A FLOURISHING SCOURGE

“A Flourishing Scourge” 2017 CD

(Self Released)

 

This is the bands debut full-length release, despite being a self funded and self released affair, they spared no expense traveling from Washington State to New York State to record it, then had it mastered in Sweden by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Amon Amarth etc…). The result on this hour long recording is fantastic; it is crystal clear while also not having bleached out the heaviness and character, which you sometimes run into these with over produced recordings. It certainly shows the bands level of commitment and belief in their in their music to go to these lengths to get the right sound. They are professed by some as a progressive black/death metal band, but personally I might drop the progressive tag and replace it with melodic and feel it is more accurate. I mean the band does have a level of variety in their sound and composition, maybe slightly more than others bands in this style, but to me it is not to any pronounced level and what some might call progressive feels more like just slower, passive and mild, fairly commonly used interlude sections. The foundation of their music to me feels like melodic death (admittedly a sub-genre I tend to be quite picky with bands I like few and far between) with symphonic black metal overtones. There are plenty of tremolo picked riffs with some nice melodies, but also nothing overly stands out on that front compared to the usual fair. So going back to those interludes mentioned above, they are some of my fave parts of the album and are well done, mood setters with well timed and executed transitions to and from the mainstay sound. The other aspect I really liked, amidst the melodic lightness is when a brutal death metal bit pops up giving things some grit and balls, but sadly these sections are generally very brief and underutilized by my tastes. The vocals are decent, very decipherable growls, seemingly serving as more of an accent, letting the instruments (handled by skillful musicians), do most of the musical talking so to speak. For me, this is just a solid record that I liked okay, but ultimately not something I see myself returning to, yet having said that I think melodic black/death fanatics who are less picky with this style and get their hands on everything they can will enjoy this album.  - Dale 

https://aflourishingscourge.bandcamp.com/    http://www.aflourishingscourge.com     

 

 

ABSOLUTE FUCKING CHAOS

“Embryo” 2007 Demo CD

(Self Released)

 

An interesting mix of metallic tapestry sweeping in on the winter winds from Finland. The band seems to have an interesting colourful and forceful array of content to their lyrics and message. A fave song title of the 7 tracks present would be “New Clear Vision – Nuclear Vision” and another goodie is “Anal Napalm Bomb”. That one sounds painful both to the assaulter and the one receiving the gift haha. I love a band with a raunchy attitude mixed with some evil hate and a little fun humour. To be honest the music is rather simple, stripped down and can use a little more flow somehow in certain parts. But that is not meant to be negative as the music on here is rather good, memorable and keeps the old metal spirit burning brightly in my view. AFC play a mix of old school heavy metal and thrash with some small death / black metal elements and even a touch of punk in spots. They play generally at a more mid-paced speed ala the American band Scepter who are probably not too far off as a comparison, though Scepter was more on the old pure heavy metal rocking side of the ledger. In other words, if you enjoy the audio smell of a witches cunt & like headbanging then you should pick up this demo now.   – Dale

www.absolutechaos.co.nr/   www.myspace.com/absolutefuckingchaos   

 

 

ABVULABASHY

"Luciferik Ritual Blasphemy" 2008 Demo

(Self Released)

This band is coming from Singapore, the country where tons of great obscure hordes in old-school metal are, and ABVULABASHY is right into legion of destructive hordes! The music played here is real old-school black-death, made in a really destructive way; the whole structure is chaotic and brings nothing less than total destruction! It has a raw sound, mad cutting guitar riffs, just sick blasphemous screams and the whole dark atmosphere. I liked also all of those fast tunes which is the music is created with. The main conception of this stuff is total annihilation of humanity, a standard theme, nevertheless great music underlines that ideas! 3 songs just, which force you to get a knife and go to kill someone, he-hej. And of course blasphemous atmosphere should force you worship to the music of this band. Support them because ABVULABASHY deserve for support from worldwide maniacs which are into blasphemous music!   - Aleksandr Maksymov  

crucifixdestroyer@yahoo.com.uk   www.myspace.com/abvulabashy  

 

 

ADVERSARY

“We Must Be In Hell” 1999 Demo / CD

(Cursed Productions)

 

Damn, I remember reviewing this bands demo “Lord Of Chaos” back in ‘94/95 for the Sepulchral Voice fanzine. The style hasn’t changed much but their improvement and maturity shows. Adversary play heavy and reflective mid-paced death metal that is both well constructed and well played. It’s of note this band has two fanzine editors in it! Ray Miller of Metal Curse and Jack Botos who publishes Portrait Of Defiance ‘zine. To close my highest compliment to them is their riffing reminds me of a death metal version of Motorhead. 

Send only $5 US for the disc to: Adversary, P.O. Box 302, Elkhart, IN. 46515-0302, USA Email = cursed@sbinet.com

 

 

AFFLICTION GATE

“Severance [Dead To This World]” 2008 Demo

(Self Released)

 

As I understand, this is demo of this band, I don’t know how old the band is, but I know they are from France and plays good musick. Here are 3 songs just, but it was enough for me to understand what things they are worshipping. And they worship pure old-school death-thrash metal! This is music for fans of raw old-school death metal, with tons of obscure melodies, as well as freezing sick solos. Looking to the intros in the start of songs I suppose they are into war themes totally, and the music sounds warlike too. Each chord is wrapped in hate and evil, and the only things you’ll feel while listening this stuff is fear! The whole stuff sounds raw and has various tempos, songs played both fast and slow means, and with tempo-changes. Each song is pretty memorable and fukking catching my attention. I listened to this EP for about 5-6 times already, and the only thing I’d like to do after EP finished – is press to start button again! The main conception of this metal carcass reminded me of early Sweden style, with such obscure and at the same time catching, driving riffing! Here also great destructive drumming, together with no less destructive growls (slightly reminded me GOREFEST or DISMEMBER for example). There on the photo musicians look like young men, so I dare to say – they choose the right way to create destructive music! So let’s support them.  - Aleksandr Maksymov 

http://www.myspace.com/afflictiongate

 

 

AGGRESSIVE MUTILATOR

“War Of Extermination” 2012 Demo Cassette

(Self Released)

 

It is cool to see bands continuing to release tapes, this time I received a cassette demo from this aggressive Swedish band. Aggressive Mutilator play loose, raw and lethal dark thrash metal in the old school tradition. War of Extermination features very mid paced, while continually preserving an evil edge and a cold atmosphere in way few bands manage to accomplish these days. They just have that raw energy to them, sort of a rough punk energy mixed with thrash and an old school black metal aesthetic. Their music is pretty simple, straight forward. There are five songs on here, including a cool cover of “Sacrifice” by Bathory. They do a superb job on this cover most importantly capturing the old feeling of this classic song and the feel of that time in musically. The lyrics are steeped in blasphemy, depravity, war and sleaze. I mean unless you are one of those types that only loves plastic, razor sharp productions, then there is very little here not to like.  - Dale

http://aggressivemutilator.bandcamp.com/  mikael_holm@hotmail.com 

 

 

AGGRESSIVE MUTILATOR

“Death Toll VI” 2013 Demo CDR

(Salute Records)

 

The Swedish purveyors of filth return already with yet another attack already. Aggressive Mutilator is a very prolific band, they released three demos and a seven inch in 2012 alone. They show no signs of slowing down as you can see this is the second demo they sent me this year already! The sounds on Death Toll VI is very rhythmic, almost ritualistic feeling, they still play that dirty thrash style but the music on here reminds me a lot of old thrashing black metal bands from the late ‘80s / early ‘90s. You know stuff from that time period like Mortuary Drape, Necromantia, Vital Remains or even something like the “Inside The Circle Of The Pentagram” demo from Morningstar or the “Satanas Tedeum” demo from Rotting Christ mixed with some Celtic Frost. You know I worship all of that, so it is no surprise that I also like the stripped down low-fi sickness of the Mutilator. I need to go to Scandinavia one day soon and see a gig with Aggressive Mutilator playing alongside Axeslaughter and Bestial Mockery, I might not make it out alive!  - Dale

http://aggressivemutilator.bandcamp.com/   mikael_holm@hotmail.com    

 

 

AGGRESSIVE MUTILATOR

“They Want Me To Cut Off My Head” 2013 Demo Tape

(Self Released)

 

Lock your doors and hide your women Aggressive Mutilator are sweeping through town once again. Aggressive Mutilator continues to do what they always do on this six song demo. Just play down ‘n dirty thrash, this time I would say they are little more energetic and forceful than say their Death Toll release I reviewed here as well. I got a nice little headbang going on the song “Storms Of Evil”. This may be the best production I have heard from them, the grimy low-fi sound really suits them, this is good but almost a tad too clean for this filthy band haha. But they make it work and run rough shot over top of the listener. The raw black metal rasp vocals on here are very well done and add that element of an evil aura to their sound. I honestly can recommend this to those that are not obsessed with technical, razor sharp plastic metal, but do like ripping thrashing black metal. Keep the cassettes coming sickos!!  - Dale

http://aggressivemutilator.bandcamp.com/   mikael_holm@hotmail.com      

 

 

ALIOTH

“Channeling Unclean Spirits” 2003 Demo Tape

(Starlight Temple)

 

A nice surprise here, this brings back memories. It harkens back to the days I sat in my bedroom, ripping open package after package from fellow tape traders and listening to great dark death metal. Now are talking circa ’91 to ’93 and death metal, what I now call old school death metal was a different beast. Not that many bands had yet jumped on the guttural brutal death metal. This was slow to mid paced death metal that still had some of that old feeling. I think back to bands like Immortal Fate, early Acheron (the first album a lot and of course that debut is one of the greatest metal records ever released), Cemetary, early Rotting Christ, Varathron and the like, I know there is some nostalgia going on here but fuck me it feels good to listen to something like this, in this day and age of a million miles a minute, glossy pro-tool’d razor shit that is just getting too much. Five track of epic suffocating death metal. Yes the flame still burns in Alioth, the ancient feelings in me have been stirred and I am reminded why I fucking worshipped true metal of death and the occult in the first place! Alioth is not flashy, Alioth is not brutal, nor blistering fast or adrenaline filled. Now what Alioth is heavy, deeply atmospheric, mysterious and hypnotic, they are beckoning you to swing the river of styx, drink it deep and praise be in the name of metal. Upon completion of this review I have come to the knowledge that is the one man band of Wargoat Obscurum from Cult of Daath, quality metal from one of the truly dedicated. Consider my filthy spirit channeled. – Dale

cultofdaath@comcast.net http://starlighttemple.atspace.com  S.T., Box 293, Glendale, OR. 97442-0293, USA

 

 

ALL IS SUFFERING

Self-Titled” Demo 1999

 

A.I.S. is one vicious and talented death/grind/crust band from hell. Their songwriting is interesting and audacious but always raging! For example on the 3rd track (sorry I was given no song titles), where they are full out then have a slow break which turns into very catchy mid-paced section, but to throw you off the drums don’t continue to go full out over this plodding riff to marvelous effect! Fans of death metal who don’t mind a little crustiness and punk nastiness mixed with their violence then you need to check these dudes out!  - Dale 

Send $5 US for the ’99 demo or same amount for their new 7” EP to: A.I.S., 4220 Solomans Island Rd., St. Leonard, MD. 20685, USA Email = aismob@hotmail.com

 

 

ALTARS

"Self-Titled" 2008 Demo CD

(Self Released)

 

This is the first demo from Altars, an Australian death metal band. There are five songs on tap, this release is apparently limited to 500 copies. The production is pretty thick and dense, but heavy. It is also a bit muddy, but that kind of just adds to the atmosphere for me and everything can still be heard fairly well. While Altars put a few more dynamics than many death metal bands, I am not sure I would push the “experimental” title that they seem to fancy themselves on. Actually some of the quirky bits and time changes, remind me of shit Gorguts were doing in the late 90s and what Cryptopsy were doing on their first few records some years ago. But full marks should be given, due to the fact that they do incorporate some unconventional style elements, into their material. All the while, not hurting the overall, brutality and flow of the music. Which is something, I have seen gone wrong many a time, over the years, on releases I have reviewed and purchased. As far as influence goes, I can hear stuff like such as old Entombed, Dismember, Morbid Angel plus the Canadian bands I mentioned above. All of which, receive regular rotation from my record collection. So I suppose, it is of little surprise that I enjoyed this demo. The vocals though in case you wondered, are nothing like the bands I compared them to, save for Cryptopsy a little bit. They are mainly belched and growled with the odd higher pitched squeals to add some counter point. The packaging is well-done here too. I can recommend you check these blokes out. Apparently a 4-way split CD and split 7” ep in the works, so keep an eye out for that as well.  – Dale

http://myspace.com/altarsofficial   http://altars.bigcartel.com/   

 

 

ALTERKATION

“Heaven Hath No Fury”1998 CD

(Self-Released)

 

I’m not much of a fan of hardcore or the mixing of death and hardcore (deathcore). It has to be done with a lot of energy and brutality to impress me. Alterkation fit that bill as they are the above plus a little punk feel. Good enough for me to enjoy but not good enough to make me think highly of said genre. Send $10 US/$15 World to:

Alterkation, P.O. Box 335, Clarksburg, MJ. 08510, USA Web = www.alterkation.com

 

 

ANARAZEL

“Rise Of The Tempest” 1999 Demo / CD

(Self Released)

 

Cheers to Glenn of the mighty Destruktor for pointing this band towards Canadian Assault. Anarazel (Anah-rah-zel) play great and stylish black metal which I would consider similar to the Swedish and French black metal scenes. The vocals remind me to Immortal from their first album “Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism”. The material on here is really very quality stuff and I think you should get yourself a copy and hear this cold band. Send $8 US to:

Anarazel, P.O. Box 26, South Oakleigh, Victoria, AUSTRALIA Web = www.alphalink.com.au/~gelman 

 

 

ANCIENT OBLITERATION

“A Menacing Reality” 2010 CD

(Self-Released)

 

This is something different from what I usually get and that is a nice change of pace. Not to mention they are from my homeland (or the old country if you prefer) of Canada. It is always a pleasure to get some music from back home. Ancient Obliteration play a quirky sort of thrash and death metal mixture most often played at a pounding slower to mid-paced speed. They sing about monsters and cool shit like that from what I can gather, you know the kind that wreck cities, slither out of swamps, ooze puss and sending people scurrying like roaches when someone turns on a light. The production is clear enough for me but also kind of muddy and obscure sounding, but if you read Canadian Assault often you know I tend to like that kind of thing. The vocals of Geoff Olson are excellent and I never tire of hearing them. They are part shouted, part growled with that old school thrash gruff clarity and he comes across a little bit like he is an off-kilter mad man that stepped out of one of those cheesy but great 70s horror flicks. Actually musically their attitude and quirkiness makes me think somewhat of another great old messed up Canadian thrash band I worshiped growing up by the name of Dayglo Abortions. You mix Dayglo Abortions with some great old American deathrashdoom sicko bands like Righteous Pigs, Impetigo and Goatlord, then smatter in a healthy dose of their own sound and you have Ancient Obliteration. Seriously the more I listen to these guys it makes me think of a more off-balance slightly more modern version of Righteous Pigs (which featured Mitch Harris of Defecation/Napalm Death fame in its ranks). I loved the Pigs so that is a compliment. Ancient Obliteration is probably an acquired taste for some that like it all slick and by the numbers. For the rest of you reading this check out these dirty sounding, fuzzy monster obsessed pervs out.  – Dale

http://ancientobliteration.blogspot.com/

 

 

ANGELHOLOCAUST

“Heretical Goat Worship” 2010 Demo Tape

(Self Released)

 

We have six, six, six tracks of depravity, bloodshed and antichrist hate and vitriol bursting out of Thailand. As one might expect, from the band name and song titles, such as “Hail The Goat”, “Eternal Pandemonium Antichrist”, and a Sarcofago cover. This is a war metal band; they wear that title with pride and come ready for battle. I must say there are some extremely interesting, off-kilter song structuring and speed changes on this demo. The likes of which you rarely or almost never see displayed in this style. They make sure it never takes away from the speed or brutality though. At the same time those quirks and changes in the song really helps hold your interest and adds some depth to the overall maelstrom of lightning sickness and chaos. Without any doubt in my mind this is one of the best war metal bands I have heard in the last half decade, and maybe even longer than that. This comes highly recommended for those who worship the goat and musical pandemonium of the old gods like Sarcofago, Blasphemy etc… but with a new twist. I also recommend those of you that can play tapes, you proceed with haste as this killer demo cassette is limited to only 166 copies. $6 USD / 5 Euro.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/destroyallreligions  phzine@yahoo.com 

 

 

APHASIA

“Beyond The Infinite Horizon” 1999 Promo CD-R

 

This is pretty damn good heavy Euro styled death metal. Some nice quality material with fresh sounding, semi-technical song structuring. The vocals are maniacal screams and growls that give the music a touch of chaos. Only two songs on here but if the rest of their stuff is like this I can only highly recommend Aphasia to you.  – Dale 

Order their 4 song MCD with the same title as this promo for $10 US to:

Aphasia, c/o Steph, C.P. St-Andre, B.P. 32111, Montreal, Quebec, H2L 4Y5, CANADA

 

 

ARA

“Devourer Of Worlds” 2014 Full Length Demo CD

(Self Released)

 

I must say for a self release, the band has not gone the cheap route on anything, from the packaging to the recording. Ara hail from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and they play very technically proficient death metal. Now, I must confess, when it comes to this particular sub-genre of death metal, much like that of melodo death metal, I am very picky. I will only re-listen to and enjoy, the elite cream of the crop bands / albums from those two sub-genres. As opposed to just straight up brutal non-technical / non-melodic dm or black band, where I can listen to an average or slightly above average album, and still enjoy and get something out of it, and play it again and again. So how does Ara measure up to my lofty standards of this style? I am happy to report, they measure up quite well, thank you, as I will admit they both surprised and impressed me. I would even go so far, as to say they flirt with the gold standard quality level of bands, and albums, like Gorguts “Obscura”, Atheist “Unquestionable Presence”, and Theory In Practice “The Armageddon Theories” etc… I would not, and do not put them in that company lightly, let me tell you. I dig the growling style of the vocalist as well, he has a deep frightening roar, but mixes in a bit of Toad’s croak, that croak reminds me of the great old Demilich vocals on the “Nespithe” album from the early nineties. This has to be close to the best debut album I heard in ages. Not sure what else to say, except, if you like, love or worship brutalizing techno death metal, then you simply must have a copy of this album. I am convinced after listening to this, that either the band will not be unsigned for long or they never had any interest in being with a record label in the first place.  - Dale

http://arawi.bandcamp.com/   https://www.facebook.com/Ara.Music.WI   

 

 

ARCHEMORON

"Year Of The Harvester” 2018 Double CD

(Bowel Of Noise / Self Released)

 

The band comes to us from the hallowed metal lands of Greece. I was excited to receive this beautifully packaged deuce disc release in my mailbox. Despite being labeled everywhere I look as black metal, outside of a heavier short beefy speed riff here and there, the band really is actually a dark sounding heavy metal band. Then again the first wave of black metal (most think of the second wave of Scandinavian style bm) had a lot of heavy metal and thrash influences and elements in their sound. But yes, anyway there is a ton going on with the guitars, which are the main driving force here featuring a lot of layers, change ups and guitar fills that have heavy and power metal written all over them. That is not a negative thing though, at least not for me and there are hints of that second wave tremolo picking, but those hints tend to be a bit fleeting. I can say one thing for sure, which is melodicism is a key component to the Archemoron sound. There is also clearly a lot of time and care put into these songs, especially the guitars; which shows a lot of skill and creativity. The songs are often long and flowing, at times atmospheric, with some of them clocking in at a range of 8-10+ minutes in length, interspersed with a few more straight ahead 5 minute songs. It probably does seem reading this back that my descriptions are at odds a little bit, but the thing is there are long epic songs yet they are fairly intricate, even a little noodle-y at times with a number of change ups and time changes. Which granted does break up that epic feeling and flow, but it is done quite smoothly and deftly in a way that keeps things moving and interesting, from a variety standpoint. The band can also write some very moody and gloomy tunes, such as “Mother Sea”, the closing track to the first disc. The vocals are maybe the darkest and most evil sounding thing here; no it is not the tradition black metal rasp, but rather a murky and evil gruff sort of voice with a slightly obscured quality to them. They remind me of some old bands slightly, which I am having trouble putting my finger on which ones just yet. But, they are an ominous sounding version of archetypal old heavy metal and thrash vocals would be my thought on trying to give a reference point on them. When I first started listening to this album, as well as seeing it’s ambitious length, I was skeptical about them being able to keep up the quality level. However, I must confess the band won me over with their inspired song crafting ability, superb technicality and the overall metallic dynamism really captured my attention.  - Dale

https://archemoron.bandcamp.com/releases    http://www.bowelofnoise.com/      

 

 

ARCTICCIRCLE

"Where Ice Meets Ocean” 2018 CD

(Self Released)

 

This is my first time hearing Arcticcircle, from the little I have read and found out about the band online, it sounds like the band started out playing a mixture of thrash and black metal. Where Ocean Meets Ice is the bands newest full length release, featuring eight songs of newer rock and metal with some elements of thrash intertwined within the music. The guitars are a mix of heavier and faster riffing patterns, but they do slow to a mid paced calmer range within some of the songs. The guitarist shows a real ability to write and perform some well done solos and accent patterning. The vocals are a mix of clean vocals with some hollering and screaming used throughout the material. Truthfully, for me, Arcticcircle are the type of band I usually do not listen to, but this new release of theirs contains some good, memorable songs that mixes both newer metal and rock together resulting in a decent musical journey.  - Patrick

https://arcticcircle2.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/vermentor/       

 

 

ATAUL

“Self Titled” 2013 Demo CDR

(Mandarangan Recordings)

 

I have heard a lot of bands over the years from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and that region. But this Malaysian band, I am pretty sure is the first doom band I have ever heard from there. No not pure doom, but rather a death doom metal band, a scene which for a while there about half a decade ago seemed like it was poised to break out, then quickly went back in the shadows. It is raw and simplistic doom death, but rhythmic and heavy, every now and then there are even these crazy little guitar solos, which should not fit with this music but somehow Ataul make it fit and it sounds cool. The vocals are part spoken, part growl, and part whisper which all combine together for a cool sound that compliments the dark mood. Which brings up a point I wanted to make, that is unlike most doom bands Ataul music is not really depressive, but rather it is evil and sick sounding which is cool. An old fave doom death band for me is Goatlord and I feel like they might be a big influence on this Ataul, I also hear a little Disembowelment and Cianide in there. Only three songs here, so not a ton to go on but I like what I hear and I look forward to following this killer band.  - Dale 

http://mandarangan.bandcamp.com/album/demo-2013   ataul_ph@yahoo.com 

 

 

ATAVISM

“Craving For Flesh” Demo Tape 1999

(Salute Records)

 

Atavism produce some  really gut wrenching and barbaric underground death metal. I reviewed this bands last demo in issue # 3 and liked what I heard. But “Craving For Flesh” tops their past material, while remaining as heavy and guttural as ever. There are 7 songs on this demo including a Mortician cover and three live songs which rip ‘n tear. Atavism are one of the sickest and best unsigned death/grind bands in underground today.  - Dale

Send $5 US to: Atavism, Thiron 67-N. Iona, 384 46 Volos, GREECE Email = atavism_98@hotmail.com   

 

 

AUTUMN GRAVE

“Demo 2014” Cassette

(Self Released)

 

I got this demo tape in a very interesting package one day; it had this cassette, the Black Blood Stigmata cd and issue 2 of Extreme Metal fanzine. What all three of these creative underground entities have in common is, the main man Troy, whose last name I have no idea what it is haha. He simply lists his first name in all three of these projects. Okay, now on to the project in front of me, there are only two tracks on here, everything written & performed by the mysterious Troy. The opening track starts off with some melancholic sounding, dark and serene music, which is shattered by the high nasally rasping screamed vocals. They sort of remind me a little of the first Burzum record, I like them, such emotional and tortured vocals over spat out over the top of mildly tranquil guitars. They really do not fit together, both are good on their own, but do not, in my opinion, really compliment one another in the least. After flipping the tape, the music is some melancholy acoustic guitar; it almost feels like some atmospheric road music or something to chill to while you float down a river. The vocals are a little more subdued on this track, which fits the music better; though I am still not sure the music and the vocals are good match here again. I am not trying to knock the music or the vocals, both are fine, but they do sound like they should belong to two completely different bands. I do dig the lost in thought, meditative vibe of the music on this track, it might have actually worked even better for me as an instrumental song. The music is well done and you can tell Troy has some talent at striking emotion in the listener. I think this is worth checking out for sure, if you can get past those cool vocals that just do not mesh with the music they are paired with.  - Dale

http://autumngrave.bandcamp.com/    autumngrave@hotmail.com    

 

 

AUTUMN GRAVE

“Forsaken By The Gods” 2016 Demo Cassette

(Self Released)

 

Autumn Grave, the brainchild of Troy Reynolds, has returned for another foray into the pages of Canadian Assault. This time, once again, with another nice looking tape & packaging. The quality level extends to the recording which is extremely clear and nice. I found myself focusing the most, on the opening track entitled “Immortal Through Suicide”, it has this weird break in the flow, then goes into this stunted sing song children rhyme type rhyme, like dunt da da dunt dunt da. That is just sounded so weird to me, sort of irritating at first, but with each new listen that started to grow on me, and I started to like it. That is not the whole song of course, but that part just cuts in and out of the flow a couple times, again at first it seemed out of place and now feels seamless to me. Speaking to the overall sound now, I still feel much the same, as I did on their last demo tape. It still feels to me like the vocals, and the music, do not really belong together, but obviously that is a choice on Troy’s part, and we just apparently disagree on that fundamental point. It still feels like the harsh screeching tortured (ala early Burzum) black metal vocals; do not belong with the light, airy, beautiful flowing folk music. I will admit, I think, he has managed to make this unlikely coupling work slightly better and more smooth than it did the last time around. I like it, but I want to like it even more, because the vocals are great, and the music is wonderfully written and performed, but they do not mesh together for me. Having said that, if that unlikely mix, sounds like something you would be into? Then I can this, because all the elements that make up “Forsaken By The Gods”, are of high quality and deserve to be heard.  - Dale

https://autumngrave.bandcamp.com/   https://www.reverbnation.com/autumngrave    

 

 

AUTUMN GRAVE

"Existence No More” 2017 CD

(Self Released)

 

First things first, I love that fucking cover photo; it conjures up so many images and implications and fits the hellfire of the music. Autumn Grave continue to forge onward, giving us their third release, which is listed as an ep, but at 31 minutes it is nearly as long as a Decide album haha. If you read my reviews of their first two releases, you will see I liked them, but the extreme contrast in styles with regards to the vocals and the music was too wide of a gap to make them compatible for me. I am pleased to say the music in a lot of ways, this time around has changed to fit the cool vocals like a glove, so I can shut up about that now. I am really pleased with the new material on “Existence No More”. Now gone are the classical influenced, airy folk inspired guitars, to be replaced by much more grim and despondent old school black metal riffing and guitars. There is a definite level of hate and aggression, within the early 90s black metal style presented here, but it is not to blitzkrieg levels of spitting venom. No, it has the aggression, but the music while keeping that evil aura, has more of a feeling of depression and an epic sense of forlorn. This reminds me of early releases, of black metal bands, in the early to mid ‘90s, where it was devoid of modern day plastic production and razor artificially pro tool’d uniformity. Which is something; so many modern black metal bands suffer from, robbing them of a large part of their blackened souls. So sure, like those early releases, you might hear the odd little off-kilter timing bit where it is not perfectly flowing and mistake free, but like those classic releases when it only happens once in a while, for me it adds to the music, it feels more real, there is more emotional blood and sweat spread across it and I like that a lot. The signature vocals from Troy Reynolds, the one and only man in this band, still have that trademark tortured rasping, reminding me slightly of the early Burzum vocals and other early 90s Scandinavian vox. I like the vocals a lot. The atmosphere radiating off the music on here is great; it takes you on a cold, dark and depressive mental journey. It really feels to me, more than ever before, that Troy has managed to open his veins up on this music and translated or conveyed his vision to the listener. Apparently, this prolific man (who is also a member in the bands Path Of Damnation and Black Blood Stigmata) has already started in earnest on new material. I can not wait for more, after hearing and enjoying “Existence Is No More” as much I did, I can only hope it continues on right where he left off here.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/autumngrave666/    https://autumngrave.bandcamp.com/       

 

 

AUTUMN GRAVE

"Solitude Realized By Sorcery” 2018 CD

(Castle Dungeon Records / Self Released)

 

Hailing from Lima, Ohio, Autumn Grave sport a brand of black metal that harkens to second wave vocals with a more discernable approach to riffing that when coupled with more stripped-down soundscapes makes for some truly ethereal movements. The first track on the EP Solitude Realized by Sorcery, "Crusade of Evil," showcases this capacity for darkly beautiful sonics as the song moves from section to section damn-near seamlessly, introducing themes throughout that keep the listening experience intriguing. The variation in this track is enjoyable, but so is the steadiness of the following track, "Visions of a Bygone Grave," which takes a more consistent approach to developing second-wave black metal compositional elements. The drumming adheres to that tradition more in this track, as does the riffing at first. However, as the song progresses, the melody becomes more and more omnipresent, lulling the listener into its alluring air. Keeping to this tendency, the next track "Forever Parted We Shall Be" hooks the listener with its rhythmic approach to vocals, then fills every other moment with meaningful guitar phrases that feel both emotive and like a method of storytelling. The track fades out with stormy sound effects of rain and thunder, leading into the eponymous interlude that strides through an otherworldly forest with slow, purposeful steps. The remainder of the album follows more closely to the blueprint of the second track, using up all of the space in their runtime to convey a sense of foreboding wonder that persists even after the album concludes. While I cannot say that Autumn Grave has produced the most original black metal album of the year, the man behind the band, Troy, definitely handles his art with tact and a keen comprehension of the impact he wants to make on the audience.  –Aaron

https://www.facebook.com/autumngrave666/    https://autumngrave.bandcamp.com/      

 

 

AVERSE CONCEPT

Symbol Of Loss" 2011 Demo CD

(Self Released)

 

Averse Concept are a black metal duo that plays a mixture of early nineties mid-paced black metal with a lot of modern black metal that really doesn't fit together. Semi raw/dark guitars with very little emotion or aggression. The drumming is a little better quality with some decent patterns but overall the band is not the violent, raw style black that I grew up on. The vocalist doesn't fit at all going from screams / hollering to some god-awful type of clean vocal yelling / singing that doesn't fit at all. Maybe fans of modern black metal will enjoy this, but as for me I'm gonna stick with the more violent, raw sounding black metal.  - Patrick

http://averseconcept.bandcamp.com/  https://www.facebook.com/Averseconcept?fref=ts  

 

 

AVITAS

“Northern Ghosts” 2014 Full Length CD

(Bud Metal / Self Released)

 

I had not heard anything from Avitas, prior to receiving this, but it is always good to get something form my homeland and better yet, a release from a Western Canadian band. The area in Canada where I was born and raised. Avitas’ music, is a blending I do not think I have heard before, philosophically / image wise, as they are a national socialist black metal band, which heavily incorporates weed use and weed culture, which for lack of a better term some might call stoner black metal. I may be putting, a little too much emphasis on the weed thing here, then again their band name is a form of pot spelled backwards and they have Cannibas in one song title, and finally, their label name is Bud Metal. I’m not going to lie, when the first song hit after the intro, I thought to myself, I often say a one man band does not sound like a one man band as a compliment, but based on the start of this album, I could not bestow that compliment on Avitas. It just sounded disjointed and too separated. I am pleased to say, slowly track by track, everything gets better and better, smoother and smoother, and generally more quality and convincing steadily as the album goes along. Avitas play raw, mid paced early 90s Scandinavian influenced black metal, with a minimalist approach, putting an emphasis on a dark, creeping atmosphere, that so many bands seemed to forget about, over the years, as the scene trended towards slicked up, shiny plastic sheen presentation across their music. No, Avitas keep it cold, harsh and hateful, with gloomy touches and interludes. With each listen, I get more and more into this album, it really holds up the old ways very well. But, one thing that holds it back for me, a little bit, is the vocals. They are just sort of coarsely yelled vocals, that are a bit clunky and slightly amateuri-ish sounding at times. They do get the job done though, and do not distract too much, from the great raw sounding black metal that flows throughout this killer record. If you like your black raw and rough, then check this out, for those overseas, it is also distributed by PHD (Plastic Head Distribution) so hit them up.  - Dale 

http://avitas.bandcamp.com/   http://www.plastichead.com       

 

 

AVITAS

“Pioneers” 2016Full Length CD

(Self Released / Bud Metal Records)

 

Avitas are back at it once again, in the pages of Canadian Assault, with their newest offering and second full length release “Pioneers”. I am very pleased right from the first listen that Myrtroen, the one and only man in this band, has taken everything across the board up a level (with the possible exception of the second track on this full-length effort). I mentioned, if you read my review of their last release, whilst I enjoyed it I said it had room for improvement, and improved it has. I mean even starting with the recording, now I like raw recordings, and there is still a raw edge to this release. But the recording is a bit crisper, a touch cleaner while remaining heavy and retaining that evil edge to it. This time around the playing is better, smoother; the song writing is enhanced and more confident sounding. Avitas for the uninitiated, play epic old school Scandinavian influenced black metal, wrapped in brooding atmosphere with even a slight psychedelic feel to it. It is an interesting blend the band pulled off well here. Some of the songs are very long, in the eight to ten minute range, but thankfully they do not drag at all, quite the opposite really. At times it creates a very dark, hypnotic journey which invokes for me many fantastic creepy, fog covered mountainous mental landscapes, mixed with occult imagery and ritual. The bands style of play and slower to middle pacing, reminds me very much of the diverse black metal scene of the late 80s and early to mid 90s. Bringing to mind, in addition to the Scandinavian scene, the early Greek scene or great old bands like Mortuary Drape or early Ancient Rites. Which is a style, I would like to see return, even more in the modern bm scene. I can not continue on without also praising Myrtroen, for strengthening maybe the weakest area in the past, which were his vocals. He has worked hard on those here, while it could still use some sharpening in the more partially sung, partially spoken word bits, but overall the improvement is dramatic and his delivery is filled with great emotion and poise. Mytroen even gets adventurous in a way, by doing a black metal style cover of Ministry’s “N.W.O.” (I am a big Ministry fan), which is very interesting, and dare I say, it turned out better than you might think with that cover choice in this style. I find myself coming away quite impressed with “Pioneers”! The bands previous release was a little below average honestly, yet showed stong elements of promise underneath peeking through it’s blackened soul. Now they have taken that rough diamond, and now have honed that diamond to dangerous sharpened point, which strongly gleams brightly, reflecting it’s creators black heart. This comes highly recommended from me, but do not take your time, as I believe this is professionally produced record is strictly limited to 300 copies!  - Dale 

http://avitas.bandcamp.com/    avitas66@hotmail.com        

 

 

AXENIC

“Reaping Mindless Discord” Demo 1999

(Self Released)

 

There are a robust six tracks (“Axenic”, “Reaping Mindless Discord”, “Vexed”, “Equal To Nothing” and “In Green Pastures”) of thrash structured but death metal sounding music. The vocals are pretty cool as they are growled by 3 separate members. I see room for improvement but for a debut demo this is pretty damn solid.  – Dale  

Axenic, c/o Ji Taylor, P.O. Box 1735, Flowery Branch, GA. 30542, USA

 

 

 

AXESLAUGHTER

"Tape # 2" 2011 Demo

 (Self Released)

 

As soon as I opened the package that this tape came in, it took me back to the early 90s. When I was ordering demos left and right and would rip open the rectangular package with adrenalized fury and pop the cassette right in the stereo. The cover and inlay are pure old UG style, photocopied and cut ‘n paste – hell yeah! Axeslaughter are a bit sloppy and dirty as hell, they play death thrash metal in sound and especially the spirit of old gods like Nunslaughter, Slaughter, Repulsion etc… I find the riffing to be both heavy and abrasive, yet strangely hypnotic in it’s own rhythmic / ritualistic way. The vocals are harsh sandpaper growls / screams, the sorts of which you might imagine coming forth from a well rotted decaying corpse. In another old school tradition Axeslaughter employ weird or disturbed audio samples from movies, tv and wherever in the intro and peppered throughout the songs themselves. By the way a message to the band with the outro entitled “Outro (FUCK YOU)”. I think you twats put the outro one too many times in a row, so fuck you too! ha ha. Some other song title highlights on this six tracker are “Ripping Up The Virgin’s Tomb”, “Coffin Breath” and my favourite “Never Drink From The Dead”. For those reading this that like slickly produced, tightly played modern death and thrash metal. You need not apply here as this was not made for you and you could not handle it anyway. It is rough, ugly, low-fi and I like it, it keeps the old spirit burning bright! Nice to see something like this come out of Finland.  – Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/axeslaughter    

 

 

BARISHI

“Self-Titled” 2013 Full-length Demo CD

(Self Released)

 

Hailing from Battleboro, Vermont comes the self-titled debut album from this progressive metal foursome. When I read the bands style, I expected clean, silky vocals like Fates Warning or something, but no, the vocals are very audible and decipherable yet pretty extreme craggy yells and screeches. The vocals are sort of like a less maniacal version of the vox, employed by the The Accused, which are total over the top insanity. They do switch it up on us, now and then, suddenly employing a cleaner style of vocals I expected, for an example check out the “Through Streams, Through Mountains” track. But that is only a moment’s respite, as the cool vocal savagery quickly returns. The music itself however, while pretty hard edged, does fall a little more into what you expect, when you see the progressive metal descriptive thrown around for Barishi. The music, is very free flowing and introspective, with some skillful time changes and arrangements. When the vocals start getting faster and meaner, so does the music, yet the music at all times is smooth and the interesting time changes and overall dynamic speeds up, while always maintaining that finesse, that is ever present on the pensive mainstay material. The musicianship and song arranging, are pretty impressive on this album, surely belying the age of this recently formed band. I would think this album would be a must own, for progressive metal fans, that do not mind or even like a heavy edge to their progressive rock / metal.  - Dale

http://barishi.bandcamp.com/   https://www.facebook.com/barishiband      

 

 

BEAST MODULUS

“Being” 2017 CD EP

(Self Released)

 

This is definitely something different to what I usually get for review. Such opposing and unusual genre elements, combined together such as hardcore vocals, industrial influenced drums, and extreme metal guitars alongside some more accessible elements from mainstream music. I could see this being viewed, as either brilliant or a train wreck, depending upon your tastes and pre-conceived notions going in. I am usually one to firmly pick a side on these things, but I find myself hovering between liking this at times, and at other times holding my nose and witnessing the aforementioned train wreck go down. There is one thing that is for sure, their music is extremely energetic, sort of like a caged cat freaking out and losing it’s shit on the way to the Vet (yeah been there). That part is something I like, it gets the adrenaline flowing, another thing I like is the caustic harsh hardcore-ish vocals with a slight growling edge to them, reminding me to some good sludge vocalists in the past. Something I did not care for, would be the high level of groove in the guitars and riff patterns bringing to mind some of the things I dislike so much about Deathcore and Nu Metal. Speaking of which, if you like the math metal style, there is some of that present here as well, which might appeal to fans of things like The Dillinger Escape Plan or Coalesce, not a favoured style of mine but I do not mind some of it. As mentioned, the band throws all kinds of shit together that normally does not mix, which you could call adventurous or progressive, but to me as I stated this feels closer to a clusterfuck than outright brilliance. Yet, there is some moment’s brilliance within, here and there, but not enough for me to really recommend this. I am sure it will have it’s fans, but I am just not one, this feels like it would have been pretty popular had it come out like 10 years ago in the Hatebreed frenzy era. Just not my cup of tea, and may require a bit of a Caveat Emptor rating for me, I suspect the same will also apply for a lot of the readers CA tends to attract.  - Dale

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

 

 

BEER, GUTS & GLORY

“American Pride” 2012 Demo CD

 

Here is something a little different and interesting arriving in my mailbox. They label themselves as a Metal/Rock/Blues mixture. Which, all in all is a pretty fair description I suppose. I would say some influences I can hear are Down, Alice In Chains, Pantera, Crowbar, Eyehategod and just generally shoot from the hip garage rock ‘n roll bands. I don’t hear that much blues influence but you can detect it here and there, also despite some of the influences I list they are not a doom band. The name does give you a pretty good indication of what to expect. Just really raw and raunchy hard rock that is probably played with few a beers in them, you know what I mean? I dig some of those short spastic and energetic fills/solos. It is pretty loosely played, lacking precision in the playing or in the song writing and again I use the term raw sounding. Now for most reviewers in this day and age that is probably enough to write them off. But I think you know me by now I tend embrace the loose, the low-fi and the rough music presentation. What Beer, Guts & Glory lack in precision, technical song writing, they make up for with coarse, nerve jarring emotion and fuck you we are doing what we want and play what we like type of attitude. I respect that and you will have to as well to enjoy this beer stained, cigarette smelling four song demo tape. If you like your shit polished, clean and by the numbers then you are going to hate these guys, you can book that son. Didn’t blow me away yet I got some enjoyment out of it for sure.  – Dale 

http://www.myspace.com/beergutsglory  http://www.reverbnation.com/beergutsglory  

 

 

BEGRIME EXEMIOUS

"Self-Titled" 2006 Demo Tape

(Self Released)

 

This is actually the band of the man who runs Witching Black records. If memory serves, our mortal coils crossed paths a time or two in the mid 90s before I moved to the US. This material was recorded in 2006 and contains 4 tracks of nothing less than northern Canadian black fucking metal! The main vocals are standard black metal and are really good. They pepper in a bunch of obscured death metal sounding vocals but these are buried so deep in the mix you really need to listen very hard to even pick them up. Begrime definitely do not employ standard monotonous black metal riffing / song structures. They like to throw some dynamics and emotional speed / time changes that go a long way to keeping ones interest quite attentive to their dark art. There is a great song on here which is a tribute to an old comrade of mine. Mad Max Varnier of Impaler of Trendies records / Worship / Kult + some fanzines he used to do. Long story short a couple years after he moved from France to Canada, he jumped off of a bridge and committed suicide. He will be missed and I can appreciate this little tribute. Good demo. – Dale

B.E., 13307-117 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA T5E 5K3  bsymic@shaw.ca 

 

 

BESTIAL MOCKERY

“Chainsaw Demons Return” 1999 Demo

(Self Released)

 

Pure raging chaos in it’s rawest metallic form! Warring hymns in the tradition of Blasphemy, (old) Beherit with a little early Destruction and Venom thrown in! They are no retro band though and walk their own blood stained path. The vocals are rough and inflamed blackened gurgles and shouts. The metal spirit lives and it has never looked uglier!!

Bestial Mockery, c/o Carl Warslaughter, Bjorid 6440, 455 92 Munkedal, SWEDEN

 

 

BLACK BEAST

"Demo # 2” 2015 Demo Cassette

(Self Released)

 

I was happy to receive this demo in my mailbox. It is not every day you get something from a band from Chile. When I hit play, I was very satisfied to have some evil old school ‘80s black thrash metal, come attacking through my speakers. It reminds me of some of the more savage, early neck breaking material from bands Master, Sacrifice, Possessed, early Sodom, early albums of Razor and the like. I quite like this stuff, the singer has this cool, dark relentlessness to him, possessing a very driven yelled delivery. I think my fave track, out of the four here, is probably the excellent and memorable “Fuck This World”, with its mix of blitzkrieg speed, slow down moody breaks and catchy chorus. They love to play mainly at a frenzied lightning pace, but when they do slow down, it adds such a heavy dynamic and makes speedy mainstay really have more impact. The drummer is a maniac behind the kit, attacking it like, well, a beast and I also liked the short frantic guitar solos mixed here and there. This is a good demo tape for fans of old dark thrash from the 80s, as well as bands I mentioned above. Check this out.  - Dale

black.beast.cult@gmail.com   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZTPRFGwwx4 

 

 

BLACK BEAST

"Demo # 3” 2016 Demo Cassette

(Self Released)

 

I was honoured to receive, once again, the new demo from the Chilean extreme metal speed merchants Black Beast. The band continue on with their excellent brand of thrash metal, but not just run of mill thrash here, think of the darkest and most evil thrash metal you have heard over the decades to get an idea of what you are in for. As I mentioned, in the last review think the blackest and most evil sounding early material from bands like Sodom, Razor, Infernal Majesty, Possessed, Slaughter (Canada), Destruction etc... Even though I would not quite label the band as death metal I can hear more of that influence this time around with the first releases of bands like Morgoth or Grave. I feel like the speed was dialed back slightly on this demo, compared to the last one, but to fill that void they turned up the brooding atmospheric feel in a good way. The vocals are not the usual cleanly sung gruff thrash vocals; they are much more obscure and malevolent, with a slight hint of death and black metal style mixed in. The vocals perfectly match the sinister darkness the music generously inflicts upon the listener. As with the last demo, there are some short, furious frenzied guitar solos that add that punch of recklessness and oomph, which propels the song forward nicely. I have to confess was pretty stoked and enthralled, by hearing this great ominous band finish this four song demo, with a raw, loose and lethal cover of Canadian legends Infernal Majesty with “Night Of The Living Dead”. The old school goats will love this one so get it!  - Dale

black.beast.cult@gmail.com    https://youtu.be/Ll-jDrC_Y84  

 

 

BLACK LODGE

“Innercells” Demo CDR 1999

 

Black Lodge are self-described as “Weird electric black metal” and it really is about as bad as that description sounds. I believe this to be a one man band. The black metal style vocals on here are decent but sound a bit robotic at times which is not good. Also a few remote epic riffing sections can be found that are quite good. But other than that this is really lame and sub-par music. This is just second rate “Filosofem”, which I thought was awful in and of itself. Oh and they utterly desecrate and soil an Iron Maiden song – unforgiveable!- Dale 

$12 (!) US to: Saint Vincent, 51 Impasse des 4 Montagnes, Les Jeandiats, 38250 Villard des Lans, FRANCE Web = www.multimedia.com/blacklodge

 

 

BLACK SPACE RIDERS

“Refugeeum" 2015 CD

(Self Released)

 

This is my first encounter with Black Space Riders, despite this apparently, being the German bands fourth album. This is most definitely something different, from the usual fare, I receive for review. BSR play atmospheric spacey, non-technical prog rock, with some metal touches in some of the riffing. I have to be honest, the first listen through, I thought well this is okay, but that is really about all. But with each subsequent listen, I am feeling my way emotionally, into the soundscapes and mental tapestries, they are weaving and warming up to it. If you are willing to let yourself, you can really go on a free flowing journey, which for me, felt both chilling and uplifting at times, yet also very sorrowful and melancholic at other times. I think, to get the full experience of this band, patience and a number of repeated listens are required. The band make quite a big deal on their website, about having two lead vocalists, but honestly, not to disparage the vocals performance on here, because I like it. Yet, had I not known there were two vocalists, I may have thought it was just one person, as it is usually not that apparent to me, as a listener, where one guy ends and the other begins. The drumming, at times is sparse, but there is a real feel with drumming of when to turn it up and when to recede into the shadows, then take a brief breather and wait for the optimum time to join back in. The drums are definitely more important, to their sound, than you often find in this style of music. I enjoyed this record, but I should probably reiterate here, considering my usual readership, this is not metal, so keep that when reading this review, and if you are a little adventurous and like what I have above definitely check this out.  - Dale

http://www.blackspaceriders.com/   

 

 

BLACK SPACE RIDERS

"Amoretum Vol. 1” 2018 CD

(Self Released)

 

Black Space Riders return to the pages of Canadian Assault, with the follow up album to their previous release “Refugeeum”, released back in 2015. I mentioned last time around, on this German bands previous release, that they are not metal. Yet, they seem to get promoted in the extreme metal community a fair bit, for whatever reason, even though they have ventured even further away from metal than the last album. I mean, outside a very fleeting moment in a couple spots, none of the music even approaches the metal realm. This release feels to me like they are also going away from the prog rock and spacey atmospheric elements, which for me, was one of the few things I enjoyed the last time around. The vocals are in varied styles, but a large portion of them are clean, pretty melodramatic sounding vocals that probably would not be too out of place on a late ‘80s or early ‘90s goth rock album. This new record finds them going down a more commercial route, largely stripping away the creativity, and replacing it with stripped down indie rock dripping with goth melodrama. I guess they do what they do well enough, but I honestly kind of hate it and would suggest giving it a huge never mind, just knowing the general tastes of most Canadian Assault readers I feel confident saying that.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/BlackSpaceRiders/    http://www.blackspaceriders.com/       

 

 

BLACK WINDS TRIVELATION

“The Three Most Pure Evilest Bands From Temasik Island” 1999 Split Tape

(Muzik Box Productions)

 

Hail – Has three songs on here of cool black/death metal with raspy vocals and some riffs that reminded me of mighty Mortuary Drape, which is a big plus!
Requiem – Play purely disgusting and raw fucking black metal in the early ‘90s tradition. The music is totally extreme and violent. Great band that also contributed 3 tracks.
Decius – Continue things on by pounding us with 4 songs of crazed and torturous warring black metal. Fast, fast, and faster than hell! Kult shit!
  - Dale

I’ll finish this review off with a quote from this releases flyer. “Full with hate, destruction, chaos and raw as hell!!!!!” Get this amazing looking pro tape now from: Muzik Box Productions, c/o Fadzil, P.O. Box 96, Pejabat POS Majidee, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, MALAYSIA     

 

 

BLACK BLOOD STIGMATA

"Deviant Dieties And Perverse Prophets” 2014 Full-length Demo CD

(Self Released)

 

That album title is great, it really does a good job of painting a vivid picture, and it rolls off the tongue with an inevitable wry smile to follow. It just sounds like something, which is right up my perverted sleazy alley, so to speak haha. The music on here is audio hatred incarnate; it is low fi and reminds me of the black death metal, that was coming out in the early and mid 1990s. It has that old spirit, also like bands of that time period, almost all bands calling themselves black metal, were very satanic lyrically or at the very least extremely anti-religious. Black Blood Stigmata are no exception, they are filled with venom and vitriol towards religion, one only needs to peruse their song titles to know this. The music is very stripped down, evil and filled with brutal, vigorous riffing that quickly assaults the senses and rarely lets up. There are brief sort of melancholy introspective moments, that add emotional depth, to the music. The vocals are a high / low mixing of two distinctly different vocals styles. The slightly more prominent vocal is a raspy screamed bm style vocal, with a very nasally, whining resonance to them that I could see being a bit of an acquired taste for some, for me I liked them after I got used to them. The other vocal is whispery dm growling, the juxtaposition of two vocals styles, really fits the music well and they play off of each other, never stepping on one another, but do a good job of point and counterpoint. There is some synth on here, it wafts in and out, like a wisp of smoke, but tends to stay more in the background where it belongs and is not over used for the most part. It did not bother me that much, but if I did have one complaint, it would be a couple of the songs maybe over stay their welcome slightly. But otherwise this is a superbly crafted album, by men who make music the right way, in my estimation, and also it has the right kind of old spirit and attitude behind it. You can just feel that bleed through listening to the music. I should mention as well, you get your money’s worth length wise, as this album clocks in close to the one hour mark. I can recommend fans of old-style black metal, with large doses of death metal, who enjoy a touch of unabashed blasphemy in their lives like I do.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/blackbloodstigmata       

 

 

BLIZZARD

“Alchoholic Metal Mayhem” Demo 1999

(Self Released)

 

They say they play in the tradition of Motorhead, Warfare, Bulldozer and Venom. Those are some very cult names to throw around! Do they live up to their billing? Yes and no. There are hints of Motorhead, Venom and Bulldozer but what takes things down a notch or two for me is it has a lot of punk rock influence both musically and in execution. I hear influences like D.R.I. and Dayglo Abortions running throughout. Not a bad tape at all and the old metal attitude is welcome but it is too punkish for me to recommend.  - Dale

$6 US to: Iron Bonehead Records, Brunnenweg 9a, 36160 Dipperz (Diapers!? J), GERMANY Band Email = pranuss@gmx.de

 

 

BLIZZARD

Adv. Tape for the ‘Hellish Rock ‘N Metal 7” EP” 2000

(Self Released)

 

This advance promo tape shows a little improvement from their “Alcoholic Metal Mayhem” demo of last year. The biggest improvement for me is their dropping of the heavy punk influence completely. It did not suit their metal side of things. Also the songs themselves are a little heavier, catchier and more memorable. Fans of ‘80s style heavy rock/metal might wish to write and order this fine slab of vinyl. Write to Iron Bonehead Records for more information.  - Dale

$6 US to: Iron Bonehead Records, Brunnenweg 9a, 36160 Dipperz, GERMANY Band Email = pranuss@gmx.de

 

 

BLOOD OF THE WOLF

"II: Campaign Of Extermination” 2018 CD

(Self Released)

 

Blood Of The Wolf play a vicious mixture of blackened death metal ferocity. “II: Campaign Of Extermination” contains eight songs of brutal black death metal with some slower, well written passages intertwined into the speedy musical maelstrom. The drums are a fast assault of blasting patterns, but the drummer does slow things down to a heavier mid-paced tempo in some sections of the songs. The vocals are mainly straight ahead death metal growling, but he does mix in some drawn out gruffer growls and some slightly higher pitched screams. The guitars are played with intense and frenzied fast riffing that do slow down to a middle place style. If you are a new listener to Blood Of The Wolf then prepare yourself to expect a wild and violent journey of intense blackened death metal.  - Patrick

https://bloodofthewolf.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/bloodofthewolfmusic         

 

 

BLOOD LEGION

“Promo 2012” CDR

(Self Released)

 

Unfortunately the CDR the band sent will not play and my computer reads the disc as being empty and read to record. But fortunately for me (and those reading this) the bands Reverb Nation page has the entire demo available to play for free. Blood Legion hail from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and play dark death thrash metal with old school feel and attitude. They play a stripped down, simple sounding and very controlled brand of metal. I really like the vocals from Shan, they are shrouded growled vox that seem to provide the most emotion in Blood Legion’s music, as the guitars in particular are too muted and listless sounding for my tastes. Though I must admit that area picks up a little on the last track which sounds like a different recording to me and the band let loose a and go balls out, they should do more of this, it suits them. This third and final track titled Blood Legion after the name of the band, is easily the best song on here, it shows what Blood Legion are capable of. I think they have a ways to before they make a name for themselves, but you can see the foundation is there. Like I said if the song Blood Legion is any indication you can expect the band to realize some of that untapped potential with their next release. Hope I get a chance to hear it soon.  - Dale.

http://www.myspace.com/bloodlegion666  http://www.reverbnation.com/bloodlegion666    

 

 

 

BRILLIANT COLDNESS

“Poisoned Reality” 2006 Promo CDR

(Self Released)

 

Two years passed and I listen to the latest album of this Ukrainian band which management I run some years ago... To be honest I awaited some great stuff from this album, and I was right! With this album BRILLIANT COLDNESS opened new "gates" in its history, I mean this stuff is more than great in all brutal death aspects, and I'm curious how they did not find label still?!?! Well, I think musicians just running poor promotion, because the internet doesn't have so strong power… "Poisoned Reality" is really different from "Beyond Eternity", this stuff is more catching, more brutal and very technical (also here's more or less good sound as for Ukraina). Music made in really rich way, here are tight rhythm-section, massive sound, obscure atmosphere, deep growls… The strongest side of BC is guitar parts, which are really killing, might it be rhythm-section or freezing solos here and there, as well as good drumming. Not only straight-forward riffs waiting here for your soul, but such sick killer breakdowns as well (these moments BC music reminded me such INCANTATION even, thx to those slooow guitars/drums, and deeeeep growls…)… Also there is a huge influence from gods MORBID ANGEL (again guitar parts, as well as solos and tempo-changes). If we'll look deeply into music structure, we'll see some influences from such TESTAMENT (from the latest albums) and KREATOR as well as such as NECROPHAGIST even (yeah, killer, technical rhythmic… ). It is really hard to try to fully descre "Poisoned Reality"… Thus we have technical brutal death, made in all its obscure "beautiful" way… for fans of twisted brutal riffs and memorable stuff as a whole! I think BC have a big future, but they will have to take care much more with promotion…  - Aleksandr Maksymov

www.myspace.com/brilliantcoldness     

 

  

 

BURIAL CURSE

“Oppressive Darkness” 2012 Demo Cassette

(Self Released)

 

Normally this is the part where I say it is fucking awesome to get a cassette tape and that never happens any more in this day and age. But the last year or so has been a pleasant surprise and I have received I think 3 or 4 demo tapes. The old school way lives and the old traditions die hard. That brings a smile to the sullen face of this old UG scene goat! I read a review online that said these New Orleans ghouls rose from the ashes of a band named High Priest which I see released a demo and ep. I would call Burial Curse a blackened mixture of brutal death metal and doom. The said review above (from a site called Chips & Beer) compared these guys to Profanatica and Incantation, I would agree with that but I would say a slowed down version of the former and bang on the latter comparison. Oppressive Darkness has a very brooding and suffocating atmosphere which slowly grinds and steam roll you to bits. The vocals much like the music itself are very obscure, sounding like blood curdling screams and growling howls emanating deep in the woods, on a foggy night, chilling you to the bone. This is an excellent debut release for Burial Curse, look into this band, I believe this whole demo or most of it is available to listen to for free online. So you have no fucking excuse not to check into this tremendous new band.  – Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/burialcurse  http://www.myspace.com/burialcurse   

 

 

BUZTUM

“Dolorum / Cobrum / Buztum / Askum”

Promo CDR

 

You are wondering about that title, are you not? This is no less than 4 demos all released at once and collected for me on this one single promo CD. The whole thing seems to be some sort of connected war concept though the message of it all seems a little unclear. Buztum is nothing more than 1 guy playing / recording his synth. I must confess after listening to this, it may be the worst ambient keyboard music I have ever heard! That is saying a lot! I have heard some really, really bad stuff. I include my old tape trader from the mid 90s, his stuff was just awful but I will be damned if some label in Italy did not release a couple albums worth of it. The “music” itself is poorly thought out and not well performed either. It is, neither evil sounding or depressive nor melancholic and not possessing any traits that are usually considered of any worth in this style. It is monotone tripe. This is really embarrassing. How he managed to get not 1 but 4 labels to release this stuff is beyond me. Oh before I go all 4 tapes were recorded in one day. Four demos recorded in one day – I rest my case. – Dale

www.apocalypticempire.com   www.bloodynecromancer.de 

 

 

CANYON OF THE SKULL

“Canyon Of The Skull” 2015 CD

(Self Released)

 

There are a lot of two’s going on with this Canyon Of The Skull disc. There are two members in the band, two members who do not do vocals, only two songs on here, yet it clocks in at over 35 minutes. This Texan band plays doom metal, though they keep things moving at a slightly quicker pace than you might imagine, when you see two songs and the run time. The songs wind, and stagger, their way through the desert, occasionally stopping to lick their dry lips, at the sight of the next mirage, then continuing on through the sun hammered sand that feels like it is burning through it’s boots. Canyon plays less of a Black Sabbath style doom, and more of a sludgy doom style, minus the constant screeching feedback some of those bands, ala Cavity love so much. The band manages to convey a good amount of emotion, considering their instrumental nature, and lack of general pace or directional change within the songs. They do start the album off on a higher energy note though, with a chugging riff at a higher than normal velocity, but by the two (uh huh!) minute mark, they have pretty much settled down into the flowing introspective journey you will partake in for the rest of the album. I think this is a good release, if you are a doom fan in general, and like the sludge doom side of things and do not mind instrumental releases, you dig will this puppy, just give it a few listens to really dig it’s claws into you.  - Dale 

http://canyonoftheskull.bandcamp.com/  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Canyon-of-the-Skull/100972360126         

 

 

THE COCOON OF ASPHYX

Compilation CDR 2005

(Nihilistic Holocaust Records)

Another fine compilation from the mighty UG to the maximum Nihilistic Holocaust raising hell in the fiery, prolific French scene. 4 bands on here with 3 to 6 songs a piece, here we go…

Incinerator - Raw raucous and heavy chugging old school thrash metal with some intense solos and vocals that scream old German thrash influences but musically they remind me a lot of Sacrifice. Excellent band…  the.heretic@lycos.com

Vacarme Mid paced death metal with some speedy parts, kind of reminds me of early Sinister or some early 90s death metal demo bands. Not bad… stenchvacamre@free.fr

Lethal In the immortal words of Dayglo Abortion “Arghh Fuck Kill!”. This is killing alright, 80s reminiscent Speed Metal nightmare, straight forward, catchy with epic adventurous solos, pounding drums and a husky singer that reminds me to Bob Reid during his S.F.H. days. Superb stuff here, keep your fucking eyes out for this band! sorath@hel l-mail.zzn.com

Re-Creation Moody death thrash metal with a slower pace, heavy but with a lot of slow contemplative type of moments and deep growls. Not that any band on the planet is as good as Disciples of Power but their style kind of mirrors them a bit. Good… www.re-creation-band.com  – Dale

Nihilistic Holocaust, c/o Gabriel S., Nihilistic Holocaust Records   mailto: Gabsk@wanadoo.fr  

 

COMMUNION

“Instrumental Rehearsal” 2014 Demo CDR

(Self Released)

 

This is an interesting release to receive in my mailbox. I am not certain what the thought was by the band, on here, of playing instrumental versions of songs that were from one of the members past bands Chainsaw. Which, was a good band, and these songs of course are good. Without vocals, it gives their brand of black thrash, more of a hypnotic feel, but the hate and blasphemy still emanates from the music like a rising fog. The music just rages on here, dark and thrashing riffs, alongside strong militant drumming. Despite the rehearsal tag, the sound on the recording is actually quite good, and fits the music perfectly. I hope to hear some new music from Communion soon, assuming it will be in vein of this Chainsaw stuff, I know it will be something I will not want to miss. But in the meantime, if you missed out on the Chainsaw album, or are just a die hard fan of the band, then pick this up to tide you over until the next attack.  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/CommunionBlackMetalChile   proselytismrecords@yahoo.com         

 

 

CARVED IN FLESH

“As Seen Through Tears” Demo CD 1999

(Self Released)

 

This is some really solid and brutal semi-technical death metal. The drumming is good, as is the overall songwriting itself. The vocals are nice and deep and they are intermingled with some nice nasally screams. A really a good effort here by an up-and-coming band. My only complaint is I wish their aggression and intensity came across a lot stronger. It would spice everything up. Definitely check them out.  - Dale.

To get this 7 song disc send $10 US to: C.I.F., c/o Josh Hemenway, 15800 Wapak-Fisher Rd., Wapakoneta, OH. 45895, USA  Email = carvedinflesh@hotmail.com   

 

 

CORE

“Through Chaos And Disharmony” 1998 CD

(Self-Released)

 

This is just okay. Think of a mix of a little bit of Napalm Death “Utopia Banished” with heavy doses of Fear Factory’s first album (vocals too) with less industrial feel and you pretty much have Core. Decent but not much more than that.  - Dale

It costs $14 US to: Core, P.O. Box 2040, CEP 86023-970, Londrina-Pirahna, BRAZIL Web = http://members.tripod.com/coredam 

 

 

CRANIAL TORMENT

“Death Is Rising” Demo 1999

 

There are four songs on here (“Bodybag Lust”, “Thoughts Of A Graverobber”, “Putrid Mass Mutilation” and “Amputation Of Vital Organs”). This is my first time hearing Cranial Torment even though this is apparently their 3rd demo. I think the drums are programmed or the drummer just has no style and plays boring. In fact this may be a one man band as the music as a whole is very uncohesive. Sorry this demo did little to nothing for me. - Dale  

Cranial Torment, c/o Bill Benakis, 32 Paradision St. Peristeri, 121 36 Athens, GREECE

 

 

CRATOR

“The Ones Who Create : The Ones Who Destroy” 2016 Digipak CD

(Self Released)

 

The band has spared no expense with this Digipak, everything looks beautiful, from the layout to the extra touches with the gorgeous gold accents and lettering. Prior to this, the band had only released one song digitally. Which immediately floored me when I hit play, how could such a young, inexperienced band produce this music out of the gate?! Then I quickly did a bit of digging, which quickly brought expectations into sharper focus, as this band is made up of current or former members of bands like Gorguts, Angelcorpse, Dim Mak, Possession, Skinless, Origin etc… The breadth of quality experience of the band members is impressive. I have not listened to a whole lot of Origin, but I am a big fan of Gorguts and have been actually since I ordered their demo tape way back in the day. But we are talking more modern Gorguts here from the “Obscura” era and forward. So you guessed it, Crator play very technical death metal, but one area they differ is I would say Crator lean a little more towards speed and brutality. Technical death metal when done well is something I am fan of, when the technicality does not stifle the emotion and song flow, it can be a beautiful thing. There are those who do not like excessively technical dm and I can understand where they are coming from, this may not be for you, but as mentioned Crator do keep a decent level of cruelty and speedy barbarism in the mix. An area that reminds me a lot of Gorguts is the distinct interplay, leaving room for both the guitars and the bass, to do their thing separately and together, rather than the bass just providing a cloned bottom end. The vocals are all death metal, but are still quite varied with deep growls being higher and lower end, along with slightly nasal tinged growls which gives the listener some variety to keep their interest sparked. This album is an impressive display of technicality, brutality and speed, alongside some very skillful song structuring. This is definitely of particular interest for techno dm heads devotees.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/cratorUS/    https://crator-us.bandcamp.com/  

 

 

CROWNED

“Ainulindale” 2011 Demo CD

(Self Released)

 

This is Crowned and they hail from Brisbane, Australia and Ainulindale is a three song demo, the bands debut recording as it were. The three tracks are very epic in running time, going from 8 minutes to 11 minutes respectively. The word epic fits very well as the band play an atmospheric, drawn out sweeping form of black with short interludes of speed and furry to add dynamic to the flowing mainstay. I think right away people will think of the early Burzum albums when listening to Ainulindale. That is the feeling I received and that is my favourite period of Burzum, maybe not so surprisingly I quite enjoyed this release. The first song is an instrumental, after that you run up against some harsh and raspy / growling vocals that for me do not fit this style quite as well as they would a less atmospheric band (ala Immortal or someone along those lines). That is not to say they are not good or are distracting, they are just fine, but could be a little better. This is definitely a promising demo and a good release by its own merits, it sounds like we will not have wait long for a follow up as the band plans to record their debut album sometime this year. Check it out.   – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/crownedbmband    

 

 

CRUCIFIX

“Where Angels Rot” 2005 Demo CD

(Self Released)

 

Crucifix hail from Denmark. This is their second demo, the first being “Extermination” in 1998. This is purposely played Florida style death metal, with a Satanic side. There’s no DM / BM crosses here, just as Deicide, mainly. This works in and out of their favour. Rather than concentrate on sounding American, they use their Danish abilities, as Denmark easily has a trademark sound of their own; owning many of the greatest bands in the world. The music is very reputable, the vocals need work, they could be more devastating. See I’m a huge fan of double vocals, but somehow it doesn’t work here and is overused, becoming tedious at times. I’m not shitting on this five-some, but this is nothing original, or remotely anything you have not heard before by a fusillade of other bands in the last 15 years of the Florida fame genre worldwide. Crucifixiation, errr, I mean Crucifix (or do I?) does kick ass with cool intros but could kick ass hard than this 5 song demo. Considering this band is in their demo stage, next time, if they work harder, I may hail this band one day – they have the potential. Buy this for 7 euros. – Clayton

www.crucifix666.com 

 

 

CRUSADE

“Resilience” 2008 Full length Demo CD

(Self Released)

 

There are a precious few that properly combine hardcore and death metal into something that is palatable to mine ears. This group of Austrian metallers are next in line to give this experiment a go. They do have some positives going on such as when they decide to play some straight on death metal passages they are pretty good at it. Then they add in the rhythmic almost rhyme-y swaying pogo jump grooving sections and the whole things starts to go side ways a bit. Songs like “Reaping Tempest”, “Verbal Defecation” and the title track highlight to me how the band are mostly imitating their inspirations stemming from such bands as Hatebreed, Dying Fetus with a hint of Fear Factory (no not the industrial influence). Not overly impressive considering these guys have been around for over 10 years now with this release containing songs from a past release. If you are really into the bands above and want anything in the style even if it is not nearly as good you may want to get this. Otherwise I think Crusade should keep at it and work on something that has more of their own identity within the music. – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/crusade666   http://www.crusade.at 

 

 

CRYPTIC REALMS

"Eve Of Fatality” 2015 Demo Cassette

(Weed Hunter Records)

 

This is a very unique collaboration, almost a super group of sorts, but this time on the underground level, and on a purely for the love it basis, and not for monetary reasons. A truly international effort, with the four members hailing from Greece, Romania, Brazil and the last member is listed, as being from both the US & Mexico. I was hooked up with this release, by the bass player from Mexico, named Victor Varas (thank you Victor of Zombie Ritual Fanzine). So what have these men gotten together and produced? Well, Cryptic Realms is a tribute or love letter of sorts, to the great brutal death metal beginnings, of the late ‘80s to early 90s. I would say, looking from the extensive list of influences they included, in this promo pack, those influences center upon American (they even named the band after a Massacre song!) and Euro early death metal, while excluding the whole Swedish sound that became the rage. The bands that immediately come to mind, upon first listen were Incubus, Death, Hellwitch, Massacre, early Obituary (the vocals are very John Tardy sounding), Baphomet, Monstrosity etc… Yes, this is definitely the death metal sound that I fell in love with, during the late ‘80s and start of the ‘90s, when I was tape trading my ass off with traders around the globe. As you can see, from my list of bands, I feel the American sound had a far bigger influence on this material than the European bands they named. This is just brutal, stripped down, driving and ultra heavy memorable death metal. Done in the old tradition, when the songs still meant more, than just relying on pro tools and doubling everything up fifty times, and trying to fit a dozen riffs, and dozen time changes, in every song. This when the song drove death metal, you could really get into a trance-like headbang flow while listening to it. You know, before clinical and plastic, replaced the sinister atmosphere and ominous, foreboding aura, within the brutality. If I could find one nitpick, and believe me that is a difficult task, it would be that the recording does sound a tad separated, like these guys were never able to rehearse the songs together properly. But that feeling is only there, in a fleeting way, because considering every part was recorded in a different country, with different equipment, the result is still very even and relatively cohesive. I really enjoyed this demo and I hope there are plans for an album!! Get this, if you love the old death metal traditions, which spawned the whole scene in the first place.  - Dale

http://crypticrealms.bandcamp.com/   http://weed-hunter-records.blogspot.de/       

 

 

CRYPTIC RITES

“Attack From The Past” 2008 Demo

(Self Released)

 

Argh! Yet another band from Poland, and a really obscure one. I have heard nothing about this band before, but now I'm totally satisfied with this chance. Unfortunately the demo includes just two songs, and both these songs killed me. The music CRYPTIC RITES plays is true old-school mix of death and thrash metal! The music is played pretty professionally and as a whole it's pretty memorable and standard, but it's the right standard, I mean music is based on such necro riffs, which tightly mixed both death metal brutality and thrash metal aggression. Of course there are lots of similarities to other (old) bands on things like guitar parts and so on, nevertheless the music sounds really dark and obscure, and of course TRUE as for UG "hellcommunity"! This is totally OUR cup of BLOOD, so we just should to support this horde NOW!  - Aleksandr Maksymov 

cryptic_rites@yahoo.pl   http://crypticrites.prv.pl/

 

 

CUTTHROAT

“Live At Tokyo” Promo Tape 1999

 

I was chuffed when I read the bio and seen Cutthroat is made up of Youhei and Yasuyuki of Abigail as well as Mirai and Shinichi of Sigh! The tape consists of a live gig where these metallers played 11 cover songs! They say “this tape shows all these ‘retro thrash’ bands what ‘pure fucking metal’ means”. That they do as evidenced by this tape. But if that was their sole intention why did they confuse things by doing 4 punk rock cover songs!?!? Anyhow they fucking rip and blaze all in their path with killer covers of such ugly bands as Voivod, Razor, Sacrifice (I think they like Canadian metal!! Hell Yeah!!!), Warfare, Hirax, Tankard plus more. The sound on this tape rules and it only costs $2 US so I can recommend all headbangers with metallic blood in their veins to order this!  - Dale

Cutthroat, c/o Yasuyuki Suzuki, 59-7 Saiwai Cho, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-0034, JAPAN Email = suzuyasu@ma3.justnet.ne.jp