"Sten” CD

(I Hate Records)


Take your average doom metal song, slow it down a bit and stretch it out and you start getting an idea of this Swedish bands sound. There are four songs on here, but do not worry you get your albums worth my friend, just let me say the two shortest songs clock in past the 15 and 17 minute marks. Yes just four songs, but you get close to two full albums worth of material! As you can imagine listening to Ocean Chief takes a certain mindset, not to mention a dose of patience, good things come to those who wait right? Yes, yes they do. The songs as you can imagine are droning and repetitive, but those are positive descriptions in this context. It is true at times there is not much going on, but the music of Ocean Chief, it is a journey and not just a listen for quick gratification. I like to think of this style of doom, in the context of those great old slow burn movies from the 1970s, there were some amazing movies from back then, some might call them boring, while others, who feel the slow burning elements make it pay off that much more at the end of the trip. You are listening to a metal record, but think of it more as atmospheric music, more than a metal album. The vocals, consist of obscured warble-y yells, they are very sparse throughout the album, not particularly remarkable in any way, but they get the job done and fit the music well enough I suppose. This band is probably an acquired taste, not for everyone, probably even for a lot of doom fans, but if you are into this ultra slow, ploddingly epic style, then Sten is not a bad place to be. This is recommended for those with a measured doom hunger.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/oceanchief  http://www.ihate.se/     




"Universums Hard” CD

(I Hate Records)


Well, well, well…Ocean Chief return to the pages of Canadian Assault. They also have abandoned the extremely long song lengths; they only have three songs here, which are in the eight to ten minute range. Does that sound long to you? Try their previous album, where the songs were of the fifteen to seventeen minute variety! This time around, Ocean Chief even has a couple tracks, which clock in at less than five minutes. I think this album is likely to be, more easily palatable to even the most ardent doom fans, than the last record “Sten” was, which was not an easy record to get into. Maybe my memory is faulty, but it feels like “Universums Hard”, is also a little more uptempo, as opposed to the previous record, which had a pace slightly faster than the growth of grass. Which of course means, an increase in speed takes you from the pace of a snail to the speed of a turtle with a hard on and warm, wet pussy beckoning him from a mere ten feet away. It is sludgy, down tuned heavy doom, with some pretty good meandering rhythm, if you are willing to peel back a layer or two and pay attention to it. The band to set the soundtrack, to the lyrical themes of the album, a sort of a loose concept piece, which attempts to explore a vast cosmic ocean, traveling far beyond this little mud ball we call earth. At some points, I think they are successful in creating that wandering, exploring the vast beyond dreamy feel. Which of course means, at other times, for me at least they did not quite get the desired effect. I think enough of it hits its mark, to call the album a success and an enjoyable listen. The vocals, much of the time, play a pretty small part in the musical landscape, just sort of stepping in to add some depth and support from time to time. But, when the vocals do come in, they are filled with a surprising level of angst and hatred. Those vox, sort of remind me of some of the stuff out of the NOLA area, often in some crusty doom bands. I like how dirty and fuzzy the production is, I am sure it will illicit some consternation, from those that love everything crystal clear and over produced. I say good to that, it is dirty and sludgy (there is that term again), which it only enhances the experience for me. I mean the production, is more than clear enough to hear everything that is going on, but mean and heavy, just hazy enough to give an extra air of darkness and filth to the proceedings. I have to give kudos to Ocean Chief, for going in a new direction, while never sacrificing their balls or their roots, which got them here in the first place.  - Dale

http://oceanchief.bandcamp.com/   http://www.ihate.se/          




"Tunnel Of No Light” CD

(Pulverised Records)


October Tide has within it’s ranks two former long time members of Katatonia, they were members during a time I would say most Katatonia fans would call their classic period. That would be my read on it, I have a couple Katatonia albums from that time like Brave Murder Day and Last Fair Deal Gone Down, but I would be lying if I said I was a devoted fan of that band at that time or super knowledgeable about them. My fave Katatonia period is actually their early harsh black metal days, but that is a whole other can of worms we will not open here. Katatonia since those “classic days” from what I hear and have heard have changed their sound a fair bit and not for the better. Well October Tide seems to be a return to that classic Katatonia period / sound. You know what I mean dark, almost gothic like depressive death metal, which is what I am referring to when I say that sound. It is not an overly preferred style for me and my listening habits, but when it is done well ala early Paradise Lost (Shades of God, Gothic era) etc… then I can get into it. Tunnel Of No Light is a very quality album within this type of music. I think for this sound to really succeed it has to really touch that depressive nerve within you, that dark emotional despair feeling and I am not sure this album did that for me as well as I hoped. Like I said though, keep in mind I am pretty picky with this sort of thing. I think fans of classic Katatonia, early Paradise Lost, middle era My Dying Bride will probably like this, not that this album touches those old landmark releases in my view. Just pretty a pretty good album, nothing more than that.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/octobertide  http://www.pulverised.net/      




"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      




"Sexforce” CD

(Regenerative Productions)


This is an interesting release coming to us from frosty Norway. Okular play progressive death metal, the term will raise some eyebrows, but it is true in many ways and Okular is surely not your usual dm band. I was not sure what to make of this at first; it is filled with heavy burning riffs, but also a lot of quirky shit, a dose of little off kilter elements that will grab your attention. They do things differently than most bands you hear, they take a lot of chances and do different things and mostly it works quite well. The growling, yet clean understandable mainstay vocals, because while very good, were bugging me because they sounded like a band I know, that was on the tip of my tongue but I could not quite place it. Then it hit me I am thinking of the vocals of Edge Of Sanity, once I made that connection more influences from EOS fell into place as the guitar sound and some of the rhythm / riffing style to my ear is clearly influenced by that amazing Swedish band. I would say much like that band Okular has a talent and penchant for creating really catchy, emotional songs while keeping things heavy. That all by itself shows some talent in the song writing and arranging. This is a very creative album. Now I said most of the time right it works right? That is true, but there is an acoustic song on here with growling vocals over top, that is a new one on me, but this particular song experiment in my view falls flat on it’s face and did not work for me at all. The album would be better without that track. But do not let that deter you from what is a very creative, different and at times even slightly original quality death metal album. If you are not a death metal purest and appreciate a band trying something new and unusual then Sexforce by Okular comes recommended.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/okularmetal  http://www.regenerativeproductions.no/  




"The Last Neanderthal" CD

(Minotauro Records)


Ogre returns to the scene, having split up shortly after their last and third album, released in 2008. They picked a great label to make a comeback on. But they are not back just to be back, they have brought the real goods on “The Last Neanderthal”. The bands plays classic heavy metal based doom metal, with a deep 70s base mixed with a slight hint of newer stoner doom sound, but I hesitate to even mention that last part as it is a minor ingredient. Ogre tend to like to slow it down at times and play moody, introspective cool meandering pieces, that create a pensive atmosphere. The vocals, I understand with some are a source of irritation, for myself however, I love the hell out of them! They are high pitched vocals, a unique sort of mix of something like Bon Scott with a young Black Sabbath Ozzy, when his vocals were higher and more nasally. They seem to fit the music for me, the vocalist seems to know when step back, shut up and let the music do the talking, which only serves to heighten the music and the impact of his vocals when he does eventually jump back in. When the band does decide to go beyond the atmospheric classic rock and doom it up, they are fucking heavy, like a gigantic glob of molasses obliterating all in its path. Yes, in case you can not tell, I really like this album and I am now a confirmed Ogre fan. You should be too! Before I go, I forgot to mention on The Fury review prior, that the packaging (gorgeous over sized Digi-sleeve with booklet and all trimmings) on that release and on this album is just fantastic, no expense was spared, pure class all the way by this legendary record label.  - Dale

http://www.minotaurorecords.com/   https://www.facebook.com/Rockogre     




“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    




“The Omega Experiment” CD

(Listenable Records)


Now I have listened to, I suppose my fair share of progressive metal bands in my time. But still I am not sure if I am much of an authority to speak at length on the subject. The first thing that immediately strikes me about this Michigan band is the command they have on their instruments and their song writing abilities. I mean I understand fully there are some reading this that can take over leave Progressive Metal, truth be told there are times I have felt that way. Not to mislead anyone here, knowing I have many extreme metal readers, most of the time this band would be considered to be on the lighter end of the metal spectrum. But no matter what you think, there is no denying the talent and imagination on display with the bands self-titled debut. It is not by any means that they sound exactly like them overall, but I can definitely hear some similarities to one of my favourite progressive metal albums ever, the 1997 album A Pleasant Shade Of Grey from Fates Warning. I have the feeling they may be an influence on Omega, also there are hints of the progressive rock/metal Canadian gods Rush. I will be damned if there is even a short section on here that sounded like a Frank Zappa homage. There is an even flow throughout the album, but there is a lot going on in that running through thread and it can be a pretty emotional journey if you give yourself over to it. It is like the old onion cliché of peeling back all the layers, that is what you have to do here, it is not an easy quick little instant gratification listen, it will take some patience and attention to take in everything the band is trying to present on here. But it is worth the journey, if you choose to take it.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/theomegaexperiment  http://www.listenable.net/  




“Live In The Castle Of Quiet” Live Cassette Album

(NoVisible Scars Records)


This was recorded live, but not so much at a live gig, as you might be assuming, no this was recorded live at a radio station in NJ, with the call letter WFMU. I was present when my friends band (Bloodstorm), did the same thing at WNYU in New York, nearly a decade ago, it was an interesting experience and environment. But back on the release at hand, this thing came off very well, it sounds good, it still has a bit of a raw edge, but is quite clear and the guitars are full and heavy. One Master play old school black metal, with some hints of late ‘80s evil thrash in there, and to my ear, I hear influences like Judas Iscariot, Horna etc… even a hint of old Celtic Frost. I say musically, because the vocals are very different from the bands I mentioned, they are maniacal yells and screams, that would be closer in sound and delivery of something like early Burzum than the traditional hissing bm rasp. I like them, some great emotion in the singers delivery at times, loved the one song where he yells out the bands name, with equal measures of anguish and hatred that is palpable. I am not saying this is mind-blowing stuff, but it is damn good, violent and cold black metal. I would say, this is a release, that is even good for bm fanatics who do not usually get into live albums, as this is no normal live record. It sort of has the best of both worlds, live feel and studio album feel.  - Dale

http://www.one-master.net/   http://novisiblescars.bandcamp.com/   




"Black Rust” Full-length Cassette

(Forever Plagued Records)


Orcultus are a Swedish band, who play cold, raw black metal, in the early to mid nineties tradition. The guitars are fast, with some mid-paced guitars mixed in. Orcultus is a band that know how to play their instruments and it shows on this recording. The drumming is excellent, with semi-fast with bouts of time when the speed on the drums kicks it into high gear, but in a controlled way. The vocals are screechy / screams, very demonic and demented sounding. I would have to say Orcultus, are one of the best new bands out there right now, I can not wait to hear their next release!  - Patrick

http://orcultus.bandcamp.com/   http://www.foreverplaguedrecords.com/         




"Haspu” Cassette Mini-Album

(Nyarlathotep Records)


I have to apologize to the band. This tape fell behind my review pile stack, it was lost for a bit, now it is found and this review is a lot later than I intended it to be. The music on here reminds me of the early 90s demo bands. It is essentially just straight ahead stripped down riffing, constant drum beats all over the place, some growling over the top. I have to admit this release did not do a lot for me. There are some good, brutal riffs on this death metal assault, which I enjoyed. But outside of that, there is not much in the way of actual song structure, purpose or direction, in which it seems to be headed. It sounds more like a rehearsal jam session at times. The vocals, are very obscure and undecipherable, they are okay for what they are, but could be better. I am a bit surprised this was picked up and released by a record label. It feels, kind of like, a fairly cool rehearsal demo tape and nothing more than that. But hey, on the positive side, it is from Costa Rica, just how often do you get to experience bands from that country? So it is a novelty to have in that aspect.  - Dale

http://ordocaper.bandcamp.com/   http://nyarlathoteprecords.yolasite.com/          




“At The End The Dead Await” CD

(Apostasy Records)


This is the debut of this Swedish band, yes their debut but the members are pretty experienced, having played in the past in bands like Grave, Demonical, Insision and currently in other bands like Thousand Year War, Bloodride, Soils Of Fate. It is the Swede way to be in a million bands haha. But on to the music the band definitely let’s their Swedish roots bleed through, with a mixing of the early Sunlight death metal sound mixed with the newer melodic Gothenburg sound. It is usually one of those influences or the other, not both in my experience, but I do hear a little bit of American influence as well, in particular mid-era Morbid Angel. This is some good death, very solid, quality stuff but nothing too mind blowing and definitely suffering from the heard it all before-itis. I will say I thought some of the guitar work on here is pretty tasty, some real nice guitar fills here and there, as well some good emotion conveyed through the guitars while maintaining an edge of brutality. This is good, it probably sounds like I am ripping on it above, I am not, this some damn good death metal. It just depends if you are a devotee of the above mentioned sounds and have to get your hands on everything or if you are more of an elitist with it, only having time for the cream of the crop. I think I have provided you with enough information to decide which side of the fence your loyalties lie.  - Dale

https://soundcloud.com/overtorture  http://www.apostasyrecords.com/   





"Wind Of Freedom” CD

(Svarga Music)


It has always been a bit of touchy thing with a lot of the metal community when combining metal music and folk music. I would say more so than not, as opposed to a lot of other genre mix ups, because by essence, maybe it is just because bands can not do it successfully. But more often than not instead of adding folk elements to extreme metal, they water down the power of the metal to meet the flowery carnival feel of folk music. Paganland have definitely fallen into this trap, the heaviness and bite in the metal riffing on Wind Of Freedom has been stripped away and removed. What is left behind are happy sounding riffs with fairytale-like rhythms and harmonies, the riffs join the fairies in dancing through the tulips. You might think with this style they would find a way to retain some heavy in the riffing and at least give it an epic feel, sadly none of that here. The vocals follow suit, a lot of them are just those bold half-spoken, half sung clear voice vocals, almost like a Shakespeare actor was told to sing on a rock song, then you have the ever so slightly growled vocals, but somehow they have stripped all the anger, all the intensity, all the weight from them and what is left is this thin, pathetic and powerless imitation. I have failed to mention the usual florid renaissance fair sounding synth, the bits of flute, the samples of wind, and the whole nine yards. This album is a fine example of why folk music and metal just do not mix, you have to kill the heart of one or the other style or both to combine them, maybe there is a way but many years down the road, we see it littered with countless failed attempts, throw Paganland on the pile.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Paganland.UA  http://www.svarga.eu/     




"Gore Aberration” CD

(GreyHaze Records)


Brazil’s Pathologic Noise have released their second full length, to date, through the great label GreyHaze Records. Pathological play a mix of mid ninties brutal death metal, with touches of today’s brutal death metal sound, and even some slam parts within the guitars and drumming. The guitars are played with a lot of speed, and there are some very well written guitar patterns on display, as well as some nice solos mixed in. The drumming is done, with a lot of crazed and complex drum arrangements, but the drummer is not afraid to let loose and use some blast beats in a few sections. Give it a listen.  - Patrick

https://myspace.com/pathologicnoiseband   http://greyhazerecords.com/       




"The Tempters Victorious” CD

(Hells Headbangers)


Perdition Temple have released their second album here on the mighty Hells Headbangers. The band play a very solid form of violent blackened death metal. The guitars are handled by Gene Palubicki (ex Angelcorpse) and Bill Taylor, who really know how to play extremely fast black death metal, with some crazy riffs and solos mixed in. The vocals are performed by Impurath (Black Witchery) with some excellent raw black metal screams and deeper growls. If you are a fan of mid-nineties black / death metal scene, then you should give this band a listen today.  - Patrick

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




"Under The Blood Moon" CD

(Paragon Records)


I like the look of this band in their pics, the song titles and lyrics etc… they just remind me of the mid to late 90s black death metal. Back when when the bands wore their sound and philosophies on their sleeve. They did not give a fuck and did not feel a need to attempt to present themselves as more pseudo-intellectual, cultured elitists. No this is a big fuck you, fist to the face type attitude. Permanent Midnight come more from the dark death metal side of blackened metal like if you mixed old Autopsy with Blasphemy and Acheron or something equally diabolical. I want to say that I might hear a slight epoch of Grand Belial’s Key in their demo days on here too, but I am going back and forth on that comparison. The music is rhythmic, it is haunting and hypnotic, yet disgusting and sick at the same time. There is synth on here, to be honest I am not sure this album really needed the synth, but much of the time is not that in your face and other times it does compliment the necrotic raw music in a simplistic yet very catchy and cryptic way. Yes okay it is kind of rough and raw around the edges, which is something I rather like both in my music and my women. I definitely recommend this for fans of the bands I mentioned above. This recording is actually old and the material was written from the late 90s through the early ‘00s but never released until now, even though unfortunately the band is no more we are left this little legacy to enjoy. I recommend you to checking this one out. I was surprised after writing most of this review to realize these guys are from roughly the same area of Pennsylvania that constitutes my current stomping ground. Which is cool. Also one last note you can watch videos of one of the members of this band on youtube drunkenly reviewing specialty craft beers, while black metal plays in the background, they are pretty awesome, just search pabrewnews and then order this disc.  - Dale

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




“Slaughtering The Faithful” CD

(Obscure Music)


Here is the remastered and re-issued (originally released in 2002) of “Slaughtering The Faithful”, from Baltimore’s Pessimist. The band plays a very heavy, and aggressive style of death metal. The guitars are played with a lot of speed, and aggressive riffing that is well constructed, as well as some nice solos mixed in a few tracks. The vocals are heavy death growls. For the readers who may have this on cd or cassette, may still want to buy this disc, as there are some bonus tracks including the “Summon To Suffer” demo, and a few “live” tracks, which are very good quality. If you are a fan of Pessimist, you will definitely want to get a copy of this cd today.  - Patrick

https://www.reverbnation.com/pessimist   http://www.obscuremusick.com/       




"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/     




“Civlization Under Threat” CD

(Old School Metal Records)


This is interesting in that this band has been around since 1986! I have never heard of them before though. Maybe part of that is due to the fact they must have stopped doing the band or went dormant for long periods of time. As in the last 27 (!!!!) odd years they have only released 4 demos, one ep and one album, not including this one. Well my hat is off to them for sticking to it all these years and continuing to live metal obviously purely for the love of it. There are some really solid driving riffs on here, they will get the head nodding and the foot tapping. The vocalist is the classic thrash gruff yeller type and he gets the job done pretty well. The pacing, is a little slower than some of the thrash people might immediately conjure up when reading this, it is not at break neck speed most of the time. Some might even label it speed metal. There are some tasty guitar fills on here and you get some cool old school gang sung choruses here and there. I can hear similarities or possibly influence in here of bands like old Testament, Sacred Reich, Prong, later era Nuclear Assault and that sort of thing to give you an idea of their sound. You know what I am saying that late 80s / early 90s thrash sound when things slowed down a tad and maybe got a slightly more accessible sound. It is not amazing, but all the same some really good speed thrash metal from some metal motherfuckers that have paid their dues and then some while never giving up on what they love.  - Dale

https://myspace.com/potentialthreatsf   http://www.osmrecords.net/  




"Devil’s Whorehouse" CD

(Hells Headbangers)


Brazil has always been hotbed, for extreme metal, and Power From Hell carries on that tradition with their new release. They play a mix of raw thrash metal, with early black metal influences, mixed into some of the tracks. The guitars are done with a lot of raw energy, and power, from mid-paced speeds to all out lightning assault. The vocals are done, with a mix of early gruff death metal growls, and some well placed screams. If you are familiar with Power From Hell’s previous releases, then you know what to expect here. But if you are new to the band, and are a fanatic for early 80s speed metal, with early black metal influences, then this band you will want to hear today.  - Patrick

http://powerfromhell.bandcamp.com/   http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/      




Fire And Brimstone” CD

(W.T.C Productions)


Greece has always had a strong black metal scene going back all the way to the early nineties. Principality Of Hell have delivered a mix of late eighties thrashy black metal and some early nineties blackness to their style. The guitaris are very catchy with a lot of great riffs and solo's mixed together, for the most part “Principality Of Hell” stay in the mid paced range, but do speed up in a few of the songs. The drums are well executed with some fast drumming, but are mostly in the mid paced range, definitely some great drumming on here. If you are a fan of the early days of black metal, with some influences intertwined, then you definitely want to check out “Principality Of Hell” today.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/PrincipalityOfHell   http://www.w-t-c.org/   




"Sickened By The Holy Host & The Grand Master Sessions" CD

(Hells Headbangers)


I meant to review this in a previous update, but it got lost in the shuffle somehow. I am honestly not certain after looking at the Hells Headbangers site if this disc has both of these releases only on the promo version or if this a promo for these two separate vinyl exclusive releases and not for sale on cd? If it is only on the promo CD, then I feel fortunate to have received this gem of a disc! Sickened By The Holy Host is a new 2012 double 12” vinyl release, which clocks in at 39 minutes. We are treated to more twisted, violent black metal ejaculate similar to what we heard on their great Blasphemies…album. It is just a true whirlwind of hate and raw music that all fans of the band come to expect and simply worship. The Grand Master Sessions were released a couple years ago and only available as a 3 vinyl (custom 8” eps – how sweet is that?) wooden box set released back in 2010. This was actually recorded in 2008 as they say live in the studio, it is archetypical Profanatica, coarse vomit drenched and semen dripping classics, alongside some newer songs and a really killer medley / conglomerate of 5 old hallowed hymns that you have to hear to believe how sick and violent this antichristian melding is. This release is billed as a perfect supplement to the old Profanatica rehearsal demos from the early 90s. That sums it up well. If you are a big fan of Profanatica as I am, you will love this, it celebrates the rawness and total black metal blasphemy that made this band a legend in the scene. You need these fucking things, must have for all scourging and crowning die hards of the band!  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/profanatica  http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/  




"Mature Necropsy” Double CD

(Kaotoxin Records)


I am not sure that I was even aware, that Putrid Offal was active once again, but it does appear they are back together and on the scene. This release however, is not new material, but rather a compilation of old songs off of ‘90s releases. They are all tracks from old split releases, which are probably not that easy to find these days. These songs come from three separate split releases, one from a six way split disc, the other two sets of songs are from 1991 split vinyls, one an ep with Agathocles, the other a split 12” vinyl with Exulceration. Which amounts to more songs than you might think, as there are 33 songs on here, including a couple cd bonus track covers of Nerve and SOD songs. Most of you reading this, should know Putrid Offal, assuming you have been around the scene for very long. But for those that do not know, the band plays grimy, grinding, gurgling brutal death metal. Which I personally find pretty fucking awesome and brings back some good memories of listening to Putrid over 20 years ago! It is a shame this band did not make more of a name for themselves back in the day. Because they were around early on, and were killing it, at a time when bands like Suffocation, Dismember, Sinister, Entombed, Malevolent Creation, Immolation, Unleashed, Grave… were just cutting their teeth and starting out to make a mark on the scene. Honestly, Putrid Offal should belong, among those names and it is surprising, in some ways they did not break out bigger. I suspect, a few reasons for that, unlike most of their brethren the band may not have been seeking record deals with the many death metal labels out there at the time. Also, they were not really that prolific, choosing it seemed to stick mainly with releasing vinyl, and split releases, not to mention some of the few releases coming out at the same time, had a couple of the same tracks repeated on them. So maybe, the material was not there fast enough, to consider making multiple albums and touring like their contemporaries. Because these songs are really good on par with many of the signed bands at the time. So as you can see, when thinking of influences some that come to mind, were either just starting at the time or came later on, so it is pretty hard to call them influences. However, there were a few bands already making some noise in that time period, which clearly had some influence here, with Putrid Offal like Morbid Angel, Terrorizer and especially early (first two late 80s albums) Carcass all come to mind. Either way, if you like to get all the early classic death metal bands in your collection, and have not yet discovered Putrid Offal, then do yourself a favour and get this fucking thing posthaste!  - Dale

http://www.putrid-offal.com/   http://www.kaotoxin.com/          




"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  





"Blue Flame Cavalry” CD

(I Hate Records)


Realmbuilder are back to gallop, across the pages of Canadian Assault. I always want to, just straight out call them classic doom metal, whenever I review one of their albums. They definitely have that pacing, at times and the sound in there, but a more apt description, would probably be epic heavy metal with doomy elements. I really enjoyed their first two albums, “Blue Flame Cavalry”, has done nothing to change my mind on the band. The lyrical themes, will remind you of something out of Conan or Dungeons & Dragons, medieval type of lore, continue to be on full display here. Something else that has not changed are the marathon trotting riffs, that will sweep you away in a hypnotic journey, across flowing mental landscapes, which are created hand in hand by the music and the lyrics. Speaking of which, the vocals while admittedly, not the strongest out there and possibly a slightly acquired taste, still manage to have a unique character and tone to them. Those vocals really help you march you across this ride and enhance that magnetic, emotive atmosphere, the music slowly builds up in you. I love the juxtaposition, of some of the sparingly used, smartly placed, and highly effective guitar solos, which are a little more exuberant than the majority of the music, they are set upon which adds such a wonderful dynamic to the songs. I think this album is just fantastic. I have to recommend this, as I have in the past, to fans of bands like Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol, Brocas Helm and to a lesser extent bands like Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Paul Chain… I think this is an excellent album, simple yet tasteful and expertly crafted.  - Dale

https://myspace.com/realmbuilder   http://www.ihate.se/         




"Souls Of Charon” CD

(Do Or Die Records)


I received a promo sampler disc, from this brand new label, via my friend Paul of Soulgrinder fanzine. I enjoyed all three bands on that release and none more than Relentless, my thanks Paul for turning me on to this. I was surprised when I hit play though, as I believe the main man who writes all the music & lyrics Tim Pearson did the vocals on the sampler tracks. But I quickly realized seconds into the opening song that the vocals are no longer male, as the band has secured a new full time singer Carlee Jackson. I liked the old vocals, truth be told I liked them slightly better, it took me a little while to get used to the new vocals but I have now warmed up to Carlee’s haunting silky vocal sound. I would assume most doom fans will recognize right away the band took their name from the legendary doom band Pentagram. Despite that actually much of the material on here does not sound as heavily Pentagram influenced as the earlier material suggested. This is some good stuff though; a lot of the music is free flowing melodious heavy metal with doom undertones presented in a bit of a slow burn fashion, not so much in pace most of the time but rather in overall feel. This is a solid heavy metal record that has some of that doomy ‘70s hard rock feel going on. The general direction seems to have shifted slightly from the heavily Pentagram influence, which I worship and was done very well on the promo. It now sounds like more of an early ‘80s heavy metal vibe has creeping in to the newer material. My favourite songs on here are “United By Darkness” and the title track “Souls Of Charon”. A good album for heavy metal and classic doom metal fans to check out.  Support this cool new label as well!  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/relentlesschicago   http://www.doordierecords.org/         




“Church Of The Five Precious Wounds” CD

(Sevared Records)


Repulsive Dissection return, with their second album to date, “Church Of The Five Precious Wounds”. The music is decent, but nothing that has not been done already. The guitars are about the only thing that really sticks out on this cd, with some complicated patterns mixed with a few sections of catchy riffs. The vocals are your average death metal growls. So, unless you are a real collector, or fan of everything death metal, then definitely pass on this one and spend your money on something better.  - Patrick

https://www.reverbnation.com/repulsivedissection   http://www.sevared.com/   




"Manifested Darkness” CD

(FDA Rekotz Records)


Damn the owner of FDA Rekotz must be as big or bigger devoted maniac to the old Swedish sound as I am. Shit I had no idea so many German bands were picking up this mantle. This promo pack alone from the label has no less than three bands out of four that play this ancient cult style. Manifested Darkness got the classic Swede sound down pat via Swedish musician god and superb engineer Dan Swano. I am sure you guys are tired of reading how much I like this style. Though I must admit after three straight reviews of it with Tormented, Lifeless and now Revel In Flesh, even I am ready for something a little different, then again I am just on a listening / reviewing binge and am getting a little burnt out from constant reviewing. Revel do this style some justice and definitely ape a lot of old Grave style stuff and do it well. So if you dig that style and do not mind a little cloning action going then you should check this out, if you do mind then move along. By the by, the band finish off the record with a spirited cool cover of the almighty Autopsy’s “Twisted Mass Of Burnt Decay”. Hail Autopsy!!  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/revelinflesh  http://www.fda-rekotz.com/gx/     




“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/  




"Illusions In Infinite Void” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


Sacral Rage is a band out of Greece, who has burst out of the gates, with a hell of a debut album! They play classic 80s power / heavy metal, with touches of prog metal and speed metal thrown in for good measure. The vocals for some, will undoubtedly be an acquired taste, as they splatter the sound wall to wall, with high pitched whiney siren vocal spikes like you heard back in the 80s. I like them myself, but I know a lot of people, even those that are power metal and heavy metal fans, do not necessarily like that style of vocals. I would say musically as well, but also vocally, think of the second and third Fates Warning records, as well as the vocals of John Cyriis of Agent Steel, from around the same time period springs to mind. Musically speaking, these are some finely crafted songs, at times technical, at other times epic in scope, and always heavy and driving. There are some amazing riffs on here, expertly placed within the song framework, not to even mention the tasty guitar playing featuring killer fills and smoking leads. When I think of some possible musical influences, bands which come to mind are Jag Panzer, Coroner, Helstar, Watchtower, Iron Maiden, Annihilator etc… As you can see, even their influences within style vary nicely. I would warmly recommend this, to fans of old school metal and the bands I mentioned above, you will love it.  - Dale

http://sacralrage.bandcamp.com/   http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/      




“The Bloodshed Summoning” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


I think this is my first run with SS, even though these German metallers have been at it for over 15 years. I do recognize the name floating around over the years however. I have heard some people complaining about the vocalist Gerrit P. Mutz, but for me he might be close to my favourite part of the Steel’s musical maelstrom. He has a distinctive voice, the accent is quite present, but I like that, he seems to have a pretty varied delivery from the mainstay clean power metal vocals, to gruff thrash yell to growling death metal tinged vocals and he transitions between them all quite seamlessly. The vocalist also conveys a variety of emotions really well and at times reminds me a tad of the vocals of countrymen vocals from the band Rage, but as said with more varied genre influences. The music kind of like the vocals, has a heavy power metal base, but mixes things up with thrash elements and you get epic metal and heavy head bang metal with some slower emotional material in there which only serves to highlight the heavy parts and make the music as a whole more dynamic. I am definitely a Sacred Steel fan now, this is some good shit, fans of power metal mixed with some thrash elements and distinctive vocals should really check this album out.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/truesacredsteel  http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/  




"Heavy Metal Sacrifice” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)


Gernany’s Sacred Steel is getting ready to release their newest full length “Heavy Metal Sacrifice”. The band does a great job of writing and performing traditional heavy metal with some power metal influences. The guitars showcase a lot of creativity and skillfully played guitars that go from fast heavy metal to a more mid pacing tone. The drummer does a fine job of writing and playing fast drum passages, transitioning to fast patterns and back down to a more controlled style. The vocals are sung with a clean vocal style but there are some screams and hollering used in a few of the songs. Anyone who is interested in traditional heavy metal mixed with some power metal touches then you will want to this up today.  - Patrick

http://www.sacredsteel.eu/    http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/          




“Life Sentence” CD

(Listenable Records)


Well, fuck me, Satan reforms after only a 26 year absence! Do the old goats still have it? I had my apprehensions about that. But I am happy to report that “Life Sentence” is one hell of a comeback album. Satan have stayed true to their roots and made a great old school ‘80s heavy metal record that is dark, catchy and rocking as all hell. Vocalist Brian Ross sounds great as he belts out that proud warrior epic style voice that is still as smooth as ever and has great range. I love this. The drum sound on here is really nice and performance on the kit is energetic and precise. In fact, energy that is a good word to use for this whole they keep the pace brisk and full of adrenaline. Yet they manage to create a certain dark emotional atmosphere that I really enjoyed. It is nice to see a comeback record that was not just shit out there to get people interested in the name again and have an excuse to tour. Satan took their time and created a very good album that upholds the legacy. Check this out!  - Dale

http://www.satanmusic.com/   http://www.listenable.net/      




"Double Denim Shotgun Massacre” Cassette Mini-Album

(NoVisible Scars Records)


The band Satanic Dystopia comes to us out of the U.K. blackened death metal scene. This band surely knows how to play violent, vicious and darkened death metal whirlwind. The heavy and fast guitars rage their way through the song at break neck speed, mixed in with some mid paced riffs, though not very many. The drumming is just as good backed with some violent blast beats galore and some middle paced drumming as well. The vocals are some disturbing death growls and screams. This is a good release that should please any metal demons into sadistic old school metal. (As always with NVS the packaging as always is amazing – get this and support this fantastic label! - Dale)  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/SatanicDystopia   http://nvslabel.blogspot.com/      




“In To Hell” CD

(Hells Headbangers Records)


This release covers the entire existence of the band, a flame that burned brightly, but burned out in a hurry. They released one seven inch ep (in 2008) by the same name as this release, Satanic Threat then played one live show before calling it quits. This disc has that 7” plus the live show, covering the existence of the band. If you like the first couple songs you will like the entirety of In To Hell. Because honestly, while good, the songs mostly sound the same, the vocals sound the same in each song, just with some different lyrics. That is not really a knock, this is how a lot of ‘80s punk bands did their thing back in the day. To be fair there is some variation from song to song to differentiate the songs, just not a whole lot of it. This is some good punk rock though, those driving rhythms will get in your head and stay there. If you love straight forward 80s punk and love Satan you will probably dig the hell out of this shit.  - Dale

https://myspace.com/satanicthreat#  http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/  




"7 & Live ‘N Lethal” DBL CD

(Minus2Zebra Records)


Savage are a storied legendary metal band, hailing out of the U.K., and playing a mix of hard rock / early heavy metal. The drumming is done with a lot of precision, and well done drum patterns. The music is going from heavy, semi-fast sections to more mid paced range. The music is written with a lot of variety, fine song writing by experienced and talented musicians. If you are a fan of late seventies and early eighties rock ‘n roll, mixed with heavy metal, then this is a good band for you to check out if they new to you. The second disc contains thirteen live songs, a mix of old and few newer songs. The songs are presented very well, with good sound quality. So again, if you are a fan of the band Savage, or a fan of well written rock ‘n roll / heavy metal, then give this double disc a disc a chance you won’t regret it.  - Patrick

http://www.savageband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/savageuk        




"Sorrow And Skin” CD

(Sevared Records)


It took me a couple listens, for what this Massachusetts band was doing and really going for to sink in. Once I settled in though, I was treated to some extremely brutal mid to late 90s death metal that crushes and grinds, but in a very controlled fashion as this is a pretty technical, tight album. As we know, technicality often serves to impede brutality and ferocity, yet Scalpel seems to have done a pretty skillful job of wedding the two. Think of early to mid ‘90s New York and Floridian death metal, mixed more specifically, with stuff like Suffocation and later day Cannibal Corpse just as a loose general guide. The vocals are in the classic duality style with the deeper growling and the slightly higher nasal growling ala old Carcass / General Surgery or something along those lines. The band name fits the music, much like a doctor with a scalpel, this band is very precise, controlled and forceful in its task. If you like nineties dm and do mind it a little more on the technical side, then Sorrow and Skin is for you.  - Dale

https://myspace.com/scalpel08   http://www.sevared.com/index.htm      




"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/        




"Marauders” Cassette EP

(NoVisible Scars Records)


It has been a long time since I heard Scorched Earth or since they graced the pages of Canadian Assault. I was in touch with the band many years ago for quite some time. If memory serves I even interviewed the band over a decade ago for Agonia War zine from Poland (ran by editor Filip Jesion, current owner of Agonia Records). There are two songs on this cassette. First up is “Thy Kingdom Doomed / Marauders”, I am digging the lead instrumental part of the song, it reminds me some of stuff from the great 70s hard rock / doom bands I worship. After the lead in, we quickly transition into some smoking ‘n thrashing extreme heavy metal music that has great energy. The gruff, yelling death metal tinged vocals are delivered rapid fire, matching the adrenaline of the music step for step. I am digging the frantic, but stylish guitar solo, just before the song changes up to a slower tempo that I bet gets some heads banging in live shows. A superb song from start to finish. Track two, entitled “Harken To Your Allfather”, hits the ground running, no build like “…Marauders”, you just have to keep up or be left behind with this one. Scorched Earth is a band that has some flowing catchy hard ’n heavy riffs and this song has an even more frenetic solo in the center portion of the tune. Unfortunately this is the final release from this band, after a 15 year existence, they apparently just broke up. This tape will not disappoint, check it out. Order the cassette for $4 USD or an mp3 copy for $2 USD.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/hailscorchedearth  http://nvslabel.blogspot.com/      




"Via Liminalis” MCD

(Pavitra Kunta Prod. / Saturnal Records)


So apparently this release, from the Finnish band Scorpio Doctrine, is a co-produced release between two record labels. I am sure more bands would not mind this situation, where you have not one, but two different labels promoting your record. This debut mini-album, consisting of four songs, according to the bio the culmination of a year of writing and rehearsing by the two members. The first thing I did was read the lyrics, which are thoughtful, striking and well written. I am afraid that is where the compliments end. Honestly it is very minimal, stripped down dark wave, gothic, folk dominated by keyboards. There are some other elements mixed in, but honestly and probably by design they are completely drown out by the synth which is very loud in the mix rendering them virtually as a non-entity. But yes, it is essentially the same synth sequence, largely repeated over and over with vocals over top. Well the vocals, to be more descriptive are clean and clear, half spoken word, half sung. They are voice has certain sincerity to it, but ultimately backed by the limp boring music, the vocals are not strong enough for me to hold my attention and take me along with the journey they attempting create. The bio lists them as darkwave / industrial, I do not hear the industrial influence whatsoever, but maybe devout fans of darkwave, goth, folk style moody music will manage to get more out of this than I did.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/scorpiodoctrine   http://pavitrakunta.org/     




"Nefarious” CD

(ViciSolum Productions)


This is a veteran band, whose members have been in many other bands, such as Necromicon, Mork Gryning, Therion, Sobra Nocturne etc… These Swedes, play brutal technical death metal, with an unorthodox flow and time signatures. I am convinced these guys, have listened to a ton of one of my fave late ‘90s albums, entitled “Obscura” by the legendary Gorguts. This album sounds very similar, in a lot of ways to that album, it has similar free flowing, non-traditional song structuring, technical minutiae and off kilter time changes. Even some of the brief somber moments, remind me to Gorguts and the vocals, do not seem that dissimilar either to those talented Canadians of yesteryear. Does that make it bad? No, in fact, there is some really quality material on here, some very good performances, that could only be pulled off by talented musicians. I like this album; it is good thinking mans brutal death metal. However, I must admit the more I listen to it, which might me being a little unfair, but all I can hear is good, yet feels like weak sister of “Obscura”. It just, makes me feel, like I should shut it off after a while and put on the originators and masters of this sound. But that is just me, if you like my description of their sound; you could do a lot worse these days than picking up this quality album. If you like things like late ‘90s Gorguts or Immolation even, then you will probably dig this.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/sectu   http://www.vicisolum.com/     




"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/        




"And When The Sky Was Opened” CD

(Comatose Music)


Serocs are back with their new album, containing eight songs, the band for those unfamiliar plays a very brutal death metal style. But Serocs are not afraid to add in their own touches, to the tried and true methods of old. They roll out fast, chaotic guitar riffs and patterns, yet do slow down slightly at times, to a more middle controlled pace with some complex well written guitar secions. The drumming is a mix, going from blasting drums, to a more slowed down mid range speed. This is a band for anyone into well written, and performed, technical brutal death metal to check out soon.  - Patrick

https://myspace.com/serocs   http://www.comatosemusic.com/        




"Serpent Warning” CD

(I Hate Records)


The Scandinavian doom scene just continues to grow and get stronger by the year it seems. The leader, in proliferating and promoting this fertile scene, once again and always, is the mighty I Hate Records from Sweden. This time we have Serpent Warning, spreading its shadow out across the globe, from the wintry laden soil of Finland. The band play old school classic doom metal, but more specifically lean towards a mix of Black Sabbath, Candlemass and a big influence on them by my ear is St. Vitus. The songs rumble along, like a slow motion scene of a WWII tank rolling over and crushing everything in its path, ever inexhaustible, continually rattling teeth and nerves in its wake. I really like the deep vocals, you can feel them resonate in your chest, courtesy of Samuli Pesonen. They really fit the music well, giving it that backing flow, which fills in the cracks, smoothing out all the spaces left behind by the immense musical foundation. It may be too bad that I enjoy the vocals so much, as apparently Serpent Warning, after the recording of this album, have replaced him with female vocalist Suvi Laaninen. I will just have to give her a chance, maybe she fits just as well as Pesonen, time will tell on that. But until then, apparently Pesonen’s main band is a doom band, called The Mighty Midget, I have never heard that band, yet now I am intrigued to do so now. Back to Serpent Warning though, it is just no frills, solid, enjoyable doom metal that should please devotee’s of the genre. I know it pleased me.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/serpentwarning4   http://www.ihate.se/         




"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/     




"Apocalyptic Symphony” CD

(Metalism Records)


From the Russian underground comes Shadows Host, a thrashy speed metal band. That has created some very memorable and catchy songs. The guitars are all over the place, with some very creative riffs and fast thrashing guitars. The drummer is in top form on these songs, with some heavy, fast drumming and some creative drum patterns. The vocalist has a great range mostly singing and screaming in a thrashy voice. This is my first encounter, with this band, but hopefully I get to hear more soon. There is some really good musicianship on display here.  - Patrick

http://www.shadowhost.ru/   http://www.eldritchlunarmiasma.com/         




"Tied To A Dying Animal” Full-length Double CD

(Self Released)


I think I listened to these discs in the reverse order of intended presentation, but it is an album as a whole right, so maybe that matters not. Now I do not listen to certain kinds of music a lot. Such as contemplative, hypnotic moody and melancholic folk-y music, which is stripped down, that has the purpose of taking you away on a mental journey. A journey, where you are really being carried away by experience of the album as a whole, and it is constructed and stretched out to keep you in that head space for the duration. As I said I do not often listen to that kind of music, but I do from time to time, I absolutely adore it when a special band can take me there and lose myself in it. It is not an easy task to do and I am not always the most susceptible subject. This is a two disc album; each disc is album length, so I tried to do exactly what I outlined above. However, it failed fairly miserably for me, it is not horribly performed or anything of the sort, there is some pretty good material here comprised of acoustic guitars and organic traditional percussive sounds. But it never hooked me, even for an instant, it never goes anywhere and despite each song be very similar to the one before it, it really falls down with regards constructing that singular journey, that one piece of hypnotic music to pull it all together and take you along with the current. No it is more like you are getting caught on every piece of debris or eddy in the current, which spins you around and around and you feel like you have gotten nowhere by the end of the disc. It was with trepidation that pushed play on disc two. I honestly did not know that I wanted to sit through another 40-50 minutes of directionless tedium. Well, thank goodness or maybe thank darkness, that disc two (which was meant as disc one?) has no resemblance whatsoever to the failure of the first disc. The second disc while not exactly amazing, at least has some dynamic to it, some direction to it. We are treated with harsh black metal rasping vocals, over some energetic dark guitar riffing and bombastic drumming. Maybe I just needed a break from the other half of the album. But I immediately welcomed the harsh metal sounds of black metal with open arms. The more I examine it, honestly this material feels kind of thin to me at times, like skeletons of songs that need later care with the arranging and placing of new pieces of flesh to fill them out. That probably sounds a little harsher than it should, because at times their bombastic ‘90s black / death metal sounds really do get rolling and grind like an audio axe and bring a smile to my face. The vocals are harsh and forceful, which helps drive home the raw darkness and hate in the guitars and drumming. Nothing overly stands out or amazing, but this disc is some pretty good harsh black metal, in the mid to late 90s Scandinavian vein, that should please some followers of that era. But the other disc just did nothing for me and went absolutely nowhere. So a mixed bag, you decide if that sounds like it is for you or not. It is an ambitious undertaking attempting a double album like this, maybe a bit too ambitious for Shroud.  - Dale

http://shroudofdespondency.bandcamp.com/   https://www.facebook.com/shroudofdespondency     





"Necrosymphonies Of Necropsy” CD

(Grundar Productions)


I have reviewed and come across my fair share of bands named Sickness, during the ‘90s I was quite into a Greek band by that name. But, this Sickness is from Malaysia, it is immediately obvious when you read the album title, see the cover art, the logo… well just everything about them, unabashedly proclaims their worship of early Carcass. Hey, General Surgery created quite a following, out of being a Carcass clones and executed that style and atmosphere very well. Do I see Sickness as a Carcass clone? Yes, I do. That is not necessarily a bad thing at all, I appreciate that they are proud of it and do not try feebly to hide it as some do. I would say these guys are more obsessed with the first Carcass album, than the later works, at least on the musical end of things. I mean first off, they do not have the skill or precision to match that second Carcass album, and have a hard enough time keeping up with the more primitive first one. This is okay stuff, but honestly if you are hoping for something as good as early Carcass, or even as good as General Surgery (who I am a fan of), you may come away slightly disappointed. This is fairly sub-par, too simple, thin and one note to really pull off this style properly, in my opinion. Despite this band being around since 1996, I am not sure if they were really ready for an album yet, this is demo level material. It has it’s moments, do not get me wrong, but overall it is just not there yet, they know what they want to do, but fall short of being able to realize and pull off their vision. I would only recommend this, to real diehards of early Carcass, who can not get enough of that style no matter what the level of quality.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/gore2sickness   http://www.grundar.com/        





Ascension To The Throne Ov Self” MCD

(Kaotoxin Records)


Sidious is a new band from the U.K featuring two members from the great death/doom band Eye Of Solitude {also on Kaotoxin}. Well Sidious are more of a blackened death metal band with a lot of symphonic and dark atmosphere. The mix in heavy, fast death metal guitar riffs and pounding drums and occasional blast beats. Sidious intertwines some very well played and used keyboards into the heaviness that adds a nice layer of dark atmosphere within the heaviness. The vocals are raspy, black metal screams and deep, death growls that mix nicely together. If you are looking for something original and heavy then look no further, as Sidious has released the Mcd for you! I am ready for the for the full length from this great young band now.  - Patrick

http://sidious.bandcamp.com/  http://www.kaotoxin.com/   




"Dermal Harvest” CD

(Pulverized Records)


Skineater carefully crafted a meeting of the minds between old school US death metal and old Swedish extreme death. Think of something like Cannibal Corpse / Suffocation mixed with At The Gates / Hypocrisy or some sort of similar mix. As we often come to expect with Swedish bands, the members of Skineater are members of a bunch of other bands past and present such as In Thy Dreams, Carnal Forge, Defleshed, Embalmed etc… This record is brutal, it is catchy at times marching along and pounding like machine gun fire in battle. It is the balance struck between the immense brutality and the catchy melodies that is the strength of Skineater and pulls their sound together. You even get some really emotive guitar fills during slower sections, where you can hear some Carcass “Heartwork” influence, but it does not last long before the avalanche of crushing riffs wash back over everything, making you use up that that breath you stole during the interlude. This is a pretty impressive piece of work with Dermal Harvest. I think fans of olden Swedish and American death metal will go a little weak in the knees for this album. All the members past experience aside, this is a very impressive debut album.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/skineater  http://www.pulverised.net/      




"Grisera” CD

(Ewiges Eis Records)


Skoll is the side project / band, of the mighty M. [The true Endless], among the other bands he worked or works with currently. M handles the vocals and guitars for Skoll, here he presents his newest outfit, a more folk inspired black metal band. The four songs featured here, are quite a variety metal style, from somber passages with acoustic guitar, that are done beautifully before the band inevitably picks up the pace with icy, raw guitars. The drumming is done extremely well, backed with slow to mid paced drums. M’s vocals show a good range of emotion, mainly using the black metal shrieks, but there are also some deeper death growls, used in a few songs and even some clean vocal patterns and chants. This is definitely worth the price if you’re a fan of folkish black metal.  - Patrick

http://www.skoll.altervista.org/   http://www.platten-firma.de/     




"Casting Ruin" CD

(ViciSolum Productions)


Solace Of Requiem play very technical death metal and the band have some talented musicians within its ranks. They keep things very speedy, maybe a little too much speed at times, but they also always make sure everything is nice and brutal, which I can surely appreciate. Sometimes, it feels like they try to play this fast, just make sure they pack enough elements in a song, enough techno bits, enough time changes rather than worrying about making a memorable song. Not that the songs are bad, there is some good material here, but with some more slightly slowed down sections, with a little more editing they could go to a whole other level. SOR employ a variety of vocal styles, the high-ish shriek, deep growling and a growl that is sort of that of a in between the other two. None of those vocal particularly stand out for me, but all are more than good enough to get the job done. The level of brutality is the most enjoyable part of the album for me, the band gets major points for that, also it is impressive the speed, time changes and technicality they are able to perform this material at. But honestly, at the end of the day, I am not a huge ultra technical death metal fan. All the same, I think SOR could learn a thing or two about balancing technicality, with song flow and just good memorable song writing. I think on here, at times, one suffers from the lack of the other. But if you like things like great albums, like Gorguts “Obscura”, and especially Theory In Practice’s “The Armageddon Theories”, then I am sure you will find something to enjoy in this album.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/sectu   http://www.vicisolum.com/      





"“I.T.S.C.” CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)


Coming to us, out of the Canadian crossover scene is, Solanum with their newest cd. They combine both catchy and fast thrash metal guitars. The guitars, are played at high speeds, with some well written guitar parts, but the guitars do slow to a more mid tempo in a few of the songs. The vocals are a mix raw screams, and some hollering, mixed in to a few of the tracks. I am not the biggest crossover out there, but Solanum do write and perform, some catchy and good songs so if you are a fan of this genre then you definitely should give Solanum a chance.  - Patrick

http://solanum-crossover.bandcamp.com/    http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/          




"Monument In Black” CD

(Apostasy Records)


I think I missed out on this bands debut album on Metal Blade records. Sonic Reign is a two piece band from Germany. I can see why Metal Blade gave them a shot. This is some very cool, addicting thrashing black metal. It has that black metal base but also has strong hooks and some serious headbanging riffs that will stick in your head as it bobs around on that thing you call a neck. It is fairly simplistic music, but as I said heavy and catchy. So it probably just comes down to whether you like the thrash and black metal genres and do not mind them being combined in a rocking or headbanging way. The vocalist has some nice, very clear raspy bm vocals with a hint of gruff thrash undertone. The music is dark, but not as dark as most black metal bands, backed with mid paced, chugging thrash guitars. It does not blow me away, but damn it is catchy and just heavy, yet dark enough to appeal to what I like about both genres. Give their myspace a listen and I think you will get an idea quickly of this quality, simple straight forward band.  - Dale

https://myspace.com/sonicreign  http://www.apostasyrecords.com/      




"Black And Blood” CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)


It is small wonder, why this young band sounds as smooth and mature as they do. Just looking through info online about the band, the various members have been or are currently in a whole slew of bands like Armory, Forced Asphyxiation, Burial, Frozen, Death Ray Vision etc… That past experience is on display, throughout their vicious brand of death metal brutality and in the underlying melodic elements and tones. The melodic aspect, in their sound, is very reminiscent to mine ears to Carcass “Heartwork” era material, some later era Death in there as well. The barbarity and brutality side of Soul Remnants, is more from the Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation school of death metal. Honestly, the influences are pretty obvious and not hard to pick out, all the same this is very well done and has a certain feel and flow of its own. It might not be very original, but it is extremely well done, solidly constructed album that will both make you simultaneously headbang and have your emotional heart strings pulled at. So, I would most definitely recommend this, to fans of the above mentioned bands.  - Dale

https://myspace.com/chopwork   http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/index.html      




"Bazaar Of Wonders” CD

(Sublimity Records)


The production on this album is so clear and loud, it is almost too much for me. But I can see why this Russian band wanted it so crisp, because they are fantastic musicians and pull off some high level stuff, as they wind their way through this progressive metal album. Some sections of this album were very enjoyable for me, other sections, I found a tad pretentious sounding and purposely so. I think the band might have gotten carried away, with inviting literally ten or twelve guest musicians, probably from their university music courses, or some such, to play on it looks like 9 of the 12 songs on this album. I wonder if a collaborative effort that wide spread, may make the flow of the songs and album as whole, a little less cohesive. The vocalist is excellent, not that much of an accent can be detected and he reminds me a little to Ray Adler, whom I am a fan of. The more I listen to this record, it is growing on me. I think Starsoup (I do not like that band name much at all), to give you a better mental picture, probably reside somewhere between newer Fates Warning and Dream Theater (a little less intricate / more accessible) mixed with a touch of the Metallica “Black” album influence. Some of the speedy guitar solos, which flow in and out of the mix, are fantastic and really add a dynamic punch to the emotive material. I must admit a couple songs in; I did not think I would like this album as much as I do. Definitely something I can recommend to progressive metal fans. I have to throw out a caveat to this whole thing, there are two tracks, thankfully short, “Rumors Of A Better Life” & “Road To Sunset”, that quite honestly border on top 40 radio pap. I can do without that shit and I am slightly insulted, that they tried to slip those in, muddying the waters, among an otherwise wonderful progressive metal album. I think when I put this on my mp3 player; those two songs will be deleted and my listening experience benefit greatly for it.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Starsoup  http://sublimity.bandcamp.com/     




“The Knave” CD

(Paragon Records)


This is a bit of departure for Paragon, who seem to be primarily a black and death metal label. Storm Breeder, yet another one man band, I suppose could labeled at times experimental (mainly due to the odd unconventional accent here and there not common to this genre such as synth, clean female vocal bits, sound effects) speed / thrash metal. The playing on here is pretty impressive, some amazing riffing and ultra precise time changes often executed at galloping speeds. I am not sure what is that wavy sound over and around the chorus sections of the opening song but it is quite distracting, not in a good way on an otherwise impressive opener. There are some somber, slower moments but the mainstay is a heavy metal gallop or marching thrash riff speeds with some well done but not always as imaginative (as the rest of the music) drum patterns as the song could really use, but they surely do get the job done. This is some really good music and it is impressive that one man managed all of this at such a high quality level overall and with such superb execution. The production is fine, quite clear but for me could have used a little more bottom end to bring out the heavy. But I think honestly the biggest let down for the band is the vocals, they have little to no range, virtually no power and the base voice is a little bit limp sounding. That is something this style needs much more than say death metal or black metal etc… is a strong, distinctive and power vocalist of which you will not find on The Knave. I guess the main man could not find a vocalist and was just forced to do it himself, with that in mind they are not terrible, just not would they need to be to match the level of everything else. I really look forward to hearing more from this band, especially if they can secure a full time vocalist that suits this style.  - Dale

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




"Calculations Of The Ancients” CD

(Minotauro Records)


The band sells themselves with some lofty and ambitious expectations. And I quote “Intriguing, thought-provoking and memorable, Super Massive Black Holes (aka SMBH) plays a mix of genres that will make you scratch your head and tap your foot, all while banging your head into solid objects. Seamlessly blending Death Metal, Rock, Jazz-Fusion, Prog, Blues, and “Other”, SMBH will expand your mind and prove that new and interesting music is alive and well.” For me, to even attempt what they set forth in that description, you need to not just be good, but be superb in two areas. First, being simply or not so simply, the technical skill and wide ranging musical knowledge, in applying that skill. Secondly, a natural talent for song flow, song arranging and transitioning, from one thing to the next, constantly changing style, as the band has set forth to do. I think SMBH have the first area covered off pretty well, they obviously are well learned in a variety of contrasting styles / genres, as well as just being very skilled in their instrument(s) of choice. So so far, so good. Then, we enter in the second area, of expertise needed I covered above. This is where, in my opinion, SMBH fall flat on their faces, not all of the time, but well most of the time. Their song flow, more often than not, is abysmal, their transition between time changes and stylistic changes, that are constantly happening are clunky, stilted and disjointed. It is almost, like they took some cool jam cassettes, chopped up the tape inside the cassettes into a hundred pieces, then mixed them all together, and piece by piece pulled out each section, scotch taped them together and said let’s see what this shit sounds like. That description is a too harsh, granted, but all the same it is a mental example of what I am talking about, taken to the extreme, yet at the end of it I think it gives you a picture of what I mean. Catchy or meaningful song structure, which really makes it a piece of music, tends to get thrown by the wayside, in favour of just getting all our parts in, all our influences crammed in there. I am not sure, if it is just that that they got greedy, about a packing all of this stuff in and damn the result, or these talented musicians just lack vision and talent, when it comes to the task of actual song writing and song arranging. The vocals, on top of this discordant music, are pretty thin and weak sounding, not really bad, they are passable, but all the same they do the already lacking music no real favours. There is a lot of talent here though, if only it could be focused in a more productive and refined direction. I really wanted to like this record a lot too. I mean it is released by a veteran label, which I have a lot of respect for (did I mention the packaging on this album is absolutely superb?); not to even mention I have a soft spot for the band immediately, because they are from my old stomping grounds, where I was born and raised, in Alberta, Canada. I gave it a good try boys, a lot listens went into this review, but sorry I have to be honest on how I feel about it.  - Dale

http://www.smbhmusic.com/   http://www.minotaurorecords.com/     




"Cube 3” CD

(Listenable Records)


I see terms like experimental and avant-garde death metal thrown around often while describing this French band. Those are fairly lofty terms for me at least and you better be good, damn good to pull off this style well enough to impress me with it. So has Supuration managed this mean feat? Every now and then I would say yes, but the answer for the bulk of the material on Cube 3, is a fairly firm no. I am not saying this is a bad band. They take a lot of influences from good bands in the heavy metal and death metal arenas, and while it is good, they tend to present some of the more generic parts of those influences or at least they are fairly generic in re-producing those sounds. The kinds of bands I mean are things like Edge Of Sanity, later Carcass, late ‘90s Voivod. All of which I like, but well as I already explained above, it is about how they present those influences to the listener. The avant-garde or experimental parts are where I guess you could say they admirably tried to dress them up with some off-beat timing, slowing things down or punch it up in a happier way. They add some, not so much experimental as much as just different elements, it helps spice things up a little bit, but it has rather limited effect for me. I think the thing I like best about this band are the cool deep, yet very discipherable growling vocals that remind me again to Edge Of Sanity or maybe slightly to Grave or something. It was a nice try, I like what they were trying to go for, but it is a bit of a miss, a listenable miss mind you, but a miss all the same.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/supsupuration  http://www.listenable.net/       





"No Grief” Cassette Album

(Merdumgiriz Records)


There is an interesting story behind this release as well as the main man behind what is a now a full band (see the review of one of their newer release). This was written and recorded, during a period of time that he was not only recovering from a car accident, but also just as he was about to be sentenced to go to jail. It is kind of a long story on the jail thing, needless to say his previous band kicked him out in a under handed way, then he alleges had security keep him out of live shows and continued to release/use material, he had written for the band. Subsequently, he showed up at the main offenders place of work, and apparently beat the shit out of him with a bike lock. So with that back story, it really gets you intrigued, no? I have to say this sounds very different from the bands current direction. I am not even sure what to call the style on this release, which was recorded back in 2012, it is a hodge-podge of dark emotional atmospheric hard rock/heavy metal (like stripped down, watered down influences from things like old Queensryche “Operation Mindcrime” or Voivod “Astronomy Domine” type of stuff), but mixed with little snippets of hardcore and thrash, plus half spoken/half sung vocals. I don’t know, there are some good parts, here and there, which I enjoyed plus overall I like how much emotional hate, pain, regret, melancholy that shines through the music. But honestly, overall I did not like it, it feels pretty disjointed, it feels sort of like main man Nick Noro is just vomiting all the emotion he can, all over the listener. But his thoughts, much like his feelings are scattered and fleeting and confused. I mean, even though it must have been a cathartic process for Nick, which is good for him, yet not necessarily good for the listener. Which is probably why, he never released it until now, who knows maybe people have heard about it and asked for it, it is not bad, just not that good either. Maybe some die hard fans of the band, would like to have it regardless, as it documents an important time in the birth of Survival, and what would help shape it later on. Apparently, they want to keep this very underground, to that aim they have made this limited and charging high prices for it (unless you think $100 is not too high for a tape), so you definitely need to want it very badly to buy it. If that interests you, then go for it, it is an unique experience. However, if that is not your cup of tea, and love thrash metal, I would encourage you to check out their new releases, like their “Shayda” album. Because that is good bay area crossover thrash metal, and much superior this release, they only got better and better with time, after “No Grief”, I am pleased to say.  - Dale

https://www.reverbnation.com/survivaloakland    http://merdumgiriz.org/           




"Amidst The Trees” CD

(Forever Plagued Records)


This is the first full-length from Finland's two man band Taatsi. The band plays mid to some faster black metal with a lot of atmospheric elements. The guitars are done with razor sharp chords. The drumming is done with a lot of precision, with some mid paced beats and even some slower beats. The vocalist does a great job with the vocals, employing some blackened shrieks and screams. Taatsi even add some great keyboard and acoustic guitars in a few of the songs. This is a great release, by a good band, who knows how to make memorable blackened atmospheric metal.  - Patrick

http://taatsi.bandcamp.com/   http://www.foreverplaguedrecords.com/       





"Verses Of Fire” CD

(Agonia Records)


The Temple Of Baal, one of France’s best black / death bands, release their fourth album to date. We get ten songs of fast, vicious blackened death metal. The blasting drums are done to perfection, as well as flawless guitars, which are played very fast and chaotic, but also have a great deal of skill to back them up. No Temple Of Ball are not all speed, they do slow it down too, to a more mid-paced tempo on some tracks. Check this out.  - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/templeofbaal   http://www.agoniarecords.com/         




"A Cacophony Of Destruction” Split MCD

(Orchestrated Misery Recordings)


Throne Of Sacrilege comes out of the gate like a caged bear rampaging against the bars of his prison. They hit you with just aggressive blackened death metal, pure barbarity and dark hate, the music surges forward headlong, never willing to let you catch your breath. The storming riffs are excellent, the lightning barrage drumming is commanding and forceful, the deep flowing growl vocals are frightening and extreme. Damn I wish there was more of this band on here. Hell yes! Onwards to Indiana’s Impurium, they also have three tracks, as did Throne, on this twenty-six minute ball of sadism release. Impurium are more on the black metal side of things, but that underlying death metal element is still strong. It is hard to follow the awesome might that is Throne Of Sacrilege, but Impurium do a admirable job, with their manic, yet catchy cold strike of darkness and evil. The guitars are quite frenzied; the drums do their best to keep up to the savage speed the riffing sets. They do let you breathe, a little more than Throne did prior, but only a little, the guitars are really all over the place, but still have some real order in the chaos that had me intrigued and kept my interest. The raspy yelling hisses that fit the music well. This disc will be over before you know it, the good thing about that is the quality is strong, all the way through, and the music contained within is very infectious, so repeated listening, again and again, is a pleasure. Check this out.  - Dale

http://impurium.bandcamp.com/   https://www.facebook.com/orchestrated.recordings     




"Death Awaits” CD

(Listenable Records)


I am not going to lie to you this is some very derivative stuff, you have heard this all before. But you know what I worship this style of music so I still love the hell out of it! This Swedish band, featuring two members that played in a bunch of bands, first you have Roberth Karlsson who played in Darkified, Pan.Thy.Monium, Solar Dawn etc… second you have Dread who was the vocalist of Marduk in the early years, Infestdead, Total Terror etc… Both men were members of one of my fave death metal bands of all time Edge of Sanity! So they already have my respect. Now that you have some background, on to the music. Tormented mix a dash of old Celtic Frost with pretty much a total clone mixing of Dismember, Entombed and Grave. Which are all classic bands for me I love their music absolutely to death, so as unoriginal as this is I still fucking dig it. I just can not get enough of the classic Swedish death metal sound. It is like an addictive drug for me. I mean it is just so good as that amazing rolling riff sound on here just hits you cutting you to pieces and those killer semi-clear death metal growls would make Ola Lindgren & LG Petrov blush, and just put me in ecstasy. I would say this band is only for the true die hards of the sound, who just can not get enough of it, if that is not you then you might as well just keep spinning your Grave, Entombed and Dismember records.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/tormentedsweden  http://www.listenable.net/        





"Sexually Transmitted Torture” CD

(Ossuary Industries)


The mental images I conjure up when reading that album title hehe. The sleazy, depraved possibilities seem endless to a disturbed mind. The song titles only further feed that fertile imagination, you gotta love ditties titled like “Autopsy Of A Cunt”, “55 Gallon Crypt”, “Sulfuric Semen Skank Dunktank” and “I Can’t Believe She Got In The Van With Me”. Yeah these are my kind of sickos. The level of technicality and proficiency, on their instruments belies the artwork, song titles and lyrics. This some real controlled chaos and precise brutality. There is actually some groove bits mixed in here and there, but only as accent, most of the time they race headlong with the violence and ferocity. But if you listen closely, there is method in that madness, there are cool nuanced guitar bits, and the drumming is a varied cacophony of wonderful precision. The riffing is feverish and brutal as fuck. The vocals are deep growls, nearly indecipherable, but there is enough elongation and emphasis on certain words, that you can make out some of the lyrics amidst that wonderful belching. All of this has that thread of audio samples and degenerate wanton lyrics of sexual torture and mental sickness. Which for me, just tops things off nicely, like a tasty spice, sprinkled across expertly cooked genitals. If you like your death metal, with a little grinding and thought, put into the song structuring nuances and do not get easily offended or grossed out, then I have an album you need to check out.  - Dale

http://tornthefuckapart.bandcamp.com/   http://ossuaryindustries.com/          




"Legacy Of Hate" CD

(Aphelion Productions)


Italy's The True Endless are back with a new black metal masterpiece, the musicians have created some of the best violent, cold, uncompromising black metal I have heard in quite sometime. The music is vicious but quality written and performed with fast, relentless drumming that is non-stop, alongside chaotic and furious guitar riffs and some solos mixed in the insanity. The vocals are deep dark growls mixed with blackened screams that are a perfect match for The True Endless’ destructive, dark sound if you are familiar with this long running Italian black horde you know what to expect. But if you are new to The True Endless sound, if you enjoy cold, violent straight forward black metal then Legacy Of Hate is MUST hear.  - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/thetrueendless   http://www.aphelionproductions.net/     




"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/       




"Grant Us Death” CD

(Pulverised Records)


I like Pulverised Records because they seem to love old school death metal, so we are on the same page there. There have been a few Ulcer’s over the years, but this is the Polish one and they play old school death metal that is heavily influenced by the Swedish death metal scene. You can hear elements of Dismember, Grave, Entombed etc.. in their sound. Their music is pretty straight up, standard stuff, but done really well and shake your fist at me if you like, but I am a fucking mark for old style Swedish death metal, I worship this shit. These marauders have that sound down well, they pummel you over the head with it, through heavy razor riffs that hit you with blunt force trauma until you lose consciousness. There are a few fucking sweet short solos smattered throughout this album, which really add a nice little extra touch to the music. If you are not that big of a fan of this style of dm, then you can probably stick with the old classics, but if you are a die hard like me you will want to check this record out ASAP.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/ulcerdeathmetal  http://www.pulverised.net/    




"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/         




"The Antagonist Fire” CD

(W.T.C Productions)


Sweden's Valkyrja have released their third release “The Antagonist Fire”, seven songs of violent straight forward black metal. The band takes no prisoners, with their musical approach; their guitars roll by with fast riffs, some solos and mid tempo changes. Their drummer is godly on this release going from ultra fast blast beats to the more controlled mid paced style. The vocals are sick, demented blackened shrieks. I think fans of violent Swedish black metal will love this release.  - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/valkyrja   http://www.w-t-c.org/        





"The Cult Of Vestal Claret” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)


Cruz Del Sur Records, for me at least, has really been hitting it out of the park lately with the quality of the bands they are signing and releasing. I am pleased to report, Vestal Claret are no exception as they keep the labels hot streak going. Clearly, the label covets high end musicians and furnishes them, with all the resources they need to record and produce their records, because their releases always sound fantastic. Not just in that plastic and cheap, pro tools way either, no they have the sound only a real professional studio helmed by people that know how to make music, which breathes and retain its own identity. My first introduction to Vestal Claret, came a couple years back on the split cassette (with the mighty Ungod), released through NoVisible Scars records. Vestal Claret play a form of classic 70s heavy metal and doom mix, which readers will know that this are styles I worship, this nearly hour long album provides me a new alter to kneel before. The music on here is extremely introspective and emotive; it takes one on a mental journey and hypnotizes me into hitting the play button again and again. An extremely well crafted album; they just seem to instinctively know when to sit on a groove and when to move along, triggering the right sentiment that drips off of every hook and rhythm. During some of those pensive sections, now and then, the band drop in a great guitar noodle, slow guitar fill that will make your heart skip a beat. Phil Swanson’s vocals are perfect for this music, they convey a lot of melancholy, they are sort of a mix of Bobby Liebling of Pentagram and a young Ozzy from Black Sabbath (both bands are heavy musical influences as well), a quality mixing of those two vocal influences. Yeah I just love those fucking vocals man! Near the end of the record, the band do a very unique and cool sounding, cover of Black Sabbath’s “Who Are You”. Which is the perfect time period, for their Black Sabbath influence, this album definitely gives me a vibe of the Sabs during mid 70s period, with records like “Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath” & “Sabotage”. I am not sure, how I will muster the strength, to hit the stop button on this album. I simply can not get enough. Support this band and support Cruz Del Sur, who are quickly becoming a benchmark for quality, in the metal scene.  - Dale

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




"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/       




"On The Blackest Of Nights” CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


The Swedes as a collective, just keep pumping out music and bands like few other countries, it is impressive especially when their population is taken into account. Void Moon play a form of epic heavy metal, maybe you could even call them a classic heavy metal doom band? I think there is some influence in there from their mighty countrymen Candlemass. But Void Moon is a little more melodic heavy metal influenced than that classic band. I think you can hear some New Wave of British Heavy Metal inspirations helping to shape the music on On The Blackest Of Nights. The vocalist Peter Svensson, has a different and perhaps even slightly original sounding voice and conveys an interesting pedestrian-like, subdued yet still classic vibe and pacing to his vocals. Yeah I like the vocals quite a bit. The music overall though, while good, does not really pack much power, it is not very memorable, nor does it contain large doses of the usual with style, it is hypnotic, melancholic (outside the vocals) or atmospheric really. Usually for me my classic doom bands that I enjoy in my collection, have to hit on at least one or two cylinders of the elements I just mentioned and Void Moon do not. However, this is their debut album, I am interested to see how this young band progresses. There is something there, they just need to cultivate it a little more, if they do they could turn this into something special. Until then I would only recommend this one for clean and classic heavy metal doom completist’s.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/voidmoonmetal  http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/      




"Confessions Of A Necrophiliac Priest” Cassette EP

(NoVisible Scars Records)


Vomit Breath is a two man crew, which features members from fellow NoVisible Scars band, Elders Of The Apocalypse, as well the band Your Kid’s On Fire. There are 16 short and nasty songs on here clocking in around 25 minutes. The band play straight ahead, no frills, no slam moshing, no bullshit death grind insanity. It is just non-stop, no movie clips all over the place grinding, with ripping riffs, and wall to wall blasting with cool vomitous growls and the nasal screaming of a raving lunatic. It is an exception to the rule, generally, but every now and then they sit down on a death metal riff and ride it, before diving headlong back into the unrelenting fury. This shit just fucking steamrolls you man! I think fans of bands like Autopsy, with early Grave elements, mixed heavily with stuff like Agathocles, S.O.B., early Napalm Death, Repulsion, Defecation, Plutocracy, Mortician, Gore Beyond Necropsy, Phobia etc… when listening to this. So fans of the above mentioned should really like this one.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Barthwell1978   http://novisiblescars.bandcamp.com/      




"Bloody Vengeance" CD

(Greyhaze Records)


Greyhaze continue on with their great line of re-releases of the early hallowed bands of the Brazilian metal scene. As with Impurity and Mystifier, all of these albums were released, many moons ago by the cult Brazil label Cogumelo Records. “Bloody Vengeance” was originally released in 1986, with this new version you get a re-master of the original recording, but even despite this, the bands rough intensity still shines through with their raw thrashy / speed metal assault, even a little bit of a black metal sound and feel to it. The guitarist knows how to play extremely fast and chaotic riffs intertwined through murderous musical whole. The drumming is great, fast blasting beats played with utmost aggression and ferocity. Anyone into early thrash / speed metal with hints of the first wave of black metal will definitely want to get their grubby mitts on a copy of this classic as soon as possible.  - Patrick

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




"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/     




"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/       




"Thoughtscanning” CD

(Kaotoxin Records)


I have read a lot of reviews absolutely fawning over this record. I mean I can see hear some of the reason they are so impressed with it. There is certainly some talent and vision going on with song writing and the band impressively transition between somber atmospheric moments to metallic blitzkrieg. They also incorporate a fairly wide variety of influences and instruments and melt them into their somewhat doomy, sort gothic, yet metal sound. All the parts are there to build something really good, they have the talent to get it there. Yet somehow at the end of the day, each time I listen to this (which is half a dozen times now) I come not being all that impressed with the musical whole and find the material ultimately forgettable. I could seem people throwing this band in the realms of something like Opeth and they would not be too far off. I have most of Opeth’s output and they do remind me of that band, at times Opeth can be forgettable as well, all the same Opeth is a definite cut above WADL. Well done, production is nice, playing is good, variety is there in spades (maybe too much is part of the problem?), but despite all of that “Thoughtscanning” does very little for me.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/wealldielaughing   http://www.kaotoxin.com/         




"Witching Metal Ritual" CD

(Heaven And Hell Records)


The first song, entitled “Bringers Of Heavy Metal Death” sets the tone, a raunchy old Destruction vibe anthem and attitude. But after we get that out of the way the band settles down into a little more subdued but still ripping power metal vibe of the old school variety. I also hear some tidbits of speed and thrash metal in there as well. Once you are past that first song, which is different from the rest of the record. I hear a number of influences like old Metal Church, Manowar, Omen, Grim Reaper and the old cool underrated Canadian band Deaf Dealer. The vocalis of Robb Bockman are great, a total throwback clean yet sometimes deep, sometimes squealing siren screams mixed in, all with solid range. Well in fact, let’s be honest this whole album is a throwback, it really is, I would say if you read this far and you are not an ‘80s power metal fan then stop reading now. But if you are a fan this wonderfully dated style (why the fuck do people always use the word dated always with negative connotations?!), then honestly you need this fucking album in your collection. Did I mention there are guest spot appearances on here from Ross “The Boss” of Manowar, Jack Starr (Virgin Steele, Burning Starr) among others. “Witching Metal Ritual” is an emotional, powerful rocking record that I loved!  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/witchesmark   http://www.heavenandhellrecords.com      




"Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes” CD

(Glorious North Productions)


Now here is something I do not hear every day. What is that, you say? I am talking about British black metal, the UK does not seem like a prolific place for black metal. I am good with one man bands so long as they do not sound like a one man band if you know what I mean. Thankfully that one man Leviathan plays all the instruments, so no drum machine crap and he pulls it all together quite well. This is old school black metal with maybe slightly more modern touches and production and more of a pure metal sound than most bands in this style. I like that the bass guitar actually sounds good and every now and then stands out slightly, a rare thing for this genre. Yeah this is some really quality stuff bringing to mind bands like Horna, Judas Iscariot etc.. but with a more epic flair at times than those aforementioned bands. There are some cool guitar fills on here as well. It sounds and feels like a lot of thought went into this album, it is a well constructed album and Leviathan has a talent for writing both catchy almost head bang riffs with a cryptic feel and also some nice sweeping grand guitar runs. I think about the only thing I would change if I could, would be the vocals, they are actually quite good and quality, but I think they could use a little less of the growling undertone and employ more of the traditional black rasp to fit the music a little better. But that is a very minor complaint on an otherwise fantastic album that is very worthy of your attention.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/writtenintorment  http://www.gloriousnorth.co.uk/      




"Nihaihayat” CD

(Merdumgiriz Records)


I guess I expected more from this Turkish one man band when I read the main musician behind the band Emir Torgrul is a composer, instrumentalist etc.. The music on Nihahayat sounds like rehashed early Burzum songs or early noisy Norse black metal with some atmosphere intertwined in the chaotic noise. I supposed Emir shows a few moments of good guitar playing but honestly not that much. This is a pass for me as if I ever need a Burzum fix I'll just find my Burzum cd's.  - Patrick

http://yayla.bandcamp.com/  http://merdumgiriz.org/     




"Disgust" CD

(Orchestrated Misery Recordings)


Yellowtooth hails out of Indiana, but when you listen to the music I automatically figured they were from the south as they have that southern nuance to their sound. This band features Peter Clemens as some in the scene will surely remember him from bands like Shades of Grey, Sea of Tranquility, Invasion (interviewed in CA back in the day) and Skullview, while the other two members came from Chronic Disorder. Yellowtooth play a rocking type of sludge metal, but maybe not as heavy on the feedback as many sludge bands like Eyehategod, Iron Monkey, Cavity and the like. But Disgust is rocking, the riffage is really heavy and crushing yet always quite catchy, seemingly keeping at bay the doom tag. By my ear you can hear the members death metal roots in the guitar tuning / playing and also the vocals are pretty deep death metal growling, but kept clear enough that you make out most of what is sung. This is just some good rockin’ simplistic sludge with some balls and nice groove riffs, but not over done or cheesy like that mallcore shit or whatever they call it these days. This is record is nothing spectacularly groundbreaking or mind numbingly great by any means, but it is a solid and even good album, a fine debut, but with a couple demos under their belt and countless years experience that should be expected. It is worth a listen.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/yellowtoothmc  https://www.facebook.com/orchestrated.recordings      




"Oracles” CD

(I Hate Records)


I Hate Records just continue to find quality doom band after quality doom band! This time, it is a band from my homeland of Canada, as well as being my first time listening to them. They sign not just quality doom bands, but as is the case with Zaum, also very unique sounding doom bands. This band is very different, in that they use unusual instrumentation, such as the liberally used sitar, as well as also relying fairly heavy of synthesizer, along side some bass guitar and that is the only guitar to be found on this record. They take the foundation of heavy, plodding guitar riffs, as the foundation and throw it out the window, for the large part. It is pretty amazing the doomish, melancholy sounds they manage to create at times, with mainly instrument soundscapes, emanating from the Sitar and some Alphorn / Alpine Horn (you know like in the Ricola commercials) like sound, which are both very heavily employed as a main instrument on “Oracles”. I find it pretty striking they were able to pull that sort of sound out of those instrument sounds. You can get lost in them, going on a mental carpet ride, through the deserts and mirages of the Middle East, where Zaum clearly draw a lot of their inspiration from. During the songs or sections of songs, when they mix those sounds in with a lot of rumbling doom bass guitar, it is magic Zaum create. I will confess, on the flip side of that, when they put the bass away for too long and push those soundscapes (if you listen to this album you will understand why I keep using that term), to the forefront, for long periods of time, for me it comes across as a little too stripped down and thin and the song suffers for it. Those sections are wonderful in their own way, but would be better served as shorter interludes, briefer support sections, than being employed as the heart of a song. But when they bring it all together and use the right mix and length, bringing the bass guitar more to the forefront, the result is just fantastic. I would love to see the band concentrate a little more into this area, as it could take their unique, even original approach to doom to a whole other level. I realize in all of this, I have failed to mention the vocals. They are sparsely used, clean but very sort of echo-y, dreamy spoken / sung vocals, that are hard to pin down, sort of like trying to catch smoke with your bare hands. They are more of a sound, which blends into the music, rather vocals that are any kind of a real central of musical whole. Anyway, for those searching for something different and good, in the doom genre, you can not go wrong with picking up this album.  - Dale

http://zaum.bandcamp.com/   http://www.ihate.se/  




"Zlosultni Horizont - Donosilac Prokletstva, Ocaja I Smrti” CD

(Dark Chants Productions)


Serbia's black metal masters return after a couple of Mcd's and singles the band has their debut full-length (clocks in at 27 minutes - Dale). The founding member Hunter {vocals, guitars, bass} and Lord Gryma {drums} have written and released Zloslut's most mature and best release to date. Musically Zloslut's style is primitive, raw, mid-paced black metal. While the guitars are raw and sometimes harsh sounding they are well-played and have some good sections of excellent musicianship. Hunter's vocals approach is raw violent screams and vicious shrieks. Lord Gryma's drumming is really keeping pace with Hunter's guitars and vocal patterns which range from mid-to fast range. If you enjoy raw, mid paced black metal that mixes in their own ideas should definitely check out Zloslut soon!  - Patrick

https://myspace.com/zloslutserbia666   http://zloslutserbia.webs.com/darkchantsproductions.htm