Jan 082021


For this fifth installment of the list I’ve decided to include four songs instead of two or three. The impulse to include all of these together was irresistible, for reasons I think you’ll understand after you’ve heard all of them.


From humble beginnings this solo project of James McBain has moved from self-releasing its 2015 debut EP (The Manifestation of Evil) and its 2017 debut album (Coagulating Darkness) to landing on the roster of Peaceville Records, which released Hellripper’s second album The Affair of the Poisons last October. For those of us who’ve been adherents of the music since early days, this was a happy development but not a shocking one. Continue reading »

Nov 132020


Based on this band’s name (Speedkiller) and their nation (Brazil), you might be expecting raw and ripping black thrash, or perhaps balls-to-the-wall speed metal, and Speedkiller do indeed give you high-voltage doses of thrash and speed, but their debut EP Midnight Vampire turns out to be a much more multi-faceted experience, in which the band also draw on elements of death metal and classic heavy metal — and a genuine talent for cooking up addictive melodies and hook-heavy riffs, and delivering the experience within a supernatural atmosphere.

Speedkiller leaped into this new EP after releasing only a couple of singles via YouTube, and when you hear it you’ll understand why both Helldprod Records and Edged Circle Records leaped at the chance to release it. Sadly, covid-related delays at manufacturing facilities have recently caused a postponement in the EP’s release date from December 11th to January 29, 2021, but to tide you over until then we’re presenting a track from the album today named “Circles of Blood“. Continue reading »

Oct 252020


I got a late start on the day and therefore have had to adjust my plans for this week’s column. Running short on time, I’ve had to postpone brief reviews of some recently released albums that richly deserve attention and instead focus on new singles and advance tracks from forthcoming records. But they richly deserve attention too.

I’ve arranged these tracks in a way that provides a flow that made sense to me, starting off one way, taking a turn in a different direction, and then changing course one more time at the end. Coincidentally, one thing these tracks have in common (and they don’t have a lot in common) is that blast-beats are in short supply.


The title of the first song, “Eviscerate My Withered Soul“, tells you a lot about the mood of the music. Launched by ritual drums, ominous symphonic swells, and grim, seething chords, it stalks forward in a way that leaves feelings of oppressiveness and despair in its wake. Augmented by bestial growls and withering screams, the music’s intensity mounts, creating tension and tragedy in equal measure. There’s a sense of horrible grandeur in the music, commingled with fever and pain. Continue reading »