Sep 232020
 

 

Not all metal bands, and in fact very few of them, unite behind a concept that’s as harrowing and as intriguing as the music they make. This isn’t intended as a criticism of bands who are content to make music that isn’t rooted in a conceptual vision or narrative. Good music is good music, regardless of its inspiration. And by the same token, a thought-provoking concept doesn’t make mediocre music any better. Yet when the two come together, the experience is even more special.

The Chilean trio Montaña Sagrada (“the Sacred Mountain”) have based their debut EP The Living Green, which we’re premiering in full today in advance of its September 25 release, on an especially intriguing (and mysterious) conception. Set during the 15th and 16th centuries, it focuses on a powerful group of people located on what would become known as Chiloé Island, a large island off the southern coast of Chile. “Shrouded in myth and protected by irrational fear”, these people had a firm hold on the population, with plans for domination that rivaled those of the European colonial powers. The band explain: Continue reading »

Sep 222020
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli wrote and packaged together this series of mini-reviews of 2020 albums he wants to recommend.)

So many albums I’m trying to catch up on and reviews I’m still trying to pump out, but I figured in the meantime I’d offer this collection of mini-reviews of albums I recommend.

STATIC-X

Static-X I think are a pretty niche band, but I personally loved their brand of dance groove industrial metal.  I thought Wayne Static was a great vocalist, and except for a couple of questionable albums, their discography was always reliably good, assuming you liked the premise of their sound.  Project: Regeneration Vol.1 is the first in a series of two albums that Wayne Static had started demo-ing prior to his death in 2014.  Helmed by the band’s OG lineup of bassist Tony Campos, guitarist Koichi Fukuda, and drummer Ken Jay, the band decided they’d try to pay tribute to their departed friend and bandmate while doing something for the fans, and finish what he started. Continue reading »

Sep 212020
 

 

(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album from Anaal Nathrakh, which is set for release on October 2nd by Metal Blade.)

They say (whoever “they” are) that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

But when that dog has been outfighting, outfoxing, and outfucking the competition, cleanly and consistently, for pretty much the last twenty years, then why would you want to mess with success?

That’s the position that the two-headed rabid pit-bull named Anaal Nathrakh find themselves in right now, as while the band’s modus operandi may have evolved and mutated a fair bit since their Total Fucking Necro days, the underlying formula for their sound [grinding velocity x blackened venom + voracious hooks] remains practically unaltered.

The problem with this sort of approach, of course, is that at some point you’re going to run straight into the creative (and commercial) roadblock that is “the law of diminishing returns”, where just doing the same thing over and over again has less and less impact each time.

So, with the release of their eleventh album right around the corner, the big question now is… do Anaal Nathrakh have anything new to offer the world, or is it time to take them out back and put them out of their misery? Continue reading »

Sep 212020
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by the Icelandic band Cult of Lilith, which was released on September 4 by Metal Blade Records.)

It’s rare any more that modern attempts at technical death metal impress.  A lot of the bands who are producing good stuff were around at least five years ago, if not longer.  So when a band come around who are complete newbies, absolute new blood, and they come out swinging with a debut that crushes the status quo of the hum-drum of bad Beneath The Massacre worship, I have to give credit where credit is due.

The thing about technical death metal that a lot of the zoomers (for lack of a better term) don’t get, is that it’s about demonstrating instrumental virtuosity while still maintaining compelling songwriting chops.  Suffocation has this, Necrophagist had this, Exocrine has this, you get the idea.  It’s hard to find technical death metal bands nowadays who write real songs with definitive elements of progression and logical structure and cohesion while also writing crazy complicated riffs or sections that push both technical skill and endurance.

That brings me to today’s subject, Icelandic upstarts Cult Of Lilith. Continue reading »

Sep 212020
 

 

(Here’s DGR’s review of the new album by the Swedish band Night Crowned, which is out now via Noble Demon Records.)

Night Crowned‘s debut album Impius Viam came out in the tail end of February and it has felt like a musical mental roadblock on this end ever since. We were lucky in being able to cover the band’s premieres at this site and even got their drummer to sit down and talk with us for a bit, yet when the full album came out we never fully sat down to dedicate words to it. Yet it’s been in constant rotation here, an ugly sort of beast clawing at the back of the skull.

The group’s hybridizing of a collective of extreme metal genres — with a heavy ratio of melodic black metal dominating the recipe — seems to have spread like an infection, and in between the spinning of newer releases this year, there’s always that haunting voice in the back of the head with its incessant whisper “what if you gave that Night Crowned disc another listen?” Continue reading »

Sep 182020
 

 

(Kunstzone released a new album last week, and so, like clockwork, we of course have a review of it by DGR, who spares no words.)

I’ve often pitched the Kunstzone project around here as sounding like the results of an ongoing battle between Anaal Nathrakh and Fear Factory. Each disc successfully blurs the lines between the two, in differing ratios depending on how the duo of multi-instrumentalist Alex Rise and Khaozone artist Andy felt at that particular recording session.

Thus, with four discs and a scattering of remix EPs and singles lying in their collective wake, you have a project whose debut release Eschaton Discipline splits about 60/40 in favor of Nathrakh’s brand of madness, and the following releases The Art Of Making The Earth Uninhabitable and Solarborn splitting about 70/30 and 80/20 in that same general direction. Which brings us to the group’s newest album Exit Babylon, which saw release on September 11th of this year. Continue reading »

Sep 182020
 

 

(Here’s Vonlughlio’s review of the debut EP by Dripped, which was released in August by Ungodly Ruins Productions.)

So it’s been a while since I’ve done a small review, but life (work and family) has taken a lot of my time, not leaving much to do something I like (writing and promoting music) but overall can’t complain. Anyway, I’m taking the opportunity now to talk about a new project called Dripped (Australia/Ukraine) that was formed back in 2019 with members of Corpseflesh, Septik Piggery, and Cranial Osteotomy.

The band signed to Ungodly Ruins Productions and this past August released their debut EP, Putrescent Omniscience, which consists of six songs that introduce what this new project has to offer — and I have to say that I am loving these 15 minutes of pure force with no fillers. This is an EP that just blew me away at first listen and should get more recognition in the scene. Continue reading »

Sep 172020
 

 

(We present Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Danish black metal band Sunken, set for a September 18 release by Vendetta Records.)

The term “categorical perception” refers to a psychological phenomena whereby human beings tend to separate stimuli – sounds, colours, etc – on a continuum into discrete, distinct categories, as well as how the learning of these categorisations influences our ability to perceive them as we grow up.

It’s a fascinating area, and one I can’t go into fully here (for obvious reasons), but let’s just say that CP is why you sometimes hear people from different countries struggling to differentiate between |r| and |l| sounds, and why different cultures sometimes even see colour differently.

As the smart ones among you might already have guessed, this phenomenon is pretty active in music too, especially when it comes to genre classifications.

For example, where you draw the line between Death Metal that’s “technical” and so-called Technical Death Metal, where you decide that something becomes brutal enough to be called Brutal Death Metal, etc, may be an individual choice on the surface, but it’s also heavily influenced by what you’ve learned, what you’ve been taught by others, and what you’ve been exposed to.

It’s particularly noticeable on the Black Metal spectrum, especially when it comes to asking people to define at what point Black Metal becomes Atmospheric Black Metal becomes Post-Black Metal… with the usual answer being defined more by personal preference than any actual sonic or stylistic properties of the music itself.

But there are always artists/albums who transcend or defy easy categorisation, and whether you like your Black Metal to be “Atmospheric”, “Post-” or pure as the driven snow, Livslede is likely to be exactly what you’re looking for. Continue reading »

Sep 172020
 

 

(In this writeup TheMadIsraeli provides an enthusiastic recommendation of the new album by the Swedish band LIK, which will be released by Metal Blade Records on September 25th.)

For a good decade now old school Swedish death metal throwback bands have been milking a long beaten-to-death style and aesthetic until it was stripped of the ferocity and angst that gave it have its appeal to begin. Very few of these bands are good.  The style has become victimized by a corporatized sort of nostalgia aping. Instead of bands trying to do things with the style that are forward-thinking or… dare I suggest it… trying to write actually captivating songs full of killer riffs, killer melodies, and a powerful unhinged vocal front, a lot of the music just feels really cynical and pandering.

LIK aren’t one of those bands.  As a matter of fact, I would tell you that since their debut Mass Funeral Invocation in 2015, they have become one of the very few old school Swedish death metal bands that are worth your time.  They have passion, brutality, technicality, drama, and a deep respect for the roots of their sound that so many bands that do this shit just do not have. Continue reading »

Sep 162020
 

 

(This is Wil Cifer‘s review of the new album by Chrome Waves, which is set for release on September 25th by Disorder Recordings.)

So far in 2020 there have not been more than a handful of black metal releases that have inspired me to put them in heavy rotation. The sub-genre of depressive black metal has become even more scarce in terms of quality. I find this odd because 2020 has begged for bleaker, darker music. I know I can plug DSBM into the search bar of Bandcamp and find an abundance of poorly programmed drum machines under thin over-processed guitar tones.

This is what makes Chrome Waves‘ new album such a treasure. It sounds great and is as dark and melancholy as I might want when I am taking my meds. Continue reading »