Sep 092023


A lot of new music came out over the last week. All I can do today is lightly scratch the surface, like a friendly cat who touches their human companion’s skin with claws that let you know they’re there but without drawing blood — though some of the music here might feel like blood is being shed.

I got a very late start this morning, and so depended on late-breaking alerts from some of my NCS compatriots and a couple of other acquaintances rather than methodically clawing through my immense list of links and letting my own impulses determine the choices.I’ll probably be more self-directed in assembling tomorrow’s blackish column. Continue reading »

Feb 182021


(We present the third installment from an avalanche of four reviews that DGR delivered unto us earlier this week, and today’s edition focuses on the newest album by Illinois-based Mechina, which was released on January 1st.)

I did not review Mechina’s 2019 album Telesterion for this here website. This is something that bothered me for a lot longer than I expected. All the way into mid-2020 I was swearing up and down I would do a 2019 archive of stuff I had come to super-late, but truth be told that was always only part of the reason why it never got a deep-dive here, despite my continued insistence of enjoying nearly everything the band have done.

The main driver behind that decision actually came down to the simple fact that Telesterion is a completely different style of album from previous Mechina works, and in some ways that disc served as a foray into newer sounds for them. It’s the first time when the project fully leaned into its conceptual side and you had vocalists playing characters within songs, and thus the characters sang about certain of the events being described. Continue reading »

Jan 012019


(Here’s the second installment of DGR’s 5-part year-end effort to sink our site beneath an avalanche of words and a deluge of music.)

This segment has some interesting patterns in it. The grindcore power hour makes its appearance here, as I’m a sucker for a whole lot of high-speed songwriting over blasting drums, and there’s still some spill-over from the veterans who remained fairly consistent (which you’ll note, defined a lot of part one). As we reach the bottom of the list you’ll start to see some new faces, stunning debuts and incredible full-lengths, and from here the list only gets more and more wild.

As of this writing I’m not sure how to describe the next few segments, but you’ll note that the albums tend to get a little bit more heartfelt, vicious, and a whole lot more passionate as we get further and further into this list. If anything I’d say the immediate thing I’m noting is that the high-twenties of this affair fully sell me out as having had a giant tech-death party. But right now, let us enjoy this current batch of madness as we bounce around from the worlds of grind, to high speed death metal, to a pleasant prog-death and sludge metal break, only to finally close things out with a tremendous crushing of skulls. Continue reading »

Feb 062017


(Chicago’s Mechina released a new album on January 1 and, continuing a long tradition, DGR reviews it.)

The idea of a band creating their own lore occupies a special place in my heart, a place where admiration and hilarity co-exist in the case of Mechina. The ambitiousness of trying to set up a universe and tell a multiple-release-spanning story is incredible, in an age of music that is quickly devoured and disposed of, reserved exclusively for streaming and set up to run in the background. Going beyond the usual goal of “let’s make a really good disc” and into one that seeks to create a musical space opera that pulls from equal parts miltiary sci-fi and exploration segments, that is where my admiration comes to fruition.

That the Mechina crew have doggedly sought to create this saga on a yearly release schedule, with the occasional single release ahead of time, has felt like an exercise in insanity. The hilarity, for me at least, has been in the part where year afer year I have to describe this to what may be a new audience not feel like I’ve fallen into a feedback loop of repeating myself. Continue reading »

Feb 142016

Death Karma cover


Today will be the end for my list of 2015’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. I really do need to bring the series to an end, but I’ve found it so difficult to let go of the thing that I’ve prepared two installments for today. There are three new songs for the list in this post, and the next and final one includes four tracks.

The three songs collected here are oddities, none of them appealing to standardized tastes and none of them wedded to linear or predictable structures or even single recognizable genre styles. To varying degrees, you could even say they’re disorienting, but they’re highly creative and to my fractured mind they’re also awfully damned infectious.


I discovered the existence of the Czech band Death Karma on a May day in 2013 at the same time as I learned about Cult of Fire (and described the experience in this post). The two are linked because Death Karma is composed of Infernal Vlad and Tom Coroner, who are also two of Cult of Fire’s three members. Continue reading »

Feb 022016



(DGR weighs in on the new album by Chicago’s Mechina, as you knew he would.)

The January 1st album release has become a comedic undertone to my writing as of late. It’s never one that I have advanced warning for, nor is it one that I am ever truly adequately prepared for. Instead, it just serves as a reminder of the relentless march of time and the constant – and reassuring – pressures of being a writer for this site. It’s strange, but I have found comfort in this sense, the idea that I am already late and that I have fucked up.

Without that pressure, life seems aimless, and so, as it has been for the past handful of years, I have Mechina to thank for the fact that I am once again dragging ass on a review. The sun has risen in the east and set in the west, the sky is still blue, and all is right with the world – because as I take longer and longer to write out this review out, each moment means that I am later than I was before. Always the hare in Alice In Wonderland, and in that way continuing exactly how I felt last year and the year before.

It’s that consistency that one needs as a reminder that while the year has ticked up one notch, things haven’t really changed and the world is a mess. God forbid any actual events happen. This ladies and gentlemen, is how I start my year. Continue reading »

Aug 222015

MEchina-The World We Lost


(In this post DGR reviews the new release by Chicago’s Mechina.)

Mechina are a band whom I’ve learned to stop trying to figure out. They’ve somehow evolved into superhuman musicians who can seemingy do no wrong when it comes to putting out quality music. They’ve consistently kept to a yearly release schedule, and recently have even added a single release mid-way through the year — and those have become huge efforts in their own right. I keep waiting for them to slip, but it seems that somehow the people behind Mechina are absolutely tireless as well as immensely talented.

The Mechina singles are some of the longest songs the band have written and are the musican’s equivelent of a short story — which is odd to say when it comes to music, but given that the band have created their own universe and continually add to it, it isn’t hard to see the band’s brand of symphonic/industrial/groove/death metal starting to become like sitting down with a storyteller and letting them entrance you with another tale. Continue reading »

Jan 202015


(I think DGR has reviewed every release by Chicago’s Mechina. They released a new album this month, and like the sun rising in the East and setting in the West, DGR now reviews it.)

Mechina are a band whose growth has been one of the most interesting to watch over the past few years. Few bands have been quite as ambitious as they have been with their music. Few have completely ignored whether or not they were going to be successful, and just went big anyway, but that is exactly what Mechina have done during their time as artists.

Starting out as a full band before eventually becoming the studio project of a couple of producers in the Chicago area, Mechina have already banged out a whole arc of albums — a conceptual trilogy told over three full discs and a smattering of singles — that have archived a whole universe constantly at war, ending with planets left barren and whole populations destroyed, played out over the soundtrack of an industrial/symphonic death band with a taste for eight-and-up-string poly-rhythmic guitar playing.

Over time, the band’s production has grown leaps and bounds, and as they’ve adopted characters into their story and adapted a new vocalist into the fold, they’ve created enough lore in their universe that someone actually took the time out of their day to try and establish a wiki site to keep track of all of it, one that I’ve already used liberally. While we haven’t quite hit Bal-Sagoth levels of craziness, I imagine Mechina could be reaching that point soon enough with their sci-fi, planet-destroying antics. Continue reading »

Jun 052014

(In this post DGR reviews the new single by Chicago’s Mechina.)

I feel like I’ve been spending a lot of time musically in Illinois lately, between (hopefully) getting a review done for Cimmerian’s January release Hollowing at some point (short version; listen to it, great album that plays in the same realm as Insomnium, Be’lakor, and Omnium Gatherum), and then Chicago in particular with the Watch_Dogs videogame, which has the city down in spirit but not so much in actual layout (a problem I’ve also run into with Infamous and Seattle, and Driver in San Francisco), and Warforged’s EP Essence Of The Land (which hit earlier this year and is still on pretty constant rotation as well). And now Mechina call me back again with another new song, a twelve and a half minute precursor — after the group’s already stellar January release Xenon.

The group’s new song “To Coexist Is To Surrender” is apparently the whole ignition point for the series of albums that have previously been released, all tied into one grand and overarching story — though I will fully own up to having no idea where it is at now, as I was initially operating off of old information when I penned my Xenon review.

However, “To Coexist Is To Surrender” continues the Mechina trend of making their long songs absolutely awesome, and this one in particular provides them with an epic. Not only does the song include narration, radio broadcasts, and extended instrumental sections, it also includes multiple vocalists and an intense and passionate closing section provided by longtime co-conspirator and solo singing artist Mel Rose. Continue reading »

Mar 052014

I’m headed for the airport again this morning, and then winging my way back to sunny Southern California for my day job, returning to sodden Seattle on Sunday. This will again restrict my blog time. Before leaving, I wanted to share a few recent discoveries.


This Toronto band, whose three members prefer to remain anonymous, released a self-titled EP in 2011, and now they have a debut full-length on the way. Entitled Sacred White Noise, it’s coming out on April 15th via Dark Descent. Not long ago the band premiered an advance track named “The Bright White Nothing At the End of the Tunnel”.  I’ve been meaning to check it out, and finally did so last night — and I’m in love.

There’s a writhing, dissonant guitar lead that begins almost immediately and then intermittently continues to whip and squirm its way throughout the rest of the song, and once heard it’s hard to forget. But that’s only part of the music’s attraction. The song also includes hammering percussion, scalding riffs, bestial black metal vocals, and a load of other strange but magnetic repeating motifs. Continue reading »