Jul 242019


(Andy Synn reviews the self-titled debut album by the Missouri black metal band Howling, which was released on July 21st.)

For whatever reason I’ve been covering (and listening to) a lot of Death Metal and Death-Metal-adjacent stuff this month, and almost completely neglecting the more “blackened” side of things.

But then, at the start of this week, and seemingly out of nowhere (but actually out of Wildwood, Missouri) I came across Howling and their impressively savage, devilishly dark debut album, and instantly felt compelled to share it with all of you. Continue reading »

Sep 302013

I haven’t attempted to compile a round-up of noteworthy findings in several days, so I’ve had to ruthlessly cut what interested me or this post would have been longer than a reticulated python. Even truncated, it’s as long as a boa constrictor. And everything in here is awfully bloodthirsty, right up until the final item.


Is that a fuckin’ brutal album cover up there or what? It’s the latest cover art by Eliran Kantor, who I watch like a hawk because he’s so damned good, and it graces the 11th album by Iced Earth, which is planned for release by Century Media in January 2014. With a grisly cover like that and song titles such as “Democide”, “Cthulhu”, and “Parasite”, in addition to the title track, this could be very interesting.

Speaking of brutal, how ’bout a new Deicide track? Continue reading »

Jul 252013

Just a few new things in between reviews to help kick-start this Thursday.


Let’s see, where shall we start? How about some death metal? Yes, death metal is always a good place to start, especially death metal inspired by John Carpenter’s 1981 classic, The Thing. And that’s what Howling gave us last night when they released “Shape-Shifting Enemy” on Bandcamp.

Howling, for those who need to catch up, is the horror-themed project of vocalist Vanessa Nocera (Skeletal Spectre, Scaremaker, Wooden Stake), guitarist/bassist Tony Proffer (Beyond Hell), and drummer Elektrokutioner (Encoffination, Father Befouled, many others). This new single comes from the band’s next album, Tear the Screams from Your Throat, which is due out in October 2013. I have high hopes for that album, because the band’s debut, A Beast Conceived, was so fuckin’ good (I explained why I think so at this location).

“Shape-Shifting Enemy” provides even more reason to anticipate the new album with relish. If you’re expecting old-school gore/death, you’ll be surprised. The mainly slow-paced song contrasts Proffer’s melodic guitar leads (and a writhing solo) with Nocera’s carnivorous growls, book-ended by unexpected guitar instrumentals. And for variety’s sake, you’ll encounter a couple of thrashing romps along the way. Continue reading »

Feb 052013

I hear someone’s voice, sometimes I get a vivid mental picture of what they look like. I hear Vanessa Nocera’s vocals on the debut album by Howling, I see her clearly:  two stories tall, covered in dense black fur matted with blood, teeth made for tearing and chewing, claws made for gutting, blood-red eyes like windows into Hell.

I could be wrong. She might only be one story tall. But I’m pretty confident about the rest of it, at least when there’s a full moon.

Of course, there’s more to A Beast Conceived than Ms. Nocera’s inhuman vocals. She’s joined in Howling by Tony Proffer (Beyond Hell) on guitar and bass, and by drummer Elektrokutioner (ScaremakerWooden StakeBeyond HellEncoffinationFather Befouled, etc.). Together, this trio are about as locked in to a shared vision of their music as you could possibly ask for. Together, they kick up a mad, thrashing, garage-band racket that pulls from more diverse genres than you might guess from what I’ve written so far — and what they’ve cooked up is fuckin’ brilliant.

Vanessa Nocera’s vocals require that the prefix “death” be added to any attempt at a genre description for A Beast Conceived. The word “horror” could be added because of the lyrical themes (not to mention the album art). But despite these markers, the music isn’t down-tuned, distortion-pedaled old-school death metal, or corpse-ridden death/doom, or goregrind, or even crusty d-beat. What it is, is something quite refreshing and insanely addictive. Continue reading »

Dec 162012

From me to you, new things discovered today . . .


I became an acolyte of Ghost after witnessing their live ritual twice in the last year. The music was already growing on me before those shows, but they sealed the deal.

Now we have a new Ghost song and a new live video performance of the song to go with it. Ghost began rolling out the song on-line, one recording track after another, and now the entire song is available for listening — and it’s also a free download.

“Secular Haze” has the rhythm of a waltz and fancifully begins and ends with the sound of a calliope. Like so many of the band’s songs, it’s poppy and catchy, and yet moments of ominous tension find their way into the melody. The song didn’t grab me as fast as some of the tracks on Opus Eponymous, but by the third listen I was hooked.

To hear the song and get it for free, go to this location and enter your e-mail address. You’ll then receive a download link by e-mail. To watch the new video, continue on past the jump. Continue reading »