Sep 072012

(Our man BadWolf interviewed Karl Sanders of Nile by phone earlier this summer, and they discussed . . . well, I’ll let BadWolf give you the preview.  I’ll just say that I had so much fun reading this that I wish it had gone on a whole lot longer. We reviewed the band’s latest album, At the Gates of Sethu, here.)


What hasn’t been said about Karl Sanders? The man plays some of the best guitar in all of technical death metal, and in a scene ripe with imitators and mindless noodling, Nile stands out. In other hands an Egyptian motif would be a mere gimmick, but Sanders turns Nile’s aesthetic and musical choices into an original and compelling statement. Most death metal sounds like muck, Nile sounds like a grand adventure.

And his secret, as divulged to the BadWolf, is unstoppable work ethic. We chatted on the merits of hard work, ancient wisdom, and the Arab Spring. Oh, and codeine cough syrup. Tech death goes Crunk after the jump. Continue reading »

Feb 092012

This is the third of three posts today featuring single songs recently released for streaming by bands who are new blips on our radar screen. This one comes from an Italian band named Gory Blister.

Now, it seems that the core members of Gory Blister have been playing off and on since the early 90s, with three albums to their credit and a fourth one scheduled for release by Bakerteam Records on April 23, to be titled EarthSick. What caught my eye was the report that Nile’s Karl Sanders would be making a guest appearance on two songs — one of them being “Soul-Borne Maladies”, which the band have recently released for streaming.

Before you Nile fans get too wild, Sanders is contributing vocals, not guitars, and the vocals are a near-chanting monotone, cavernous and cadaverous. But Gory Blister do just fine with their own instrumentals and song-writing. Their brand of technical death metal is all flying fingers and blazing footwork, constantly changing tempos and bludgeoning rhythms. And when the guitar solo in this song erupts, it’s like the second coming of Vesuvius.

Damned fine blowtorch metal, and it appears we have another Italian death metal album to anticipate this year besides the next one from Hour of Penance. Put on your asbestos suit and have a listen after the jump. Continue reading »

Jul 202010

Grave stalks the burial ground in its recently released ninth album like an undead thing that knows the territory like the back of its decaying hand.

The nine songs collectively represent a stark contrast to the modern death-metal sound of the band (Noctiferia ) whose album we reviewed yesterday. Over the near quarter-century of its existence, Grave has remained true to the early-stage school of Swedish death metal that it helped found — a school that will flunk your ass out if your mind wanders from the approved curriculum.

But if you’re in the mood to study the evil classics, with some subtle updating, Burial Ground will pay dividends. To mix our metaphors, Grave has got the bone saw gassed-up and running — rough and loud. It won’t be a clean amputation, but as the jocks say, no pain, no gain.

Throughout the album, the bass and guitar hum and buzz and crackle like massive, overloaded transformers, producing the classic, downtuned, distorted sound that reviewers have unsuccessfuly struggled for two decades to describe (for the sake of variety) without using the word “chainsaw.”

It’s not all the sound of a burred grind. Tremolo-picked leads surface in “Semblance In Black”, “Ridden With Belief”, and “Bloodtrail”. Mournful, dissonant melodies peer out of the maelstrom on songs like “Liberation” and “Conqueror”, and squalling solos erupt in rapid bursts in almost every song.

But if the sound of those Swedish death-saws isn’t music to your ears, then you ain’t gonna like Burial Ground, because there’s no escaping them.  (more after the jump, including a track to stream and some eye-catching artwork . . .) Continue reading »