“Day Of Doom Live” CD & LP

(Magnetic Eye Records)


Each one of these bands was recorded live during the Day Of Doom festival the record label put on. Pretty smart when you are flying bands from overseas and putting them up, to record them and release a “Day Of Doom” live album from all four bands as separate releases. It not only documents a historic show, but also in the long run I am sure off-sets the costs in undertaking such a big endeavor with an international line up. All the bands have a traditional doom heavy metal base, but as you will see with my descriptions they weave in various other influences and sub-genre styles. Domkraft play a bit of a sludgy doom style that has this small tension running through it, like a sinew in muscle. The vocals are hollered with a strained mildly caustic edge to them. It is a little hard to explain them to honest. Elephant Tree is a bit more laid back than Domkraft and has a bit more of a stoner doom metal vibe. The vocals are really calm, cool and collected clean vocals that suit the music pretty nicely. Horsehunter is a fairly diverse doom band they get moody one moment or one song, ala that old Black Sabbath gloomy slowness, then say on song like “Nuclear Reaction” things are more angry and abrasive. Having said that, everything is smooth and the quality of the music and compositions is high. Summoner for me is a mixing of old school Sabbath/Candlemass type doom and modern contemporary metal. While firmly holding on to that doom core, they do have a higher energy level and some more briskly paced elements of their songwriting. All four live albums have one common denominator, besides doom metal of course, which is they all used the same high quality recording equipment under the watchful eye of recording engineer Chris Johnson. The resulting sound is crisp, clear and heavy. This is a must for fans of these bands and actually a good starting point for new fans, at least it was for me.  - Dale

www.facebook.com/HorseHunter    https://elephanttree.band/    https://www.facebook.com/domkraft    https://www.facebook.com/Summoner    https://mer.lnk.to/day-of-doom    https://store.merhq.com/   




“Premonition" CD

(Petrichor Records)


This young Canadian band despite only having released two previous EP’s, seem to be creating some stir around the UG scene. This release is the bands debut full-length and also of note, they are the first band signed to Petrichor Records, which is the sub-label of the well respected long running Hammerheart Records (who have been releasing records by bands like Aura Noir, Denial Of God, Ancient Rites, Macabre, Necrophobic, Old Funeral, Primordial, Sinister, Aeturnus etc…). Empress are a trio, or sadly were a trio as the bassist Brenden Gunn passed away this past October, and by reading the bio all three members contribute to the songwriting, so it is a loss on many levels obviously. I would describe the music as progressive heavy metal intertwined with smaller portions of doomy stoner hard rock, which is lightly spiced with touches of sludge now and again. The composition of their music is very fluid and smooth with memorable songs that successfully coax emotion in the listener and it is easy to get caught up in it’s web. All three of the members performances drip with emotion and class. Having given many deserved compliments here, I must also confess that the overall result of the bands music and stylistic influences (at times too airy, light, commercial / accessible) are not always congruent with my personal musical tastes. Yet, I can at the same time admit this album is a quality work from start to finish that achieves the goal it set out to reach. Which is why, I would still recommend you give it the chance it deserves in spite of possible preconceived notions similar to mine.  - Dale

https://thisisempress.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/hammerheartpetrichor/      




“Calyx Of Black Metal Blood” CD & Cassette

(Purity Through Fire)


‘Calyx Of Black Metal Blood’ is this bands debut release featuring twelve songs of violent and totally uncompromising black metal music. Tsorn (Cinereous Rain, Coven Spell, Crypt Witch, Death Carrier, Donarhall plus more bands!) who lives in Germany handles all the writing and performing of all the instruments for the band. The music is destructive with raw guitars and drums that are played with intensity and hyper-speed aggression. Tsorn does compose some slower, darker passages that fit the music perfectly to give the music a darker and sinister feel. Malduchryst (Acta Sanctorum, Cinereous Rain, Derelenismo Occulere, Le Legione plus more) comes out of the Ecuador's black metal scene and handles the vocals for the band. The vocals are excellent harsh and raw black metal screams and he uses some nice demonic growls are used in a few of the songs. Essence Of Blasphemers play a uncompromising style of satanic black metal that is both vicious and well composed for a very good debut release.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/essenceofblasphemers    https://www.purity-through-fire.com   




“The Rise Of Death" Demo Cassette

(Redefining Darkness Records)


Coming out of the Swedish blackened thrash metal scene is Eternal Evil with their debut demo, which is being released through the well respected Redefining Darkness Records. “The Rise Of Death” features a intro and four songs of aggressive old school dark thrash metal that is both intense and extremely well written, and proficiently performed. The band is comprised of teenagers, the oldest one being 17, but would you not know it by listening to the music on this demo recording. The guitars are done with skill and aggressive guitar structures and patterns. The guitarist does write some memorable passages, even adding in some well performed guitar solos. The vocals are raw black metal screams mixed with some gruff screams that are used throughout a few of the songs. The drums are played at a whirlwind fast speed, that yes are done with speed, but he also a good well rounded drummer that very capably performs his demanding duties. The drummer does slow to a more mid paced style, but only for a short time before speeding back up to mainstay faster pace. If you enjoy old school black metal mixed with a healthy dose of thrash influence, then be sure to pick up a copy of Eternal Evil’s debut demo when it is released.  - Patrick

https://eternalevil.bandcamp.com/    http://www.redefiningdarkness.com/    




"The Warriors Awakening Brings The Unholy Slaughter” CD, LP & Tape

(Redefining Darkness Records)


Holy shit! Eternal Evil bust out of my headphones like a caged beast set free, hopped up on adrenaline rush and driven by extreme hate. You had better hold on to something or strap yourself down when you listen to this album, or it may possess you to tear apart your entire home in a headbaning whirlwind fury. I mean this is some excellent and ferocious black thrash metal, despite the lightning attack everything is steeped in an evil and dark aura that creates an atmosphere that I found spellbinding. I think all fans new and old will like Eternal Evil’s brand of thrash, but there is no denying they worship and produce metal that pays devoted homage to the early releases of bands like Destruction, Sodom, Kreator, Slayer, Dark Angel, Razor etc… I hope you are okay with metal that does not give you breathers, does not give you brooding emotion and the like because Eternal Evil never lets up from start to finish, take that to the bank. Despite this there is some excellent musicianship on here on here, even at those blitzing speeds, it is controlled chaos and the riffing and rhythms on here will wreck your neck through violence and finesse. With only one demo and an EP single under there belts, this you band have produced one hell of a debut album that will be sure to please old school fans of the genre that can not get enough quality thrash in their collections.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/eternalevil666/    http://www.redefiningdarkness.com/       




"Necronomicon” CD, LP & Cassette

(Hells Headbangers Records)


Coming out of Peru's old school death metal scene is Evil Damn, who were formed back in 2004 and has released quite a few demo's, ep's and splits over the years. ‘Necronomicon’ is the bands debut full length featuring nine songs of well crafted and performed old school death metal that is both well executed and uncompromising in it's intense delivery. The music is played with skill and intensity; the guitars are done with fast and aggressive patterns. The guitarist does write some memorable guitar sequences with a mix of fast crazed passages and some calmer mid paced patterns. The vocals are a mix of gruff, raw old school death metal growls and some screams are used in a few songs. There are some deeper demonic growls used during a few of the songs. ‘Necronomicon’ is a great debut if you have liked the bands previous releases then be sure to check out this album when it is released you won't be disappointed.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/evildamn    https://hellsheadbangers.bandcamp.com/       




“Prophets From The Occultic Cosmos” CD & LP

(Shadow Kingdom Records)


This is the debut album of this young band bursting out of the mean streets of Helsinki, the country’s capital city, situated on the frozen northern shore of the Gulf of Finland. Excuse play a slightly more stripped down speed metal style similar to bands like Sacrifice, early Razor, Exciter, Onslaught, Forbidden, Omen etc… mixed some Iron Maiden and other heavy metal influences. The music is aggressive, but always keeping this unrelenting dark atmosphere dripping from it’s edges. There are some pretty killer ripping solos and guitar fills, ala the one in the second half of the song “Goddess Injustice” or the one in the middle of “Blade Of The Antichrist” for a couple good examples. They write some fairly catchy, heavy and headbangable songs with some good hooks, rapid pacing as well as some memorable lyrics and choruses. The vocalist Oskar Lindström has a cool, clean yet slightly gruff vocal style, it fits the gloomy aura of the music, but he does use copious amounts of echoing effect on his vocals, probably a little too much, but it does sound cool as long as you do not focus too hard on it’s constant presence. I am not saying this is some kind of instant classic by any means, but if you are a die hard fan of ‘80s heavy metal and speed metal who can not get enough of that classic sound. Then I think you are going to be pleased with a purchase of this very solid debut record.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/excuseofficial    https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com    




"Ignis Spiritus" MCD & MLP

(Primitive Reaction Records)


I was into this Finnish band in their early years like 2001-2005 or maybe more specifically their Iron Pegasus Records releases. The next time I heard from them was on their previous full-length album, which was released nearly a decade ago. So, clearly long time no see or hear, but like old friends it is good to re-connect with old bands too. I recently heard an online discussion on the blackened thrash metal sub-genre, it’s origins and history up until today and I think it is a real omission to not include a pioneering band like Flame in this style in that discussion. Flame embody this sound perfectly with cold and evil black metal elements vocally and musical are seamlessly folded into their unrefined dark thrash metal compositions. However, unlike some newer blackened thrash bands these old demons keep their music straightforward caustic and raw, dirty and brusque like a spiked audio fist to the face. I think some of the newer extreme metal fans will find this too crude and not polished enough, which I am sure suits Flame just fine, as this was not made for you. As for me, it is a satisfying revisit to an old graveyard haunt that I did not realize how much I missed bathing in it’s sinister filth.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/satansflame    https://www.primitivereaction.com/       




“Antichrist Militia” MCD & 12” LP

(Iron Bonehead Records)


While I can see labeling this Finnish band as war metal (as the bio does), to me it feels more like warring and unrelenting black death metal, in the tradition of one of my fave Marduk albums “Panzer Division Marduk”, or some of the old Aussie records from Bestial Warlust, Destroyer 666 etc… But they mix bits of musical influences and the raunchy explosive attitude of things like punk and just dirty, alcohol soaked hard rock metal of old like Motörhead, early Venom, early Impaled Nazerene, Bulldozer, early Destruction etc… It is a real adrenaline ride, but just mindless full steam ahead, as much as I like some war metal, it can tend to do just that and get a bit of an unchanging monotonous white noise quality to it. The vocals are raw ‘n caustic yelling yet sung croaking growls that fit the dark and dank aura the music gives off. The adrenaline and energy on this release is infectious, and makes me want to headbang and break shit! For a band that gets labeled war metal, at times, there is a wide palette of old school metal with high vigor and in your face attitude that I quite enjoyed during the twenty-three minutes of madness that is ‘Antichrist Militia’.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/legionfront    https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com    




"Pyrrhic” CD

(Revenger Records)


Pyrrhic is Frosthelm from North Dakota’s first release (and second full length overall), but the wait was worth it. The album features seven tracks of aggressive and relentless black metal with a lot of melodic passages intertwined throughout the music. The guitar work is done with plenty of skill and impressively created structuring going from extremely fast to a slower and melodic pace throughout the songs. The vocals are a mix of raspy black metal screams and some gruff growls / cries used throughout the album. Frosthelm have created and released a unique blend of melodic blackened death metal with some furious passages intertwined resulting in an original sound and style.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/frosthelm/    https://revengerrecords.com/      




“...Of Deceit And Utter Madness” CD

(Momento Mori Records)


The band name is interesting, it is apparently taken from a song title of the band Electric Wizard, whom these Swiss UG metallers are clearly big fans of (and why not I am an E.W. fan myself). Funeralopolis play doomy death metal, normally I would just call it doom death, but this band probably put a stronger emphasis on brutal death metal than a lot of bands I usually put in that category. Which is just fine to me, this is not to say the doom element is not prominent, it is, but the foundation is undoubtedly barbarous death metal extremity. You might expect coming from Europe that that is where the bands main influences reside, however, I personally hear more American influences in their sound such as definitely Repulsion and Autopsy. But also clearly other old school early to mid ‘90s crushing death metal from those same shores. There is some Euro influence to be sure, but mainly North American bands come to mind. I love the dark & suffocating aura on here, this combined with the drumming style, the vocals remind me so much to early Autopsy (one of my fave bands of all time) material ala the amazing albums “Severed Survival” and the masterpiece “Mental Funeral”. I liked this album from the first listen, but each successive listen it has only got better and better in my view. I think diehards of old school, early ‘90s doomy death metal will enjoy this one.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Funeralopolisofdeath    http://www.memento-mori.es/    




“Prying Sight Of Imperception” CD & LP

(Me Saco Un Ojo Records / Everlasting Spew Records)


Just to be clear, when you see two labels it sometimes means they are splitting the release straight up in all ways, other times like this one it is sort of a parent label that does all the distribution and promotion. The third reason is one label is releasing one format and the other another format, which is the case here Everlasting Spew is doing the CD and Me Saco Un Ojo is handling the vinyl version of this Finnish bands sophomore album. Galvanizer generate down ‘n dirty death metal bathed in darkness yet also dripping with filth and grindcore accents. They have a lot of that old Swedish death metal sound in their base, which I know a lot of bands are doing that sunlight sound these, but you know what I don’t fucking care I worship this shit and if it is done well it is right up my alley! As mentioned Galvanizer do mix into that Repulsion (American I know but a huge influence on those early Swede sound), Carnage, Grave, Dismember dm approach with some grimy sounding deathgrind influences as well ala stuff like early Impetigo, Carcass, General Surgery. The resulting wave of suffocating dark gutfuck riffs of sadistic grinding violence is a lethal combination that I found quite satisfying to listen to, and to mentally bathe in it’s audio gore. The vocals via the bassist Vili and guitarist Aleksi are fantastic, despite all being extreme it is a varied arsenal of growls deep and guttural, as well as high and nasal growling with a smattering of various other gurgles, yells and screams mixed in. There are also some succinct classic guitar sequences every now then, which add a touch of class to the overall sickness and depravity of this album. This release has certainly converted this listener into a Galvanizer fan.  - Dale

https://everlastingspew.com/    https://mesacounojo.bandcamp.com/music     




“Flesh Reborn" CD EP

(Chaos Records)


Coming out of Belgium's death doom scene is Gateway with their newest EP. ‘Flesh Reborn’ contains a intro and three full length songs. ‘Hel’ starts off this release with a two minute intro to ease you into things; it is very well written and performed with some excellent musicianship. The first song is ‘Slumbering Crevasses’ which combines both heavy mid paced passages and some faster more aggressive drum and guitar patterns. This one man band delivers some serious intensity and shows mature writing abiliity. ‘Rack Crawler’ is up next and this song is more on the extremely fast realm side again with showcasing skill and good songwriting. The music does slow to a heavier mid tempo pace throughout the song, but this song is definitely the fastest on the release. ‘Flesh Reborn’ finishes off this release and is the bands slowest and heaviest track. The guitars are done with a mix of slow heavy mid tempoe guitar chords. The drums are in same vein with heavy slow drum patterns, mixed with some mid to faster paced drums used. It is hard to believe this was written by one man (Robin Van Oyen), who did a great job of combing death and doom metal together to create a massive release.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/gatewaydeathdoom    https://chaos-records.bandcamp.com/     




"Tie on Hänen Omilleen” CD, LP & Tape

(Purity Through Fire Records)


I know there a literal shit ton of bands in this UG metal scene, but all the same, I do find it a little surprising that I do not think I have heard of this Finnish band. I do keep my ear to the underground so to speak, Goats Of Doom have nearly a decade of existence and they have already released 4 albums previous to “Tie on Hänen Omilleen”. Now, when it comes to second wave early ‘90s black metal I confess to being a bit of purist and usually I am not that crazy about combining it with other influences, genres and the like. Enter Goats of Doom, who I think have done a nice job of taking that hateful, frosty second wave bm nucleus and skillfully augmenting it with more up front diverse guitar work and melody that at times gets a little closer to melododeath than I would like. But, all the same, they keep a good balance between the freezing traditional bm hate and the catchy, lighter melody in the riffing to still make it work, at least most of the time (possibly a little too far with the harmony for my liking in the title track). Something that helps them out on the cruel side of the ledger are the caustic, irritated raspy screams of Scaregod. As those vocals do not seem to give a fuck about the melody, he just ignores it almost completely, while keeping the extremity turned up high at all times. A good band and solid release that has it’s drawbacks at times, but does generally deliver some consistent quality throughout the proceedings.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Scaregod/    https://www.purity-through-fire.com       




“Fallen Tyrant” CD

(Plague Demon Records)


Goatthornsskullbonecrusher is a two man band rising out of Germany's abundant and strong death metal scene. ‘Fallen Tyrant’ is this duo's newest EP and third release overall as a band. It features four songs of barbaric and chaotic death war metal. Sgt. Jones handles the vocal duties, which are old school death metal growls that are done with a powerful and imposing vocal. There are some black metal screams that are used throughout a few of the songs. Machosias (Birkabein, Bunkerkrieg, Old Pagan, Thodtgehoelz, ex-Beyond Serenity, ex-Pagan Winter…) handles writing the music for the band which is primarily played with intense and extremely fast guitars and drum passages. There is some heavier mid paced guitar and drums used throughout the songs. This is my first encounter with Goatthornsskullbonecrusher, but if you are a fanatic for extremely chaotic death metal with some elements of war metal intertwined into the storm then be sure to pick up a copy of ‘Fallen Tyrant’ today.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/Plaguedemonrecords.net    https://plaguedemonrecords.bandcamp.com   




“Gore Brigade” CD EP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


This is Gore Brigade’s debut release yet it’s members are anything but new to the UG scene. This band from Umeå, Sweden appears to be the brainchild of Ludvig Johansson from the thrash metal band Defiatory, he recruited his Defiatory bandmate Jon Skäre on drums and great dm vocalist Jonny Pettersson (Massacre, Wombbath, Berzerker Legion, Gods Forsaken and many more!) to help bring Gore Brigade to life. The music on here while it pays slight nod toward the old Swedish bands I adore, it also pays more attention to the sound on classic releases like Carcass’ “Necroticism - Descanting The Insalubrious”, General Surgery, Napalm Death, Benediction, Exhumed, Ghoul and the like. The energy level is ultra high ala the Carcass album I mentioned, just a raging juggernaut of intensity and adrenaline smashing all in it’s path. The vocals are varied with some great deep brutal growling that has a lot of different inflection within those growls with some cool higher pitched nasal screaming accents. As the bio points out the recording on here feels more modern crisp and clean yet still retains that heavy crushing edge. Honestly the on here does feel more like a modern thrash metal album production to me, and I personally love the old dirtier style recordings, but they still pull off this sound and style pretty well despite that. It does sound a bit like you may assume from the background above like a modern thrash band trying their hand at old school death metal – it is so well done and with obvious affinity for it’s inspiration that it does work. Give it a listen you will probably dig it.  - Dale

https://gorebrigade-se.bandcamp.com/    https://shop.redefiningdarkness.com/   




“Demos ’18 & ‘19” CD & Tape EP

(Raw Skulls Recordz / Redefining Darkness Recs.)


Florida may not have the same notoriety and depth it once had, within the death metal UG scene, way back in the ‘90s. Though there are some really quality bands keeping things alive in the FL death metal UG metal scene with Graveview being a prime example of this. Having said that, Graveview may be from Florida, but if you are looking for that old Floridian sound from this band you will not find much of it. No, Graveview are much more influenced by the old school Swedish death metal, you know the fucking really heavy and brutal stuff. I can hear a lot of Grave from Sweden in their sound, but also maybe stuff like early works especially by Dismember and to a lesser extent early Entombed. There is American influence in there too, ala early doomy Autopsy and Repulsion alongside some brief bits of American grinding, especially in the later half of this 22 minute release. Graveview create an absolutely massive wall of barbarous riffing that drips and permeates with a mixture of doom death and crushing brutality. I love the wonderfully ruthless, savage growling of vocalist Hunter Young, who mimics and adds to the dark and suffocating atmosphere with his slightly cryptic sounding, sometimes rapid, sometimes just mean growls, but when he really draws out growl it adds this extra level of depth and a foreboding aura that I simply love. This is something fans of early classic Swedish death metal, mixed with some doom and grimy American sensibilities of Mental Funeral-era greatness will fucking love these guys! I can not wait to hear more from them, hopefully soon.  - Dale

https://rawskullrecordz.com/en/    https://redefiningdarknessrecords.bandcamp.com/          




"“Mortal Ones Scream In Horror” MCD

(Caligari Records)


It is a true pleasure for an old underground metal bastard like me, when I find bands with young members who worship old metal and old school death metal in this case! I mean look at these guys they are so young, and one guy has an Infester shirt on, fuck yeah! This trio play primitive filthy death metal in the traditional vein on the early works of bands like Autopsy, Infester, Demilich, Repulsion, Incantation, Rippikoulu, Funebrarum. Some newer comparisons for them may be countrymen like Obliteration or Undergang. I hold all of those bands in high esteem, so it is probably little surprise I like the pounding, trance inducing audio brutality and suffocating atmosphere produced by Haalbuaer so much. Those chunky grinding guitars are so damn barbaric and those hammering drums are wrecking my neck listening to this, it brings back nostalgia for the early days when I put on a classic “Mental Funeral” album when it came out! The vocals of Stian “Masticator” Hjertvik (also editor of the new print fanzine Black Blood) are such great obscured shadowy growls, they add an aura all by itself and remind slightly me to again early Autopsy or maybe early Grave too – excellent. It all combines into a massive horrifying wall of sound that permeates everything with it’s darkness. I see this EP (or mini-album) at most listed in multiple places as an album. I mean call me an old goat, but 21 minutes is at least ten minutes short of the bare minimum of what I would class an album. I just wanted throw that out there so you know what you are getting. But do not let that deter you from getting this killer release!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/haalbuaer    https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/       




“Of Rot And Ruin” CD

(Willowtip Records)


Hath are a band coming out of New Jersey’s death metal scene with their debut full-length. This album features nine tracks of complex and well executed death combining both old school and newer style influences together for a style all their own. The guitarist plays a good mix of both extremely fast parts with some slower mid paced patterns. The guitars on here really keep my attention with interesting and complex structuring; even adding some well placed solos mixed into the musical whole. The drumming is done in the same vein as the guitars with an all out assault on the drum kit with some intense blasting. The drums do slow down to a heavier, calmer at times throughout the songs to add little more variety to their sound. The vocalist however, is all over the map with an array of low, deep death metal growls and some raw black metal screams are blended in to some of the tracks. If you are looking for a unique and interesting band, then do yourself a favor by picking up a copy Of Rot And Ruin.  - Patrick

https://hathnj.bandcamp.com    https://www.willowtip.com     




“Pimeyden Kosketus” Digipak CD & LP

(Purity Through Fire)


Hautakammio comes from the supremely fertile Finnish black metal scene. This band is a triumvirate made up of guitarist/songwriter Grim666 (Grimirg, Kalmankantaja, Lathspell, Order of The White Hand, Seal of Beleth), lyrics & vocals by Vritrahn (White Death, Infernal Darkness, Vritrahn-Werwolf) and drummer Lima (Amberian Dawn, Azaghal, Lathspell, Wyrd) and as you can see they are very experienced men in the UG scene. The band has been in slumber after releasing two albums in ’13 & ’14 shortly after forming, but now have returned with their long awaited third full-length. Hautakammio have managed to skillfully marry old second wave black metal’s raw darkness and hate with the newer epic sweeping bm style to excellent effect. There are some really affecting rhythms that are serpentine-like as they slice through the cold audio fog, and run in between many sections of put your head down burst forward blazing speed sections. No worries there is no folk-y or progressive shit here, it is raw, forceful and hate filled black metal all the way. The vocals of Vritrahn are very much like his vocals in the band White Death. They are absolutely freezing cold classic black metal rasps that are so powerful and as smooth as a sharp dagger across flesh. If you are into relentless, icy black metal that also has a real depth and scope to it then you should give ‘Pimeyden Kosketus’ a listen immediately, if not sooner.  - Dale

https://hautakammio.bandcamp.com/    https://shop.purity-through-fire.com/     




“Trident Of Tartarean” CD & LP

(Iron Bonehead Records)


Hellvetron is set to release “Trident Of Tartarean”, the bands second full-length next month in mid August. The music on this release is a mix of blackened death metal with some doom elements woven into some of the tracks. The music is played with skill and some powerful guitar work, which is matched step for step with an excellent drum performance as well. For the most part the guitar pacing is done with slow to mid pacing, but they do speed up to a more rapid tempo in a few of the songs. The vocals are heavy, deep, death growls and some clean singing and hollering type of vocals are used at times. Hellvetron play an interesting mix of black death doom metal, so if you are a fan of the band or a fan of the genre then do yourself a favor and check out “Trident Of Tartarean” as soon as it is released.  - Patrick

https://hellvetron.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/IronBoneheadProductions   




"Incised Arrival" CD & LP

(I, Voidhanger Records / Nuclear War Now!)


Herxheim is a relatively new one man band from Texas unleashing their first full-length album. The band may be new, but the one man who behind it all for Herxheim is not new to the UG scene, nor is he new to me. I have never been in direct contact with Brungard (aka Patrick Brown), but I have a long history of listening to one of his old bands Nepenthe, which later changed names to Ligea, which formed in 1992 and was around with different line-ups well into the 2000s. In fact, one my greatest and oldest friends in the UG scene Keith Dempe released recordings under both names on his Eternal Darkness Creations record label. During the time in between Mr. Brown was active with a band named Howls of Ebb (whose work I have not heard), which released an EP, a split and two full-length albums, also on I. Voidhanger before calling quits in 2017. He apparently has decided to go it alone now with this new band. Herxheim produce a brand of very of menacing yet very eerie black death metal that has a really sinister sounding aura to it. The music is not ultra brutal or lightning quick, rather the pacing stride fluctuates, always serving that gloomy noxious atmosphere that blankets everything. There is some pretty killer vocals on here with ominous yells, kind of gruff, kind of raspy vocal mix with some well timed and placed doubling up of vocals giving off a necho-y, punctuated effect that really adds to the evil air the music gives off. Also, Brungard throws in some really tortured screams that I enjoyed very much. I am pleased to see this fellow old UG metal goat keeping the ancient flame burning bright, and showing his musical appreciation of the first wave of black metal / early days dark death metal whilst creating a quality record he can call his own. I now see NWN! has picked up this album for the vinyl version.  - Dale

https://herxheim.bandcamp.com/    https://i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com/           




"Nell’era dell’apparenza” CD

(Spikerot Records)


The new Hobos album brings the violence full force and in your face! The music is a sturdy mix of dirty-ass old school death metal and Motörhead-fueled crust/hardcore with no-nonsense arrangements and occasionally some bluesy guitar work to keep the hooks flowing. I always tell interested people that they sound like Motörhead playing old Entombed with Venom writing the songs and a demon on vocals singing in Italian (Damn I need to check this band out after reading that description! - Dale). This band is as loud as loud can be, and they make no apologies for who they are. It’s a perfect example of what is old being new again, taking these old styles and mashing them into a new form. The whole album is fresh-sounding and killer. It’s head and shoulders above their previous work in both intent and execution, and I can’t wait for the next round of ammunition. It’s music that bangs your fuckin’ head for you whether you like it or not!  – Andrew Parrish

https://www.facebook.com/hobosband    https://www.spikerot.com/      




“Kuoleman Kirjo" Digipak CD & Gatefold DLP

(W.T.C. Productions)


It is always a pleasure to get my hands on a new release from one of the true legend bands in the black metal scene! This Finnish horde regale us with their 10th full-length album (plus of course demos and countless splits and EPs in their 25+ year history) of musical majesty, which clocks in at over one hour of music. I got into Horna fairly early on in their existence with their second demo “Hiidentori”, and then I did my first of two interviews with the band shortly after their debut album was released in 1998. I am a bit of a bm purist at times and think bands should stick to their roots (or change their name if they want veer off in a completely different direction), and you can point to a band like Horna as a shining example of this. I mean sure they vary their patented second wave bm sound from time to time, from release to release, but they always keep that evil core as their anchor point. "Kuoleman Kirjo" while still the cold hateful black metal they have always been known for, it has a bit more of an epic feeling to it with free flowing melodious riffs that sweep across your mental landscape like a rapidly creeping fog. The main vocals are classic bm rasps with a slight ominous sounding husky undertone to them, vocalist Spellgoth does pull from his arsenal at times to accent that main vocal with a myriad of yells, hollers and the like. There are often some subtle guitar nuances going on here, if you are paying close enough attention that are quite enjoyable for me. Second quick one is while I enjoy the drumming on Horna releases, I rarely focus upon them or truly notice them specifically, but the drums and performance from LRH on here is a strong element on this album. This release is a bit less aggressive than some of their past material; it instead focuses on taking you on an all-encompassing melancholic and crepuscular cerebral journey. The main man, only founding member and chief songwriter & lyricist Shatraug just keeps endlessly marching along, prolifically creating great freezing black metal for Horna (among other bands he is involved with) for going on three decades! He has my utmost respect and admiration, hail Horna!  - Dale

www.facebook.com/HornaOfficial/    https://wtcproductions.bandcamp.com    http://www.w-t-c.org    




"Black Magick Rites” CD, LP & Tape

(Shadow Kingdom Records)


I believe Hour of 13 are now based out of California, but the band has a storied past and were from various areas of the US in the past (North Carolina and Virginia). They have also at various times been a duo and even expanded to a full band briefly. But the band has always really been baby of main man Chad Davis (Anu, Obscurae, Olde, Stench of Evil, The Crooked Whispers, The Sabbathian etc…), who at this point is a one man operation with Chad writing all the music and playing all instruments. I always like to say a good one man band makes you forget it is a one man band, and that applies in spades to Hour of 13. I could play it for someone cold that knows nothing of the band and they would never guess that it is a one man band. At this point Hour of 13 is well known; at least for sure they are in traditional doom metal circles having released a demo, a handful of EPs and two previous albums. ‘Black Magick Rites’ is quality classic doom music in the traditions of the early years of the genre, the music is very poignant and mournful sounding yet has this slight ‘70s epic hard rock edge that shows itself here and there. Some of the riffing and rhythms on this thing are really infectious and hypnotic which makes my head and feet tap along, while at the same time getting drawn into an introspective trance-like state. I believe this album is the first by the band where Chad Davis is not only the chief vocalist, but handles all vocal duties unlike the past when Phil Swanson (B.C:A.D., Briton Rites, Lords of Triumph, Seamount, Vestal Claret, ex-Earthlord, ex-Nightbitch etc...) handled the lead vocals. That might be a red flag for some fans of the band, but let me assure you Mr. Davis has developed his voice and his confidence in it to the point that the vocals are one of the strong points of the band, they fit wonderfully to the classic Hour music. Some influences I hear for those that have not heard Hour of 13 before are bands like Pagan Altar, Black Sabbath, Witchfinder General, Cirith Ungol, Pentagram, Solitude Aeturnus etc… I think those bands give you a general idea of their sound and if you are big fan of most of those bands then you can not go wrong with this quality, affecting old school doom heavy metal album.  - Dale

https://hourof13official.bandcamp.com/    https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com/       




"Godslastering Hymns Of A Forlorn Peasantry" CD, LP & Tape

(Iron Bonehead Records)


Hudler is a one woman band from Oregon, but that woman who also goes by the same name as the band Hudler (aka Marz Riesterer) is originally from Belgium. She conjures up evil tremolo picked black metal that has that raw metal edge to it, which for me, puts it’s influences in the early ‘90s second wave of black metal. But it is more akin to the other side of the coin from that era, which means it is not the Scandinavian second wave, but rather the bm movement and sounds brought forth in the early works by bands like her countrymen Ancient Rites, as well as Varathron, Master’s Hammer, Kawir, Root, Mortuary Drape, Grand Belial’s Key, Kampfar etc… There are brief passages and an entire song like “Purgations of Bodily Corruptions” where there is more prominent melody mixed in than you would normally except from a band playing this sort of harsh style. I must admit that is my least favourite aspect of the Hudler sound, but it is not overused, so it is not a real problem either. The music as mentioned while raw and caustic, also mixes in a healthy amount of eerie synth as an adjunct whispering in the darkness throughout the album. Hudler’s vocals are most often a coarse yelled growling hiss mix, but is almost always accompanied with a freezing undercurrent of classic black metal rasp. I quite enjoy those vocals. This is a really impressive piece of work to come from one person, and I can see / hear clearly what enticed a great label like Iron Bonehead into wanting to release this enjoyable piece of dark musical art.  - Dale

https://www.hulder-official.com/    https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/        




“Tetrabestiarchy” CD, LP & Cassette

(Signal Rex)


Coming out of Italy's black metal scene is Idolatria with their second full-length album. ‘Tetrabestiarchy’ contains four long songs, plus an intro and outro. The band blends and creates a mix of crazed, furious black metal, but can also write and execute some very well written and performed mid paced passages that stand out as well. The vocals are a mix of grim and gruff growls and there are some raspy screams used throughout a few songs. There is no denying that Idolatria play black metal, but the band does plays an original and quality black metal with an own sound that is both furious at times, but also has al ot of mid tempo song structures to make a great memorable release.  - Patrick

https://idolatria.bandcamp.com    https://signalrex.bandcamp.com    https://signalrex.com     




"Caledonian Black Magick" MCD & 12" EP

(The Sinister Flame)


Ifrinn are apparently from Scotland and for all I know a one man band even, it is one of those deals where we are not allowed to know anything about the band member(s). I am not a fan of this practice, but it is their choice. So this is the bands second EP and second release overall, the first self-titled EP came out five years ago. This extended player at hand consists of three songs and runs about twenty-five minutes. The music on here is hateful and aggressive yet woven throughout that odious emotion is a concurrence of majestic and memorable rhythms and sweeping riffs. It would seem those two things would be like oil and water, but here they melt together very well into one freezing conglomerate of black metal musical ceremony. The vocals themselves are one of the biggest elements of the enmity; as they are coarse rasping yells with a growling undertone that also occasionally reflect the more emotive side of the musical sorcery. I am not sure if we will wait another five years, but you can contemplate that while you enjoy listening hypnotically to ‘Caledonian Black Magick’ repeatedly.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/IfrinnOfficial/    https://sinisterflame.bandcamp.com/       




“Hieroglossia” CD, LP & Cassette

(Nuclear War Now! Productions)


Ignivomous are an Australian death metal band that has been around for over a decade. But some of their members have been around a lot longer than that playing previously or currently in infamous bands like Abominator, Denouncement Pyre, Voidchrist, Inverloch, Accursed etc… “Hieroglossia” is the bands third full length, which features eight tracks of pure bone crushing death metal at it’s finest. The vocals are heavy, guttural death metal growls that fit to the brutal and vile aura of the music perfectly. The guitars are done with a mix of slow, weighty guitar riffs alongside some faster bitingly aggressive patterns. If you are looking for a band that plays a devastating and intense unrelenting death metal style then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this Aussie bands album when it is released in November.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/Ignivomous    http://www.nwnprod.com/    




“Eight Headed Serpent" CD, LP & MC

(Osmose Productions)


The return of Impaled Nazerene! My experience with this legendary UG band goes back to almost to their very beginning. Impaled started out by releasing demo tapes way back in 1991. I had my first encounter with them when in late 1992 I purchased their “Goat Perversion” 7” EP, which believe it or not still resides in my collection all these decades later! That EP is one of my fave EP’s all time, it is so amazing and showed the band turning up their audio sickness, extremity and darkness to whole new levels that would be continued with their debut album the next year on Osmose Productions. Around this time frame I also tape traded for both of their ’91 demo tapes as well and bought their first album straight away. So you can see how much I am invested in this band since the early days. Yes okay, stop reminiscing and move on to more recent times now. ‘Eight Headed Serpent’ is the bands thirteenth full-length album, a new record from Impaled has become more of an event in the more modern history of the band, as this is just their second album in the last ten years. While other veteran bands of the scene have matured or expanded horizons or spread their wings and shit, or even got more progressive and/or sold out for a period of time or for all time. That is not Impaled Nazerene, not even for a minute, they only go one direction and that is fucking intense, dark and diabolical! They still play their patented brand of lightning speed black metal with some of the most severe accents of raunchy punk and dark death metal. It is an audio cacophony / tsunami if you will of violence, and caustic sadism that dismantles, destroys and brutalizes everything in it’s path! You know despite how barbarous their musical blitzkrieg is, it has this memorable and infectious quality to it still. This aspect is furthered through the main man and main force behind I.N., which is Mika Luttinen (aka Slutti666) through his amazing throat ripping and shredding vocals. Those vox manage to convey unforgettable yet lecherous debauched cruel lyrics that tattoo themselves to your brain like a creeping virus. He even still employs (much to my delight) some of those same screeches and bellowing beast growls I fell in love with in 1992 when I bought that seven inch. As an extreme metal devotee going way back, how can you ask for anything more than a band 30 years later that has stayed so true to their roots and still deliver that fatal musical stab to your heart?!! I say you can not ask or expect nothing more from this legend band. I stand in reverence of Impaled Nazerene and worship at their altar of darkness and evil.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/ImpaledNazareneOfficial    https://osmoseproductions.bandcamp.com/      




“Ritual Chamber” Cassette & LP

(Greyhaze Records)


“Ritual Chamber” was Impurity's second full length that was originally released in 1996,  now Greyhaze Recs. will re-release it on vinyl LP and cassette formats (this same label re-released this album on cd about five years ago).The music is played with tremendous skill and ability. The guitars are done with semi fast guitar passages and some slower mid paced patterns. The guitarist does write and perform some memorable guitar passages, they even add in some well done solo's throughout the album. The vocals are gruff, raw screams and some whispery talking type of vocals are used in a few of the songs. This release was remastered from the original recording to give it a more clear sound without loosing any of the bands classic raw evil style. If you are or were a fan of Impurity, one of Brazil’s first black metal bands, then be sure to pick up a copy of this classic album Greyhaze.  - Patrick

https://greyhazerecords.bandcamp.com/    https://www.greyhazerecords.com/     




“Antilogos: Arcane Transmutation In The Temple Of Flesh” CD

(Unholy Prophecies)


After the demise of his previous band Sadistik Goathammer, H.O.E.V. vocals / bass (Interitvm, ex-Henosis, ex-Hellbutcher) decided to put that war metal band to rest and move forward to create a this new entity as a trio with Grunenwald (Henosis) on guitar & C.R. (Cannon Fodder, Qebeth) on drums. Indoctrinate was started in 2019, then ran into problems as apparently they recorded the material on this album three times over before getting the desired result, which of course caught the attention of Unholy Prophecies who signed the band straight away and released the recording as the bands debut full-length. I have never heard Sadistik Goathammer, who released a couple demos and a few split releases, S.G. was purported to play war metal, but obviously I can no compare the two bands styles. But Indoctrinate do play a very primitive and bestial death metal style with hints of black metal intertwined throughout. The guitars are a mix of crushing heavier mid paced riffing and some crazed chaotic faster sections. The guitars are extremely fast and aggressive. The vocals are old-school death metal growls that possess some real power, along with well done vocal arrangements. The vocalist does use some gruff screams in a few tracks.  If you enjoy chaotic and primitive South American death metal then definitely be sure to pick up a copy of this Chilean bands debut release.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/UnholyProphecies666/    http://www.unholyprophecies.com/   




"Hymns Of The Gods Before" CD

(CDN Records)


Insatanity is a band that started out in Philadelphia in 1992, where they released a series of demos and their debut album, eventually the main man Chris Lytle moved down to Florida and filled out the band with a new line up. That line up is a veteran one featuring current or former members of bands like Amon, Brutality, Catalysis, Malevolent Creation, Perdition Temple, Inhumanity, Protogenoi, Dark Disciple, Polterchrist, Pyrexia and Bloodmessiah. I remember hearing Insatanity's 1995 “Unholiness Rising” demo tape and their debut full-length 1996 “Divine Decomposition”. After that release I lost contact with the band, but it is  great to see the band still releasing quality blackened death metal. “Hymns Of The Gods Before” is the newest release contains seven original songs and a cover of Deicide's “When Satan Rules His World” (which is interesting since they have a member of Amon in the band). These musicians play a good mix of black and death metal extremity. For the most part the guitars and drums are played with extremely fast patterns, but they do add some injections of slower, mid paced structures mixed into the music. The vocals are really demonic black metal screams and death growls that fit Insatanity's music perfectly. The cover of “When Satan Rules His World” is played extremely tight and is good with a powerful sound.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/insatanityofficial/    https://cdnrecords.com/      




"Severed Within” CD & LP

(Willowtip Records)


Intonate rise up from the province of Quebec, which has a long and storied death metal scene history going back to the early days of the genre. Thusly producing some of it’s classic bands like Gorguts, Cryptopsy and Kataklysm (the tape trading nerd and patriotic side of me wants to throw in bands on that list like Dislocation, Gorelust, Lord Mortis, Necrotic Mutation, Neuraxis, Purulence and more! Haha). Intonate pick up this mantle and in some ways I can hear influences from all three of those heavy hitting bands I mentioned above, yet they put it all together and come away a slightly different sounding death metal style of their own. Intonate also form time to time, like to mix in slower and more atmospheric brooding sections into their usually epic length songs (ranging from 6 to 10 minutes each). It is actually a really nice juxtaposition to their mainstay of speedy brutality and intricate song structuring. There are so many little inventive nuances going on especially with the guitars that it will probably take you a bunch of listens for your ears and your cerebral cortex to drink in and absorb it all. I enjoy how guttural and abrasive the growling vocals are, as for me they add that bit of needed grit to all the polish and refined skill of the rest of the instruments on display. I have not mentioned the drumming yet, but if you are going to pull off a diverse technical death metal record, you need powerful and commanding drum work which Dominic Nucciarone brings all of to his kit. If quality techno death metal that is also deep and varied is your cup of tea, then you should look into getting a copy ‘Severed Within’ in your collection as soon as possible. Also keep a sharp eye on this promising young Canadian band, they are bound to really make a name for themselves going forward.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/intonateofficial    https://intonate.bandcamp.com/       




“Decomposed Sacramentum" CD & LP

(Dark Descent Records)


I have not listened to bands like Immortal Fate, Morbid Saint, Onslaught, early Sadus, Necrovore, Death Hammer, Morbid Angel “Abomination Of Desolation” or early Incubus in a good while. However, all of those bands are old staples in my collection that I played the shit out of back in the day. Invincible Force out of Chile brings me right back to those great days (late ‘80s thru early ‘90s), when fast, violent thrash bands were just starting to incorporate this new thing called death metal into their sound. Now, some just went full death metal, but bands like I mentioned above kept their in-your-face fierce thrash as their foundation, while incorporating some dm brutality and slight growling into their musical and vocal repertoire. I was making this same transition as a speed, heavy metal & thrash fan myself and this was an exciting and exhilarating time for me, like I know it was for many other now old metal goats in the scene today. Invincible Force obviously also worship those times and bring them back in perfect reproduction here and do so with skill and a boiling passion! This is a style not a lot of bands are doing these days, so I can see old fans of that time period loving the hell out of "Decomposed Sacramentum", it will wreck your neck, that is for certain.  - Dale

https://invincibleforce.bandcamp.com/    http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/     




“Attunement To Death” MCD & 12” MLP

(Iron Bonehead Records)


Chile's Invocation return with a brand new six song EP that is filled with classic and well performed death metal. The drums are done with powerful and heavy mid paced patterns, which display a lot of skill within the playing. The drummer does speed to a faster more extreme style at times in contrast to that middle pacing mainstay. The guitars are done with some well composed and executed guitar passages that follow suit with both heavy mid paced guitar parts, but also do speed to a more faster, chaotic realm at times. The vocals are mainly old school weighty death metal growls, as well as some vicious black metal screams are used in a few of the tracks.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/INVOCATIONChile    https://ironbonehead.de/     




"Protosapien" CD, LP & MC

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


I think most people in the UG scene, when they think of South America it is either very evil necro black metal and/or vicious, unrelenting deathrash metal barbarity. That reputation is well earned, but the South American scene is actually quite varied, if you look around a little you will find some great heavy metal, grind and more. This is where Jupiterian comes in, as they play high quality death doom music that is extremely moody, gloomy and melancholic, all is steeped in a mysterious and sinister sounding aura. There is also hints of sludge metal in here, even though it is like a wisp of smoke, weaving it’s way stealthily through the plodding metallic oppression like a serpent. The music overall is a massive, monolithic wall of crawling heavy as hell doom death metal that is impenetrable; a seamless musical entity that feels like it has no beginning and no end. The vocals are sparse and subtle, highlighted by obscured whispering undertone of dark boiling, and elongated growling. There are a number of lesser used accent vocal bits, all gloomy sounding, and do their part in creating the dense and opaquely ominous musical tapestry that will trap you in it’s cosmic alluring pull if given half a chance.  - Dale

https://jupiterian.bandcamp.com/   https://www.facebook.com/jupiteriansect   https://tometal.com/       




“Kriegszittern” CD

(Chaos Records)


This bands name is the German word for Shell Shock, for those curious. I should get this out of the way, despite Kriegszittern only having released one full-length, this is a compilation release that contains said debut album “Yellow Cross”, as well as their recent “Stratofortress” EP plus a few unreleased songs recorded live. The sounds this German horde produce are very much old school death metal, somewhat primitive and convey a feeling of subterranean claustrophobic gloom. The music is generally middle paced, but does fluctuate often into slightly speedier realms, as well as down tempos into doom death territory. The whole thing has this aura to it I love; it reminds me to the atmosphere of the demos and early albums of the almighty Grave. I can definitely hear other influences besides Grave in here though, like strong smatterings of Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Morbid Angel and early Autopsy. The vocals here are great roiling growls and sound like what I imagine a disturbed demon would emanate upwards from deep down in the pits leading to hell itself. The production on the EP is so fucking thick and heavy! The guitars will reverberate in your chest! I love that sound, not that the sound on the album is not great in it’s own way, but damn it does hit you when that “Stratofortress” EP kicks in. The live song recordings sound good and fit in more seamlessly with the studio material than I anticipated it would. Yeah man this is my kind of fucking brutal death metal, the sort that has that old school flavour with an atmosphere of suffocating darkness along with a necrotic audio cocktail of purely sinister pernicious intent.  - Dale

https://kriegszittern.bandcamp.com/    https://chaos-records.bandcamp.com/     




“Cadaver Circulation” CD & LP

(Dark Descent Records)


This Finnish group plays dirgy death doom metal. Imagine if you will a healthy dose of early Grave’s brand of brutal Swedish death metal, which is kind of doomy in it’s own right, mixed with the extremity of the slow measured doom death from pioneer band Disembowelment. It formulates together producing a crushing and imposing aura that will envelope you and suffocate all of your senses in a most splendid fashion. Once it grabs you, it does not let go easily as there are long songs on here, with no less than three of the six clocking in right around eight minutes. The vocals are deep, rolling and roiling growls that flow and lengthen themselves to match the music, and they possess a cool obscure sounding whispery undertone to them. The vocals alone are very creepy and foreboding, both alternatingly complimenting the music and melting in & out like a shadowy specter. I like those vocals a lot! Krypts keep things very heavy yet almost agonizingly slow, almost at all times, but there are fleeting passages where they show their death metal roots and speed things up like a normal death metal band. I swear I even heard something that resembled a solo a couple times. Prepare yourselves for a massive slab of slow motion brutality and an emotionally heavy dose of foreboding and melancholia, which will leave you both drained and very much satisfied.  - Dale

https://www.kryptsdeath.com    https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com  




"Floating In Timeless Streams” CD

(Dark Descent Records)


After six years of silence Finland's Lie In Ruins return with a new full-length album. “Floating In Timeless Streams” contains ten tracks of solid and well executed death metal, that is not breaking any new barriers or genres, but is still played with skill through experienced musicians. The music is mainly played with aggressive guitar patterns and some fast drums. The music does slow to a more controlled pace in a few of the tracks, but for the most part the music is played with an extremely fast velocity. The vocals are some of the best death metal growls that I have heard in quite some time. The guitars are done with rapid, frenzied guitar chords and patterns even adding some solo's throughout in some of the songs. This is my first encounter with Lie In Ruins, so I can't compare their previous releases to the new one, but if you are a fan of intense and heavy death metal then do not pass up on this very solid release.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/lieinruins    http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/      




"Caveman Logic" CD & LP

(Svart Records)


I admit for many of the readers of Canadian Assault, largely made up of extreme metal followers, this may not be your cup of tea. But as soon as I seen hard rock and heard Bobby Liebling was in this, I guess super group my interest suddenly went from zero to sixty in under ten seconds. I am a longtime fan of course of Bobby’s main band Pentagram, which has been around off and on in various forms since the early 1970’s. The rest of this international super group only adds more intrigue with Sonny Vincent on of the storied decades old long punk rock band the Testors, Hugo Conim & Joao Pedro from Portugeuse doom metallers Dawnrider on guitar and drums respectively, and believe it or not bassist of The Stooges Jimmy Recca. I have to admit despite this being the proverbial super group tagline; the music does not feel as thrown together and loosely sewn together as these types of bands often are. The music here feels natural and organically created and performed with some excellent flow to the music. Bobby’s vocals, while his charismatic voice is certainly recognizable from his Pentagram material, the vocals here have a little different style and cadence. I am sure some of this is conscious effort to give Limit a little different vocal flavour from Pentagram, some of it is from the speed difference with Bobby being forced to speed up his delivery. Bobby cuts back on the drawn out words that suit doom over the middle to faster pace of the driving hard rock on this album. There is a contemporary edge to a lot of the music, but the lions share of the music, wonderfully in my view feels very classic seventies hard rock with some eighties influence here and there as well. The music is exceedingly energetic rock music where flow, catchy rhythms, memorable lyrics and choruses are the order of the day. It is all in service of good rocking songs with no thought or space given to the guitars to show-off histrionics or extended solos and the like. There are stretches when classic punk rock seeps in, but it is usually relatively subtle as the band effortlessly glides back and forth. I can not imagine fans of classic ‘70s hard rock and the music of the older members of the bands who would not really this enjoy record.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/TheLimitRock/    https://svartrecords.com/         




“Diabolical Omen Of Hell” CD, LP & MC

(Helter Skelter Prod / Regain Records)


Lord Mortvm is a new one man band from Norway and it is an interesting one. When I say new, I mean really new as this full-length is their debut recording and already a record deal. The music on here is heavy dark doom metal with stoner doom touches that is mixed with black metal and occult influenced metal in general. Yes, I know on paper and in theory mixing those genres together should result in an absolute musical train wreck. It is mildly shocking to me that this not only works, but it works really well. I guess in the right hands, with the right vision, and keeping the core roots of each of those genres seems to be the right modus operandi to create something quality. Some of the guitar on here features some fantastic classic doom licks and appetizing guitar fills that won me over. I would say traditional doom metal is the prominent base layer, but the stoner sound and the black metal atmosphere alongside sinister vocals is all well represented in the songwriting. Lord Mortvm is talented at creating an aura of audio darkness while at same time also expressing strong emotive feelings of oppressive sorrow and bleak gloom that is a hallmark of doom metal. I can definitely picture the listener in a dark room with reddish glow from a far off lamp, smoking a joint, chanting an incantation and welcoming Satan’s embrace. ‘Diabolical Omen Of Hell’ for me was a pretty satisfying mental journey that combines some of my favourite sounds, styles and eccentric dark feelings. I would have to recommend this to those who are possessed by the music of bands like Black Sabbath, Pentagram, early Mayhem, old Darkthrone, Electric Wizard, Orange Goblin, St. Vitus and the like.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/lordmortvm    https://regainrecords.bandcamp.com/album/diabolical  




“The Broken Seal” CD, Gatefold LP & Tape

(Dark Descent Records / Norma Evangelium Diaboli)


The shadowy and dangerous sounding Lvcifyre rise once again like dark fog out of the United Kingdom with their third album. This searing dyad is made up of active UG musicians guitarist/bassist/vocalist T. Kaos (Death like Mass, Sodality, ex-Hödur, ex-Sons of Serpent) and drummer Menthor (Bestia Arcana, Death like Mass, Enthroned, Epping Forest, Nightbringer, Voz de Nenhum). According the bio songwriter and main man Tom Kaos, despite some other releases along the way by the band, this album was seven hard fought years in the creation process and ‘the biggest mountain to climb so far’ in his many years as a musician. It is easy in some aspects to describe the bands sounds and in other aspects not so easy. The nucleus can be described as blackened death metal, but there is such a free flowing, spacious yet incredibly suffocating atmosphere and aura to the music. It is sort of like being covered in a huge wet audio blanket, shutting out all light and invoking a feeling of no escape. There is so much space for that gloomy ambiance to float, and wind its emotive self in between the simmering brutality that will suddenly pound you down. The growling vocals are great, they are so murky sounding as they transform and mutate between traditional deep growl, throaty dark whispering, some short expressive yelling outbursts, along with brooding and roiling growls. There are even obscured into the background sung/spoken word bits that remind me a little of something from the bands Root or Acheron “Rites Of The Black Mass” era. The music would not achieve it’s full effect, if those vocals did not possess the scope and range that they do as opposed to just straight up death growls. I am not saying Lvcifyre sound just like these bands, but all the same if you think you would like the idea of a very atmospheric, morose version of the earlier works of bands like Incantation, Morbid Angel, Immolation, Deicide, and some newer ones like Dead Congregation, Funebrarum then I think you will dig the hell out of this album.  - Dale

https://lvcifyre.bandcamp.com/    https://www.noevdia.com/    http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/     




"Monumental Ruin" CD, LP & MC

(Unspeakable Axe Records)


There is some interesting history to this Georgia band, and I am a sucker for band history trivia Haha. So Malformity was first birthed unto the UG scene way back in 1991 and released a couple demos over the next four years, before calling it quits. The two main members of the band from the start are Eric Snodgrass (bass & vocals) and Dan Ratanasit (guitar & vocals). Dan kicked around the scene in a couple bands like Amoebic Dysentery and Neuroblast, while Eric was even more active doing time in the bands Disillusioned, Vomit Froth, Eridian and more. Those two pillars of the band decided to revive Malformity in 2014, some twenty years later, bringing in Craig Vogel on drums and Glenn Sykes on guitars. Glenn’s name will likely ring a bell for some, he is a dual citizen of the USA and Sweden, Glenn has a long active history in the UG (going back to the start of the 1990s) in both countries having been in bands like General Surgery, Regurgitate, Coprophilia, Cardiovascular Sub-Hypothermia and more. Sykes himself in some ways reflects the music of this band, as it is a near faultless marriage of old school Floridian death metal and old school Swedish Sunlight death metal. I am big fan of both of those scenes and time periods, but Sweden during those earlier days of the genre for me is the pinnacle for my death metal worship. So it may be of little surprise that I enjoyed this long, long overdue debut album from Malformity. I am sure some newer dm fans will be expecting uber technicality, adventurous progressive song construction and/or all manner of outside of metal influences, and they will disappointed. Because what you do get much to my pleasure is skillfully written, proficiently executed high quality classic early/mid ‘90s death metal that is brutal and memorable. The dual growling from Eric and Dan are both deep, well done and differ just enough in tone to set each apart and play off each other nicely. As mentioned above the music is a wonderful mixing of old Swedish death metal and Floridian style that will have fans of the roots of genre howling and headbanging for more. That is what it did for me. Well done Gents.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Malformity    https://unspeakableaxerecords.bandcamp.com/        




“Krupinské Ohne” CD, LP & Cassette

(Invictus Productions / The Ajna Offensive)


Now I am a die hard for second wave black metal, of that there can be no doubt. But my heart and the black blood that comes out of it have a real soft spot for the early days of metal in the ‘80s and very early ‘90s with the first wave of black metal! It is clear listening to “Krupinské Ohne” that Malokarpatan also shares that same worship for those early days of musical darkness and evil. The band plays black metal without doubt and their musical heredity, to mine ears, stretch clearly to the ‘80s and the dawn of the ‘90s, and even as far back as the 1970s where black metal was deeply rooted in heavy metal. I can hear those wonderful influences from bands like Ancient Rites, Venom, Mortuary Drape, Mercyful Fate, Bulldozer, Infernal Majesty, Kat (Poland) and more. Also, more broadly speaking UG scenes like the early ‘90s Greek bm scene (ala Zemial, Varathron, Agatus, early Rotting Christ & Necromantia), more specifically a scene close to their homeland in the Czech Republic with awesome bands like the legendary Root and Master’s Hammer. This Slovak band is a mix of all those bands and styles, but the first wave itself was an malevolent, raw and dirty heavy metal base mixed with portions of speed & thrash metal alongside dashes of the darkest and meanest parts of punk rock even. I may even be imagining things, but I feel like I even detect whispers of ‘70s progressive hard rock. Either way, do not let that fool you, this is fucking dark music that is audio evil and possesses a great old days gloomy & sinister atmosphere I adore so much. The vocals are classic first wave as well with their shadowy obscure sounding sung, gruff growled voice, which is dripping with a wicked darkened echo-y quality. There are brief touches of non-traditional instrumentation worked into the tapestry of certain passages, usually in the embryonic stages of songs, before the wickedness of the heavy metal takes control and drives the song. This band is really interesting; they have a lot of depth and dimension to their sound, while always showing reverence for the old days of heavy metal and black metal, whilst never forgetting that is where the bands sound comes from. There is a lot of thought, feeling and devotion put into the playing and the song writing here. I am not sure if newer black metal fans and even the melododeath fans may find no joy here, as there are no pretty melodies around each bend, but those with a deep respect for the foundations of the earlier days of metal, heavy, black and all in between I think will appreciate this interesting and committed band.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/malokarpatan    https://invictusproductions.net/     




"Arcadian Witchcraft" CD & LP

(Hells Headbangers)


So until just a couple years ago, I had thought this band from Greece that I remember well from the mid to late ‘90s was no more. As it has turned out, after 20 years (!!) the band was revived and released an album in 2018. Now with ‘Arcadian Witchcraft’ the band is making a statement that they are here to stay and not just making a one-off reunion release. There are now just two of the original four members (Sirokous on vocals & Lord Apollyon on drums / keys) of the band, they have pared down to a trio, having added a hell of a great storied veteran member in Jim Mutilator on bass (founding and long time bassist in both Rotting Christ and Varathron!!). Just a coincidence that Jim left Rotting Christ as their softer, more melodic, more goth-y period was beginning? The music on here takes you on a real haunting and atmospheric black metal journey. Medieval Demon do employ quite a bit of synth, which is often not something I like in black metal (I normally prefer it only a supporting accent), but there are no catchy, folk-y, pretty melodies here, no they try to always keep the synth dark and sinister with a slight morbid or disturbing quality to it. That is not to say the traditional instruments do not play a strong part as they are prominent and there is some great freezing riffs, as well as skillful guitar nuances. The drums on here are commanding and powerful in the mix in a damned good way. The vocals of Sirokous especially these days feel very different and stand out as a bit unique because of it, at least to do to me. He sings with this clear, clean and deep charismatic voice that when melded together with a dark obscure sounding hissy / echo-y growl creates a pretty fantastic combination. These three veterans experience, dedication and songwriting craft, which they have honed over the decades really shines through on this evil and poignant quality black metal album.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/MedievalDemonOfficial/    http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/       




“Ominous Radiance" CD

(Unholy Prophecies)


Miasmal Sabbath is a somewhat mysterious triumvirate emanating out of Greece. They do not seem to put much out there about who they are, outside of having experience in past bands. There is much talk about punk and d’beat (Discharge) having a huge influence though. While I can definitely hear a some d’beat in the drumming at times, maybe more than at times actually, possibly it is more in the vocal delivery and playing feel that the punk comes in? Yes, I think I am getting to the heart of the matter with that thought process, the more I play this record. What I hear is some is some pretty killer loose ‘n dirty death metal that has this dark, doomy aura to it, which I find pretty satisfying to listen to. That punk laxness to the compositions and rough shot dbeating style definitely give Miasmal Sabbath a different feeling, than a lot of death metal bands. Some of the death metal influences I hear are things like Repulsion, Impetigo, Nihilist and the early works of Death, Obituary, Autopsy, Dismember and the like. As fast and raunchy as they often are, they are also project a sinister, gloomy atmosphere across it all and also manage wrap everything in a doom metal air whenever things do slow down. The vocals follow along with the music, as the main vocal is clear, but deep growling filled with aggression and emotion which fits the music like a glove. I was not sure what to make of this Greek triad at first, they take a variety separate styles that everyone has heard many times, but with "Ominous Radiance" have managed to combine them all into something very different sounding. The result of which approaches brilliance, while still leaving just enough room for future growth. What a debut album!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/miasmalsabbath    http://www.unholyprophecies.com/    




“Church Of Bones” CD

(Nine Records)


This is this young Polish bands second full-length release and the band features members from the secretive, studio only, veteran band Evangelist. Like the band it draws members from Monasterium play a classic doom and epic heavy metal mixture. I mean I would call them a doom metal band overall, but the epic heavy metal influences are strong and certain passages or songs end up crossing over into that style almost completely, before returning to the slow & heavy (both musically and emotionally) doom stronghold. Monasterium’s music has a very forlorn and affecting aura to it that I enjoy. The vocals of Michał Strzelecki have a heavy accent bleeding through his singing voice, which is something you would normally expect from Euro singers, but it seems like vocalists from foreign countries that sing English lyrics tend to try to hide their accent. Either that, or perhaps many just trying to sound like their influences, so they just naturally sing that way and the accent melts away, not sure, but in this case the Polish accent is quite prominent. This could be something that turns off some listeners, but honestly, for me it adds a certain element of uniqueness to his traditional doom heavy metal singing style. I am not going to going to say this is the best doom release in years or groundbreaking, but I will say this is a really solid, enjoyable doom record that fanatics and die hards of the genre should really dig quite a bit. I know I did and I look forward to this young bands next release.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/monasteriumdoom/    http://shop.nine-records.com/      




"Temple Of Flesh” CD EP

(Purity Through Fire)


Coming out of the United Kingdom's black metal scene is Morte Lune, whose ranks feature members from various bands (Thine, Blasphemer, Atra Mors, Ulfar, Written In Torment, Thy Dying Light, An Axis Of Perdition and more!).’Temple Of Flesh’ contains six songs of aggressive, icy second wave black metal darkness. The music is very well written and assembled with some extremely fast paced flowing guitar passages at it’s center. The guitarist does write and compose some slower patterns rhythms, even adding some solo's into a few songs. The vocals are a good mix of raw black metal raspy screams, some gruff yells and growls are used in a few of the songs. If you are looking for a new band, which combines satanic black metal with some finely crafted and composed music then be sure to pick up a copy of this disc as soon as possible.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/Purity-Through-Fire    https://shop.purity-through-fire.com        




"Mystik” CD

(I Hate Records)


This self-titled album is this Swedish bands debut after releasing a single demo tape prior to this, which must have been impressive in it’s own right to land them on the respected I Hate Records label. The band play heavy riffs and songs, but it is not raunchy and crushing heavy, it is much more controlled and vaguely subdued similar to the musical styles of bands like Warlord, Manilla Road, Omen, Stormwitch, Attacker, Cirith Ungol etc… Yes, it is great old school classic early to mid ‘80s heavy / speed metal worship, but done with an own vibe and presented with a superb modernized recording (courtesy of talented and experienced engineer / producer Magnus “Devo” Andersson of Marduk). I enjoy the high energy guitar solos / fills that add an injection of zest and energy into some of the songs ala a song like ‘Gallows Hill’, which really adds spice to their mainstay unrelenting (and headbang inducing) riffing speed machine. I dig the vocals on here they are belted out with a lot of ardor and a natural sounding feeling of when to elongate and accent certain words or the finish of sentence. These accompaniments add a lot emotion and a level of dynamics, which sticks with you, as do the infectious choruses, making the songs more memorable and enjoyable. It is cool on the song ‘Lake of Necrosis’ where vocalist Julia von Krusenstjerna sings a combination of Swedish and Enligsh lyrics, it is how it changes up her style slightly having put different emphasis on the Swedish phrasing. I enjoyed that and hope they do a little more of that in the future. I should mention the drum work here, performed by Sven Nilsson (Antichrist, Eviscerated), as it is really solid supports the guitar & vocal feature attractions in tasteful and competent fashion. If you are a devotee of early to mid 1980s heavy / speed metal, especially the American bands of that era, you should enjoy the hell out of this debut record. Sweden is keeping this hallowed art going strong with Mystik leading the way!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Mystikswe/    http://www.ihate.se/         




"Styggdom” CD

(Osmose Productions)


This band Norge band has been around apparently since 2010, but did not start releasing anything until just over 2 years ago for some reason. “Styggdom” is Nattverd's second full length and first for the legendary Osmose Productions. The album contains eight tracks of traditional, cold Norwegian black metal similar to the mid 90's era. The guitars are played with icy cold patterns, which for the most part are aggressive and fast riffing arrangements. The guitarist does slow to a more calm, mid pace style throughout some of the songs, before going to a more crazed fast tempo. The vocals are grim black metal screams and screeches that fit well. This is my first encounter with Norway's Nattverd, but I hope to hear more music from this Norweigan black metal band.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/nattverdofficial    https://www.osmoseproductions.com       




“Vandring" CD & LP

(Osmose Productions)


Norway's Nattverd return with a brand new release continuing the rich traditional Norse black metal style that was they have become known for over the last decade. But on “Vandring” the band seems to incorporate some cryptically epic and atmospheric elements into the music this time around. The musicians still keep the music in the traditional cold and hateful realm, but do add more melody and again epic flowing elements into their songwriting. The vocals are grim black metal screams and screeches that are spat out with a powerful delivery; the vocalist uses some deeper gruff growls and screeches in a few of the songs. The musicians never really slow down too much even when the music goes more to the atmospheric areas of their sound which I like. It seemed a lot of bands in the early 00's dropped the cold black metal style, and went all atmospheric and lame. But that is not the case here. Nattverd have incorporated both styles into their grim music to forge a great release that is recommended to fans of quality black metal.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/nattverdofficial/    https://osmoseproductions.bandcamp.com/     




“Sob o Feitiço do Necrobode” CD & LP

(Iron Bonehead Records)


Necrobode is a band of black death metal zombies from Portugal, compelled to hunt you down to the ends of the earth to eat your flesh and steal your souls. This is my first listen to Necrobode with this album, the bands debut full-length. This release is filled with chunky ‘n heavy, gear grinding bitingly evil riffing and barbarous drum work that will beat you into submission. I think of Necrobode’s music as being executed at Michael Myers speed. Like Myers it walks at a brisk pace, taking long deadly strides yet never running or rushing, just coming for you endlessly, tirelessly hunting you down. That is not to say there is no speed variation at all, but this bands tempo cadence and musical gate vary only ever so slightly in either direction of slower and faster. Their mainstay pace is always the same; it is for me, both pleasingly hypnotic and wholly menacing, all at the same time. The vocals mimic the music, rarely changing, but relentlessly present in their much obscured combination of barking yell and husky, ominous whispery growl. Like the music the vox are quite hypnotic and rhythmic, yet threatening in their ever unchanging fearsome and undecipherable form. This music may not be varied enough, or slick enough or melodious enough for some black death metal fans, but that is okay this is not meant for you. It is for die hards of filthy, raw black death metal who enjoy an evil, old school suffocating atmosphere summoned straight from the pits of hell itself. I look forward to more from this band in future.  - Dale

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/    https://ironbonehead.de/     




"Dogme el Rituel de la Haute Magie” CD & LP

(Helter Skelter / Regain Records)


This is a one man band from Greece, and that one man is Echetleos (Caedes Cruenta, Ithaqua, Kawir, Opus Magorum, Walpurgia plus more) who is obviously a well known figure in the UG scene. This is the bands debut release and I believe this was first released as a demo on cassette, and now Helter Skelter & Regain Records have combined to release this on disc and vinyl. The music on here is total old school first wave style black metal, slower to middle paced, very atmospheric music that just bleeds audio darkness in a chilling yet hypnotic and ritualistic fashion. Some influences I hear are Necromantia, Varathron, Mortuary Drape, early Grand Belial’s Key, early Ancient Rites, and even King Diamond (especially on the epic fifteen minute title track) believe it or not. There is absolutely no getting around the Necromantia influence comparison on the ten plus minute song “Necromantical Ritual”, none, I mean this track sounds like a long lost and unreleased Necromantia recording from the early to mid ‘90s. So is that a problem for me? Absolutely not I fucking worship old Necromantia and that style, it is amazing, well done and captures that sound and spirit so completely, it is both frightening and invigorating for me to listen to. Necromantical Invocation most definitely keep the classic Greek bm traditions alive here. Both epic length songs are wrapped around with an intro / outro combination, and both sound quite different from one another, which I suppose could be a positive or negative depending upon your tastes. I really hope we hear more from this one man band in the not too distant future.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/necromanticalinvocation    https://regainrecords.bandcamp.com/       




“In Chaos Ascend” CD & LP

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


This new Swedish band is a trio that includes Tommy Carlsson on Vocals & Guitar, Jocke Svensson (Birdflesh & Skogen) on bass and Martin Michaelsson on drums. As well these men have history together from the long running band Entrails; all three were in that band and seem to have all left at the same time, possibly to form Necrophagous for all I know. Something else they all have in common I would say is they are fans of old school American death metal, primarily from the early to mid nineteen nineties period of this magnificent genre. Some band influences surely are Suffocation, Morbid Angel, Dying Fetus, Immolation, Cannibal Corpse, Broken Hope, Malevolent Creation, Deicide and the like. They keep this traditional sound alive and well here with this record. The music is fucking brutal with those chunky guitars and riffs, which vary from pure pulsating pummel to adroit speed with some tasty little rhythms to add some spice. The drumming is commanding and powerful, keeping that backbone strong with some help from bassist Jocke. Tommy Carlsson nails those old traditional US death metal growling vocals with a demonic cadence nicely, it sounds like he is ripping his throat to shreds in the process. Yes, it is some retro worship, but everyone has their influences they are passionate about and some wear it on their sleeves more often than not. But when this traditional style is done this well and gets me headbanging like ‘In Chaos Ascend’ has managed to do, I am all about it.  - Dale

https://necrophagous.bandcamp.com/    https://transcendingUSmerch.com/    https://tometal.com/   




“Nefarious Dusk” CD, LP & MC

(Purity Through Fire)


Hrafn is the mastermind behind the great Nefarious Dusk who release their self-titled second album through the well respected label Purity Through Fire. Hrafn is one very busy and productive man in the British UG scene as he is also in the bands Helvellyn, Morte Lune, Skiddaw, Thy Dying Light, Torver, Úlfarr and more past and present! I wasn't fortunate to hear the debut release, but this self-titled release consists of ten tracks of cold hateful black metal intensity. The music is delivered with a mix of extremely fast passages and some slower mid paced patterns that are done with skill and a great writing ability. There is also an epic flowing quality to the music despite being so frosty and bitter at the same time. The vocals are delivered with raw raspy black metal screams and screeches. If you are looking for a release that is uncompromising black metal then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the self-titled release today.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/nduk666    https://www.facebook.com/Purity-Through-Fire      




“Black Metal Hordes” CD

(Plague Demon Records / Blasphemous Creations Of Hell Records)


‘Black Metal Hordes’ is the debut release from California's Nekcrium, which is a re-release of their debut (and only) album that was released over a decade ago with an extremely limited release. As you can see above this is a joint release through Plague Demon and Blasphemous Creations Of Hell, both American labels from the high north and the deep south. The band plays a brand of grim and unrelenting black metal similar to the mid 1990's elder gods of the bm scene. Each musician on this album knows how to create and write some good music with their own individual instrument; for the most part the music is played with raw and fast passages. The vocals are raw black metal screams and some deeper gruff screams are also used throughout a few of the songs. If you are a fan of well delivered and performed traditional black metal then be sure to pick up a copy of this forgotten and under appreciated release.  - Patrick

https://plaguedemonrecords.bandcamp.com/    https://bchrecords.storenvy.com/     




"Witches Funeral” CD

(The Sign Records)


Now, it's time for some thrashy Black Metal, I guess. A catchy type of raucous, so far. It sounds like mischievous raccoons scurrying around fibrous tree trunks on a moonlit night. The songs have a tight structure yet have a deliberate sloppiness stemming from (or around) their core - to make the overall atmosphere feel lively and present. They have that "controlled chaos" aspect, I'd say. A little off kilter but masterfully gliding along the left hand path - with a smirking knowing wink, no doubt. A raw touch of the diabolical with a seemingly aloof panache. I like the two different guitar patterns going on much of the time (left and right variations - complimenting each other). Keeps things interesting. Quality deviltry, here...or pseudo-deviltry? Either way...it's pretty enjoyable. Oh...wow. Just as I was about to end this review, I heard a familiar song beginning. It's a cover of Slayer's "Angel of Death". Not bad. Not great...but not retch-worthy, either. Seems a bit out of place, though. Two more songs to go. Back to the more impassioned style of their own. Yeah, this is some fine work, here. Recommended.  - Anders

https://www.facebook.com/nekrokraft/    http://thesignrecords.com/       




“Visions Of Trismegistos" CD, LP & Cassette

(Hells Headbangers / Indie Records)


After a nine year slumber Norway's old school thrash maniacs Nekromantheon return with a brand new release. Some of the members have been active in the meantime as members of great bands like Obliteration, Black Viper, Flight and Audiopain. ‘Visions Of Trismegistos’ is the bands third full-length release in the last eleven years and features eight songs of intense and ferocious thrash metal mayhem. The guitars are played with skill and extremely aggressive guitar patterns and riffs. For the most part the guitars are played with insane and chaotic speed passages, but the guitarist does write some slower memorable passages even adding in some well written solo's. The vocals are traditional thrash metal screams that are delivered with tremendous power and intensity. If you are looking for a band that brings it with relentless old school  thrash metal then look no further then Nekromantheon.  - Patrick

https://nekromantheon.bandcamp    https://indierecordings.no/    http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/      




“Reborn / Resurrection / The Calm Before The Storm…” Compilation Cassette Album

(Eternal Darkness Creations)


This is a compilation release of a few of this malevolent and depraved Texas bands many ep’s, which were released over the last couple of years by the long running (many years before cassettes became cool again) cult UG tape label Eternal Darkness Creations. E.D.C. is ran by the notorious grey bearded metal goat (full disclosure Keith is one of my very long time, as in 3 decades time, best friend) Keith Dempe. I have reviewed all of these N.O.C.O. releases, and more in CA previously, so I will keep the actual review somewhat brief as it will just be me repeating myself. N.O.C.O. as hinted at above is prolific in their release history, most being short ep’s, but they have progressed and morphed their sound in a brief time. A lot of their early sound and influences came from hardcore / crust styles, as they continued to evolve those elements became almost non-existent in their newer material. Some wisps of their scathing metal influences remain, but they pop in and out of listening view in quite fleeting fashion, yet still leaving an indelible mark on the coarse & caustic disturbing atmosphere that is almost always present. In my opinion, the music is largely centered on Paul’s scathing, acidic vocals and the samples, both of which are often heavily manipulated in some form or fashion. This is achieved with a barrage of quick edited bits of those elements embroidered into a collage of deviant auditory aural sensations. It is not an easy or comfortable listen, it is in your face and abrasive, and if you like that sort of thing you will find this an interesting, at times infectious listen. I guarantee you Keith from E.D. Creations makes the absolute best and most creative tape layouts in the UG scene! These things fold out in every direction, the cover itself is a small booklet with all of the covers of collected releases on here like a front cover booklet, then there is a slipcase design over top of the cassette case and a banner band/strap that you slide off just to get the slipcase off. It is a fucking brilliant design concept and Keith is a legend that deserves your support!!  - Dale

$5 US to: Eternal Darkness Creations at c/o Keith Dempe, P.O. Box 268, Coraopolis, PA. 15108, USA  keithdempe@gmail.com       




“Atmospheres Of Desolation” CD & LP

(Blood Harvest / Helter Skelter Productions)


Denver, Colorado’s Noctambulist are a fairly new death metal band. ‘Atmosphere Of Desolation’ in fact is the bands debut release, which features six songs of fast and heavy death metal music. The vocals are low and deep growls, though the vocalist does add some gruff screams in some spots in a few of the songs. I have to say these are best vocals I have heard in quite a while and fit the music perfectly. The music is weighty and powerful with some heavy drum patterns that are both extremely chaotic and fast, but do slow down to a mid paced drum style throughout a few of the tracks. The guitars are done in the same vein with some very well written and performed patterns that are mainly played with a lot of speed. The guitarist does add some very well played solos and nicely placed within the bands music. If you are looking for a new with a lot of potential then you should definitely be sure this release out, surely there will be some good things to come from this young band.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/noctambulist303/    https://helterskelterproductions.bandcamp.com     




"The Barren Form" CD, LP & MC

(Willowtip Records)


Creeping on up from the densely forested pits of Denver, Colorado is Noctambulist with their sophomore album and first on the excellent Willowtip Records. The individual members have been kicking around the Colorado scene for quite some time, doing time currently or previously in bands like Nicaraguan Death Squad, Cordyceps, Despise The Sun, Burn The Fleet, Twatrot, Expurgate and more. They play blackened and brutal semi-technical death metal with a high degree of polished musicianship. Their style is interesting despite them always keep things dark and very brutal, there are also numerous sequences smoothly mixed in that are very depressive, moody and brooding. Which when combined tends to create an intriguing, discordant emotive misery blend that is quite striking and appealing to me. The vocals of Sean McConnell are excellent deep growls that expand and contract expressing a lot of anger and rage, but also manage to mimic the depths of despair you can feel from the music. It is this strange alluring yet also disturbing mix of fury and despondency. It took me a few listens before this album went from a dark death metal album to something deeper than that as the top layers peeled back for me. I have not heard their debut album, but this second offering is something to behold if you are brave enough to really embrace it’s joy draining grasp.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/noctambulist303    https://willowtip.bandcamp.com/       




Entity” CD

(Unspeakable Axe Records)


This is the second full-length album from this Chicago band; they have been releasing material (two demos, a couple EPs & a split CD) since 2012. I am a little disappointed it took me this long to catch on to them. Because they play great old school heavy & mammoth metal of death, with a great sci-fi concept enveloping everything from the great cover artwork, to the lyrical content and bleeding into the music itself. When speaking of this little sub-genre, it is hard not to include Nocturnus in the mix when talking Sci-fi death metal, in this case conceptually the answer is yes. But, I would say Nucleus actually sounds different enough from especially early Nocturnus, and their vicious speed and heavy synth use makes it is hard to mention them as an influence. However, surely bands like Timeghoul (who I was a pretty big fan of early ‘90s when I tape traded for their demos), Demilich for sure musically, it is also hard not to think of early Immolation, Adramalech, Rippikoulu, Purtenance, Abhorrence, Demigod and a touch of later day Gorguts at times too. The music and the dense roiling growls on this album remind me to another old fave Convulse as well. None of those influences are a bad thing, I am a big fan of all the bands I have named, and Nucleus has managed to put their own touch on that sound. It is clear these guys love the early to mid ‘90s Finnish death metal scene, and who can blame them it was a great time for death metal in that country. The speeds vary slightly, as do song structuring changes, which morphs enough to keep things interesting. But the speed generally speaking, stays in the middle tempo range, with brief slow and quicker accents that serve to manipulate the listeners emotional spikes. Every now and then, there are even some tasty guitar fills, but it is kept to a minimum as the boys make sure the overall dark, sinister atmosphere is nurtured and maintained throughout. This is a quality about them I appreciate very much. “Entity” without a doubt is one of the better death metal albums I have heard in the last couple years, and I hear a lot of them!  - Dale

https://unspeakableaxerecords.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/nucleusmetal/       




“Red Is The Color Of Ripping Death” CD, LP & Tape

(Hells Headbangers Records)


Unholy shit Nunslaughter return with their first full-length album in ages! I am so, so damn stoked for this thing. I am tempted to write an entire essay on how great the sadly departed drummer Jim Sadist is, who I was lucky enough to get to know a bit personally and even hang out with, but I will try to refrain. I will instead quote the bio who sum things up well in a briefer manner than I could “…at long last, the band's first album in seven years. Many are still mourning the loss of legendary drummer Jim Sadist (RIP), and while Red is the Color of Ripping Death is their first full-length without him playing on it, some of the 14 songs contained herein are unfinished / unrealized music that Jim and founding frontman Don of the Dead wrote years ago”. So, the patented black blood sadistic death metal the band is revered for is alive and well, surging and roiling along in classic fashion and this particular devotee of the band is exceptionally jubilant about it all. It also conjures up so many good memories connected to this band and it’s music. Don’s pipes are in fine form as his wonderfully gurgling and acidic growls, screams and howls creep into my ears and into my body into through violent headbanging gyrations. New or at least recently (you know you are an old goat when call 5 years new Haha) drafted drummer Wrath has a tighter, more technically precise style that is forceful and powerful. It definitely contrasts to an extent with Jim Sadists drumming that had more of, for lack of a better term organic and natural feeling, where the spirit of the music seemed flow through his sticks. While I do prefer Jim’s style a little more, the drumming here still kicks some ass and conveys the diabolic character of the music more than well enough. While there is little doubt in my mind during his 20 years in the band that Jim Sadist put his stamp heavily on Nunslaughter and indelibly changed and improved the music of the band, it is equally true that the true essence and heart of the band is Don of The Dead, who was there from the formation of this band nearly 35 (!!!) years ago. No matter whom Don recruits to join his blasphemic musical horde, it will always be Nunslaughter and it will always be truly great, uncompromising and evil metal of death, devil metal to the fucking core!  - Dale

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