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 062019
 

 

Building on the strength of their slaughtering 2018 debut demo, the Belgian black/death band Dikasterion have escaped Hell again, and brought much of Hell with them in a new two-track release coming our way via Amor Fati Productions on September 9th — next Monday. If you think those references to hellish power were exaggerations, just listen to Stavelot 1597 / Rome 897 (which we’re giving you the chance to do a bit further on in this post).

Only two songs long, this is the kind of pull-no-punches barbarity capable of leaving a listener mind-mangled but crackling with electricity and wishing it were longer. Make no mistake, it’s a cruel and ugly assault on the senses, not any kind of experience for the faint of heart. But as toxic, brutish, and maniacal as the music may be, these sulfurous, diabolical assaults get the pulse pounding with primal power. Continue reading »

Aug 292019
 

 

Not too long ago Redefining Darkness Records digitally released a pair of demos (and launched pre-orders for forthcoming cassette tape editions), and I caught up with them last night. They set my hair on fire. After dousing the flames and getting a bit of fitful sleep I couldn’t resist the urge to let them set my head on fire again this morning. It’s not a good look, but the music sure woke me up in a big damned hurry, and felt just as good the second time around (and by “good” I mean “raw and riotous”).

The two demos — by the French/Dutch marauders in Horrid Apparition and the Cleveland hellfire arsonists in Exorcisme — make very good companions for each other. Both of them thrash like demons, with elements of punk in the mix and a char of blackening.

HORRID APPARITION

Evil Reigns is the name of the two-song debut demo by Horrid Apparition, whose two members are also involved in the old school black metal band DungeönHammer (their debut album Infernal Moon was released last year). Redefining Darkness introduces the new demo with references to the likes of Midnight and Hellripper. Continue reading »

Aug 212019
 

 

We’re told that the members of Indiana’s Enemy of Creation are veterans of the underground hardcore scene, and you can tell from listening to the music that they didn’t abandon those roots. But on their forthcoming sophomore EP Victims of the Cross they’ve spliced them with different forms of metal — mainly thrash, but with (as their label says) “the occasional nod to death metal greats Obituary and Bolt Thrower“. And as you’ll discover through our full streaming premiere of the EP, those references still don’t exhaust the differing elements that the band have integrated to create a wonderfully multi-faceted — and relentlessly electrifying — release. Continue reading »

Aug 202019
 

 

It’s an eclectic mix of sounds that I’ve chosen for today’s round-up; an authoritative but not infallible source doesn’t consider any of them metal. As on other occasions, I’ve benefited from recommendations received from Rennie (starkweather), which are the first two bands in this selection. The first of those, Wells Valley, was already a known quantity to me, though I didn’t know they had a new album set for release. The second one (Indus) was a new discovery, as were the next two, which I learned about in other ways.

Hektik‘s new EP seemed to pair up very well with the recent Indus EP, which is why I’ve put them back-to-back in the middle. The music of Burden Limbs is a different breed of cat altogether, but I’ve found myself hooked on the song I’ve included here, and by the forthcoming EP from which it comes.

WELLS VALLEY

In June of this year Black Lion Records released a compilation CD (also available as a name-your-price Bandcamp download here) named Afterlife In Darkness I. It includes songs by 29 bands taken from past and future releases by Black Lion. I should have paid closer attention to it, because one of the five tracks from forthcoming albums on that comp is the new song (“Paragon“) by Wells Valley that I’ve picked to start today’s collection, which is also now streaming on a recently established Bandcamp page for their new album. Continue reading »

Aug 192019
 

 

18 minutes of eldritch lurch ‘n’ crunch“. Sometimes it’s hard to improve on a good publicist’s summing-up, and in few words that is indeed a very good description of the “crushing ruminations” (another stolen phrase) displayed across the four tracks of Abysmalist’s debut demo, Reflections of Horror. A solemn and shivering bow must also be aimed in the direction of Abysmalist for their selection of a title for the demo, because electrifying horrors live and breathe within its supernatural confines.

Formed by two veterans of the Bay Area crust and hardcore underground, Abysmalist indulge their affections for Bolt Thrower, Obituary, and other “pre-blastbeat death metal” from the early ’90s (one more stolen phrase), as well as an attraction to such authors as Clive Barker and Patrick Süskind, whose works provided lyrical inspiration. And like authors such as those, the eerie reverberations and ghastly vocals in their music send chills down the spine even as the band pound and eviscerate or drag us through dank crypts like rotten but still breathing corpses. Continue reading »

Aug 172019
 

 

It would have been better if I had managed to get a round-up done for yesterday, because fewer people visit NCS on Saturdays than on any other day of the week. Which makes it even more puzzling that I’m planning to present a two-part collection of new music on this Saturday, on top of Andy’s latest Waxing Lyrical interview. It’s not a rational plan, but I can’t help myself.

It happened that most of the music I wanted to recommend today lined up under the giant banner of death metal (though black metal is also in the mix), hence the title of this post rather than the usual “Seen and Heard” moniker. Part 2 (which might have to wait until tomorrow) will include a new album which surfaced yesterday in full, and caught me by surprise, as well as a few other recent selections. There are some surprises in Part 1 too.

PUTRESCINE

Former NCS scribe Joseph Schafer pointed me enthusiastically to the first item in this collection, the just-released debut EP of Putrescine, who claim their inspirations from “the great works of Carcass, Morbid Angel, and the modern hellworld that is the political landscape”. Countless bands have been influenced by Carcass (early Carcass in this case) and Morbid Angel, but this San Diego trio immediately stand out from the pack. Continue reading »

Aug 142019
 

 

Edmonton-based musicians Davis Hay and Michael Sparks joined forces only a few months ago under the name Sophist with the aim of creating a hybrid of black metal and grind, drawing inspiration from the disparate antecedents of such bands as Napalm Death and Rotten Sound as well as Mayhem, Gorgoroth, Darkthrone, and Anaal Nathrakh. The first fruits of their collaboration is an EP called Betrothal To The Stone: Conception of Mephisto, with lyrical themes drawn from a text called “Hermaphrodite Child of the Sun and Moon”. The EP will be released on August 16th, but we have a full stream for you today.

The EP consists of three complete songs, as well as instrumental-only versions of those same three tracks. As presented in the YouTube stream below, the songs tend to flow from one to the next, creating a sense of being hurled further and further into a hellish occult realm where the listeners senses are under constant assault. Continue reading »

Aug 092019
 

 

(Andy Synn breathes more life into this occasional series featuring reviews of new releases by UK bands, with reviews and streams of EPs by Ba’al, Lvcifyre, and Man Must Die.)

Chances are a bunch of our regular UK readers will be off in a field in Derbyshire this weekend attending Bloodstock Festival, and so probably won’t get to read this article.

But that’s ok, because one of the primary purposes behind this “Best of British” series is to introduce readers/listeners from other countries to some of our best home-grown musical exports.

So, in that spirit, please allow me to draw your attention to three of the best new (or new-ish) EPs from three of the UK’s best bands. Continue reading »

Aug 012019
 

 

Thrash comes in a variety of flavors, even if the metalsphere hasn’t been quite as maniacally devoted to concocting sub-genre labels as it has in the case of death metal, black metal, or just about everything else. So, to say that Sabotage is a thrash band only goes so far in giving you a sign-post to the direction of their music. Even to add the further data point that they claim influence from Bay Area thrash doesn’t tell the whole story.

As you’ll discover through our premiere of this Indian quintet’s debut EP in advance of its August 3rd release, they’re definitely skilled at cooking up the kind of high-voltage riffs that are capable of getting a mosh it into a full froth. But this isn’t “party thrash”. Although you certainly can party hard to this music, these dudes are bone-breakers, with a penchant for brutal grooves, and an equal flare for anthemic melody, spectacular soloing, and politically charged lyricism, all of which elevates their fierce music above a lot of the been-there, done-that, beer-soaked sloppiness that we also call thrash. Continue reading »