Jul 132018


Today, the very lucky 13th of July, is the release date for Gold and Rust, the new EP by the one-man, New Jersey-based death metal project Engulf. It comes adorned with a wonderful cover created by Misanthropic-Art, which by itself should be an irresistible invitation to explore this music even if you weren’t already aware of Engulf‘s capabilities, as first revealed through last year’s Subsumed Atrocities EP (which also featured an eye-grabbing cover by the same artist). And those capabilities continue to be strikingly impressive.

All credit goes to Hal Microutsicos, who again proves himself to be a guitar wizard, but one who uses his sorcerous talents in the service of genuinely ferocious death metal onslaughts that get  pulses racing and skulls fracturing, even as they get eyes popping wide over his technical proficiency. Continue reading »

Jul 092018


(Grant Skelton wrote the following review as an introduction to our premiere of the new two song EP by the blackened death metal band Cryptic Hymn from Louisville, Kentucky.)

Kentucky’s Cryptic Hymn have been known to lurk about the shadowed corridors of No Clean Singing. In 2015, I had the pleasure of reviewing their amazing debut EP Gateways. Now, we are pleased to present their latest bastardized offering, The Vast Unknowing.

Cryptic Hymn christen us first with “Wretched Stimulation,” a title which yields a truly revolting visual in my reprobate imagination. This song is a blistered and ashen frolic that should glut any devotee of death metal. While offering plenty of speed, the track shows that Cryptic Hymn are not the least bit afraid of tempo changes. I could say you’ll find the track stuck in your head, but more than likely it will find its way into your veins. Continue reading »

Jul 062018


Skullcrush? Yes… that name works… but so would SpleenRupture, SpineSplinter, KidneyPunch, JawFracture, SkinFlense… and I’m sure I’m forgetting other body parts that their music mutilates (figuratively speaking of course — you’ll survive the experience intact, probably).

Yes, Skullcrush is a fine name for the kind of death metal this Arizona band dish out on their debut EP, and the Conan-themed cover art is also fitting. So is the EP’s title — Visions of the Firestorm Eclipse — as you’ll discover when you listen to our full stream on this Friday, the 6th of July, the day of its release by the Glasgow-based label Camo Pants Records.

But we hasten to add that the brutalizing qualities of the music shouldn’t be over-emphasized; there’s a lot more going on in this EP than skeletal demolition and furious evisceration. The name SoulSlaughter would have worked, too. Continue reading »

Jul 052018


Sometimes when you have no plan, the plan makes itself. A guiding hand intervenes, or if you’re not superstitious, you nod your head at the pleasures of serendipity and synchronicity.

I didn’t plan to make this post, but in searching for new music I happened, by a fortunate chance, to listen to the music in this post in the exact same order as I’m presenting it here. And it all seemed to fit together in a way that spawned the title of this post.


Literature of Piss was the 2017 debut EP of this band from Canberra, Australia. In Offal, Salvation is the band’s 2018 debut album. “The Urinary Chalice Held Aloft” is the name of one of the tracks on the album. Perhaps you begin to get a sense of the band’s worldview. Continue reading »

Jul 022018


From the catacombs of the Portuguese black metal underground Signal Rex has unearthed Graves, presenting their blasphemous debut demo, Unholy Desecration, on cassette tape as a prelude to the band’s debut album coming later this year — and we’re presenting a full stream of the demo today.

As the label says, Unholy Desecration triggers memories of the French Légions Noires, of the Portuguese Black Circle, and of raw Finnish black metal from the past couple of decades. But while devoted to certain recognizable traditions, Graves‘ devotion isn’t slavish. Their own talent shines through with mortifying vibrancy. Continue reading »

Jun 262018


This is a collection of three short reviews of three short releases that I recently encountered, one from an old favorite, the others from newer projects. If you’re not a fan of death and black metal, you might want to spend your time elsewhere. If you are, there are some ghastly treats in store for you here.


To begin, I have the latest release from an Italian band whose every release I’ve written about —  their 2012 debut demo (here), their 2013 demo Cosmic Chaos (here), their 2013 EP Transmigration of Cosmic Creatures Into the Unknown (here), their 2014 split with Ghoulgotha (here), and their 2015 split with Profanal (here). And now there’s a new one, and I’m keeping my record of slavish devotion intact. Continue reading »

Jun 162018


I’m still grateful to my friend Andy, whose Waxing Lyrical series continues to relieve my compulsion to come up with something new to post here on Saturdays. And as you can see, I’m still not completely free of the compulsion. I’ve also now abandoned the goal of this week-long series of Quick Hits as a vehicle for catching up on new music from the last two weeks. For the third day in a row, I’ve again been diverted by late-breaking releases: Everything collected here appeared yesterday or the day before.


Last fall Germany’s The Spirit self-released an enormously impressive debut album entitled Sounds From the Vortex. In April, Nuclear Blast announced that they had signed the band, and yesterday revealed that they would be re-issuing Sounds From the Vortex on August 10th in CD, LP, and digital editions (with new cover art). To celebrate the occasion, Nuclear Blast released a lyric video for an album track named “The Clouds of Damnation“, which happens to be my favorite track from that record. And so, although many of you are no doubt familiar with the music through that previous self-release, I wanted to start today’s round-up with that new video. Continue reading »

Jun 142018


In the space of only three songs the Canadian quintet Tyrant provide a skull-cracking, blood-rushing, brain-twisting experience on their new EP, The Existential Reversal. Amalgamating aspects of melodic death metal, thrash, and groove, the band have created tracks that are physically arresting and exotic, both brutish and technically nimble, loaded with juicy riffs and solos, and fueled with furious energy. And to make the results even more impressive, the EP is a DIY production — and one that succeeds in delivering explosive sonic power.

The EP will be released tomorrow (June 15th), but we have a full stream of all three songs from the EP for you to enjoy today. Continue reading »

Jun 112018


In April when I came across the first two tracks released from Wolfcult Domination, the debut EP by Salt Lake City’s Goat Disciple, I wrote: “You will read that the band’s music is war metal, and it is indeed a rapacious hybrid of black and death metal worthy of a name like Goat Disciple — but it’s so much more multifaceted, and executed with so much more technical acumen and creative exuberance, than most offerings in that bloody field that the ‘war metal’ label seems inadequate. At a minimum, if these two songs are a reliable indicator of the EP as a whole, it should vault them into the upper echelons of the field. And I don’t say that lightly.”

It turns out that those first two songs — “Oreb Zaraq” and “Mammon” — were rock-solid indicators indeed. The EP as a whole is a stunningly strong debut, all four tracks abundantly proving that Goat Disciple’s talents go beyond a capacity to engage in breathtaking musical slaughter (though they’re certainly very good at that, too). And thus we’re very happy to present a full stream of the EP in advance of its June 15 release by Blood Harvest Records and Helter Skelter Productions. Continue reading »

Jun 102018


As you can see, I’m resuming this column after failing to get it done the last two Sundays due to other commitments. As a result of the hiatus I’m even more awash than usual in new music from the black realms. So much to choose from… and so perhaps there’s an even greater element of randomness in these choices than usual as well.


This solo project of the man who goes by Arioch here (and Mortuus when he fronts Marduk) has a habit of surprising people. After a trio of demos and an EP between ’95 and ’98, five years passed and then the Salvation debut album appeared — a record that a great many people still swear by. Six more years passed, and then Funeral Mist released Maranatha without warning. As I recall, it garnered a more mixed response than the widespread praise provoked by Salvation, but I’m one of those who thoroughly enjoyed it. And then so many years passed with nothing new that most fans probably concluded, sadly, that Arioch had laid Funeral Mist to rest, permanently.

Surprise! Continue reading »