Mar 092020


(We present Todd Manning‘s review of the 2019 debut demo by Germany’s Torpëdo, which was reissued last month by Gates of Hell Records.)

Gates of Hell Records is a subsidiary of Cruz Del Sur Music dedicated to bringing the best of Old School Heavy Metal to the world, and they’ve certainly found a prime candidate in the form of Germany’s Torpëdo. The label reissued the band’s demo Mechanic Tyrants on February 21st, complete with new cover art that captures the spirit of the Speed Metal vibes contained within.

The first thing that is apparent when “Maniac” comes ripping out of the speakers is the band’s ability to successfully blend the raucous sound of early Motörhead with Kill’em All-era Metallica. The album was recorded by the band themselves in a basement and it even captures the sound of that bygone time perfectly. Gritty but clear and powerful. Continue reading »

Feb 252020


(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the new EP by the UK-based progressive black/doom band Lychgate, which will soon be released by Debemur Morti Productions.)

It’s getting hard to ignore Lychgate, not that anyone should be trying. This UK based Extreme Metal band continue to push their awe-inspiring blend of Black Metal, Death, and Doom into more progressive and experimental realms with each release, and their latest EP is a case in point. Also sprach Futura is due out on Debemur Morti Productions on March 13th and illustrates beyond any doubt that Lychgate is one of the most exciting bands going right now. Continue reading »

Jan 152020


(Here’s Todd Manning‘s review of the new EP by Gnaw, which is set for release on January 31st via Sleeping Giant Glossolalia.)

New York-based Gnaw produce the kind of brutalizing listening experience that just can’t be achieved without coloring outside the lines of genre rules. They’ve been producing their Metal/Industrial/Noise mash-up since 2009, and their latest EP, Barking Orders, shows they definitely have not lost their edge.

For most Metal bands, the music comes first and the vocals often seem to default to the style that best matches what the instruments are doing. This isn’t the case with Gnaw, who are fronted by scene veteran Alan Dubin, whose unique vocal style has been at the forefront of such acts as O.L.D. and Khanate. “Unsettling” doesn’t even begin to describe the brutal screeches, yells, and bellows emanating from him. Perhaps the most notable part of his style, though, is the clarity with which he delivers the lyrics, despite the means he uses to deliver them. With Gnaw, the band seem to construct their sounds to complrment his powerful and unique style, utilizing whatever sort of cacophony best accompanies his voice and the harrowing lyrics it conveys. Continue reading »

Dec 262019


(NCS contributor Todd Manning shares a diverse year-end list of top metal albums (15 of them), and a list of recommended not-metal too.)

This is my fourth year reviewing for No Clean Singing, and I found 2019 to be a bit of a mixed bag. Not that there wasn’t good Metal releases this year, but nothing that would’ve beaten out my top two from last year, Imperial Triumphant and Horrendous. Still though, lots of good albums and even a few great ones graced my ears.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for me in coming up with this list was trying to rate albums that were vastly different in character from one another. Over here you have paint-peeling Grindcore, over there some pastoral Black Metal, maybe a little bit of vile and filthy Sludge for good measure. I really enjoyed the variety, but it’s definitely a case of comparing apples to oranges. Even though my 2018 list certainly possessed some variety in material, it still, to me at least, possessed a bit more thematic consistency. Nevertheless, here goes trying to sort out my best of 2019. Continue reading »

Nov 272019


(We present Todd Manning‘s review of the new album by Indiana-based Tusk, which was released on November 20th.)

Perhaps one of the keys to Doom’s recent proliferation within the Metal world is its ability to assimilate and synthesize adjacent genres and spit the concoction back out as a coherent whole. Some bands soak up Classic Rock vibes and spit out Stoner Doom, others drag Death Metal through the molasses to give us the Death-Doom hybrid. For Indianapolis-based trio Tusk, they take the wintry atmosphere of Black Metal and the meditative qualities of Post-Metal and then drop the tempos down to primordial levels, producing a hypnotic and powerful debut in the form of Eternal Ice.

Consisting of Xander Farrington on drums, Jesse Curtis on guitar and vocals, and David Arthur on bass, Tusk construct a towering work with the most basic of parts. At times, they give the Doom fan just what they came for, like in the album opening riff on “Pale”. The riff lumbers along and crushes glaciers beneath its feet, but when the forlorn vocal comes in, it is apparent that this will be a multi-faceted listening experience. This feeling is further reinforced by the softer clean guitar breaks that add to the somber mood of the song. Continue reading »

Nov 122019


(On November 22nd Profound Lore will release a new album by Lord Mantis, and today we share with you Todd Manning‘s review.)

It’s the return of the filth, courtesy of Lord Mantis. These people have been absent for five long years, but they are ready to reopen festering wounds with their new full-length, Universal Death Church, out November 22nd on Profound Lore Records.

At one point this entity appeared to be dead, but the group decided to rebuild burnt bridges in order to honor the memory of drummer and founding member Bill Bumgardner. Universal Death Church is an immense statement by the reformed line-up, a sprawling testament to chaos and sadism, done as only Lord Mantis knows how to do. Continue reading »

Oct 302019


(This is Todd Manning‘s enthusiastic review of the new album by the Texas band Monte Luna, which is out now via Argonauta Records.)

In 2017, Monte Luna dropped their debut full-length on an unsuspecting world, a sonic concoction of crushing sludge and doom mixed with psychedelic tones of weird horror and fantasy. Now they have returned like a lost tribe of barbarians charging across the wasteland. Their follow-up, Drowners’ Wives, was released on October 4th. courtesy of Italian label Argonauta Records.

For those who heard the massive sweep of the duo’s self-titled debut, they will be glad to know that the band have held onto their previous ambition. Yet the path to Doom-ridden bliss is different than before. Where in the past guitarist/vocalist James Clarke pounded out massive Conan-inspired riffage while drummer Phil Hook hammered away at Godflesh-like beats, Drowners’ Wives lets the Melvins influence shine though, primarily through massive vocal hooks. At the same time, there is a thick layer of psychedelia applied liberally over the proceedings that contributes greatly to the overall character of the album. Continue reading »

Aug 262019


(Todd Manning wrote the following review of the new record by the Chilean thrash band Ripper, which is set for release on September 30th by Unspeakable Axe Records.)

For many, and myself included, Ripper’s 2016 full-length Experiment of Existence was a highlight of that year.  The songwriting on that opus was a deft combination of classic Teutonic Thrash and proto-Death Metal with hints of technical musicianship added in for flavor. Now these Chilean madmen are back with their newest release, Sensory Stagnation, once again with Unspeakable Axe Records. Continue reading »

Aug 132019


(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the new album by the Michigan-based grindcore band Cloud Rat, which is set for release on September 13th by Artoffact Records.)

It’s funny to watch the cycling of musical sub-genres. It’s not so much that anything goes away nowadays, but when it comes to sonic extremity, certainly flavors tend to move more or less out of focus. Recently, it seems Grindcore is starting to push to the fore with a batch of innovative releases. 2019 has seen not only the return, albeit in slightly altered form, of Discordance Axis, now under the moniker No One Knows What the Dead Think, but also forward-thinking releases from Immortal Bird and now, Cloud Rat.

Cloud Rat are certainly not rookies and their new full-length, Pollinator, is actually their fourth album. Much like Immortal Bird, Cloud Rat seize the innovation of classic Discordance Axis and make it their own. It is not that they are so much aping the sound of that classic trio as taking the torch of innovation and running with it. Continue reading »

Jul 112019


(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the new album by No One Knows What the Dead Think, which is set for release on September 20 by Willowtip Records.)

All hail the new flesh, the new band that is a merciless reincarnation of the insane and mighty Discordance Axis. No One Knows What The Dead Think contains D.A. alumni Jon Chang on vocals and Rob Marton on guitar, and they are joined by Kyosuke Nakano on drums, and the band make no bones about this being the culmination of the original series of albums by Discordance Axis.

For those not familiar with Discordance Axis, they produced some of the most stunningly original Grindcore albums of the nineties. The sound was utterly unhinged, partially due to Chang’s vicious and wide-eyed vocal approach, but also because of Marton’s almost Godflesh-like riffs being paired with Dave Witte’s blasting drum work. And just like before, the vibe here is suitably Post-Human, a sort of logical conclusion to Cyberpunk, where Earth’s hellscape is primarily populated by swarms of of artificial intelligence. Continue reading »