ESKHATON

“Omegalitheos” CD

(Lavadome Productions)

 

Australia’s Eskhaton return with their third full length ‘Omegalitheos’, which features fourteen songs of aggressive and heavy death metal. The guitars are done mainly with extremely fast and well written patterns. The guitars are not all aggression and speed all the time, as the guitarist does slow to a mid paced tempo with some excellent passages and even adds some solos throughout the songs. The drummer is equally as vicious and chaotic with his performance; he is rapid fire with the blast beats though he does catch a breath with some slower paced patterns here and there. If you enjoyed Eskhaton’s previous releases then do yourself a favor and check out ‘Omegalitheos’ today.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/eskhaton666    http://www.lavadome.org  

 

 

EXCUSE

“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    

 

 

EXPULSER

"The Unholy One” CD, LP & Cassette

(Greyhaze Records)

 

Expulser are a heavy, thrash metal band coming to us out of the Brazilian metal scene. “The Unholy One” was originally released in 1992, but here it has been remastered this reissue with full liner notes and also the “Fornications” ep as a bonus on here. The guitar work on this record is executed with a lot of skill, and ability to write and construct some excellent classic heavy metal anthems. The vocals are old school gruff growling and some blackened screechy screams are spread throughout all the songs on here. If you missed out on this classic release the first time around, as many of us did, then definitely check out this unearthed gem of blackened heavy metal art today.  - Patrick

https://www.greyhazerecords.com/          

 

 

EXXXEKUTIONER

“Death Sentence” CD

(Ulthar Records)

 

This is my first go ‘round with the British band Exxxekutioner, who fire off a strafing audio experience of wicked thrashing speed metal, with a small dash of punk crossover vibe in there as well. This is all done in the olden tradition and you can hear the early German and American thrash influences abounding on this snappy 24 minute release. The first listen through, I was punch drunk on the blitzkrieg pace and explosive energy. I thought to myself this is pretty amazing stuff, okay, so maybe that feeling dwindled a bit upon repeat listens. But, I only consider that as a very slight caveat, as I really got into this mini-album and every spin it makes me fucking headbang and that is a good thing! The riffing is super heavy, and as catchy as the common cold, almost exclusively played at breakneck speeds with rapid fire pounding drum whirlwinds to match. This is all backed with some gruff yelled vocals that have this slight whispering, rasping edge to them that brings a certain darkness to the bands sound. Another thing I love about the band, and the music is a real old school attitude that just drips off this recording clearly fuelled by spikes, bullet belts, leather jackets, cigs and booze! Okay, so there is nothing utterly amazing or groundbreaking on this record, and you have heard it before. But, it is so well done; almost perfectly capturing that old magic! It is enjoyable the spin they put on old style thrash speed metal, and it is just a fun listen for real goats like me who lived through this period and height of this style, those who like and respect that description should make sure to add to this musical grenade to their collection.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Exxxekutioner/    https://ultharrecords.bandcamp.com/     

 

 

FIRTAN

“Okeanos” CD

(Art of Propaganda Records)

 

Hailing from Southern Germany, Firtan bring us a truly immersive experience of a pagan/folk black metal album in Okeanos. Now, I can't swim worth a damn, and in fact have had several near-drowning experiences, but this album makes me feel like I can brave the most tumultuous of currents. I gain a sort of tranquility listening to it that makes me believe I can confidently drift through its abyss and come out changed, yet unscathed. The first track, "Seegang", is an experience akin to this: an exercise in the push and pull between stillness and the tide that feels more like symbiosis than combat. As you wade into the next track, "Tag Verweil", the pace quickens almost dramatically but still returns to an acoustic moment around the 4-minute mark that illustrates the welcome possibility of calm before the next towering wave of kinetic energy. Most of Okeanos continues thusly, with exceedingly well-crafted melodies guiding the listener through different movements within each track, persistently enveloping said listener into moments of beauty that develop into dark yet grand statements of marine omnipotence. I contend that "Nacht Verweil" does this especially well with the addition of violin during the mid-section of the track, bringing an additional layer of heightened emotive expression into the serene mix that builds into an epic, electrifying section of grisly guitars that shock the listener out of their previous lull. While this construction does get a little predictable over the course of the album, it is still absolutely gorgeous to behold. Each track (aside from "Purpur", which is a quieting interlude) approaches the bare bones of this song composition but develops fresh themes for it and ultimately becomes a new experience for the audience. If you are familiar with the conventions of black metal, the earthy roots (whether found in frigid or fertile soil) and the otherwise obscure trappings of the genre (putting the black in black metal), then you will have absolutely no obstacles in recognizing the splendor of Okeanos. What have you got to lose? Let Firtan teach you how to swim.  – Aaron

https://www.facebook.com/Firtanofficial    http://www.aoprecords.de/  

 

 

FROSTHELM

"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/      

 

 

GOATHAMMER

"Ceremony Of Morbid Destruction” CD, LP & Tape

(Hells Headbangers Records)

 

Being that I am of Canadian descent, even though I moved from there long ago. I spent the first 23 years of my life in Canada and it is always a source for pride for me, to find and support good UG bands from my homeland. Now, having said that, some of the bands I have reviewed from there in recent times have been just okay, and nothing overly notable. Will that change with this release, let’s dig in and find out. Goathammer definitely have some influences that immediately stand out for me including their countrymen Blasphemy, as well as early Beherit, Ungod and Profanatica yet they do take it some subtle, and not so subtle directions those bands do not. The band definitely plays a very grimy, sadistic form of warring black/death metal, but at the same time they are prone semi-regularly to…I don’t want to say melodic parts, let’s more musical sections than the bands I named above, mixed within the chaos and high velocity violence. They never stop the sickness and brutality, but they do add those accents above coupled with some good brief somewhat frenzied guitar fills and solos without ever really being one (Okay, okay the one at the end of the second track “Invoking…” that is a fucking solo haha). All of which, as devout followers of those bands, who I mentioned as influences can tell you are not normal elements of this style. But, as I said they do never soften up or take away or sacrifice the evil necro atmosphere or the cruelty of the blackened death metal foundation their music is built upon. It is nice to review a new Canadian band putting out their debut album that I can really get behind and support got a change. Check this out and continue to watch for Hells Headbangers to search out and find all bands in the scene that have one word names ending in (Death, Goat…)hammer. :)  - Dale

https://goathammer-canada.bandcamp.com/    http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/          

 

 

GOREGӒNG

“Neon Graves” CD & LP

(Transending Obscurity Records)

 

Lately there has been a deluge of death metal releases that cover all the forms of my favorite style of metal, but that makes it difficult for bands to stand out from the pack. We’re in an age where a perfect production can be had for not a lot of money, and musicians’ chops are better developed than ever before. Goregӓng does an exceptional job of delivering real death metal the way it is meant to be played – heavy, well-written, vicious, and musically varied enough to keep the listener from being bored. From the opening track, I was met with a barbaric onslaught of sound, well-recorded but not overly sanitized, delivering a punked-up old school sound along the lines of Autopsy meets Celtic Frost meets Ghoul meets chainsaw-style death metal from Scandinavia (although they tone down the chainsaw to where it almost sounds just like a normal downtuned distorted guitar). The most important thing to me was the thickness of the sound on the recording – death metal should sound big, bad, and monolithic, and Goregӓng pulls it off well. Not to mention the sick-ass mid-paced riffs in many of the songs that induce headbang-whiplash with an immediacy rarely encountered in metal today. The vocals are also refreshing, being varied and ultimately vile all the way around. From pukes to growls and gutturals to – gasp – gang vocals in the band’s namesake song, the tones and patterns the vocalist uses are always entertaining, and they punctuate the rhythm section as well as complement the songwriting. This one gets high marks from me, and any metalist that worships at the feet of old death will dig this shit.  - Andrew

https://www.facebook.com/goregang    https://tometal.com/   

 

 

GRABUNHOLD

“Unter Dem Banner Der Toten” MCD & 12” MLP

(Iron Bonehead Records)

 

Grabunhold are a four man black metal band coming out of Germany. “Unter Dem Banner Der Toten” is the bands debut release, which features three full-length songs and an instrumental track. The music is performed with a good balance of mid paced material and some faster, more aggressive black metal sections. There is some really quality in the often well written and performed guitar work on this mini album. The vocals are grim black metal screams and some deeper gruff growls are also in well used in a few of the songs. Grabunhold play a style of black metal, to my ears, which is very similar to a lot of the bands in the mid-‘90s style that displays some really skilled musicianship.  - Patrick

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

 

 

GRAVES

"Liturgia Da Blasfemia” CD & LP

(Iron Bonehead Records)

 

Graves are a new a new band coming out of Portugal’s black metal scene and play a primitive old school style. The guitar work is performed with a mix of fast and crazed guitars, along with some slower mid paced sections. While the guitars are played with rough chords and patterns, there are some extremely well written and played rhythmic patterns. The vocals are extremely grim black metal screams and some death growls used throughout the recording. They even use some clean vocals in a few songs that add another element to the bands sound and style. If you are a fan of old school black metal with a raw and primeval production vibe then definitely be sure to put a copy of Liturgia Da Blasfemia when it is released.  - Patrick

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

 

 

GRAVEVIEW

“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/          

 

 

HATH

“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     

 

 

HELLISH

“The Spectre Of Lonely Souls” CD

(Unspeakable Axe Records)

 

For those not in the know, Unspeakable Acts is an imprint label, under the mighty Dark Descent Records. It is where they indulge mainly in their love of old thrash and thrash mixed with black and death metal. Hellish are from Chile and thrash to the fucking hilt they are! These guys put their foot on the gas and rip shit up, in an extreme ‘80s thrash metal manner flaying your skin and peeling the paint off the walls, with their vicious sonic attack! I can definitely hear some early influences from bands like Exodus, Razor, early Death Angel, Destruction, Kreator, Sodom etc… They have some great killer melodies injected into the speedy riffing, and it is an exclamation point, when they hit one of those blazing short frantic guitar solos. The vocals are classic thrash screams, but they possess influences of the gruff classic mainstay style, with hints dripping down the edges of black metal rasping and a slight death metal growl. Yet, those vocals in the sub-genre’s tradition always stay very decipherable, where you can make out everything being sung just fine. Now comes my only nitpick, and I am usually not that picky with regards to the recording, I mean the production overall is decent, but everything could be a little beefier and heavier, but it is the drums I have an issue with most. Do you know when you hear a song that has been ripped into mp3 at terrible quality setting like 112 or 128 kbps? Where everything gets really tinny and has slight high pitched whine sound, thankfully that is not present on everything here but when the drummer hits the cymbals, which is often, it sounds like that big time. That is the only nitpicky thing I can say about an otherwise great old school thrash metal album! South America proves once again to me at least, it possesses probably one of the top 5 best extreme UG scenes in the world in recent years!! Get this if you love thrash metal done the ancient way.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Hellishchile    http://www.unspeakableaxerecords.com   

 

 

HELLVETRON

“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   

 

 

THE HERETICS FORK

“Tormentore” CD

(P2 Records)

 

It seems like very little is known about The Heretics Fork, something that seems to be very much by design. Which often makes one wonder if it is members from bigger bands that do not want to be officially affiliated with the style this side band plays or they could just be extremely private guys I suppose, I could understand it if that was the case. So let’s get on to the music, which is what they want us to focus on here. ‘Tormentore’ is the bands debut record featuring eight songs of intense and brutal metal, with influences from both the ‘90s US brutal scene and newer brutal dm bands. The vocals are low, guttural growls that fit the bands style very nicely. The guitar work is done with a mix of both slower and heavier guitar patterns, but there is plenty of extremely fast and vicious guitar chords. If you are a fan of bands like Mortician, Devourment, Brodequin etc… then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of ‘Tormentore’ as soon as it is released.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/p2loggia    http://p2omerta.blogspot.com/   

 

 

HERMÓÐR

"Rovdjur & Northern Might” Digipak CD

(Wolfspell Records)

 

Surprisingly, to me at least, this is the first time I am listening to this Swedish one man band. As this Rafn since 2012 has released no less than seven full-length’s and over twenty ep’s, splits and a demo! I mean talk about having a seemingly inexhaustible well of creativity, not to even mention time invested recording and releasing it all. This release represents two ep’s Hermóðr have released this year, combined into this one disc, previously only available digitally. There are only two songs on this release, yet the total run time is around the 35 minute mark! As you can tell they are both very epic tracks. Hermóðr play a very flowing, long form style of black metal that is both extremely atmospheric and depressive, but in a longing somber fashion, not in the wallowing in suicidal depression sense of depressive black metal term. The music is pretty sparse with one long gracefully flowing riff played continuously in a very monotonous style. Which sounds like a negative, but it is quite the opposite for me, as it is a majestic quality somewhat melodic riff in each song that mentally carries you on a journey. There are some slight change ups, used sparsely, as well as some secondary guitar or synth accents also quite meagerly employed strictly as accent support for the main riff. The drumming is also very low key, again subtle, but a well timed counterpoint for the winding stream that is the great main riff. These two releases are nearly instrumentals, though there are some excellent obscure yelling rasps in “Northern Might”, which may remind you of a more subdued version of the vocals on early Burzum releases. Actually, I think you could say a lot of the music on here is like the early Burzum, especially the longer epic sections with a little more emphasis on atmosphere. Everything here is well done, but I do suppose you may have to be in the right sort of reflective, meditative mindset to truly enjoy this release as I was and did. The cover artwork is very fitting, the music on here makes me think of one of my pleasures, which is standing and staring or strolling through mysterious misty mountain landscapes. This is not hard for me to imagine personally, as I live on in the valley on a mountain with multiple mountain peaks closely surrounding my home and are often covered in mist and fog. But the great music on this disc makes me mentally feel like I am the mist caressing and flowing around this magnificent darkly imposing creation of mother earth. Since I have only heard these two epic songs from Hermóðr, I have a hard time imagining this man creating an album full of short songs. But, that is apparently exactly what he does on his albums, so I am very much looking forward to finding out what that is like very soon as I have some catching up to do!  - Dale

https://hermodr.bandcamp.com/    https://www.wolfspellrex.com/       

 

 

HOBOS

"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/      

 

 

IMPRECATION

"Damnatio Ad Bestias” CD

(Dark Descent Records)

 

My history as an Imprecation listener goes back a long, long way. It stretches back to the early/mid ‘90s, when I was an avid tape trader (I had regular traders all over the globe) I traded for the bands “Ceremony Of The Nine Angles” 1992 demo tape. I was getting so much stuff back in those times, it took a really good band to stand out for me, which Imprecation did with their distinctive brand of blackened death metal just dripping with atmosphere. I have been a fan of Imprecation’s early works ever since. Imprecation was active from ’91 to ‘95ish(?) I want to say, and then as many old bands do they reformed around 2009. I must confess having said all of that, I have not followed the re-incarnation of the band as closely as the original incarnation, of which two original members remain, that being the vocalist and drummer / keyboardist yet the band sounds very much today like they did back then. So, also not to worry when you see keyboards, they are no where near wall to wall and are used as a sparsely, used as an accent for added atmosphere which, in my opinion, this is the only way they should be used in extreme metal. The music on this release is damn good, dark & sinister death metal that drips with a gloomy, necro aura alternating with speedy tempos and gloomy slower sections. The vocals of this band courtesy of Dave Herrera (Christ Dismembered, ex-Bahimiron) are that evil roiling ‘n broiling growl with that certain tonal charisma underneath, which only a small percentage of death metal vocalists just naturally possess in their voice. Yeah, the vocals fucking kill…period! Which, then in turn helps result in a tremendous record that I am proud to place in collection, alongside their now classic compilation album Theurgia Goetia Summa. Die hards that love dark death metal done in the ancient tradition need to get this as soon as possible.  - Dale

https://imprecation666.bandcamp.com/    http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/      

 

 

IN HELL

"Satanica Mundi” CD

(Mystyk Productions)

 

Billed by the label as death/black metal, In Hell sounds like a band coming into its own sound by fits and starts. At times they remind me of Diabolic or Monstrosity, especially in the blast-beaten, Floridian-inspired sections of their songs. Vader comes to mind as well, with the amount of super-fast alternate picking they do over certain rhythms. They add a bit of melody here and there with a few freezing black metal riffs that do not detract from the heaviness - this is essentially a death metal band playing with diverse influences. The vocals excel at being monstrous, and weirdly enough remind me a little of Abhorrence/old Amorphis vocals - sick, low, gurgly, yet with good diction, with a more hurried and spastic delivery. Occasionally an impressive (because that shit ain’t easy to do, trust me) super-high scream is added, along the lines of the singer from Razor - a shriek which Dani Filth from CoF has emulated time and again, just so you know what sound I’m describing. Often the band plays what I affectionately call “circular riffs,” which means you can easily windmill-headbang to them, hair whipping like fuckin’ crazy! Or in my case, just my head. I’m fuckin’ bald. While France may be more notable for its contributions to black metal overall, there are quite a few excellent death metal bands active there right now, and this is one of them.  – Andrew Parrish

https://www.facebook.com/inhellofficialband    http://www.mystykprod.com/       

 

 

IPV

“Extermination Camp” Cassette EP

(Doomday’s Today Records)

 

Are you a fan of crazy noise (or as sometimes referred to as noise core) in the vein of Agathocles, Unholy Grave or Anal Cunt? If yes, then you will probably like IPV then because they are right up that up the same anal cavity, maybe a touch sloppier and looser though, but still very similar. There are a few other bands that I am tempted to cite as influences to give you a better idea of their sound, but I hesitate, as outside the first song on here those other bands have heavier death metal sounding guitars and mix in bigger doses of dm and grindcore into their noise. I do like listening to stuff like this once and while, but not often, it can definitely be an acquired taste, even for extreme UG metal fans to get into. But, if you do like powerviolence and noise with some grind thrown in to the musical tornado you might want to check out this tape. The packaging and everything, as always with Doomsday’s Today is top notch and professional looking. Feel free to send orders of physical copies of this tape to either of the following: Doomsday Today Records, Eternal Darkness Creations, c/o Keith Dempe, PO Box 268, Coraopolis, PA. 15108 and also thru Ralph's Records, c/o Doug Stapp, 3322 82nd St., Lubbock, TX. 79423, USA  http://www.RalphsRecordsTX.com  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/ipvgrind/    https://ipvgrind.bandcamp.com/      

 

 

IRON FIRE

“Beyond The Void” CD

(Crime Records)

 

I did not realize just how long this Danish band has been around, not to even mention how prolific they have been as well. The band started out at the very end of the ‘90s releasing a demo, and then released two albums on Noise Records, followed by no less than five more albums on Napalm Records. Which brings us up to the current day with ‘Beyond The Void’ being the bands 9th full-length and second album on Norway’s Crime Records. I have say this heavy / power metal band has a lot of tools that are of very high quality, from the excellent raw material, to the superb song crafting, to the individual members skill and on down to the actual performances on this album. There is very little that I can critique here, I mean even the vocalist is fantastic and his smooth vocals are performed with very good control and impressive range. This album has just about everything you hope for in a power metal record with catchy songs, memorable lyrics, some great riffs, brief smoking guitar solos and powerful drums. The only even slightly negative thing I could say, and is this even negative when it is just personal taste? I wish at some points they kept things ripping along on the heavier side of things and did not include some of those slightly commercial hard rock touches here and there. Beyond that, I can not say anything besides this is an impressive record that should please the hell out of die hards of German heavy / power metal ala the best material from bands like Halloween, Grave Digger, Running Wild etc…  - Dale

https://ironfire.bandcamp.com/    https://shop.crimerecords.no/     

 

 

IRON VOID

"Excalibur” CD

(Shadow Kingdom Records)

 

Shadow Kingdom Records has a very track record with me, we seem to be on the same wavelength much of the time with regards to old school heavy metal, thrash and doom in particular. So, this time around they introduce me to the United Kingdom’s Iron Void, by presenting us with their third full-length album. Iron Void come more from the epic late ‘70s / early ‘80s heavy metal and doom marriage side of things, along the lines of bands like Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol, Pagan Altar, Realm Builder type of style. As opposed to the more crushing, heavy classic doom sounds of stuff like Black Sabbath (not that every doom band on the planet doesn’t possesses a little Sabbath because they do), Trouble, The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Solitude Aeturnus approach. Within the doomy, somewhat downtrodden and musically triumphant context, I.V. manages to write some very memorable and infectious melodies that enchanted my ears. I also love it when, every now and then, for a brief spark like in the song “The Grail Quest”, they just let their hair down and fucking rock out with a headbang riff and ride it for a little stretch. That element, when worked into the valiant yet laidback mainstay vibe really stands out and adds, like I said, a certain spark or dynamic; I would not mind them doing that a little more often. There is some really classy and thoughtful song crafting here, all pulled together into an emotional and flowing musical collective. As I am sure you guessed from the album title, this is essentially a concept album that is re-telling the King Arthur legend. It is up to you whether you like historical re-telling albums lyrically or not. For me, it is a fair enough backdrop to write your music around, but I am more into the music itself and not the lyrics (maybe the intricate and expertly woven stories in Game of Thrones have spoiled me on quality levels of medieval tales), but they have done an impressive job of attempting to write a soundtrack to that old legend. Because, musically speaking the album succeeds by transporting you, on a flowing epical journey of doomy heavy metal goodness. If you are a fan of style I described above you should definitely give this classy piece of artwork a listen.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/ironvoid/    https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com/      

 

 

JT RIPPER

“Gathering Of The Insane” CD

(I Hate Records)

 

This German band produce a rollicking form of high energy speed metal thrash, which runs and skips along with heavy riffing, forcing my neck muscles a work out as my head bangs hard listening to this blistering attack. As you can probably tell from the cover artwork, the songs are mainly about serial killers, just from a quick look at the cover I see the faces of Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Albert Fish(?), The Nightstalker, H.H. Holmes (some convincing theories and a little evidence H.H. was actually Jack The Ripper too!) etc… The music has a lot of old speed and thrashing oomph as mentioned, but there is also a cool dark sounding vibe. The vocals help with that as they are evil sounding gruff thrash yells mixed with a whispery growling edge I like a lot. The songs keep the tempo at break neck speeds, but slow slightly at times to settle things into a pounding middle paced musical pummel. The riffs and rhythms are always heavy, but also fairly catchy yet they do not really get into soloing or anything and just keep the velocity straight ahead and blazing. This will appeal to the real die hard mid to late ’80s speed metal maniacs that can not get enough of that fantastic sound from the days of yore. JT Ripper keeps the ancient flame burning bright!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/J.T.Ripper.thrash    http://www.ihate.se/      

 

 

KILLING ADDICTION

“Omega Factor” CD

(Xtreem Music)

 

Well now, this takes me back in time, when this album was initially released by the notorious JL America label. Which burst upon the UG metal scene, and about three years later rapidly burned out. But it was an interesting, if not short ride for the label in the early ‘90s; they did the US releases for labels like Osmose & the German Turbo Music, before striking out on their own signing and releasing their own bands. One those bands they signed was Killing Addiction. I had a handful of JL cassettes back in the day, like Goatlord, Impaled Nazerene, Mortuary, Beherit, Acheron, Blasphemy and last but not least Killing Addiction. This is a cool gesture towards the bands legacy (did I mention they reformed some years back?) by Xtreem Music, to re-release this album on it’s 25 year anniversary! Oh shit, I guess that also mean I am a really old metal goat in this scene. Oh well, at least I still have all my own teeth, not to mention company like the members of this band still kicking and screaming, after all these years. For newer fans of death metal, who imprudently never took the time study the history of this sub-genre and it’s bands, they might be in for a bit of a surprise here. This is a window into the beginnings of death metal, it was a different time, things were not all digital and pro tool’d to hell, for starters. Also, not all of the bands were going for intricate mathematical time signatures, and/or playing a million miles a minute with twenty riffs in every song. No, this was a time for a lot of bands when death metal was morphing out of the extreme end of the thrash metal scene, just finding it’s feet and establishing a new style. A lot of the bands like Killing Addiction played a more stripped down, possibly to some newer ears a primitive style. But to me, it was more about focusing on the song and the atmosphere it created without using a lot of cheater effects, like synth or studio tricks to create it. The riffs on here are crushing and rhythmically catchy, which had me headbanging pretty good, honestly I experienced a touch of nostalgia for the early ‘90s as I listened. I should also mention, there are a few killer guitar solos expertly woven into the brutality, which adds some nice depth to the songs. The vocals are pretty guttural, early ‘90s style, near undecipherable growling, which is something I like, but I know is an acquired taste these days for some. Speaking of the vocals, in one song they alternate with higher nasally growling, which something that became very popular years later, but this in my mind seems like one of the earliest examples of it. I am not sure I can place this record at the upper echelon of ‘90s brutal death metal classics, but it is a damn good album nonetheless, an album that did not get the recognition it deserved, so here is to hoping this release sheds more light on this record. It would not be a special anniversary edition without some extras, you do get those as Xtreem has included the bands “Legacies of Terror” 1990 demo tape (I dig the grimy, cruel sound on it), and their killer 1991 “Nekrosphere” 7” ep as a bonus. You know what you need to do posthaste, links below.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/killingaddiction/    https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/  

 

 

KING HEAVY

"Guardian Demons” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)

 

King Heavy is a mixture of musicians mostly out of the great Chilean scene spanning an array of bands from that country, but the vocalist Luther Veldmark (Hooded Priest) is from the Netherlands. So, that is interesting, I assume it would present some challenges for writing and recording, not to even mention rehearsing for live shows. The style King Heavy play is a classic form of heavy metal doom in the vein of bands like Saint Vitus, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Trouble and the like. The guitar tenor and drumming are the epitome of that old style; the songs have some great flow, stirring up some affecting emotive qualities in me as a listener. The vocalist has a good classic sounding voice for this style and decent range as well. Yet, having said that, some of it is probably due to the often clunky lyrics, but the vocalist despite having those great raw tools, seems to have very little feel and skill in how and when to deploy them in a proper way. To my ears, this often results in unwittingly sabotaging the flow and emotive impact of the very quality music accompanying the vocals. It is hard to explain unless you hear it; the vocalist slows up and presents awkward phrasing, clunky timing, he switches registers at times that do not compliment the flow of the music or the words being sung. Like I say, it is unfortunate because the guy has a very good classic voice and tone to his voice for this style. But again, in my opinion, he seemingly has little to no feel on how to use it within the context of these songs; it is a bit frustrating to listen to actually. I know that sounds harsh, I do not mean it to be and it is not like vocalist Luther Veldmark never gets it right, but he never really seems for very long. I should try my best here not to paint the whole album with this brush, though it is hard not to do as the vocals are very prominent in the mix front and center. All the same, there is some excellent classic doom underneath the vocals that is mostly really quality emotive music, which can really not be faulted for anything and still makes this a good listen for die hard fans of the genre.  - Dale

https://kingheavy.bandcamp.com    https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com          

 

 

KRYPTAMOK

“Profaani” CD & 12” LP

(Blood Harvest / Helter Skelter Productions)

 

Coming out of the legendary Finnish black metal scene is Krytamok, ‘Profaani’ was originally released on cassette tape earlier this year. But now thanks to Blood Harvest and Helter Skelter Productions, this release is now getting a duel release on both CD and a twelve inch vinyl pressing. Kryptamok’s musical style is the classic Finnish black metal style (ala Horna for example) with some atmospheric passages intertwined within the music. The vocals are grim black metal screeches and screams that are used throughout the recording. The drums are played with chaotic blasting beats that do slow down to a more calm pacing, before returning to the hyper-speed blast beats again. If you are looking for a band that can write and perform cold black metal with some atmospheric elements incorporated into the evil, then do yourself a favor and check out Kryptamok’s solid debut today.  - Patrick

https://www.bloodharvest.se/    http://www.helterskelterproductions.se/      

 

 

KRYPTS

“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  

 

 

LACERATION

“Remnants” CD

(Unspeakable Axe Records)

 

This is a compilation re-release of old material from the band (who recently either reformed or returned from a lengthy hiatus), hailing from the Bay Area and who play a blistering Deathrash style. I am not sure why it is arranged this way on this release, but they arranged the split EP tracks, demo tape and EP in reverse chronological order so the tracks from start to finish are from 2013 and work their way backwards to 2009. Not that I am entirely adverse to doing it that way necessarily, still I do not get why they chose to do that as you usually want to end on the best note and generally that is your newer material, maybe they just wanted to be different? Haha. The band write high energy riffs and rhythms that evoke a headbanging spirit within your body and force it to spring into action (i.e. – it is super heavy and catchy as fuck!). I can tell these guys spent a lot of time worshipping at the altar of the almighty Slayer, with particular devotion towards the “Reign In Blood” era. There is a definite comparison also, in my opinion, to be made to Demolition Hammer mixed with a smattering of early to mid Death. The vocals, just like the music are a marriage of thrash gruff yelled style vocals and the death metal growl, but very decipherable where you can make out every lyric clearly. Yeah I am digging this release quite a bit. The only knock for me, again it is me not liking the sequencing of the releases, as the first like 70% this record is awesome, but then towards the end the oldest material is rudimentary, repetitive and undeveloped in comparison to the rest of the release. I would have rather started there and built to the killer stuff, rather than reducing the speed heading towards the finish line having ran a very good race and now we are coasting into the finish on fumes. But, even the later material is decent enough, just not as good as the first half and a bit of this fifty minute plus retrospective collection. This was put out as a retrospective collection, yes, but also to garner interest for their upcoming album and it certainly has done that for me so mission accomplished. I wait with baited breath for their next release! Check this out ASAP.  - Dale

https://lacerationbayarea.bandcamp.com/music    http://www.unspeakableaxerecords.com/     

 

 

LETHEAN

"The Waters Of Death” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)

 

UK’s Lethean seems to have started out in recent years as a solo project from James Ashbey (ex-Sostice, Deceptor and Cimmerion Shadows fanzine). But, starting with this debut album, James has added Thumri Paavana on vocals full time (though James still handles all instruments). Lethean play epic heavy metal with pacing and feel, which is close to a classic doom style, but never really departing too far from the heavy metal confines. They keep things on traveling on a flowing, emotive, and wandering journey yet never entirely abandoning the killer heavy metal riffing for too long. I like that. The vocals will probably throw some off, I’m not going to lie to you, they throw me off a little at times too. The vocals are not what you expect; no classic doomy medieval Messiah Marcolin or similar vocals, which I think would fit this music wonderfully. No, they are clean, elegant female and very feminine sounding vocals that are probably closer to what you might hear on melodo heavy metal or even gothic tinged metal bands. That is not to say they are not good, because honestly they are pretty wonderful, it is a very beautiful and graceful performance by Thumri. This style actually works better than I would have thought because I would have thought they would not work at all, but it does, at least at times it does. I enjoy the music very much and the vocals quite a lot as well, but separately, as they do not feel like they belong together to me. If you like that description however, this is worth checking out as everything has been created and performed with the paramount talent and dedication.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/letheanuk/    https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/      

 

 

LIVIDITY

"Perverseverance” CD

(Metal Age Productions)

 

I was pleased to see a Lividity album show up in my mailbox. To be honest, I had not realized they were still alive and kicking! Apparently, they have been going all of these years and never broke up either. I was really into their first couple albums (released in 2000 and 2002) and then kind of lost track of them, though in my defense this is only the bands third album in the 16 years since then! I seen LIvidity live in 1999 at the Milwaukee Metalfest and I remember they offered free t-shirts to girls in the crowd that were willing to flash their tits and a couple took them up on their offer. So yeah, that little story should give you an idea what you are in for, and it does not seem like the band have changed all that much since then, despite the time passed. As this album is filled with gore and misogyny, so anyone sensitive (and/or overly PC in general) to that this is not for you! There is even an anal sex clip of Dr. Ruth Westheimer the sex doctor, who us old timers know was household name back in the ‘80s and ‘90s haha. There is plenty of good entertaining other good clips along the way as well. Okay, so lyrically and attitude wise, nothing has changed in all of these years, but what about the music? I am pleased to say the band has stuck to their roots of just totally brutal guttural death metal, the type that made this metallic sub-genre what it was and gave it life. If you are into ultra technical, adventurous, cultured or diverse more modern death metal, then once again this not fucking for you! Yes, the band play old school barbarity with crushing riffs and pounding drums, along with deep somewhat belching style growling that will have you headbanging like a demon! I adore those bestial heavy riffs! If you love old school brutal death metal that will relentlessly bash your head in with a spiked fist, and leave you in a satisfied in a bloody pulp every time you listen to it, then you should check this out.  - Dale

https://lividity-map.bandcamp.com/album/perverseverance    http://www.metalage.sk/      

 

 

LUNAR SHADOW

"The Smokeless Fires” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)

 

I don’t know I see a lot of chatter online about this German band being a heavy metal band that heavily weaves in melodic death and black metal. I just do not hear it, especially with the black metal thing. Some melodo death elements sure, a tiny bit, but honestly is that not a little ass backwards to make that claim as melodo death is mostly incorporating large doses of heavy metal melody. So, it is a melodic heavy metal band taking back it’s melody!? Haha. I guess I should not get too wrapped up in this talk that this band is so innovative with these sorts of proclamations, as the band itself from what I can see on their Encyclopeida Metallium, facebook and bandcamp pages just call themselves straight up heavy metal. Which is what they are, if anything they do not sound like old school heavy metal bands and very much sound like current bands in this style and super clean modern production (not a plus for me). As you know, I am a huge fan of old school heavy metal and records based mainly on melody to get by, have to be pretty damn amazing to grab me as I am not the biggest fan of ultra melodic (comes off a little too light and commercial sounding for my tastes in many cases) music. The vocalist is good, but the hurried way he delivers the vocals, seemingly in an attempt to keep up or even stay ahead of the speed of the song is not the best use of an excellent singing voice like that. His voice needs more room to breathe in the compositions and the room is simply not there most of the time. If a band is going to be so heavy on melody, for me it better not be at the sacrifice of song flow and just overall good song structuring and memorable songs. That is a pitfall a lot of these bands make and in my view Lunar Shadow have also fallen into, to their detriment. I feel they do sacrifice overall song quality to force greedy gobs of melody all over the place, plus there is plenty of individual guitar histrionics that seem to add no real value to the song as a fill or a solo and they often over extend their stay. Clearly the band has really strong individual talents; there is some decent raw material here and there, but just not enough for me in just straight up good overall song writing, memorability and not there is not enough self-editing in the greater good of the songs and the album itself.  - Dale

https://lunarshadow.bandcamp.com/    https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/      

 

 

MANSION

“First Death Of The Lutheran” CD

(I Hate Records)

 

This is an interesting Finnish band, which counts many members, no less than eight members of this band though one of them is the former drummer who now only handles all of the lyrics for the band. Speaking of which, I am not even going to get into the horse shit lyrics (and the bands belief system) because…well check into it yourself and decide I suppose. But, musically on the other hand, my goodness does this collection of musicians know how write songs and craft a truly remarkable, creeping & crawling atmosphere of dark malevolence. Not to even mention, at least to mine ears, they create a pretty distinctive brand of doom music that has their own stamp and vibe on it. Okay, so maybe I do not listen to enough of that style of early style gothic music (before the wimpier end of the black/death scene got a hold of it and combined it with goth turning it into a sappy Twilight vampire teen books & movies soundtrack). I guess I can hear some things like Fields Of The Nephilim, early to mid period My Dying Bride or maybe some influences of early Type O Negative, but probably a little less metallic at times, then those two latter bands and little more experimental sounding (maybe a touch too much for my liking at times). Maybe something like Jex Thoth would be a more contemporary comparison to make? I would be remiss to not talk about the impressive vocals, which are shared by Osmo and Alma, though I feel like Alma is the more dominant force between two in this skilled male / female vocal duo. They combine perfectly with the music to create a truly sinister and doomy music whole, and above all, an atmosphere that would bring out a sardonic smile from almighty Satan himself. When I listen to doom, it is usually classic style doom, but now and then, when you feel the itch to listen to gloomy doom that strays a little from the beaten path then Mansion will scratch  that itch very nicely.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/mansionalma    https://ihate.bandcamp.com/     

 

 

MENDACIUM

“Decimating Titans” Cassette EP

(Redefining Darkness Records)

 

Usually, the most politically motivated metal that I hear these days comes from the thrash and core scenes, but here is Mendacium with their leviathan work of black/death metal, Decimating Titans. Decimating Titans is the inventive side-project of Daniel Jackson, who is known for his work with his main brainchild, Void Ritual, which takes a more straightforward black metal approach in terms of lyrical themes (e.g. odium and misery). This album, according to the description from Redefining Darkness Records, takes on the themes of abhorrence for and usurpation of conservative establishments that maintain and direct power as they see fit. The tracks take on just as lethal an edge as the topic matter indicates, and to which the black/death metal form handily lends itself. Crushing from the start, the title track is damn near anthemic in its call for annihilating those in power, repeating the line, “Decimating titans!” as well as decreeing with raspy growls, “Let them die! Let them decay!” The rest of the tracks follow suit, proceeding with the grimness of black metal and the ferocity of death metal to detail sonically the toppling of the titans’ reign. Every moment of Decimating Titans is packed with rage and aggression, making it an energizing listen, and a cathartic one by the end. Truly, this album is almost entirely well executed. However, as someone who is not a fan of the fade-out, I cannot say that I enjoy the ending to “An Invocation for Bloodshed”, though I do love its overall composition. Including chanting vocals does wonders for expanding the foreboding tone past the extremity of everything else contained within the composition. Overall, Decimating Titans will not disappoint fans of extreme music at all—rather the opposite. Jackson does not waste a single second on the album, making it feel like a complete release despite its short run time. Definitely give this release a listen if you relish death and/or black metal in all their ruinous glory.  – Aaron

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

 

 

MONASTERIUM

“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/      

 

 

MONOLITH CULT

“Gospel Of Despair” CD

(Transcending Records)

 

This is my first time tangling with this U.K. doom metal band which features members of Khang, Lazarus Blackstar, Solstice etc… Monolith Cult play classic traditional epic doom metal, in the vein of bands like Candlemass, Black Sabbath, Solitude Aeturnus, Argus, Iron Maiden (some melodies and structural nuances remind me of them). Also, even though they do not play doom death metal, as such, there are some points they remind me a little of old Paradise Lost, partly in sound and partially in the atmosphere create. Speaking of atmosphere and feeling their music invokes, it conjure up in me a very mournful, desolate mood, making me feel melancholic in a good way. This is not a feeling I like feeling in everyday life, but Monolith Cult make it feel like a warm, soft and comforting blanket to mentally wrap myself within. The guitars and song structuring are really make that happen, they get their hooks in you drawing you in and pulling you along almost trance-like, with their heavy flowing melodies and emotive, expertly crafted compositions. A couple minor criticisms I have, well they may fall more into personal taste territory, but at times, there is a cool heavier section and riff they could really set down on a ride out a bit more to great effect, but they move on to lighter or more subdued material too quickly. Finally, the bass seems so low in the mix, it feels almost non-existent at times I wish the bass was a little more prominent, which would give the record more bottom end and density to properly back the great guitar work and fantastic poignant drumming. This finally brings us to the vocalist Bry, he has a very time-honored conventional doom style to his soaring voice, which reminds me of a mix of Robert Lowe from Solitude Aeturnus and Messiah Marcolin of Candlemass, but with possibly more of an ‘80s heavy metal singer undertone like maybe hints of Dio, Dickinson etc… that is not prominent and down in the mix of influences, but I still feel it is there. His vocals do much to proliferate and accentuate the somber vibe, which is steeped in gorgeous misery. I have to admit all of this took a while to sink in for me, it was not immediate upon first or even second to be honest, but every listen there after, it started to sink and possess me with it’s hypnotic and depressive charms. So, I would wholeheartedly recommend this to doom maniacs, however I would suggest you be prepared to give it time to work it’s magic.  - Dale

https://www.reverbnation.com/monolithcult    http://www.transcendingrecords.com/     

 

 

MORBID MESSIAH

"Demoniac Paroxysm” CD

(Momento Mori Records)

 

Spain’s Momento Mori Records has crossed the pond in search of some of the finest old school brutal death metal doom, and have struck gold, deep down within the dark depths of Mexico. I had not heard of Morbid Messiah before now, but cheers to this label for uncovering them and spreading their disease around the globe. This whole recoding is dripping with a suffocating, necrotic stench of an atmosphere, which permeates all of your senses with a wonderful mix of audio grime and tremolo picked brutality. I feel like a happy as shit metal pig on mud bath day listening to this album! There is a lot of great old death doom smudged dirty bands that influenced this bands sound like Imprecation, old Incantation, early Death, Repulsion, Autopsy (Mental Funeral era). As well as, some other classic bands in that ancient grimy American style mixed with a little bit of old Swedish death metal ala early works by Grave & Entombed. I would be remiss, had I not mentioned another influence from Morbid Messiah’s motherland in the form of the great Shub Niggurath. The vocalist has a good deep as hell growl, which he clearly conjured up from some evil plane of existence projected with demoniac fury all over hell’s half acre on this recording. This is some truly heavy and crushing shit; love it when they interrupt the furious and brutish speed attack with a nice doomy interlude and/or a cool frenzied short guitar solo. This homage is of definite interest for die hard’s of the glorious origins of death metal that all the modern style death metal bands you listen to today only wish they sounded this genuinely depraved, gritty and atmospheric.  - Dale

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

 

 

MOURNING SIGN

“Contra Mundum” CD

(Orchestrated Misery Recordings)

 

Sweden’s Mourning Sign are a new band to my ears, and this is a review of their third full-length album. The bands musical style is best described as progressive death metal, the music is very heavy and complex with newer death influences. The guitars are some well executed and skillfully performed guitar arrangements, which are both very heavy and fast, but also played with at a very accomplished level showing the band member’s years of experience with their instruments. The band even uses some keyboards that gives the music a melodic sound and feel in a few of the songs. The vocals are death metal growls that are raw and brutal with some screams used throughout the music. I am not the biggest progressive death metal fan, so if you are a big fan of this sub-genre then do yourself a favor and give this album a chance.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/mourningsign    https://www.facebook.com/orchestrated.recordings      

 

 

MÜTIILATION

“The Lost Tapes” CD, LP & Limited Cassette

(Osmose Productions)

 

Meyhna was the main man, sole composer and essentially a one man band for most of the bands existence. So he is all you should be concerned about with this release The Lost Tapes, which is a compilation of some of the bands classic songs that Meyhna has re-recorded. Before you get excited about a brand new recording, this was actually recorded back in 2009-10 shortly before the band was ended. For those unfamiliar with the bands musical style, it is filthy and grim black metal. The music is extreme in every sense of the word, but it is also very well played and enjoyable to listen to. The vocals are raw black metal screams and screeches that fit Mütiilation's music perfectly. If you are familiar with Mütiilation's body of work, and you are a fan then do yourself a favor by picking up a copy of the new release when it becomes available.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/meyhnach/    http://www.osmoseproductions.com/      

 

 

MYSTIK

"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/         

 

 

NACHASH

“Phantasmal Triunity” CD, LP & Cassette

(Shadow Kingdom Records)

 

I was a little surprised to see a band billed as Norwegian black metal on Shadow Kingdom Records, a label that usually focuses on old school heavy metal, doom, speed and thrash metal. Though Nachash does possess a certain level of olden heavy metal and thrash to their sound. I was also surprised when I did a little digging on this band’s members. Apparently drummer Kenneth Tiller played in the black/death band Nephrite at the start of the ‘90s releasing two demos. Then I can find nothing on him (disappeared from the scene?!) until he showed up in the band Celestial Bloodshed in the year 2000, and the band released some eps, split ep’s and two albums. Okay, that has no real bearing on this review, but I enjoy interesting history tidbits of info like that on bands or their individual members. The other two member of this band, by the way, seem to be new on the scene for the most part. Now Nachash is a black metal band, but they incorporate a lot of heavy metal into their sound, sort of like the first wave of black metal did and the early bands of the second wave at the start of the ‘90s. I like it though, a lot of the time they are more of a black heavy metal band more than anything. But, there are definite elements of early to mid ‘90s style black metal in there as well, as well as slight traces of dark death metal from the same musical epoch. I like the vocals they are part yell, part bm rasp with an whispering of a death metal growl, but they sound evil and commanding complimenting the evil music well, adding an extra element of audio pestilence. I think my fave tracks on here are the two opening tracks, starting off the beginning of “Red Death Eclipse…” reminding me a lot of the opening title track to Venom’s “Black Metal” (did I mention I worship at the Venom altar?), with it’s caustic opening build up and finishing off with demon vocal sounds straight out of early necromantic Impaled Nazarene. This quickly leads into the second track “Apex Illuminous”, which continues the build up and launches into an evil sounding yet headbang inducing metal chugging with a killer tremolo riff and infectious melody that Satan himself would dance around a bonfire to. The rest of the album, while it does dip a skosh, ultimately keeps a pretty high level of quality and settles into a little more of hypnotic moody vibe on the final two songs, “Vortex Spectre” & “Elder Night…”, which combined clock in at over fifteen minutes. I would recommend this for fans of the current UG metal scene that are also die hards for ‘80s dark heavy metal, and the first wave of black metal from the late ‘80s and very start of the 1990s.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/nachashnorway    https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com  

 

 

NARKAN

"Larvario” CD

(Mythic Metal Productions)

 

Narkan come blasting out of my speakers all the way from Peru! Yes, this is an old release, but I was sent it in for review and I love South American bands so I will make an exception here. These guys have not been very prolific with their output (1 demo, 2 split CDs & this 2007 full-length album) since their debut demo in 2004. This seems common in the SA scene, though all members of this band are in other bands like Eternal Exhumation, Estigma, Psicorragia, Black Heaven, Armagedon, Akraetia & Epilepsia – so I am sure that has a lot to do with Narkan’s somewhat sparse release productivity. Now, on to what brought us here and that is intense, energetic and vicious deathgrind music! This is true deathgrind too, some bands throw in the grind tag and it is barely noticeable, but Narkan play some brutal and memorable death that is laced habitually with lethal injections of potent grindcore insanity. The vocalist named Dr. Gonzales is killer! At first, I was not sure whether or not it is was multiple members doing the deep growls, higher pitched growls, nasal high screams that will pierce the ear drums. But I watched a couple rehearsal songs on their facebook and it all one guy on the mic, moving seamlessly from one style to the next and he destroys it! He is fantastic. The rest of the band is no slouch with in writing a powerful death and grindcore mixture that even manages to slide in some short, tasty guitar parts or a brief cool mini bass guitar solo. I mean this stuff is impressive, it is a shame that this band is not better known outside their country around the whole world’s UG scenes because they are that damn good! I highly recommend this and please to the members some new material soon please!!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/narkan.deathgrind    https://myspace.com/mythicmetalprods      

 

 

NEKROFILTH

“Worm Ritual” CD & LP

(Hells Headbangers Records)

 

This mighty trio of musicians is led by Zack Ripper, formerly of Nunslaughter, who moved from Ohio to Colorado and recruited two members of the band Weaponizer to continue the fight with Nekrofilth on this, their sophomore full-length. Just imagine if you will a slightly updated sounding version of a mix of Celtic Frost, Venom and Slaughter from Canada, but played faster and more brutal! I can also hear fleeting hints of Repulsion and Autopsy – what a fantastically sadistic and wonderful set of influences, at according to my musical tastes (all among of my fave bands of all time). The energy and caustic adrenaline radiating off of this bands music incredible, I feel like destroying everything in the room with a spike fisted headbanging frenzy! ARGH!! They have this sort of violent punk aesthetic or vibe, then again so did Venom and Slaughter to an extent. They also, like many punk bands have short lightning songs on here that are all 3 minutes or under, it hits you hard and it hits you fast. The vocals match the music with a vile mix of yelled gruff thrash vocals with a hoarse growling death metal edge, but it is all very decipherable, and oh so grimy sounding in a very good way. I have to say musically these guys live up to their band name, to an extent so few bands can, because this is definitely great Nekrofilth-y metal! If you like the description above then trust me you need to get your paws on this thing.  - Dale

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

 

 

NEKROGOBLIKON

"Welcome to Bonkers" CD

(Mystery Box)

 

Imagine a bright green bouncy ball. This bouncy ball has spikes--shiny steel ones. They glimmer grotesquely as they catch the light from passing stars. Yeah, this bouncy ball is in space, somehow rebounding off of planets as if they were only models in an elementary school classroom. This ball is analogous for how Nekrogoblikon's brand of melodeath sounds to me: a strangely entertaining mixture of silliness that sometimes has an unpredictable edge to it. It is superficially enjoyable with indisputably catchy riffs and refrains, but sometimes they are catchy to a fault on this album. While the verses of most of the tracks on Welcome to Bonkers have suitably speedy death metal riffing and Nekrogoblikon's trademark eccentric flair, their quirkiness and repetitiveness can become slightly vexing in such tracks as "Dressed as Goblins" and "Darkness" where the choruses are springy earworms. Since I am not accustomed to listening to "party" metal, or death metal pizza with extra cheese, heavier tracks such as "The Skin Thief" strike my fancy more. However, that is also an important point about the appeal of Nekrogoblikon: they defamiliarize death metal for fans of the genre with their incorporation of extra-genric components like vivacious keyboard lines, as well as in this way make this genre more accessible to newer/younger fans of heavy music. Their liberal and varied use of keyboards on Welcome to Bonkers would have the potential for putting this album on the cusp of being excessively bogus if it were not for how well-executed and incorporated they are into the compositions. The piano-toned lines in such tracks as "Dragons", for example, foreshadow the animated tempo of the guitar riffs to come, making it even more satisfying when they do make their entrance. Listeners must keep in mind that the purpose of this album is to have some fucking fun with conventions that folks in the metal community often take too seriously. It is not cerebral, and it is not downright brutal even though it definitely has its moments; it is funny, fun, and certainly bonkers.  – Aaron

https://nekrogoblikon.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/mysteryboxfortress/        

 

 

NEKROKRAFT

"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/       

 

 

NO NAME RECORDS

Package Round Up Part 1

(No Name Records / Addicted Label BNiL)

 

This interesting and new to me record label from Russia sent me a big package of discs. Some recent releases and some from past years, all still available I believe (either on CD or mp3), in interest of not having to wait while I slowly do a full review of them all. I decided to do an overview of mini-reviews to give an idea of what this dedicated label is all about. All bands are either from Ukraine or Russia. Okay, here we go:

Sound Of Ground “Sick” CD (2013): When the first song started I was not sure I would like this, they threw in this funk part that did not fit at all, but after that they settled down and I got into it and dug it a lot more than expected. Sound Of Ground plays Stoner Rock with adventurous song structuring thrown in now and then. Think of a more progressive version of Kyuss mixed w/Acid Bath. Solid Stuff.

Flower In My Lung - Flower in My Lung CD (2013): This pure mood music. It is completely instrumental, atmospheric rock music to just mellow out to and let your mind wander and bathe in relaxing emotion. This is not something I would listen to very often, but it is superbly crafted and hard not to like, especially since they create this soundscape with largely traditional instrumentation, which is something I really appreciate.

Pressor - Weird Things CD EP (2018): Pressor perform extremely slow moving experimental doom metal with heavy synth atmospheric accompaniment is what I got from the first song. Then the second kicks in and my thought they were purely an instrumental band went away as the speed picked up and rapid, caustic sludge style vocals spread across the music like a plague. It feels like those vocals don’t belong with this music. As things progress, they even mix in some stoner metal riffing. I really love some elements of this release yet other elements just do not work well for my tastes. The crushing doom stuff is great - more focus on that in future would be welcome for me.

Disen Gage – Nature CD (2018): There are only 3 songs but do not let that fool you this album is 45 mins long! However, if you tend toward liking bands with mainly traditional instrumentation you will be disappointed. The bulk of their sound is just taking sci-fi samples (like from 70’s/‘80s movies & TV), random synth sounds and manipulating them into what felt like to me a kind of directionless audio stew of atmospheric sounds ‘n samples slap chopped into three 16 minute chunks. I am sure there is an audience out for this band, but it is not me.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/NonameRecordz    https://noname666.bandcamp.com/     

 

 

NO NAME RECORDS

Package Round Up Part 2

(No Name Records / Addicted Label BNiL)

 

Now part two from this interesting Russian labels package. As you see above, all bands hail from the Ukraine or Russia, and this label is doing a very admirable and professional job promoting them abroad. Let’s keep it rolling:

Soom – Джєбарс CD (2018): Soom play grinding, gritty and dark rumbling stoner / sludge doom metal, which is slow and moody with sparse use of vocals. I like that as the spoken word vocals are on here are pretty so-so. The band is at their strength when they let their morose hypnotic doomy riffs and foreboding atmosphere take control of the proceedings. This is a band I will keep my eye on in the future. Some really good stuff.

Pree Tone – Kiddy CD (2018): Psychadelic Shoegaze rock? I have to admit I really dislike sappy shoegaze. PT adding some psychedelic elements softens the blow a little bit, but honestly I am trying to be nice by saying that as I just hate this. It is not for me, even the robot collage turns me off; does anyone reading this like shoegaze stuff? Maybe you will like this, but I am happy to hit stop button.

Transnadežnost' – Monomyth CD (2018): This band is instrumental, for the most part, and it works for them. The production and certain elements in the bands music sound modern, but overall their music feels very ‘70s progressive space rock to me. Which, it may surprise some; this is a style I am a fan of. This is some killer trippy music that produces a kaleidoscopic of flowing atmospherics and emotions. This is very good if you like that kind of music?!

Злурад - Во благо злу CD (2019): The translation is Zlurad – A Blessing Or A Curse. This is some crazy shit, it almost seems a bit out of place on this labels roster. Apparently, this is at least partially improvised. It is barely controlled chaos punk, hardcore, metal mixed with spazzed out jazzy horns. There are multiple vocalists, which sound like it is feeding time at the insane asylum and everyone has been starved half to death. Have you heard John Zorn’s Naked City or Zorn’s Painkiller? Well, Zlurad are basically attempting that exact style, except they are not quite as musically accomplished as John Zorn and company. But, if you like that style of insanity and can not get enough (even if it is a bit of a low on ink xerox), then this release might hit the spot for you. If you do like this, you need to get the John Zorn stuff ASAP.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/NonameRecordz    https://noname666.bandcamp.com/      

 

 

NO NAME RECORDS

Package Round Up Part 3

(No Name Records / Addicted Label BNiL)

 

The No Name Records / Addicted Label catalog overview series continues here in part 3 and finishes below with part 4. This is a very professional label that does a great job promoting their bands, all of whom hail from either the Ukraine or Russia. Let’s go:
Spaceking “In The Court Of The Spaceking” CD (2013) I know the title brings to mind King Crimson, but this band sounds nothing like them. No, this pure stoner rock in the vein of early Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu, Slo Burn and that style of sound. The band does get a bit daring with the odd progressive spice injected into their songwriting, but for the most part it is fairly straight forward stoner rock, but pretty good stoner rock that is worth checking out. Just a heads up, the vocals are very sparsely used as it is mostly instrumental.
Detieti “Ne eP” CD (2013) It is hard to describe this band. I am not sure progressive would cover it, more like an extremely eclectic clusterfuck that is at times is pretty brilliant and other times a little confused sounding. I would say think of more of a metal, hardcore, punk tinged band trying to re-create the quirky, freeform jazzy tinged Frank Zappa material (replete with Xylophone) that was often improvised on stage. It is quirky and most extreme metal fans that read this site might not like it, but who knows, if you want something very different this is a good place to try to spread those wings. These guys are very talented to be sure and I can respect them for their talent level.
Soom & ИЛ “ИЛ – Soom” Full-length Split CD (2013) The ИЛ portion of this split I guess translates to IL, so that is the bands name. IL starts things off two tracks, the first being 22 mins (!!) long. It is a moody slow mix of Sludge and doom metal, with few short spoken word bits. Not much going on, it feels kind of off the cuff at times and forgettable. Next up is Soom who I liked last time around, but that release was 5 years after this one. Honestly, the Soom tracks on here are a slightly higher quality version of the IL tracks, except maybe a little bit more doom and little less sludge-y sounding. It is also lacking those spoken word tidbits; in fact, their side of the split is virtually instrumental. I already know the future that Soom will get better going forward, but this is a decent start.
The Grand Astoria “Deathmarch” CD EP (2013) A cool name and an even cooler band. Damn, nearly every song on this five song, thirty minute EP is filled with excellent kinda Psychadelic fuzzy stoner rock in the vein of Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu, Sheavy etc… The first four songs are just killer stoner doom rock, like fairly heavy, but also catchy and memorable as hell. The last song is a moody, mellow number, still good but not quite on the level as first four bad ass songs. If you love stoner rock you definitely need to check this out.
- Dale   

https://www.facebook.com/eskhaton666    http://www.lavadome.org  

 

 

NO NAME RECORDS

Package Round Up Part 4

(No Name Records / Addicted Label BNiL)

 

Time to wrap up  this in-depth introduction / overview of this quality Russian record label:
The Grand Astoria “The Mighty Few” CD (2015) It was a pleasant thing to realize the next review was another Grand Astoria review, after I liked their EP above so much. TGA has gotten extremely ambitious since then, there are only 2 songs here, but the total run time is 50 minutes!! Their old sound of fuzzy stoner doom is still here, though very sparsely employed now. But now, it is wrapped in again, an ambitious experimental greater whole filled with atmospheric sounds, dabs of jazzy instruments & sounds, space-y sounding synth accents, along with some swingy moody guitar excellence. The vocals are a little trippier sounding too. These guys are so talented, both in instrumental skills, but also in song constructing vision. I am not sure I loved it as much as the previous extremely catchy EP, but this release is surely at a higher level than that and it is hard not to be impressed.
Mother Witch & Dead Water Ghost “Ruins Of Faith” CD EP (2016) are a psychedelic doomy stoner rock band from the Ukraine. The doom is not the crushing heavy doom you might expect, but it has that doom feel, the stoner side of things is not as catchy and rocking as most stoner bands, but still has that fuzzed out vibe to it. No, MW&DWG is a very gloomy and lugubrious, pensive band that will bring out heavy emotions in you. The vocalist has great range and great feel, on how to manipulate her voice to maximize it’s relationship with the music. This is a band for me to keep an eye on for sure.
Jahroom “Cut-Price Goods + Nyx” CD (2016) This is a real mixed bag of psychedelic and schizophrenic prog rock fusion, mixed with jazz improv / instrumentation and all 11 tracks on this album are instrumental. It is an extremely eclectic and eccentric mix of musical directions, as well as genres played with crazy melodies and time signatures. I am not sure this is my kind of music, but damn are these musicians exceptionally impressive. I say that in relation to their wide scope of musical skill and ability to assemble coherent interesting songs within a musical wind storm! This is next level stuff, the only thing that comes to mind (in my limited listening repertoire in this area) is the “Black Light Syndrome” album from Bozzio Levin Stevens.
Dekonstruktor - Fuck Life We Go Further CD EP (2017) I finally get to hear the 4 song EP follow up to their great debut album (my review of which apparently brought CA to the attention of Anton from Addicted Label). Maybe it is because most of the other releases are not at this level; it is a nice change of pace for me to listen to something so crushingly heavy and brutal, like the opening track is on here, which is great. They dropped the ‘70s exploitation movie samples as vocals, other than brief acidic partly sung, partly spoken word vocals mixed with some more industrial sounding vox. The rest of the release is more trippy, more chill yet still introspective feeling. I am not sure I like this as much as their debut record, but it is still pretty great and this band are true artists spreading their artistic musical sickness like an audio drug for you brain. - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/NonameRecordz    https://noname666.bandcamp.com/          

 

 

NO NAME RECORDS

Package Round Up Part 5

(No Name Records / Addicted Label BNiL)

 

We have been doing a series of Round Up Packages, which gives a rather in-depth history and overview of this very dedicated and cool Russian record labels diverse catalogue spanning over a decade of existence. This is the final installment of this series, so let’s dig in...

Thy Grave “Anhedonia” CD (2013) Play a very different and interesting mix of death doom, sludge sorta droning metal. They make very long, drawn out and all-encompassing atmospheric songs (like 11-15 minutes!) with some smaller interlude tracks breaking them up and are short straight up quicker death doom tunes. The vocals are manical yells, gruff ‘n growly hoarse throat screaming that do kind of cut through the atmospherics of it all, usually in a good way, but in a few spots it is a bit grating. This is pretty cool all in all; okay a little monotonous in a couple sections possibly. But overall Thy Grave is a somewhat unique combination, which is a good thing in this day and age in the UG scene.

The Grand Astoria “La Belle Epoque” CD (2014) This release is like the missing link for me. I adored the more straight ahead stoner fuzz psychadelia of their 2013 release, but was not as into the much more epic, experimental 2015 album yet I also came away impressed with that release as well. What were they up to in the year between was “La Belle Epoque”. My early impression listening to this is honestly disappointment. These guys are extremely talented, but this time around they decided to set aside some of their talent and just write some very catchy, but also mundane, light and airy commercial radio type of songs. This is something, if you know me I really dislike; gone (or at least nearly all gone) is the heavy, stoner fuzz and driving amazing songs of the previous release as well as the more intricate progressive song constructing brilliance of the release that followed this album. These guys are so talented that I honestly hate criticizing anything they do, but especially the first three quarters of this release I just did not like.

Soom - Ніч На Полонині CD (2015) The album title translates to Night On The Mountain. As you can see, in the above reviews, I thought the bands 2013 split album was just okay, but quite enjoyed their 2018 album entitled “Джєбарс”. Let’s see what they were up to in the meantime and in between time of those two releases. The opening track is a long mood setting intro leading into the second song, which has a heavy as fuck, atmospheric riff like if you took it off the first Black Sabbath album and tuned it to a death metal tuning and played it in super slow motion! I like it a lot! Just like later material, the vocals are very sparse and generally just spoken word with echo effects and other things distorting them, though in a spot or two there are actual sung vocals that are obscured yells ala a more subdued version of Godflesh or something. This to some extent is like Thy Grave above being filled with long songs (7-8 minutes plus one 11 min song) along with a few short ones mixed in, much like Thy Grave they are soundscape type songs, like sludgy doom death that goes along at a crushing snails pace. But Soom have more interesting songs than Thy Grave and are at a higher level of overall quality in my opinion. Just like their 2018 release, I can really recommend this to death doom maniacs, as it is a great release. Cheers to Soom!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/NonameRecordz    https://noname666.bandcamp.com/     

 

 

NOCTAMBULIST

“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     

 

 

NUCLEUS

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/