Apr 212016


Sinistrous Diabolus-II


(New Zealand music writer and broadcaster Craig Hayes rejoins us with this review of the new album II by Sinistrous Diabolus, which was self-released on March 31, 2016, and is available on Bandcamp.)

Many of metal’s most interesting bands are intensely dramatic without ever indulging in any overt theatrics. Often those bands are fronted by singular musicians whose creations reflect the pitch-black depths of their own trials and tribulations. Those musicians aren’t playing ‘make believe’, and their music frequently burrows into the darkest recesses of our own minds.

Cult New Zealand death/doom band Sinistrous Diabolus definitely fits into that category. And the band’s new full-length, II, is a monstrous, spine-chilling album that delivers an altogether soul-crushing experience. Fans of Australian death/doom band Inverloch’s excellent Distance | Collapsed album from earlier this year will find comparable levels of heaviness awaiting on Sinistrous Diabolus’ II. But if the name Sinistrous Diabolus doesn’t leap to mind when you’re contemplating the gloomiest metal around, that’s perfectly understandable.

Sinistrous Diabolus is a markedly underground entity from the far-flung reaches, and has been on hiatus a number of times since forming in the early ’90s. The band isn’t actually operating right now, even though there’s a new album out. But even if you’ve never heard of Sinistrous Diabolus before, you might well have heard the band’s influence echoing in Australiasian extreme metal. Continue reading »

Mar 232016

In Mourning-Afterglow


Here are a trio of selected songs that caught our eyes and ears over the last 24 hours.


As previously reported, Sweden’s In Mourning have a new album on the way named Afterglow, which features wonderful cover art by Kristian “Necrolord” Wåhlin and also marks the first appearance of the band’s new drummer, Daniel Liljekvist (ex-Katatonia). This morning the band debuted a lyric video for the first advance track from the album, a song named “Below Rise To the Above”. Continue reading »

May 092014

I see photos of New Zealand showing beautiful mountains and valleys, pristine beaches and sapphire waters, and I’m pretty convinced they’re all photoshopped. How could a place which looks like that produce the kind of music on display in the new split LP by the NZ bands Vassafor and Sinistrous Diabolus? Surely the true face of the land resembles Mordor under the grip of Sauron. And all the sheep have been dismembered and consumed, raw.

Vassafor’s side of the split consists of two long tracks, an original song named “Ossuary in Darkness” and a cover of “Son of the Moon” by the Greek black metal band Varathon. Sinistrous Diabolus dominates their entire side with a 21-minute monster named “Aeon Tenebris – Aeo Lacrimis”. Each side features separate cover art.


I first came upon Vassafor in 2012 after release of their debut album, Obsidian Codex (reviewing two tracks from the album here), and have been following them ever since, though their history reaches much further back in time. Apart from a live in-studio recording that became available about a year ago (discussed here), their songs on the split represent their first new work since that debut full-length.

Vassafor occupy the 15 minutes of “Ossuary in Darkness” with a study in contrasts, moving back and forth after a grim overture between passages of oppressive doom-driven dirge and segments of racing, ravaging assault with claws and fangs fully exposed. The slower moments are sometimes drenched in a fog of poisonous riffs, sometimes accented by the groaning of ominous chords and funereal notes, sometimes laced with minor-key, hornet-swarm tremolo melodies. They sound like hymns to the denial of life. Continue reading »