Dec 142023

Beginning in the spring of 2017 we’ve premiered music and videos by MRTVI six times. Today makes the seventh time — but it may be the last.

We’ve been consistently fixated on the music of this solo project of Serbian artist Damjan Stefanović because it has been so consistently interesting, and so difficult to pigeonhole in genre terms (though “experimental black metal” might come closest, simply because the music has been unconventional).

The music has always been personal, and often autobiographical. For that same reason, it may have run its course with the EP we’re now premiering in full on the even of its release. Here is what Damjan has told us about Great Cleansing Come Upon Us: Continue reading »

Dec 122023

Before the first notes are heard, Feral Forms‘ debut EP Premalignant ought to grab attention quickly among gnarly denizens of the metal underground. There’s the “for fans of” recommendation by the labels who are releasing it: Angelcorpse, Teitanblood, Diocletian, Black Curse.

And then there’s the fact that this Italian quartet features current and former members of The Secret, Grime, Claustrum, and Fierce.

And then there’s that cover art, staring you in the face with those bulging eyes, dissolving face, and strange forehead cavities.

Now that they (and we) have your attention, it’s time to launch the music, though we must say that the EP’s title is either misleading or just plain scary: If this EP’s music is “premalignant”, it’s frightening to think what Feral Forms might do if they decided to channel fully emergent malignancy. Continue reading »

Dec 032023

Promises to keep.

Yesterday in Part 1 of this roundup I said there would be a Part 2 and that it would include “three bands from the same archipelagic country, all of which fall into the big-surprise category”. And so, a day late, here’s Part 2. (There will still be a Shades of Black column later on today.)

As hinted yesterday, all three bands are from Indonesia. All three were new to my ears and all are very good, albeit in very different ways stylistically. Hence, the surprises, and my decision to include these three bands together in their own segment.

HAUL (Indonesia)

More than a decade after their first release and seven years after their last one, Haul returned this year with a new EP named Adamar. Transylvanian Recordings released it digitally and on tape on December 1st (I found out that Disaster Records also released it on CD last March).

Having heard nothing of Haul‘s previous releases, I gave it a listen because of Transylvanian‘s enthusiastic recommendation. Here’s part of that enthusiasm: Continue reading »

Dec 022023

Yesterday I managed to crawl through the 300-400 Bandcamp alerts and e-mails that hit our in-box during the 24 hours of Bandcamp Friday, plus social media messages from a few of the people whose recommendations I pay attention to. I even managed to very quickly skim through e-mails from the day before.

Doing that, I saved a shitload of links, and then barely scratched the surface of them in listening. There were some big surprises in that pile, some from bands I knew about and even bigger ones from names I’d never heard of. I picked some to pass along to you today. I’ve saved some others for the Sunday column, which I hope I’ll get to.

I had so many picks for today that I decided to divide them into two parts. The second part includes three bands from the same archipelagic country, all of which fall into the big-surprise category. I haven’t yet written part 2, and because the hour is late, it will probably come tomorrow. Continue reading »

Nov 302023

We’re ghoulishly happy to help spread the word today about a new Australian death metal band, Abyssal Tomb, and their debut 5-track demo Buried, which will officially be released tomorrow.

Though the band is new, the members aren’t newcomers. The lineup consists of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Stuart Callinan from Galaxy and Sylvan Awe (whose fantastic new album we premiered here just yesterday), lyricist/vocalist Rohan Buntine (Battlegrave), and drummer Tim Wright (Munitions / Blunt Shovel).

They describe their aspirations simply and directly — to “celebrate death metal in one of its early forms, honouring bands such as Obituary, Morta Skuld and early Six Feet Under“. Continue reading »

Nov 222023

Pessimystic is a clever name for a band, one that amalgamates two concepts or themes that will be familiar to adherents of extreme metal. It was chosen by a trio of musicians from Ottawa who first came together only this year, though the writing process and general concept originated in 2022. They played their first show only in September, opening for Sunless and Thantifaxath, a couple of very good groups to share a stage with.

What we have for you today is a premiere stream of the first public recording of Pessimystic, an EP named Burnt Offering that will be released on November 24th. It’s described as “an apotropaic oblation of self-surrender through self-destruction and unity through detachment”, and conceptually it “contemplates divine retribution and conjures the apocalyptic imagery enshrined in the human psyche.” Pessimystic indeed. Continue reading »

Nov 192023

I hurt all over, thanks for asking. The result of a week spent trying to exercise muscles that turned into limp noodles after months of sedentary living. If I could get all the lactic acid out of my body it would probably fill a barrel.

Well, maybe hurting all over wasn’t the worst thing as a basis for picking the music in this Sunday column today. It led to selections that will make you hurt in different ways too.

IHSAHN (Norway)

The hurting begins with “Pilgrimage To Oblivion“, a new song from Ihsahn that surfaced three days ago in two different versions. The main version combines orchestral bombast and terrorizing screams, frenzied strings and plundering percussion, to create a thoroughly harrowing experience in keeping with the song’s title and the video’s tale of personal ruin. Continue reading »

Nov 182023

LOTS of new metal to get to today, so this sentence is all the introduction I’ll provide.


A charity project whose goal is to help preserve the forests of Costa Rica and the creatures that live there. Founded by drummer Dirk Verbeuren and musician-turned-activist Sylvain Demercastel (a current resident of Costa Rica). First song is about howler monkeys and features appearances by guitarist Andres Kisser (Sepultura) and vocalist John Tardy (Obituary). OK, I’ll bite. Continue reading »

Nov 152023

(What we have for you here is DGR‘s take on a new EP by the German band Sucking Leech, released in mid-October of this year and still ruining everything in its path.)

There’s a certain amount of filth to be expected from grind as a genre. For as much as we love the ultra-precise, teeth-shredding, and super-fast world wherein songs appear as musical flashpoints before exploding and then disappearing just as quickly, there is always a somewhat grosser side to that world. One wherein the slop of the music is part of the appeal and the plug-and-play aspect is taken quite literally, with recordings sounding like the band legitimately just plugged in their gear, only turned on the volume nob, and then proceeded to go to town for twelve or thirteen minutes bathed entirely in distortion and reverb.

It’s noisy and abrasive but that is also the point; you’re coming to it because the idea of the drums sounding like they’re falling out the back of a moving truck is enjoyable. The bands that comprise that world of grind aren’t just flinging their instruments around, and obviously the music can remain fairly conventional to the grind world, but it’s the barely contained and heavily constrained chaos that keeps things interesting.

It’s why Sucking Leech‘s Errordynamic EP in mid-October caught our eyes. Sounding like a cross-bred catastrophe of Napalm Death, Rotten Sound, and Pig Destroyer mid-fistfight, Sucking Leech don’t stray tremendously far from that chaotic and maddening world of grind, but for a four-piece manage to sound monstrous all the same. Continue reading »

Nov 132023

(This is DGR‘s review of the latest record by the Argentinian melodic death metal band Plaguestorm, out now on the Noble Demon label.)

Heavy metal fantasy draft is always fun and the proliferation of projects with the ability to do so has increased tremendously in recent years. No doubt a combination of musicians using the internet to find each other and the more likely possibility of constantly being trapped inside, you’re now seeing a ton of projects wherein musicians from all over the world are combined into one thing via session work and constant guest appearances.

We have musicians now who’re quickly approaching a point in history where they may have more guest/session appearances and releases to their name than they’ve got material with the band they’re most famous for being in. This has also been a pretty big movement within melodeath circles as we’re now multiple generations removed from the classics and old guard and well into an era of bands that were inspired by the keyboard/groove metal happy early-aughts of the genre that were built around big riffs/big choruses with just enough of ye-olde Gotenburg two-step to keep things ‘dangerous’. Continue reading »