OBSCENE

"Sermon To The Snake” CD EP

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)

 

Obscene are a new death metal band, coming to us out of Indianapolis, Indiana with their debut EP. “Sermon To The Snake” features four tracks of death metal with some elements of thrash guitars mixed in with their brutal style of music. The band plays mainly in the mid paced range with some fast guitar sections mixed into some of the songs. The drums are performed with both extremely fast drum patterns, but he does slow down to calmer more mid paced beats now and then. The vocalist is the only thing I don’t care for on this release, as the vocals I feel, just do not really fit well with the music. The music itself is done with a lot more maturity than most new bands, due to the members of this band having done this before in other bands (Black Goat Of The Woods, Acheron, Summon The Destroyer etc…), and their experience bleeds through with some well thought song structuring. If you are a fan of old school death metal, with some thrash influences, then be sure to give Obscene a listen today.  - Patrick

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

 

 

ODRAZA

"Esperalem Tkane” CD

(Arachnophobia Records)

 

Godz Ov War Productions strikes again! That wonderful label, who support their scene like no other, have once again sent me a large package of discs, not discs they released, but rather from labels and bands from their country they wish to support and promote. That is what I call the true underground spirit. Alright, on to Odraza, like all the bands in this package, they hail from Poland and play black death metal. This may be the bands debut album, but it is clear upon listening, there is a lot of skill and maturity present, it makes one think they are not newbies at all. This suspicion is quickly confirmed correct upon looking up the two members. They are both from the band Messemord, which has been around a decade or so, plus they have both had stints in or are currently are in a number of other bands. “Esperalem Tkane” is an interesting album, it is not all speed and brute force, no this is a well thought out and crafted album, by two men that possess skill in both their chosen instruments, as well as possessing a talent for arranging music. There is a lot going on here, it is not you’re every day black metal, there is a lot of variation and dynamic, worked expertly within their chosen genre. The envelope is constantly pushed, but their black metal roots are never pulled from the soil, if you get my meaning. The music is very dark and evil sounding, it is brutal as well, yet it is filled with very emotional brooding elements, which add such depth to their musical landscape. Yes, it can send you on an introspective journey, but you will not get too lost in it, because there lays violence and barbarity lurking around each and every corner. This is an impressive album, if you like your black death metal on the slightly adventurous side, but also music that takes care not to forget the dark aggression and barbarism spawned it, then I can strongly recommend that you pick up this great album. Now if you will excuse me, I suddenly have a strange craving, to smoke some cigarette butts off the floor and suck on some lovley old Gilf titties.  - Dale

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2-o2Zfv4b8i_xxHPzktRyw   www.arachnophobia.pl      

 

 

OLD CHAPEL

“Visions From Beyond” CD

(Chaos Records)

 

Russia’s old school death metal band Old Chapel returns to us with their third full length release. The album features nine songs of early to mid nineties death metal with some doom elements mixed in to some of the songs. The guitarist knows how to write and perform heavier mid paced style and sound, but also is adept at a faster paced style in a few of the songs. The drumming is done in the same vein going from thunderously heavy to smoothly mixing together middle paced and faster paced beats. The vocals are totally old school death metal growls that fit well. If you are a fan of the mid ‘90s US death metal scene then you will definitely add this album to your collection.  - Patrick

https://oldchapel.bandcamp.com    http://www.chaos-records.com    

 

 

OLD MOTHER HELL

"Old Mother Hell” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)

 

Cruz Del Sur leave no stone unturned, in their search of traditional heavy metal and doom bands, the world over. This time around, they landed their all seeing eye upon Germany, holding up Old Mother Hell like the gleaming shield of a brave armor clad warrior engaged in some ancient battle. So, even though I threw in the doom tag here, as does the band and record label, an element of their sound which is indeed present, like a whispering thread of audio smoke wafting throughout proceedings. But, having said that, Old Mother Hell are mainly a classic heavy metal band, largely employing a pacing which is often a little more brisk and invigorated, than what you would think of when you see the doom label attached. Dare I say, they even rock out now and then, inducing a little headbanging and air guitar from me. Speaking of the guitars, they are very stylish sounding with a real smooth grace to the playing and structuring, which produces quite a contemplative yet heroic and affecting medieval atmosphere, to match the lyrical content. The vocalist has a rich stouthearted tone, with a slightly trembling, but highly emotive quality, which I dig an awful lot. I think die hard fans of ‘70s and ‘80s heavy metal with doom touches, will like a little of this particular hell, in their lives and their record collections.  - Dale

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

 

 

ORDOXE

"Towards Eternity” CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)

 

This is my first time hearing Ordoxe’s music, the band combines elements of aggressive and melodic black metal, even throwing in some death metal influence in a few of the songs. The guitarist knows how to write, and play various speeds and styles, going from a fast black metal guitar to a slow to more mid paced guitar pace in a few songs. The vocals are a mix of harsh black metal screams along with deeper growls. “Towards Eternity” is a good mix of both melodic and forceful blackened death metal, so if you are a fan of Ordoxe’s past releases, then be sure to pick up a copy of the new release today.  - Patrick

https://ordoxe.bandcamp.com/    http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/          

 

 

OSSUARIUM

"Calcified Trophies Of Violence” Cassette EP

(Blood Harvest Records)

 

Portland Oregon’s newest emerging death metal horde Ossuarium as they release their previously self-released demo tape out officially now on Blood Harvest. “Calcified Trophies Of Violence” features three songs of dense, dark medium paced death metal. The vocals are low death growls with some raspy screams sprinkled through a few of the songs. The drums range from a fast, crazed drum style to a more controlled steady style. I believe there will be a CD version of this release through Blood Harvest later in the year. But if you are a fan of early Incantation and Autopsy, as well as, other similar bands of that ilk then you should most definitely give Ossuarium a listen today.  - Patrick

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

 

 

PESTIFER

"Execration Diatribes” CD

(Lavadome Productions)

 

Pestifer have unleashed their debut album of barbaric and brutal South American death metal with some thrash elements intertwined in the guitar sound. The guitars are played at a high rate of speed with some well written and played patterns. The guitars are mainly played with non-stop riffs, but the guitarist does slow up to a mid paced range in a few songs. The drums are played with fierce and violent drum beats that are mainly blast beats with some slower drums mixed into the music. The vocals are raw screams and some deeper growls here and there. If you are a fan of well played, barbaric death metal with some thrash elements mixed in, then be sure to pick up Pestifer’s debut cd today.  - Patrick

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

 

 

PYRRHON

"What Passes For Survival” CD

(Willowtip Records)

 

Disjointed pieces of a formless whole punch you from all sides during the initial moments of this album, immediately introducing the feral nature of Pyrrhon’s approach to technical death metal. Now, when I think of popular technical death metal, immediately what jumps to my mind are cleanly executed complex guitar passages, quicker-than-a-sudden-avalanche drumming, absurdly convoluted yet controlled bass playing, and vocals that span variable ranges. I find that many contemporary bands will be tech for tech’s sake, though, kind of like as if these bands use this subgenre to produce metal’s take on aestheticism. Pyrrhon does not construct their music in so superficial a manner—quite the opposite. For example, one of the most noticeable facets of What Passes For Survival is the depth of the production quality—sonic hierarchies permeate the waters of this album, at times punching you from all sides like I mentioned occurs at the outset of the introductory track, and at times sustaining a caliginous atmosphere into which you can dive and get cathartically lost like in “Tennessee” and “Empty Tenement Spirit.” My favorite track at the moment is “Trash Talk Landfill,” however, because of how audible yet densely produced the composition is. Give it a listen, and you’ll hear all of the complexities that you wish to hear in a technical death metal album played with a formidable, tangled, and determined momentum. This momentum does not rest for several tracks either. You’ll think you get a moment to breathe, but then Pyrrhon undermine that instance of peace by tossing you straight back into the fray. What Passes For Survival quarrels with itself and its listener if he/she does not succumb to its oftentimes erratic, but always-vigorous and spirited energy. It’s a challenging, yet very much so rewarding listen. I highly recommend this album for anyone that enjoys technical and progressive constructions of extreme metal, but also relishes a heavy fucking dose of ruthless brutality. – Aaron

https://pyrrhonband.bandcamp.com/    http://www.willowtip.com          

 

 

QUICKSAND DREAM

"Beheading Tyrants” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)

 

Hailing from Sweden this band has been dormant for 16 years since the release of their debut album “Aelin”. What have the band members of this trio been up to all these years you ask? Well, two of the members carried on with another more prolific band, by the name Mortalicum who have released four albums in the meantime. I seen an interview which said some of the material on here is from many years ago just after the debut album. Anyway, enough background, on to the music which I would probably call epic heavy metal or maybe even dipping into the epic hard rock territory (ala Queensryche “Operation Mindcrime” vibe) with slight doom touches. I would say their sound is a very niche one, even among heavy metal fans, it is focused into the smaller dedicated cult following that worship bands like Cirith Ungol and especially Manilla Road. Which, for some heavy metal fans might be a little too laid-back, chill and introspective for what they normally go for. But for those of you that can get into that this,  it takes you down a reflective emotional path, where you can enjoy just getting lost in the flow and letting the currents gently guide you down this musical journey. I mean there are brief moments of get up and go, such as the opener “Daughters Of Eve”, where the tempo is turned up a little and there is a cool brief energetic solo. But make no mistake, the mainstay pacing and atmosphere is definitely even keel and unhurried, just easy going. I mentioned Queensryche on “Operation Mindcrime” earlier; I would also throw in the moodier sections of Fates Warning “A Pleasant Shade Of Grey”, now I am referring to those records vocally here. The performance of vocalist Goran Jacobson reminds me at times of those records, not that I would put his range as a singer on the level of Geoff Tate or Ray Alder, but those mid-range, spoken/sung parts and feel from those guys. Anyway, probably not getting my point across here very well and rambling, the vocals are good, how about that? Haha. The record itself is good too, nothing mind-blowing by any means, maybe even a bit of an acquired taste too but I enjoyed it.  - Dale

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

 

 

RIG TIME

"War” CD

(Innerstrength Records)

 

Rig Time is a hardcore metal band coming out of the Wisconsin UG scene. The music on here is a mixture of middle tempo heavy material, but does speed up to a faster pace in a few of the songs on “War”. The guitar work is a combination well written and performed mid tempo riffing. The vocals are a mix of the tried and true hardcore hollering along with some rawer screams to spice things up. I should admit that I am not the biggest fan of the metallic hardcore style, but if you enjoy this type of music, then you should definitely give Rig Time a listen as they are pretty solid at doing what they do.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/RIGTIME/    https://innerstrengthrecords.bandcamp.com/         

 

 

RIPPED TO SHREDS

"Mai-Zang” CD & Cassette

(Craneo Negro Records / Necrolatry Records)

 

Andrew Lee (ex-Disincarnation & Draghkar) is the mastermind behind this Californian one man band, who is set to release his new bands debut album. “Mai-Zang” features eight well written songs of old school death metal and some thrash elements are blended throughout this recording. Ripped To Shreds play a nice mix of mid paced death metal, but Andrew does let loose and kick the speed up in some of the tracks. Andrew’s guitar work is amazing; fluctuating between some well written middle paced guitar patterns and some extremely fast patterning. The vocals are gruff growls and some screams combined throughout the music. This album is a very good release of solid old school death metal, if you are a fan of early Bolt Thrower, Entombed and the like then do yourself a favor and pick this up today.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/rippedtoshredsband    https://www.facebook.com/ixcraneonegroxi       

 

 

RITES OF THY DEGRINGOLADE

"The Blade Philosophical” CD & LP

(Nuclear War Now! Productions)

 

I was pleased to see that Rites Of Thy Degringolade were returning with a new recording. I have been following the main man drummer / vocalist Paulus and his musical exploits for a very long time. In fact, I interviewed him twice for Canadian Assault, once back in 1997 in person (with his old band Sacramentary Abolishment) and then later again in 1999 during the early days of Rites. It is great to know Paulus is still going strong 20 years later! This release is this western Canadian bands fourth full length album and second for the ultra dedicated NWN! Productions. I would say there is less blitzkrieg speed and war metal style, nowadays, in the bands sound and structure. They instead focus more on an ominously heavy and moody atmosphere, with a more introspective vibe than the old stuff. Having said that, the band is keeping to their roots and musical integrity intact, there is still a cruel, violent edge to the proceedings. They have taken things in more of a superbly crafted dark death metal direction, with less of the black war metal approach, though as I said, some hints still remain. I feel like they are getting even more out of less now, and the continued maturity of Paulus, as a songwriter, and a musician in general is on full display with this album. There is some really nuanced guitar work going on on this record; they keep the main thread of each song, but add layers of depth through a healthy dose of refined guitar fills, as well as interestingly succinct and smooth diverse structural detours. Oh yes, I should not forget to also mention the often brief, but alternating classy and frenzied guitar solos, something I quite enjoyed. I really like Paulus’ darkened raspy & harsh vocals, which also somehow possess a hypnotic quality to them, achieved through tone and phrasing that I find quite addictive to listen to. Just focus on the infectious commanding choruses of tracks like “Above The Highest”, and the title track, or the vocal patterns utilized throughout the song “The Final Laceration”, if you do, I think you will understand where I am coming from with that description of the vocals. For me, as a listener, “The Blade Philosophical” is the successful realization of a powerful album, which is a satisfying, multi-faceted piece of musical art that will take you on an affecting mental journey.  - Dale

https://ritesofthydegringolade.bandcamp.com/    http://www.nwnprod.com/      

 

 

ROOT

“Kargeras” CD

(Paragon Records)

 

The Root re-releases continue, it was not long ago I was reviewing a series of re-releases done by I Hate Records. I could be wrong but I think this may be the third time this album has been released since it first saw the dark of night back in 1996. I have immense respect for this band, obviously many labels have the same reverence and worship I do for Root. I became obsessed with this band I think it was some time around 1991/1992 when I managed get my hands on the original vinyl release of their debut Zejeveni album out on Zeras records from a distro. It is close to my most prized vinyl to this day and a masterpiece album of raw, hateful, distinctive black metal. Which brings us forward as the band slowly moved away from that black metal sound and the extremity, bit by bit over the next few albums bringing us up to Kargeras. The bands 4th album sees them further along this path as the band create their first concept album of a land, a time, a people entirely from the mind of mainman and UG scene legend Big Boss. The immense amount of work and pouring over every detail to make this record as perfect as possible is evident, I believe the band worked the longest on this record than on any other. As mentioned this album is no longer black metal, it is like some dark emotional epic heavy metal music. It is truly a poignant and moving album that creates an atmosphere, a mental musical landscape for you mind to wander through. As always is the case with each Root album, the vocals of Big Boss are as important and probably more important than any other instrument or musical element on a Root record. His vocals are so unique and wonderfully charismatic, they always reach into my brain and massage it into ecstasy with a powerful and deft touch. Just simply amazing. I do not know that I could put many more words to this review that would do this record justice. I just do not think Root are even capable of making anything short of a superb album time after time. This is simply a must own as are all Root full lengths. I almost forgot to mention there is an 11 minute bonus track simply entitled ‘Demos’ so there is that treat for the Root die hards!  - Dale

https://myspace.com/rootcze   http://www.themetalunderground.com/  

 

 

SCAPHISM

"Unutterable Horrors” CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)

 

Rising out of the Boston, Massachusetts UG scene is brutal death metal band Scaphism. “Unutterable Horrors” is the bands second full length featuring eight songs of violent old school brutal death metal music. The vocals are old school growls, as well as, some more gruff death metal growls mixed into a few of the songs. The drumming on here is top notch employing some hyper-speed blast beats, but the drummer also writes and performs some mid paced drum patterns, which are a high skill level. The guitars are played in the same vein with some extremely fast guitars and then peppering in some slower middle paced guitar sections. If you are a fan of well built and solidly played old style brutal death metal, then be sure to pick up a copy of “Unutterable Horrors”, when it is released in January.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/Scaphism    https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/          

 

 

SCORCHED

"Echoes Of Dismemberment" CD

(Unspeakable Axe Records)

 

Delaware’s old school death metal band Scorched have released their debut full length cd, featuring ten songs of brutal, heavy old school death metal. The guitars are played with a lot of skill and good patterns, going from a mid paced heavy old guitar style, to a crazed fast speed. The guitarist knows to really write and play, extremely tight material, whether playing exceedingly fast or at a controlled pace, he even is great while playing some well crafted and played solos in a few of the songs. The drums are played with a lot of power and skill, going from a slow to mid paced range to a faster more brutal drum style throughout the songs, to give a nice mix of mid paced and faster music. If you are a fan of mid ‘90s brutal death metal scene, then be sure to check out and buy a copy Scorched’s debut today.  - Patrick

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

 

 

SENTIENT HORROR

"Ungodly Forms” CD

(Testimony Records)

 

New Jersey’s Sentient Horror have unleashed their debut album, featuring twelve songs of aggressive, well played Swedish inspired death metal. Though Sentient Horror are heavily influenced by the Swedish dm scene, the band can write some original and well played death metal that is not just a clone. The vocals are deep death growls that really fit the bands sound very well. The guitars are played with a level of skill and are impressively performed. The guitars range from an extreme and crazed speed, to a more controlled mid paced level. If you are a fan of the early Swedish death metal sound, played by a band with the ability to write and perform a brand of death metal with their stamp on it. Then be sure to check out this album ASAP.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/sentienthorrorofficial/    http://testimonyrecords.bigcartel.com/        

 

 

SEER

"Vol. III & IV: Cult of the Void" CD

(Art of Propaganda)

 

Let me tell you about an album that I have not been able to quit listening to ever since I found it at the top of the “best-selling” metal albums section of Bandcamp a few weeks ago. Seer (a.k.a. Seer BC) released Vol. III & IV: Cult of the Void on July 7th of this year through the German label Art of Propaganda. There is an evident divide in the album between these two volumes with “Volume III” being the first four doom-laden tracks of the album and “Volume IV” being the last four, acoustic and more lax, tracks. If you are headbanging while listening to the album, you are probably still caught in the thick, captivating webbing of the third volume, which begins with the nine-and-a-half minute track “Ancient Sands (Rot Preacher) that moves from riff to riff without a single stutter. That track hooked me into the album immediately. It shows all that “Volume III” has to offer like an overture of themes to come: entrancing clean vocals, blackened harsh vocals to contrast, groovy riffs, and a rhythm section that plays an integral part in keeping the compositions tight and moving with forward momentum as well as providing accenting features that fill the periphery. I must also mention the literary quality of the lyrics throughout this album—they construct a story involving the Cult of the Void and its disciples from another world in a sort of modernist science fiction form. For me, the lyrics were just as enthralling as the instrumentation, so I highly suggest following along with them as you listen to the album. This suggestion is most pertinent to the fourth volume because the first three tracks of this volume contain lyrics, but they are not vocalized. The overall effect of the album with its parts combined takes the shape of a journey, guiding the listener through the pained experiences of this cult from their pilgrimage to their pyre. I highly recommend Cult of the Void to any doom metal fan that enjoys hearing extreme metal qualities in their doom as well as acoustic cool-downs after the headbang fest.  – Aaron

https://seerbc.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/seervancouver       

 

 

SGT. ROCK

"Demo Collection 1987” Compilation Cassette Album

(NoVisible Scars Records)

 

I was pretty excited, to find out this was the first band of the almighty Stevo, from the legendary death metal pioneer band Impetigo. I love everything, with the packaging it looks great, a very nice job done by the label with the cassette and inlay. I can definitely hear some influences here like SOD, Misfits and DRI. First up, is their 1987 demo, which is then followed by two rehearsal sessions from the same year. Honestly, the demo is not that good, the playing is kind of terrible, the songs sound like they just tried to play fast, without actually playing much of anything, just let’s make noise. One thing I liked right from the beginning and throughout is the add ins of army related songs, drum patterns and sing songs etc… That stuff is great, done with a party attitude, adding some great atmosphere in the musical tornado. The rehearsals, for the most part for me sound much better than the demos, they still lack direction at times, but they slow down a little bit actually trying to play songs at times, and rock out on some infectious pit and headbang inducing sections, filled cool merrymaking teenage angst and energy. Those elements are fun and saved this release for me, as something I can sit back listen to and enjoy, as opposed to having it, just for the historic novelty of this being Stevo’s first band. During the rehearsal stuff, there are friends there and they are all just having a party and playing, so yeah just fun. The military theme is well represented, for people who love that stuff, from the bits of army culture and lore I mentioned above, to songs with titles like “Combat Boots”, “Foxhole Blues”, “Rambo”, “Military Time” etc… Also one of my favourites “My Friend Lost His Face” hehe. I could see some getting this for the novelty, as I mentioned, but there is definitely some good times to be had if you look beyond the car crash moments. This is limited to only 150 copies, I believe currently there are a few left, but if those run out, you can get the digital download version for only three bones. So check it out.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/NoVisibleSacrs   http://novisiblescars.bandcamp.com/     

 

 

SKELETAL REMAINS

"Devouring Mortality” CD

(Dark Descent Records)

 

I knew the second I looked at that amazing cover artwork, it just had to be Dan Seagrave, and it was, seems like this great artist is having a bit of a resurgence with creating extreme metal covers again. Also, I can hear the skilled mind and fingers of master mixer Dan Swano, who helped make this recording sound heavy and crushing as fuck! Skeletal come to us out of the Californian (Whittier to be exact, was that not the home of Wild Rags! back in the day?) scene, and they write and perform devastatingly brutal and proficiently performed death metal. This record is definitely a bit of a throwback to the old school style, which you know I love, bringing to mind some of the best of the early to mid ‘90s superb output from bands like Gorguts, Pestilence, Sinister, Asphyx, Monstrosity, Brutality, Demolition Hammer, Obituary etc…  The band does inject some melody into the barbarism, at times, but they make sure to keep things predominantly brutal at all times. They also inject enough variation in the song structuring to keep things interesting; the guitar fills and solos are classy and emotive adding that extra dimension to complete the songs, and make it a real pleasure to my ears. The vocals are pretty standard mid-range, semi-decipherable growling, nothing too mind-blowing there, but they get the job done nicely and fit the music pretty well. This album comes recommended from me, fellow devotees of the above mentioned bands and old death time period will love this, as it is top shelf quality, top to bottom. I have to say before going that Dark Descent Records continue to prove themselves, as being one of the best labels in the scene, possessing a real ear for picking through the endless masses and consistently finding truly quality bands.  - Dale

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

 

 

SOUL REMNANTS

"Ouroboros” CD

(Lifeblood Records / eOne Music)

 

Boston’s Soul Remnants come out of the gates like an angry caged bear set free on a rampage. Yes, what is old is new again, Soul Remnants weave old school American death metal (Morbid Angel, Suffocation etc…) and thrash aesthetic and influences into a modern structured stylistic flow and feeling. A combination which dug it’s claws into me pretty quickly! The song construction and performances have this dynamic energy to them that keeps me really interested and engaged. Plus, it is extremely catchy, while also being extremely brutal, which is a combination I love and is not often pulled off with the proper balance for my tastes. By that, I mean I see this more as real melodic death metal that is brutal dm with some melodic elements rather than the usual stuff that is called melodic death these days, where it is heavily melodic music with a little kinda watered down death metal music mixed in. There always needs to be a level of brutality in there, for it to even really be dm at all, in my opinion (think things like At The Gates “Slaughter Of The Soul”, Dissection “Storm Of The Light’s Bane” etc…). Sorry for that little sidetrack rant, back to the music at hand. The band speak of Scandinavian black metal influence in their music, I do hear it a wee bit, but honestly I think it is more Scandinavian melodic death elements, so I think anyone buying it for the black metal elements might be a little miffed. Despite the aforementioned melodic dm element rant, and slightly contradicting myself here, one of my fave tracks is a slightly prog-y instrumental, a three plus minute brief divergent path of a song entitled “Wall City”, which simply bleeds poignant emotive atmosphere. I loved the great affecting guitar fill in the middle of this excellent track. The music on here sounds and feels so fucking tight, I can only imagine the work put in until they feel they have what they feel is perfect and rehearse the shit out of music so it is super snug, when it is time to hit the recording studio. I am not saying it is the most amazing death metal album I have heard, but I will say this is a really solid, even excellent dm record, that I can fully recommend.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/SoulRemnants/    http://www.lifebloodinc.com/          

 

 

SPITE

"Antimoshiach" CD

(Invictus Productions)

 

I can not help but wonder if the title of this album is homage to a certain infamous and revered black metal musician, shop and record label owner. I am immediately taken aback by the sinister electricity and gutsfuck high energy right from the opening song of this album. The sound on this album also heavy, gritty and crystal clear and real, for lack of a better term, something only a top notch analog recording can sound can achieve. For influences, I hear strong influence and parallels, to the earlier works from bands Immortal, Darkthrone, Mayhem, Satyricon, Carpathian Forest, Impaled Nazerene, Mortuary Drape, Ancient Rites, Root etc… As well as, I even hear some hints of early on Slayer, stealthily wafting throughout the evil and hateful maelstrom. The guitar sound, song structuring, and nearly headbangable melodies take this album to edge of not being purely black metal. However, Salpsan may be a little more versatile and dynamic, with regards to incorporating structural influences into the bm sound, but he always contains it within a harsh, freezing bestial black metal exterior which encompasses and exemplifies the time-honored ways of darkness and evil. The lyrics and concept follow suit, to me Spite are upholding the true black metal principles, which were set forth by the forefathers in the first and second wave of this sacrosanct and enshrined grand musical / conceptual movement. The vocals on here are fantastic, they are a semi-clear screams that are wrapped in a traditional black rasp with an obscure whispering undertone. They feel very much influenced by the early days of black metal, as the first wave and second wave met and began merging into an astonishingly ominous spiteful force that has possessed me and others for many years. This is highly recommended to old school die hard black metal devotees. Honestly, this easily has to be one of the best black metal records I have heard in the last year or so, maybe alongside White Death’s self-titled album.  - Dale

https://spitedesecration.bandcamp.com/    https://invictusproductions.net/      

 

 

TRANSYLVANIA STUD

"The Red Queen” CD EP

(Transcending Records)

 

Transylvania Stud is a solo band from Andrew Godrey, who previous I believe had made his bones, as a musician in a commercial radio rock band of some sort; sorry I do not follow that scene at all. This ep is obviously a bit of a departure for him, it is slightly fuzzed out stoner hard rock / metal as I think of it, or as they often now call it desert (I assume this term stems from Kyuss desert music videos / general visuals?) hard rock. It is fairly interesting stuff, they have the guitar sound and stylings down pretty well, the title track on this three song (plus bonus tracks) disc has a solid, addictive hook and is pretty memorable. The vocals are sort of in this desert / stoner style, but honestly they are a little more on the lighter side of things, in comparison to the usual vocals in this style, and honestly the vocals were my least favourite thing, but I could see fans of more commercial hard rock digging them more than I did. I do like some stoner and I guess desert rock (yeah not a fan of that term personally), so I think I have a relatively strong grasp on what Andrew was going for here. But, I sort of feel like, he did not or could not, manage to jump in with both feet with it. Maybe this was exactly what he was going for, but rather than desert rock, it feels like the Tragically Hip or U2 or similar musicians listened to some Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Queens Of The Stone Age, Alice In Chains albums. Then said, “Hey I wanna give that a try”, and it still ended up sounding more like their original band and style they were attempting to step away from. Like I said, maybe he wanted to merge his scene and roots with this other style he likes now, I don’t know, maybe I am just not a fan of taking and mixing it in with the stoner hard rock sound, it just lightens it up and waters down it’s potency a little too much. To clarify further, there is just not quite enough bite and fuzz in the guitars, and the vocals are too softened and clean around the edges to appeal to my tastes. Having said that, if you are really into both of those worlds and like idea of marrying the two, then I think you will like this because it is well done for what it is and there is clearly some talent behind it.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Transylvaniastud/    http://www.transcendingrecords.com/        

 

 

TYFON’S DOOM

"Yeth Hound" CD

(Gates Of Hell)

 

Gates Of Hell, is a sub-label of Cruz Del Sur Music, and this is a review of the new cd / lp of Tyfon’s Doom. This is a one man band, that one man being Tommi Varsala, who handles everything for this project. The music is in the late 70s rock style, with some mid 80s hard rock influences. It goes from a raw, dirty loose guitar sound, to a more streamlined and structured well played style. The vocals are a blend, which consists of hollering and screams, to a more controlled singing voice in a few of the songs. I would say, if you are a fan of semi-raw and dirty hard rockin’ metal, then you be sure to this album up as soon as possible.  - Patrick

http://tyfonsdoom.bandcamp.com/   http://www.gatesofhellrecords.com/       

 

 

TYFON’S DOOM

"Emperor’s Path" CD

(Gates Of Hell Records)

 

Finland’s Tyfon’s Doom presents to us their debut full-length, entitlted “Emperor’s Path”, through Gates Of Hell Records. Tomi Varsala handles the vocals, as well he writes and plays all of the music doing a good job of writing some memorable heavy metal. The guitars are mainly palyed in the mid paced tempo. There are some creative guitar patterns and some nice solos mixed in to a few of the songs. The vocals are heavy metal screams, along side some hollering vocals that really fit Tyfon’s Doom musical style. I would say, if you are a fan of traditional heavy metal, be sure to check out this debut album ASAP.  - Patrick

https://tyfonsdoom.bandcamp.com/    http://www.gatesofhellrecords.com/      

 

 

ULCER

"Heading Below” CD

(Arachnophobia Records)

 

Ulcer comes out of Poland’s old school death metal scene and hit our ears with their third release to date entitled “Heading Below”. There are nine songs of dark and heavy death metal with hints of Swedish dm influence on the nine songs featured here. The guitars are played with extremely fast and chaotic patterns. The guitarist is not all speed and aggression though, as he does slow down to a slow to a more mid paced, heavier style, in a few of the songs. The drumming is played with some superb patterns, going from a heavy middle paced range, to an all out high-speed assault on the drum kit. The vocals are low death growls intertwined with some gruff spoken type of vocal patterns. If you enjoy old school Swedish death metal like early Entombed, Grave or the first Dismember album then you will definitely want to add Ulcer’s “Heading Below” to your collection now.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/Ulcerdeathmetal    http://arachnophobia.pl/         

 

 

VACIVUS

"Temple of the Abyss" CD

(Profound Lore Records)

 

Old school death metal is a subgenre that sometimes can be limited by its own title. Simply tagging on the words “old school” evokes a sense of being stuck in the past. Vacivus remains unconfined, though, rather bringing this style into a modern setting that utilizes production quality (not spotless, but translucent) to its advantage. They also don’t secure themselves to singularly death metal tropes, but rather employ lessons learned from post-first wave black metal and plodding doom to their advantage. Temple of the Abyss grounds these influences in an adamantine OSDM foundation. The album commences with “Premonitions”, which conjures an atmosphere populated with creepy sighs, gasps, and faint instrumentation entering your ears intermittently. It feels like blinking wearily, waking up after being knocked out and dragged into a hidden site of some demonic oracles’ séance. This track sets an eerie tone for the rest of the album, which occasionally plays on this worshipful theme by inserting chanting vocals into such tracks as “Black Flame Serpent” and “Temple of the Abyss”. In terms of the elements more often heard in this album, Vacivus presents a well-executed traditional guttural vocal approach that is accented by relatively higher-pitched shrieks, which can be heard in tandem (and in my humble opinion, at their most awesome) in the fifth track, “Cosmological Necroticism”. These vocals front instrumentation that keeps the listener on their toes—taking them through passages that use spacing to their advantage and sometimes appear straightforward, but have abyssal depth. For example, “Filii Inferos” sticks with an initially super-charged pace before the two-and-a-half minute mark where a plodding section occurs, emblematic of their doom influence. Then, the track progressively quickens, building up to a moment of mania that guides the listener out of the track and into the final stage of the album. If you enjoy hearing such dynamism and exploration within roots-based metal subgenres, definitely give this album a listen.  – Aaron

https://vacivus.bandcamp.com/    http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/         

 

 

VAULTWRAITH

"Death Is Proof Of Satan’s Power" CD

(Hells Headbangers)

 

If you looked at this bands imagery, song titles, logo and so forth, you would immediately think it has to be a black death metal band, you would wrong. I mean sure, there are some elements of influence from those two sub-genres, but this is purely evil and satanic heavy fucking metal! Let’s start off the with the vocals, they are handled by the duo of Esteban Walpurgis & Alucarda Bellows (aka Vanessa Nocera of Wooden Stake, Razorback Records) give a real tour de force vocal performance on the mic here. All of the various styles of vocal in the extreme metal pantheon are employed here, encompassing almost everything from deep garbled growling, decipherable growling, slower spoken word kind of growls (ala Impetigo), higher and lower high pitched nasal growling & screams etc… It would be cool to hear / see those two doing this during a live gig. The music draws inspiration from classic metal bands like Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Iron Maiden and some other bands I can I know I hear, but I can not quite put my finger on them. The difference here is, it is heavy metal music, but it is constructed in a way that is not traditional heavy metal all the time, more like heavy metal composed in a black death metal style, if that makes sense. The result is pretty cool, rather frantic giving a different energy and aura to conventional heavy metal, taking the old sounds and creating something new sounding and different, but in a good way. There are keyboards used as more of an accent and underlying atmosphere, again here it feels very black metal influenced in style and deployment. I applaud this approach by the band; they stay true to the roots of all of their various influences, yet blend them in an interesting and somewhat unique way. Which I do not have to tell anyone, the term unique does not often apply in the metal scene, where it feels like everything has been done a thousand times over. This is set to be released on Halloween, it seems very fitting for this fine lethal cauldron mixture of sinister heavy metal, to be unleashing it’s evil on the day of the dead.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/vaultwraith/    https://shop-hellsheadbangers.com/        

 

 

VENEREAL BAPTISM

"Deviant Castigation Liturgy" CD

(Osmose Productions)

 

Originally Venereal Baptism started out as a one man band, but over time there were more members added, to create a great blackened death metal band. They are coming out of the Texas UG metal scene, bringing us their debut album, featuring eight songs of devastating and violent music. The vocals are a mix of gruff screams and heavier death metal growls that really fit this bands style well. The drums are chaotic blasting drum patterns. With “Deviant Castigation”, Venereal Baptism, have unleashed a truly barbaric and vicious black death metal masterpiece.  - Patrick

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

 

 

VIOLENT OPPOSITION

"Utopia/Dystopia” CD

(Horror Pain Death Gore Records)

 

What do you get when you mix grindcore, (frequently technical) death metal, hardcore, and just a sprinkle of jazz? You get Utopia/Dystopia from the Californian band by the name of Violent Opposition. No punch line, and no pulled punches--just a lot of really fast, brutal shit here. Utopia/Dystopia begins at a breakneck speed that seldom pulls back on the reigns, despite occasional efforts by the drums that last only for a short period of time, such as in the first track “Controlled Opposition”. At first listen, this track does not feel controlled at all, with Garna’s hyper-technical bass skills being a leading factor in that, but the drums take it down a notch or two for the listener only momentarily before returning to the speedway. Violent Opposition digresses on this path far from the commonly assumed hierarchy between guitar as melody and bass and drums as solely rhythm by giving these instruments near-equal representation in the fields of melody and rhythm. The guitar can often be found playing rhythmic riffs while the bass is exploring other territories, which frequently includes noodling around, but in a way that serves a purpose unlike some bands in technical subgenres of metal. Instead of being irritating, the relatively unorthodox bass playing actually takes charge of the quick pacing of the album, ensuring that no track is lacking in severity or urgency. This supercharged pacing makes the 36-ish minutes of runtime on this album fly by quicker than you can say nosebleed. Brace yourselves—this one accelerates to attack speed.  – Aaron

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/utopia-dystopia    http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com        

 

 

VIRCOLAC

"The Cursed Travails Of The Demeter” MCD

(Dark Descent Records)

 

Coming out of Ireland’s blackened death metal scene is Vircolac with their newest four song MCD. The music is played mainly in a mid paced style, with some well written and played and played faster arrangements used throughout the songs. The guitars are performed with middle tempo patterns and chords, with a few faster parts. The guitarist does seem more comfortable playing the heavier mid tempo guitars, but does speed to a faster pace in a few of the songs, with some well written and performed guitar solos and patterns. The drums are played with a nice variety and skill, going from mid pace beats to faster drum patterns. The vocals are raw, grim screams with some deeper death growls mixed in. If you are a fan of this band or you enjoy well written and executed blackened death metal then be sure to pick this disc out as soon as possible.  - Patrick

https://vircolac.bandcamp.com/   http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/       

 

 

VULTURES VENGEANCE

"Where The Time Dwelt In” CD EP

(Gates Of Hell Records)

 

This Italian power metal band seems to have been born, out of the ashes of death thrash band Necromancer, with three of the four members having been in that band. Yes, my friends this is 1980s heavy metal incarnate, you will want to take note in particular if you are a die hard of the genre, as this band digs deep into some of the more obscure cult roots from past. I listen to this 27 minute ep, and hear influences from bands like Maltese Falcon, Rage, Oz, and the early works of bands like Liege Lord, Omen, TT Quick, Agent Steel. I would say, maybe even some influence, from the first couple albums of the legends Iron Maiden. The recording honestly sounds like it was recorded 30 years ago and it sounds great to my ears. The music on here overall is on the simple side, but it is very effective, catchy and pretty memorable which is a rarity all by itself these days. They write some good infectious ripping riffs and the there is some really great smoking emotive guitar fills and leads. You can definitely headbang hard to this; these boys really captured that triumphant spiked fist in the air ‘80s power metal feel. The vocalist spews hellfire passion out of vocal chords, superbly matching the bombastic music. He even hits those old school heavy metal ranges, with the high siren vocals every now and then, at one point at the end of a couple crazy screams it sounds like an eagle’s screech! The vocals are killer. I liked that the band made sure to make it clear there is no damn synth on the record haha. This is just a great throwback record that fans of early to late 1980s power metal need to own!  - Dale

https://vulturesvengeance.bandcamp.com/    http://www.gatesofhellrecords.com/     

 

 

WARFATHER

"The Grey Eminence” CD

(Greyhaze Records)

 

This is the American Warfather, who are getting ready to release, their second album “The Grey Eminence”. This record features some masterful guitar playing, courtesy of Steve Tucker (ex-Morbid Angel vocalist/bassist), this is my first time hearing Warfather, but the band knows how to write, and perform, some really solid death metal. There are nine songs power, and heavy death metal, similar to the mid to late nineties death scene. The guitars are played with both mid tempo sections, and some faster, chaotic guitar speed patterns. The drums are performed with flawless playing, staying in tone with the guitars, ranging from a middle paced tempo to a heavier semi-fast drum pacing. If you are a fan of Warfathers first album, or if you are just a fan of well performed solid death metal, then be sure to pick this up when it is released.  - Patrick

https://www.reverbnation.com/warfather    http://greyhazerecords.com/       

 

 

ZIFIR

"Kingdom Of Nothingness" CD

(Duplicate Records)

 

Zifir are a two man band who comes to us out of the Turkish black metal scene. They start things off with a short intro and the music kicks by hitting the ground running at a speedy pace. I noticed the guitarist right away, as he does a good job of crafting some well written sequences, which feature an all out assault of fierce, fast riffing. But the guitarist does slow things down to more of a mid tempo style at times; he even adds some atmospheric elements to the music. The vocals are gruff and raw screams with some raspy talking vocals. To wrap things up, I would say Zifir plays a very unique and creative style of black metal worth your time.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/zifirband    http://www.duplicate-records.com      

 

 

ZIGGURAT

"Ritual Miasma” CD EP

(Blood Harvest Records)

 

Ziggurat come out of Israel’s slowly, but surely growing black death metal scene, bringing their debut “Ritual Miasma”. This EP features five tracks of vicious blackened death metal music. Mork handles the vocal duties on this release, he does a great job of mixing both death growls and raspy screams. Both of these vocal styles fit the bands music very well. Tohu handles the bass and guitar duties, combining both furious fast guitars, but also can change it up and play a slower mid paced style. Zigguarat play a very solid and interesting blackened death metal style, if you are a fan of mid ‘90s black death, then you should definitely give this band a chance and buy this release today.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/zigguratband666    https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com