May 232022

(We present DGR‘s review of the latest album by the long-running progressive death metal band Sadist, just released last Friday by Agonia Records.)

If nothing else over the course of Sadist‘s career, you could say that every one of their album releases have always been interesting events. What other groups out there have not only been through multiple waves of the tech-death craze but also themselves have jumped genres so many times that even to this day they’re a difficult group to pin down?

Exceedingly proud of their jazz influences and keyboard usage over the years, Sadist have always been more than a pack of incredibly talented musicians, and who else can say that their previous four releases have dealt in realms of spirituality, African mythology, horror movie soundtracks, and as close to a haunted Christmas album as you’re going to get until Make Them Die Slowly expand upon their Silent Night, Murder Night influences?

Firescorched is the newest release from the Italian prog-death crew and one that is also interesting for the massive lineup shift that took place between this album and 2018’s Spellbound, wherein the entire rhythm section wound up bowing out of the spotlight. Longtime drummer Alessio Spallarossa stepped down and prolific drummer Romain Goulon took over, but even more interesting was who the band would grab on bass — Jeroen Paul Thesseling, whom many will recognize from his time in Obscura. Continue reading »

Dec 112018



(DGR resumes an effort he began last month to catch up on reviews before immersing himself in year-end LISTMANIA. Additional installments of this collection will be added throughout what’s left of this week.)

I think I’ve done it. I think I’m finally free. I think I’ve finally managed to — not really — clear my review slate and can actually start working on the ridiculous exercise that is my year-end list extravaganza.

What follows, in this part and a few more to follow it this week, may prove to be my final collection of reviews, but you never know what we’ll stumble upon after this and find ourselves going, “Wait, we really didn’t cover that?”. Hell, there’s a few of those in this one, but there’s also a group of more recent November releases that were pretty much slammed onto my review desk with such force that they’re currently on the floor below and I have to research how to get a new desk… and replace a hole in my floor.

I guess that’s what happens when your tastes are made brutally apparent over the time spent writing for a site.

As before, this assembly has a whole lot of world traveling in it, but it also lets me return to my own home state for quite a few of them as well. So, if you’re looking for one final collective of death metal across all spectrums, or a few musical digs into a group’s history, then this final wrap-up should have you covered. Continue reading »

Apr 282017


As I mentioned earlier today, I returned to Seattle very late last night after a 4-day road trip for my day job. While away, I didn’t have time to pull together round-ups of new music that I was noticing, so I have some catching up to do. This is the first installment of that catching-up exercise, which will continue with at least one more part either later today or tomorrow. The music here is organized in alphabetical order by band name, and I’ve tried to provide variety in each of these installments.


I wasn’t familiar with Anima Nostra before hearing this first song, but I’ve learned that it’s a collaboration between Henrik Nordvargr Björkk (Sweden) and Margaux Renaudin (France). The two of them released an album named Anima Nostra last year, and now they’ve taken that as their band name.

Their second album, Atraments, will be released by Malignant Records (digitally and on digipak CD) on June 2nd. I gather from press announcements that the sound now differs from their first collaborative effort, “taking the more intimate ritual ambient aspects of the debut, and incorporating them as part of towering constructs that blur the line between death industrial, doom metal, and neo-classical”. Continue reading »

Nov 162015

Sadist Hyaena


(DGR reviews the new album by Sadist.)

When the word “angular” comes to mind when describing a death metal band, one of the groups that I always have in the back of my head is Italy’s Sadist — a band who since their comeback have been an odd fusion of about a hundred different styles — whose early works were often cited as hidden gems in the death metal community — and a band whose most recent work has been constructed out of some of the mostly oddly shaped riffs, whose music is so alien in its geometry, and whose subject matter is so off the beaten path from what one might consider the usual death metal “fare” that you can’t help but refer to it as “angular”.

It’s been hard to argue about where Sadist lie on the death metal spectrum since their 2007 revival with their self-titled, which featured them returning to form after a hefty, hefty break, since the band have been playing with a keyboard-reliant style, heavy on the theatrics, where the drumming pulls just as much from the jazz and fusion worlds as it does the traditional blast-beat-bombing-run that we’ve all become accustomed to. It’s been difficult to say if Sadist are technical death metal or technically death metal, but if they’re not either then you have to answer the question of what the fuck are they?

Despite being an enigma in genre terms, however, Sadist have — in their most recent three discs — put out some fascinating, odd music. The third of those albums is the group’s mid-October release, Hyaena, an album that has taken its dear, sweet time in following up 2010’s Season In Silence, which itself could best be described as… well… I’m not sure. The cover art featured a pretty prominent evil snowman and had some monstrous tracks in “Broken And Reborn” and “Bloody Cold Winter”, but Hyaena takes us elsewhere. As best as I can figure, it takes us to the wilds of Africa and deals with not only myth but also the behavior of its titular creature. Continue reading »

Mar 302012

(Andy Synn witnessed the Derby, England stop of the Reborn of Death Tour and apparently was so skull-rattled by the experience that he thought he was at the movies.)

What a line-up, am I right? It’s like a 6-round pummelling before that final knock-out blow. Each band softening you up for another vicious beating by the next. So, still feeling a little punch drunk from the experience, how am I going to manage to review the show for you fine folks?

Through the works of one Mr Sylvester Stallone.

Chronologically speaking, Carceri are the Rocky Balboa (Rocky 6, for those not in the know) of the evening. Definitely the newest act on the block, with a large legacy to live up to. Thankfully, much like their filmic counterpart, they manage to take familiar elements and give them just enough of a modern shine to justify their position. Playing cuts from their new album The Good Must Suffer The Wicked, with a backdrop of dizzying, morbid imagery scrolling and warping behind them, the group deliver an electrifying blend of punchy, mechanical riffage, bone-rattling blast-beats and massive death growls that deftly bears up under the weight of their Oscar-winning legacy.

Unfortunately, the position of Rocky 5 is occupied by Cerebral Bore tonight, as their brain-mangling death-grind has all the familiar elements and hits all the expected story-beats, but somehow lacks the inherent character and heart in its delivery. The vocals are utterly monstrous, but the drums have an overly-triggered sound that robs them of their brutality, and the bass and guitar never fully lock in correctly. The actors are all present, but something about the story is lacking. Close to the end of the set, however, the band debut a new song that shows real promise, picking up the pace in time for the closing credits. Continue reading »