“The Unraveling” CD

(The Flenser)


If I had to describe this album with one word, it would be torrential. The Unraveling is teeming with potentiality—always on the cusp of the next kickass movement in a series of grappling hooks. Each track on this album has a personality that distinguishes itself from the rest, exhibiting the acute depth of thought that Ails put into weaving together their work. (I know it seems a contradictory statement for them to weave something together that is “unraveling,” but bear with me.) They navigate the challenging waters of contrast with ease. For example, the first track, “The Echoes Waned,” showcases Ails’ tact with combining blackened metallic craftsmanship with earthier tones in the clean vocals (which most immediately contrast with the more prevalent blackened shrieks) and brief stripped-down moments that bookend the composition. The very next track, “Dead Metaphors,” begins in a doom-laden manner, but transitions into “Any Spark of Life,” which often finds itself at a confluence of exuberant riffing and more patient sections. Ails work with all of these dynamics with immense control, constructing an album that listeners can fully immerse themselves in while still feeling a sense of direction, of propulsive momentum. If “Mare Weighs Down” is looking over a cliff’s edge into a cyclone, “The Ruin” is the subsequent descent and experience of the whirling rapids. Everyone comes out on top in the end with the ultimate, epic finale of “Bitter Past,” which begins with a slightly twang-y guitar line that puts into music the recollection of a caustic memory that sticks in one’s cranium like an irksome bur. This track leads the listeners out of the album through craggy rapids, leaving them with a sense of catharsis. Listening to The Unraveling is an exercise in refiguring the familiar with the energy of the present—even though we exit the album through the “past,” Ails still demonstrate that progress can be made in habituated mediums. I would highly recommend this album to any fan of forward-thinking extreme metal. – Aaron         




“Pax Moriendi” CD

(Iron Bonehead Records)


I have been championing the South American scene the last couple years. But, I have been surprised to often be met with comments, like “Oh yeah that scene was good way back in the day from the late ‘80s to the mid ‘90s”. Well, I agree it was great back then, but also I say fucking wake up, and take another look the South American scene now, it is one of the top scenes in the world! That area of the world is fucking killing it in recent years, and only getting better, one of the current hotbeds of that UG scene these days is Peru (endless bands from there like Runa, Anal Vomit, Blaspherion, Kraken, Mortem, Profaner etc…), which is the country Antichrist hails from as well. “Pax Moriendi” creates a dismal audio landscape of death doom, dripping with sinister evil, which torments and suffocates the listener into submission. Yes, it is death metal, but it is extremely doomy in pace and feeling, pounding and crushing you in glorious slow motion. If you were to mix the albums “Mental Funeral” by Autopsy, “Transcendence Into The Peripheral” by Disembowelment and “Rites Of The Black Mass” by Acheron then you would probably have something that sounded very close to this album. Now, that I read that description, it is little wonder I like this album so much, as those are three of my all-time favourite releases in the history of extreme metal. The vocals are obscure, suffocating elongated rumbling growls, with emphasis more on the sound they create than the words they form; often words are drawn-out before and after with this vocal sound attached, and the result for me is quite satisfying. Now and again, there are some clean half sung/half spoken passages that are equally obscure sounding, and melt into the background of the wonderfully rumbling, lurching music. For me, the style of sound the band creates are the perfect union of death and doom metal, while always keeping things extremely dark and morbid. Recommended!  - Dale       




“From Gold To Ash” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)


It has been four years since this Indianapolis, Indiana bands last album, has it been worth the wait? Let’s dig in and find out. For those unfamiliar, Apostle Of Solitude play doom metal, in the classic old school style, but with a definite heavy metal base mixed within the foundation. I found myself immediately struck by the great despondent sounding guitar tone, which has a real richness to it and conveys very well, the general emotional tenor of the bands sound. I found this overall staple tonal guitar sound, which runs through the entire record, to be very captivating in it’s melancholic atmospheric majesty. The two guitarists Steve Janiak and Chuck Brown share vocal duties, though Chuck Brown (ex-The Gates Of Slumber where he played drums – talented dude) seems handle the bulk of them and takes the lead. The vocals are clean sung traditional style; with Brown often choosing to extend words and phrases, adding some extra feeling and range that suits the music well. The music and vocals do a fine job at mirroring the seemingly grey and emotionally overcast mood of the lyrical content. I think one of the biggest compliments I can give the band, would be that within this well trodden style of doom, to my fairly educated ear, they seem to have managed to create an own sound that I have trouble comparing to any specific bands. Which, certainly is no mean feat, especially in this day and age. Cruz Del Sur just keep finding quality band, after quality band, it is impressive and a real pleasure to follow along with this excellent record label labours, they have done it once again in spades with Apostle Of Solitude.  - Dale           




“Drowned” CD

(Momento Mori Records)


The word "progressive" is one that makes me approach any release tagged as such with a little trepidation. Not because I fear that a formula for my favorite music has been changed but because often it is a synonym for "pretentious." Barús appears to me to be one of those bands that I deem pretentious, right down to using single letters for the names of the musicians. Normally, I can rely on Memento Mori to provide releases that really scratch my particular death metal itch, but this one only did it occasionally. This feels too much like art, not proper death metal (which should be an anti-art), like I need to pay attention to it constantly or risk losing myself in the fucking quicksand that is their songwriting. When I use the word quicksand, it shouldn't have too-negative connotations, it just means that the music doesn't seem to move, it just swirls us listener-turds around the musical toilet bowl and doesn't sink into the sewer properly. This shit'll drown you. But not in a good way, like Immolation does. I suffered a little bit on this one. When the band plies my ears with their blackened atmosphere and their sorta-grooved-up and old-sounding death metal parts, I like it, but when they descend into post-rock and dissonant chords, it's like wiping with sandpaper. It'll get the job done, but my ass is raw after. For those dear readers who enjoy death metal presented in a unique way, this will do the trick, but when I just want to have my face blasted off my skull, Barús brings me to the brink and then the music starts to noodle around and get off into territories I'd rather not visit. Is it an impressive effort of cave-like darkness? Yes. Do I fuckin' care? Only sort of.  – Andrew Parrish          




“Codex Epicus” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


Battleroar come to us out of the Greek scene and play a very epic classic heavy metal style reminding me a lot of influential bands from the early to mid ‘80s. I was struck by the sweeping riffing that is very catchy and filled with melody, which is accented with some great guitar fills and solos. Despite the level of melody, they do not forget about overall song flow or pass up an opportunity to take things in a less melodious, more moody direction for brief periods of time. Battleroar construct and build up their songs in a way which gives maximum emotional impact and they do so in a very skillful manner. The vocalist has a very classic heavy metal voice and puts in a good performance; he even gets some sing-a-long choruses at times to work with, which will be sure to stick in your head. The music as a whole, gives off a triumphant vibe, despite possessing a very moderate slower pacing often keeping just enough of a tempo to not fall into the doom metal category. It is a very upbeat and uplifting sort of metal album, which may lack some of the grit and heaviness some extreme metal and even some heavy metal fans crave. But, if you are okay with that and dig epic heavy metal bands in the vein of Omen, Liege Lord, Warlord, Cirith Ungol and especially Manilla Road then you will love this album!  - Dale          




“Pasung” CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)


Beldam come to us with their sophomore album, second for H.P.G.D. Productions, the band were originally from Virginia and now have transplanted to the opposite coast in Seattle. They play a mixture of doom metal and sludge, for me, it is not always a seamless marriage of these two genres, but largely works out okay. There are some death/doom growls here and there, but the mainstay of the vocalizations is solid sludge style raspy grating vocals, which are pretty good, but I would not have minded if they were a little more energetic and unhinged for lack of a better word. I find that style of vocal best when it has those qualities. The band keep things slow, but more in the slow to moderate pacing, rather than a crushing steamroller crawl tempo of a band like Winter for example. The final track “That Which Consumes You” sees the band coming up with their most interesting track, by far for me, especially with regards to the overall song writing, creativity and flow areas. They create some interesting sounds on this song, such as the wobbly sound effect that becomes a running theme throughout the track, it is like the guitar and vocals have some kind of almost wah-wah bar like sound that is actually really cool, moody vibe. The entire sound of this long song is interestingly structured, creating a kind of mind fucking, crushingly heavy atmosphere. If the entire album was in this vein, and had this level of quality in all aspects, this album would be great. I am hoping they continue in that direction in future. But, unfortunately for me, the rest of the album outside of some brief little moments is just decent. I mean the bulk of it to me, largely sounds like just middle of the road, somewhat uninspired sludge metal, mixed with pretty good (better than the sludge side of thing) doom metal. It is still quality enough, that I think die hards of the sludge/doom that buy a lot of releases will be happy with. However, the more discerning fan that only likes the best bands of this subgenre will not be disappointed, but may come away slightly underwhelmed with this album.  - Dale          




“Sultans Of Incest” Cassette Single

(Boris Records)


Those that follow Boris Records releases, know the label is a champion of the great Atlanta, Georgia scene, which is better and more interesting than I knew before I got into their releases. This time, it is actually a Chicago band they are releasing, but no worries purists, the members mainly originate in Atlanta and moved across country. Berator may be a fairly new band, but the members are not new to the scene, as the band features members of Atlanta band Disfigurement and Chicago band FIN, among other past bands and guitarist Adam Besserer is a full time member of notorious Profanatica! Okay, enough of the background, onward with this tape, there are two songs on here that make up this release, the title track and “Swine Cult”. Something I was drawn to immediately was the vocals, they are fucking killer! They are brutal death growls that are fairly decipherable; they remind me of a mix of Paul Speckmann of Master, along with the vox of Deicide and Grave. The music follows suit, it is straight up brutal fucking metal of death here, and they are tearing shit up. Berator are definitely die hard fiends of 1990s brutal death metal, which is my favourite period in the scene, so I am on board here. They keep things brutish and extreme, but there is a definite talent level going on with the playing and song arrangements, they are also not above throwing in a heavy catchy riff or two to just flat out headbang along with. This release is apparently a prelude to an upcoming full-length album the band is working on. I am definitely looking forward to that, until then check out what these sacrilegious buggars have conjured up on this little release piece of blood red plastic ASAP.  - Dale    




“O Agios Pethane” CD

(Dunkelheit Productions)


Blood was a (great - Dale) German band, from the mid-eighties onward making their mark on the scene in the 90s, releasing and playing their brand of brutal death metal with grind influences. The guitars are performed with a lot of crazed and extremely fast guitar chords. The guitarist is not all extreme fast riffs though, he does slow to a more mid pace, in a few of the songs. The drumming is done in the same realm, with both extremely violent drum patterns, but the drummer is not afraid to it down, which keeps the music fresh and interesting. If you are a fan of the early nineties death/grind scene, then definitely favor, and pick up a copy of Blood’s excellent O Agios Pethane now.  - Patrick        




“Reanimation” CD

(Hostile Media)


Bloodshot Dawn are a newer force to be reckoned with in the field of melodic death metal. Their previous album Demons came out about four years ago, and was given fairly high marks across the board by fans of this style of death metal that maintains fidelity to melody at its core while occasionally accenting compositions with technical flourishes. So, does their recent anticipated release, Reanimation, fall short of, meet, or surpass the established standard? Honestly, while that question is apt for any band that moves forward with their project toward new outputs, I believe listeners of this album should take into consideration the almost completely new lineup for this album. Josh McMorran, guitarist and vocalist, is the only remaining original member of the band. Some slightly different artistic choices are going to be made for this album that will sound different when compared to Demons, like the drifting guitar melodies that we hear in such tracks on Reanimation as “Survival Evolved”. Even McMorran’s vocal technique is marginally different for the first few tracks, abandoning for the most part the throaty death growls of Demons for vocals that are more clearly discerned. Upon the fourth track, “Upon the Throne of Fear”, though, we see a return to form as it begins with much more menacing riffing and deeper vocals. As this song progresses, higher-pitched shrieks accompany the growls, adding some more texture to this layer of the composition than in the former tracks. This more multifaceted approach remains consistent for the remainder of the album, making it a more familiar and enjoyable listen for fans of the band. The first few tracks are not necessarily poorly done, they just seem to miss the mark for the standard that Bloodshot Dawn had established with previous releases. Having a new lineup may have contributed to these initial departures, but the album as whole more than makes up for them if you are not too keen on the first few tracks.  – Aaron       




“Abiogenesis” CD & LP

(Dark Descent Records)


Well now, we have some crushing death metal from Turkey on tap this time around. The band has been around for some time (2008-2012 and then revived again in 2014) and the members either are now or were in various Turkish bands over the years. So, as you can tell, they are no Johnny-come-lately’s here despite this being the bands debut record. Prior to this release they had an ep released on various formats and a split 7 inch ep. When describing their sound old school early to mid ‘90s Swedish death metal influences loom large. I hear some Autopsy and Benediction in there too and there is also a decent dose of Floridian bands (ala stuff like Morbid Angel “Covenant” era) from the same ‘90s time period. There is some really well developed, skillfully refined guitar work on here, which adds some emotive depth and a brooding vibe mixed quite deftly into the prevailing brutality. When things do get brutal the drum work on here shines for me, it is a strong and violent backbone of controlled chaos, which really helps push the riffing and song flow over the top in a good way. The song crafting in general is strong and shows attention to detail and musical fluidity, which helps makes the long song lengths not even seem long. Sort of like when you are watching a good three hour movie and it is so engaging you go fuck that movie did not feel that long. Did I mention the songs are epic length? It is pretty unusual in brutal death metal to range from over eight minutes to nearly thirteen minutes in length per song! But, Burial Invocation make that daunting task of writing songs that long, into an advantage for them. It is a real talent to pull that off in my opinion. The vocals are good, possessing a very deep growling nucleus, with a slight undercurrent of broiling gurgle around the edges. I like how much the vocalist seems to enunciate and elongate some of the words he growls out; it adds a menacing and dark aura over the music. As you can tell, this one comes pretty highly recommended for fans of brutal death metal that have an appreciation for the roots of this great sub-genre.  - Dale       




Secular Flesh” CD & LP

(Iron Bonehead Records)


This Finnish band is a relatively young band, having only released a demo in 2016 and an EP in 2017 (five songs in total), both on Iron Bonehead, who now present the bands anticipated debut full-length album. I would say in a lot of ways Celestial Grave sound like the early ‘90s Scandinavian wave of black metal you might expect when I say they play this style. However, they take that sound and put some of their own sound on this standard style, but the way they play it is quite different than most black metal bands in this style. They produce long songs, all in the 6-10+ minute range, but they construct them in an interesting way. With normal bm bands in this style you expect the harsh melody, the structuring with the usual cycling song structuring, but Celestial Grave just keep the song going without that much traditional structuring forcing the tremolo riffing to just stay in largely in one pattern with little variation on speed. Which, produces a rather freezing, hypnotic trance-like atmosphere and the songs structurally speaking has no hooks or breaks or traditional arrangements. Which mostly creates, like in the third track ‘Grasping From Lips Of Night’ this perpetual motion song that just eventually ends, but could be put in a continuous loop and the beginning and end would be hard to distinguish. I could see some fans of traditional song arrangements having a hard time getting into that, but if you are willing to view it as a rhythmic mental journey, as an overall atmosphere and not just a song, then I think you will get a lot of out this record. The vocals themselves are sort of obscure, like they are there and you can make out the growling and rasping vocals clearly enough, only if focus specifically on them. But, they are also again obscured somehow like they melt back into the mix of the instruments, and become somewhat part of the audio tapestry, again producing an effect of not knowing where the instrumental sounds and the vocal sounds begin and end. As you may be able to tell, I have a hard time putting this bands sound into words, but I do know it is different than most black metal bands out there, but it is still firmly black metal and it was also a very pleasurable listening experience for me.  - Dale          




“Outis” CD

(Willowtip Records)


Ceremony of Silence are a two man thrashing death metal band coming to us from Slovokia with their debut full-length album. The guitars are handled by Vilozof, who does a great job of writing and playing some fast thrashing riffs with some slower, mid paced guitar sections mixed into the songs. Vilozof also handles the vocal duties for the band, which consist of a mix of gruff screams alongside some deeper death metal growls. Svjatogor commands the drum kit with a mix of extremely fast drum patterns with some slower beats to counter balance ferocity and add some musical depth to the material. If you are a fan of the early ‘90s death metal scene, then definitely be sure to check out Outis when it is released.  - Patrick       




“The Frozen Casket” EP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


Here’s an album that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for people like me who are nostalgic for good ol’ Floridian death metal. You’ll know most of what to expect sonically on this album if you’re a fan of Death and/or Obituary, but I would encourage you to give this album a listen regardless because while it does sound like one of the best executed homages to this scene of OSDM that I have heard in a while, it still sounds like a completely fresh record all the same. Technique and skill are what set the Russian band Cist apart from their contemporaries; their riff composition shows ample proficiency in this vein of death metal, as does their incorporation of intriguing and audible bass work throughout the album. There is also refreshing, yet frugal use of sound effects and voice overs on this album, which, while sparsely distributed across the tracks, adds a lot of flavor to the presentation like some obscure herb on an otherwise already fantastic plate of food. The whole setup is invigorating, especially with Vitaly Luschenkov’s vocals ripping through the mix with both transparency and brutality reminiscent of John Tardy and/or Chuck Schuldiner (depending on which track you’re listening to). The production quality of this EP certainly permits all of these elements to be heard and enjoyed to their fullest potential without sounding too sterilized. Cist’s excellent songcrafting does not stop at the execution, though, but rather also includes the lyrical content. So far this year we have seen some pretty interesting lyrical topics tackled by death metal bands (lookin’ at you, Slugdge), and Cist are baring their artistic integrity in this arena as well with some of their tracks gathering inspiration from cell biology as an avenue or metaphor for sociocultural/societal critique. Overall, the package that is The Frozen Casket secures Cist’s place as an act to keep an eye on in the coming years since it displays abundant potential for an awesome future full-length debut.  – Aaron        




“Too Late To Pray” MCD

(Nihilistic Holocaust Records)


This is the debut release from new French band Confessor A.D. coming out on the long running and dedicated Nihilistic Holocaust Records. This mini-album consists of five tracks of old school blackened death metal, with some excellent healthy hints of thrash influence weaving it’s way in and out of the proceedings. Confessor A.D. definitely embody the very late ‘80s / early ‘90s Scandinavian and Netherlands sound, which is clearly coursing through their veins. The pacing is not lightning quick, most of the time, reminding me both in pacing and structurally of the late ‘80s thrash influenced musicians who were starting to play this new death metal style emerging at the time. You could hear and feel the transition, and early first steps of figuring out this then new style, being caught between the old and new in a charming and interesting way, at least to me. I remember that time period well and loved those bands that had a firm foot in both styles, keeping their thrash roots, but adding these fresh brutal elements. When I mention the middle pacing, back then a lot of bands were more into the atmospheric vibe, being sure to leave room for a bit of melody and just room musically to breathe, and the listener to digest, so to speak, rather than just going as fast as possible and brutal as possible which was the next step in the death metal evolution. The vocals follow suit with amalgamation of the gruff thrash yell and the dm growl, keeping everything entirely intelligible and easy to still follow along with the lyrics. With all of the old ‘80s/’90s styles coming back around in the 2000s, it is good to see this often left behind, pivotal seemingly viewed as a relic style, getting some attention from a young band who does it some justice here.  - Dale        




“A Monument To The Dead” CD, LP & Tape

(Blood Harvest Recs. / Rotted Life Records)


After releasing two demo tapes and split with Molder, the band will release their debut full-length due to be released in mid-October. “A Monument To The Dead” is a duel release through the labels Blood Harvest and Rotted Life Records and feature eight track of solid and intense death metal. The music is extremely well written and performed, with both fast and mid-paced patterns. The guitarist can really write and compose some well played passages and even adding some well written solos. The vocals are a mix of old school death metal growls and some more gruff growling as well. The vocalist reminds me a little bit of John Tardy’s early vocal style I love. If you are a fan of early Cannibal Corpse, Immolation and other ‘90s classic death metal then I recommend you should definitely give Coffin Rot a listen today.  - Patrick       




“Diamond Cut Diamond” CD

(Gates Of Hell Records)


Australia, for me, has always had a very diverse metal scene and more often than not the band members are filled with extreme dedication and gritty attitude (a recent example would be the Road Warrior album I reviewed last month). The latest quality addition from the Ozzie scene, to my ears at least is Convent Guilt. They are a real throwback band, and this album sounds like could have been lifted right out of the late 70s / early ‘80s NWOBHM scene. Hell, even the production here while clear and loud, feels much like a production / recording from back in those days. The band produce this classic hard rock and heavy metal sound very well with catchy, hook-y songs, filled with some cool guitar histrionics and echo-y often gang sung phrases and choruses. You can hear some of the old influences here and there, in the guitars, with the song writing bringing to mind bands like early Maiden, Saxon, Tank, Holocaust, Angel Witch, Uriah Heep, Demon etc… This is very enjoyable for an old goat metalhead like myself. The vocals are decent and get the job done fine, but are not on the level in terms of quality and range as many of the influences I mentioned, well that is not necessarily true in all cases, maybe they are comparable to Tank vocally. If you can not get enough of that New Wave of British Heavy metal sound, which leans more on the mid paced hard rock side of things then I think you will enjoy Convent Guilt quite a bit.  - Dale          




“Splatterphobia” CD

(Comatose Music)


Like an old festering wound that just won't heal, Corpsefucking Art has returned with another death metal opus that worships the early- to mid-90s sound of US death metal. These Italians specifically worship the early sounds of Cannibal Corpse, Mortician, and midwest brutal death metal in general. There's even a Cannibal Corpse cover on the record, Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead, which is actually done competently and convincingly. It helps that the drums are performed by none other than Marco from Devangelic and Posthuman Abomination. When Corpsefucking Art isn't genuflecting toward their gods of death, they toss in some competent slam riffs placed perfectly to accent the heavy atmosphere of each song, and some killer blasts on occasion to break up any monotony they were in danger of creating with simpler riffs. The only complaining I will do about this record is the weird sense of humor the band has, since I tend to dislike humor in death metal - it's not supposed to sound fun! They seem to have a strange obsession with tomatoes, with two songs referencing the venerated garden fruit.  I can overlook that for an album that's this good, and since the vocals are indecipherable anyhow (they're kind of in the same realm as Mortician's vocals), it's not going to bother me unless I read the lyrics and song titles, and most of those aren't too bad.  Overall, it's a better than average success for this long-running underground institution, and it's certainly worthy of your cash and time if you expect brutal death metal to be simpler and in time signatures you can actually understand without a music degree.  – Andrew Parrish    




“Impetus Of Death” CD

(Dark Descent Records)


I had heard the name of this Finnish band in the past, but I had not heard any of their releases until now, which I now view in a regrettable light. As this old school death metal band bring to life those old UG death ways, keeping the ancient flame burning bright, while cutting a moody brutish swath all their own through the scene at the same time. The guitar sounds they got on here are so ominous, and cruelly suffocating, which in turn creates such a dark and wonderfully morbid atmosphere for the listener. You will be reminded of the classic brutal death sounds on early the works by Morbid Angel, Incantation, Grave, Autopsy, Repulsion etc… Also, I am reminded of their great fellow countrymen, and death metal pioneer band Abhorrence! I would say, even the vocals remind me a lot of Jorgen Sandstrom from Grave, with hints of guys like Glen Benton of Deicide and Dave Ingram of Benediction. Those three growlers are three of my favourite death metal vocalists of all time, so as you can imagine, I dig the vocals on this album a whole lot, they are fan-fucking-tastic and marry with the sinister brutal music brilliantly! The band finish off the album by expertly flexing their proficient skills at song writing, by penning a great epic album closer, entitled “Starless Event Horizon”, which clocks in at nearly 11 minutes and is a tremendous song from start to finish while taking you on a brooding brutal journey that will leave you satisfied.  - Dale          




“Into The Blackness” CD EP

(Edged Circle Productions)


This newly formed band is an old school death metal band in more ways than one. It is the style they play, but also it’s members go waaay back in the UG scene as the line up consists of Hempa Brynolfsson (Ordo Inferus, ex-Excruciate etc…) on guitars, Daryl Kahan (Citizens Arrest, Funebrarum, ex-Abazagorath etc…) on bass, Andy Whale (ex-Bolt Thrower, Memoriam etc…) on drums, Linus Nirbrant (A Canorous Quintet, The Ending, The Dead etc…) on guitars, Gord Olson (Ye Goat-Herd Gods & Demisery) on vocals. That is one hell of a group of musicians, but damn how did they get Andy Whale, drummer of Bolt Thrower from 1986-1994 on board?! Besides that it is quite an international cabal of musicians from the UK, Canada, America and Sweden. Anyways, onward to the music, shall we? Darkened play what I would call straight up death metal, it is not technical, it does not have progressive elements or song structuring, yes of course it is brutal yet not ultra brutal – as I say just straight up death metal. The guitars have add a dark aura to the sound that reminds me a little to earlier of Benediction or Grave with that sort of guitar sound. Speaking of which, there is some fine classy guitar fills in some of the songs, a superb example of this starts a minute or two into the song “Unredeemed”, the fantastic emotive guitars there give me chills. The vocalist Gord Olson, despite him being from the same area I am from in Canada, I do not think I have heard any of his bands before now. I can now see why this accomplished congregation of musicians chose this young man. I mean fuck, he is one of the best death metal growlers I have heard in years, he has a deep sounding classic growl yet he has real range within that style, his enunciation and articulation while staying within that brutish growl is superb! This ep is just growing on me more and more with each successive listen. I will be interested to find out if this band is a project band or something these guys hope to do full on?! I would most definitely be into hearing a full album from this killer grouping of musicians. If, when and until that happens, you will have this cool ep to listen to!  - Dale          




“Pray For Doom” CD

(I Hate Records)


These slow moving Germans have been at it since the very start of the ‘90s, when they formed as Cemetery, then changed their name to the current moniker and released a handful of demos. Since then though, in the 2000’s, they have only released two ep’s and two albums including this one in nearly 20 years. Though the main man and vocalist in the band Gerrit P. Mutz, also keeps busy in a few other active bands like Battleroar, Sacred Steel and Angel Of Damnation. Dawn Of Winter play classic doom metal dirges, performed at a slow glacial pace that I found very enjoyable. The band have a real talent and feel for crafting very emotive and moving songs, whilst at the same not losing that pounding heaviness especially in the guitars and drums in unison. The marvelous vocals are clean yet gloomy and sinister, both dripping with emotion and adding a delicious sinister atmosphere to the musical whole. The excellent vocals and the equally excellent music remind me to bands like Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus and Saint Vitus. I am a big fan of all of those bands, and Dawn Of Winter do put their own stamp on that classic sound, not to mention always keeping the overall quality very high. For me, if you are a die in the wool fan of classic melancholic dark doom metal then “Pray For Doom” has to be close to a must have in your collection.  - Dale       




“Through The Void, Above The Suns” CD

(ATMF / A Sad Sadness Song Records)


Italy’s Deadly Carnage return to the fray with their fourth release “Through The Void, Above The Suns”. They start things off with a short introduction of chants and screams, then the music picks up, beginning with a mid paced to slow-ish doom style with some moderately tempo black metal elements sifted into the musical mix. The guitar work is accomplished with some very well performed patterns, moving within the aforementioned slower black doom style. The vocals are a mixture of whispering low end vocals, but also add some screams and hollering throughout the body of the album. The band does do a good job of combining newer generation black metal and doom influences, so if you are a fan of these genres or if you are familiar with Deadly Carnage then be sure to check this release out soon.  - Patrick        




“Eating The Universe” Full-length Cassette Album

(Visceral Circuitry Records)


This is a re-release of this Russian bands debut album, released back in 2014, originally for years only available as a digital download, but a year or so ago it was re-released on CD and now it receives the cassette treatment. Dekonstruktor are a different animal than most bands I review. I guess you could call them progressive or somewhat avant-garde doom metal that achieves a dark atmosphere through sludgy droning feedback doom metal as a mainstay, as well as other elements from bits of crazy grind to industrial sounding effects tweaking and reverberating mental audio wash. The vocals tend to be like audio lifted from demented, trippy scary ‘70s exploitation movies, far off, haunting and echo-y and a little disorienting, but in a good way. For the most part though everything is extremely atmospheric, meant to set you off traveling into that grey area of your brain where you are in a fog, caught between sadness, confusion, anger, melancholy journey through a hallucinogenic hypnotic lens. It is not the easiest thing to describe in a review, but damn, I like it an awful lot and can recommend this if you like any of the above descriptions and as a doom fan are not adverse to something a little different and a little mentally challenging. I see the bands second album came out just last year in 2018, after listening to this now, I hope I get a chance to listen to it and see where Dekronstruktor took this interesting soundcape and style they have fashioned for themselves.  - Dale          




“Violently Expunged” CD

(Lord Of The Sick Recordings)


This is a bull-dozering brutal death metal record along the lines of old Regurgitation, Disgorge, or Lividity, but of course with their own little twist on the genre with some modern technique and recording. I won’t tell you that it will floor you with originality, or destroy your will to live with ridiculous technical prowess, or is unlike anything you’ve ever heard. No, this one is just a straight up sledgehammer to the face, and it brings the pain hard, fast, and repeatedly. The vocals are guttural but thankfully save us the pig squeals and instead stay low and sick the entire album. The drums are a whirlwind and when combined with the guitars that are tuned all the way down to sewer the effect is hypnotic and crushing. It really is a wall of sound approach, and I would imagine it could be tough to hear all the instruments on stage if there’s a shitty sound engineer! You can pretty much judge this one by its cover, but in this case it really isn’t a bad thing. I’m always looking for bands in this style, especially bands that check all the boxes and add something new to it. DA does that, and it’s a step above their last release on all fronts. I will be waiting to see what these guys do next. Keep an eye on the label, too, if you like brutal death metal - Lord of the Sick Recordings brings it almost every time.  – Andrew Parrish        




“Strange Passions” MCD

(Iron Bonehead Productions)


This is a new young band coming out of Detroit, Michigan. Earlier this year the band released their debut demo, but now they present to us their first label offering and what an excellent label they have already landed on so quickly! There are six songs on this mini-album, consisting of well executed and performed black metal that praises old black metal and it’s early traditions. Yes, it is black metal intertwined with influences of old heavy metal and thrash where you can hear some direct reverence of the early masters like Venom, early Bathory, early Mayhem and a little Master’s Hammer thrown in for good measure. The vocals are a nice mix old style gruff growls and screams that fit the bands dark malevolent music perfectly. The evil music flows along mainly with mid pace passages, but things do speed to a quicker pace at times throughout infectiously good release. I can not help but strongly suggest you pick this up, if you are a fellow die hard of the early days of the black metal then you should pick up a copy of ‘Strange Passions’ today.  - Patrick          




“Dogs Of Scum” Cassette EP

(Doomday’s Today Records)


Dogs of Scum are just a straight up raunchy hard rock / metal band (maybe with a hint of hardcore) that has a good time with their metal, and love to party and just live up to the name of the band. The first song is entitled “A Tsunami Named Peter North”, for those who are not aficionados like me of ‘80s & ‘90s porn, North was a porn star known for shooting massive loads of cum that just seemed to keep on coming and coming haha. Some other songs, to give you a vibe of the atmosphere and attitude of the name and the music are ones like “Secaucus Sucks”, “Drugs, Booze & Fast Food”, “The Smell Of Sodomy” etc… You get the idea, definitely nothing too serious. Their attitude and a little of the music reminds me of Gang Green, who I like a lot, but these guys are a little more bravado metal and less punk and skateboarding than a band like Gang Green. The vocals are clear gruff, slightly growled sorta tough guy sounding vocals, a little along the lines of ANTiSEEN or something. They even do an acoustic cover of GG Allin’s classic song “Guns, Bitches, Brawls & Bottles”, which is pretty cool, they even sing the vocals in GG style vocals. I like that though I did not find it so cool that they do not list it as a cover or credit GG anywhere on the tape itself or on the packaging. Hopefully that is just an oversight and not the band trying to pass it off as their own to those that might not know any better. It was an enjoyable cover though for sure. The music is mostly slower to middle paced, punctuated with the odd brief speedy section, as the music kind of caters a lot to what is going on in the vocals/lyrics which are often catchy with choruses ala Macabre or similar bands. It is generally some pretty good stuff that I enjoyed and this is a different release to what I usually get in for review and a nice change of pace for me. If you do like different shit like GG Allin, ANTiSEEN, Macabre, The Mentors, Eat My Fuk, Dayglo Abortions etc… Then you will probably dig the 18 minutes of sleaze and depravity on this tape. It comes on a nice pro pressed piss yellow tape. Feel free to send orders of physical copies of this tape to either of the following: Doomsday Today Records, Eternal Darkness Creations, c/o Keith Dempe, PO Box 268, Coraopolis, PA. 15108 and also thru Ralph's Records, c/o Doug Stapp, 3322 82nd St., Lubbock, TX. 79423 USA  - Dale       




“Dolores” Cassette EP

(Doomday’s Today Records)


I am not even sure what genre you would say Dolores plays within, but I did dabble with a few Power Violence bands (ala Man Is The Bastard, Capitalist Casualties, Crossed Out, Black Army Jacket, Charles Bronson etc…) back in the mid to late ‘90s and listened to them back then, but not much since as it never grabbed me enough to keep up with that scene. I might say that is where I would place Dolores, it has some Sludge similarities too for sure, but Power Violence is a more apt descriptor to give readers an idea to know what they might be getting into if they ordered this. Dolores plays a lot of chunky, heavy, slow to middle paced riffs that seem like a series of calm before the storm sections strung together into a song. This formula of the more brooding emotive bits lead into bursts of raw, scathing angry screeching half sung/half spoken vocals which largely makes up the staple of the Dolores sound. This is pretty some pretty solid shit in this kind of niche sub-genre, it would be worth checking out for most extreme metal fanatics, but it may be more of an acquired taste for those types. But devotees of Powerviolence would be the ones that can really appreciate this band.  Feel free to send orders of physical copies of this tape to either of the following: Doomsday Today Records, Eternal Darkness Creations, c/o Keith Dempe, PO Box 268, Coraopolis, PA. 15108 and also thru Ralph's Records, c/o Doug Stapp, 3322 82nd St., Lubbock, TX. 79423 USA  - Dale       




Package Round Up

(Doomsday’s Today Records)


Joe Buck Yourself “Devil Is On His Way” + “Demon In My Head” Cassette I did not know anything about Joe Buck going into this review, he apparently has been doing this a long time, a notable item with him is he is or has been the upright bass player for Hank Williams III (as well as other bands like Ass Jack & The Legendary Shake Shakers). These two tapes are basically re-releases of 3 or 4 different cd releases, put out back in the years 2004, 2007 & 2008 for a total of 25 songs combined, so essentially each tape is a full-length albums worth of material. I seen this online described as punk and country mixed together, which sounds like a terrible idea to me, so I was pretty apprehensive (expected to hate it to be honest) entering into this review. I am pleased to report what is on here I would not call punk or country, at all, maybe some punk attitude there, but not musically. This first tape is some moody, but catchy and memorable rock music that is very stripped down, like just a guitar, a kick drum and mic to sing into. I don’t know much about this particular sub-genre, but at a guess, maybe you could call a pessimistic and raunchy contemporary Rockabilly music? As mentioned, it is really simple, stripped down music, but they do sometimes say less is more. This is definitely not my kind of music that I would listen to probably rarely, if ever, but I will admit I liked some of the attitude and the guy does write some catchy, memorable songs and lyrics that will probably stick in your head. I will let you decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing haha. If you are the open minded type musically and like stuff similar to hard Rockabilly then you will dig this, but if you are looking for metal or anything musically extreme (though the guitar in the newer “Demon” material is a little heavier & distorted you could say) then move along son. As always, with all Doomsday releases the cassettes and packaging are pro pressed and quality printed.
Spoiled Humanic Waste “Broken Hate Addict” Cassette So you know how you read reviews all the time that say things like I can’t believe this is a one man band, or you would never know this is a one man band, it is so well done and complete sounding? Well, this release is the opposite of that, this is a one man band and it sounds like one, painfully so to honest. It is very sloppy, confused sounding, all the parts in the songs vaguely sound like they do not belong together and are not even trying to perform the same song. The songs do not just sound sloppy, but they are played really sloppy and kind of sound improvised on the spot, but I do not think they were, at all. Having said that, surprisingly to me in a sort of Venusian Death Cell sort of fashion they have a certain charm to them, like they are so bad that they are good and slightly addictive to listen to in a weird way. One of the strongest elements is the almost constant raw, fuzzy, indecipherable caustic yelling vocals, it is almost like they are the main instrument and also the tightest performance on here. It is bad, don’t say I did not warn you it is bad, but it still has a charm to it that eventually turns into monotony as it goes on for too long. I know I have not described the style played on here, not sure what you would call it, like distorted noise/crust style music or something maybe? This release and the two Joe Buck tapes, as well as all Doomsday’s Today Records releases are available through Ralph’s Records (info at end of review) as well as Eternal Darkness Creations at c/o Keith Dempe, P.O. Box 268, Coraopolis, PA. 15108, USA.  ***Just an update on Doomsday here, they have lots of things in the cooker due out soon from bands like Static Of Masses, Zothgorgven, Ov Blood And Mockery etc…***
Finger Of God “Release The Wolves” CD Oh my, this is a huge contrast to the Spoiled Humanic Waste tape I just reviewed, the recording, playing and song writing are on such a higher quality level that there is absolutely no comparison. I have been getting a ton of releases lately it seems that are re-releases of old material, but this is not even a re-release, it is an old release, as it came out it appears nearly a decade and a half ago?!! But I guess it is still available so... I tried as many google searches as I could as I figured if it has been out this long there must be old reviews, chatter, promo, a website or something for the band, but I could not find a single word about them in any searches, which is really amazing and strange to me. But anyway, F.O.G. write songs that range from 7-9+ minutes each, for a totally of about forty minutes of music. It is kind of sparse, winding music that usually centers on what is usually a pretty killer riff that changes up here and there, to keep the interest up, as the long songs do create an enjoyable soundscape that includes somewhat subdued but tasteful drumming that supports the rolling continuous riff well. This album is almost entirely instrumental, there are some exceedingly sparingly used spoken word bits here and there kept obscured and laid back. This is some pretty good metal music, to just sit back, chill and let your mind wander through the bands satisfying slightly doomy audio ambience.

Doug Stapp “Static” CD So I tried, like Finger Of God above, to do online sleuthing to try to find anything I could on this band, as the website listed on the disc is no more apparently. But unlike Finger Of God, I did find a couple hits this time, not a lot, but at least there is something to find and go on. I did already know coming in that Doug Stapp owns a big new & used record store, in Texas, called Ralph’s Records (why not Doug’s Records, not sure but I am sure there is a good reason for it J). Cheers to Doug for keeping the physical formats alive and well. This release is even older than the one above having been released nearly 20 years ago, but like the one above it is apparently still very much available for purchase on line and in store. This is an instrumental guitar shredder record, nothing against it, but I have never been a big fan of guitar shredder albums they are fun to watch play on stage, but on record it does not float my boat so much. Having said that, it is clear that Doug is a killer guitar player! Also, one thing I did like is Doug (and his backing band) do keep a semblance of actual song and song flow, which for me makes the actual guitar shredding more enjoyable and impactful, helping keep it from coming off as just mindless guitar wanking, which gets old fast. So, kudos there to Doug for that, also for the tasteful overall performance on here. He even in one song, every now and then, he pulls out a Nugent “Cat Scratch Fever” riff, briefly popping in and out which I got a kick out of. The music itself is rather diverse going from just fun silly numbers, to heavy songs that shred it up, to introspective and moody songs. It really shows Doug’s range of skills, both in his playing and song writing. Again, it is not my thing, but if you like diverse music and dig shredding then you are sure to like this quality album. This guy deserves to be better known among shred fans for sure. Inquire at (this Stapp disc and Finger Of God above online (link below) and are available in store for $6 a piece at): Ralph's Records, c/o Doug Stapp, 3322 82nd St., Lubbock, TX. 79423 USA  - Dale       




“The Endless Howling Abyss” CD & Cassette EP

(Craneo Negro Records / Nameless Grave Records)


Draghkar comes out of the Californian death metal scene with a brand new ep. ‘The Endless Howling Abyss’ is played and written in the same vein as the bands previous ep and split ep release. The guitar work is played with tremendous skill and puts on display some excellent writing ability. The guitars are mainly played in the semi fast range, but do slow down to a more heavier middle paced guitar style and tone within a few of the songs. The vocals are gruff and raw death metal growls that fit the bands music perfectly. If you are a fan of Draghkar’s previous couple of releases then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of ‘The Endless Howling Abyss’ as soon as possible.  - Patrick       




“7th” CD

(Greyhaze Records)


This is my first encounter with Drowned. The band does a great job of combining old school death metal, heavy metal and even some elements of thrash intertwined within their sound. That is an unusually short, and to the point album title, which features eleven tracks of straight forward heavy metal. The guitarist has a talent for knowing how to write and create some memorable passages. The guitars are mainly played in the mid paced heavy style, with some faster interludes punching in and out throughout the album. The vocals are mainly a mix of raw screams, even with some growls being used in some of the songs, as well as a smattering of clean singing employed throughout the recording. This is a solid release for fans of old school heavy metal that do not mind some early death and thrash elements mixed in on this unique release.  - Patrick       




“Grotesque Offerings” CD

(Hells Headbangers)


Druid Lord are finally back, I am not sure what caused the long delay (five years since the last EP and eight years since the debut album), but was it worth the wait, let’s find out. For those unfamiliar, with this Floridian band, they play death doom and have been doing so since 2010. But the members, especially guitarist Pete Slate & bassist/vocalist Tony Blakk, have been in some excellent bands mostly together for a very long time. We are talking all the way back to the start of the 1990s with bands like Acheron and Equinox. This is a little indulgent geek out moment, for me, but Pete Slate was the main guitarist for one of my all-fucking-time favourite albums with Acheron’s “Rites Of The Black Mass”, released way back in 1992. I have always liked Acheron, but in my opinion, that was their best release and their sound changed a bit after that, which I now wonder if it was due to the departure of Slate, as I hear some underlying “Rites…” masterful guitar sounds/tones on here. Okay, sorry, now back to the album at hand. It is a record that is a depraved mix of crushing sinister doom as it’s foundation, upon that foundation are building blocks of straight up brutal death metal. There are some extremely well done and tasteful elements, more accents of old school ’80s heavy metal (ala Omen, Witchfinder General, Satan, Lucifer’s Friend etc..) in the guitars, along with some nice fills and soloing that almost seem like they should not belong in this music. But those elements are so seamlessly woven into the into the death doom maelstrom, that it becomes hard to imagine this music without them. As far as the death and doooom influences I hear things like old Celtic Frost, Winter, early Autopsy, early Paradise Lost, Goatlord, Grave, Necrovore all combined in a very brutal and filthy fashion. Yes, it is as cool as those descriptions sound; the atmosphere this creates is extremely moody, haunting and suffocating in a damn good way. The vocals are good extremely decipherable growls, which are half sung / half almost spoken word, they add to the creepy vibe and compliment the cruel gloomy music so nicely. The lyrics and various movie audio clips are interlaced smoothly into the music, serving as a sort of love letter to some of the old great evil and degenerate 1970s exploitation and horror B movies upholding another old metal tradition. If you can not tell, the verdict is yes! This was worth the wait, and yes, it is damn good and you should check it out if you love brutal death/doom with some heavy metal touches. Here is to hoping the wait for the next release will be much shorter!  - Dale