Feb 142019
 

 

There’s probably someone out there who was thinking, “Is this list STILL not finished? It’s the middle of fuckin’ February — when is that lunatic going to stop?” And then that someone saw the title of this installment and thought, “Oh wow. Didn’t realize he hadn’t gotten to Obscura or Soreption yet. I guess it’s okay if he goes on for a bit longer.”

OBSCURA

All of us here were big, big fans of Obscura’s latest album Diluvium — and it seems like everyone else who listened to it felt the same way. In his review, Andy recognized it as “the culmination of a decade’s worth of work and growth by this ever-evolving entity” and considered it home to “some of the most nuanced and natural-sounding songs of the band’s career” — “another win for Obscura, as well as a more than fitting conclusion to their epic endeavour” (it eventually made Andy’s list of the year’s Great albums).

For his part, DGR (in his year-end write-up) also thought the album was great — “predictably dense, but not in the stuffed-to-the-gills way that a lot of tech-death albums have been, but more because this was an album that really saw Obscura exploring their chosen sound” — and gave it a very high recommendation. Continue reading »

Feb 112019
 

 

(Andy Synn wants you to know that he took in another show. This time, Obscura, Fallujah, Allegaeon, and First Fragment drew him to the environs of London on February 8th, yielding this report plus video of the event.)

For whatever reason, possibly known only to the gods themselves, tonight’s show was one of three big package-tours plying their metallic wares in the capital all on the same evening, with Behemoth/At The Gates/Wolves In The Throne Room on at Kentish Town Forum and Psycroptic/Aversion’s Crown/Within Destruction/Hadal Maw/Hollow World making The Dome in Tufnell Park their home for the evening.

Thankfully, as I’d caught the latter tour a few days earlier in Manchester, my choice between the remaining two options was an easy one to make, as while I’m a fan of practically all the bands on both bills (to a greater or lesser extent), I wasn’t hugely taken with either of the most recent Behemoth and At The Gates albums, whereas I was very high on the most recent Obscura album (and, spoiler alert, the upcoming new Fallujah too).

So it was off to the O2 in Islington for me! 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 »

Jul 162018
 

 

I’ll make this quick:

First, within the last hour or so, Behemoth announced a North American tour (Ecclesia Diabolica America 2018) with support from At the Gates and Wolves in the Throne Room. It begins on October 20th in Phoenix and ends on November 24th in Los Angeles, and includes stops in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Edmonton, as well as 18 U.S. States. Here’s the current schedule: Continue reading »

Jul 092018
 

 

(This is Andy Synn’s review of the new album by the celebrated German band Obscura, which will be released on July 13th by Relapse Records.)

Where to start with this one?

Obviously the name Obscura should be familiar to the majority (if not all) of our readers, as the band – these days comprising creative (and somewhat controversial) linchpin Steffen Kummerer alongside guitarist Rafael Trujillo, drummer Sebastian Lanser, and resident uber-bassist Linus Klausenitzer – have long since established themselves as one of the big names of Progressive/Technical Death Metal.

What they, and you, may not be aware of, however, is that, despite all the line-up changes, intra-band friction, and media-managed drama of the last few years, Obscura have been actively engaged in crafting a ten-year long, four-album deep, conceptual cycle – beginning with 2009’s Cosmogenesis (origin), and then moving through further phases with 2011’s Omnivium (evolution), and 2016’s Akróasis (consciousness) – which is finally about to conclude with the release of Diluvium, representing not only the end of the cycle, but also the end of an era for Kummerer and co.

So, with that in mind, perhaps the real question you should be asking yourself right now is… can this record possibly live up to those lofty expectations, and truly deliver the ending which this saga deserves? Continue reading »

Dec 152016
 

listmania-2016

 

(Andy Synn’s week-long series of year-end lists continues with his personal list of The Critical Top Ten for 2016. Click these links to see his lists of the year’s Great Albums, the Good Albums, and the Disappointments.)

For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, I always wind-up my week-long retrospective with two lists, the “Critical Top Ten” and the “Personal Top Ten”.

Now the second one is probably pretty self-explanatory, in that it’s just a list of the ten albums I’ve loved, lived with, and listened to the most this year. It’s really just a snapshot of my personal listening habits/tastes over the last twelve months.

The idea behind this one possible needs some explaining though.

You see the “Critical Top Ten” is where I try (as best I can) to remove my own personal biases and downplay any favouritism and instead attempt to name the ten albums (unranked) which I feel honestly represent the best of the best from the last year in Metal. Continue reading »

Oct 272016
 

obscura-flyer-sheffield

 

(Andy Synn turns in this review of the live performances by Obscura, Revocation, Beyond Creation, and Rivers of Nihil in Sheffield, England, on October 24, 2016 — along with videos of the performances.)

Our readers in the UK who play guitar or bass will probably have noticed something rather peculiar over the last couple of days. Riffs that they used to be able to play turning into a mangled, lumpen soup of glitches and errors… Fluid solos that they used to rip out with ease skittering away from stumbling fingers… even, in the most extreme cases, a complete inability to even lift their instrument anymore, as if they were no longer “worthy” to wield its power.

And I know why.

You see on Monday night I was there when Obscura, Revocation, Beyond Creation, and Rivers of Nihil selfishly used-up the entire country’s supply of notes and riffs, leading to a crisis of near biblical proportions amongst the string-slinging section of the UK metal community.

Thankfully, however, I’ve been informed that a fresh shipment is being piped in from the mainland, and so normal proceedings should be resumed by the weekend or thereabouts. Continue reading »

Jul 052016
 

Belakor-Vessels

 

(DGR presents this round-up of new music, which completes a two-part post that he began here.)

I joked in the previous collection that I wrote that the flood of music which hit in June was a little hilarious. There’s been so much that it feels like I’ve become a giant net in which news lands and then I dump the whole thing upon this site for users to romp around in, and guess what? The comedic flood of music continues unabated with Round Two of our roundup.

We posted Round One last week, and the dredging of the internet continues as we dig for more music videos/song streams/full album streams to talk about. This time around the collection is actually pretty Europe-heavy, with our one huge divergence being a trip out to Australia — which happens to be our lead-off as well. The collection of bands this time around also features one newer discovery and also a check-in with a band who haven’t had some stuff out in some time.

Be’lakor – Smoke Of Many Fires and Vessels Album Stream

We’ve reviewed Be’lakor’s Vessels already, and I share Andy’s opinion that Vessels is a really good album, but recent weeks have brought even more news — though I can now keep this a little more truncated. One is that the band premiered a lyric video for the song “Smoke Of Many Fires” over at Horror Society, and two, if you prefer your music streams less lyric-video-heavy, Bloody-Disgusting grabbed a whole album stream here. Continue reading »

Feb 082016
 

Obscura-Akroasis

 

(Andy Synn reviews the eagerly awaited new album by Obscura.)

Let me ask you something… when you see an album being universally praised across the board, especially if it’s an album by a band who it seems were “predestined” in some way to be a big deal, do you ever find yourself a wee bit suspicious of this outpouring of goodwill and fawning praise? Do you ever find yourself questioning the motives and intentions of the writers/reviewers in question? Do you ever find yourself thinking “well, duh, of course you were going to say that… but what’s it really like”?

Because I do.

I think it’s normal to be a little suspicious of any artist or album that’s receiving nothing but positive (often overly so) reactions from the Metal press. Heck, I think I know enough about the “scene” these days to have a good idea of which publications still retain their integrity and impartiality (such as it is)… and which ones don’t… and think I have a pretty good sense of when a review was clearly pre-planned and effectively written out even before the writer heard the album. Such things come with the territory.

But I’m here to tell you now that the praise being flung Obscura’s way for their new album Akróasis? It’s all very much deserved. Continue reading »

Nov 192015
 

At the Gates-photo by Ester Segarra
photo by Ester Segarra

Today we have a two-part round-up of (mostly) new music for you. I put together this selection of new things I spotted over the last 24 hours. A bit later today we’ll bring you another compilation, assembled by Grant Skelton. Here we go:

AT THE GATES

“The Night Eternal” is one of my favorite tracks on At the Gates’ latest album At War With Reality. Honestly, it’s probably my favorite track on the album. So I was excited that the band released an official video for the song a couple of days ago, and even more excited when I realized that the video consisted of an animation by Romanian graphic artist and musician Costin Chioreanu. And it truly is a wonderful creation. Costin wrote this about the video: Continue reading »