Sep 172019


Two tracks. One of them nearly 17 1/2 minutes long, the other one just over 20 minutes, each of them denominated as a Part of a single work. That’s the new album by the black metal band Ancient Moon, Benedictus diabolica, Gloria Patri, which will be released by Iron Bonehead Productions on September 20th. Two very long pieces composed and performed by anonymous artists, locations unknown, but apparently crossing continents.

Music of such daunting length can be… daunting to listeners, and to people such as myself who feel compelled to wrestle with words as a means of communicating sound. But don’t be daunted, or deterred from listening. Patience is obviously required, but in this case it will be richly rewarded. Continue reading »

Sep 172019


(This is the first part of an extensive series of posts by TheMadIsraeli devoted to a retrospective analysis of the discography of Slayer. With luck, we’ll manage to post each installment on a daily basis until it’s completed.)

I fucking love Slayer. The blasphemous flesh flayers are no doubt legendary in metal’s history and its evolution, for good reason. The speed, sheer technicality, outright viciousness, and the new wave of dark tonality they brought was absolutely, existentially crucial in the birth of what we now know as extreme metal.

However, there’s always been a lot of conjecture around this band. Lots of fluff about legacy, how they influenced metal, etc., but no one (that I’ve seen) has applied a hard critical eye and evaluated this band’s entire catalogue of albums as a work of art. Not as a piece of history, not as an influence, not as an example of innovation, but as an assessment of how Slayer have performed as musicians across their body of  work over time. Continue reading »

Sep 162019


Following hot on the heels of their 2018 album Continuum, the English instrumental post-rock band Sons of Alpha Centauri (SOAC) have created a second part to the journey which began there, and have done so in a stunning collaboration with industrial metal icon Justin K. Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu…) and ambient gloom metal maestro James Plotkin (Khanate, Jodis, etc.). The results of these creative unions are relentlessly fascinating, amalgamating a wide range of stylistic ingredients in a way that’s both compulsively head-moving and equally mind-bending. The music has genuinely primal power, yet also transports listeners into an alien cosmos and seemingly spirits us away into haunting realms that we enter at our peril.

This new album, Buried Memories includes two 10-minute monoliths of eclectic ambient progressive rock by SOAC — “Hitmen” and “Warhero“. “Hitmen” was mixed by Broadrick, and the album further includes his interpetive remixes of the track, one in his guise as Jesu and the second as the eponymous JK Flesh. James Plotkin created the mix for the second long SOAC track, “Warhero“, and then the album further includes a third, shorter SOAC track (“Remembrance“) mixed by Plotkin, as well as his remix of “SS Montgomery“, a single from the band’s landmark self-titled debut album.

What we’re presenting today is the premiere of the Jesu remix of “Hitmen“, as well as an impressionistic review of Buried Memories as a whole, in advance of its release on October 13th. Continue reading »

Sep 162019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Ukrainian band White Ward, which will be released by Debemur Morti Productions on September 20.)

To say that White Ward are the band Ulver might be today if they hadn’t totally abandoned the Black Metal aesthetic would, probably, be an over-simplification.

Both bands are, after all, distinct entities in their own right, and to imply that the former are simply a more metallic variant of the latter would be to do them a major disservice.

And, yet, there’s more than a hint of Perdition City to the Ukranian quintet’s new album, whose unusual mix of biting riffs, moody jazz inflections and neo-noirish vibes purposefully eschews the more “traditional” aspects of Black Metal – the nature worship, the rustic spirituality – in favour of a sound that’s distinctly urban in both tone and texture, all neon and glass and cold concrete.

But whereas Perdition City was billed as “music to an interior film”, this one is much more physical and grounded. It’s the soundtrack to the world outside your window, a world of digital prophets and ephemeral profits, social media sirens and vicarious virtual violence.

A world where what we put in no longer equals what we get out. Where what we give no longer balances what we take. A world on the brink of total Love Exchange Failure. Continue reading »

Sep 132019


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by the Swiss band Voice of Ruin, which is set for release on September 27th by Tenacity Music.)

Voice Of Ruin is a band that I get A LOT of promo and PR-related material about in my NCS inbox, and have since the band came about in 2014.  I’ve, like, SORT of listened to these guys?  But have never given them much of a chance because I’ve been confused by the references to melodic death metal, black metal, thrash metal, and metalcore, all of which have been attached to their name.

However, after receiving a promo for the band’s upcoming record Acheron, I decided why the fuck not, I’m going to sit down and really take in an album from these guys for the first time. Continue reading »

Sep 132019


(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Norwegian destroyers Blood Red Throne, which is being released today by Mighty Music.)

Now, I’m aware that I’ve caused a fair bit of controversy and upset over the last few weeks.

And I apologise for nothing.

But perhaps now it’s time for us (well, most of us, some people just won’t let things go) to put aside our differences and begin the healing process.

And what’s more healing than a good dose of Death Metal? Continue reading »

Sep 122019


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Imperium Dekadenz, which was released on August 30 by Napalm Records.)

I’ve known the name Imperium Dekadenz for quite a number of years but never checked them out. Their music was classified as black metal, which I hated in my early years as a fledgling metalhead and later on because the label “atmospheric black metal” in particular seemed to be frequently assigned to the absolute worst of bedroom production and gimmicky tripe.

Nevertheless, with the impending release of their new album I decided to check them out for the first time ever, because my metal palate has expanded and because, while atmospheric black metal as a label can still be associated with some of the worst music I’ve heard in my life, I’ve discovered that it also harbors an interesting form of black metal, one that embraces the vocal style and the vibe of occult or generally spiritualist mysticism, but is just doomy melodic death metal when you really break it down. Continue reading »

Sep 122019


(This is Wil Cifer‘s review of the new album by Japan’s Coffins, which is due for release on September 20 by Relapse Records.)

2019 has been a really strong year for death metal. Here is an album that continues the trend.

Not the biggest fan of these guys going into this album, but familiar with their work. There is still some rough around the edges grit, but here their sound is much more dialed in. When they lock into a more palm-muted chug you can really hear the difference. It’s their fifth album in 20 years, and this sounds like the one they have taken the most time with. There are more sparse touches of punk. They are more deliberate on songs like “The Tranquil End”, but not jumping on this year’s death-doom bandwagon by any means. Continue reading »

Sep 112019


I’ve been closely following the work of Texas-based Wings of Dahak since coming across the tracks released in advance of their 2017 debut album, Unholy Wings. Initially drawn to the music by the pedigrees of the band’s three members — guitarist/vocalist/bassist Dave Tillery (Embalmed, ex-Gruesome Fate), lead guitarist Cody Daniels (Giant of the Mountain, Dour), and drummer Matt Thompson (King Diamond, and more) — I quickly became sold on the ravaging ferocity and immense evocative power of their particular amalgam of death and black metal (to mention only two ingredients).

Named for a legendary three-headed dragon (Azhi Dahaka) created by the spirit of destruction, whose reign brought to the earth “misery, hunger, thirst, old age and death, mourning and lamentation, excessive heat and cold, and intermingling of demons and men,” and creating music “with this spirit in heart and mind”, the band have succeeded in summoning those terrible visions through sound.

Wings of Dahak followed that debut album with a new single last fall — “The Day They Burned” — which we reviewed soon after discovering it. Now, the band are about to release a new EP named Death At Your Side, which includes both that single and two new tracks. Today, on the eve of that release, we’re premiering both the EP as a whole and a video for its title track. Let’s take the songs one at a time, beginning with the one we’re presenting through a frightening video… Continue reading »

Sep 112019


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by Portland-based Vitriol, which was released by Century Media Records on September 6th.)

I reviewed Vitriol’s debut EP in 2017, which you can read here for context, and I gave it VERY high praise. I found the band to be a refreshing new face eager to return death metal to its late ’90s/early 2000s zenith with a manic style that combined excessive technicality, song-writing prowess, overpowering posture, and commitment to their craft in the vein of Cryptopsy, Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Hate Eternal, Origin, etc.  Don’t misread my words though. I don’t think these guys are THE NEW FACE of death metal, but in the current age they do have an acute and rare understanding of what makes death metal, especially on the more technical front, so cathartic and engaging.

And now we’re here, with Vitriol’s debut LP To Bathe From The Throat Of Cowardice.  One thing worth noting is that all four songs from the debut EP are on this record, with the EP’s title track in fact closing the album.  I’m just gonna put my initial hot take about this album out there, and digress from there. Continue reading »