“Through Realms Unseen” CD

(Pulverized Records)


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

http://entrapment2.bandcamp.com/    http://www.pulverised.net/          




“Through The Walls Of Flesh” CD

(I Hate Records)


The thrash metal scene lately seems to be really growing and making another comeback. Entrench who have been around for a while, show that the Swedish thrash metal scene continues to flourish. Entrench are proudly old school thrash to the maximum here, with their 3rd full-length they sound like they are straight out of the mid to late ‘80s, when thrash metal was king. The band rip things up with a speedy assault, filled with swift catchy riffing and slightly unconventional, but interesting patterns and flow if you pay enough attention, you will be rewarded with some subtle tasty guitar work. The drumming punishes and pummels with ferocity and a real high level of control and maturity. I guess I should not be surprised, as I just looked up the drummer Mats Blyckert, it appears he has been honing his craft in the bands Aboth and Dead Awaken as well, playing almost consistently since 1989! Plus, of course, he has also been playing in Entrench since 2005. The vocals have that dark, obscured thrash gruff hiss to them, but unlike the music the vox have a little more modern influence, from early ‘90s death bands accompanying the traditional thrash delivery. I have seen a few reviews comparing them only to Merciless and Sadus, over and over, which are fair comparisons yet I wondered why all of them came up with that until I read the bio which names those two bands. I say that, because I do not know how you could not list the obvious middle-late ’80 German thrash influence, especially with regards to Kreator who are clearly a big influence. I thought I even heard a hint of Forced Entry in there, but I may be imagining things haha. If you are a die hard fan of classic thrash metal, then you will love this, it will bring back to you that old great feeling.  - Dale

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




“Malformed Conscience” CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)


It is a pretty interesting coincidence, at least to me, that I receive an album from a band not only out of my homeland and even the same province. But, they are also signed to a record label, which is only a short drive away from where I now reside in Pennsylvania. It is a small world I guess. The band plays a style that unlike many sub-genres these days is not oversaturated. I am talking about Crossover Thrash, you know thrash metal mixed with healthy doses of punk and hardcore. Epi-Demic keep it traditional and right down the middle, with frantic speed showing little to no sizeable swings in tempo or range, another trademark of the bands that defined the term Crossover. Epi-Demic do slip in some pretty catchy rhythms into the riffing framework, at times, which helps keep the interest and differentiate the songs a little more from one another, in turn producing a light headbang from me. Between the punk and hardcore influences, I would say hardcore is far and away taking the lead with a lot of hardcore style cadence to the pacing. Plus, you have the vocals, which are probably more hardcore shouted style than your usual gruff thrash vocal staple. Some bands I can hear influence from on here are Cryptic Slaughter, Wehrmacht, SOD, Crumsuckers, COC during their crossover period, maybe a little bit of early Nuclear Assault as well. You often hear in reviews, they are retro but bring in modern touches, I am not saying that here these guys are old school all the way, even the production in some ways, but they own it and are proud of it. So kudos to them for doing what they like, and not pandering to modern fans, just to try to be more relevant as it seems like a lot of bands try to do. It might not be mindblowing stuff, but it is good Crossover Thrash, done unapologetically in the old tradition with spiked fist to the face.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/theplaguebegins13    http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/   




“Sacrosanct” CD

(Lavadome Productions)


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

https://epoch616.bandcamp.com/album/sacrosanct    http://www.lavadome.org/  




“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  




"Revenge” CD

(Postunder Records)


It is always a pleasure to receive, for review, releases from the great South American UG metal scene. So it was very cool to get this album of Estigma, a band who come to us out of Peru, a country that has a bigger more quality scene than many people outside of South America would ever believe. Some might remember I listed Estigma, as one of my fave bands on a recent review of the Soulgrinder compilation. The man who put it out, Paul Caravasi seen that and sent me this album, so all thanks goes to Paul for this review. The band plays deathrash metal, with pretty equal parts from both sub-genres, possibly leaning a little more to the thrash side of things. Despite my preamble about the SA scene, this band actually outside of the well done decipherable death growls with a slight native accent undertone, sound very American, as in the United States of America. To give you a picture of the influences, think of a mixing of Bay Area thrash (late ‘80s / early ‘90s) and Floridian death metal (early ‘90s), leaning toward the more clean and polished albums from those scenes. When I say polished I refer to the total package of playing, hook laden catchy songwriting and production, which is not to say it is not heavy as fuck too, because it is! This honestly is an excellent album, truly quality from top to bottom from the music itself, to the top notch production and instrumental performances. Having said that, looking deeper into the history of the band, I was interested to find out after releasing a demo, EP and an album in the mid-90s this album is their first release in 19 years!! I assume the band split at some point or was just put on hold, not sure either way, but they had an awful lot of time to work on this record. So, it was a surprise for me, to find out that 50% of this album is made up of songs from their past works all those years ago. So I guess this album better be damn good (and it is) if in total it encompasses twenty years of song writing! Anyway, back to the music, my two favourite parts were the strong, proficient drum work and the tasty accomplished guitars, which are expertly crafted and drip with emotion and class. I think my fave track might be the title track, which embodies everything great about this band and I am sure is destined to be a future classic song live for the die hard followers of this band. Estigma represents yet another fine example among many of why the South American scene is one of the very best in the world.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/estigmaperu    https://www.facebook.com/postunderproductions       




"The Great Conquest” CD

(Gate Of Horror Productions)


The South American scene is so good in recent years, so I can not help, but to excited every time a band from that region of the planet arrives in my mailbox. This time around we have the debut album from Peru’s Eternal Exhumation. I don’t always talk a lot about the lyrics, but I do find some of the lyrics, which mainly deal with the history of the Peruvian Empire, an interesting read. Such as fine little bits like this “Foreigners from the north, Men arrive with hair on face and with armor, Mounted on four legged demons, With strong spears and strange language tips”. Anyways, interesting lyrical content aside, let us move on to the main attraction the music itself. Eternal Exhumation plays excellent, relentless early to mid ‘90s style tremolo picked death metal insanity. I mean this shit is fucking brutal and crushing music, which batters and bloodies you from the first second of the record to the final second with nary a break insight. These guys are unyielding and ruthless at all times! It does have a level technical craftsmanship to the song writing, yet I would not label it technical death metal, but I also would not put it into the death grind sub-genre, no this is just well done and very entertaining straight on death metal. Despite the constant brutality level, and speed attack, the band does have nuance going on in the guitar department with tasty little fills and emotive accents that a level of refinement and depth, within barbarity. The vocals are imposing and rolling growls that are pretty powerful and fit the music to a proverbial T. Something else, some South American productions can tend to be on the raw or low-fi side of things, which I sometimes like honestly, but you can put away that worry here as the production on this album is excellent being very loud, clear and heavy. I am endlessly amazed at how damn good the South American UG metal scene is, Eternal Exhumantion are just another fine example of this to add to the list of strong bands from that area of the globe. Check this out if you love early to mid ‘90s classic death metal that is of top notch quality.  - Dale

https://eternalexhumationperu.bandcamp.com    https://www.facebook.com/gateofhorror      




"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





“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/     




“Cataclysmic Desolation” CD

(Comatose Music)


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

https://www.reverbnation.com/faceofoblivion    http://www.comatosemusic.com        




"Black Metal Against Communism” CD

(Castle Of Damnation / Maltcross Records)


The very prolific Troy Reynolds comes to us with another one of his solo bands, where he writes and records everything himself. Some of the other bands Troy is part of are Autumn Grave, which is another solo effort, as well as full member bands like Black Blood Stigmata and the great Path Of Damnation I just reviewed as well. Fatelancer proclaims to be black metal, but the whole concept here is very much heavily rooted in the current American sociopolitical realm. Which to me, does not seem to fit with black metal whatsoever (which as said they do call themselves bm), this sort of concept and subject matter is more of a punk and hardcore thing (the vocals on here do sound kind of hardcore-like) to tackle such issues mixed with music. The band even label themselves as “Alt-Right Black Metal”, the Alt-Right movement seems to be largely led by and comprised of ultra religious Christian zealots, which is of course is the extreme opposite of what black metal at it’s core has always stood for and it’s object of hate toward. Black metal in my opinion should never be combined with anything relating to the praise of the Christian religion. That is all I will say on that, but I would think most in the history of the bm scene would agree with that stance. So, with that aside now, it is usually the music that I focus upon most in reviews, so time to dig into the music itself which is a challenge. The music, as you may imagine is very much tailored in this case solely to the subject matter at hand with a lot of audio clips from the newscasts, public speeches and the like. Most of that did not do it for me I have to admit, I found in this case it only serves to kill any flow the music could hope to have. But I guess I appreciate the passion in standing up for what one believes if nothing else. When we do get bits of actual metal songs, a sparsely populated event, they again really do not come off black metal sounding at all to me outside of the odd sparingly used tremolo picked guitar run. No, much of the music especially with the vocal style Troy employs here comes off like a slightly growled version of the typical hardcore style shouted vocals. The music sounds more like moody slower metallic edged hardcore music all around to me, which is not something I am generally very much of a fan of honestly, so even musically this is not for me. Again, to reiterate, I am just speaking musically here, but for me, this is not Troy’s finest work or even close to it by any means. I know he has band mates to work with in Path Of Damnation for example, but that other band of his is so many miles beyond Fatelancer in quality. I would recommend highly checking out Path Of Damnation or even Black Blood Stigmata and give this one a pass. Though I suppose if you really like having social and political issues mixed with a barrage of audio clips into little chunks of music (which is only a hastily thrown together backdrop for the message and nothing more) then you may enjoy this release on a different level than I do.  - Dale





“Forever Resonating In Blood” CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)


As I always say, it adds a bit of extra excitement for me, when I get a release for review from my homeland like with Canada’s Feral. I am immediately struck by the vocals on here. Now, I like screechy and screaming vocals for the most part, I mean I am a fan of everything form Burzum to Lust to The Accused etc… But, the vocals from this one band are nauseatingly annoying, to the point of almost being headache inducing. I am sure fellow parents will get this, but I have a young daughter, back when she was 3 to 5 years old, she would have these ultra melodramatic screamy, yelling, crying hoarse voice temper tantrum meltdowns. Well, mix that sound with a bit of the usual metal and hardcore type screech ‘n yell combo, and you will get an idea of what the Feral vocals sound like. It took me two full listens of this album before I could focus much past the vocals and listen to the music. The music has it’s moments, with some nice guitar work infused with the odd cool emotive moment or nuance I enjoyed. The bulk of the music though, while solid enough I suppose, feels a little disjointed, like some jam parts were just connected together to make a song and lacking the feeling of a finished flowing song. Back to the guitar work, there are some killer guitar fills and solos, yes I know it is black metal or at least is presented as black metal, but there are a lot of moments which suddenly sound much more heavy metal or hints of thrash. Possibly a sad thing, since it is a bm band, those non-black metal elements are almost always the best moments on this album. There is definitely some passion on here and a talent for coming up with cool parts of songs, but it feels like there is a distinct lack of overall vision and aptitude, when it comes to song writing / craftsmanship. This might be a time when having people to collaborate with, might pay off if he can find some suitable people, oh and definitely work on those vocals. There is a first time for everything; I do not think I have ever said this before about a Horror Pain Gore Death release, but this is something I would say you should give a pass on.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/ftwlidtjlctp/    http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/       




“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/  




"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/      




"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/          




"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/       




“King Is Rising” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)


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

http://www.hammer-king.com/   http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/      




“Split” LP / CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


Hands start things out with four of the first five tracks on this album, The Wandering Midget has, as you would expect, the longest track on the record, despite that Hands of Orlac’s opening song is no lightweight clocking in at just over 14 minutes long. The band is originally from Italy, now residing in Sweden, I can hear some of that Italian influence in there with certain elements of their sound reminding me of stuff like Death SS, Paul Chain and even a touch of Mortuary Drape. Hands of Orlac play pure hard rock & metal classic doom metal of the ‘70s / early ’80s style. I heard some of their old stuff with faster, more heavy metal guitar featuring more in your face production. I must say this more laid-back sound and production really suits them so much better, in addition to an obvious self-assured maturity now creeping into their songwriting over the years. The vocals of frontwoman The Sorceress suit the music very nicely, they are also in the old style and have a really soothing, spellbinding quality to them which reflects back and adds to the depressive trippy atmosphere of the music so well. The vocalist also plays and the band incorporates the flute (a fair bit yet not to excess), but in a way I can dig, it is kind of slightly lower and obscured in the mix (past releases the flute was far too loud/high in the mix for me) giving off more of a cool ‘70s atmospheric, hypnotic and melancholy vibe. That first song, “Curse Of The Human Skull” is a minor masterpiece, in my opinion. They follow up that fourteen minute marathon beauty, with a six minute song (featuring some more upbeat rocking sections) and two interlude pieces, all of which keep the quality level on the up tick. Their side is worth the price of the record alone! I am now in love with Hands Of Orlac, here is to hoping this is them finding their stride and window into the sound they will carry forward into future releases. Next, we move to The Wandering Midget, who appears with only one song “Where We March The Vultures Follow”, which features the mammoth running time of 18 plus minutes!! This is the first release for Wandering Midget in nearly five years so there is excitement for it. We are treated to some really good dark classic doom metal, but not as much rooted in the ‘70s as Hands Of Orlac, no they are modern sounding and owing more to bands like Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus. The guitars are more up front, and slightly more biting, but just enough of the requisite fuzzy doom edge to them. The song starts slow and melancholic, eventually building tension until the band explodes with an emotional outburst I found quite poignant and powerful, they then slowly bring us back down while maintaining their triumphant depressive gloomy aura all the while. The classic vocals are really freaking good and are filled with emotion, matching the music in every way and sometimes, somehow, even surpassing it. This is a truly a fantastic split album, of which, all classic doom metal hounds should strive to add to their collection.  - Dale

https://handsoforlac.bandcamp.com    https://www.facebook.com/TheWanderingMidget   




“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     




“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   




“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/   




"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/       




"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/      




“Horror God/Techne” Split CD

(Lavadome Productions)


Coming out of the Russian death metal scene is Horror God, who supply three brand new songs here, as well as a cover of Purulence’s “Sinking Into Transparency”. This is my first experience listening to the band, they play a solid form of death metal, but they are not afraid to explore and add other genres of metal within the mid paced death metal mainstay they create. The musicianship features a lot of creativity, and well written and played performances on their instruments. Horror God play their own style of death metal and do a very good job of it. Techne are up next, they play a progressive death metal style of music. The band does add in some excellent progressive metal elements and early rock influences within their music. This is a band that plays a very good brand of progressive death metal, yet I still just can not get into this, but if you like the idea of a split with two quite different sounding bands you might want to pick this one up.  - Patrick

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




“Haunted By Rock & Roll” CD

(EMP Label Group)


I am new to Ignitor here. I was a little surprised to see that this is no less than their sixth full length record, since they hit the scene in 2004, with a self-released full length recording. Also of interest to me, this EMP Label Group, which upon a little digging I came to find out this is the record label run by Dave Ellefson from Megadeth! Dave has quite an extensive roster of heavy metal, thrash, black, death etc… bands, he is also in the process of reviving Combat Records, as a sub-label to EMP. Anyway, sorry back to business at hand, Ignitor I was interested to find out features a member of Witches Mark and two members of Agony Column. Anyone remember Agony Column? They made noise and some name recognition, as a Metal Blade Records band, at the end of the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Agony played heavy metal mixed with southern rock, the music was pretty good I thought, though the southern rock thing (visual and musically) came off a bit gimmicky to me at the time. I would say Ignitor for the most part, does not sound like Agony Column, it only really rears it’s head for a moment or two on tracks like “Leather Forever” and “No Sanctuary”. Ignitor is a different style of heavy metal and/or old school power metal compared to A.C. To me, they are more akin to the classic period of bands like Grave Digger (I hear them a lot as an influence), Accept, Mercyful Fate and Judas Priest etc… The band writes and performs, some very good catchy and weighty riffed heavy metal, which is backed up with plenty of experience and maturity. I really dug some of the stylish, tasty solos and guitar fills, which are sprinkled throughout these emotive ripping songs. What really pulls the whole album together is the stellar work by Jason McMaster (original Watchtower vocalist), who gives a lively, soaring tour-de-force classic heavy metal as fuck performance, bringing to mind the vocals of bands like classic Grave Digger, Dio, Raven and the like. The band wraps up the album with a very faithful and energetic cover of Raven’s “Hung, Drawn & Quartered” which I found quite enjoyable. This is a good album made for die hards of early to mid 1980s classic heavy metal, nothing new here, but it is not meant to be, it is designed to hold up the old traditional metal ways and kick some ass while they do it.  - Dale

https://www.emplabelgroup.com/    https://www.ignitorband.com/   




“Blight Upon Martyred Sentience” CD

(Profound Lore Records)


Impetuous Ritual’s recent release Blight Upon Martyred Sentience begins like a storm: the drums and guitar are thunder claps that ominously resonate overhead as the atmosphere approaches like a noisy curtain of rain tumbling into the composition. The ambiance is all encompassing, enveloping you into a murky reality that will be your home for the 43-minute duration of this album. Cavernous production quality is a mainstay here, similar to the assembly of Teitanblood and Grave Upheaval, although Impetuous Ritual utilize this aesthetic in a way that is very much their own. They allow their instruments and deep, intimidating vocals to seep through the mesh as the listener gets to feeling more and more acclimated to the album’s environment. The further the album progresses, the more the listener’s eyes adjust to seeing the figures in the surrounding darkness: shrieking guitar leads that are composed in such a way as to feel tumultuous while still being tightly executed, for example. In the track “Apoptosis”, this element occurs overtop the tenacious drumming from Necros Craigos, which provides an extra layer of dimension to sink into past the outer layer of the overbearing production quality. Then comes one of my favorite tracks on the album, “Synchronous Convergence”, which bears similar attributes, but arrives at a point where the listener feels completely oriented to the established setting of the album. Vocals come through clearer on this track, the guitar work is slightly more distinguishable from the mixing, and the drumming feels slightly more methodical. “Sullen” winds the album down to its near closing with a slower approach to the familiar characteristics of the album, and rings a foreboding bell to cue the finale. Overall, Blight Upon Martyred Sentience is a fantastic album from the Australian atmospheric death metal band that has been consistently unleashing exceptional albums onto the scene since their conception.  – Aaron

https://www.facebook.com/ImpetuousRitual/   https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com       




"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/      




"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/       




“Destroyer Of Mankind” CD

(Abyss Records)


It was a nice surprise to receive this disc in the mail. I was a fan of the band’s first two records, especially the second one “Berserk Artillery Barrage”. So much so, on the strength of that record, we interviewed them in Canadian Assault back in the print days, believe it was issue 6 or 7. Despite it being about 15 years since then, the band has picked right up where that second record left off, continuing with that style / sound that made me like them. Invasion has melds a large dose of catchy melodicism within death metal extremity, but it feels like they may have turned said ingredient up even further on “Destroyer Of Mankind”, as this record is as catchy as all fuck. I still hear that early ‘90s Swedish death metal guitar sound and style I love so much, however I feel like they toned that element down a tad, with other influences from the same time period via other parts of Europe (ala Bolt Thrower, Benediction, early Sinister) and the US have asserted themselves more prominently. There is a little more refinement in the material, aside from the high tunefulness mentioned above; there are some great underlying guitar fills and patterns that are pure class. I can hear an example of it right now, as I write this, on the killer song “A Satisfying Death”. Main man of the band bassist / vocalist Peter Clemens has his death growling pipes in fine form, as he puts on a commanding performance consisting of mostly decipherable bestial growling, which is sure to frighten even a raging bear into turning tail. I see Peter is still obsessed with World War II, as with past albums, it is largely or even solely based upon that epic war. I can not blame him there is a ton of material to be mined (no pun intendec) from that war, and as a bit of a classic war buff myself, it is the war I probably find the most fascinating as well, not sure if my grandfather fighting in that war and on D-Day might have something to do with my personal interest in the subject. But Invasion do it justice, the lyrics on WWII are passionate and visceral (with various audio clip samples to aide in setting the scene), even rather moving and has me reaching for my Band Of Brothers dvd set, since it now has an alternate soundtrack courtesy of Invasion. Well done boys.  - Dale

https://invasion2.bandcamp.com/    http://www.officialabyssrecords.com/   




“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/      




“Among The Dead” CD

(Crime Records)


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

http://www.ironfire.dk/    https://shop.crimerecords.no/   




“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/     




"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/      




“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/      




“Angel Plague” CD

(H.P.G.D. Productions)


Coming out of New Jersey’s death metal scene, is Kalopsia, with their third full length “Angel Plague”. Kalopsia play heavy, chaotic death metal which is not all fast, as the band writes and plays some very good mid paced sections. The guitars are played with a lot of skill, their experience level shows through as in their playing, going from an all out assault of fast riffs and patterns to a more controlled, well written mid paced passages. The drums follow along in the same vein, possessing a lot of power and skill, showing variety with more of a mid paced style in a few songs. The vocals are deep death metal growls with some gruff screams used in a few of the songs. If you enjoyed Kalopsia’s previous releases then be sure to check out “Angel Plague” today.  - Patrick

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




“Alliance For Death Domination” Split CD EP

(Dead Sheep Productions)


I have to admit I was very interested in this release when I pulled it out of my mailbox. Just the immediate first impression I received from the band names, song titles, cover and hell I also like the attitude / mindset to call your record label Dead Sheep haha. It sounds like something I would do, Autopsy Kitchen anyone? Anyway, on to this split, Karonte, a veteran band is up first up with three tracks on this 22 minute EP. They hail from Spain, which immediately conjures up past memories of brutal death metal bands, from that country. Spanish dm bands traditionally tend to have this dark, and very mean brutal sound and dangerous feeling atmosphere to their music, Karonte carries this tradition on in fine form. Well, maybe Karonte has a hint more melodo finesse and catchiness to their riffs, comparing to many of their countrymen, but only a hint I say. I would say this is most evident, on the third track “Dominación”, which incorporates a more distinctive level of heavy metal guitar histrionics, but also slows down the pace a fair bit and in so doing brings a doomy feel to the track. Damn, this is a great first half to the split. Bloody Brotherhood also from Spain, comes at us with two tracks, “In Tyrant’s Land” & “Thousand Years Of Lies”, both of which are a little longer than the Karonte hymns. BB has a cleaner, less dirty (I mean that in a positive way) guitar sound than Karonte, but also play death metal and do so mostly at a middle pace. Bloody at first blush, does not seem quite as brutal, but they have their moments and the brutish bits come at you in sudden fits and starts like a suddenly striking viper after it took a moment to size you up. The vocals are growls, but at times have black, hate dipped emotive vitriol to them, which I like very much and those vocals do a lot to give the band a certain atmosphere and feel, which could at times, be reflected more in the music to make the songs more powerful, in my opinion. I did not enjoy the Bloody Brotherhood side of the split as much as Karonte, but having said that Bloody have some really good things going for them and I look forward to hear more from this young band as they progress into the future. This is a pretty killer release, I have the disc, but there is also a 10” EP vinyl version as well. I bet these songs sound fantastic on the turntable. Whichever version you check out, I have a feeling you will enjoy it, if you are a death metal lover there is a lot take in on this release for an EP. I hope to one day find more rotting pieces of dead sheep’s delicious carcass in the future.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/deadsheepproductions/    http://deadsheepproductions.es/   




“Exilasmos” CD

(Iron Bonehead Records)


My first experience with Kawir was around the ‘93/94 time period. I tape traded for the bands first release which was a promo demo released back in 1993. I really enjoyed that tape, but besides a ’94 ep, their debut album and a later split ep, but I never kept up on the bands releases from the 2000’s onward unfortunately. But here I am nearly 25 years later after I tape traded for that promo and the band is still going strong! It is good to see one of the early bands of the Greek black metal scene, who have stayed true to their roots, amongst some notable examples of bands largely abandoning them (ala Samael, Rotting Christ etc…). I say this, but do not misunderstand me; the band is not just playing the same old thing they did over twenty years ago. No, they have clearly progressed in their playing ability and song crafting, there is more intricate structuring, as well as higher doses of melody injected into the freezing murky atmosphere. Still, there is always that ribbon of their sound, which can clearly be followed back to their beginning possessing the early to mid ‘90s Greek black / death aura and dark tone. I dug the bombastic booming accent elements (I imagine fans will wait for it and thrust a fist in the air live), they are hard to describe, but when you listen to the track “Thyestia Deipna”, you will hear what I mean and while you are there, be sure to check out the superb inspired guitar work in this song. The guitar work definitely should not be understated, not only is it technically sound, but additionally the writing and performance can be very emotive at times working expertly within the sinister and often evil atmosphere, adding another layer of depth and quality. The epic feeling of the final track, entitled “Orestes”, even has old school Iron Maiden influence slithering in and out of the guitars. There is so much going in this song, from triumphant heavy metal parts, to a blistering hateful classic second wave black metal sequence, there is even a ripping guitar solo thrown in. It almost seems like all of that should not work together, but Kawir expertly crafted this excellent song, producing a seamless mighty anthem, clocking in at nearly eight minutes in length (which is not over long for this record as all of the songs are in the 6 plus to 8 minute range but none are more epic than this one). I am pleased Iron Bonehead, who I have followed since inception has managed to bring me back to this great Greek band, who have forged an impressive legacy for themselves in the annuals of the underground metal scene. This legacy has only been furthered by this ambitious concept album of Greek Hellenic mythology.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/kawirblackmetal/    http://www.ironbonehead.de/     




“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/  




“Shores Of Oblivion” CD EP

(Xtreem Music)


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

https://killingaddiction.bandcamp.com/music    http://www.xtreemmusic.com/        




"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          




“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/      




“Portentaque” CD EP

(Pagan Records)


It is great to see Pagan Records still going strong! I used to be in contact with the label owner Tomasz Krajewski even before the label started when I ordered issues of his great Holocaust fanzine. Then he started the record label and I purchased some of his first releases (Crucifier “By Disgrace Of God” EP & Behemoth “Return Of The Northern Moon” Demo cassettes) and even eventually interviewed him for CA close to 20 years ago now! Okay, that is enough of a trip down memory lane now. So onwards with examining the 19 minutes of music at hand on “Portentaque”. This is my first chance to hear the band. I was immediately taken by the dark and murky death metal within. If you can imagine a more atmospheric, slow motion doomy churning version of the mixing of things like early Grave, Asphyx, Incantation, Necros Christos and threw in a dash of “Mental Funeral” Autopsy. Then you would start to get a decent idea of the fresh hell of an audio landscape that Kult Mogił produces. Now, when you see atmospheric you are probably thinking there are wall to wall synth and other effects; well you would be dead wrong, as this is a thick atmosphere is produced only with traditional instruments. This is something for me, which makes what they have managed to produce here, just that much more impressive and pure. The vocals consist of tortured haunting screams, growls and just guttural pain that also remind me of a mix of the Canadian band Lust, early Grave and early Autopsy vocals with an own twist that is extremely effective in sustaining and furthering that gloomy foreboding eerie graveyard feel on this recording. This band and this release resurrect and continue the tradition of truly cult of dangerous and dirty metal of death. This comes recommended and I understand there is a pretty limited amount of this 12” vinyl, so I would suggest those looking for this to hurry and snatch up this format as this music is perfect for vinyl. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to introduce myself to this bands debut album without delay.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/kultmogil    http://www.pagan-records.com/   




“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/     




“Vicious Breed” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


Coming out of Pittsburgh’s traditional heavy metal scene is Lady Beast with their second full-length release. “Vicious Breed” consists of eight songs of classic heavy metal, with some extremely well composed music back by well played instruments. The guitar work is played with both fast traditional metal riffs and solidly written and executed mid paced sections. The guitarist even writes and performs some excellent solos intertwined within the memorable music. The vocals are handled by Deborah Levi, who does a great job of belting out both conventional heavy metal vocals, as well as somewhat wild aggressive vocals, but she can is also sing with a more controlled melodic style. I would say, if you are a fan of NWOBHM, and other early ‘80s heavy metal bands then be sure to check out Lady Beast’s newest release today.  - Patrick

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




"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/      




"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/      




"Aftermath” CD

(Comatose Music)


Italy’s brutal band Logic Of Denial, are back with their third attack entitled “Aftermath”, featuring twelve songs. The band plays a brutal and vicious death metal style and do it with a lot of skill and talented musicianship. The guitars are played mainly with crazed and fast riffs and patterns, as well as some well done solos, mixed into a few of the songs. The vocals are low brutal death metal growls. The drums are played with some insane blast beats and the drummer does know how to create and perform well done heavier mid paced skin beating. If you are a fan of modern brutal death metal then be sure to pick up a copy of “Aftermath” when it is released.  - Patrick

http://www.logicofdenial.com/    http://www.comatosemusic.com/      




“Far From Light” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)


Cruz Del Sur are quickly becoming the champions of heavy metal, the label tends to have quite discerning tastes and their stable, to me, is beginning to set the standard for excellence in the genre these days. This German band is clearly full of energy and very talented. They play an entertaining brand of heavy metal, which is deeply rooted in the NWOBHM and I can hear a lot of Iron Maiden at their deepest core. Much like those heroes and Judas Priest, there abounds some wonderful soaring twin guitar harmonies. That is the main template for their sound, but they do have some other influences, as I hear a bit of 70s and believe it or not, some slight influences from ‘90s extreme metal. Which is quite the juxtaposition, with some of the very light airy moments, sitting next to the heavy, gloomy introspective passages elements. There are some frolicking lively guitar solos scattered through the album which were engaging and pleasurable, those solos give off a improvisational vibe to me. One thing that is a must, if you are even going to attempt this genre is a good vocalist, enter Alex Vornam. With his soaring clean vocals, which are possibly a tad too light and not gritty enough for some, but he fits the music well and has a smooth voice with pretty solid range. Yeah, this is a pretty kick ass album, displaying real talent across the board. I guess the only criticism, I might have is some of the songs are a little too long, about half of the songs are 8 to 10 minutes long. There is nothing wrong with that, but I think maybe this very young bands experience is a little short, and their maturity as song writers, needs some more time to develop before they have the vision and discipline to make such epic length songs. I have little doubt as I said, with some experience, that they will be full value for such a gargantuan undertaking. Having said that those are still good songs, but could benefit from a little tightening up. But, if you are a fan of the styles I mentioned above, then I am certain you dig this album.  - Dale

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




“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/     




“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/   




“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/      




“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/     




"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/       




"Altar Of Decay” MCD

(Blood Harvest Records)


Coming out of Olympia, WA is Mortiferum with their debut demo, which Blood Harvest will be releasing in digipak format. “Altar Of Decay” features four tracks of crushing death doom metal. The vocals are gruff growls along with a deeper death metal growling approach. The drums range from a mid paced drum style with some faster drum patterns used in a few of the tracks. The drummer also plays a very slow and heavier drum style. The guitars are played in the same vein, as the drums, with some fast guitar mode before slowing down to a more crushing doom pace.  - Patrick

https://mortiferum.bandcamp.com/    http://www.bloodharvest.se      




“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      




“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/      




“Immortal Force” CD

(Greyhaze Records)


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

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




“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  




“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/    




"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/        




"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/       




“Nyctophilia” CD

(Greyhaze Records)


Brazil’s raw thrash black metallers Nervochaos are back with a new release featuring thirteen songs. The guitars are played with intense, fast guitar patterns throughout most of the songs. But the guitarist does slow down to a more controlled mid pace pattern in a few of the songs. The drumming is done in the vein, with chaotic and crazed drum patterns, but does slow to a heavier slower pacing. The vocals are a mix of raw death metal growls and some screaming intertwined within the mix. If you are a fan of the previous Nervochaos releases then be sure to pick up a copy “Nyctophilia” today.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/NervoChaos    https://www.greyhazerecords.com/      




“Vietnamm” CD EP

(Merdumgiriz Recs / NBRD Recs)


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

https://nbrd.bandcamp.com/    http://www.merdumgiriz.org/     




“Madness Incarnate” CD EP

(Symbol Of Damnation)


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

https://www.facebook.com/nihilistinenbarbaarisuus    http://satanath.com/sodp  




“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