May 302016



(Todd Manning — formerly known as Allen Griffin — brings us a third installment of his series on power electronics and harsh noise  releases. The first two can be found here and here.)

Another transmission broadcast from the burning skyline at the end of the world, this time the filth bubbling up from the underground and that’s probably how it should be. Some of this filth is pretty thought-provoking, but that’s probably also how it should be. When you stare into that abyss, that abyss might stick a rusty butter knife in your grey matter and start stirring some shit around.


First up is the new Annihilvs Power Electronix debut of NYC’s Swollen Organs. Noise in general has often delved into all sorts of extreme sexual behaviors for inspiration, and Swollen Organs does so as well, but on a more meta-level. Continue reading »

May 232016



(Allen Griffin reviews the new self-titled 7″ EP by Hissing.)

Seattle trio Hissing is one of the latest additions to Southern Lord’s formidable roster and they are poised to release their self-titled 7″ in early June. Consisting of two crushing tracks, a little over eleven minutes of music, their sound can be described as an amalgamation of abyss-trawling blast beats, thick gutter sludge, and oppressive, mysterious atmosphere.

While drawing from a range of influences, Deathspell Omega, Portal, and Autopsy are the most obvious touchstones, and while these are not uncommon influences in the current scene, Hissing succeed where others often fail. There is a certain x-factor bands of this ilk rarely possess, but Hissing seem to have in spades. The material here, inspired by the human psyche trying to survive in hostile urban environments, is utterly convincing in both composition and execution. Continue reading »

May 102016

Katalepsy-Gravenous Hour


(Here’s Allen Griffin’s review of the new second album by the Russian band Katalepsy.)

Modern Brutal Death Metal has long been the red-headed stepchild of the Extreme Metal scene, and one could easily argue it was for a good reason. The world never needed generic breakdowns and ridiculously misogynistic artwork and lyrics, or at least not this late in the game (Cannibal Corpse will always get a pass).

In recent times, however, and perhaps missed by all but the most ardent fans, leaps of progression have been rolling through the sub-genre. And while groups such as Wormed and Fallujah have certainly been spearheading the charge, even mid-listers such as Moscow’s Katalepsy have considerably upped the ante. While they may not blast off into space like their aforementioned compatriots, they certainly know how to construct a powerful Death Metal record. Continue reading »

Mar 292016

New Keepers of the Water Towers


(Allen Griffin prepared this review of the new album by Sweden’s New Keepers of the Water Towers.)

Swedish quintet New Keepers of the Water Towers are set to unleash their latest opus Infernal Machines on April 1st. Occupying a territory which could vaguely be described as Psychedelic/Progressive Rock, the group’s sound is ultimately so much more and should not be passed over by Metal fans who don’t normally check out the aforementioned sub-genres.

Many reviews, especially since their last album The Calydonian Hunt (2011), go to great lengths to talk about New Keepers of the Water Towers’ Pink Floyd influence. And while that element of their sound is certainly present, it doesn’t truly acknowledge the group’s epic gestures of Doom. Without utilizing traditional Metal guitar tones, they nevertheless achieve moments of crushing enormity. Continue reading »

Mar 232016

The Body-Full of Hell-One Day You Will Ache


(Early last month Allen Griffin brought us a round-up of three power electronics releases, and that provoked enough interest that he returns with another collection.)

It is time once again to go trawling around the abyssal outside of the Extreme Music scene to find the harsh and unknowable. But what is somewhat surprising this time around is how much some of these releases are popping up in more conventional circles.


Case in point is the new collaboration between The Body and Full of Hell titled One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache, out on March 25th via Neurot. Despite being classified as  a Grindcore/D-Beat band, Full of Hell are no strangers to harsh sonic abstraction and worked with Merzbow on their previous album. The Body are also no strangers to collaboration, bringing in guests on almost all their releases. What we have here is an intermingling of The Body’s punishing Industrial aesthetics with Full of Hell’s more experimental noise-based side. Continue reading »

Mar 182016

Like Rats-II


(Allen Griffin reviews the new album by Chicago’s Like Rats.)

Chicago-based Death Metal Quintet Like Rats are set to release their new album II on Southern Lord Records on March 25th. Composed of several members of Grindcore unit Weekend Nachos, Like Rats is a darker and more groove-oriented prospect, and II sees them making waves with their unique take on Old School Death Metal.

The band’s promotional material for this album draws comparisons between the unit and various well-known entities, particularly Obituary and Celtic Frost, and it’s certainly hard to argue with such assertions. Yet, to seasoned ears, Like Rats also seem to have tapped an obscure vein of early ’90s Midwestern Death Metal. Back then, groups such as Green Bay’s Bleed, Toledo, Ohio’s Gutted, and San Francisco’s Epidemic on their final full-length Exit Paradise (not Midwestern obviously, but the sound is there nonetheless) produced awesome, mid-paced Death Metal before the rise of Metalcore made such an approach so blasphemous in the eyes of True Metal fans. Continue reading »

Mar 142016

Child Bite-Negative Noise


(Allen Griffin reviews the new album by Detroit’s Child Bite.)

While the infamous D-Beat has become nearly ubiquitous in some corners of the Extreme Metal world, Punk’s influence doesn’t seem to extend much beyond that these days. Rarely does a Punk band emerge now who harkens back to the genre’s early pioneers and the sense of sonic experimentalism that drove them to create such fascinating music. Detroit’s Child Bite are doing their best to fix that with their new album Negative Noise, due out on Housecore Records on April 1st.

The most immediate comparison one might pick up on as Child Bite does their thing is Dead Kennedys, albeit with the kind of sonic abrasiveness suitable for modern times. Continue reading »

Mar 092016

Hemotoxin-Biological Enslavement


(In this post Allen Griffin provides brief reviews of a pair of forthcoming albums.)

If Ripper’s fantastic new album Experiment of Existence (reviewed here) wasn’t proof enough, Unspeakable Axe is releasing two more records that show they have somehow tapped a special vein of Old School Death and Thrash Metal, all of which seem to mine Science Fictional lyrical themes. To a certain degree, naysayers may try to argue that these bands bring nothing new to the table, yet if hindsight is truly 20/20, these hybridizations of Metal’s past are certainly able to produce excellent material that stands on its own in this current musical climate.


First up is California-based unit Hemotoxin and their second full-length release Biological Enslavement. Much like the aforementioned Ripper, Hemotoxin draw much of their influence from the era when Thrash was transitioning into Death Metal, but also add their own highly technical spin to their material. But where Ripper look toward groups such as Kreator and Merciless, Hemotoxin seem to be a bit more rooted in Bay Area classics, but are well-indebted to early Death Metal as well. Continue reading »

Mar 012016



(Allen Griffin reviews the new album by Pogavranjen, which only yesterday KevinP praised at our site as one of February’s top 5 releases.)

Croatian Black Metal madmen Pogavranjen have just released their latest full-length, Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem, courtesy of Poland’s Arachnophobia Records. Those familiar with the band’s avant-garde tendencies will not be surprised to find that the group have delved deeper into indescribable and unknowable depths on their latest opus. Whereas past releases have found the group twisting Black Metal in a myriad of unexpected directions, Jedva Cekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem shows them transcending normal genre categories to settle into a sound entirely their own. Continue reading »

Feb 262016

Inverloch-Distance Collapsed


(Allen Griffin rejoins us with this review of the new album by Inverloch from Melbourne, Australia.)

Following up 2012’s critically acclaimed EP Dusk|Subside, Australian Doom/Death juggernaut Inverloch are set to release their debut full-length Distance|Collapsed this March via Relapse Records. Inverloch consists of Mark Cullen (guitars), Ben James (vocals), Chris Jordan (bass), Paul Mazziota (drums), and Matthew Skarajew (guitars), and you won’t read anything about this band without reference to Mazziota and Skarajew’s involvement with the seminal diSEMBOWELMENT, and this particular article will be no different. But there is certainly justification for this beyond the two bands’ sharing common members, seeing as how Inverloch started off under the moniker d.USK, performing material from diSEMBOWELMENT’s only official album, Transcending into the Peripheral. And while Inverloch might be performing original material, their sound is perfectly in keeping with their lineage.

For the uninitiated, what we are dealing with here is a Death/Doom hybrid that trawls through the darkest depths of crypt stench. The most immediate analogues for this sound are Incantation’s first two albums or, in more recent times, the work of Hooded Menace. But with Inverloch, there are also elements that add a more obscure, or what one might call a mystical, slant to the material. The group achieves this by juxtaposing clean guitars over the top of the crushing foundation laid down by the rest of the band. This is a consistent feature of both incarnations of this outfit and one of the things that makes them so fascinating. Continue reading »