May 102022
 

(We may be well into May, but Andy Synn still has albums from last month he needs to talk about!)

As I stated in last week’s column, I don’t plan to make a habit of this, but April was so packed with excellent new releases by relatively unknown bands that I had to split up my usual “Things You May Have Missed” column into two parts in order to feature as many of them as possible.

Of course, there are still several things I/we didn’t get around to writing about, including AzaabBasatan, and – most notably – Dischordia, whose new album is currently sitting very high in my provisional year-end rankings.

But I only have so much space and/or time, and really didn’t want to extend this to a third part, so choices, and sacrifices, had to be made.

Still, I think you’ll be happy with the artists/albums I’ve selected for part 2 of “Things You May Have Missed” from last month, which this time includes some Prog and Hardcore influenced Post-Metal from Norway (Claimstaker), some esoteric and experimental Black Metal from Belgium (Dissolve Patterns), and a pair of bands from the good ol’ US of A, one dealing in gloomy shades of gargantuan Doom (Qaalm) the other delivering a noisesome plague of harsh Blackened Death Metal (Worn Mantle).

Continue reading »

May 092022
 

One week from today the German pagan black metal band Horn will release Verzet, its ninth album in a musical career that now spans nearly two decades. As ever, Verzet is the vision and solo work of Niklas, aided by a few talented guest performers.

The album’s name is Dutch for “resistance”, and three of the tracks (“Galgenblech”, “Aufstand”, and “Verzet”) deal with the topic of rebellion, while others concern the importance of perseverance and principles (“A Hill To Die On”) and the concept of agency and the lack thereof (“Protektor”). But the song that Horn chose as the lead “single”, which was accompanied by a beautiful video, was “Alpenrekorder”, and it manifested a reawakening of the classic Horn style, with its roots in folkloric traditions and a reverence for nature. Continue reading »

May 092022
 

(Andy Synn digs deep into the foul carcass of the new album by Switzerland’s Icare)

What would you say if I told you that one of the best Black Metal albums of the year so far – or, at least, one of the strongest contenders for that particular accolade – was a forty-three-and-a-half minute, single-track record from a Swiss grind band, based on the poem “Une Charogne” by Charles Baudelaire?

Would you call me a liar? A fraud? Would you think I was insane?

Well, in the grand scheme of things you might not be wrong, but – trust me – I’m telling you the truth this time.

Of course, referring to Icare as “just” a Grindcore band barely scratches the surface of their sound – they had, in essence, already transcended such a simplistic descriptor by the end of their first album, whose unique structure and flow showcased the group’s ongoing sonic evolution practically in real-time – but the general point still stands… sometimes the best things come from unexpected places, and in unexpected forms.

Continue reading »

May 092022
 


Bonginator

(We welcome a new writer to our putrid site, one who goes by the name fetusghost, and we’ll let him explain his particular interests in his own words.)

Hello, friends, and welcome to the first of hopefully many Bong Metal Round-ups. Bong metal, of course, is heavy metal from bands who have ‘bong’ in the name (eg, Bongzilla, Bongripper, Belzebong, etc). If pornogrind can be a genre, then why not bong metal? The round-up part comes from the fact that getting high leads to missed deadlines, so everything covered here has already been released and awaits your ears and hard-earned dough.

On another heavy metal website, staffed by fine and handsome writers, on the twentieth day of the fourth month of the (very shitty) year of 2020, I wrote a Bong Metal Primer. Having taken a hiatus and switched teams since then, it’s now back to the bongs for this dumb writer. I chose to focus on the underground (ie, I didn’t cover Weedsconsin, which is not Bongzilla’s best, but it’s still an excellent album and we should all be delighted that they are active again), and highlight each band’s most recent release.

As a final note before we do the damn thing, I would like to humbly request your suggestions and recommendations on all things bong metal/stoner metal/weird metal/etc. Holler at me in the comments, or send your electronic mail to bongmetal420@gmail.com, and gimme those sweet streaming links! Bong metal bands take precedence of course, but sharing awesome underground metal is my love language.

Now pack a bowl/hit the vape/roll a fatty, and join me on a Bong Metal Journey! Continue reading »

May 052022
 

Harvested are an Ottawa-based quartet (with members from Quebec as well as Ontario) who are on the brink of releasing their self-titled debut EP, and it is indeed an explosive debut. Drawing influence from the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Suffocation, Dying Fetus, and Hate Eternal, Harvested blast their way through five ferocious tracks that combine visceral destructive power, megawatt vocal intensity, and the kind of high-speed technically impressive performances that tend to pop eyes wide open.

That melding of speed, savagery, and technical fireworks makes the run through the full torrent of the EP an electrifying (and indeed breathtaking) experience, and it’s an experience we’re providing today through our premiere stream of the EP in its entirety. So, take some deep breaths, and proceed…. Continue reading »

May 052022
 

(Andy Synn dives headfirst into the abyss with the new album from Feral Lord, out tomorrow)

This week is a big one for those who consider themselves fans of the more abstract, abrasive, and avant-garde end of the Extreme Metal spectrum, with new albums from HaunterCosmic Putrefaction, and Feral Lord all scheduled to hit the streets on the same day.

Sadly I was never going to have time to write about all three of them (not, at least, before they’re released), and since I fell so hard for Feral Lord‘s debut album, Purity of Corruption, last year, the choice of which of the three to devote my time to pretty much made itself.

The thing is, even though I am a huge fan of the duo’s previous work, I’m not ashamed to admit that I simply was not prepared for what they’ve created on Vires In Absoluto, and chances are – no matter what you think you’re about to hear – neither are you.

Continue reading »

May 032022
 

(Andy Synn presents four artists/albums which you may have overlooked last month)

Ok, I promise I won’t make a habit of this, but I discovered so many new releases in April – records which seem to have been largely overlooked elsewhere, as far as I can tell – that I’m going to have to break up this edition of “Things you may have missed…” into two parts, the first coming today, the second coming… whenever I get chance to get around to it.

For today’s post I’ve chosen some ripping Black/Death from Canada (Althotas), some powerfully melodic Death/Doom from Portugal (The Chapter), some darkly dramatic Progressive Thrash from Greece (Disharmony) and some atmosphere heavy – as well as just plain heavy – Deathcore from the USA (Null Valley).

Chances are there’ll be at least something here you haven’t checked out before, so give them a spin if and when you get chance – you might just discover your favourite new band!

Continue reading »

May 032022
 


Somali Yacht Club – photo by May Lee

(April 2022 is in the history books, and our man Gonzo follows its end with a selection of albums released during the month that brightened his days, and we hope will brighten yours.)

If only my fucking day job made it easier to listen to all the music I wanted to. Pipe dreams, man. Pipe dreams.

The past month saw me venturing out to several shows, though; Archspire in particular ripped my face off for an hour straight while grinning maniacally the whole time. Amorphis and Uada were amazing as well, and I’ve got Behemoth and Arch Enemy lined up for this coming Wednesday. (I’ll likely be at that show by the time you read this column.)

All that being said, none of the bands I cover here are anything I saw live recently, but god damn does it feel good to be getting back into my pre-pandemic cadence of live music again.

As usual, here’s a smattering of new shit I found worthy of writing about this month. Continue reading »

May 022022
 

In the Faith That Looks Through Death, the 2020 debut EP of Vital Spirit (which we had the privilege of premiering), was a true gem. Black metal provided the backbone for the music, but it flourished through the fuel of other wide-ranging inspirations, both conceptual and musical.

The band is a Vancouver duo — guitarist/bassist/vocalist Kyle Tavares (Seer, Wormwitch) and drummer Israel Langlais (Wormwitch) — but the EP took shape in between Wormwitch’s 2018 and 2019 American tours, and thus it was animated by the lands to the south that these two saw and the histories of those places. “Harrowing ballads imbued with the enduring spirit of the Americas” is how they described that four-song EP, and through it they brought to life visions of the Old West and Southwest of the U.S.

After hearing that remarkable EP we hoped it wouldn’t be a one-off adventure but instead an excursion that would continue. “There is, after all,” we wrote, “a lot of source material in the history and landscapes of the Americas that’s yet to be mined!” We and a lot of other fans have gotten our wish, because on May 6th Vendetta Records and Hidden Tribe will release Vital Spirit‘s debut album, Still as the Night, Cold as the Wind. Continue reading »

May 022022
 

(Andy Synn shares his thoughts on the new Misery Index album, scheduled for release next Friday)

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” That’s how the hoary old cliché goes, right?

It just so happens, though, that it’s very much true in this particular case, as there’s no mistaking a Misery Index album when you hear it, whether you’re listening to their more overtly Grind-influenced early work, or their more recent, Death Metal focussed records, or anything in between.

That being said, it definitely feels – in hindsight – that the band’s post-Traitors transition into being a “pure” Death Metal act reached its apex (or nadir, depending on how you feel about it) on 2014’s The Killing Gods, with 2019’s Rituals of Power suggesting a slight return towards their thrashier, punkier roots in places.

That’s why it shouldn’t be too surprising, if you’ve been paying attention, to learn that on Complete Control the Baltimore bruisers have decided to let their inner Hardcore band out to play… and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Continue reading »