“A Flourishing Scourge” 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     




“Blood For Wotan” 2016 Demo Tape

(Self Released)


This is a very good looking cassette with nice professionally printed packaging. Arktogaa is an Italian band playing a NS black metal hybrid, mixed with punk and Oi! hardcore influences. I would say black metal is the more dominant sound within the music, but they do fluctuate depending upon the song. There is some fine old school traditional riffing on here I enjoyed, as well the songs are quite catchy at times, which adds an extra dynamic to the proceedings. The atmosphere and feeling of the music is a very triumphant one, possessing a sort of militant aura, yet always keeping a dark edge. I hear hints of influences on the bm side from bands like Bathory, Burzum and Graveland. The vocals are the gruff yelled variety, with a slight growled underpinning, but still fairly decipherable in a forceful style. I like them quite a bit. I also enjoy the break from time to time, in the epic malevolent black metal side of things, as the energy injection of the hardcore / punk influence kicks in before inevitably returning to the darkness and evil. “Blood For Wotan” is a rather impressive debut demo, as far as I know, this is the three members first band but they do not use their real names, so who knows. The recording and production for a first effort is solid. I did not get into the philosophical side of the band, but this often does not interest me much in many cases anyway, so no different here. This cassette is limited to just 100 copies, so if you have any interest based on my description, get on this sooner than later or miss out.  - Dale

http://arktogaahorde.bandcamp.com/releases    Wotanfront@hotmail.com       




“Forsaken By The Gods” 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    




"Existence No More” 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/       




“Pioneers” Full 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        




“Being” 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/     




"Demo # 3” 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  




“Refugeeum" 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





"Amoretum Vol. 1” 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/       




“The Ones Who Create : The Ones Who Destroy” 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/  





"Eve Of Fatality” 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/       




“Fear, Hate & Corruption” Full-length CD

(Punishing Records / Self Released)


I have heard the name of this Swiss band, but I had not realized how long they have been around and releasing albums. As “Fear, Hate & Corruption” is their 5th full length album! These veterans play quality brutal death metal with some underlying groove elements. I hear influences like Napalm Death, Nile and Cannibal Corpse in their music. Darkrise write some good riffs, that at times sound like they have a slight thrashy feel to them, ala Pantera or something, but it is just a hint of it. There are some pretty killer guitar leads / fills on here, such as you will hear towards the end of the “You’ll Burn For This”, which I enjoyed. The vocals are deep growls yet not at all garbled you can easily make out a lot of the lyrics the singer is snarling at you. There is nothing ground breaking or spectacular here, but all the same it is a really solid death metal record, which I am sure the die hard followers of the genre would enjoy.  - Dale

http://www.darkrise.ch/    http://www.punishingrecords.com/  




“Death Always Wins” Full-length CD

(Self Released)


So this is becoming a thing I guess haha. Not sure what the odds are, but this is now two back to back bands from western Canada and you guessed it, another melodic death metal band too. Though the difference between the two bands is Dead Asylum incorporate little tendrils of thrash in their sound as well. I have to admit, at the time of my second listen I was not too impressed or into this, but with a number of additional listens it has grown on me a little. It struck me, initially, that it was maybe too melodic for my tastes and I still feel that way at points in this album. But the thrash elements have risen to the surface more for me, with repeated listens and helped bring me around a little bit. Also, the vocals are probably the most aggressive thing about the band, they are varied growls (alongside some very sparsely used nasal snarling and old Cradle of Filth style screeching) with some pretty decent range and emotion, adding that extra level of viciousness this music needs and needs even more of. I also liked the drumming of Samantha Landa, whose performance has a nice flow and precision to it. There are a ton of catchy melodies, at times a little too many to be honest, and too flowery in spots that really could have used a stronger measure of brutality and cruelty to balance things out. Which is something the lyrical content almost begs for, and also would better reflect what their cool thought provoking cover artwork displays. Having said that, some of those melodic guitar sections are very well done, appealing and memorable. It is really nice when a thrashy sequence pops up pushing along the flow forward and ripping things up. I think one last thing I am not sure about with album is the production, it feels a little too passive, probably purposely done to highlight the melodies, but for me it could have used more bite and punch. Overall this is a solid album, which I could see bigger fans of the melodo death thing digging, as well, thrash fans might want to check this one out too.  - Dale 

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




"Demolition Deployment” CD EP

(Self Released)


I knew this Salt Lake City, Utah band was going to be a fun listen, just from their band name, song titles and band pic (they all look metal as fuck plus the guitarist is named Smeltron!). Deathblow play old school thrash metal, they do so in style, on this three song disc. The playing on here is great, some catchy as hell and heavy riffs with a dark moody edge to them, backed up by some really great solos and tasty guitar fills. Danzer really is a commanding presence on the drum kit, some really strong work here, I like it when he really lets loose and punishes his kit on the fast aggressive sections. The vocalist Holger, has those mid to late ‘80s style gruff screamed vocals down pat, he accents and rounds out the mainstay vocal well with changes in register from mean and gritty spoken word style bits, to high pitched screams, which take me right back to those old days of my youth. Some influences I hear on here are bands like Death Angel, Destruction, Atrophy, Vio-lence etc… But the two biggest, clearest influences I hear are Kreator and Slayer, not just Slayer in general, but “Seasons In The Abyss” comes through strong by my ear which I liked as I fucking love that album. This review mainly covers the two original songs on here, there is also a cover of Motorhead’s “Mean Machine”, which is hard to mess up and they do a good job musically, vocally they went for a different vocal style and it is decent, but honestly could be better. Sticking to the original music, it is great old style mid to late ‘80s thrash classic thrash metal, which is a pretty great infectious listen. I only wish there was more, I can not wait to hear their next release, hopefully something longer next time as this left me wanting more from killer band!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/deathblowofficial/    https://deathblow1.bandcamp.com/music       




“All That Is Beautiful” CD

(Self Released)


I have heard the name of this band for a while, all good things, so I am happy to get a chance to judge for myself. There are only four tracks on here, from this Los Angeles band, but do not let that fool you as the run time on thing is over 60 minutes! So prepare yourself for a couple nearly twenty minute epic songs. The Deathkings play moody, strikingly melancholic doom, with a real sense of elegance and flow in the song writing. Some of the music style on here, reminds me a little of the best Paradise Lost albums (ala “Shades Of God” and “Gothic” era), even a little in some of the vocals too, which is all a very good thing in my books. Speaking of the vocals, much like the guitar playing, and the song structuring, there is a diverse array of vocal approaches. There are the mainstays, which are the somewhat obscured sounding hoarse shouts, as well as decipherable but deep and great dm growls, all backed by accents of clean sung parts and chants, shadowy whispered spoken word etc… “All That Is Beautiful” is a really good doom metal record, I think it is diverse enough that fans of other sub-genres of metal, who are not die hard doom fans like me, will also be able to get into this and enjoy it. Highly recommended.  - Dale

http://deathkings.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/DeathkingsMusic      




"Traitor’s Grave” CD

(Self Released)


Decrepit Throne are a two man band featuring Gregory, who takes care of writing and playing the instruments, plus Ron K. who handles the vocal duties for the band. Traitor’s Grave is the bands debut full-length, which is a digital release (the cd version is now out as well I believe - Dale) featuring seven tracks of blackened death metal. The music is very well written and performed mainly staying in the mid paced black death metal style. The guitars are played in the mid tempo range with some heavier and faster patterns used in a few of the songs. Ron does a great job with the vocals switching from death growls and to some harsher black screams. If you are a fan of well crafted blackened death metal be sure to check out the debut release from Decrepit Throne today.  - Patrick

https://decrepitthrone.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/DecrepitThrone/      




“Priests Of Annihilation” Full-length CD

(Self Released)


South Carolina’s Enthean bring us 8 songs of technical black/death metal. I find the same thoughts creeping, as I had recently reviewing Illusions Dead’s disc, which is this bands sounds awfully mature and proficient for a band with only one demo under their belts. I am not sure I could say I loved this release as much as the one mentioned above. But that has nothing to do with the playing as it is top notch and impressive. It is more the music itself, which at times, for me lacks enough flow in some sections. So, in other words, many of these impressive sections of music do not feel like they fit together and the transition from one section to the next, often feels forced and not smooth enough from a construction point of view. I hate to sound like I am just bagging on this, because these guys are talented and write some good raw material, but the actual song writing needs some time to mature by my ear. Also I am not sure if it is the production or mix, which seems okay, but I find the emotion the band tries to imbibe into the songs, are not allowed for lack of a better term to explode like it should, it feels like there is an invisible wet blanket dampening things. I think it needs be more raw and forceful to highlight the material. It is weird to say, and hard to put into words, but I get this weird feeling that this album is a technical symphonic black metal record being played by a band that is more of a melodic death metal band by nature, almost subconsciously suppressing that tendency. At the end of the day, the final result, in my opinion, is just not as good as it should have been. I guess the old saying fits of having all the tools, but have yet to find the toolbox to put them all together in.  - Dale

https://enthean.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/Enthean       





“Black Thrash Bastards” Demo CD

(Self Released)


This is Eternal Armageddon's second demo, to see the light of day. The band originally started out playing a melodic black metal style, but with this new demo “Black Thrash Bastards”, they have gone for a more thrashy blackened sound. They pull it off extremely well with some good drum patterns and guitars on display. The drums start out at a mid paced range before speeding up to faster beats. The guitars follow in the vein, beginning with lightning speed intense riffs, but are not over the top, and they do when to slow down to a heavy metal guitar speed. This is a great demo, from this band coming to us out of Bangladesh, hopefully they will stick with this style and put out some more good music in the coming years.  - Patrick 

http://www.eternalarmageddon.bandcamp.com   http://www.facebook.com/Eternalarmageddon   




"…Of The Ghastly Stench” Demo Tape

(Nihilistic Holocaust Records)


It is always great to get a release from Gab of the great UG record label Nihilistic Holocaust (zine too by the way!). We have been in touch since, well fuck let me think, it was probably around the same time we both started our fanzines in 1998! Anyway, Nihilistic is a big supporter of dirty cult old school death metal from the early days, so it should come as no surprise Excoriate follow in those hallowed footsteps. This tape is filled with obscured sounding doom tinged death metal, which brings to mind the great old days from the very end of the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Back when you had great bands like Grave, Asphyx, Morgoth, Incantation, Dismember, Sinister, Deteriorot, Goatlord, Nunslaughter, Immolation, Nihilist, Cianide, Immortal Fate, Winter plus many, many more releasing amazing demos and eps that would fit nicely next to this demo a few decades later. Sorry I worship this stuff so I could list bands for days haha. This does fit with those cult releases musically like a glove, even the recording / production on here while good, it does sound like it could have been recorded back then. There is some great riffing which creates a nice suffocating atmosphere with the odd short frantic guitar solo. The vocals are these killer cackling growls that sound like a rough beast or demon pursuing you through the fog filled forest, while yelling out the blood curdling horrors it will do to you once it captures you. This demo is a stark reminder, for me of the way death fucking metal should be, it should be dangerous and filthy and menacing!  - Dale

https://nihilisticholocaustrecs.bandcamp.com/music    http://nihilistic.shost.ca/       




"Endogenous Organism” CD EP

(Self Released)


You know when it comes to death metal, well all extreme metal, I am kind of a purest at heart. So, it is with a little trepidation that I enter into listening to a band that describes themselves as experimental death metal. As said, I am a purist at heart, but I have been known once in a blue moon to be won over by this sort of thing, so let’s see how Exocytosis fair shall we? Honestly, I went into this review as a skeptic, and upon first listen I was not feeling it, it was not clicking for me at all. However, I am about a dozen listens into this 22 minute EP and it is growing one me, it is fusing more and more with my tastes with each successive listen. For me, it took those extra listens feel and figure out what the band was going for, my initial impressions of clunky transitions between seemingly clashing styles, started to feel more smooth and natural. Which made all the difference, because the talent is obviously there, it just felt to me early on like the songwriting craftsmanship was a little off the mark, but as I said that revealed itself as definitively untrue the more I studied the music. The music features traditional rock / metal instrumentation, for the most part, save for the heavy Saxophone usage, which is woven in and out of the kinda trippy atmospheric metal sections, and counterpoint death metal brutality segments. Speaking of the brutality, I do have to admit I do still find myself, at times, wanting a little more forcefulness to the dm parts and production bite as well in that area. The metal portion of the secretions into the extracellular environment, consist of slow, measured emotive metal guitar trappings mixed with often fairly average mid-western US style death metal, which is spiced up with the odd tasty doomy bit influenced from the mighty Autopsy (the fourth track “Spoiled Meat” comes to mind here) I’ve no doubt. Some other influences that clearly come to mind, for me are first and foremost Naked City, but also stuff like Atheist (jazz structuring), Pan-Thy-Monium, Vuvr and Guilty As Sin. Just in case you were wondering, the vocals are standard, quite decipherable growling which gets the job done just fine. “Endogenuous Organism” can be a challenging listen for the average extreme metal fan, it may take a dash of open mindedness and healthy dose of patience, but if you come armed with both I have confidence you will feel like you were well rewarded for the extra effort.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/EXOCYTOSIS/    https://exocytosis1.bandcamp.com/       




"Obsidian” CD EP

(Self Released)


Eye of Horus hail from Edmonton, Alberta which is the area I was born and raised (central Alberta), so it is always cool to hear bands from my old stomping grounds, where I attended many live gigs in the early to late ‘90s. Anyways, we are presented with four songs on this ep, stretching nearly 20 minutes in length and sporting some pretty killer cover art. The band play melodic death metal, now this sub-genre is not one of my favoured ones, and I tend to only enjoy a small-ish cream of the crop group of bands in this style. I will say this in the positive column for Eye Of Horus, they mix just enough traditional brutal and dark death metal in amongst the florid melodies, to give the sound some balls and some bite, not letting the harmonious quality succeed too often in bringing down too much of the brutality. This balance and edge is what kept me interested. You can hear some influences on here from things like the Carcass “Heartwork” album, In Flames, early Children of Bodom, Arch Enemy, At The Gates, Black Dahlia Murder etc… The music on here is not as intricate as some of those bands, but still there is some tasty guitar work and writing going on with some classy, often brief and effective guitar fills and leads. The vocals I liked quite a bit, they are deep, yet largely decipherable death growls and in some sections adding a black metal sounding undertone to the vocal arsenal. I have to say, as melodic death metal bands out there go these days, as mentioned I am not the biggest fan melodo dm, but Eye of Horus are one of the more enjoyable ones I have heard in a while.  - Dale

https://eyeofhorusofficial.bandcamp.com/     https://www.facebook.com/EyeofHorusOfficial       




“Behind The Black Eyes” Full-length CD

(Self Released)


I do not often get to review bands from Israel, so in that sense, this was a bit of a novelty for me. I wish I could say I loved it, I wish I could say I even kind of liked it. But, that would not be the truth; this is to my ears a very generic blending of death metal and metal core, or I suppose the deathcore tag may apply. A style I am not very fond of, so to impress me you had better do it really well, something that Ferium does not do, in my view. This is just awfully pedestrian stuff, the playing is okay, the songs rather uninteresting and pretty interchangeable with very little standing out. I mean it probably does not help Ferium out that I have been lucky lately by reviewing a lot of high quality releases, from the material to the performances. It only serves to make things like “Behind The Black Eyes”, when they come along, to stick out like a sore thumb by contrast. A strong influence within the deathcore sound is Pantera, I can hear that in the music, but really strong in the vocalist as well, as he does a more growled, more shouted lesser quality imitation of Phil Anselmo. Yeah, sorry guys but this was just not for me, and in my opinion, just not that good either.  - Dale 

http://ferium.bandcamp.com/    http://www.feriumband.com/          





“Promo 1” Demo CDR

(Self Released)


There is only one track, on here, entitled “Hail To The Legions That Rise From Flesh and Darkness”. So not all that much to go on for a review, the song is just under seven minutes, and that includes an intro and outro, so about 4 minutes or so of actual song. But what I can get out of it is some ferocious, and brutal, darkened death metal sickness. The riff in this song is heavy as fuck, the growling vocals sound like they are emitted from some blood thirty beast, come to life straight out of an HP Lovecraft story. I would tell you more, but there is not a lot to go on here, I see they have just released a full twenty minute demo now. Here is to hoping I get a chance to hear it, because this one track promo did it’s job in wetting my appetite for Gravered, and has me looking forward to hearing more.  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/gravered.deathmetal  http://gravered-deathmetal.bandcamp.com/releases    





“Robot Masquerade Party” MCD

(Self Released)


Well then, it has been a while since I have heard from Guilty As Sin, but the enigmatic and talented metal merchants return once again to the pages of Canadian Assault (dig around for my past reviews of GAS). The band has sent in releases for nearly a decade probably, during which time I have become a fan, as you never know quite what to expect from this diverse band. Having said that this may well be one of their more straight forward albums. It is a display of driving extreme metal, which is well crafted, part cerebral grace, part unbridled aggression and destruction, but all enjoyable. At times in the past, the band has been fairly instrumental oriented, but this time around I think this may well be the most vocals I can remember on a GAS release. The vocals are gruff hardcore style shouting mixed with slight dm growl. There are moments of more ambient, mind journey atmosphere which give you a moment to breathe, a moment to reflect, a moment to enjoy the well rounded musicianship and vision behind the band, before launching back into the fire once again. Guilty As Sin is never run of the mill, it is always an experience, always an expansive mental ride, a ride that is always worth taking so hop aboard.  - Dale 

ovoianrocks@yahoo.com    http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/GuiltyAsSin         




“Succumbing To Decay” CD-R

(Self Released)


This may come on a limited edition CD-R, but the packaging is a nice professional looking slipcase, rather than the usual CD-R and cut out piece of paper with the album cover/info. We are treated to 9 songs of black metal; the material is written and performed in the ancient way, a surprising approach coming from this intriguing young band from the United Kingdom. Hokedun play really old school black metal, many think of early to mid 90s Scandinavian scene with that term, but I am reaching back even a little further than that. Yes, the roots I hear in the bands music are from things of the very late 80s and early 90s variety, such as the early works by Greek bands like Rotting Christ, Necromantia, Varathron, Zemial etc… Plus also they bring to mind a similar style to the first days of Ancient Rites and Mortuary Drape. I am a huge fan of that era, and that time period for those bands, so this is welcome choice for me made by the band. The music and riffing is very stripped down, simplistic, moody and vaguely hypnotic like an audio soundtrack to an occult ritual performed in some dark cave. The vocals are evil raspy, partially sung screams that really fit the music very well and are in a classic style. But do not get too attached to them because I think only about half of the songs have vocals and the rest are instrumental. I could have used a little more of the vocals personally, yet I do concede, in some parts of the songs lacking them they may not have fit as well with those songs. I think for a lot of more modern black metal fans, they may not like this; it would be too simple for them, not over produced enough and not filled with a hundred riffs and time changes. But guess what? Hokedun did not make this for those people. No, the band choose to keep things straightforward, they let the songs breath, placing importance on feeling and atmosphere, sometimes the old saying is true that less is more. I quite enjoyed this release, it is for diehards like me, who long for the great early days of black metal that had a very distinct and interesting sound. “Succumbing To Decay” has also been released in a cassette version, through Hexenreich Records, so keep an eye out for that as well if interested. But do not hesitate or procrastinate as I believe both formats, CD-R and cassette are limited to just 100 copies.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/hokedun    http://hexe.pimeduse.org/       




"Bleak And Harrowing Journey" CD EP

(Self Released)


I am pleased to have Hokedun return to the to the pages of Canadian Assault. They have wasted no time in doing so; I’ve only just reviewed their previous disc less than six months ago. The main man in this two person band Eren continues his work in earnest. They are based out of the United Kingdom, but Eren is not from there, the man gets around as his last band was based in Turkey, but Eren himself originates from the Bosnia and Herzegovina region. I am assuming due to this he in turn infuses a morsel inner eastern European metal flavour into the music. As I talked about last time around, the roots of the Hokedun sprout out of the very late ‘80s / early ‘90s non-Scandinavian black metal scene. I still hear hints of the early works of bands such as Varathron, Necromantia, Rotting Christ, Ancient Rites, Zemail, Mortuary Drape and maybe even a touch of Morningstar from their “Inside The Circle…” demo tape. Hokedun are sticking to their pure undergroud ethics, again making this a very limited release, last time was only 100 copies and this time around it is limited to only 50! Needless to say, I am honoured to have received a copy. There are basically three full songs here, but they are interwoven between short (ranging from 35 seconds to minute and 45 seconds) instrumental interludes, which do a wonderful job of setting a satisfying ambient moody tone to the release as a whole. The song structure and riffing, much like the last release are stripped down with a slower to middling pace which helps create a very dark, introspective and slightly hypnotic aura to the music. This aspect is something I enjoy very much, it is much more about tapping into more than just driving hatred and high speed technicality. I mean the hate is there, but there is deeper range of emotional tenor flowing throughout this “Bleak And Harrowing Journey”, which is actually a pretty spot description of the musical experience on here. The vocals seem like they are slightly more prominent and widely used this time around which is good by me. I enjoy the vocals very much as they are drawn out traditional black metal rasps, but with a little more inflection and feeling than most and are quite decipherable to average ear than bm band vocals tend to be. Yeah I like those vocals a lot. I can sincerely recommend this to old school black metal loving goats like me, if you enjoy the early works by the bands I listed and time period I mentioned above then you love this bleak and evil work of art.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/hokedun    hokedun@yahoo.co.uk        




"Horrible Earth” Full-length Demo CD

(Self Released)


Horrible Earth waste no time jumping right into it, it is almost like the opening track starts mid-song, no easing into this shit but nothing wrong with that. These boys are from Boston, Mass and regular Canadian Assault readers will recognize the name Zak Ovoian, the mastermind from the band Guilty As Sin, as I have reviewed I think at least four or five of his releases on here. They call themselves Grindpunk, now I definitely hear the grind end of things, the punk well maybe a hint of that, more of hardcore sound mixed in with the grind and death metal influence than punk. But that is just my take on it, mainly Euro influences but I would think it might be fair to throw a bit of Brutal Truth in the mix too. I hear more of a Swedish death metal and grind sound than the usual American grind you would naturally hear over here. Think of bands like Entombed, Dismember mixed with Nasum, Rotten Sound and then throw a healthy dose of American hardcore in that mix. I like it though it is fast, brutal and hard hitting, there are enough death metal slow down breaks to really keep things interesting adding a nice level of dynamic to their sound. The pacing of the songs in the faster parts remind me a lot of hardcore riffing pace and structure, of course backed up with grinding drums. The vocals also have a growling undertone with the primary hardcore coarse throat rip yelling. The songs are short and steeped in adrenaline, that must be great live. The mix of all of these things rather than being a jumbled mess actually for me the death metal sections only serve punctuate the high hardcore speed then it is sped up even more with some pit inducing grind and back down again producing a very intriguing, attention holding listen. Which can be a weakness of grind that it gets all same-y sounding, thankfully Horrible Earth do not suffer from this problem. Honestly I think this album is fantastic! I really hope this gets some attention as Horrible Earth should get a similar level of recognition to say a Nasum or a similar level band. If you love the genres I mentioned above this is a must buy. My only complaint is it is too short, I want more now, until then I just have this set to repeat and am listening to it over and over.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/HorribleEarth   http://www.reverbnation.com/horribleearth     




“Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 1” CD EP

(Self Released)


Just in case you are curious about the “Part 1” in the title, the band apparently has planned a three or four part series of EP’s, to follow this original world concept. I find everything about this young Nashville band interesting, from their conception of this series, vibe of the band pics, to the artwork and finally the music. Speaking of which, Howling Giant draw from a fairly diverse sub-genre pallet, but I would have to say the more prominent one is a stoner doom sound yet you will also find hints of traditional doom, progressive rock, 70s psychedelic hard rock (ie – the organ accents), space rock etc… Despite that description they do not sound overly retro and have a more updated and fresh feel to sound. I do like to liberally apply the doom tag to the band, but the third tune on this four tracker is pretty fast, displaying an upbeat energy you can headbang along with. Somehow, that change up does not interrupt the flow of the other three songs, and serves as a vibrant bridge to the overall doom foundation “Black Hole Space Wizard”. The main vocals are interesting they are sung quite clean and clear, yet sound they are bouncing off the walls of a wide open empty building, with a slight echo effect. That is until the final track “Clouds Of Smoke”, which features a more straight forward almost slightly commercial clean sung vocal, which may not be for some extreme metallers, but it fits the music here very perfectly. All in all, I have to say this is a pretty polished and mature effort from a young band, with only one previous ep to their history. If they continue to progress it could result in something special. I can definitely recommend this (in particular to stoner doom and seventies psy rock fans) and will be pulling it out from time to time for sure. Hopefully I get a chance to hear the other forthcoming parts in this series.  - Dale

https://howlinggiant.bandcamp.com/music    https://www.facebook.com/howlinggiant       




“Celestial Decadence” Full Length CD

(Self Released)


Illusions Dead are Finnish band who play extreme melodic (I know those terms rarely belong together) death metal. The first thoughts that came to me, upon my initial listen, these guys sound really polished and mature; when taking into account they had only released one demo previously. Now, before you get the wrong idea, yes they do play melodic death metal, but not the lighter, sweeter sounding stuff ala In Flames, Dark Tranquility, Shadows Fall etc… No, they have more in common with the catchy, while still being very brutal and mean bands such as Dissection, Kataklysm, At The Gates, early Arch Enemy and the like. There is one exception to those bands, and that is, in some sections of the material I.D. display a doom metal side which is skillfully done, adding a nice moody contrast. When they pick up the pace, which is most of the time, you are treated wonderfully constructed and performed barbarity, overlaid on top of some great melodies. They really scratch an itch, if you like violent music, which is mixed with finesse and musical subtlety. The recording, on this self financed effort, sounds great. I have to think, record labels will be knocking on this bands door, as should you be.  - Dale

http://illusionsdead.bandcamp.com    https://www.facebook.com/illusionsdeadofficial       




"Di Sangue E Di Luce” CD EP

(Self Released)


Insania.11 is a two man Italian band who play technical thrash metal, plus throw in healthy doses of death metal, weaving it in and out of the techno thrash mainstay. What are the chances, I get two technical thrash releases back to back in my mailbox, to review, especially in this day and age of the scene? Maybe it is making a comeback or maybe just a big coincidence? Anyway, onward with this five song release, entitled ”Di Sangue Di Luce”, which I believe translates to something like “Of Blood And Light”. The band plays very tight and precise, intricate thrash bringing to mind a bit bands like Coroner, Mekong Delta, later day Anacrusis or even a bit of Atheist maybe. The vocals (more on that later) and the guitars are the driver for the band, front and center, some of the guitar work and riffing on here fantastic and succeeded in creating both a dark atmosphere and making my head nod and break out into a full headbang at times. The other instruments, born out of necessity I am sure, speaking of the bass and drums, they are both programmed and are my least favourite part of the release. Okay, so back to the vocals, they may be an acquired taste for some, but for me I fucking love them! The deep introspective lyrics are sung in the bands mother tongue, the style of the vocals are commanding and terrifyingly mean sounding, being sung in Italian only makes them seem more menacing to me. The vocals themselves are reminiscent of the deeper, lower end vocals of Big Boss from Root (who is a vocal god for me) on their earlier releases, mixed with a slight hint of the unique vocals of the old band Righteous Pigs (sung of course by a pre-Napalm Death Mitch Harris). The band close the release with their most varied epic song (just under 9 minutes long), which is a kind of slow and moody, somewhat subdued song lacking in the intricacy and speed of the rest of material, but turns up the atmosphere and is not a bad way to come back down from the bludgeoning intensity of the first four tracks. This is some good stuff from this Italian band and I hope to get a chance to hear what they do next. But, in the meantime if the above interests you, I can also tell you the presentation of the booklet and packaging on this release is superb.  - Dale

https://insania11.bandcamp.com/releases    http://www.insania11.com/       




“The Biddings Of Tyrants” CD

(Self Released)


I see in recent years, some extreme metal bands claiming the industrial tag yet when you listen to the album, there is nothing more than a hint of said sound on a song or two. Now, I would say Invertia show nothing but truth, with their claim in using that industrial tag on the “Biddings of Tyrants”. They do incorporate heavy industrial trademarks and trappings within their hyper speeding death metal foundation (seen them listed as Industrial black metal but they sound more like a dm band to me). The lyrical concept of the album, as you probably guessed is about those that abuse their powers in one form or another, each song of the album is about a different tyrant. Some of their targets are the NSA invading American citizens privacy, Scientology through their twisted dogma suppress and abuse their power over their followers and so on. As I mentioned earlier, the bands main gear is full speed ahead, only slowing slightly in order to deftly avoid being tossed on the rocks in their path or the odd rogue wave. Their brand of death metal, reminds me very much of the mid to late 90s death metal scene that mixed of course industrial influences like early ‘90s Pitchshifter, early Scorn, early Godflesh, Ministry and the like. I know this will be a pretty obscure reference for many, but the music on this album reminds me slightly musically, but a lot vocally to the criminally unheralded and largely forgotten mighty Disciples of Power (mainly active in the late ‘80s to mid ‘90s), from Canada mostly on their later album “Mechanikill”, where the band incorporated industrial into their amazing trademark technical death metal sound. The vocals on “The Biddings…” sounds so close to that album, which is a big plus for me and adds a hint of nostalgia, even though I am sure this Massachussets band has never heard even heard of Disciples Of Power. This is a really solid enjoyable album, nothing utterly mindblowing, but still some really good shit going on and they play a style that is not overdone, in this day and age, which only makes them stand out further. Check this out.  - Dale

http://invertia.bandcamp.com/    https://inv3rtia.com       




"Our Never-Ending Lonliness” CD EP

(Self Released)


This is the band, maybe a more apt term, the brainchild of Vito Marchese of the well known Chicago based death doom band November’s Doom. Despite this recording also largely featuring former and current members of November’s Doom, the apple in this case, does fall pretty far from the tree musically and stylistically. The Kahless Clone is an instrumental band with a musical tapestry, largely made up of soundscapes mixed with traditional rock/metal instrumentation and general style, but used in a very non-rock/metal way. It really is a somber and atmospheric forlorn soundtrack, which invokes the feeling mentally of wandering in the vast emptiness of outer space, transported along in solitude by a sleek ship built from the base minerals of rock and metal. Now, do not get me wrong, anyone seeing the word metal will listen to this and go this is not fucking metal, which is correct, it is not, but you can hear it was composed and performed by musicians whose deep roots are in metal. Some of the underlying foundation, which moves this ambient soundscape forward to me sounds to be very much influenced by progressive hard rock / metal. But it is used in a subtle way, so as to never compete or dominate the main purpose of creating pure atmosphere, rather than the traditional song structuring from those theaters of music. Which for many metal fans is a take it or leave it proposition, it is not in line with my main tastes as a music fan either, but I have been known to be won over and dabble in these areas from time to time. I know the term soundscape is sort of an ambiguous term, which of course encompasses the overall sound and experience. But, in this case, to give you a clearer picture beyond the traditional rock and metal instruments, it includes things like synth, electronic sounds (including electronic drums mixed with real drumming) and manipulation, acoustic guitar, piano etc… I have to admit, upon the first and second listen it was not connecting with me and did not seem very memorable or overly enjoyable, to be quite honest. But I am happy to report the more I listened (I must be at least a dozen listens in now - as I always try to really give all bands a true chance), it began sink in and those synapses began to slowly fire and link up and I started to appreciate the music and it began to speak to me mentally, so more of an emotional connection was made. I am not often in the mood for pure ambient and progressive music, but when the mood does take me I think “Our Never-Ending Lonliness” will be within the small pile of discs I will reach for to scratch that itch.  - Dale

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




“In Dwarven Halls” Demo CD EP

(Self Released)


This Wisconsin band, as you may be able to tell from their name and album title, are a concept band, based on the classic works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Something you may not know about me, both myself and my wife, are huge Tolkien and Lord Of The Rings fans. So much so, we have in our home a couple swords, a dagger and Gandalf’s staff replicas in our home, made by the company that made them for the film. So as you can imagine straight away, I am fully on board with the band’s concept from top to bottom. Now on to this bands music, this demo contains three tracks of middle earth inspired, brutal death metal. I would describe their brand of death metal, as a combination of New York sound, mixed heavily with old school Floridian death metal style. I can hear influences from bands Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Nile, Immolation, Incantation, Death, Massacre etc… It is very well done though, it is brutal, but also there is some nice subtle and not so subtle guitar finesse elements, worked beautifully into the crushing barbarism. I am sure this is where the Tolkien works come in, but there is also an epic, triumphant emotive atmosphere, you can feel through the music, which reflects the world the band clearly worship. This is on full display, during my favourite song, the third track entitled “Thorin Oakenshield”, it is a glorious and the proud warrior Dwarf King Under the Mountain, would be honoured by this song. Check this out ASAP!  - Dale 

https://www.reverbnation.com/khazaddum6    https://www.facebook.com/Khazaddumband/          




“Plagues Upon Arda" CD

(Self Released)


Khazaddum are a fairly new band who come out of the mid-western US brutal death metal scene. The music is played in the brutal dm style, but the musicians know how to write some very complex material, which shows off their skill in the writing process. The guitars are played mainly in a heavy and extremely fast style, but there are also some very well crafted and performed memorable slower passages, mixed with some solos merged into the violent music. The vocalist does a great job belting out low death metal growls that really fit well with the bands musical approach. If you are a fan of well performed brutal death metal, with elements of other genres mixed in, then be sure to pick up “Plagues Upon Arda” today.  - Patrick

https://khazaddumband.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/Khazaddumband        




"Devoured By Damnation” CD

(Grathila Records / Self Released)


I was both pleased and surprised to get this release. I was pleased because this is a raw, but good band, which I have been into since their very early days of the mid to late ‘90s. I was surprised the band was not only still going, as they have been very quiet in recent years, but also very surprised, due to the fact that the band is no longer located in the Philippines. Furthering this happening was they (I say they but Kratornas has been a one man band for most of it’s existence) moved to my homeland of Canada!! This is fucking cool to hear! So how about the music? Does the band still play a high energy chaotic wall of noise blackened grindcore? The answer to that is yes, but it is more now, more mature song writing, more varied material yet never losing the trademark ultra harsh brutality and speed. Another welcome change is, Kratornas finally has a real drummer (who has now joined the band as the second member) and holy fuck does it take their sound to a new level, the drums are powerful, as GB dominates his skit with pure malice and fury. The dark and evil trademark atmosphere, which permeates all Kratornas recordings, still is alive and thrives on “Devoured By Damnation”. Within the confines of the pummeling, ultra violent grind as hinted to above, there is more maturity and variation than the past incorporating more short death metal type passages. They do this in a very catchy way, tossing in infectious bits, which will get your head going from a nod to a full headbang in no time. The vocals are still a tremendous melting pot, mixture of obscured hissing yells and growls, nasally screeches and inhuman howls. I have always enjoyed Kratornas’ releases, but honestly they have taken everything not just up a level, they have taken up a couple levels! This is, by far, their most impressive release and I can not recommend this highly enough, for devotees of bands who mix black metal and war metal with large doses of grindcore influence.  - Dale

http://www.kratornas.com/    http://kratornas.bandcamp.com/    




“Ladies From Hades” CD EP

(Self Released)


The Canadian doom veterans from Saskatoon return to the pages of Canadian Assault with another massive audio tidal wave. The band often varies their sound in tone and feel, slightly in style, from release to release always keeping you on your toes. But the one constant is they always keep their doom metal roots strong and grounded. This time around, we get more of a straight on doom sound, but as always mixed with healthy traces of pure evil and nostalgic psychedelia. I absolutely love this combination! I always mention the early releases of Cathedral, as an influence, that influence may not come through any stronger than on “Ladies From Hades” when comparing this to their past releases. That is a positive; I wish Cathedral would have carried on that sound, a lot longer and stronger than they did. Regardless of this heavy influence, Lavagoat put their own distinct stamp, on that sound and style. I dig the audio movie clips mixed in wonderfully in the songs, they really add a creepy 70s hypnotic satanic occult exploitation feel to the music. The riffs on here are massive and roll on for ages just wrecking my head. The vocals are pretty sparsely used; they are performed / recorded in an obscured half growled, half spoken manner, and done in a way which only heightens the malevolent sinister atmosphere. Despite the feeling of evil and impending doom, there are still sections of these hymns that make me headbang, which is a song writing talent marrying those aspects so seamlessly. For me, “Ladies From Hades” is an infectious listen that I don’t want to end, I find myself setting this to repeat and listening over and over, it is an experience and not just something to listen to. Lavagoat always deliver the goods, but they have really out done themselves this time around!  - Dale

http://lavagoat.bandcamp.com/    https://youtu.be/efls-a-b6fE




"Paths” CD

(Self Released)


Lord Almighty springs up from the Boston metal scene, delivering to us their debut full length, with only an ep previously under their collective belts. I don’t know, if I can really confess to ever in particular, to being a fan of the whole black ‘n roll sub-genre. I mean on the surface it does not seem like the two genres should mix, one is generally very serious and the music is very dark and harsh tonally, where as rock ‘n roll is usually the opposite of that. I will leave the debate to purists, whose stance I have some sympathy for, on whether or not the two should be mixed. For me, it comes down more to the fact I usually have to be in the mood for both, and those moods are generally very different from each other. So with this particular sub-genre, for my tastes, it has to constructed quite carefully and be very well done, which often results in a love it or hate it reaction. I am pleased to say, Lord Almighty has put a lot of thought, and care into their song writing, so one element does not over power the other and the transitions betwixt the two forces is surprisingly smooth. There are times you can revel in the evil aura, as well as other times, you can just headbang to the riff and let the adrenaline flow a bit. Then at other times, often in the transitional periods you are treated to some wonderful, dare I say even soulful guitar fills and leads, which simmer slightly with hints of classic 70s rock southern style guitar work. I could see for the more ardent black metal fans, they might have a tough time getting into some of the airy and upbeat riffs and rhythms, which pop up from time to time. I don’t know man, I sort of feel like I should not like this, but the impressive vision and skill in the performance and songwriting, just refused to let me turn away. It is infectious like that, and I have succumbed to it’s insidious charms, so if you are open to this kind of music, this surely comes recommended.  - Dale 

http://lordalmighty.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/lordalmightymetal         




"The Essence Of Time Matches No Flesh” Full-length CD

(Self Released)


This is the bands third full-length apparently, but it is my first taste of the Madrost madness emanating from this Californian band. The band play technical thrash metal with a ton of morphing, changing parts and time signatures. Some might even throw the progressive tag on them, which I can see to an extent, but I think that is more for incorporating many other genre elements and the like. Madrost are far too brutal, fast and heavy for me to think of them as that. I mean these guys fucking bludgeon you with speedy gut-wrenching riffing and forceful pound you into submission drumming. As mentioned, with the revolving changes within each song, you get a great display of the bands technical prowess, both on their instruments and their intricate skilled song structuring. I do hear hints of death metal now and then, maybe something like the band Death towards the end, when they were going down more of a techno thrash route. I am sure it is pure coincidence here, but I swear I hear hints of a great largely unknown now and criminally underrated deathrash Canadian band named Disciples Of Power, which I am guessing the Madrost guys have never heard before. Everything on this album is so refined and mature, so precise and impressively controlled, but one area that is not controlled are the vocals. Which are looser harsh yelled gruff traditional thrash vocals, with a slight growl dm edge, but they are hoarse and spat out with a level of anger and venom that I enjoyed. Now and then, there are so many transitions and change ups in the music, impressive as they are, sometimes they get in the way of actual song flow and not letting certain brutal and catchy parts room to breathe a little and let the listener get into a headbanging harmony with the music. That is my one and only critique here, don’t sacrifice the song, when it is there for the offing in order to get in as many speedy time changes and cool parts as you possibly can fit in there. Otherwise, this is an extremely impressive high octane thrash record, which is filled with equal measures of song writing finesse and violent attacking barbarism. Definitely check this one out ASAP.  - Dale

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




“Digging Mercy’s Grave" CD

(Self Released)


Murkocet rise up out of the Phoenix metal / rock scene with their first full-length release “Digging Mercy’s Grave”. It is eleven tracks, about 37 minutes of modern or well whatever they are calling Nu-Metal these days. I usually never listen to this type of band and purposely avoid doing so. But I can say some of the guitar work is done with a lot of skill and solid writing ability. But, unless you are a fan of the mid ‘90s or the modern metal / rock styles, you will probably end up hating this (as I certainly did as well my friend :) - Dale) this disc.  - Patrick

https://www.murkocetband.com/    https://www.facebook.com/murkocetmetal       




“Damnation Doctrine” CD

(Self Released)


Necrocosm hails from North Carolina, but despite their location, they play more of a melodic European death metal style to mine ears. It is quickly evident the band is highly skilled. They also know how arrange a good song, not to mention, write some extremely infectious catchy riffs. I am not the biggest melodo death fan, but when it is done well, as it is here, and when they maintain a brutal edge within the finesse playing and harmony, then I can really appreciate it. Once again Necrocosm achieves just that, even to some fairly biased ears. Having said that, it does border on the too pretty at times, then that brutal edge takes over and strikes a balance to make you stay around and stay interested. There is no denying there is some stunning guitar work on here, and some smoking speedy solos, yet never forgetting they are serving to accent the song ultimately. I like the vocals, they are not at the guttural belch level, but they are deep growls that hold down the vicious end of the melody / barbarism counterpoint, which makes Necrocosm interesting and vital to me as a listener. “Damnation Doctrine” is an impressive debut album, which is sure to greatly please die hard followers of bands like At The Gates, Arch Enemy and early In Flames.  - Dale

http://necrocosm666.bandcamp.com/   https://www.facebook.com/Necrocosm  




“Defiling Verses” Demo CD EP

(Self Released)


No Salvation burst out of the deep Polish death metal scene. This is their second release, after their previous demo, this one consists of five songs, plus an intro weighing in at a run time of around 26 minutes. This is some brutal and punishing fast death metal sickness. I can hear a variety of influences, like a bit from their Polish countrymen such as Behemoth and Vader, but also there is a strong old school American influence here with a mix of the NY death metal sound (Suffocation, Vital Remains etc…) and the Floridian dm sound (early Deicide, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse). They mix it all together quite nicely, there is barbaric riffing and the drummer as needed for this style is a busy bombastic whirlwind on the kit. The vocals are semi-decipherable deep growls, with a slight gurgling quality, at times, bubbling underneath the growling. I like them quite a bit. The end result of it all is somewhat unremarkable, but all the same a rather enjoyable listen, which the real diehards of the genre will likely enjoy.  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/nosalvation666    http://www.nosalvation.pl/          




"Nuclear Hatred” CD

(Self Released)


Nuclear Hatred is a band made up of the members of Zamboni, who recently had to change their name (after having this album under that name all ready to go, the company that owns the rights to the hockey zamboni threatened to sue them if they did not cease and desist in using the name - Dale). Nuclear Hatred play a good style of crossover metal, which has a really good mix of fast thrashing guitars, and some well written and creative guitar patterns. The drums are played with both a mid pace, and a crazed fast pacing within the drum arrangements. If you are a fan of crossover metal, then you should definitely give Nuclear Hatred a listen today and buy this thing.  - Patrick

http://nuclearhatred.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/NuclearHatred/       




“The Rehearsal Demo MMLV” Cassette

(Self Released)


Path of Damnation features a name familiar to me and the readers of Canadian Assault. Which is Troy Reynolds, whose past works such as Extreme Metal fanzine, Autumn Grave, and Black Blood Stigmata have all been reviewed on these pages. Now Troy has joined with another group of musicians to form Path Of Damnation. The band play straight up death metal, it is brutal stuff, but not so much in the guttural belching fashion. No, this is more in the vein of say late ‘90s style death metal, when the bands were still brutal, not yet so overly slick as would become the fashion. But all the same, heading slightly in that direction, with added clarity, and focus on musicality, and not just pure brutality. You know the sort of direction, a lot of the scene slowly headed in, after some landmark releases like Carcass “Heartwork” etc.. There is some really nice guitar work, and arrangements on here, that show talent in handling their instruments, as well as their song writing skills. Look no further than the song “Sky Turns Red”, where there is some nice underlying guitar, a cool guitar lead fill and a short, but very cool emotive solo to finish off the song. The vocals, are deep largely indecipherable growls, which I did enjoy, as they add a little of that gritty bestial feel to the mix, which counterpoints the finesse of some of the guitar work. It is a pretty nice balance, they have struck between those two sound elements, of elegance and cruelty, though it could still use a little more refinement to smooth out the transition and integration between the worlds. But that is precisely why they have first released this live in the form of a rehearsal demo tape. It is for fans to enjoy the songs, before the arrangements and execution, are tweaked and polished. So with that in mind, I will be looking forward to checking that out, hopefully sooner than later!  - Dale

https://www.reverbnation.com/oblivion666   https://www.facebook.com/pathofdamnation/       




"Something Old, Something New And Something Fucking Live!!! From Europe” Digital Download

(Self Released)


This is my first time ever hearing Power Theory and damn what an introduction to a band that plays traditional heavy metal at it’s finest. The first song is “Brace For Impact”, which is a new song that really shows off the bands heavy metal spirit. The music is well performed and written; they stay mainly in the mid paced heavy style. The next two tracks are “Axes To Grind” and “Colossus” which have been re-recorded for this release. The rest of the music is played in the same vein as “Axes To Grind” which is a heavy metal anthem, that sounds like it could have come out in the early ‘80s heavy metal scene. Finally, the band has included two live tracks “Dark Eagle” and “The Truth Shall Set You Free”, which yes, they are live, but are also extremely tightly played to near perfection. If you are familiar with this band then be sure to get a copy of this compilation, if you are new to Power Theory, plus love the NOWBHM and other early heavy metal acts from the 1980’s then you should get a copy of this today.  - Patrick

https://powertheory.bandcamp.com/    http://powertheory.net/       




“Contempt” CD

(Self Released)


“Contempt” is Prezir’s debut EP, featuring six songs with both black and death metal intertwined together. The guitarist does a great job of writing and performing some really creative guitar patterns. There is also some heavier death metal guitar chords mixed with a rawer aggressive black metal guitar style. The vocals are a mix of raw blackened screams and some deeper death metal growls. This is a really good debut release, so if you a fan of blackened death metal, then be sure to check out this band soon.  - Patrick

https://prezir.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/Prezir       




“Promo 2015” CDR

(Self Released)


This is another cool band sent to me by Huaida, who runs Friends Of Hell Promotions, out of Chile. He also sent me great stuff from bands like Gravered, Communion and Worship Death. Focusing on this release, at hand, Profaner are an old style death metal band from Peru. This promo contains five tracks from the bands past demo and 7” ep releases. The band has been around a long time now, starting as Bestial Death in 2005, and changing the name to Profaner in 2007. Profaner in the music, and the vocals, remind me very much of early Death, with the growled stylings of one Chuck Schuldiner. Plus, I can hear a touch of Autopsy, and the early Swedish death metal sound. The raw, heavy but still more than clear enough production really fits perfectly with their sound. The second track, “Zombie Curse”, really shows Profaner at their best keeping ultra heavy, but really varying the pace up and down, in a very infectious manner that is sure to get your head banging along. That must be a killer song live. The bands age shows through, on this release, as they have a mature feel for song flow and arrangement, which really evokes emotion in me as a listener. Another fantastic band here, recommended to me, that shows how alive and kicking the Chilean and Peruvian scenes really are these days! If you love old school atmospheric, but really heavy death metal, then you need to get your hands on some Profaner material soon.  - Dale

profaner_deathmetal@hotmail.com   http://www.friendsofhell.cl/       




"Horns Up” Full-length Demo CD

(Self Released)


Coming out of the Canadian heavy metal / thrash scene is the new band Reanimator. The band, play a good mixing of hyper-fast, thrash metal. The guitars are done with a lot of fast paced structures, with some contrasted with some heavier slower paced sections. The drumming is top notch, with fast drum patterns and some mid-paced runs intertwined in the music. The vocals are a blending of screams and gruff styled vocals. If you are fans of Exodus, early Testament and all the other mid-80s thrash scene, then you should do yourself a favor and check this band out today.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/reanimatormtl/timeline   https://myspace.com/reanimatorthrash       




"Methods To Delusion” Digital Album (CD?)

(Self Released)


Coming out of New England’s death metal scene is Scalpel with their second cd “Methods To Delusion”. It features ten tracks of old school death metal, showcasing well written and performed material. Scapel  play raw, brutal death metal similar to the mid ‘90s US scene, mixed with their own ability to write memorable music. The guitars are played with both extremely fast and crazed patterns, and some more calmer mid paced sections. The drums are done with the same tempo ranging from hyper-speed blasting, that do slow to a heavier more middle paced tempo. If you are a fan of the mid ‘90s American death metal scene, then be sure to pick up Scalpel’s newest release today.  - Patrick

https://scalpel.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/Scalpelofficial/        




"Skeleton Wolf” CD

(Self Released)


This is Skeleton Wolf’s debut release, featuring seven songs, of newer blackened death metal. The guitars are well written, and extremely well played; they go from a fast black metal guitar style to a more controlled modern death metal pattern. The guitarist knows how to create, and play, a lot of solid guitar runs, and some very well written solo’s mixed into a few of the tracks. The drumming is very skilled as well, and can go seamlessly from a mid tempo drum style, to executing a faster aggressive drum pattern in a few songs. The vocalist does a good job with brand of death metal growls, interspersed with some black metal screams filtering in and out, from time to time throughout the material.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/skeletonwolfmusic/    http://skeletonwolf.com/      




"Dementia Praecox” CD

(Self Released)


Skitzo returns to the pages of Canadian Assault, this legendary California heavy metal / thrash band, continues to conjure up the old metal rituals! I say legend, and I mean it; this band is grossly underrated, and not nearly heralded enough for continuing on from the early to mid 1980s until today! I have total respect for someone keeping the dedication and faith for decades. Skitzo is, and always has been, the brainchild of the talented and imaginative, and deliciously perverted Lance Ozanix. Skitzo effortlessly from song to song, switch from heavy metal to thrash metal, and back again. When they thrash out they fucking thrash, Lance’s vocals on thrash parts, at times, are the spitting audio image of classic era Nuclear Assault and Overkill. A lion’s share of the time he sings in a gruff, partly spoken, partly sung vocal style, which I believe is partly handled in a co-vocal situation by bassist of Nate Clark. “Dimentia Praecox” is filled with massively heavy, melodiously memorable riffing; that and the arranging are a real strength for the band. Finishing off the trio, we are treated to a strong performance from drummer Mike Carli, with some tasty drum patterns, and a powerful pounding of each and every strike on the kit. As usual with Skitzo, they seem to get some great guest musicians, this time is no different, as we hear an extensive, and impressive appearance by Tony Rainer formerly of Blue Cheer. Okay so that covers the new Skitzo tracks on here. This release is an interesting mix of things, as you get those new songs, you get an old Skitzo song about Ted Bundy from 1982 (!!), plus a bevy of great cover songs, which are deep cuts from bands like PCP, Axe Witch, Posthumous and Skullduggery. Plus some unlisted devilish surprises, at the end of the album, which I will let you discover for yourself. As ever, you should expect absolutely beautifully produced, crystal clear yet heavy productions we have come to expect from this band. I say get this fucking thing, right now, it is about time this band got the recognition it is due!  - Dale

https://myspace.com/skitzo667   http://www.skitzo.biz        




“Assault Volume 1” Compilation CD

(Self Released)


It has been a long time since I reviewed a compilation (they were all over the place at one time but seemed to nearly die off about 15 years or so ago). I always find them hard to review with so many bands and only one song to go on for each one. Paul from Soulgrinder ‘zine has been branching out lately and releasing a couple things in addition to the great issues of his print fanzine. The quality here continues, as the packaging, layout and artwork are all on point. This is not an amateurish attempt as I assume he had some mastering work done here. Unlike most underground compilations the sound levels are not way up and down, which was always a down side to them in the past, but it feels very level and solid in that area. Paul is a great champion of the mighty South American UG metal scene and that continues with this compilation, you get bands from Canada, USA, Germany, Spain, Chile and a number of bands from Brazil & Peru. So, this is an excellent primer, for educating yourself on that scene. Pretty much every song on this comp. ranges from good to very good, but my personal fave songs were from the followings bands: Nimrod (Chile), Runa (Peru), Faethom (USA), Cardiac Arrest (USA), Estigma (Peru), Madrost (USA), Sinaya (Brazil), Profaner (Peru), Lifeless (Germany), and Demoniac Slaughter (Peru). Price is $12.00 (USA)  $18.00 (Worldwide).  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/soulgrinder.zine/    http://soulgrinderzine.blogspot.com/   





Kraken / Lima Metalfest 2015 Double DVD

(Self Released / Soulgrinder zine)


I decided to call this the Soulgrinder package, as both of these releases were sent to me by Paul Caravasi of Soulgrinder zine, who is possibly North America’s leading authority on the South American underground scene. First up, we have Kraken from Peru, this self-titled disc is their one and only release, it is older than the stuff I usually review as it was released in 2014 (yes the band is active). Upon listening to this though, I can understand why Paul is keen on spreading their name around the scene, by helping them with promotion. I want you to think of mid to late ‘80s thrash scene, like the cream of the crop bands, as Kraken would fit right in perfectly with them. I realize that is high praise, but Kraken have all the trademarks starting with a high level of catchy headbang inducing riffs, just one right after another played on high octane. There are great, well laid out and performed solos that flat out smoke. The drumming is right on point, precise and powerful. The singer has a pretty classic gruff yelled thrash delivery, he is a maniac putting his all into his emotive maniac screams, and you can feel the sincerity and adrenaline injected into his performance. The recording / production of a lot of South American bands is often on the lower end, but damn this sounds amazing, it is crystal clear, heavy and has real punch to it. Come on you guys we need a new release! It has been 3 years, but fuck me did you guys do yourself proud with this recording. They would be amazing live I bet! Okay, now on to the dvd, much like the compilation disc I reviewed last month things like this are hard to review. This has one song and in some cases two songs from each band (30 tracks in all!), filmed of course at the 2015 edition of the annual Lima Metal Fest in Peru. Once again, prepare yourself for an education on the South American UG scene! Everything is quite professionally done, with there being probably at least five different camera angles edited together (now and then they get a little crazy with too many fast edits though), including one on a zip line type rig. You get the live performances, interspersed with some band interviews clips, the promoter of the event and even some comments from fans in the crowd. A lot of lyrics are in English so some of you will be happy to hear that and the styles range from heavy metal to thrash to death and black metal. I think my fave performance of the entire thing is surprise Kraken! They were great; I only wish they were one of the bands with two songs. My other fave songs / performances were from Machinage, Cobra, Despondent Chants, Reino Ermitano, Necropsya, Profaner, Runa and last but not least the two non-South American bands on the bill being Nocturns A.D. from Florida and Faith Or Fear from NJ! This is some good stuff and if you want to order it the price is $10 US (shipping included in US) $15 US (overseas).  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Kraken-PER%C3%9A-568734679934614/   https://www.facebook.com/soulgrinder.zine       




"Bedlam” CD

(Self Released)


Coming out of North Carolina’s metal scene is Suppressive Fire, combining elements of complex and guitar driven death metal, with some thrashy elements. The guitars are very well done, with outburst of fast thrash guitars, with some mid paced heavier sections. The drumming is performed, with a lot of power, and fast drumming patterns that fit with the chaotic guitars quite nicely. The vocalist does a good job, delivering gruff vocals, intertwined with some screams. If you are a fan of early to mid nineties, style of death metal, then this is a band you will want to check out very soon.  - Patrick

https://suppressivefire.bandcamp.com/   https://www.suppressivefire.net/      





“Shayda” Cassette EP

(Self Released)


Survival are a thrash band, with some hardcore leanings, and hail from Oakland California. They sound like a pretty wild band, just from reading some background on them, with various members slipping in and out of jail stays. But on to the music, which is really heavy, catchy and minimalist. They get straight to the point here, they find their sweet spot and stick to ala old Prong, another band that pops into mind is DRI during their great “Thrashzone” album era, but Survival are probably a bit more stripped down than them. You can hear the hardcore influence, every now and then, in the structure and gang shouted parts on the track “Walls”. At times, they create more of an atmospheric sound with their music, than you would probably think reading this review. It is that, you just have to hear it to get it, with that element of their sound. This is nothing mind-blowing, but I enjoyed this cassette, but I could see some of the extreme metal die hard crowd, which often reads Canadian Assault, having a tougher time getting into this. But, especially for 80s thrash crossover fans, who are into stuff like the aforementioned Prong, or maybe Biohazard (with their heavier songs), will want to check this out. I have seen this listed somewhere as a full-length, that is simply not the case, this puppy is less than 17 minutes long, it is short but good.  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/SurvivalBayArea/   https://survival1.bandcamp.com/music     




“Skulthor Ebonblade” CD

(Self Released)


This release from this North Carolina band is a concept album. What is the concept? Well, it is a fantasy and sorcery theme; I bet you are thinking oh another Game Of Thrones thing surely. Well, you would be wrong, I think this epic novel worthy tale the band has woven has it’s root in earlier authors like Michael Moorcock, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Boroughs, Fritz Leiber etc… It is filled with battles, magical beasts, witches, death, vengeance, cruelty and triumph. But on to the music, TW play some plodding music, which is equal parts ’70s & early ‘80s heavy metal and classic doom metal. Though there are accents of other things, like slight hints of southern hard rock, as well as a bit stronger hint here and there of the more modern stoner doom sound. There are some tasty guitar fills and leads on here I enjoyed. A big influence for the band is surely Candlemass, but not just in the music, the vocalist without doubt has patterned his sound and delivery after the mighty Messiah Marcolin. However, as you can imagine, Temtaption’s vocalist Micah does not possess Marcolin’s amazing depth and wide range, nonetheless Micah does a fine job in the mid-range of mirroring that legend. I like the emotional depth the band is able to convey, with a concept album it is hard to make things sound fluid, whilst often trying to mimic the actions and narrative musically of what is going on in the story. Which is part in parcel why concept albums, if you do them full on, are difficult create properly molding the music to the words yet I think Temptation’s Wings has done a fairly admirable job of just that. A solid doom record, with a lot of heart put into every aspect of it, it is worth checking out.  - Dale 

https://temptationswings.bandcamp.com/    https://www.temptationswings.com/           




"The Infinity Complex” CD

(Self Released)


This Canadian band, hailing from the left coast of my homeland, play an interesting style you do not necessarily run across often, which is technical progressive thrash metal. This is the bands sophomore full-length release, which clocks in at over an hour long; I have to say the production on here is top notch it is crisp, clear and heavy. I also must admit first here, upon my first full listen I was not really feeling this record, it was not grabbing me and there is just so much going on all the time, it felt a little chaotic. But, upon repeated listens, mixed with a little patience, the layers started peeling back for me and I began to get into the intricate workings of the music, along with emotive somewhat stilted flow. Sure, there is a lot going on here, possibly a little too much at some points, maybe some of the epic length songs go on a bit long for their own good, but really most of it works. The song styling and arrangements are all over the place, but there is a method to the madness and control within the technical chaos. If you have a little patience with “The Infinity Complex”, I do think you will see some of the brilliance going on here, with the many threads separating and weaving back together again to take you on a fun ride. Something I like, despite the technicality, despite the majority of the album going at full tilt with many twists and turns, yes it is also progressive. But most importantly, they do not forget about the heavy and the violence of true thrash metal, which delivers some headbang worthy riffing gallops and guitar chugging to satisfy the old school fans out there. Some of the more subtle, classy guitar fills and leads really add a touch of affecting class, to this whirling dervish of metal mayhem. The musicianship is first-rate, the song structuring intricately thought out and performed, it is an impressive release on those merits alone. I can already tell though, the vocals are going to be a deal breaker for some, possibly even many, they are not your typical thrash metal vocals, at first blush, they do not seem like they belong with this music. I felt that way myself on first listen, then those vocals started to click for me and in their own strange way, reflect the frantic spirit of the music. They are gruff and yelled, but they also have this very abrasive, in your face, grating edge to them that harkens a bit to the higher nasally vocals some death metal bands employ, as a semi-frequent accent to the mainstay growling. They are crazy too, almost out of control, like the partially indecipherable vocal representation of the voices going through the head of an insane murderous convict. Honestly, they remind me, as does the music, of a slightly less insane more modern sounding version of the vocals, and again the crazy adventurous music of the The Accused with their classic mid to late ‘80s albums. The more I think about that the more I would be very surprised to hear the band say The Accused were not an influence on Torrefy. You have to put some work and patience into this record, but if you do, it will pay off in a very rewarding, wonderfully mentally exhausting and satisfying way. Check this out for sure; it is something different, something interesting in a time when we do not see much of that.  - Dale

https://torrefy.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/Torrefy    




"Peace is Forfeit” Album (Forthcoming Vinyl LP)

(Self Released)


Trenchgrinder carve out the most savory morsels of crust and death metal and mold them into their own impressively constructed debut full-length album, Peace is Forfeit. Their debut sees the four-piece outfit from New York combining some older material of theirs with some new into an overall well-organized and securely woven apparatus. The first track introduces the listener to the tones of malice and futility of resistance that we become increasingly familiar with as the album urgently marches on. Forward-facing mayhem (however contradictory that may sound) remains a central pillar in each track, which can especially be heard in “Deterrence and Retribution” with its brief, flaring guitar solos. Enticing, rhythmic riffs fuel the momentum of the album, keeping the tanks rolling boldly onward, but the occasional flurries of drums and guitar amid these more mid-tempo moments are what keep the listener on their toes. Owen Rundquist’s vocals are also a highlight due to their slight unorthodoxy in the death metal genre. 2017 has definitely been a great year for seeing extreme metal bands such as Succumb disrupt genre boundaries and preconceptions, and I argue that Peace is Forfeit finds Trenchgrinder joining these ranks. Rundquist shifts between different pitches and levels of coarseness with his somewhat gurgled, throaty vocals in such tracks as “For Knowledge of Blood,” perhaps exhibiting the conflicting voices heard during wartime. Once the listener makes it through the brazen bulk of the album, they land on the last track, the one whose title is most exemplary of the consequences of armed conflict: “Desolation.” This track is an instrumental, but its grave tone paints a bird’s-eye view of the bleak aftermath of such an engagement. Culminating in a slick, palatable 33 minutes of run-time, Peace is Forfeit is a succinct, yet powerful force to be reckoned with, and I would highly recommend it for any fan of death metal.  – Aaron

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




“On The Precipice Of The Ancient Abyss” Digital Album

(Self Released)


Unholy Baptism are a duo from Arizona’s black metal scene with their debut full length release. Mantus takes care of the vocal duties, with some grim, raw screams and black metal shrieks that really fit the bands cold black metal style. Both Moloch and Mantus handle the guitar duties, which go from a controlled mid pace with some well written and performed patterns, before going for a more crazed and faster guitar style. The drums are programmed by Moloch, but are done with both hyper-speed blast beats and some slower mid paced drumming. Unholy Baptism play a style similar to the mid ‘90s grim black metal, so if you enjoyed stuff like early Burzum, Gorgoroth etc… then be sure to check this album out.  - Patrick 

https://unholybaptism.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/UnholyBaptism/           




“Expulsion Of The Triumphant Beast” Rehearsal Demo Tape

(Self Released)


A rehearsal demo! This takes me way back, to my earlier days in the scene buying and tape trading for rehearsal demo tapes all the time. Then Pro Tools on cheap home computers came along and that seemed to virtually put an end to rehearsal demos. I miss the rawness, the energy, the spontaneity and live feeling of rehearsal demos. It was not common back then though, to press them on a professional tape, as is the case here. St. Louis, Missouri’s Unspeakable is a band who obviously shares my affinity and good memories of the old days and ways. The music they conjure up is decidedly old school as well, and to my ear, consists of a mixture of early death metal mixed with the first wave of black metal (ala Venom, Sodom, NME etc…), maybe even a bit of raunchy metal punk like Discharge or GBH influence as well. At times, I hear sounds that remind me to the death band Phantasm from the early 90s UG scene; anyone around back then probably got at least 50 of their flyers in the mail each week. Their “Abominable” demo tape was pretty great. The music on here is grimy, ugly and brutal. So much so, many people in the scene who love experimental death and black bands with super clean plastic production will hate this, but they did not make it for you so straighten your sweater, tighten your man bun and hit the fuckin’ road. This is made for people who love the way things used to be, who like extreme metal raw and dirty. The vocals are obscure, evil sounding demonic yells & growls that I really enjoyed and they have more inflection and character than you might expect with that description. The music itself has a kind of necro, suffocating atmosphere to it, which I like, alongside the middle pacing (with the odd speedy bit here and there) adds to the grim moodiness. There are three original songs on here, plus a cool cover of NME’s “Unspeakable” from their 1985 demo, which they obviously took their namesake from. This very limited release (100 copies), serves a cool collectors item and promotional tool at the same time, as I believe these three tracks will be on their upcoming debut LP due out in the near future. I hope I get a chance to hear that, it is sure to be a true bestial onslaught of an album.  - Dale

http://devilmusic.bigcartel.com/    https://unspeakablerites.bandcamp.com/        




"Divine Cessation” CD

(Bloody Mountain Recs / Self Released)


Coming out of California’s black death metal scene is Valdur (featuring members of Sxuperion, Weverin & ex-Plutocracy) with their new release “Divine Cessation”. The guitars are played mainly in the heavy, mid-paced realm with some faster and rawer black metal touches. The vocals are low, heavy death metal growls and some black metal style screams. This is not bad music at all, but personally I just can not get into it, but if you are familiar with this bands work or would like to check it out for yourself hit up one of the sites below as the band has a long history and many releases to explore.  - Patrick

https://valdur.bandcamp.com/    http://www.bloodymountainrecords.com/       




"Damaged Society” Demo CD

(Self Released)


This was a pleasant surprise to see arrive in my mailbox. This band based out of Phoenix, Arizona may be a new band, but their members are anything but, they are all veterans of the scene, having been in various bands. The band leader bassist / vocalist George Robb, has also been in many bands, maybe best known as a founding member of Agent Steel, where he appeared on their demo, debut album and ep. These boys could have stepped right out of the great early to mid 80s Crossover Thrash scene. I can hear influences in here (think specifically of the earlier works from these bands) like Slayer, D.R.I., Cryptic Slaughter, The Exploited, Exodus, S.O.D., Corrosion of Conformity, Sacred Reich etc… Violent Revolution carry on the tradition perfectly, they really have this sound down, playing with a raw, angry edge at all times. This album is a wonderfully rampaging wall of noise and controlled chaos. I even dug that short manic solo in the middle of “Damaged”. I love the vocal parts, where they spit out that gruff thrash and hardcore mix of vocals, and multiple members trade off lines of lyric. It really keeps the energy high, and gives you a feeling, of how cool it must be to see Violent Revolution live. Because there are many times, I found myself headbanging to this, and the sudden urge to jump up and punch the air wildly, like it had stolen something from me. The only thing I can seem to find that is wrong with this demo; it is 4 songs and an intro, too fucking short! I want more ASAP!! Get this raw, beautiful throwback angst drenched, spiked fist in the face of modern slickly produced bullshit.  - Dale

https://www.reverbnation.com/violentrevolution1   http://www.violentrevolution.net       




"Closer To Relevance” CD

(Self Released)


It is always nice to get something from a band from my area, as is the case with Philadelphia’s Workhorse III. This release is something a little different than what I usually receive for review. The band is a trio, fronted by lead guitarist / vocalist Lisa Christ Superstar, well mostly fronted by Lisa, as guitarist Steve McCarthy handles some of the lead and supporting vocals on some songs. I feel listening to their music, it is rooted in hard rock, but it is also heavily influenced by metal and always has this little seedy underbelly of punk running underneath the proceedings. Despite Workhorse playing a straight forward hard rocking style, there are actually some very cool guitar fills and leads on here, which add an extra dynamic emotional layer that puts the songs over the top. I like the energy of the band, they change things up, but always rock while lyrically and conceptually having this cool raunchy party vibe. I could see them being a very entertaining band to see live. I think fans of bands like Motorhead, Plastmatics, Girlschool mixed with a slightly more diverse palate of classic rock influences will really dig this album.  - Dale

http://workhorse3.bandcamp.com/    https://twitter.com/3Workhorse       




“Promo MMXV” CDR

(Self Released)


This Chilean band took me by surprise and in a good way. There are only two songs on here, but they are both killers and not short songs. Worship Death play grimy, pulverizing old school death metal in the vein of Autopsy, Repulsion, Dismember, Grave etc… This is some pretty fucking glorious stuff. It brings back that old feeling, very nicely to the point; I can almost taste the air of ripping open one of my tape traders packages from the early 90s. I love the trademark Autopsy style drumming and angry bee in a box gutfuck riffing. The vocals are like hearing an obscure recording, emanating from a pit, that serves as the mouth of hell. About the only even remotely negative thing I could say is, I wish the mix on the recording was a little better, more even, and the first song could use a little more flow to the pacing. But otherwise, I can not recommend this enough, to old school death metal die hards!!  - Dale

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