“The Final Damnation” CD

(Nuclear War Now Productions)


The Japanese thrash, heavy metal masters of darkness are back, with their fifth full-length release to date. This disc features eight songs of traditional heavy metal mixed with some aggressive thrash metal. The guitars are played with a lot of skill, are well written, and well performed memorable patterns. The guitarist knows how to write and mix both mid paced sections, with lightning fast guitars, all accented with some nicely played solos. The drummer is extremely tight and can play both chaotic and fast patterns on down to a more middle tempo style. The vocals are done with raw blackened thrashy screams, mixed with more traditional heavy metal screaming vocal style. If you are a fan of Abigail’s musical style, then be sure to buy this new released today, it does not disappoint.  - Patrick 

https://www.facebook.com/ABIGAILBARBATOS-208365735859610/    http://www.nwnprod.com/    




“Nothing Is Safe” CD

(Comatose Music)


Abuse are a brutal death metal band who come out of the Canadian death metal scene. “Nothing Is Safe” is the bands second full length in sixteen years featuring ten gore filled songs. The guitars on here are played with a mix of heavy, mid paced patterns that do speed up to a faster and more crazed guitar style. The vocals are low brutal death growls, and a few screams are mixed into a few of the songs. If you are a fan of no holds barred brutality then definitely pick up Abuse’s new disc once it is released.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/youwillsubmit    http://www.comatosemusic.com/       





““Demos 1991-1992” CD

(I Hate Records)


I really enjoyed the morbid packaging and layout of this disc. Also, the whole inside of the booklet, contains a fairly detailed account from the band leader, on the entire history of the band start to finish. It really gives that personal touch and connection. I liked the story, where their local youth centre put on a local battle of the bands type festival. Where Tim took it upon himself, to invite extreme metal bands from around the area, to sign up and dominate the line up much to the organizers displeasure. Apparently, even Marduk, in full corpse paint made their debut live performance at the event! Now on to the music… I love the raw feeling and atmosphere on the recording of the first demo tape. It is really dark, and evil sounding, it kind of reminds me on the sound on the great demos of Grave. I think some of the influences going on here (on the first demo) are things like early works of Grave, Bathory, Death, Celtic Frost, Possessed, Autopsy etc… I really like this first demo tape, and I am happy to have it in collection, it is a real gem from the early days of the death metal scene. Now, on to the second demo entitled “The Twelfth Hour”, the production still sounds good and has a little touch of darkness to it, but it is a cleaner and more professional. Here they have decided to reach even further, back into their root influences, and they have added more of a mid to late ‘80s German thrash metal attack to the mix. The result is good, and there are some heavy killer riffs on here, but I have to admit despite liking this newer style, I prefer the primitive style and recording, to this newer, more polished demo tape. But, you really can not go wrong, with album length compilation. Which unearths an important piece of the fabled Swedish death metal underground, which many people did not know of or maybe just need a reminder.  - Dale 

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Amenophis/104155    http://www.ihate.se/       




“Dawn Of Ages” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


This band’s name reflects the two driving artistic forces behind this band. You have vocalist Brian Balich, formerly of Penance, currently of the impressive Argus. Vincent Arduini, is a real veteran of the scene, in recent times he was a member of Freedom’s Reign. But he is best known as a founding member of Fates Warning, he was with the band from the start until just after their second album. I get the impression, reading between the lines of the bio, that Butch Balich may have been originally brought in by Victor just to do the vocals. But as two kept collaborating, Balich became an integral part of the song writing and creative process, morphing it into a full time band named after two. Either way, the result of these two forces combining, is impressive and exciting. The musical style I would call a marriage of classic clean doom in the vein of Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus etc… Combine those sounds heavily, with emotionally deep progressive rock, such as you might hear on Queensryche “Operation: Mindcrime” era, Captain Beyond or for a more modern example Fates Warning from the late ‘90s onward (“A Pleasant Shade Of Grey”). The musical tapestry, these two men have woven together is lush, and darkly striking in it’s depth of feeling and atmosphere. Victor is impressive on guitar, with his intricacy, while never sacrificing flow or impact by just showing off his high skill level. You can feel Balich’s influence, on the material is quite evident, his vocals are an intricate part of the fabric gliding in an and out, and all around the instruments with grace and dexterity, completing the music in every way possible. The music builds up the atmosphere, while the vocals crescendo over it all, delivering a satisfying impact every time. That delivery is there, whether it be triumphant, sorrowful or whatever other emotive term you want to use, his vocals just drip with passion and feeling! I have to listen to my Argus album again, I remember him being good, but not this fucking good, maybe it is case of the fantastic material on here that pushed him to new ranges and heights vocally? Balich’s vocal performance, at times, reminds me of the amazing vocal performance by Urban Breed, on Tad Morose’s “A Mended Rhyme” album, which is high praise from me, I assure you. The album closes out, with no less, than three cover songs (Uriah Heep’s “Sunrise”, Beau Brummels “Wolf Of Velvet Fortune” & Black Sabbath’s “After All (The Dead)”). Now, if I had heard the entire hour long album of original material, I would have advised the band do not screw it up, with cover songs. But, it is impressive how well they incorporated their sound, and chose covers, which fit surprisingly well with the rest of the album and comes off like icing on a delicious cake. No, this is not easy listening, by that I mean not immediately accessible, but if you are a fan of the genre’s I mentioned above and open to giving it the requisite attention span needed. Then you will be greatly rewarded, with a hell of an epic emotional, memorable audio journey.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/arduinibalich    http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/      




“In Satan We Trust” CD

(Iron Bonehead Records)


Italy’s Baphomet’s Blood have released their fourth full length record of thrash and speed metal mayhem. Baphomet’s Blood really know how to create, and write, well written and performed speed metal. The guitars are extremely fast, but are done, with a lot interesting patterns and solos mixed into the songs. The drumming as well, is done with a lot of skill and experience, going from fast and crazed drum arrangements, to a more mid paced range. If you are a fan of the early days of speed metal, then you will definitely want to check this release out, as soon as humanly possible.  - Patrick

https://baphometsbloodofficial.bandcamp.com/   http://www.ironbonehead.de/        





“The Enslavement Conquest” CD

(Dark Descent Records)


This is my first time, hearing this Canadian death metal band, but their third album overall. The music starts off, very chaotic and heavy; the guitars are played at extremely fast speeds. The guitarists know how to create and write, some memorable riffs, which range from both extremely fast sections to slow mid paced guitars sections. The drumming is in the same vein, with heavy and fast drumming patterns, that slow to a middle tempo in a few of the songs. The vocals are a mix of death growls and a mix-in of some vicious black metal style screams. If you are a fan of well written, and played, death metal then be sure to pick this new Begrime record today.  - Patrick 

http://begrimeexemious.com/   http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/   




“Termestella Cvltvs” CD

(Satanath Records)


Coming to us out of the Colombian black death metal scene is Bestialized, with their third full-length “Termestella Cvltvs”. The music is very chaotic and violent in nature. The guitars are played at a blistering, extremely fast speeds. The lightning speed of the guitars does let up now and then, slowing to a mid-tempo pace in a few of the tracks. The drums follow in the same vein with blasting drumming, the drummer puts in an extremely well done playing, he knows how to write some fantastic patterns that compliment the songs well. The vocals are raw, blackened screams mixed in among some dark death growls. If you are a fan of chaotic black death metal, then look no further Bestialized, with their fine new album.  - Patrick

http://satanath.com/    http://satanath.bandcamp.com/        




“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

http://www.bloood.de/   http://www.dunkelheit-produktionen.de/        




“Hellfire & Whiskey” CD

(Salt Of The Earth Records)


Buzzard Canyon come out of the gates in style, with the song “Highway Run”, which embodies what they are all about. Which is a brand of hard rocking stoner music they call Camaro Rock. I have to admit this first song is easily the best song on the album. It is a real anthem type tune, which for me is a classic in the making and gets you hooked early. I suspect that they probably open with this song live too, as I would bet it really gets some heads nodding and some arms unfolded. “Hellfire & Whiskey” is more on the stoner rock side, but there is clearly a classic doom metal influence (Sabbath, Trouble etc…) strongly running through this band, alongside the fuzzy southern blues tinged driving guitars. The main vocals are handled by Amber Leigh, her voice really fits the music well, there is no commercial or angelic vocals here, she has that traditional stoner / doom style with a little attitude and touches of raunch mixed in with some cleaner singing. There are also some male lead vocals on a couple tracks, those are decent as well, but I prefer Amber taking the reigns vocally. I am not going to lie, the rest of the material after the opening track, while good, never comes that close to matching that fucking awesome song. But having said that, there are some good moments to be had and it is a pretty enjoyable listen as a whole.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/BuzzardCanyon/    http://www.saltoftheearthrecords.com/        




“Evolution Of Evil” CD

(Mortal Music)


This listen was very interesting, and not what I was expecting, it is more than I was expecting and a pleasant surprise. The entire album, save a song or two is about different serial killers. But the songs are presented in a less conventional style, almost a horror theater feel, to the proceedings. Yet, it is undeniably still a death metal album, but much more than your run of the mill death metal album. It is hard not to think of my all-time fave bands, with this concept, and that would be the legend band Macabre! Who carved out a place in UG metal infamy with their brand of equally creative and theatrical “Murder Metal”. Obviously the connection is strong, with the serial killer theme, running through an album is / was something pioneered by Macabre, as is tailoring each song into a roller coaster ride of mental audio theater with each song reflecting that killers horrors. The biggest difference with Casket Robbery they do not bring a humourous side their creation like Macabre. Having said all of that, this is where the comparisons begin and end, as Casket has a different method and approach to their metal sound and ambient theatrical approach. “Evolution Of Evil” musically evokes a very dark, morbid and foreboding aura, and the songs while keeping a central thread are quite diverse from each other. As I mentioned, I would call the style death metal, but they break the conventions here and seamlessly add dramatic elements with accent voices, instrumental touches, audio serial killer interview samples, and creative song structuring flair. They do this while keeping that brutal death metal edge which holds the entire carnage together down to it’s foundations. They also keep things very catchy and memorable, they invoke the darkness and debauchery of the acts the lyrics speak to, but always keep in mind for the lack of a better term the headbang factor that must make them a very entertaining live band. The main vocals are deep growls, which are very decipherable to the point you will be singing along to certain wonderfully crafted choruses and random lines in your head upon repeated listens. The production reflects the music very well; it is dark and heavy with a gritty edge. I have to be honest; I did not anticipate this album being anywhere near this fucking good going into this review. I do not think I could possibly recommend this enough for fans first and foremost of brutal death metal, who also like bands like Macabre, The Accüsed and even King Diamond this is a must have!  - Dale 

http://casketrobbery.bandcamp.com/    http://www.mortalmusicinc.com      




“Odes To No Hereafter” CD

(Dusktone Records)


I am guessing I am not the only one, who is thrown off by this Swedish one man bands name, but apparently it is an Old English word meaning “death”. That one man goes by the name Astraeus, he handles all instruments and vocals. I can appreciate him not using a fucking drum machine, as he went all out and hired a session musician in the form of Jocke Wallgren, the drummer in Amon Amarth. I guess I would have to label the music on here, as mid 90s melodic and symphonic black death metal. There is a lot going on here, there are slight hints of influence from other exotic genres like middle eastern tidbits, at times it even seems to venture into progressive territory. Despite the keyboards being a little higher in the mix, than I would like, the main thing you will probably notice is how everything is written and performed at high speed, with only occasional brief somewhat slowed down sections. That speed goes through everything from the blitzkrieg drumming, to the hyper speed tremolo picked guitars and even a smattering of guitar solos / fills, also performed at a frenzied pace. As good as this is, and it is good, and well done. I can’t help but think by slowing down a bit more at times, and letting things breathe, leaving room for all the instruments would take the songs to another level. But this is the bands debut and it is a strong debut at that, it is impressive how Astraeus manages to keep things as heavy and dark as he does, when considering the extremely high level of melodicism on display, which fights with and threatens to lighten up those elements. An impressive release, considering it is the bands first and only release, not even a prior demos or an ep, they come out of the gate very strong and I look forward to hearing how Astraeus progresses from here on out.  - Dale 

http://www.cwealm.com/    http://www.dusktone.eu/        




“Wither” CD

(Chaos Records)


Sweden’s Decomposed are back with their third cd “Wither”. This is my first encounter with Decomposed, so I can not say, if this is different from their previous releases. This is a very good sounding band; there is not a whole lot of the early Swedish death metal sound in the music, but it is well written and performed. The guitars are played with a little variety, going from a heavy slow pace to a mid paced style in some of the songs, but the guitarist is not afraid to go for faster chaotic sections at times. Whether the guitarist is playing extremely fast, or at a more controlled middle pace, it displays a level of experience and talent. The vocals are heavy death metal growls that really fit this bands music perfectly. This is a great release, filled with heavy mid tempo death metal, with some faster guitars and drum sections mixed into the songs.  - Patrick 

https://soundcloud.com/Decomposed-swe   https://www.facebook.com/chaosrecords       




“Time Isn’t Healing” CD

(Ferrrum Records)


The Ukranian Defiant play what is commonly known these days as power metal. Back in my earlier days, power metal was a bit of different animal, the base of old power metal and heavy metal is still there, but these days power metal is commonly applied to very melodic heavy metal bands which use liberal amounts of keyboards. Within those parameters, Defiant plays this style and they play it well, the talent is there and the song writing is pretty impressive. I enjoy Defiant the most, when they put the synth slightly more in background (I wish they did more of this), letting the guitars gallop and showcase themselves with some good chugging heaviness. They keep the energy high and the flow silky, everything blends together skillfully with some interesting structuring on display, while never forgetting to keep things very melodic. “Time Isn’t Healing” is the bands first attempt, to translate their lyrics, and conversely their vocals into English. They seem to have changed singers in the process, replacing the previous lady who handled the duties, with a new male counterpart. Considering they apparently do not really speak much English, it must have been quite a challenge to make this move to reach more people. Due to that transition, I try to give them a break in this area, the vocalist you can tell has tried very hard to translate this performance in this more universal language. It can be a tad clunky at times, his accent bleeds through pretty strong (this could make it an acquired taste for some), but generally it is very well done and impressive under the circumstances. The only thing is, with this kind of music you kind of need a singer with a lot of range, and variation in his voice, vocalist Stanislav does not posses that sort of range but he does what he can and he has the lower end of register well covered and varies things decently within his limited range. But as I said on the musical side, and the song writing side of things, Defiant is nearing world class within this newer power metal movement. I think fans of newer melodic synth heavy / power metal will really dig this album.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/DefiantBand/    http://www.ferrrum.com/       




“Into The Nebula” CD

(Metalism Records)


Distant Sun comes out of Russia presenting their sophomore album for perusal. The band play power metal, with touches of thrash influence flittering in and out, here and there. They are clearly skilled musicians, capable of creating some good riffs and nuanced emotive and introspective guitar parts, as well as some solid lead guitar and fill work. Within this framework, you will find that melodies abound, which are often of the bright, bouncy and happy variety. I must admit I am not always the biggest fan of what they consider the new power metal sound (which for me is veering off what old goats like me considered power metal back in the day), but I find newer power metal is at it’s least desirable to this listener when the melodies are on the happy and lighter side. Though I will admit at other times, I am saved, as now and then they mix in heavier thrash elements that remind me of Annihilator or Iced Earth. An example of this is in the middle section of probably my most liked track on the album, entitled “Andromeda”, where it really picks up the song and gives it some guts and much needed sandpaper. It is during these moments, and sections, Distant Sun are at their best, unfortunately those cool thrash moments are too few for me. I would say some of the more clear influences I can hear are from bands like Blind Guardian, Angra, Gamma Ray, and Running Wild during their “Victory” period. The vocalist, kind of sounds like a mix between middle-era (Load / Re-Load) James Hetfield, and Dave Mustaine, mixed together, which at times works and other times just did not work for me. The pronunciation of the vocalist, much like the overall musical compositions themselves, seems over thought, too forced and lacking a certain needed flow. It is a mixed bag for me, some stuff is brilliant, while other elements I would be okay with deleting from their sound altogether and going back to the drawing board haha. Despite that, I could see a fair number of newer power metal style fans, who also like a little thrash getting into this more than I did.  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/distantsunband    http://metalism.net/