"Reflections Of Horror” Demo Cassette

(Caligari Records)


This Californian band is brand new and just hot off the presses. But the two members that make up this duo are anything but green around the gills, in the UG scene, as they span many years and sub-genres. These two have been in hardcore, crust, thrash, death and grindcore bands over the years. Those two members are Federico Davila (who plays or has been in Unurnment, Primal Rite, Permanent Ruin, DeadEyedStare etc…) and Jeremy Meier (from current or former bands like Cøndition, Sanctum, Primal Rite, Scalped, Yadokai, Ritual Control, Effluxus etc…). Abysmalist play old school brutalizing death metal, but not in the death metal way you may assume filled with grind and blast beats, no they play more middle paced death metal with doomy touches. They place an emphasis on creating a very morbid, creepy graveyard rituals type atmosphere and aura, which permeates the whole sound. Some bands that come to mind as I listen to this demo are Obituary, Asphyx, Grave, Autopsy (Mental Funeral era), Bolt Thrower, Benediction (ala Grand Leveller), early Incantation, Morgoth etc… I dig the deep growling vocals, they have that guttural, garbled edge to them, but still solidly enunciated enough to follow along and decipher much of the lyrical content. Yeah man, I fucking love those vocals; they even throw in lyrical echoing backing (clean) vocals in a spot or two that I enjoyed. I would not really call them a headbang or moshpit type of band, but they do have sections here and there like in the songs “Chain Ripper” and “Black Lacquer” that got me nodding and headbanging like a madman with those killer brutal infectious riffs and catchy song structuring, while still impressively retaining that dark, sinister cruelty in the sound. I enjoyed this demo and look forward to their next release, maybe a seven inch or will they go for it with a full length? Either one sounds good to me!  - Dale

https://abysmalist.bandcamp.com/releases    http://www.caligarirecords.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/       




"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/      




"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         




“Capricorn” CD & LP

(Self Released)


Their band name is the French word for funeral procession. This is something a little different, not sure I liked it at first to be honest, but a few more listens in a row has been changing my mind and winning me over. Cortége compose and perform (using the word play seems wrong here somehow) very atmospheric and ultra slow moving doomy droning metal. There are also subtle doses of electronica, which sounds like it comes straight out of ‘70s progressive rock and moody dramatic sci-fi movie soundtracks from that same period (have you ever heard the brilliant soundtrack to Beyond The Black Rainbow? That sort of vibe). It is minimalist in every aspect and instrument, but so slow moving it is almost like if you think of the creepy audio version of time-lapse photography. This album does feel, to me, like auditory artwork is being painted across the canvas of my mind as I listen to “Capricorn”. Despite how slow it is going, you can tell it is based on a certain amount of melody and musicality which has been stretched out almost beyond belief, as opposed to the mindless droning that most bands in that style do. I guess I should mention this is instrumental music; there are sounds of crows, bells and things like that, but vocals, not so much. When I say droning, don’t get the wrong idea here, it is not that grating, noise drone, no it is far more smooth and flowing than that, literally like taking a doom metal band and slowing it down by a factor of a hundred. The epic length 17 minute title track that finishes off the album, makes me think a lot of if a droning doomy metal band that incorporated sound the gloomy soundtrack from Twin Peaks into a song. For me, this is something different than what most bands are doing, it is not original sounding per see yet it is different as they take elements that tried and true, manipulating them into some thing you probably have not heard before in this way. But it is good; if you like hypnotic musical soundscapes then Cortége will scratch that itch in a satisfying way.  - Dale

https://cortege.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/cortegeatx          




“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/          




"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         




"Re-Animated” Demo CDR

(Self Released)


“Re-Animated” is this Pennsylvania band Fatal Agent’s newest demo (this is their 4th demo since 2017!) featuring four songs of re-recorded and re-written from previous releases. I have never heard the original versions, so I can not comment on the new versions and how they match up or differ from the originals. But the music is very rooted in the ‘80s thrash metal vein presented in a package of very aggressive and raw sounding music. The guitars are mainly played with extremely fast and frenzied riffing and picking. As mentioned, the guitars are mostly heavy fast riffs, but the guitarist can write some slightly slower, memorable passages even adding some well played solos into the musical mix. The vocals are classic sounding gruff thrashy hostile screams. If you are a fan of aggressive thrash metal then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this release today.  - Patrick

https://fatalagent.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/FatalAgent       




"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/      




"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      




"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          




“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   




Que Muera El Perro Jesus!!!” CD EP

(Perro Jesus Records / Self Released)


This band from Chile has supposedly been around since the early ‘90s, but did not make any official releases until 1998 for some reason. Either way, these South American juggernauts have been around a long fucking time and have released only two albums and two EPs during these many years. I guess they are a quality over quantity band. The band plays melodic death metal, with a Euro flavour to it yet still retaining a little of their own regions scene roots. If I had to guess,I would say Necrodemon started out as more of a straight brutal death metal band. I say that, as I find most melodo dm bands that do not start out that way usually focus too much on pretty melody and never get the brutal death metal side strong enough, creating a lopsided mix that often turns me off. However, Necrodemon have a pretty good mix going on here, as their brutal side is brutal and mean, which adds much more effectiveness in my view when the melodious accents kick into gear. The sound on here is really good too, heavy and clear. The vocals are comprehensible growls that have that harsh edge, on a large portion of them they like to have a quieter, slightly delayed second vocal that repeats the same words over again, which is pretty cool and creative. I would suggest using that vocal effect with some moderation though or it could get tiresome. As I mentioned I am not the biggest melodic dm fan, but Necrodemon do it right and have created a pretty solid release with this EP that is worth your time.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Necrodemon.cl    http://www.necrodemon.cl/sitio/      




“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/      




"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/        




"Path Of Damnation” Promo CDR

(Self Released)


Well now, I have some history with this one, the two men Clayton & his cousin Chris Shaver are the same two who made up the awesome Canadian band Morbid Darkness, which was around from 1989 to 1996. I was in touch with them, mainly Clayton (though Chris is a cool guy as well); I even made the 10 hour drive to stay at Clayton’s house. I believe it was in the summer of 1994. Not only that, I co-ran the record label Autopsy Kitchen Records and we re-released their ’94 demo tape on 7” ep, about a decade later. I have not been contact with Clayton for the last decade or so, apparently they lost contact with each other for many years as well, with much water under the bridge I am sure. They have now reformed (playing together for the first time since ’96!!), and rightly so, after so long they have chosen to form a new band and this release is the result. I can hear hints of that old M.D. sound, but overall as many years of life’s travails will tend to do, they are different people now, so it stands to reason the music they produce is pretty different sounding yet the old deep chemistry remains. I must admit, upon first listen I thought this was just decent, but I am about a dozen listens deep and it grows on me more and more, I can not stop listening to it now! Many elements in these songs are stuck in my head, and that is a good sign. I would say Morbid Darkness were more of an old school black death metal band and Shadu I would call more of a dark death metal band, but their old school thrash, speed & heavy metal root system is deeply entrenched and proudly on display. The music is heavy and catchy, it had me headbanging at times; there are some killer lyrics and even some cool repeated chorus sections. I love the line “Raise Your Head, Open Your Mouth, Drink In The Rain Of Blood!”, which is a great line that conjures a cool vision in my mind. There are some cool short guitar solos, which definitely remind me of some of old solo project jam tapes and things Clayton would give me back in the day. Clayton (guitar & main vocals) has added to his growling vocal arsenal since the old days with deeper croaked growling ala Impetigo, angry adrenaline filled yelling, boiling & bubbling acidic undertones on his voice, as well as adding some newer black metal stylistic touches. It is interesting hearing how his older man, life miles modulating those vocal chords slightly changed his intonation and his years of experience have deepened his creativity and levels of his vocal inflections. Clayton has always been a charismatic guy, but now his musical literal voice now reflects that more than ever and has never been channeled more effectively. The vocals on here are diverse and deadly, I do not want to over shadow that Chris adds his own vocal elements that nicely round out this deep armory. Speaking of Chris (guitar, bass & drums), he was always the backbone of the musical song construction bringing both members individual talents and raw materials into sharper focus. Shadu are uncompromising, raw and old school, but honestly at the same time do not really sound much like other old school worshipping bands, they sound different to my ear, in a good way, something you do not hear often in this day and age. I am really looking forward to the album now due out late this year or early in the next.  - Dale

https://vhod.ca/s-n-m    https://shadu-nar-mattaru.bandcamp.com/      




"The Midnight Towers” Promo CDR / Digital Download EP

(Self Released)


It has only been a little over two months since Shadu-Nar-Mattaru graced my mailbox with their self-titled 25 minute debut demo ep. Already they have a new EP with another 23 minutes of new music; these two metal demons are clearly feeling the pull of musical inspiration and have been slaving hard in front of their brimstone & hellfire furnace forging new music for the hungry UG scene to devour. I have given some history on this band in the review above (so read that review first), so let’s jump right into the music. I feel like their thrash roots are bubbling up a little more this time, as they forcefully swing their mighty celticfrostyhammer wreaking musical destruction and sodom-y in all directions. Having said that about the thrash roots, their sound is still all rooted in a very traditional and dark death metal sound. The opening title track is a very rhythmic, infectious tune that got me headbanging and features just fantastic lyrics that you can sing along to, with the vocals easily; these lyrics are striking with a cool memorable chorus making this song a real anthem to me. Well done. The songs on here continue to be strong, catchy and heavy with some really tasty sounding guitar work and little nuances going on that I enjoy very much. They even tried their hand this time around at an epic length song, with “Torchbearer” clocking in at eight minutes and sees a slowing down of their usual mid to faster paced material, the tempo in this song is a lot slower and a bit doomy sounding, which creates a nice creepy, gloomy necro-aura to their sound. It is not all slow and doomy though, there is a short pithy middle section, before returning to the eerie crawl and even has a great emotive guitar solo in this epic centerpiece track. The vocals on here are varied in style, all quite distinctive and represent a real strength for the band, you can tell a lot of thought and attention to detail went into them. They keep the vocals extreme, but there is also an emphasis whether they are bloody gurgling yells, gruff thrashy screams, black metal rasps, death metal growls etc… on always keeping them intelligible vocalizing in a precise, enunciated delivery. The outro “Mortuary”, which features underlying subtle guitars, foreboding drums and a myriad of slightly obscured whispering, growled, spoken, yelled voices all repeating the title like some hypnotically frightening, sinister ritual. As soon as I heard that outro it triggered something in my memory, it felt vaguely familiar. Then I watched a short interview with the band and found out why I had that feeling, as this is actually from a rehearsal tape (which Clayton Shaver copied for me many years ago) the two made way fucking back in 1990! It still holds up and sounds good updated on here. The band have decided to scrap the previous plans of an album in favour of continuing, for the time being, to just keep releasing more of these eps and I believe they have a third one planned for this year alone! Keep them coming if they are going to be this good and the inspiration continues to flow like it has been. With this release and the next one, I believe they are going to go the digital download route for now rather than pressing up CDs. I know if I still ran a label I would be contacting these guys about releasing this stuff on some physical formats, this stuff would sound great on vinyl!  - Dale

https://shadu-nar-mattaru.bandcamp.com/     https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmrzOavOhlit38QiGpsPk9A         




"Endless Spiritual Embodiment” CD

(Bloody Mountain Records / Self-Released)


Sxuperion is a one man band (who is also a member of Valdur, Weverin & Garden Of Hesperides) that plays a form of heavy, crushing death metal with some lethal black metal influences thrown into the deadly mix. The guitars are played with a nice blend of fast, chaotic guitar patterns, but things do slow down to a more controlled mid paced tempo at times. The vocals are low, deep death metal growls along with some gruff growling mixed into a few of the tracks. The drums follow along in the same vein with a fast blasting arrangements blended in with some slower, more controlled drums. This was my first time hearing Sxuperion, but if you are looking for a band that plays some destructive old school death metal similar to old Incantation then “Endless Spiritual Embodiment” is right in your wheel house.  - Patrick

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




"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          




“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/       




"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