“Earthmission” Cassette EP

(NoVisible Scars Records)


Another beautiful looking tape from NoVisible Scars, a cool looking dark green see-thru cassette and some nice epic cover artwork. Earthmission is a two song ep, which was recorded in 2007, it covers the bands entire short lived existence. Earthlord features members Hour Of 13, Upwards Of The End Of Time, Vestal Claret and Legend, as well as ex-members of Nightbitch, Mercenary etc…The two tracks on here are “Gods Of Antiquity” and “He Who Is Of The Water”. I would describe the pleasing sounds on here as a 70s style classic Doom / heavy metal band mixed with some newer stuff. Think of bands like Captain Beyond, Pentagram, Sir Lord Baltimore, Manilla Road mixed with newer style bands like Monster Magnet, Spirit Caravan, Solitude Aeturnus, The Obsessed. Forgive the long list of comparisons but both songs on here, though somewhat similar, are different sounding enough that they feel like they are from two different eras of time, the first song has the newer style / influence by my ear and the second song is the more throwback song. I like the second song with the older influence a little better, but both songs / styles sound awesome. They were a very short lived band, it is a shame they did not live a longer life as I am convinced if they continued to find their sound it would have turned into something pretty special and memorable. If you do not get a chance to get the cassette, which is $4 USD, you can get an mp3 copy of this release for $2 USD.  - Dale   




“Son Of The Morning” CD

(Paragon Records)


I will be honest I was never really much of a fan of symphonic black metla, in fact often times I hated that whole sound of the middle to late 90s that became all the rage. That mantle seems to be what Elderblood has picked up and are running with. I must say some of the rhythms and melodies on here are probably a little more upbeat and happier sounding than some of those bands, though there is an aggressive, mean edge that rears it’s head at times, though not nearly often enough for my liking. The synth is almost deafening, it is not used as an accent, it is an in your face main instrument that at times by my ear drowns out the tradition instruments to poor effect. I am trying to find something I like on here honestly, the vocals are a mix of death growls and black metal screams, they are pretty good. Besides that the upbeat nature of the bulk the of the music and the wet blanket that is the synth is thrown over top smothers the life out of things for me. There are a few sections here and there where the synth mercifully takes a back seat and those were the only sections I could get any enjoyment out of. Yeah this is just not for me, I think you have to be a pretty big devotee of sympho black metal to really like this. As a side note I will say the packaging provided from the label is nice, they do not skimp as you get a nice thick, good looking booklet. This day and age of digital everything that is getting to be a rare thing.  - Dale   




The Living Magisterium” MCD

(Deepsend Records)


Emblazoned may be a new band upon the scene but the members have been around in other bands for quite sometime. You have an ex-Jungle Rot member and current members of Decrepit Birth. The band plays a fierce and brutal mix of modern death metal mixed with early nineties death guitars. The guitars go from being played with relentless speed and aggression in the riffs/solo's to heavier more mid to slower paced guitar before picking up the pace once again. The drumming is right on the same pattern with fast, yet well played and written drum patterns that go from violent blasting beats to heavier mid-paced beats. The vocalist does a great job of mixing in deep death growls with some shrieks/screams. Emblazoned are definitely one of Deepsend Rec best releases to date and hopefully the band will release a full-length soon!! All fans of brutal d.m should check this as soon as possible.  - Patrick     




“Annihilation 2007 + Live” Compilation CD

(Old Temple Records)


Another Polish band courtesy of Godz Ov War. As you can tell from the title above, this is Embrional’s 2007 demo, plus tacked on are no less than eight live tracks, from a gig recorded in 2013. The demo tracks are solid, but rather average sounding death metal, they are pretty thin on the production end. The drums do not sound good, the guitars sound weak and each instrument and vocal sounds kind of separated and non-cohesive. So some of it might just be a sub-par mixing job. A good going over by a talented mixer and higher end mastering, might have lessened some of those problems. The music as mentioned is pretty good, nothing stand out or overly interesting, but nonetheless competent and moderately pleasing death metal, with straight ahead aggression and brutality. The live tracks do not have perfect sound, as you might expect, but they are actually a pretty large step up from the production and sound of the demo. The live material shows a band that has done a lot of maturing and honing of their skills. Their death metal sounds are still brutal, crushing and relentless when they want them to be. But as the band matured, it seems they have learned how to milk quality from their songs a lot better. They also clearly have grown as song writers, as everything across the board is at a higher level and they go places, the 2007 version of themselves probably never would have been able to comprehend or produce. I would recommend this more for the live tracks. But just being honest, I would probably say pick up the bands full length, from a couple years back, if you want to really get a quality representation of the band. On the other hand, if you are already a fan of the band, this is a nice piece of the Embrional cannon, that I am sure you would want to add to your collection, especially if you are into live recordings and collecting your favourite bands demo material.  - Dale      





“Ruined Landscape” CD

(Terrasound Records)


I have mixed feelings on this one. The Polish band Empatic play a base of melodic Swedish style death metal. Which at times, is really good and well done; but the other element in their sound metalcore, a style I am not overly fond of, to say the least. Even with melodic death metal, I am a fan, but I am a pretty picky fan when it comes that particular genre. Empatic do the Swede dm sound some justice, at times, then other times the quality drops off and they become quite repetitive sounding. When the metalcore type elements rear their head, it really, in my view, let’s everything down and cheapens what they seem to be trying to achieve. I will give them points, for trying the odd unconventional, with quirkly little change ups or accents, but those are usually short lived and not particularly poignant to the songs overall context. The menacing, steam rolling growled vocals, may be my favourite part of this record and the one area, that seems to keep up the quality consistently through the record. I don’t know, there are some good things going on here, but they are all too fleeting and inconsistent, for me to really put my recommendation on this one. Once again thank you to Godz Ov War, for supporting Canadian Assault, by sending all of these albums in, also for doing a great job promoting their great countries quality metal scene to the fullest!  - Dale    




“Magic Chaos Psychedelia” CD

(Pulverized Records)


We are presented with some Greek black / death metal. I review so many albums, for so many years, I am at a bit of a loss on whether or not I have crossed paths with this band before? That is partly due to the length between full-length albums, but the name vaguely rings a bell. Enshadowed released two albums in the early 2000’s, and then a series of singles and things, but this album is actually one full decade since their last full record. So excuse me if it has been a minute haha. Magic Chaos Psychedelia is a pretty intense affair, with an emphasis upon aggressive hate, produced through atmospheric sounds and destructive speed within the musical content. I would say their sound is a cross between old Morbid Angel style death metal and Scandinavian black metal (think Immortal, Marduk etc…). The performances and playing on here are tight and top notch, an example of this would be the drumming, very tight and precise. The actual music itself is nothing super special, but it is good, some nice variation in the speed and brief moody bits, the riffing will get your head nodding as the darkness envelopes you. There is actually some fairly imaginative stuff going on with the guitar patterns and accents now and then. The vocals are a mix of shadowy growls and rasping bm hiss, both are mixed together well and fit the music like a spiked glove on a fist. I have to say I really enjoyed this record; hopefully it is not another ten years until I hear from them again.  - Dale   




“Through Realms Unseen” CD

(Pulverized Records)


Entrapment come out of the Netherland’s death metal scene with their newest release “Through Unseen Realms”. This album features eleven songs of solid, heavy death metal with some very creative and well performed passages. The guitars are played with both heavy mid paced guitar riffs and more straight forward fast patterns. The guitarist does know how to write, and perform well written guitar patterns, and even mixes in some well done solos. The drums are done with a lot of class, and well done patterns going on an all out assault on the drum kit, to a more controlled mid paced drum style. This is my first time hearing Entrapment’s music, but this new release mixes solid, heavy death metal with some melodic dm passages and even some thrash elements in the guitars.  - Patrick          




“Sacrosanct” CD

(Lavadome Productions)


Coming out of Belgium’s death metal scene is Epoch, with the cd version of “Sacrosanct”, which was originally only a digital release back in 2015. The music is heavy death metal, with elements of black metal and various other genre’s mixed in, to create a very heavy and unique sound and style. The guitars are nicely performed and well written; mixing in raging fast speeds, but the guitarist can also play mid paced sections with similar skill. The music is a nice mix of fast melodic parts and moving at times into more diverse tones and patterns. The vocals are brutal death metal growls with some gruff vocals mixed into a few of the songs. To sum it up, Epoch create and execute an enjoyable style of death metal with some other varied minor influences, so if you are a fan of brutal yet unique death metal then be sure to check this out today.  - Patrick  




“Prophetic” CD

(Deepsend Records)


Prophetic starts off, with a nice mellow intro, that suddenly breaks into a blast beating fury of hyper-speed brutal death metal. Eternal Rest do slow things up, change and completely go in a different direction at times, throwing in emotional / moody material to add / create a good dynamic to their material. But they always return to the speed, ferocity and barbarism before long. I do not think people should let themselves get hit over the head too hard with ET’s extremity, in which case they may overlook some of the talented, stylish, even now and then adventurous guitar work at play on this album. In fact, I would say Eternal Rest display a higher level of song writing and arranging skills on this album than the majority of their contemporaries in the death metal genre.  - Dale 





“Legenda Neskrotnych Zivlov” CD

(Hexencave Productions)


There has been a bunch of bands named Evil over the years. I think, I sometimes get this Evil, mixed up with the black metal one from Brazil. The Brazil one, is a much older band than this Slovokian Evil, even though this Evil have been around for ten years in their own right. Despite this band being in existence for a decade, this is their debut album. So you can not accuse this band of not paying their dues, before releasing an album, as they have released around 15 demos and split vinyl’s! This album is composed of long epic songs that alternate moods, speeds, from slow somber sections to mid pace coldness and on up to a hateful raging speed velocity. I would, have to say this album is well constructed and thought out, a lot of care has gone into this record and it shows. Legenda… is a fascinating, interesting journey, I like that they take their time and are not afraid to make long, seven or eight minute songs, yet there is no mindless droning for minutes on end as many bands do. I think this will be an album for those reading this, which will take many listens to absorb everything and filter it through your emotions and thoughts. I really like the vocals as well, they are somewhat obscure sounding and not the focal point, but those blackened whisper rasps add an extra layer to the musical tapestry. I think black metal fans, that like old black metal, but also like atmospheric black music that does not need a bunch of keyboards to take the easy way out, will find an awful lot to like about this cold piece bm ambience and furious hate.  - Dale   




“War In Heaven” CD

(Arachnophobia Records)


This is some evil sounding blackened thrashing death metal. Once again, like labelmates Odraza, this Polish band belies their debut album status, as band is populated war hardened veterans of bands like Dead Infection, Vader, Pyorrhea, Hermh and many more. I was surprised reading their included bio, apparently the original recording for this session happened in 2005! Then over the years, spanning several studios until it was finally completed at last. It is impressive, considering that process, that the album is as cohesive sounding and naturally flows as well as it does. Just to give you an idea, of where this band is coming from influentially, as well as in spirit, they have chosen two legend bands and songs to cover on this album, those being Onslaught with “Power From Hell” and “Die Hard” from the immortal Venom. Outside of those two covers, we get eight songs of gloomy thrash tinged death metal, which will chill you to the bone with the dank, cold atmosphere, as well as provide you a catalyst to drink along to the a back drop of war, both on the earthy plane with machine guns, tanks and aircraft, as well as clashes between demons and spirits rising and battling out of the fiery depths. The music always has a brooding atmospheric touch to it, it is a central focus creating that gloomy landscape, but it is also just stripped down metal that continues creeping across the night like a rolling fog, slowly swallowing up everything it touches. The vocals are very obscure, blending into the music with growls and shadowy rasps that serve to heighten the mood. Less is more with this band, but I do find their brand of slow to mid paced metal quite infectious and intoxicating. Nothing mind blowing, but I think old school fiends, who also like modern touches to their metal, will get into this one.  - Dale   




“Canto III” CD

(Kaotoxin Records)


I've seen the Eye of Solitude, constantly being tagged and described as a death doom band. Now, while that element is in there to an extent, that is not exactly what I got when I hit play. Yes, there is a death doom sort of dirge through large parts of the album, but it also has a slight industrial flavour at time and at other times there is also actually quite a bit of super fast, black metal blasting speed at the drop of a hat which I kind of found jarring at times and not really in a good way. Also the heavy use of keyboards to create a lot of their atmosphere, to an old school doom fan like me, especially used this heavily, felt kind of plastic, unemotional and listless. I am not too into their goth-y feeling piano interludes either. I like the drawn out growling from the vocalist, they highlight the slow pace in those sections really well. Honestly, if these guys would drop the synth, the blasting black metal bits and just focus on their core strength, which is death/doom with traditional instruments they would be so much more enjoyable to me and lot less cluttered and clunky.  - Dale     




“Cataclysmic Desolation” CD

(Comatose Music)


Minnesota’s Face Of Oblivion are back with their second full length “Cataclysmic Desolation”. They play a brutal death metal style that has a blending of middle ‘90s sound and some elements of more recent technical death metal. The drums are played with a lot of skill that goes from crazed blast beats mixed with some really well constructed drum patterns. The vocalist is Jesse Watson (singer of Incinerate) does a great job with his deep, brutal growls, and in a few songs, there is even a few lines of raw screams mixed with the death metal growls. If you enjoy brutal death metal, with touches of technical death, be certain to pick up a copy of Face of Oblivion’s new cd today.  - Patrick        





The Sovereign” CD

(Deepsend Records)


Deepsend Records has really been making a name for themselves the last few years releasing some impressive brutal death metal bands from around the world. Denmark's Ferocity is their latest release and what a band! Brutal, heavy and intense are just some of the words one could use when describing this band. The musicians of Ferocity do a great job of mixing in early to mid nineties New York style brutal slam death metal {Internal Bleeding, Pyrexia} with the heavy guitars and pounding drums. The band is not all inspired by the U.S bands as their is some old-school Swedish death metal in some of their sound with the raw chaotic guitars, fast drumming and some slower, heavier mid-paced sections that really add a little originality to the bands brutal sound. Ferocity seem to draw from various scenes and mix them together nicely and when combined with their own ability to write and perform their instruments have created some vicious and brutal   death metal that will please the fans of mid nineties but should also appeal to the fans modern brutality as well.  - Patrick   




“Maledictum” CD

(World Terror Committee Productions)


As you all know some the best black metal in the history of scene has originated out of Sweden. Flagaellant has set forth to continue that proud tradition and do so very well with this album. Maledictum is a dark piece of art that will take you back and revel in the great time of the second wave of black metal in the early 90s. Just think of the early days of Marduk, Dark Funeral, Darkthrone and you will start to get a mental picture of their diabolic sound. Flagellant keep in the traditional style, yet also keep more than enough variation and dynamic in the individual songs / guitar arrangements to keep your attention high. The vocals are not quite the usual old school black metal rasp however. Here they have that dark edge, but are more yelled ala a more evil version of Tom Warrior from the early Celtic days, plus a little thrash King Fowley of Deceased sound mixed along with some Quorthon “Blood, Fire, Death” era vocals, something along those lines. The production on this record has a tad more bottom end than most bm bands in this style, it seems to really work for Flagellant. If you love the old style Scandinavian black metal and are like me, you just can never get enough of this stuff when it is quality, then you will want to get this one.  - Dale  




“9” CD

(Schwarzdorn Productions)


This is Fortid’s fourth album to date; the band is coming out of the Norwegian pagan metal scene. Fortid plays a nice blending of pagan metal with some progressive and folkish influences in a smooth fashion. The guitars are played at various speeds throughout each song, going from fast extreme chords, to a more controlled and melodic parts, before going full speed again. The vocals are black metal screams mixed with some death metal growls. This is a great band, that displays their talent to write by writing complex music, which ranges from aggressive metal and then going in another direction with melodic music intertwined seamlessly. If you are a fan of this band or these genres I would definitely recommend you give this album a listen today.  - Patrick  




“Freedoms Reign” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)


Well something immediately got my attention that Freedoms Reign is fronted on guitar and vocals by Victor Andruini who was one of the founding members of Misfit, who later on in 1984 changed their name to Fates Warning! I am definitely a Fates Warning fan. Now granted Mr. Andruini was only with Fates Warning once the band changed names for about a year, but that was long enough for him to be a part of their debut album “Night On Brocken” and follow up “The Spectre Within”. Okay, okay enough of my love for Fates. Damn, this fellow clearly has kept the candle burning all of these years even though it appears he has not been doing a whole lot band wise over these many years. Freedoms Reign is a more straight ahead heavy metal band than his old outfit ever was. Their sound is kind of like a sped up Sabbath sound mixed with a crunchier modern production and some ‘80s heavy metal touches and style in there. It is pretty hard hitting and energetic material, the vocals though are straight out of the ‘80s with a power metal aesthetic and Victor can belt it out pretty competently. The guitar work on here is pretty nice, a lot of pounding riffage with undercurrents of guitar fill noodling done in a classy way. I am not trying to sell this off as utterly mindblowing but this is a good album for Sab fans and heavy metal presented in a updated way. Not bad at all.  - Dale  




“Sex” CD

(Minotauro Records)


I am honoured to receive albums from the legendary Minotauro Records. Minotauro is a legend label for me, simply based on the fact, that they released records by the mighty Paul Chain and also Death SS! The label has been around since the early 1980s! I have a ton of respect for that. This album is actually a re-release of the 1992 album from the The Fury, but with a whole lot of extra material. The original eleven tracks are here, plus bonus tracks like the1989 “Reflections Of A Wasted Youth” demo tape and three “Live 90 Tracks”. The Fury play some really cool old school heavy metal, that at times sounds like it could have been released a decade earlier in 1982, at time when the retro thing was let’s say a very un-cool thing to do. They do have a touch of late ‘80s thrash in their sound. So I guess I should not try to pigeonhole them back to those early metal days that completely. But they do root a lot of their sound in early 80s power metal and have appropriately clean spoke/sung vocals that take me back to those times. Which is something that may turn off some newer extreme metal fans, but I think it is fantastic. Some of the songs on here are really punchy and rocking, getting my head nodding and my fists jack hammering, along with the drums and dirty catching riffs. You can sing along with the lyrics too and just have a good time in the old tradition. They even bust out a little blues tinged ditty, with the second to closer track “Remembrances Pt. 3”, which is pretty good in my books. Then the band breaks out some thrash sounding material to end the album. Just a fantastic album all around. Thank you Minotauro for digging up this gem and bringing it to my attention. For fans of ‘80s power metal and heavy metal that think they got it all and heard it all, well, you missed one, pick this up straight away, you will not be disappointed.  - Dale  




Infernal Minions” CD

(Hells Headbangers Records)


Gravewurm return with their ninth release of old school, primitive black metal that only they can produce. We are presented with raw, thin guitar chords that range from harsh and fast to a more controlled and heavier sound. The drums are played with a lot of thought and technique for this style of metal and are extremely well done. The vocals are harsh, talking type of vocal patterns with some harsher screams mixed in. Gravewurm has created and released one of 2013’s best old school black metal releases to date. If you are a long time fan of the band you know what to expect but if you are new to the band and you enjoy fierce, yet quality old school black black metal you won't hear a better band then Gravewurm.  - Patrick    




“Black Wisdom” CD

(Aesthetics Of Devastation)


Grey Heaven Fall are a Russian band, who possess a high level of musicianship, and maybe one of the cleanest production jobs I have ever heard from a Russian band. If anything, it might be a tad too clean and clinical, on the production end of things. But that is a minor preference on my part, which I am sure, some would disagree with. The band plays a very brooding, atmospheric kind of style, yet pretty technical speedy dark death metal. I realize those two descriptions sound like oxymoron, but it is true, just listen to this album to find out for yourself. A good example of this, would be the song “Spirit Of Oppression”, which is an impressive epic length song that clocks in at just under 12 minutes. The flow and imagination, of the arrangements and compositions, are smooth and superb. It is impressive, and very welcome, that they have managed to create so much atmosphere, largely with traditional instrumentation. No, the album is not awash in a syrupy soup of synth, and samples to create false, cutting corners atmosphere, like so many bands attempting a similar sound. I also enjoyed the deep, emotive growling of the vocalist, who mirrors the music as best he can and mostly achieves those aims. Mmmm there are some tasty guitar solos now and again as well, look no further than the soulful beauty, in the middle of the track “That Nail In A Heart” for proof. I guess the pestering I received, to get this review done already, was worth the it after all. I guess I would be excited to spread the word on this band too if I was part of Aesthetics Of Devastation Records. This is one you should absolutely not missed and deserves your attention.  - Dale       





“Casualty Of The Psychic Wars” CD

(Eternal Death Records)


Grue are a fairly young USBM band, with only a split demo cassette under their belt, before unleashing this full length effort. They are definitely, not your run of the mill black metal band, while staying evil and extreme; they also manage to create a pretty brooding and atmospheric affair. It is a melting pot of hard bm elements, fast dark thrashy sounding riffing and harsh yelled rasps, mixed with slow to mid-paced atmospheric structuring. Which I could really see pleasing, the blitzkrieg early 90s bm fans and the atmospheric, gloomy black metal followers. The two varied aesthetics, are married here in a well thought out, skillful fashion. The bio, which describes this two man band, as a melding of Immortal’s “At The Heart Of Winter” with the atmosphere of Ukranian black metal bands, like Astrofaes and Drudkh. I think that backs up my description of their music, but that might clarify and hone their sound further in the minds of you reading this, that are fans of the above style. I would have to say; this young band immediately distinguishes themselves, as one of the more quality entries into the US black metal scene. Give this a try you will not be disappointed.  - Dale   




Sempiternal Deathgrind” CD

(FDA Rekotz Records)


Spain's Gruesome Stuff Relish return with their third release of sick, gore death grinding metal for the underground maniacs. The band mixes in old-school sounding Entombed {Left Hand Path} and Dismember {Like An Ever Flowing Stream} raw, fast guitars and chaotic drums with some Carcass influence. The band members are not all stuck in the past just rehashing out the same old music of the gods of the past as there are some really good, heavy guitars and drum patterns as well as vocals which use some vocal effects in parts for a cool and original effect. If you enjoy brutal, sickening death metal with some grind influences, then Gruesome Stuff Relish is a band worth checking out. - Patrick      





“El Armagedon Continua” CD

(I Hate Records)


Every time, you wonder if I Hate Records, is turning into strictly a doom metal label. They smack you upside your head, with a record like “El Armagedon Continua”! Guerra Total, uphold the ancient classic sounding black, death, thrash metal much of the rest of the world, have come to expect and worship from the South American scene. Here, we are presented with rapid, evil thrashing black speed metal of the highest order. It may be, a twist that you do not often hear that often from that region, is that sound is mixed with old school heavy metal in the NWOBHM tradition. The riffing on here is monstrous, it is so heavy, fast and catchy as all hell, yet it still sounds cold ‘n evil. This is so filthy, that it would make the most ardent fan of the early works, from Razor or Kreator punch the air, headbang and play violent air guitar. The vocals are that gruff thrashed up rasping black metal sound, which I love from the old days, in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The lyrics being in their native language, only serves to make the vocals, sound even more menacing and malevolent. There are some guitar leads, thrown around now and then, that will make your head swim. I am not sure the level of musicianship from South America is often up to this high level, not in my experience anyway. Wow, this stuff is amazing!! Do you love stuff like Venom, Bathory, Destruction or Sabbat? You will like this too. It is pure metal gold, seeping out of my headphones. Honestly, I can not even say that much more about it, except buy it and prepare for a wild ride!  - Dale   




“Kingdom Of The Hammer King” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)


Hammer King are a German band, and they play majestic bombastic power metal, in the tradition of the of old days. There is some great catchy riffing on here, sweeping passages and melodramatic choruses. It is all good, but the emotive nuanced guitar playing and soaring silky vocals really stand out for me. The Hammer King are heavily influenced by Manowar, with other more mild influences sprinkled in remind of bands like Iron Maiden, Blind Guardian, Hammerfall, Bruce Dickinson solo stuff (“Accident Of Birth”) etc… You know I had the Manowar comparison in my head upon first listen, it is an obvious one and a healthy one, but I did not realize until a few listens later, that the vocalist from this band, is also the vocalist of ex-Manowar members solo band Ross The Boss. Anyway, this is a damn good power metal album, a fairly unoriginal and at times slightly predictable listen, yet it through all of that it is good. Now, I should warn you, the theme runs through the entirety of the album. You think it is a little much to have the band name repeated in the album title? That is only the tip of the iceberg, put it this way, if you made a drinking game for every time on this record they said the words “Hammer King”, you would be drunk by the 4th song. If you drank for every time you, separately or together, heard the words “Hammer” and “King”, it would then take about 1 ½ songs and you can pick any two songs on the album! Haha! Oh man, do they over do it! That may bug some people. But if you don’t mind not having the most own sounding band, and can not enough killer power metal in your collection, then you will need to get this record immediately.  - Dale  




“King Is Rising” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)


The German power metal kings of saying the word king more than any other band, in that they work it into their name, album title and pretty much all of their songs! Haha. No, they do not spare the cheese quotient, in the lyrics and concept. These guys are not resting on their laurels; it seems like only a couple months ago, I was reviewing their debut album “Kingdom Of The Hammer King”. This record pretty much picks up right where the last one left off, which is energetic, uptempo melodic music that is a little on the lighter more airy side heavy metal, but still possessing the earmarks of the old traditions. I still hear influences like Manowar, Blind Guardian, Hammerfall, Grave Digger etc… The vocals are very good, as you need for this style; the vocalist has some good range and control over his pipes. Honestly, like I said just check out my last review, as this is really is totally a continuation of their last album (though now with more flute J), so if you liked that one you will not be disappointed in this follow up record. If you have never heard them, I think I have given a decent idea of what to expect. But in my view, they do everything very well, it is enjoyable for me, but in the end it is pretty predictable stuff and not too essential to more discerning or picky fans of this style.  - Dale      




Order Of The Enslaved” CD

(Blast Head Records)


Coming out of the Canadian death metal scene, is Hate Division, playing some great brutal death death metal. On display are some ultra fast guitars, which are all over the place, with some killer solos and riffs. The drums are fast as hell blast beats with some slower mid-paced drumming. The vocalist does a good job with some excellent death growls. If you are a fan of brutal death metal then this is a band you should check out soon.  - Patrick       





Daemonarchrist - Daemon Est Devs Innersvs” CD

(Paragon Records)


Wow Paragon strikes again with another great band from Italy. Heretical {formerly Immolator} play a very interesting style, of brutal black metal, with some atmospheric black metal mixed in some of the songs. The guitars are fast and extremely well played, with some slower parts mixed in, so it's not all speed riffs. The drumming is done with a lot of fast blasting, but they do slow it down, to a mid-pace on some tracks. The vocalist does a good job of black metal screams, mixed with some clean vocals and even some chanting on one song. Heretical are one of the best black metal bands I've heard in awhile.  - Patrick     




“Askel Lahempana Saatanaa” CD

(World Terror Committee Productions)


I am wondering if Satan himself is looking out for me, he found a way to get the new Horna album in my hands and by an interesting route too. WTC Productions as near as I can tell are run by an Absurd member and are based out of Germany, yet this package of WTC releases was sent to me from Portugal? I am not one to look a gift demon in the mouth. It is no secret I worship this band, as can be evidenced not only by the many glowing reviews I have given the band over the years, but also by the fact I interviewed them twice (once in 1998 & again in 2006) for Canadian Assault. Simply put Horna belong to the elite of the second wave of black metal from the early 90s. Horna have been creating cryptic, freezing evil black metal hate consistently year after year, for nearly two decades now!! For me they are the crown jewel of the Finnish black metal scene along with old Impaled Nazerene and early Beherit. Askel Lahempana Saatanaa continues their tradition of harsh black metal holocaust, it changes slightly from album to album, but at the core it is always the same sound, a rare band that has been around for a long time and always stayed true to their roots. I have a ton of respect for that, nearly everyone else falters, crumbles and stumbles, but Horna stands triumphant. I would not call this album one of Horna’s best, but it is still very good and very much quality Horna as usual.  - Dale     




“Hengen Tulet” CD

(W.T.C. Productions)


The mighty Horna return with their ninth album to date entitled “Hengen Tulet”. Horna really know how to create and execute their signature style of chaoti and fast black metal darkness. The guitars are played with fast crazed cold riffs, but do know when to slow down the pace to a more controlled middle pace range. The drumming is done, with a lot of great drum patterns, going from heavy medium speed beats, to a more vicious blast beat attack. The vocals are raw black metal screams and shrieks, with some whispering voices put in a few of the songs. If you are a long time fan of Horna’s music, then don’t let this pass you by, and if you are new to the band, and enjoy violent raw black metal then get this masterpiece today!  - Patrick      




Turbulence From The Deep” CD

(Deepsend Records)


The Malaysian death metal war horde returns for their fourth attack. It is heavy, mid paced guitar riffs with a thick bass crush. The drumming is excellent and equally as heavy with some mid-paced and faster aggressive parts. The vocals are deep death growls and fit perfectly well with Humiliation's style of crushing straight forward death metal. Fans of early to mid-nineties death metal will want to pick this brutal slab of death as soon as possible.  - Patrick     




“Angst” CD

(Deepsend Records)


Spain’s Hybrid waste no time clobbering you over the head with their high energy brutality. There are some clean sung & deep death metal vocal accents, but the mainstay vocals are the hyper, insane yelled variety that some extreme hardcore type bands have. I like them though. The music is going to be a little harder to pin down, but I will try to simplify it a bit, if I can. Okay think of the heavy sounds of something like the old Sludge band Cavity, mix it technical death metal ala Cynic and the spastic oomph grinders Nasum, then add nuanced, emotional break downs that incorporate things from all the spectrum from Jazz bits to ambient to acoustic guitar to a bit of piano or reed music or something and all in between. You see what I mean? I think that is about as much as I can simplify their sound while avoiding pompous poetic waxing. Everything is masterfully pulled off though, there is great musicianship on display and also some talented song arranging. The death metal purist will probably be turned off, but everyone else that appreciates innovation, brutality, speed and adventure in their death metal, if you can limit it to that term, then you need to get this album now.  - Dale     





“Into The Ritual Chamber” Digipak CD

(Greyhaze Records)


Brazil’s Impurity were one of the first black metal bands from this great countries scene. “Into The Ritual Chamber” was originally released in 1996, but if you have the original cd or cassette, do yourself a favour and get this one as well, as Greyhaze and the band have included 7 bonus songs on here. If you are new to Impurity, like myself and you are a fan of the early days of black metal then you definitely need to get on this now. The songs are played with mid to fast paced guitars that are all over the place, in terms of both skill and intensity. The drumming is in top form, going from fast and chaotic patterns, to more controlled middle paced beats. It is no surprise this classic early material has gotten once again.  - Patrick     




“This Will Decay” CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)


We have the newest album, from this Floridian band, which has been around since the mid ‘90s. Inferion play a brutal, yet tuneful brand of black death metal, they never forget the dominating brutality. But also, a large part of their sound is elements of melodic death metal, which as it was taking shape in the middle 1990s, which of course was when the band was born. As far as the melodious side of things goes, think of stuff from the early days of Dark Tranquility, Arch Enemy, Carcass “Heartwork”. But all mixed, with a lot of biting riffs and speed, the Polish band Behemoth comes to mind quite often with this element of their sound. There are moments, of slower brooding music, but it is usually surrounded by high velocity violence, the same could be said about the more melodic elements, which rarely dominate things, and are used as more of a prominent accent, an approach I appreciated. As I am not the biggest melodo dm fan, generally (with some notable exceptions), so the fact that they use it to add dynamic and depth, to the greater aggressive whole, pleases my sensibilities. There is some cool guitar solo / fills, peppered in here and there, the drumming is epic, and the vocals are a classic mixing of black and death growl and rasp. If you can not tell, I quite like this album; my only complaint is it is nearly an hour long, it does tend to drag in the middle, heading towards the finish. That would be my only gripe that, they could have easily shortened tightened things up, cut some material here and there, maybe eight to ten minutes worth, and had a more focused, sharpened album. But honestly, that is a nitpick; otherwise this is an excellent album most black death fans would get into. Check it out.  - Dale     




“Subversions Of The Psyche” CD

(Grind Ethic Records)


Scotland’s Iniquitous Savagery have released their debut cd, filled with a cacophonous brutal metal assault. The guitars are extremely well played and written, with both heavier riffs and some semi-technical faster parts. The drumming is done with a lot of fast, speedy drum patterns, but the drummer does know how to slow it down to a more midpaced range, before going into hyper blasting speeds. The vocalist employs some nice deep death metal growls. If you are a fan of brutal death metal, then you will definitely want to give Iniquitous Savagery a listen today.  - Patrick     




“Among The Dead” CD

(Crime Records)


Iron Fire are back, with their eighth full length to date, featuring twelve songs of power metal mixed with traditional heavy metal. The guitars are written and performed with a lot of skill and maturity, presenting a lot of class and interesting patterns. The guitars range between faster and more controlled mid paced ranges, with some very well composed and great sounding solos mixed into the music. The drumming as well is top notch, with a varied drum style going from a semi-fast drum style and sound, to a more mid tempo style. The vocals are a mix of screams and hollering, to a more well sung, heavier power metal vocal fashion. This album is a really good power / heavy metal band, so if you are a fan of this genre, then be sure to pick up a copy of this album today.  - Patrick   




“Catatonic” CD EP

(Big Bad Wolf Records)


These boys hail out of The Netherlands, offering us up their debut ep, it is called an ep, but all the same it clocks in at 27 minutes which is nearly a Deicide album haha. I guess their local label really believes in the band, to be releasing something by them as their first ever official release of any kind. There are apparently no demos or anything to speak of prior to “Catatonic”. I will give them this, for a band just releasing their debut there is clearly some talent and skill on display here, which kind of belies the bands age. Insurrection play melodic death metal with some thrash underpinnings. The band write some good riffs and melodies, the drumming is spot on, and the vocalist I really enjoyed, he reminds of the some of the great distinct growling vocals of the early to mid 90s. I must admit, there are times listening to this, where I find myself thinking damn that is really good there, and then it fades too soon. I think they probably could use a little more of something to get more yield out of this section or that section. Maybe this speaks to them still having some room to improve in the writing and arranging department and that should hopefully come as they mature as a unit. Because the talent is most certainly there, the quality raw material and ideas are there, it just needs a little refining and tweaking at times by my ear. My only other complaint is I think I would have enjoyed this even more, if the production was not so clean and sanitary, their sound and style would really benefit from a little grimier, slightly obscured, slightly dirtier sound. Having said all of that, this is a good debut, and I am sure like a fine wine, the band is only going to get better with age.  - Dale       




“Rock ‘N Roll Hellpatrol” CD

(Hells Headbangers)


I dig the Vincent Price movie clip intro, following that with we are hit with some raw blasting guitars. If you want to know what Intoxicated are all about lyrically and as a band, it is simply all about fornication, alcohol and Satan! So turn your crosses upside down, swig from a bottle of Jack in between puffs on your cigarette and keep on fucking your bitch in the ass. The music is an amalgamation of straight up ripping metal (at times reminding me of the riffing on Kill ‘Em All melted together with early Motorhead) mixed with raunchy and loose punk rock chaos. It is really just a good time listening to this album, kicking back and just have fun headbanging. So check it out if that sort of thing does it for you.  - Dale     




“Another Scheme Of Life” CD

(OHM Resistance)


Invertia are a two man band out of the New England metal scene. The music is a blend of metal riffs and industrial music .The guitars are heavy, with some mid paced riffs in their own style. I hear a little black metal influence, but mostly death and industrial as the mainstay. The guitars are fast with some breaks in there at times. The vocalist has some raspy screams, with some deeper death growls, personally I wouldn't listen to this all that much, but there are some good songs and great riffs to be found. If you’re a fan of death metal, mixed with industrial, you should check this one out.  - Patrick    





“Self Titled” CD

(Mortal Music Records)


Due to line up changes and obvious stretches of inactivity, this is actually their first album, to be released in just over ten years! Ion Vein plays really pounding, heavy power metal style music, with some prog elements. For me, a prerequisite for this style is to have a very good singer; I will just say I think Ion Vein chose well with their new vocalist. He is not a siren exactly, but is smooth and clear, has decent range and has that intangible, un-teachable charisma to his vocal style. This band is about song flow and driving energy, which I think is why the progressive sounding elements and technical bits are spread out and used judiciously. As when bands go heavy, in those areas, it inevitably interrupts the flow in song writing and the ability to just rock. Which, as I stated, are clearly important elements for Ion Vein disseminate. The songs rock, but are varied, possessing emotional segues and hot nuanced guitar fills, that really give you something to grab on to when not just nodding in headbang. This is a fantastic record, which I really enjoyed; I would recommend it to fans of things like Queenryche “Operation Mindcrime” or Fates Warning. - Dale     




The Yellowgoat Sessions” CD

(Hells Headbangers Records)


Here we have the debut from Joel Grind who some will know from the band Toxic Holocaust, this is Joe's side band. The Yellowgoat Sessions is pure thrashnroll with a dirty and raw production that will only appeal to the old school maniacs of the scene. Some very chaotic, hyper speed guitars that are thrashy but also blend some punkish riffs into the mix. Joe's vocals are a gruff vocal style but also throw in some screams but to be honest the vocals get lost in the music and hard to hear in some of the tracks. Fans of eighties raw punk/metal, Motorhead etc. might enjoy this. This is definitely nothing new but it is a decent release if you enjoy old school thrash/punk that is raw, dirty and chaotic.  - Patrick     




“Blood Moon Rise” CD

(I Hate Records)


I have been anticipating this release ever since I Hate sent me the bands three song Witness EP from 2010. I must say it feels like it was worth the wait. The band have changed up their sound a tad, they are not quite as heavily doom metal laden as in the past. Now they have more of an ambient, moody, almost psychedelic 70s rock trip going now, but they have not abandoned the doom, there are some sections of this album that will make the Black Sabbath fanatic in you smile like the Cheshire cat. This album definitely takes my mind on a journey, like an introspective out of body experience with the sound flowing through you and around you. Those gorgeous vocals from Jex Thoth herself, are as haunting and hypnotic as ever, maybe even more so than in the past if that is a possible. I am addicted to listening to her voice, just listen to the song “Keep Your Weeds”, you will see what I mean and you will want to just play that song again and again, a great emotional performance on that song. The bio throws out Blue Oyster Cult an influence, since reading that, on subsequent listens I can hear that with BOC’s more obscure (at least in America) moody, doomy rock soul sounds crept into my mind. If you are in the right headspace this album will take places and give you indescribable musical bliss, you just may not want to come back. This American band could end up being an important one for I Hate Records. I know they put a lot into this release and the sound on here, in my opinion, has the potential break on a little higher level than most of the labels great bands. I am hopeful it does just that because I can not think of many record labels that would deserve it more than they do.  - Dale      




“Wings Of Black Holocaust” Split Album

(Bud Metal Records)


I was pleased to get a copy of this release, especially with it being limited, to just 100 copies. Which means it may already be sold out for all I know. But I believe you can buy Kabexnuv’s half of this release digitally (which by the way alone clocks in at over half an hour), Dol Guldur tracks, on the other hand, are exclusive to this disc. To make matters worse, I have heard Dol Guldur’s 20 copies of this release, were seized by the Brazilian postal system and not returned to them. First up, on this split, is Canadian black metallers Kabexnuv, they play in the early 90s Scandinavian bm tradition, just pure stripped down hate. Kabexnuv create a real cryptic, grim and bleak atmosphere, with their music that I like very much. I also really like the harsh bm rapsing vocals, they are classic as fuck and great. The recording is dripping with an extreme low-fi tone, which really suits this kind of music, which in my opinion, benefits from a raw production. I read a blurb somewhere, that some of the music and structuring on this release was purposely done organically (improvised), to create a more natural feel. I think at times it achieves this, at other times it really shows through, some structuring really suffers, and certain sections or songs, run on a little too long for their own good. But all in all, it really achieves that cold, hateful atmosphere it set out to create. Dol Guldur has a bit of a fuller sound, the production is not as low-fi and raw as the Kabexnuv tracks, but it is still a pretty raw and harsh recording, in it’s own right. Dol Guldur possess a little more pace and urgency in their music, the drums are more noticeable and integral to the music too, compared to their split comrades. I like the section in their first track, where they slow things down, strip things down, it goes into trance-like territory and the sparsely used vocals are truly frightening, and a very jarringly atmospheric counterpoint, which is all really unsettling in a very cool way. The songs themselves are honestly fairly unremarkable. Having said that, they do succeed extremely well in creating a dark, obscure vibe, and with old school bm that is all that matters sometimes, the atmosphere you convey with the music, it transcends the sum of it’s parts. I know this release is going to be hard to get a hold of, but I would recommend this, to fans of early 90s raw metal who can not enough of this type of audio plague.  - Dale   




“Shores Of Oblivion” CD EP

(Xtreem Music)


Killing Addiction first formed at the end of the ‘80s, they released a demo tape in 1990 and a 7” EP in 1991, before putting out their debut album “Omega Factor” in early 1993. Did I mention they are from Florida? I am not sure why they did not get more attention, or more well known, along with so many of their peers early in the early to mid ’90s, as people were eating up anything Floridian death metal back then. The band called it quits some time in 1994/95, but decided to get back together some years back now. “Omega Factor” (I had my JL America cassette baby hehe) is, and was, my only experience back in the day (or since then) with Killing Addiction. I liked that debut album, it was good early death metal. Listening back to that album, and then “Shores Of Oblivion”, it would seem the band has stayed true to their old school dm style, back then though I think they may have had a bit more dynamic song structuring. Yet, this more straight forward, stripped down structuring on this EP, seems to fit them well. If anything, since the early days, Killing Addiction has slowed things down a tad, going for a more brooding gloomy vibe with the atmosphere. I kind of dug how the third track “Extinction Agenda” starts, it fades in slowly with a sort of muffled effect until everything slowly becomes clear, not only that but it starts off sounding like you are already a minute into the song, not something I want on every song but a really cool effect for one track on here. Besides the heavy dirge riffs, I think my favourite part of this release is the great vocal performance, from bassist/vocalist Patrick Bailey. He slides seamlessly between deep dark growling, slightly nasally growls and obscured rasping type vocals. He makes those changes in a very subtle way, so it is not jarring or too different from one style to the next, just really well done vocals. To end this review I want to say R.I.P. to guitarist (and brother to Patrick) Chad Bailey, who passed away a couple months after this recording, and prior to it’s release. This four song EP is for old school Floridian death metal fans, who are not obsessed with newer sounding death metal that has a million riffs and time changes in every song. This band is more about the song and the music rather than being fast and technical all the time. Check it out.  - Dale        




“Godconstruct” CD

(FDA Rekotz Records)


Yet another band, much like the Tormented review I did recently, that is in all honesty basically a clone of the old glorious Swedish death metal sound. As I have said in other reviews, I simply worship at the altar of this style of death metal and can not really seem to get enough of it. But I do realize that is not the case for some of you reading this, some might not like the style at all, while others might be a little picky and mostly stick to the originators of the style and their albums. Those people will want to move on to the next review. However, if you are a devotee of that sound like me, then there is something to hear here for you, especially if you are a big Dismember die hard like me. Lifeless are clearly huge Dismember fans, “Like An Ever Flowing Stream”, I would wager a guess it has had many, many turns on these sickos turntables. I mean they do mix in other bits of general influence, but that is clearly to my ear the main one for this band. I think this is a good record, quite an unoriginal one, but also well done with some cool riffs and that classic sounding production. Not much else to say really, not special but very well done.  - Dale 




“Lucifer Leviathan Logos” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)


I know there is a deeper meaning to that album title and it means something different than first blush. But the word logos throws you off when combined with the band name and the words Lucifer and Leviathan. Actually to be honest I glanced at it quickly the first time and thought it said Legos, not Logos haha. Okay, sorry I just felt a need to say that, let us get past the album title. I also expected a harsh black metal album. But instead I got a black themed classic epic doom metal band! Which surely did not disappoint as I am a huge doom fan, which this Norwegian band delivers in spades mixed with a old school heavy metal flair as well. If that confuses you think of stuff like Mercyful Fate, Death SS mixed with Solitude Aeternus, Candlemass, The Obsessed or some similar type of diabolical mixing of deliciously dangerous influence. I seen another review on the From The Dust Returned blog describing the vocals on here as being along the lines of Bobby Liebling of Pentagram and Robert Lowe and I think those are really spot on. You get the doom and you get the dark heavy metal as I stated above with my influences and they are melted together to something nearing perfection, not quite there, but damn close. I really love this album, you can tell it is a young band still honing their craft with room for improvement. But all the same this is a fantastic, emotionally transcendent album highlighting so much of what I love about both genres. The lyrics employ some writing of Aleister Crowley, Eliphas Levi and H.P. Lovecraft, a wonderful heady blend of Satanism, the occult and superbly disturbing, frightening, ever so fascinating world masterfully created by Mr. Lovecraft. So many elements from top to bottom that I love, maybe not the most original but Magister have a put their own twist on these influences and created something I really enjoyed.  - Dale    




“Phantasmagoria” CD

(Greyhaze Recrods)


Originally released in 1989 Brazil’s The Mist is getting their debut album “Phantasmagoria” re-released through Greyhaze Records. For those who have never heard The Mist, they played fast and thrashing metal, but the band was not all blind speed and aggression as the music is extremely well written and performed. The guitars filled with both chaotic fast riffs, but do slow to a more controlled mid pace, in a few of the songs. The guitarist knows how to write some extremely tight patterns and even does some well done solos in some of the songs. The vocals are raw thrashy screams with some deeper gruff screams mixed into the music. If you were lucky enough to have heard The Mist back in the day, be sure to this up, re-live the glory days of the classic thrash metal scene.  - Patrick   




Imago” CD

(Deathgasm Records)


Sweden's own Mordbrand have released their mighty debut album. Imago combines heavy, fast death metal with some old-school Swedish death metal. This is a great release, and if you have heard Mordbrand in the past, you know what to expect, but for all the new fans who haven not heard them. The guitarist does a great job, writing some killer riffs that range from fast to mid-paced, even throwing in some solo's to the mix. The drummer does a good job of keeping up with the guitarist and is intense, with some great drumming, that ranges between fast and some mid-paced range. If you are a fan, of quality Swedish death metal or have heard Mordbrand's earlier work, you will love this release. - Patrick      




“None Left To Worship” Live Mini-Album Cassette

(NoVisible Scars Records)


We have a live recording here, but the details are very scant, no idea when these tracks were recorded or if they were even from the same live show. I would say judging by the lack of like flow, transitioning between each of the four songs, not to even mention the different sound qualities, I would think they are not from the same gig. Morgirion play straight forward, raw assaulting black metal, in the early 90s tradition coming out of Norway. The recording at times, is a little rough and distant, and on other tracks quite clear, heavy and up close feeling. But this style of music, has always lent itself well to recordings more on the raw low-fi side, and this release is no exception. There are some great driving guitar sections, filled with freezing hate that possessed me, especially on my preferred tracks “The Pulse Of Death” and “A Cancer Now Severed”. The vocals are excellent rasping razor blades, slashing through the audio darkness, thirsty to dig into flesh. This is a damn good release, for black metal fanatics to check out, it leaves me wanting more Morgirion. So hopefully I hear more soon and hopefully they do their next release with the impressive NVS label once again!  - Dale      




“Immortal Force” CD

(Greyhaze Records)


Greyhaze Records is getting set to re-release, yet another Cogumelo Records classic Brazilian band, this time around it is Mutilator with their debut album. Originally released in 1987, “Immortal Force” is thrash metal at it’s best, playing extremely fast thrash showcasing musicians who know how to write and perform quality music. The guitars are played with hyper-speed riffing patterns executed with skill and excellent precision. The guitars do slow to a more mid paced range, at times, with some nice patterns and solos intertwined within the music. The drumming, is top notch, with both fast blasting drums and more controlled mid paced patterns. If you were lucky enough to have heard this band back in their prime, then you know what to expect, but if you are a new listener then just imagine fiercest, most violent thrash metal possible. Check this release out today.  - Patrick  




“Goetia” Digipak CD

(Greyhaze Records)


Greyhaze Records has done it again, with another gem from the early days of the Brazilian extreme metal scene. Mystifier as most of you know, is one of Brazil’s pioneering black / death metal bands. Combining early death and black metal guitar chords and riffs, for a great style of their own, it is an eerie atmosphere within the guitar sound and music as a whole. The drumming is done with a lot of power and range, going from mid-paced patterns, to all out fast drumming, before going back to the middle paced once again. The vocals range from death metal growls to harsh black metal screams of terror. Besides the original songs from this release, there are also three live tracks, for all the real fanatics of the genre and the band. If you are a fan of blackened death metal, with some atmosphere thrown in, then do yourself a favor and get this classic re-issue today.  - Patrick      





“Living Flesh” CD + DVD

(Self Released)


I used to get stuff all the time, but it has been a long while since I reviewed anything from Season Of Mist (who released their debut album). Just looking at their website apparently Gorguts is back and releasing something with them! But I digress, that is for another time and another review. The packaging on this release is just fantastic, as you can see above you get an audio live cd, plus you get a live DVD, that was nicely filmed, multiple camera angles all edited together. I am not sure a live record is always the best introduction to a band, but that is what I get, as this is the first release I have heard from the band and apparently only the second in their career?! In fact, essentially from what I can figure about the band, this is basically their one and only release, their debut album In The Flesh, re-released in live album form. Usually bands wait until they have a wealth of material over a number of albums before doing a live album, seems a touch pompous to me. I might as well review the dvd portion of the show mainly. The band do go all out with set pieces adorning the stage as atmosphere, a throne for the vocalist, what appears to be branches or brambles on the front the stage, various things draped around, a woman wondering around in medieval garb, visually it is pretty pleasing and reflects the music. Basically they play fast, ripping death metal, somewhat in the old Floridian style I would suggest. Think of Monstrostiy, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Malevolent Creation and the like. I see now after writing that sentence, then stopping to look online, the vocalist is actually Steve Tucker who did vocals in Morbid Angel for a time. So maybe that influence should not be too surprising. In fact, colour me surprised, I had no information on this band going into this review, now upon looking it up, this is apparently a super group of sorts. You have Novy (Dies Irae, ex-Vader, ex-Behemoth) on bass, Blasphemer (Aura Noir, ex-Mayhem) on guitar, and the Canadian drum god Flo Mournier of Cryptopsy on drums. As you can imagine the drumming is fantastic and easily the strength of the band. I forgot to mention above the vocalist and guitarists are in the back and the drum kit is out front, virtually in the audience with Flo having his back to the crowd and facing the rest of the band. It is a really different, yet cool set up. One thing that is missing is there seems to be no in between song banter to the crowd whatsoever for some odd reason. The music itself is admittedly a little derivative; it might be that this group is more of a tribute to the Floridian dm scene. That is not to say the music is not good, because it is pretty damn good, just nothing utterly mind blowing, as you might expect from this super group, just a mish mash of some of the better elements of that scene and time in the 90s especially. I do not know that I would call this essential at all, but for the dvd alone it is probably worth the price and I had a good time watching / listening to it. There apparently is a special edition of this on blu ray and cd limited to 100 copies or some such.  - Dale 




“Memento Mori” CD

(Kaotoxin Records)


French band The Negation plays black metal, with some touches of death metal, within the guitars. The guitarist knows how to handle his instrument, and write some excellent riffs, going from intense fast riffs to a more mid paced range, in some of the songs. The vocals are raw blackened shrieks and harsh screams. This is a decent bm release, for those that are big followers of black metal, who do not mind some other subtle varied metal styles, intertwined throughout, then you might enjoy this one.  - Patrick  




“The Art Of Vengeance” CD

(Greyhaze Records)


Nervochaos return with their sixth cd to date, entitled “The Art Of Vengenace”. While it still has Nervochaos’ fast thrashing / death style, the band is showing a little progression and maturity, in their writing ability. The music is still pretty fast and heavy, but the band does have a slower mid-paced tempos mixed into the song structure. The drumming is extremely good, with some fast thrashy drum patterns and some heavier death metal drums. This is probably Nervochaos’ best release to date, so if you are a long time fan, or just someone who enjoys death / thrashing mayhem, then definitely pick this disc up today.  - Patrick      




“Vietnamm” CD EP

(Merdumgiriz Recs / NBRD Recs)


This is the solo release of Nick Noro, who comes from the robust Bay Area thrash band Survival, I have reviewed a couple of their releases now, if you want to check those out. There was already an older re-release of a Survival recording, which was essentially a Nick Noro solo release using the Survival name. But this one is quite different, man how to even begin to describe this, it is so different from Survival and different from most of what I get to review or choose to listen to. After a spoken word recount of a victim, who was shot in the head, it then cuts over to Bruce Buffer from the UFC of all things, doing one of his trademark intros. So yeah, that is the start of this four song, roughly eleven minute EP, yes it is weird. The music, which makes up the rest of “Vietnamm” is actually pretty good stuff, much better than the old Noro solo Survival record. But it is kind of hard to describe the music, it consists of cool but random short songs that are strange hard rock things, which is a mix probably of who knows what, but maybe stuff like Rollins Band, Faith No More, Mr. Bungle with some art rock and like pop punk or something. I obviously have limited references points on these styles. When I read that description of the style above, I think fuck I don’t want to listen to that, but honestly if you can stomach that kind of weird mix, this is actually some pretty interesting and catchy stuff. One thing it shows for sure, there are many musical sides and lot of talent, within this tortured (see my Survival review for details on his imprisonment etc..) artist Nick Noro. This is a pretty tough sell to most readers of my site, and honestly it was a tough sell on me too, not my kind of thing either truly, but I can appreciate the talent and vision going on here.  - Dale     




“Peculiar Worship” Cassette EP

(NoVisible Scars Records)


It is always a pleasure to get a review package from the great NoVisible Scars Records. Visually the layout on this cassette looks great and the tape itself is awesome, it is a cool deep piss yellow with blood colour writing / graphic across it. There are only two songs to go on here, so that is not a lot to judge a band. But what is here is really, really good stuff and exceeded my expectations to be honest. The first song reminded me of darker sounding early Queensryche and a healthy dose of Sanctuary. The solo towards the end of the opening title track is superb. The second track entitled “Blind Men And Occult Forces”, has a decidedly different sound and vibe to it. Apparently this song is a cover version, of an Italian band named Black Hole, which I must confess I am unfamiliar with. I can say this track is fantastic, very dark and moody, it reminds me of a mix of Candlemass, Demon, Angel Witch, Holocaust type of sound. This tape is excellent, if you are a New Wave of British Heavy Metal fan, like I am, then you will like this and it should be in your collection. Now I really want to hear more Night Bitch, I need to find out if the first track or the second is the true Night Bitch sound. This is limited to 150 copies, it might already be sold out, but I believe a digital version can be downloaded for just a couple bucks.  - Dale    




“The Child Must Die” CD

(Infernal Kommando Records)


This is my first listen to Nihilistenen Barbaarisuus, I mean I had heard the name (and quite mouthful it is too at least to an English speaking tongue). But I thought they were a band from Finland itself. So imagine my surprise, when delving a little further, and finding out, NB is actually from Philadelphia, just a couple hours down highway from my house. As is becoming clear for you, this is a band, whose mastermind is of Finnish descent, and this album is a celebration of his heritage. The lyrics in fact are derived, and apparently at times, directly adapted lyrics taken from the legendary Kalevala, a Finnish book of poetry dedicated to the history, folklore and mythology of Finland. It is an interesting and strange combination, all at once I am struck by cold, hateful sounding black metal, yet there is this clear ever present underpinning of an uplifting, triumphant atmosphere driving throughout the harsh exterior. I think it shows a level of vision and talent to be able to pull that marriage off. The vocals on here are pretty monstrous as well, combing a dark death metal growl with traditional bm rasp, all done with solid range. The vocals are performed with vigor, and there was actual thought put into the inflections, speed of delivery and rhythm. This is a pretty fantastic album, I must admit it took me a little off guard, I was not expecting this level of quality and craftsmanship.  - Dale       




“Madness Incarnate” CD EP

(Symbol Of Damnation)


If you see my review of this bands album, entitled “The Child Must Die”, you know I have become a big fan of this band. So, I was very pleased, to find this new release (limited to 500 copies) in my mailbox. The main man you should concern yourself with is Mika Mage, who is Finnish and now resides in Philadelphia, he is generally responsible for the majority of everything Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus (Nihilistic Barbarity in English), from the musical creation, to composing and concept. Though on this release, he has decided to enlist some friends, and former band mates, to lend their playing and voices to these songs. I get that feeling, from this release; it is a collection of songs rather than a cohesive whole. This just feels like it is Mika letting loose, and stretching his artistic legs, outside of the album concept, to where the individual songs are meant to be enjoyed on their own, the opposite of the old saying the sum of it’s parts… Which I think, on an ep is where you like to see that kind of thing, which if done well can be a welcome and enjoyable distraction, whilst you await the next full length album. Regardless of intentions, Mika’s superior composing skills and vision are ever present. It is a little different here at times, compared to the album, but that combination of ambient black death metal mixed impressively with frosty aggression, yet maintaining this perplexing infectious, uplifting and triumphant quality that is fast becoming a celebrated (by me at least) signature of Mika Mage’s writing style. His style is not easy to describe, but it is a near perfect blend of ambiance, cold hate and melodicism. The style, on this on five track nearly 20 minute release, varies more than the album, nowhere more apparent than vocal performances with no less than three guest vocalists. Despite the lack of cohesion in that area, it also adds a certain dynamic, varied quality which is sure to keep the listener engaged, as all the variant performances are well done. This is yet another fine Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus release, which only serves to wet the lips of the bands parched fans, myself included, who eagerly await the next full length album!  - Dale  




Ave Noctem” CD

(Do Or Die Records)


Yet another one man band, from this young but promising record label, like its roster of bands Do or Die is based out of the Chicago area. Nocturne like label mates Deathcult is a one man band and that one man is Dan Klein who writes all the music and handles all instruments. The music is a successful marriage of old school dark American death metal and ‘90s Scandinavian black metal. The music is dark and heavy, but always maintains a strong sense of melody and atmosphere, giving it a dense level of depth and style. Dan pulls everything off with obvious skill, not that it is super technical music, but it is pretty involved all the same. If I had to guess I would say Dan’s weapon of choice is the drums as drumming is very well done, thought out and executed. His vocals are a combination of black metal rasp and sinister sounding death metal growling undertone. The vocals are just forceful enough yet also possess an obscured element to them, which convey some subtlety in the overall musical maelstrom. I have to admit Nocturne when I heard them on the sampler last year were decent enough, but did not stand out as much as the other two bands did for me. This album has corrected that and I was in for a much more quality listen than I had originally anticipated based upon that sampler. I came away quite impressed with this excellent debut record. I can definitely recommend this one.  - Dale   




“Hells Unholy Fire” CD

(Hells Headbangers)


This was released in 2000, which has been long out of print and I am sure in high demand. Because simply put Nunslaughter is one of the very best death metal bands in the history of the genre and there is no doubt about that. Honestly that is all you need to know about this album. If you are reading this site you better fucking know who Nunslaughter is and if you do not have a copy of this album, there is no excuse for it, get on it now! Just to fill out this interview listening to this reminded me back to 2005, if memory serves. I went on a mini-tour with my friends band Bloodstorm around Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York City. That tour also had the first US shows of Destroyer 666 and more importantly, featured Nunslaughter. I got to watch Nunslaughter live every fucking day!! Those shows were some of the best I have seen in my lifetime, Nunslaughter is one of my fave bands of all time and great memories of this band and more to come!  – Dale