May 182018
 

 

Within the more heartless and slaughtering corners of the extreme metal underground there has been a decades-long competition to reach the deepest, coldest caverns of devastation and despair, and to weaponize the horrors found within the crushing pressures of those abyssal chasms. The Belgian one-man death/doom band Gateway has been one of the more dedicated and successful combatants in that race to the bottom. Boundless Torture is Gateway’s latest offering, an EP that’s being digitally released today.

This is terrifying titanism, of the kind that spawns a reflexive cascade of metaphors from the more emotional and less analytical reviewers out there, such as yours truly. The sound is immense, dense, abrasive, blood-congealing, and (perhaps perversely) electrifying. Continue reading »

May 182018
 

 

Contact with the Entity is the debut EP by the Italian progressive death metal band Coexistence, and it’s an enormously impressive first foot forward, displaying the kind of song-writing assurance, creative exuberance, and striking performance skill that one would expect from a band much further into their career. We’re very happy to be the bearer of a full stream of the music today, in advance of its release on May 21st.

The EP consists of four tracks, including a brief but disturbing interlude after the head-spinning rush of the first two songs. And those first two tracks, as well as the last one, really are the kind of kaleidoscopic experiences that open eyes wide. All the performers are technically adept; the music is atmospherically rich and wonderfully dynamic; it’s compulsively physical; and it’s loaded with wide-ranging progressive flourishes that include ventures into jazz-fusion-like mind-bending. Continue reading »

May 152018
 

 

It’s not unusual for us to receive written presentations of new music that take almost as long to read as it takes to listen to the music, with so much background detail about the history of the bands, their endless line-up changes, the dispiriting obstacles they overcame with Herculean perseverance, and the deep thought and arduous work that went into the crafting of the (allegedly) momentous lyrics and the (allegedly) ground-breaking music that you feel tired before ever pressing play.

And then sometimes there’s nothing at all but the music. And sometimes the music strikes like lightening from the clear blue sky. That’s what happened in the case of the debut demo of Inverser, which we present to you today. Continue reading »

May 142018
 

 

(Andy Synn dragged himself from his sick bed long enough to pen this review of the new EP by The Isolation Process, which was released through Bandcamp on March 30th.)

So my original plan for this week was to unleash a Black Metal focussed “dirty half-dozen” on you all as a way of clearing out some of the massive backlog which has developed over the last 4-5 months.

Unfortunately, I’m currently stricken with some sort of soul-sucking flu-bug which is sapping a lot of my energy, so, while I work on kicking that, you’re going to have to settle for something shorter and sweeter, in the shape of the new EP by Swedish Alt-Metal three-piece The Isolation Process. Continue reading »

May 132018
 

 

There’s a mountain of black music in today’s column — five full releases, the shortest of which is more than 20 minutes long. Moreover, one of those releases is a single song that itself tops 20 minutes in length. I don’t expect everyone to make their way through all of this; tastes do vary, as does the amount of time people are prepared to set aside for the exploration of new music. Recognizing that, I’ve provided previews of the music (at least as I hear it), and in the case of the releases other than the two that consist of long-form monoliths, I’ve selected specific songs that I think provide a good test for whether you’ll like the rest of what’s there.

PLAGUESTORM

Eternal Throne is the debut EP by a Swedish black metal band (from Malmö) named Plaguestorm. According to the two labels who are releasing it (Helter Skelter and Blood Harvest), it was recorded in 2015 but is only now being released for the first time due to unspecified “hardships and delays”. Their description of the music peaked my interest:

Eternal Throne, they wrote, “features four tracks in 21 minutes, where all possible aspects of black metal is being mixed into one, big gruesome bowl where everything from the classic guitar leads of Mercyful Fate, and the chaotic mayhem of Katharsis has its righteous place”. Continue reading »

May 092018
 

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new EP by the Australian band Deadspace, released on April 11, 2018.)

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that, no matter how purportedly mainstream or well-known a band is, every review (or interview, or article, etc.) is going to be someone’s first exposure to them.

Of course there are always going to be those who are keen to brag about how they knew so-and-so or such-and-such before everyone else, and crap all over anyone who doesn’t share their intimate connection with what they consider the “true” underground… but I try not to let this discourage me from writing about music I think people might find interesting, regardless of whether it’s considered to be “big” or “cool” or “kvlt” (though I’m not sure if anyone even uses that last one anymore).

Because in the end, that’s what we’re all here for. To find new (and sometimes not-so-new) music we might have missed elsewhere. To seek out new bands and new recommendations, to boldly go… sorry, sorry, got a little bit off-course there… anyway, all this is just a long-winded way for me to say I hope that at least some of you enjoy what you’re about to read/hear. Continue reading »

May 082018
 

 

If you managed to catch the 5772 record released last fall by 夢遊病者 (Sleepwalker), then you already know how difficult it is to describe the music of this band. I haven’t heard anything else like 5772… and I haven’t heard anything else like this band’s new LP either. They have boggled my mind again. “Visionary” seems like too pretentious a word, and “genius” might come off too strong, but it’s definitely ingenious — so bewilderingly creative that I’ve become transfixed by it.

The name of this new release is 一期一会 (Ichi-go ichi-e). That title is a Japanese idiom that can be translated as “for this time only, never again”. I’ve learned from The Font of All Human Knowledge that it is often associated with Japanese tea ceremonies, the characters often “brushed onto scrolls which are hung in the tea room”. “The term reminds people to cherish any gathering that they may take part in, citing the fact that many meetings in life are not repeated. Even when the same group of people can get together again, a particular gathering will never be replicated, and thus, each moment is always once-in-a-lifetime”. Continue reading »

May 022018
 

 

Many bands have followed the trail of blood and death blazed by such heralded bands as Incantation and Immolation in the early-to-mid ’90s, and there is no sign that the path is about to run into a wall or lead over a cliff’s edge. But of course it must be said that some bands who think they’re hot on that trail have in fact wandered off into a dull and featureless place, the music a lifeless pantomime of the real thing.

On the other hand, the Italian band Ekpyrosis haven’t lost their way. More precisely, they’re in the vanguard of the movement’s newer adherents. They proved they belong with their excellent debut album Asphyxiating Devotion last year, a record that was tremendously satisfying in its own right but also a promise of perhaps greater things ahead. On their new EP, Primordial Chaos Restored, Ekpyrosis have moved from strength to strength, and it’s our great pleasure to bring you a full stream of it today in advance of its May 7 release by Terror From Hell Records. Continue reading »

Apr 232018
 

 

(Lonegoat, the man behind the necroclassical music of Goatcraft, provides this guest review of the new release by Plutonian Shore from San Antonio, Texas.)

 

In Alpha et Omega, Plutonian Shore invokes the axiological Logos of black metal and confronts the gentrification and stagnation brought about by indie rockers and scenesters. Their circumspection is fine-tuned and pierces through the music scene’s ruses of an abundance. Never deserted is the energetic imaginativeness which overwhelms the nondescript bottom line of reality via mind and solar plexus, woven in fierce, inexorable abstraction. Weakness is cast aside. The soul is forever athirst for unbridled power. Dalits need not apply; this is music from the dream-mind of a slumbering Brahmin. Continue reading »

Apr 192018
 

 

I’ve been meaning to do this for about a week, and finally found time. I came across all of the following music in the course of surveying new releases for a SEEN AND HEARD round-up here at our putrid site, and thought it would make sense to package them together for extra catastrophe.

The music ranges from catastrophic funeral doom to catastrophic death metal with a heavy doom component, to something doom-centric but less easily describable at the end. I arranged the music in a way that would provide a bit of back-and-forth flow, so your blood doesn’t completely congeal and your heart doesn’t completely slow to a stopping point.

While I was writing this I thought about Andy Synn telling me that he’d come across a metal forum in which NCS was criticized by one or more idiots people for concentrating on “mainstream” metal. Yeah, right. Mainstream this right up your bungholes:

ZEIT

I’ve written frequently about this German band, who’s usual stock-in-trade is an amalgam of sludge and black metal (and some other ingredients). But for their latest EP, null., they decided to give the funeral-doom treatment to two of their previously released songs, and I’ll be damned, it turns out they’re just as strong in this other genre as they are in their main line. Continue reading »