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 »

May 292018


Yesterday, while recovering from a metal festival over lunch with six haggard friends, we somehow got off onto summing up each other’s personalities. Looking at a few of them I observed, “Some people wake up angry.” One friend chimed in, “Some people wake up anxious.” Another said, “Some people wake up irritated — at being awake.” No one mentioned waking up with blood on their hands and fire in their eyes; that’s how I imagine that the Floridians in Caveman Cult usually greet the day.

I guess if you’re one of those delusional souls who wake up smiling at the wonderfulness of life, or happen to be suffering from a cataclysmic hangover, Caveman Cult’s new EP won’t be the right way to get your game face on. But if you want music that will fuel your rage, vaporize your anxiety, squash your irritation, and put the look of a wolf in your eyes, Supremacía Primordial is a damned fine choice. Continue reading »

May 222018


(Wil Cifer wrote the following review of the new three-track EP by the Finnish black metal band Curse Upon A Prayer, which will be released by Saturnal Records on June 21.)

Saturnal Records is releasing an EP from this Finnish band who couldn’t give less of a fuck about the polite society of metal. On The Three Woes they lash out at Islam. People have complained for the last decade that Christianity is too easy a target. So they are taking aim at another religion. Strip this theme away and it boils back down to one question… What are these guys doing different that we’ve not heard other black metal bands do a hundred times?

The first song (“Let Thy Kingdom Come”) doesn’t give a clear-cut answer. It seems to be their level of hateful aggression. The standard tools of the black metal trade are all in place. Thundering double-bass, blast beats, and tremolo-picked guitar do their part to make this black metal as fuck. Hints of melody haunt the sometimes thrash-influenced guitar riffs. The passion with which they throw themselves into their music compensates for any time when they might not be the most original band on the planet. Continue reading »

May 212018


(The Finnish grindcrushers in Rotten Sound released a new EP via Season of Mist on May 18th, and DGR gives it a detailed review here.)

Rotten Sound’s 2016 album Abuse To Suffer is one of the better examples of a neatly packaged album of grind out there to date, with the band having seemingly found a near-perfect length for their latest vitriolic blast-beast to unleash upon the world. Like many of their songs, Abuse To Suffer ends almost as suddenly as it begins with an almost perfunctory pop of the snare to finally send things off, neatly tying off the near half-hour you get with the Finnish speaker destroyers. Which means that the group’s latest EP — Suffer To Abuse — makes for an interesting proposition, arriving nearly two years after its predecessor and picking up right where the band left off, as if the Rotten Sound crew just couldn’t let go of that disc just yet and so dished out another eleven minutes (spread across seven songs) of hyper-fast and ultra-precise grindcore, leaning heavily on the circle-pit aspect of the -core sound.

The limited edition EP, which saw a staggered release between Europe and North America (for whatever nightmarish reasons, and not the first group this has happened to this year — Centinex also had a month between continents with their disc Chaos Manifesto), can be neatly summed up as exactly what you want you from the group — another quick expulsion of sound that remains relentless throughout, with just enough sludge around the edges to add a little dirt to the group’s latest sweat-fest. Continue reading »

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.


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 »