May 052014

I have mixed feelings about Cinco de Mayo. I grew up in central Texas, and celebrated the date every year after a certain point. On the other hand, the certain point was when I reached drinking age, which was the age at which my friends and I could convince winos to buy us tequila at liquor stores. That became a road to misery.

My first exposure to tequila was at age 16 on a high school Spanish Club trip to Monterrey. One of my buds, who was fluent in Spanish without having to be taught, evaded the teachers by climbing out a hotel window and down a fire escape on our first afternoon there, returning with a couple of bottles. That night I never made it out of the bus that took our teachers and us to some restaurant. I said I was sick, and that was no fuckin’ lie.

Even now, all it takes is the smell of straight tequila to bring on a wave of nausea. Doesn’t mean I’ve given up on it (there have been many subsequent tequila poisoning experiences in the many years since that Monterrey trip), but these days I prefer to take my poison in a margarita. Goes down easier, though a high percentage of the time I still wind up crouched over a toilet begging for mercy.

But I don’t mean to suggest that Cinco de Mayo is nothing more than a chance to get shit-faced. There’s rich history behind the date as well, but in my mind it’s also an excuse to revisit some Mexican metal. That’s another form of poison I can’t seem to resist. Continue reading »

Jan 272014

Germany’s Unholy Prophecies has just released a 7″ split that for me is the stuff of daydreams, even though it sounds like a waking nightmare. The split joins together two of the best and most hellish propagators of old-school death metal who are currently active, and they have both outdone themselves. The bands are Putrevore and Putrefact, and their split is entitled Funebre Plague Into Darkness.


Putrevore is a joint project of Sweden’s Rogga Johansson (RibspreaderPaganizerBone Gnawer, Demiurg, etc.) and Spain’s Dave Rotten (AvulsedChrist Denied). I discovered Putrevore through their second album, 2012’s Macabre Kingdom. If you were looking for pure, unadulterated, unforgiving, horrific death metal in 2012, you couldn’t go wrong with that record. You still can’t. It’s an unstoppable battle tank that’s both catastrophic in its atmospherics and also strangely addictive, so much so that I included one of its tracks on our list of the year’s “Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs”.

Putrevore’s track on the new split is “A Cold Grasp In the Night”, and it’s utterly obliterating. The riffs come fast and furious, like an over-heated pile-driver fueled by an accelerant that puts gasoline to shame. The drumming is superb, and superbly merciless. And Dave Rotten’s vocals sound like they’re welling up from a deep sewer that hasn’t been flushed clean in decades. And before the song ends, it dives into an off-speed crush-fest that’s just as compelling as the full-bore adrenaline surge that precedes it. A thoroughly energizing song that will zap you right in the brainstem. Check it out: Continue reading »

Nov 212013

Yesterday I came across new music from four bands with whom I hadn’t previously crossed paths. I really liked what I heard and hope you will, too. Part of what makes this quartet so appealing is that none of them sounds like any of the others, and together they give us another reminder about the amazing diversity of metal as an art form.


Towers of Flesh are a three-man band from the UK who released their debut album in 2010 (The Perpetual Paradox). All three of the band members (Anil Carrier, Tom Hinksman, and Jack Welch) have been active in other projects, but they have now managed to complete a new album entitled Antithetical Conjurations, which is projected for release in early 2014. It’s adorned by an eye-catching cover panting by Aisha Louisa Al-Sadie (edited by Bryan Hancox).

Yesterday the band released a sampler of music from the new album. I didn’t know what to expect, since I hadn’t heard their first album, but man, the sampler sounds excellent — a blend of of melodic black metal and death metal elements with dark, reverberating guitar melodies that are attention-grabbing even after only a few seconds, and plenty of low-end thunder. Continue reading »