Jan 012019


(Here’s the second installment of DGR’s 5-part year-end effort to sink our site beneath an avalanche of words and a deluge of music.)

This segment has some interesting patterns in it. The grindcore power hour makes its appearance here, as I’m a sucker for a whole lot of high-speed songwriting over blasting drums, and there’s still some spill-over from the veterans who remained fairly consistent (which you’ll note, defined a lot of part one). As we reach the bottom of the list you’ll start to see some new faces, stunning debuts and incredible full-lengths, and from here the list only gets more and more wild.

As of this writing I’m not sure how to describe the next few segments, but you’ll note that the albums tend to get a little bit more heartfelt, vicious, and a whole lot more passionate as we get further and further into this list. If anything I’d say the immediate thing I’m noting is that the high-twenties of this affair fully sell me out as having had a giant tech-death party. But right now, let us enjoy this current batch of madness as we bounce around from the worlds of grind, to high speed death metal, to a pleasant prog-death and sludge metal break, only to finally close things out with a tremendous crushing of skulls. Continue reading »

Oct 172018


(We present Andy Synn‘s review of the fantastic debut album by Seattle-based Witch Ripper, which was released on September 13th.)

For the most part, the use of comparisons – “so-and-so frequently reminds me of whatsisname” – is one of the most practical and important tools in a reviewer’s repertoire, allowing them to immediately put readers in the right area or mindset when encountering a brand new band/album.

Like any tool, of course, it can be misused in the wrong hands, which often provokes a rather furious backlash from fans/readers who’ve taken umbrage to a writer’s choice of references, to the point where I’ve seen commenters driven into a full-on fit of apoplectic, caps-lock-inducing rage at the mere suggestion that a certain band might possibly, maybe, ever so slightly, sound like another group (or two).

It’s a ridiculous overreaction of course. My saying, for instance, that Seattle-based riff-warriors Witch Ripper frequently remind me of both a more lithe and limber version of High on Fire or a less-scatterbrained variant on Mastodon’s more proggy musings, isn’t meant as a criticism or an accusation of plagiarism… far from it… it’s meant very much as a compliment and as a way of pre-emptively getting potential readers/listeners into the right headspace where they can properly appreciate the album in the right context. Continue reading »

Aug 202018


After the demise of the impressive Minnesota death metal band Iron Thrones about six years ago, its members moved on to other things. Bassist Curtis Parker moved on not only musically, but also geographically, relocating from Minneapolis to Seattle where he launched a new project named Witch Ripper. At first, it was essentially a solo project, though Parker’s ex-Iron Thrones bandmate Pete Clarke collaborated as the drummer on Witch Ripper‘s self-titled debut EP, which was released in 2012.

I heard about that 2012 EP not long after it came out, and found it hugely entertaining. As I wrote then, it brought to mind the likes of Mastodon, High On Fire, Neurosis, and Helms Alee, channeling the power of the riff at high-megawatt levels of addictive hookiness, but also delivering layers of memorable melodic complexity that made it stand out from the stoner crowd. You could be swallowed up in hard-rocking, hard-rolling jams one minute, stomped-on hard the next, and swimming off on astral streams the next. I immediately started looking forward to the next Witch Ripper release. Continue reading »

Dec 252012

This Christmas Day installment of MISCELLANY is a blockbuster, in two senses:  First, instead of the usual line-up of three musical discoveries, I picked five for this excursion. And second, what I found busted my block with the power and quality of the music. I’ve usually had good luck with these explorations, but today’s collection is especially good.

For those people who are new to the site or just forgetful, here’s how the MISCELLANY game works: I randomly pick an assortment of bands whose music I’ve never heard (usually bands with new releases). I listen to one or two songs (though I broke that rule in this post, as I have in the past). I write my first-listen impressions. And then I stream for you what I heard so you can form your own impressions.

The subjects for today’s post, several of whom have made their releases available for free download, are: Witch Ripper (U.S.), Cage (U.K.), Inconstani Dei (Russia), Cortez (Switzerland), and Vulgaari (U.S.). And I’ll tell you this much more in advance: All of the music goes off in different tangents from the majority of the metal we usually cover on this site. They were great discoveries for me, and I hope they will be for you, too.


I learned about this band via an e-mail from its sole member, Curt Parker. I decided to check out the band’s self-titled debut EP for three reasons: (1) Curt Parker was a member of the now-defunct Iron Thrones, and I enjoyed their music; (2) Curt Parker recently moved from Minneapolis to our current home base of Seattle; and (3) I thought the cover of the band’s EP (created by Tim Bradley) was awfully damned cool. And as an added bonus, I later discovered that Witch Ripper has made separate videos for each of the EP’s Continue reading »