May 042018
 

 

(Here are brief reviews by TheMadIsraeli of three 2018 black metal albums that have caught his ear.)

I’ve been busy with life, but it doesn’t mean my metal consumption has slowed down.  Let’s talk about some killer black metal that’s come out this year thus far. While the number of great black metal albums this year has been smaller than in 2017 in my mind, what has come around is top-tier and I’ve picked a pretty diverse selection of three very good records.

INFESTUM

Infestum are long-running, but for those still unaware, this Belarusian band play a style of riffy, technical, tight, and concise black metal in the vein of say, Keep Of Kalessin or Old Man’s Child, with a hint of Vader. Les Rites De Passage is a fantastic record with some diverse song-writing thanks to a very Khonsu-esque sense of industrial inclusions. The riffs of Infestum are top-notch, with a pristine sense of phrasing and drama combined with a very esoteric style of melody that I quite enjoy and vocals that definitely will bring ex-KOK vocalist Thebon to mind. Continue reading »

Apr 242018
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by the Berlin-based band Age of Arcadia.)

All of my reviews this year are probably going to come some time after an album’s release.  I’m really looking to emphasize what sticks with me long-term, that just won’t let me go no matter what.  Today I want to talk about a band who’s gone very much under the radar, shamefully so, whose debut is quite possibly one of the best thrash albums ever conceived in the 2010‘s.

Age Of Arcadia are from Germany, but their music at least on this album has a very pronounced Hellenistic thematic approach, based on the song titles, lyrical content, and album art, while musically capturing the mythic titanic might of Greek mythology.  Their debut Eleysis (Έλευσις) is one of the best albums I’ve encountered this year so far, although it’s technically a re-release according to the band despite the fact I can find no record of any previous releases. Continue reading »

Apr 022018
 

 

(The fourth album by Finland’s Barren Earth was releasd by Century Media on March 30, and TheMadIsraeli gives it a very positive review here.)

 

What IS metal exactly? Or rather, what is metal as expressed on a metaphysical level? I’ve always felt that metal is consistently the expression of the beauty, the angst, and maybe the anger that come with the nihilistic realities of life. This powerful music exists as a product of man’s attempts to transcend the complacent, but also to lash out at those who are comfortable with the mundane, or even worse, who seek to enslave or oppress others to maintain their mundane complacency and to satisfy their own whims. In a sense, life should ultimately be beautiful, and the truest anger and despair is directed at that which seeks to prevent, snuff out, or degrade that beauty however nebulous it may be.

Barren Earth have always been a band who’ve followed very intensely in the footsteps of one of my musical heroes, Dan Swanö. Their music is dedicated to a nihilistic fusion of past, present, and future metallic complexity and bite, ’70s progressive melodic ambitions, and a sense of despair and anger that seems timeless, future-bound forevermore. Continue reading »

Mar 212018
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new 10th album by Swedish stalwarts The Crown, which was released by Metal Blade on March 16th.)

Look at that fucking gorgeous cover art….

The Crown is a band that should be a go-to staple for any true hot-blooded metalhead. The band’s iconic blend of thrash, melodic death, death’n’roll, and straight death metal has been distinctive and, in this writer’s opinion, never really equaled. Johan Lindstrand has one of the most unique bestial voices in metal, the very materialization of a priest turned psychopath, preaching sermons of death and sickness. Marko Tervonen’s riffs feel like getting grenades lobbed at you constantly while you sprint for your life.

I’ve also always felt that over a long stretch of years The Crown have managed to release a pretty consistently baller discography. I don’t think you can classify a single album of theirs as mediocre, or even only “pretty good”. They have set a high standard… but have somehow surmounted it with this latest release. Continue reading »

Feb 162018
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new EP by Seattle-based Stealing Axion, which was released on February 13 and is available now on Bandcamp.)

 

Stealing Axion appeared for all intents and purposes finished once the band announced a more-than-likely-to-be-permanent hiatus after the release of the phenomenal Aeons, an album that was one of my absolute favorites of 2014. Ever since their debut EP, I’ve been a devoted and avid fan of the band’s unique blend of progressive metal song structuring, death metal vocal approach, and Meshuggah/Textures-inspired angular rhythmic and melodic strategies. They became one of my favorite bands to emerge from the 2010‘s, a hallmark of what new-age meets old-school transcendent genius sounds like. I guess I’m really hamming it the fuck up here, but I do adore this band.

Stealing Axion announced last year that they would continue without vocalist/guitarist Josh DeShazo, with no real news to speak of after that. As it turns out, Josh DeShazo ended up rejoining the band, and Eternities is a four-song EP born from this reunion. It brings back everything about this band that made them great. Eternities isn’t particularly ground breaking, nor does it see the band exploring new territory per se, but it is definitely a mish-mash of the more energetic direction of the debut Moments combined with the introspective melancholic approach of Aeons, one that forecasts a direction for a future release that I’m eager to hear. Continue reading »

Feb 072018
 

 

(We present TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by the UK’s Bloodshot Dawn, which was released on January 12, 2018.)

 

Bloodshot Dawn as a concept was at an existential crossroads after everyone but frontman, founder, and guitarist Josh McMorran left the band. The departure that hurt most, though, was that of lead guitarist and co-writer Benjamin Ellis, who went on to join Scar Symmetry. I would have to imagine that there was some hesitancy on McMorran’s part about continuing on; the lineup, while only two albums old, had already become iconic in the underground, and the sound of Bloodshot Dawn had already established in definitive terms. Combine this with Demons becoming an extremely successful sophomore record that garnered them lots of acclaim, and I think the idea of trying to continue would have been intimidating.

But McMorran, not content to hang it up, decided to push forward. The new lineup now consists of guitarist/vocalist Morgan Reid, bassist Giacomo Gastaldi, and Vader drummer James Stewart. Now, in Reanimation, we have Bloodshot Dawn’s first offering since this new lineup formed, and of course the question is, how does it stack up against the band’s previous output? Continue reading »

Dec 312017
 

 

(Here we are, on the last day of the year. But before it disappears into the history books, TheMadIsraeli has a couple more 2017 releases to recommend.)

 

I decided before we let 2017 end, I’d get one more in. This is another case of released way too late in the year for it to matter for many people. I’m telling you, December releases for albums fucking suck.

TONGUES

I, Voidhanger is low key one of my favorite labels around. They’ve always been good at acquiring some of the absolute best in the realm of avant garde and progressive, especially in the black metal realm. When the music isn’t either of those things, it’s full of so much venom and grit it’s hard to say no regardless.

Tongues are a Danish black metal band, a minority genre to my knowledge considering Denmark’s typical pedigree for metal. They play a very dissonant haphazard style that still manages to contain quite a bit of melody, with some slight death metal and doom metal riffing touches put in play to enhance the rather dismal horrific atmosphere of their sound. Their debut record Hrellia is quite impressive. Continue reading »

Dec 282017
 

 

(We present here the lists of 2017 releases that proved to be the favorites of NCS writer TheMadIsraeli.)

2017 was a fucking great year for metal of all kinds, but most particularly the extreme kinds. Keeping it short and sweet again this year, I’ve decided to call this list Blasphemous Foundations. I picked a Top 6 of thrash, black, and death metal, the central pillars of extreme metal (heuhueheue 666 get it!?) followed by a miscellaneous Top 10 of stuff either not in those categories or was its own thing to the extent I didn’t think it fit into them. This will probably be my year-end list format going forward, although there will be differing amounts of exposition and me generally being an overly verbose fuckhead.

But first, some hot takes, and not-so-hot takes I’d like to offer: Continue reading »

Nov 272017
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Oblivion, which is out now via Unique Leader Records.)

I was a huge fan and advocate for Oblivion when they first appeared in the scene all the way back at the release of their debut three-song EP. I enthusiastically reviewed their 2013 debut album Called To Rise, amazed by their dedication to old school, riff-driven technical death metal that called to mind Suffocation, Incantation, and Pestilence. It was one of the best death metal records of its year, and as a result I’ve been very excited to see what the band would do next.

The Path Towards… is the first album in a two-album series about the inevitable AI takeover of the human race. Generally a tired concept that’s been done to death, Oblivion pull it off quite convincingly, conveying the horror and sense of existential dread of being phased out along with the accompanying unbridled and anguished sense of rage you’d expect from such an event. Continue reading »

Nov 142017
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli returns with another blast of fast recommendations, with music streams that will let you take the full plunge.)

Welcome back to rapid fire recommendations where I throw brief reviews or recommendations of albums that would have been reviewed already if we hadn’t been drowning in the metallic avalanche of 2017.

Deivos – Endemic Divine

Polish hyper-death titans Deivos have put out a killer death metal record bathed in rabies, bath salts, beefy guitars, schizophrenic riffs, and classically Polish militaristic technical drumwork. Continue reading »