Nov 102017

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new EP by Vitriol from Portland, Oregon, with a complete Bandcamp stream on the day of its release.)

Ted O’Neill of Oblivion tells me about this guy, Kyle Rasmussen, and his band Vitriol and says I should look into them, tells me he thinks they’re going to be a significant band to pay attention to. I get these recommendations all the time, and of course as a music journo or blogger of any sort your instant thought is to think someone’s just trying to signal-boost their friends. I still check those recommendations out, of course, because I’d be close-minded to take the cynical route. I hit up Kyle for his band’s debut EP and… it did not disappoint.

Vitriol hit a death metal note that’s not really been struck for a while now, that brand of out-of-control, rabid, and schizophrenic tech death some of us associate with the likes of Cryptopsy and Cephalic Carnage — structured delirium, organized chaos, encapsulated insanity. Continue reading »

Nov 092017


(Here’s TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by the UK band Underkript, which was released yesterday.)

The Brits had a mini scene explode for a short period of time a few years back; a combination of progressive thrash metal, melodic death metal, and various metallic hardcore elements came into play. Sylosis is the most notable name in this movement, and they’ve been the best at it. At least until now.

Underkript are an impressive rookie band hailing from Hull, UK, who label themselves somewhat incorrectly if you ask me. While touting a melodic death metal label, Underkript play more a brand of technical progressive thrash metal with a good bit of New York Hardcore and modern extreme metal sensibilities. The songs are pretty lengthy, the riffs are relentless, the vocals are scalding with angst and militancy, the melodies stoic and somber, the drums like inter-dimensional artillery fire. Underkript have got the “it”factor, if you ask me. Sufferance and Sorrow is the name of the band’s debut. Continue reading »

Nov 082017


(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by the Dutch band Seita, which will be released on November 9.)

Seita have quickly become one of my favorite bands from The Netherlands. They exhibit a firebrand combination of death, thrash, hardcore, and groove metal, united into a form of frantic obliterating terror that not many bands can rival. These guys are like being force-fed adrenaline by the gallon.

I reviewed their debut Asymmetric Warfare back in 2012, lavishing it with great praise. Since then, the band have been rather quiet. They released some stand-alone songs from an unreleased EP this year, which I expected to be the next release. Instead, they are coming out the gate with a full-length album, the one in question here, and that EP will be arriving later. Continue reading »

Nov 012017


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new EP by Framework from New Jersey and New York.)

Melodic death metal is a genre that’s arguably an endangered species as a stand-alone style. It started as something very distinct and apart from the rest of metal for sure, and some of the greatest metal ever made was recorded by bands operating under that label and with those stylistic leanings. However, I think it can be argued that the style has basically been devoured by the rest of metal.

More extreme bands began incorporating more melody into their music, and the melodic death bands who took notice of this started incorporating more extreme elements into their own music. This musical adaptation that’s happened, especially in the last ten years, make it worth asking if we should even be using the genre descriptor any more.

I reviewed Framework’s excellent record A World Distorted here at NCS previously, an impressive debut that incorporated all the best aspects of ’90‘s/early 2000s heavier melodic death metal in the spirit of At The Gates, Soilwork, Nightrage, etc. Framework have been underground for a good while since then, now three years removed from A World Distorted. And now I understand why, as the band have been busy re-tooling their sound, making that adaptation I spoke of earlier. Continue reading »

Oct 302017


(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album, released earlier this month, by the Russian band Kartikeya.)

I’ve been out for awhile and I apologize for that. I had a personal tragedy occur and it caused me to have to pull back for awhile. I had originally asked Islander to review this album since I didn’t think I could, but I decided to pick myself up and do it since I’ve got a lot of history with this band.

Kartikeya’s brand of ethnic-influenced melodic death metal with modern groove and progressive influences has been a beloved sound here at NCS, among both the staff and the site’s readers. Samudra is an album that’s been waylaid by a lot of delays and suffered a lot of difficulties in coming to fruition. It’s now been SIX YEARS since Mahayuga, and for people who love this band I think there was a lot of speculation as to whether all the delays would spell doom and whether Samudra would be up to par.

We got a taste of Samudra with the 2011 Durga Puja EP (which I reviewed here) — the EP’s title track is included on the album — as well as what were originally three stand-alone singles, “The Horrors Of Home” (2012), “Tunnels of Naraka” (2013), and “The Golden Blades” (2016), which are also on this record (and each of which we’ve reviewed). “Durga Puja” was an exercise in Kartikeya pushing their Vedic elements to the absolute forefront, a borderline danceable snake dance that really served to emphasize Arsafes’s love of the culture he was raised in, while the first of those singles was more of a traditional Kartikeya-style death metal song, gnarly mangled riffs, fast as fuck, with a juxtaposed melodic chorus to keep a bit of hookiness in there.

I was surprised to find out when I finally got the promo of Samudra that those four songs were only the tip of an expansive soundscape that is like being hit by a sandstorm filled with flesh-gnawing insects and majestic wonder. Continue reading »

Sep 112017


(TheMadIsraeli prepared this review of the new album by Iceland’s Beneath, released in August by Unique Leader Records.)

I was a 100% emphatic fan of Beneath’s sophomore release The Barren Throne. it was one of 2014‘s finest examples of technical/progressive death metal done with immaculate nuance and care. I wasn’t a big fan of the band’s first album, Enslaved By Fear, but it was different from The Barren Throne. Based on the band’s new album Ephemeris, I can now see that what I attributed to just natural evolution or getting better as a band wasn’t that. It’s actually that Beneath wants to write a different kind of death metal album every go around.

Ephemeris abandons The Barren Throne and it’s Suffocation-esque mix of bleak melody and noodily passages of inter-dimensional angular tangents, opting for something of a more opaque sci-fi aesthetic. Continue reading »

Sep 082017


(TheMadIsraeli prepared this review of the debut album by Sweden’s The Lurking Fear, released on August 11 by Century Media.)

Let’s revisit what Swedish death metal royalty group The Lurking Fear had to say when they announced their formation:

“We want our Death Metal ugly, twisted and possessed. We miss the urgency, intensity and ‘realness’ in a lot of the modern Death Metal, therefore it is natural for us to stray away from the streamlined sounds of today, but rather focus on bringing sheer, natural weirdness and horror back to the table…””

This band has a ton of prestige-level pedigree behind it. Besides being fronted by Tomas Lindberg, the king of the mid-range vomitus bark, the members have history in bands such as The Crown, Edge Of Sanity, Marduk, Cradle Of Filth, God Macabre — the list is fucking long. I also appreciate very much TLF’s mission statement because I agree that death metal nowadays is very much lacking the urgency, intensity, and realness it speaks of. I’ve reviewed, and others here have reviewed, plenty of exceptions to this rule of course — our site thrives on the deathly arts — but trust me that what we give praise to here is a baffling minority. Continue reading »

Aug 082017


(Last year TheMadIsraeli posted the first two installments in this irregular series, and now brings us a third one.)

Another installment of irrelevant listening where I share albums in my rotation lately that aren’t current. Let’s get started.

Killswitch Engage – Alive Or Just Breathing: Top-Shelf Edition

Alive Or Just Breathing is the melodic metalcore album that in my mind has never been topped. Even the band themselves admitted in an interview, I think it was this year, that this is STILL their best album. I’ve written about this album before on the site and stumbled upon the so-called “Top Shelf” expanded edition (released in 2005) some time ago. Continue reading »

Jul 202017


(We present TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by West Virginia’s Byzantine, scheduled for release by Metal Blade on July 28.)

When Byzantine basically slowly imploded after their fantastic self-titled comeback I’ve no shame in admitting I was super-concerned about what would happen. I knew Chris Ojeda wanted to continue on, it was his baby, he’s the reason Byzantine exists, but the “OG” lineup of Byzantine, the one people remember, was pretty hard to beat and had some uniquely talented musicians in it, stylistically. Lead guitarist Tony Rohrbough would be especially the hardest element to replace, as his angular jazz-fusion-esque approach to soloing over the thrash/math-metal/southern-swagger juggernaut of the Byzantine sound served as the final piece in the band’s musical jigsaw puzzle that saw the whole thing come together.

To Release Is To Resolve, the band’s first album with its current line-up, was a great record, but one that had a lot of jagged edges on it as the effort to incorporate the new blood’s musical talents and tendencies hadn’t quite yet been worked out. Brian Henderson’s guitar playing was far more melodic and hook-oriented than Rohrbough’s, and Ojeda had bassist Sean Sydnor, who was much more technically skilled at his instrument than Michael Chromer, to account for. It was still Byzantine in all of the right ways, and even saw the band visiting more progressive pastures in light of the absence of Tony Rohrbough, who was a zealot for cutting songs down to the absolute minimum efficiency possible.

An evolution was definitely on the horizon, and I was eager to hear what would come next. Original drummer Matt Wolfe is now out of the picture since To Release…, making Ojeda officially the only original Byzantine member left in the band. Matt Bowles has stepped into the kit position, and he brings with him a greater degree of technical prowess. Continue reading »

Jul 192017


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Concrete Age, along with our premiere of a full album stream.)


Technical thrash-style riffing? Check. Melodic death metal styled melodic approaches and emotive song-writing? Check. Eastern ethnic cultural instruments and influences? Check. Raw thrash/hardcore styled vocals that have a complete disregard for technique and are all passion? Check. Concrete Age encapsulate a lot of things I love in extreme metal.

If this were a different time, these guys would definitely be classified under the so-called “Neo-thrash” tag alongside Hatesphere or Carnal Forge or even Darkane. Their music is more technical melodic death metal, I guess, with a great deal of Eastern ethnic instrumental moments and melodic tendencies.

The Totem Of The Great Snake, Part 1 is an immensely powerful album and is also the best melodic death metal album of the year that I’ve heard by FAR so far. Big deal, considering the style’s been in a real slump the last couple of years. Continue reading »