Cifer‘s review of Common Suffering, the new album by Chicago’s Harm’s Way which will be released by Metal Blade on September 28th.)

Here is a band I was reluctant to give a chance due to the whole straight-edge thing. Given my personal beliefs and lifestyle choices, the straight-edge sub-genre feels conflicting in the same way that causes me to avoid Christian bands.

I was lured into being more open-minded thanks to King Woman’s Kristina Esfandiari guesting on the single “Undertow”. The simmering darkness and willingness to explore eerie melodies set the Chicago band apart from the tough-guy hardcore I expected from them. Thus began my descent into their fifth full-length Common Suffering.

Their second album for Metal Blade carries a great deal of crossover appeal, though from a different angle than their previous release Posthuman, and I felt inspired enough by this album to dig back into their catalog and visit that as well. Continue reading »

Sep 182023

The first song on a new EP by the Italian band Magnitudo, and the first single from it released for streaming, is named “Monument“. As we wrote here when we first heard it, it proves to be a fitting title given the immensity of the sounds.

The band erect a towering wall of guitars above humongous pounding drums, and then they make the wall writhe as horrific roars and howls intrude. Bent on destruction, Magnitudo also inflict slugging jolts as the drums hammer the spine, and they also spin out sweeping waves of ominous melody and slowly slithering filaments of sonic poison that put the frighteners in the bloodstream while the band attempt to break every bone in your body.

And so with that one track Magnitudo don’t just demonstrate the worthiness of the song name, they make one wonder whether the EP’s other three songs create music of similar imposing magnitude. You’re about to get the answer to that question. Continue reading »

Sep 182023

(Andy Synn steps into the fray to try and uncover the truth about the new Tomb Mold album)

If there’s one thing I think we can all agree on it’s that the amount of excessive “hype” that goes on in the more metallic ends of the media spectrum – from professionally written puff-pieces to overly-effusive amateur tweet-fests – has gotten pretty silly.

Every new album is “album of the year”. Every new band is “the saviour of Metal”. And so on, and so forth.

It sometimes seems like there’s just no room anymore for the sort of nuanced, constructively critical analysis that would actually add something to the conversation. Everyone’s just out to be the first to market with the hottest take or the most fawning regurgitation of the provided press materials, which makes it difficult to get a clear or honest picture of things.

And when the buzz around an album is as deafening as it was about The Enduring Spirit it can be even harder to know what, or who, to trust.

Continue reading »

Sep 142023

(Andy Synn offers up another triple-taste of British steel)

Let me tell you something, the last quarter of this year is absolutely packed with awesome (and potentially awesome) new releases.

And that’s just as true when you take a look at the UK scene too, with a bunch of big names and new contenders scheduled to drop their proverbial bombs over the next couple of months.

As a primer for all that, I’ve selected three albums – two from last month, one set for release next week – that I can practically guarantee are going to end up on several end-of-year lists.

They really are that good, embodying the best of the best of merciless Metallic Hardcore, audaciously unorthodox Black Metal, and dynamcally doomy, drone-inflected Post-Metal, respectively.

Continue reading »

Sep 132023

The birth of the Italian band Huronian in 2020 was one of the silver linings to the lethal black clouds with which the covid pandemic was then shrouding the world.

Word of their existence spread through a self-titled EP released that year, and then spread further through a very impressive 2021 debut album, As Cold as a Stranger Sunset.

Now Huronian are returning with a new five-track EP. Entitled Beyond Frozen Heights, it’s set for release on September 15th by Gruesome Records, and today we’re bringing you an advance listen to the whole record. Continue reading »

Sep 132023

(Andy Synn sets out once more to explore the post-genre hybrid of Limbs)

The bitter truth is that, no matter how dedicated and conscientious you are about trying to keep up with new releases, you’re always going to miss stuff.

Heck, there are albums which have gone on to become all-time favourites of mine that I didn’t get around to hearing until months, sometimes years, after their original release, and bands I’ve been fans of ever since they started who I didn’t realise had something new out until they announced they were working on their next record.

Thankfully, however, I’m only a little late to the party when it comes to Everything Under Heaven, the recently-released third album from Manila-based trio Limbs.

Continue reading »

Sep 122023

In this article we present a full stream of the debut EP by the two-person band Aabode from the French town of Nancy. The EP’s name is Moist, and it’s set for release on September 15th by Godz Ov War Productions. The label introduces it, at a high level, with these words:

Aabode is a dissonant, haunting twisted mixture of industrial beats and death metal riffing. Low-tuned, blackened, oppressive death metal riffing provided by Aabstracter is combined with ambient noise and glitched 808’s drum patterns. Assymetric track composition is overhanged by Abyssal‘s harsh vocals.

But like most views from a high level, that summary, while useful, omits the details. So let’s move into the EP at ground level, where the riotous dangers it poses to sanity are more apparent. Continue reading »