“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     




"Year Of The Harvester” Double CD

(Bowel Of Noise / Self Released)


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

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




"Where Ice Meets Ocean” CD

(Self Released)


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

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




"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/       




"Solitude Realized by Sorcery” CD

(Castle Dungeon Records / Self Released)


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

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




“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/     




"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/       




"II: Campaign Of Extermination” CD

(Self Released)


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

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




“Dawning” CD

(Self Released)


I am just going to jump right into it, no lead up, no preamble, with this review. I wish this band would take the heavy route and turn it up and get grittier. But instead, at every turn, you hear a heavy part or ripping riff inevitably veer off into lighter, cleaner and more florid softness. This tendency is seemingly irresistible for the band, the urge of letting a heavy riff or headbangable sequence play out and build without trying to tame it. The dampening of these sequences with an omnipresent, melodramatic blanket to wrap it all within, like they are concerned any rough edges will damage or scuff up anyone listening. When it comes to metal, I want the audio listening equivalent experience of taking a brutal beating, not someone looking tough, then wrapping a pair of brass knuckles in bubble wrap and gently tossing it at me. The band does list a number of influences like Megadeth, Testament, Arch Enemy, Iron Maiden etc… I can hear those influences or least most of them, but never in a strong way, never are those influences, in my opinion, allowed to run and play. Those influences are all too often pushed into the background in favour a safer, more saccharine version of what makes those bands great. Now, that is not to say there is no talent here, these guys handle their instruments well and have some skills. They just apply them in a way I am definitely not a fan of, even to the point, they kind of dance the line of not even keeping it within the metal sphere at times. I guess that is just what they are into, not sure, but it is not for me. I like my metal to have more balls, and they choose to cut them off every time the music starts growing a pair and begins getting good. I would like to see the band go more in the direction of the song “Thrashgasm”, this is the only song the band really let’s the horse break into a gallop for a minute or two. If you are into metal that is on the softer, gentler end of the spectrum, then you will like this a lot more than I did.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/darkhoundband    https://www.dark-hound.com/       




"Circles Of Failure” CD

(Punishing Records / Self Released)


This band has been around longer than I thought, having released their debut demo way back in 2001, since then they have been releasing music for nearly twenty years now. The “Circles Of Failure” marks the Swiss bands sixth full length album. You can tell a lot of thought and skillful planning went into constructing the songs on this release. The music is a tasteful mixing of technicality, melody and brutality in one package that balances all three of those elements in quite equal measures. This for me is not that common, as usually bands go all technical, all brutal or they incorporate so much pure melody it drowns out and neuters the other elements, but thankfully not so with Darkrise. They do keep the melody and memorability factor high while never losing sight of the brutality that makes the heart of death metal what it is. Somewhere in the middle of all of that is a fairly high level of technicality with layers woven throughout the tapestry with some really tasty guitar fills, mini-solos and masterfully constructed and performed drum work giving it all a great foundation to work off of. The bass is even noticeable and adds it’s own touches to the musical whole. I really enjoyed the vocals too. The growling has that really brutal edge yet there is just enough diction to make them accessible as they adeptly mimic and compliment the instrumentation they are mixing into. Darkrise’s age is showing in a good way, their experience and skill have continued to grow while not losing sight of their brutal Floridian death metal roots and they have turned it into something of their own that is very notable and worth your attention ASAP.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/darkriseband    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/      




"Children Fear The Name Of God” Demo Tape / “Code Line Termination Live 2015” Cassette

(Doomsday’s Today Records)


Children Fear The Name Of God” is a demo tape originally recorded and released in 2005. It chronicles the embryonic stages of label owner Paul Sanchez, it is his first band prior to Crucified Society and NOCO (Nihilistic Outlaw : Criminal Order whose releases I reviewed last month). It is a nice looking pro pressed tape with black printing on a white cassette shell. I am sure the extremely low-fi recording sound, basically the equivalent to a rehearsal demo, something bands used to release in the early to mid ‘90s, may turn some people off. It does make it a little harder to review, but enough of their primitive death metal shines through that I found fairly enjoyable. There are some cool riffs and catchy song structuring in a few parts, but you can hear they needed some work and were just starting out. But as mentioned I still enjoyed it and the brutish shouted growls with a slight hardcore edge display the bands passion and that counts for me. I could see real die hards of old school lately ‘80s / early ‘90s dm getting into this.

Code Line Termination Live 2015” is Paul’s, I guess third band after Doomsday above and NOCO, but I believe this band was formed quite early in NOCO’s history during a hiatus for NOCO. Apparently, this was the bands only release, despite twice recording an albums worth of material they never released. It is also interesting that apparently all 40 minutes of music on here was mostly improvised on the spot. It sounds it too, to be honest, but that does not necessarily make it bad. Because, if you get into the vibe of it it does rock in it’s own metallic riffed meandering way, but if you are looking for thought out songs and structuring then forget it. The vocalist Paul, maybe due to the fact this recording done while opening up for the post El Duce era of The Mentors, but it sort of sounds like half shouted, partially obscure gruff spoken word El Duce style vox to me. He even has stand off-ish, we don’t give a shit banter, he is just missing all of the wonderfully depraved sexual references of the headliners haha. This is probably not for everyone, not the band cares either way, but if you like fucked up audio recordings of live gigs you might want to add this crazy beast to your collection. Okay, so if you want order this or any releases from Doomsday Today Records either get it online from the physical shop of Ralph’s Records in Lubbock, Texas (dougstapp@gmail.com + site link below) or Eternal Darkness Creations at c/o Keith Dempe, P.O. Box 268, Coraopolis, PA. 15108, USA.  - Dale

http://ralphsrecordstx.com/    Label / Band Contact: pauldoomsday@hotmail.com         




“Reminiscence” CD EP

(Self Released)


Canada’s Empress have released their debut EP (listed it as an EP despite a near 30 minute run time), featuring five songs of sludgy and progressive extreme music. The music on this disc is a very interesting, and somewhat original blend of progressive rock with a healthy dose of sludge with some traditional doom elements sucked into their musical melting pot. I am not a huge fan of these genres, but Empress does do a good job of combining these sub-genres, within the bands solid writing abilities. The vocals are a mix of screams and hollering along with a smattering of clean vocal styling. As I mentioned, I am honestly not a huge fan of these genres, but the band does a good job of writing and playing a fairly creative musical style.  - Patrick

https://thisisempress.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/EmpressBC/  




“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/       




"Revelation Of Unknown” CD

(Self Released)


Istina is an interesting band from Russia, consisting of two members, with this being their sophomore full-length release. I would say their music is somewhat minimalist, for large portions of this album there is sparse guitars and a myriad of accents (clips, effects, keyboards etc…) combining together to create a very moody and melancholy sort of atmosphere. I guess you would call them avant-garde black metal? Yet, you or at least I do, think of intricate high level playing and the playing is good solid enough, but it is not that. They even employ a drum machine, and while it is fairly competently executed, it is surely not one of those cases where you say I could not even tell it was a drum machine, no it clearly sounded like a drum machine to me before I even checked to confirm. I am not a fan of drum machines / programming, but if it is done decently enough on here that it is not a distraction, well most of the time at least. The songs range in duration from short 3-5 minute numbers, which feel like interlude pieces connecting and transitioning to the longer songs, which range from 8-10 minutes in length. The overall run time clocks in at a robust one hour and ten minutes! As mentioned, the album overall is minimalist and stripped down (ie – just guitars lightly played with elongated flowing notes / tones) which lends itself well to the morose atmospheric vibe the band is going for. Then there are other times, like seven minute track “Losing Control”, where the band creates some great, freezing early ‘90s Scandinavian black metal. Yet even this song has creepy, brief chanting vocal sounds / obscure far screams, winds, accents of synth and even some piano at the end of a song that at it’s core is harsh, violent black metal – this is very well done! Revelation Of Unknown is an interesting album for me, at times I enjoyed it very much, the members of this band have a talent for creating epic moody songs, the sort which can really take you on a sinuous flowing journey. Having said that, there are times when it feels maybe a tad aimless, where certain sections of the album feel slightly excessive, and could benefit from some editing down, maybe say ten to fifteen minutes worth probably should have hit the cutting room floor. At the same time, the rest of the album is an interesting emotive journey to zone out with, but the band do not leave you hanging there entirely, as they there are those passages of cold and harsh black metal to bring back down into your physical body to viscerally enjoy as well (a little more of this next time would be cool). I found this a bit of hard album to review, it is not an essential purchase necessarily. But, it is definitely worth a listen, actually a few long listens, it will take that many to really sink in and enjoy / realize the musical vision these Russian wizards have conjured up for you.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/IstinaBM    https://istina-bm.bandcamp.com/      




“The Biddings Of Tyrants” CD & Cassette

(Self Released / Doomsday's Today Records)


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

Update - I was sent a nice looking professionally released cassette version of this album released on this on the new & very dedicated record label Doomsday's Today Records. There are two main distributors to order this labels releases from and those are online from the physical shop of Ralph’s Records in Lubbock, Texas (dougstapp@gmail.com + site link below) or Eternal Darkness Creations at c/o Keith Dempe, P.O. Box 268, Coraopolis, PA. 15108, USA.

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




"Wolf” Digital EP

(Self Released)


New York black metallers (frequently of the avant-garde and technical variety) Krallice have swung back into my Bandcamp feed with their new EP Wolf after about a year of not publicly issuing forth new material. Back in 2017, they produced two great and distinctive albums in Loüm and Go Be Forgotten, and now they are at it again with the technically intriguing composition work. Wolf contains a consistently dark dimension to it that feels like sinking your hand into blackstrap molasses before reaching its roiling, fluid depths. Krallice attentively developing atmosphere on this EP works well for the replay value and is what I might say distinguishes it from their 2017 offerings. That is not to say that interest in atmosphere is lacking in Loüm or in Go Be Forgotten; it is simply an observation about one of the more noticeably appealing features of Wolf. For example, after listening to the pummeling instrumentation that pervades the first three-quarters of "Church," reaching the gently atmospheric section towards the end of the track acts like an eerie palate-cleanser. Having that section conclude such a temptingly aggressive composition with even more controlled chaos to look forward to in "Time Rendered Omni" is such a treat in terms of album arrangement because it keeps the listener absorbed in the tension between loose, temperate measures and those with more tumultuous overtones. Despite some of these tracks on Wolf ending slightly abruptly, I found myself enjoying that aspect with repeated listens since it works with the overall tone of the EP that I just described. I have never been disappointed in a single album that I have heard by Krallice—their work always enraptures me in one way or another, although it's usually due to their technical prowess that does not waste time with pretention.  –Aaron

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




"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         




"Self Titled” CD

(Self Released)


The Lost Tribes Of The Moon are a band I find very hard to put into one musical or metal genre. The bands debut full length, and debut release as a band period consists of three long songs (ranging from 8+ to 13+ minutes a piece) and three shorter instrumental tracks. The music is very well written and performed, showing a high level of skill and consisting of influences from a variety of genres. The guitars are played with both slower melodic patterns, and at times faster more aggressive sections throughout each song. The vocals mix both female clean sung vocals and some male vocals that consist of hollering screams accented with some melodic male vocal patterns. Lost Tribes are a very unique blend of traditional doom, early progressive rock and even some folk metal / rock elements.  - Patrick

https://losttribesofthemoon1.bandcamp.com    https://www.facebook.com/losttribesofthemoon          




"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/       




“Dreaming in a Dead Language” CD & LP

(Self Released)


I cannot resist raising as much awareness as I can when it comes to awesome, independent, North Carolinian bands producing new material. I saw Mo'ynoq for the first time last year at Raleigh Deathfest, and they put on an amazing stage performance that contrasted greatly with the lineup of mostly death metal bands (as the name of the festival suggests) but also certainly complemented the general ethos of the concert. They were a breath of fresh air because I don't know about y'all, but taking in some black metal that invokes slightly colder climes during a sticky Raleigh, NC summer is just about as refreshing as it gets when water bottles cost $1.50 a piece (that shit racks up!). The main vocals in particular have that consistent howling quality to them that makes one think of the 50 mph winds that gust through the mountains of NC more often than the Piedmont. The guitars also often have a certain edge to them that's not quite ice pick, not quite serrated knife—somewhere in between that is both pleasant to listen to in moments like those at the beginning of and throughout "These Once Tranquil Grounds" as well as energizing in passages like we find in the dominant riffing and tenacious percussion of "Carve My Name." Mo'ynoq have crafted an album that rides this balance with precision and grace. You'll understand what I mean if you listen to the middle three tracks—how they lead seamlessly in and out of the central interlude, "Doomed to Endure," a piano track that is boldly emotive in such a way that stands head-and-shoulders with the character of the rest of the album. But don't just take my 303 words for it—definitely give these guys a listen if you have a taste or curiosity for quality NCBM. –Aaron

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




“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  




“Born Against Nihilist” Demo Tape + “Split with Stoner Witch” Split Cassette EP + “Live At Zombiez Bar & Grill, Amarillo, TX. 5/31/17” Cassette

(Doomsday’s Today Records)


Born Against Nihilist” is a 2 song demo cassette released by the band last year, and like all the tapes by this band here, it is pro pressed and packaged. The music on here is pretty rough and chaotic, muddy and short tunes that repeat on both sides of the tape. It honestly feels a little like a jam or rehearsal tape, rather than a demo, but I really dig the obscure, far off sounding manic vocals drenched in echoing effect. There are some fast grindy songs that are pretty good. The packaging on this pro tape and all the N.O.C.O. tapes I am reviewing look fantastic.

“Split with Stoner Witch” is a nice little nearly lost gem that was supposed to be released years ago, but never came out, until now. You get four songs from each band on this split. Stoner Witch is on deck first with the track being a really catchy heavy killer riff, setting the stage for some cool stoner doom metal, the vocals though could use a bit of work as they sound like a just passable copy of El Duce from The Mentors mixed with Paul Speckmann. That first track rules! The second song totally departs from that and is a fast, raunchy old school punk rock song. That track is apparently a Doom cover. Stoner’s side is a little eclectic but cool. Now on to the N.O.C.O. side of the tape. These two tracks are the same ones on the demo I reviewed above, which are “Born Again Nihilist” & “The Beast Within”. The sound and production on this recording is far superior to the sound on the demo tape, which makes these same two tunes more enjoyable to mine ear. The atmospheric soundscape effects elements come through much stronger, and as a result, it has much more impact. It is hard to describe the music style, here it is crossover punk/hardcore/metal mixed with experimental almost sci-fi sounding ambient sound sample elements. It is different than a lot of stuff in these styles you have listened to and interesting enough to recommend. Along the with the high quality Stoner Witch material it makes this split tape well worth checking out for sure.

“Live At Zombiez Bar & Grill, Amarillo, TX. 5/31/17" tape comes with two separate versions of the recording of this gig, side A is the “Raw Mix”, and side B is the “Remastered Mix”. Now, if you are a regular reader you know I generally enjoy raw, low-fi recordings, but side A of this cassette is painful to listen to, it has a continuous hissing, high pitched treble-y whine, like if you recorded it open air on a blown out ‘80s Boombox. It was so headache inducing for me, that I confess I gave up a few minutes in and fast forwarded to side B. So thankfully the remastered mix side, while still on the slightly raw and low-fi end of things, it is so much more listenable and enjoyable. The slowed down version of the show is a rumbling feedback, heavily echoing and fluctuating, almost sci-fi horror style soundtrack that just melds what is apparently four songs into one long ricocheted disarray of a singular mindfuck song, which I surprisingly kind of enjoyed. It is a bit of a weird experience though, and not conventional sounding at all, pretty experimental. Apparently, there were vocals in there, but it became just one continuous soundscape with the effects they lavish upon it that they are hard to distinguish. I would say unless you are a grating atmospheric oscillating (wall of) noise fan, you might not get into this release. I would guess after watching a live clip of the band online, this came across pretty different in person at the bar. Okay, so if you want order this or any releases from Doomsday Today Records either get it online from the physical shop of Ralph’s Records in Lubbock, Texas (dougstapp@gmail.com + site link below) or Eternal Darkness Creations at c/o Keith Dempe, P.O. Box 268, Coraopolis, PA. 15108, USA.  - Dale

http://ralphsrecordstx.com/    Label / Band Contact: pauldoomsday@hotmail.com        




"Profit For Armageddon” CD + “Resurrection” Cassette EP

(Doomsday’s Today Records)


“Profit For Armageddon” is the bands second full length recording (a limited re-release of it). I love the opening clip, which is one of the greatest sequences from the fantastic John Carpenter movie They Live. The concept of that movie seems to inspire a lot of the lyrics in the songs that follow with similar themes of mind control, brain washing, corporate dominance, human treachery, loss of liberty and systemic corruption etc... Shortly afterwards, maybe it is my imagination being influenced by that clip, but I could swear, on some listens, I hear the bass mimic that great foreboding Carpenter penned ominous beat, which I dig, fans of the movie will know exactly what beat I mean. Musically, I would call them an interesting mixing of things like the first DRI album, Antiseen, GG Allin, Spazz and maybe some Agathocles now and then as well. Despite that description NOCO do have their slower, brooding songs that convey a foreboding contemplative and melancholic side. But, they eventually do usually return to the punchy chaos and crossover violence, accentuated with elements of hardcore, death metal and short intense sporadic bursts of grindcore. The vocals probably mainly stay in the shouted hardcore style, but to me, clearly sound like they are sung by a total metalhead, which produces a little different tone and vibe than a lot of other hardcore / crossover bands. There are other styles mixed in the vox, there are some high pitched nasally squeals, some more death metal growling influenced vocals, but also some deep sort of distorted spoken word that seem to have a quality in the delivery that expresses a level of pain and regret. The first 17 tracks make up the album and have a fairly cohesive album feel to them, which I liked. The last 10 tracks are bonus tracks (consisting of the entire first album as I understand it) and are a lot more streamlined death grind crossover, quick hits of speed with a little less of the hardcore and thrash influences. The bonus tracks, while it is nice to get extra stuff, those extra tracks are different enough that they interrupted the flow for me. So, I kind of think it might be a better listening experience to just have the “Profit…” album proper on here, minus the bonus tracks, as I like listen to my stuff on repeat and let it play through. It does serve to show the progression and a definite higher quality level was achieved on this second album, over the first. I am told copies of this cd are very limited & not likely to be repressed so do not hesitate to order this.

“Resurrection” along with the album above probably has the best sound that suits the material out of all of the N.O.C.O. releases I have reviews. This release starts off with the two songs that are on I think all of the tapes (not the CD), which of course are “Born Again Nihilist” and “The Beast Within”. There are two others on here as well “I Await The Prophecy” and “A Wiseman Once Said…”. It continues on with the metallic hardcore crusty crossover I described above, always with that experimental, uneasy, slightly disturbing sci-fi sound effects and samples. The vocals are definitely an integral part of the music they really, for me, set and lead the tone of the music, the sound of the vocalists voice and emphasis he places on certain parts of words creates a vibe. The vocals in a way remind me of a more obscure, hardcore influenced version of Barney Greenway of Napalm Death, but with less overall growling. I believe “Resurrection” is the bands newest released recording. I was told today by the vocalist they have, just recently, recorded a new ep and a 19 track third album. So be on the look out for that, I know I will be. All that said, these two releases in this particular review are close to the best by the band and worth checking out if you like crazy, slightly experimental crossover music. So, if you want order this or any releases from Doomsday Today Records either get it online from the physical shop of Ralph’s Records in Lubbock, Texas (dougstapp@gmail.com + site link below) or Eternal Darkness Creations at c/o Keith Dempe, P.O. Box 268, Coraopolis, PA. 15108, USA.  - Dale

http://ralphsrecordstx.com/    Label / Band Contact: pauldoomsday@hotmail.com       




"Reborn” Cassette EP

(Doomsday’s Today Records)


Well now, the notorious N.O.C.O. return to the pages of Canadian Assault, continuing on their prolific pace of releases in recent times. Some of which, I reviewed just a couple of months back. This release really continues down the path of experimentation for the band. A lot of their early sound and influences from hardcore / crust styles are nearly non-existent now. Some of the scathing metal influences remain, but they pop in and out of audio view in quite fleeting fashion, yet still leaving an indelible mark on the coarse and caustic disturbing atmosphere. The music is largely centered around Paul’s vocals and the samples, both of which are often manipulated in some form or fashion. This is achieved with a barrage of quick edited bits of those elements sewn together into a patchwork quilt of depraved lawless auditory sensations. Just about any way you can think of manipulating sounds is employed on this release from slowing it down, speeding it up, distorting, twisting and turning it into a spitefully wanton musical sculpture that is sure to leave an indelible mark on your psyche. Well okay, so maybe I just do not listen to many bands that experiment to this level, but I have heard a handful over the years and I can honestly say this release is probably one of the more distinct sounding. Does that mean original? No, probably not, but the way in which they have constructed those tried and true elements just may be. I have to say outside of the good raw hardcore / crusty punk, thrashing metal crossover hatred on the bands second album “Profit For Armageddon”, this roughly 20 minute release is without a doubt N.O.C.O.’s finest hour and a clear step forward in their evolution, as far as quality is concerned. It took a few listens to sink in, but this comes quite highly recommended from me. Well done boys, well fucking done. If you want order this or any releases from Doomsday Today Records either get it online from the physical shop of Ralph’s Records in Lubbock, Texas (dougstapp@gmail.com + site link below) or Eternal Darkness Creations at c/o Keith Dempe, P.O. Box 268, Coraopolis, PA. 15108, USA.  - Dale

http://ralphsrecordstx.com/    https://therealnoco.bandcamp.com/      




"Calm Before The Storm” Cassette EP” CD

(Doomsday’s Today Records)


This is my first time ever hearing the Texas based Nilhilistic Outlaw Criminal Order, who play an experimental style of music with some industrial touches added here and there throughout the songs. This is decent band, but hard to put into any one or even two genres as the band seems draw influences from a genres and bands. The songs themselves are short in length with there being 14 songs and the run time is around 15 minutes. If you are a fan of this bands previous releases and enjoy experimental metal with touches of industrial then do yourself a favor and check out N.O.C.O. today. Send orders of physical copies of this tape to either of the following: Doomsday Today Records, Eternal Darkness Creations, c/o Keith Dempe, PO Box 268, Coraopolis, PA. 15108 and also thru Ralph's Records, c/o Doug Stapp, 3322 82nd St., Lubbock, TX. 79423 USA  - Patrick

http://www.RalphsRecordsTX.com    https://therealnoco.bandcamp.com/      




“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/       




"Path Of Damnation” CD

(Castle Of Damnation / Self Released)


I reviewed the bands previous output, which was their debut release in the form a rehearsal demo tape. It was really a rough preview of this album, in a lot of ways as the demo had 4 songs all of which are present on this debut album, comprising half of the songs on this release. I am sure it is partly down to the rougher, dirtier recording of the rehearsal demo, but I feel like the heaviness and aggression on this full length has been dialed back and the melodicism level increased proportionally. I think it is more than that recording giving me this impression though, as some of the newer material not on that demo, such as songs like “From Shadow”, “Burnt Beyond Recognition” and “Nemesis” are saturated with this element. Do I wish there was more straight on bludgeoning brutality mixed in? The answer is yes, but that does not mean this release is not good, it is pretty outstanding actually. If you are going to go all in on the melodies, they better be damn good, the melodies this album is chock full of are superb and catchy as fuck. Now, do not get me wrong here, there is still some hints of aggression and darkness in the harmonious melodo darkened death metal. The guitar work on here is fantastic; it is obvious there was a lot of thought put into the structuring and execution of the guitars. Despite the overall sound not reflecting this style, some of the more nuanced guitar work, fills and soloing might even remind the listener of the more emotive moody guitars in thrash and heavy metal. I said after listening to the demo tape I liked it a lot, but the transitions and overall song composition could use a little refinement, which is something the band have done much more skillfully on this impressive release. I am not a very big melodic death fan, to be honest, but this album really won me over.  - Dale

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




"The Eldritch Realm” CD

(Self Released)


Do folks still use that old Ron Burgundy meme about shit escalating quickly? Well, regardless, Parius’ musical maturation sure did. Jumping from their EP Let There Be Light (2017) to The Eldritch Realm is quite a mighty leap and, man, do these dudes stick the landing. From the technically inclined riffing to the sometimes-unsettling melodies, Parius will have you hooked at every Lovecraftian twist and turn of their tracks. What impresses me the most about this album is the range and variability of the compositions: they move seamlessly between frenzied, electrified passages and more stripped-down, acoustic moments. This breadth of possibility is reflected in the vocal approaches as well, which span traditionally deep death growls as well as weirdly appealing clean vocals that are definitely in tune but are somehow uncannily so. While all of this mobility is taking place in the melodic sections, the bass and drums remain omnipresent, keeping the compositions grounded in something consistently tangible, organic, and somewhat entrancing. Just listen to how the bass in particular draws in the audience at the beginning of the last track, “Crashing Black Moon,” and you’ll see what I mean. This track in particular is a phenomenal testament to Parius’ talent with composition, clocking in at 8 minutes and 24 seconds without a single moment wasted. “Crashing Black Moon” is the longest track on this album, however, with the rest of them remaining under the 6-minute mark. The Eldritch Realm is fairly economical in that way, with a total run-time of about 29 minutes that is absolutely rewarding upon repeated listens. Trust this coming from someone who has been listening to it frequently since its release on July 20th—I always find some new, intriguing bit to enjoy about this album each time I plug it in. A gratifying listen through and through, I would highly recommend The Eldritch Realm to any extreme metal fan who is not squeamish about occasional, accenting clean vocals and keyboards.  –Aaron

https://www.facebook.com/pariusofficial    https://parius.bandcamp.com/        




“Lifeless Haze” Demo Tape

(Visceral Circuitry Records)


This is a re-release of this U.K. bands demo tape. It was originally, a digital only release, which originally saw the light of day and the dark of night way back in 2014. This is some pretty cool old school brutal death metal with some technical touches here and there. I dig a lot of riffing, as there is a really heavy feeling to it, possessing a sort of dark, suffocating and ethereal atmospheric quality I enjoy more with each successive listen. There are some cool crazed solos, here and there, which come slashing through the wall of heavy smothering music, seemingly out of nowhere. I feel like the bands biggest influences are early ‘90s Floridian death metal mixed with a little Gorguts “Erosion of Sanity” and Benediction “The Grand Leveller”. The vocals kind of remind me of that era too, with those sorts of bands employing good similarly deep, semi-decipherable rumbling growls. The final track is the brooding title song “Lifeless Haze”, the longest track on here, which clocks in at over seven minutes. Somewhere around the 4 to 5 minute mark, it turns into a bit of Godflesh style sequence to mess with your mind. All in all, this is a pretty damn cool demo, which V.C. Records has dusted off to give the band a little more of the recognition it deserves. I had honestly not even heard of the band prior to getting this, so job done by the label by bringing my attention to it and in turn helping to get the release some more attention around the scene. If you love old school raw death metal, along the lines I described above then check this one out. I believe there is a free download out there, but the tape is sold cheap (price I seen was in pounds but looks it converts to about $4US roughly) for about 20 minutes of music.  - Dale 

https://visceralcircuitryrecs.bandcamp.com/music    http://visc.tictail.com/           




"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/        




"Demo 2019” Cassette

(Caligari Records)


This is the debut release from this Rochester, NY band presenting five tracks totaling just under 20 minutes of music. This young band plays raw sounding stripped down yet not stripped down, brutal old school metal of death. What do I mean by that? Well, it is stripped down death metal, but the simplistic main body is supported with some well crafted song structuring and subtle yet skillful guitar playing and drum work, which brings that straightforward foundation of their songs to a higher level. Ultimately Undeath it seems are more focused on making memorable, headbang inducing songs than trying to fit a million elements into a song or just playing as fast you can just for the sake of it. I really enjoyed some of the great energetic guitar fills that propel the music forward amongst the mainstay slower mid paced moody death doom style elements. Some influences I hear bleeding through this killer demo are stuff like Disembowelment, Demilich “Nespithe”, early Immolation, early Gorguts, Morbid Angel (2nd & 3rd album period) etc... I might even say some of the more finesse guitar work reminds me a little bit of early to mid period Death. I also really dig the dark, obscured sounding growls with rolling whisper undertone to them, definitely a highlight for me. Honestly, recording is only slightly raw, slightly muddy sounding. I think it suits and accentuates their music well, if I was in this band I would seriously consider recording their next release the exact same way. That thick, heavy and deep guitar sound is really pleasing to mine ears. I already can not wait for this new bands next release!  - Dale

https://undeath.bandcamp.com/releases    https://www.facebook.com/CaligariRecords          




“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/           




“Volume 1: The Bonds Of Servitude” CD

(Self Released)


A short interlude of wind sounds and bells starts off the new Unholy Baptism release, which consists of eight tracks of cold Norwegian inspired black metal. As mentioned, the band does draw on influences from early to mid ‘90s black metal, but do add some of their own touches into the sound while displaying their strong musical skill in the process. The guitars are mainly played with intense and fast patterns, but the guitarist does slow down to calmer mid paced range at times. The vocals are raw grim black metal screams and screeches. The drums are done with a drum program and are a myriad of extremely fast and chaotic beats, but thankfully it does not sound like a robotic drum machine and instead much more like a real drummer than you would expect. If you are a fan of the early ‘90s black metal greats such as Immortal, early Darkthrone, Marduk and Dark Funeral then do yourself a real favor and check this band out today.  - Patrick

https://unholybaptism.bandcamp.com    http://unholybaptism.com/       




“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/        




"Goat Of Iniquity” CD

(Bloody Mountain Records / Self Released)


This band features the prolific talents and dedication of Lord Sxuperion, who has no less than 4 different current bands (including one man bands Garden Of Hesperides & Sxuperion plus full member bands like Weverin & Valdur) releasing a steady stream of albums and eps. The California based Valdur return once again with their sixth full length to date, which features six songs of heavy, crazed blackened death metal insanity. The music on ‘Goat Of Iniquity’ seems to be rooted more in the old school death metal style, with some black metal influences spread throughout the songs. The guitar work is extreme and chaotic with razor sharp patterns cutting through the chaos. The guitarist does cut back to a slower, calmer mid paced structuring in some of the songs adding contrast and fleshed out with a few solos mixed into the music. The drums follow along the guitars in the same vein highlighted by some furious hyper speed blast beats in between the less speedy material that fits Valdur’s style perfectly. If you are familiar with Valdur’s previous releases, and like them, then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this release today.  - Patrick

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




“Place Of A Skull” Demo CDR EP

(Self Released)


This was a surprise in my mailbox recently, not to even mention a real blast from the past! I reviewed a few Venusian demos way back in the print issue days, maybe somewhere around 1999 to 2003 time period I want to say. We are talking about discography of nearly 30 releases to date, since this one man (David Vora) band’s inception. I am not sure when it all started, but I believe the band goes back to the mid-90s! This may be one of David’s most personal releases, as there is a song about a family member on here, as well as another song, all about what it is like to live with his affliction of Schizophrenia. I commend David for opening up like that; it is brave how much of a brutally honest glimpse he gives you into both his condition’s effects and living through the heavy medication he needs to take to manage it. Sorry for the long background and preamble, time to get to the music. The drum machine on here sounds terrible especially during the slower and mid-paced songs, it is not as bad during the faster sections. I thought in the past I have seen pics of Vora in front of a drum kit (even though it sounded like he was drumming on a plastic bucket or something), not sure why he went to the machine, maybe out of some necessity? The vocals are kind of half sung, half spoken word, rather than being growled or shrieked or something like that. His voice does sort of have a slight Cronos from Venom tone to it, which unsurprisingly, knowing me is something I actually like on this release. I do not know what to say. The whole thing is not good, understand I am making that clear that it is pretty bad actually. Having said that, I find certain sections of this release kind of infectious to listen to somehow despite the low quality in all areas of this release. It has been many years since I last heard V.D.C., I am both amazed at David’s dedication to keep this going all this time, but I must admit I would have thought he would just naturally have progressed to a higher level with his playing (even right down to his cover “artwork” as well). Maybe I could say his song crafting has improved slightly. Then again, it has been probably over a decade since I listened to the old material, so I am relying on very old memories of it. But I respect the man’s dedication to sticking with it and believing in himself, no matter what anyone says. David is pretty fucking old school still! You have to actually write to him, as he does not have a bandcamp or anything else along those lines, at least not that I could find.  - Dale 

https://youtu.be/u4_1kJDSY6k    davidvora10@hotmail.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/