Apr 292013

(NCS contributor Austin Weber provides this review of the second album released earlier this month by Philadelphia’s Azure Emote.)

As far as death metal supergroups go, Azure Emote certainly has not only a killer line-up but more importantly a willfull intent to make music outside the confines of their genre, an aim they achieve by taking death metal hostage and lifting it to unconventional heights of sonic ecstasy.

The Gravity of Impermanence is largely the brainchild of vocalist Mike Hrubovcak (Monstrosity, Vile), who brings more then just potent beastly roars to the table. He is responsible for the electronic elements — ranging from keyboards to diverse orchestral synths and electronica — on all but three of the tracks, and he also contributes some creepy harmonica playing to the sounds of pigs being murdered on “Sunrise Slaughter”.  The way the electronic elements build up the music and flourish instead of being an afterthought is a large part of what gives The Gravity Of Impermanence such a unique identity for a death metal record.

All this talk of keyboards is not to imply that guitarist Ryan Moll (Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, Total Fucking Destruction) is lacking. He isn’t. He lays down a plethora of razor-sharp, heavy-as-hell riffs, colorful leads, and spiraling solo’s. A lot of his riffs subtly remind of old school death metal, though I had a hard time pinning down who I thought they sounded like. Rounding out the trio is the always fantastic Mike Heller (Malignancy, Fear Factory), whose steady blasting and interesting patterns strongly drive the rhythm section into overload, enhancing both the mid-paced moments and the faster, all-out assaults. Continue reading »

Feb 222013

Last night, by chance, I listened to six new songs in a row that really grabbed me. In different ways, they were all horrific . . . and horrifically good. The first three were featured in Part 1 of this post earlier today, and here are the next three — from Gravewurm, Plague Widow, and Cursed Altar.


Gravewurm are a band who started life in Pennsylvania in the early 90’s and now appear to be based in Virginia. They’ve released eight albums and a slew of demo’s, splits, and EPs — yet I’m fairly certain that last night was the first time I’ve ever listened to their music. My education continues.

The track I heard last night is named “Mistress of Blood and Fire”. It’s available for download on Bandcamp and will appear on the band’s next album, Infernal Minions, which is due for release by Hells Headbangers on May 14. I got a Bandcamp alert about the appearance of this song yesterday, and once I saw the name Hells Headbangers, I knew I had to check it out. Damned glad I did. Continue reading »

Jan 082013

Yesterday brought many items of news and new music that caught my attention, so many that I’m funneling them your way in a couple of posts this morning, this being the first.


Last night the above image appeared on the Facebook page of The Black Dahlia Murder, with no further explanation. Preceding the appearance of this visual announcement, the gents at Metal Sucks posted some studio photos and a few more details, speculating that the band would have a new album ready by June — which turns out to be a good guess.

Presumably, the above image is simply a flyer of sorts and not the album cover, yet I’m intrigued by the absence of color and by the album’s title — Everblack. Not that I really needed anything further to cause eager anticipation for the band’s next work. That was a given.

Next, we move from a band whose name has become something of a household word in the realms of extreme metal to one I had never heard of before last night — and whose new album I’m now anticipating just as eagerly as new BDM. Check out this arresting album cover: Continue reading »