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EARTHLORD

“Earthmission” 2013 Cassette EP

(NoVisible Scars Records)

 

Another beautiful looking tape from NoVisible Scars, a cool looking dark green see-thru cassette and some nice epic cover artwork. Earthmission is a two song ep, which was recorded in 2007, it covers the bands entire short lived existence. Earthlord features members Hour Of 13, Upwards Of The End Of Time, Vestal Claret and Legend, as well as ex-members of Nightbitch, Mercenary etc…The two tracks on here are “Gods Of Antiquity” and “He Who Is Of The Water”. I would describe the pleasing sounds on here as a 70s style classic Doom / heavy metal band mixed with some newer stuff. Think of bands like Captain Beyond, Pentagram, Sir Lord Baltimore, Manilla Road mixed with newer style bands like Monster Magnet, Spirit Caravan, Solitude Aeturnus, The Obsessed. Forgive the long list of comparisons but both songs on here, though somewhat similar, are different sounding enough that they feel like they are from two different eras of time, the first song has the newer style / influence by my ear and the second song is the more throwback song. I like the second song with the older influence a little better, but both songs / styles sound awesome. They were a very short lived band, it is a shame they did not live a longer life as I am convinced if they continued to find their sound it would have turned into something pretty special and memorable. If you do not get a chance to get the cassette, which is $4 USD, you can get an mp3 copy of this release for $2 USD.  - Dale

https://myspace.com/earthlord  http://nvslabel.blogspot.com/   

 

 

EDENROT

“The Land Where The Crow Starves” 1998 MCD

(Twilight Records)

 

I am proud to present thee with a great new (to me anyways) great dynamic death metal act from PA. Hey, is that drum intro from “Crosses of Ice” taken from a Kick Axe song…um no maybe I’m imagining things. Where was I? Oh yes, I was going to say that Edenrot are extremely talented musicians. The odd clean vocal is thrown in but generally there are alterations between deep understandable growl and raspy shriek with an overall enjoyable outcome. I hear some Scandinavian influence like early Edge Of Sanity and the like mixed in with their decidedly American approach. Unlike most American acts, melody is important to Edenrot I didn’t get a bio, but with 4 songs is this a MCD? Tho’ it does clock I at 30 minutes long. $8 US / $9 World.    - Dale

Band contact: Edenrot, 327 Ford Road, St. Marys, PA. 15857, USA   www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Stage/6728 

 

EHLDER

"“Nordabetraktelse” 2019 CD

(Nordvis Produktion)

 

I have been a fan of the Swedish band Armagedda since I discovered them back in 2002, then I went on to get their first three albums, before eventually losing track of this duo band (comprised of Graav & A. Petterson who is also owns/runs Nordvis Produktion). I did not follow them, and Graavhelder in particular, as he prefers to be called now with his mainly one man bands in recent times. So, it was good to get this debut album of his one man project Ehlder, and see what he is up to. While Ehlder is certainly not the raw and hateful black metal of the first two Armagedda albums, their third album “On Spiritism” does hint at the style and sound that would eventually be evolved into on this album. You can hear that same satisfying sense of freezing cold melody of malevolence. ‘Nordabetraktelse’ sees Graavehlder reaching out musically, through his bm roots back into his pagan ancestral roots and culture to extol their ways, their practices and connection to nature. The material on here is so smooth, flowing and gives me a feeling of going on a mental journey, similar to the fog I see rolling down the mountain tops on both sides of my house many mornings, as it seeping through the trees and into the valley where I live. I get that same feeling every time I see that, and this could be the audio soundtrack to that. Do not get me wrong, this is black metal, but largely devoid of the seething odium and instead emphasizing the underlying aura in a very grand sweeping fashion. The flow of the music on here just feels so free and effortless, but clearly well crafted, plotted and skillfully performed with just the right amount (at least by mine ear) of tunefulness to keep you addicted to it’s brooding and hypnotic sounds. The vocals have a varied arsenal of bm rasping, shouted voice and other diverse sounds yet always kept somewhat sparse and buried in the mix to let the sinuous instrumentation be the thing driving this rewarding emotive black metal voyage.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/ehlder    https://www.nordvis.com/en/      

 

 

ELDERBLOOD

“Son Of The Morning” 2013 CD

(Paragon Records)

 

I will be honest I was never really much of a fan of symphonic black metla, in fact often times I hated that whole sound of the middle to late 90s that became all the rage. That mantle seems to be what Elderblood has picked up and are running with. I must say some of the rhythms and melodies on here are probably a little more upbeat and happier sounding than some of those bands, though there is an aggressive, mean edge that rears it’s head at times, though not nearly often enough for my liking. The synth is almost deafening, it is not used as an accent, it is an in your face main instrument that at times by my ear drowns out the tradition instruments to poor effect. I am trying to find something I like on here honestly, the vocals are a mix of death growls and black metal screams, they are pretty good. Besides that the upbeat nature of the bulk the of the music and the wet blanket that is the synth is thrown over top smothers the life out of things for me. There are a few sections here and there where the synth mercifully takes a back seat and those were the only sections I could get any enjoyment out of. Yeah this is just not for me, I think you have to be a pretty big devotee of sympho black metal to really like this. As a side note I will say the packaging provided from the label is nice, they do not skimp as you get a nice thick, good looking booklet. This day and age of digital everything that is getting to be a rare thing.  - Dale

https://soundcloud.com/groups/elderblood   http://www.themetalunderground.com/   

 

 

ELDERS OF THE APOCALYPSE

The Law Of Iron” 2011 Cassette ep

(No Visible Scars Records)

 

With the sword and sandal cover art, I was a bit surprised by the music contained on this release from this US trio. I was expecting pompous Manowar styled anthems of heroism, women, and sorcerers. Instead, I get some sloppy thrash with vocals that are more death oriented than anything. The songs are hyper fast and in many cases short.  Reminds me at times of old school thrash from the mid to late 80's (SOD comes to mind) but without the riffage. The production is rough and raw but it works for this type of metal. I see the band members are formerly of Your Kid's On Fire. I don't know if that's an indicator but I'm not sure how serious to take this band. "The Law of Iron" sounds like they're having a good time doing the music but are they serious about making it a career?  I doubt it.  - Mark Sugiyama

http://nvslabel.blogspot.com/  http://www.myspace.com/eldersoftheapocalypse  

 

 

EMBALMED

“Exalt The Imperial Beast” 2011 CD

(Hells Headbangers)

 

There have been more than a few bands named Embalmed over the years. This particular one is from Mexico. They were formed in 1989, but strangely did not release their first demo until 1994, they work at a snails pace apparently, as over the next 10 years they only released 2 eps and a demo (which consisted of a rehearsal & live tracks). That takes us to 2004 and since then they have been silent, maybe split up? Hard to tell with their release rate, but in any case we get their debut album Exalt The Imperial Beast after a seven year silence. I am sure you are thinking was it worth the wait? Now it is not bad, but with that sort of wait and nearly a decade to perfect this material, it falls a little short of expectation. This is basically a worship release of old war metal style stuff like Blasphemy, Angelcorpse, Conqueror, Bestial Warlust, Oath of Black Blood Beherit. As I said it is pretty good, but still it does not come that close to touching those bands. But I can still enjoy it to a certain point though for sure. I think this is only for die hard fans of war metal that just can not get enough of it and are up for buying everything in this great old chaos driven blitzkrieg style.  – Dale

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/  http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/embalmed/    

 

 

EMBLAZONED

The Living Magisterium” 2013 MCD

(Deepsend Records)

 

Emblazoned may be a new band upon the scene but the members have been around in other bands for quite sometime. You have an ex-Jungle Rot member and current members of Decrepit Birth. The band plays a fierce and brutal mix of modern death metal mixed with early nineties death guitars. The guitars go from being played with relentless speed and aggression in the riffs/solo's to heavier more mid to slower paced guitar before picking up the pace once again. The drumming is right on the same pattern with fast, yet well played and written drum patterns that go from violent blasting beats to heavier mid-paced beats. The vocalist does a great job of mixing in deep death growls with some shrieks/screams. Emblazoned are definitely one of Deepsend Rec best releases to date and hopefully the band will release a full-length soon!! All fans of brutal d.m should check this as soon as possible.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/emblazoned666  http://www.deepsend.com/     

 

 

EMBRIONAL / EMPHERIS

“The Spectrum Of Metal Madness” 2009 CD

(Old Temple Records)

 

This is my virgin listen to both of these Polish metal bands, to be honest this is likely not a good release to get your first impression on a band. I say that because there are only 2 original songs from each band. Plus both bands each do 4 cover songs (Mayhem, Sarcofago, Pestilence, The Ramones, Obituary etc…), so eight out of a total of twelve songs are covers, makes it a little harder to get a read on a band. So I will just talk about the small amount of original material. Embrional kick off the disc, and display some fast, riff driven brutish death metal with slightly froggy (don’t mean that in a bad way think a bit of Demilich, who I like) growling vocals. Their first song is under two minutes, the second is a little longer, slower but very simple and straight forward, not bad but nothing too interesting. This release is like 3 years old, so I will be interested to hear how Embrional has progressed on the full length album also in this package. Empheris is a very different sounding band, which is a good thing on splits I think. They are more of a really dark thrash metal band with somewhat spastic and varied, but cool gruff yet very understandable vocals, I like the vocals. The music also is a bit on the simplistic side and with a touch of early 90s black metal influence, hypnotic, evil speedy material. Not a lot to go on but just enough that I hope to hear more of Empheris soon.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/embrional  http://www.oldtemple.com/   

 

 

EMBRIONAL

“Absolutely Anti-Human Behaviours” 2012 CD

(Old Temple Records)

 

I just reviewed the Embrional split CD with Empheris, so it will be interesting to see if there is some progression with Embrional these last three years. I think the guitars sound fuller and maybe a better production is part of that, but they do sound stronger, more filled out and that is a big positive for me. The material seems more confident, more frenetic and filled with imposing and aggressive energy. The vocals follow suit and to me sound more commanding and they still have that faint froggy sound to the deep growls and I like that. Embrional sound a little darker to me now and I can feel more black metal type of overtones. Their material is not what I would call overly catchy and they definitely abandon the groove riffs so many dm bands love and it would not be right with evil and hostile sounding material such as this. There are some somber and brooding moments with some cool guitar fill work such as is heard in the middle section of the instrumental ‘Necropolis’. I think the band still has some room to grow but they have already come quite a ways in the last few years and this is something I could recommend to die hards of the Black Death genre.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/embrional  http://www.oldtemple.com/ 

 

 

EMBRIONAL

“Annihilation 2007 + Live” Compilation 2014 CD

(Old Temple Records)

 

Another Polish band courtesy of Godz Ov War. As you can tell from the title above, this is Embrional’s 2007 demo, plus tacked on are no less than eight live tracks, from a gig recorded in 2013. The demo tracks are solid, but rather average sounding death metal, they are pretty thin on the production end. The drums do not sound good, the guitars sound weak and each instrument and vocal sounds kind of separated and non-cohesive. So some of it might just be a sub-par mixing job. A good going over by a talented mixer and higher end mastering, might have lessened some of those problems. The music as mentioned is pretty good, nothing stand out or overly interesting, but nonetheless competent and moderately pleasing death metal, with straight ahead aggression and brutality. The live tracks do not have perfect sound, as you might expect, but they are actually a pretty large step up from the production and sound of the demo. The live material shows a band that has done a lot of maturing and honing of their skills. Their death metal sounds are still brutal, crushing and relentless when they want them to be. But as the band matured, it seems they have learned how to milk quality from their songs a lot better. They also clearly have grown as song writers, as everything across the board is at a higher level and they go places, the 2007 version of themselves probably never would have been able to comprehend or produce. I would recommend this more for the live tracks. But just being honest, I would probably say pick up the bands full length, from a couple years back, if you want to really get a quality representation of the band. On the other hand, if you are already a fan of the band, this is a nice piece of the Embrional cannon, that I am sure you would want to add to your collection, especially if you are into live recordings and collecting your favourite bands demo material.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Embrional   http://www.oldtemple.com/      

 

 

EMBRYONIC CRYTOPATHIA

“Uterine Excretion of Carcinovomit” CD

(Bestial Onslaught Records)

 

This review will be on the short side, I imagine. I mean do not get me wrong, I love gore grind as much as the next deviant. But there are just not a whole lot of dynamics, time changes, nuances etc… that lends the genre to in depth description. One things is sure, Embryonic Crytopathia are one sick and extremely manic band. For me “Uterine…” immediately dredges up comparables such as early Carcass, old Cryptopsy (but less dynamic) with a juicy sprinkle or splatter if you like of the mighty Gut on the mix. A real relentless chugging attack of flying riffs and dismembered drum runs. Whatever movie, those first couple of intros are from, sounds awful twisted and just campy as hell. I will have to make it a point to try to find and watch that film. Recommended, if gore grind, is your thing. – Dale

www.myspace.com/embryoniccryptopathia 

 

   

 

EMPATIC

“Ruined Landscape” 2014 CD

(Terrasound Records)

 

I have mixed feelings on this one. The Polish band Empatic play a base of melodic Swedish style death metal. Which at times, is really good and well done; but the other element in their sound metalcore, a style I am not overly fond of, to say the least. Even with melodic death metal, I am a fan, but I am a pretty picky fan when it comes that particular genre. Empatic do the Swede dm sound some justice, at times, then other times the quality drops off and they become quite repetitive sounding. When the metalcore type elements rear their head, it really, in my view, let’s everything down and cheapens what they seem to be trying to achieve. I will give them points, for trying the odd unconventional, with quirkly little change ups or accents, but those are usually short lived and not particularly poignant to the songs overall context. The menacing, steam rolling growled vocals, may be my favourite part of this record and the one area, that seems to keep up the quality consistently through the record. I don’t know, there are some good things going on here, but they are all too fleeting and inconsistent, for me to really put my recommendation on this one. Once again thank you to Godz Ov War, for supporting Canadian Assault, by sending all of these albums in, also for doing a great job promoting their great countries quality metal scene to the fullest!  - Dale

http://www.empatic.com/   http://www.terrasound.at/    

 

 

ENRAGED

“It’s Your Fear That Feeds Their Power” Full-length 2012 CD

(Self Released)

 

This is an interesting release to pull out of the mailbox. Enraged are an extreme death metal band from Holland. A scene that traditionally has produced amazing and/or at least notable death metal bands like the mighty Pestilence, Asphyx and Sinister, as well as other fairly well known dm bands like God Dethroned, Severe Torture, Xenomorph etc… I am not sure I would say Enraged sounds that close to Dutch bands, I think they actually have more in common with the style of death metal played by countrymen Gorefest. That is who springs to mind for me as possible influence. This is some pretty intense, heavy death metal and some might find it surprising with the brutality, at how many awesome short guitar solos they mix in. I mean some really fantastic guitar soloing, I just looked in the bio and find out that the band somehow got almighty Andy Laraque (King Diamond), James Murphy (Death, Testament) and a couple other blokes from local bands God Dethroned and Darkane to contribute solos! The production on here is top notch as well. I think this is something any die hard brutal death metal fan needs to check out.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/enraged  http://www.enraged.nl/   

 

 

ENSHADOWED

“Magic Chaos Psychedelia” 2013 CD

(Pulverized Records)

 

We are presented with some Greek black / death metal. I review so many albums, for so many years, I am at a bit of a loss on whether or not I have crossed paths with this band before? That is partly due to the length between full-length albums, but the name vaguely rings a bell. Enshadowed released two albums in the early 2000’s, and then a series of singles and things, but this album is actually one full decade since their last full record. So excuse me if it has been a minute haha. Magic Chaos Psychedelia is a pretty intense affair, with an emphasis upon aggressive hate, produced through atmospheric sounds and destructive speed within the musical content. I would say their sound is a cross between old Morbid Angel style death metal and Scandinavian black metal (think Immortal, Marduk etc…). The performances and playing on here are tight and top notch, an example of this would be the drumming, very tight and precise. The actual music itself is nothing super special, but it is good, some nice variation in the speed and brief moody bits, the riffing will get your head nodding as the darkness envelopes you. There is actually some fairly imaginative stuff going on with the guitar patterns and accents now and then. The vocals are a mix of shadowy growls and rasping bm hiss, both are mixed together well and fit the music like a spiked glove on a fist. I have to say I really enjoyed this record; hopefully it is not another ten years until I hear from them again.  - Dale

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

 

 

ENTHRALLMENT

People From Lands Of Vit” 2012 CD

(United Guttural Records)

 

Bulgaria's Enthrallment play U.S style brutal death metal in the vein of Devourment, newer Cannibal Corpse etc..fast, furious guitars with some technical riffs thrown in the mix {but personally not enough I would not label enthrallment a "technical" DM band}  drums are a barrage of blast beats that will pummel your senses and leave you begging for more! Deep death growls with some sick screechy/screams are mixed into the deeper vocals for a nice mix. Enthrallment are not really breaking any new ground, or the most original band around today but I must admit the songs on People From Lands of Vit are catchy, and worth checking out. Fans of early Dying Fetus, Suffocation etc.. You guys should give this album a chance.  - Patrick 

http://www.myspace.com/enthrallment  http://www.unitedguttural.com   

 

 

ENTRAPMENT

“Through Realms Unseen” 2016 CD

(Pulverized Records)

 

Entrapment come out of the Netherland’s death metal scene with their newest release “Through Unseen Realms”. This album features eleven songs of solid, heavy death metal with some very creative and well performed passages. The guitars are played with both heavy mid paced guitar riffs and more straight forward fast patterns. The guitarist does know how to write, and perform well written guitar patterns, and even mixes in some well done solos. The drums are done with a lot of class, and well done patterns going on an all out assault on the drum kit, to a more controlled mid paced drum style. This is my first time hearing Entrapment’s music, but this new release mixes solid, heavy death metal with some melodic dm passages and even some thrash elements in the guitars.  - Patrick

http://entrapment2.bandcamp.com/    http://www.pulverised.net/          

 

 

ENTRENCH

Inevitable Decay” 2011 CD

(Abyss Records)

 

Entrench from Sweden play violent "classic" thrash metal. The band seems to be influenced mostly by the early German gods of yesterday. The musicians of Entrench have a lot of good musical ideas to keep the music both fresh and memorable while keeping the pure thrash sound and attack alive within Entrench's songs. Chaotic fast guitars that while being played at insane speeds also have some complex structures and solo's that are pulled off flawlessly. It seems their are a lot of thrash metal bands coming out of nowhere in the scene but Entrench have a lot of great ideas added within their thrash that makes this band definitely one to stand out and above the endless sea of others currently flooding the scene. Fans of intense, raging thrash definitely get a hold of Entrench's Inevitable Decay today!!  - Patrick  

http://www.myspace.com/entrench  http://www.officialabyssrecords.com/  

 

 

ENTRENCH

“Through The Walls Of Flesh” 2017 CD

(I Hate Records)

 

The thrash metal scene lately seems to be really growing and making another comeback. Entrench who have been around for a while, show that the Swedish thrash metal scene continues to flourish. Entrench are proudly old school thrash to the maximum here, with their 3rd full-length they sound like they are straight out of the mid to late ‘80s, when thrash metal was king. The band rip things up with a speedy assault, filled with swift catchy riffing and slightly unconventional, but interesting patterns and flow if you pay enough attention, you will be rewarded with some subtle tasty guitar work. The drumming punishes and pummels with ferocity and a real high level of control and maturity. I guess I should not be surprised, as I just looked up the drummer Mats Blyckert, it appears he has been honing his craft in the bands Aboth and Dead Awaken as well, playing almost consistently since 1989! Plus, of course, he has also been playing in Entrench since 2005. The vocals have that dark, obscured thrash gruff hiss to them, but unlike the music the vox have a little more modern influence, from early ‘90s death bands accompanying the traditional thrash delivery. I have seen a few reviews comparing them only to Merciless and Sadus, over and over, which are fair comparisons yet I wondered why all of them came up with that until I read the bio which names those two bands. I say that, because I do not know how you could not list the obvious middle-late ’80 German thrash influence, especially with regards to Kreator who are clearly a big influence. I thought I even heard a hint of Forced Entry in there, but I may be imagining things haha. If you are a die hard fan of classic thrash metal, then you will love this, it will bring back to you that old great feeling.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/entrench    http://www.ihate.se/    

 

 

ENTWINED

“Dancing Under Glass” 1998 CD

(Earache Records)

 

Oh god, is this band ever untalented! I mean I hate the limp wristed gothic metal/rock this band plays but if they do it well, I will at least give them that. I cannot do that with Entwined. This singer is worst of all, he is all gravely and his voice breaks up as he drops in and out of tune. I mean it is so hilarious every time he opens his mouth with that, goofy voice and embarrassingly bad lyrics. I cannot help but burst into laughter while listening to this. The music isn’t much better - simplistic, awkward and boring. Who is the responsible for signing this band!? Fuck!    - Dale

Earache Records, Suite 915, 295 Lafayette St., New York, NY, 10012, USA

 

 

EPI-DEMIC

“Malformed Conscience” 2017 CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)

 

It is a pretty interesting coincidence, at least to me, that I receive an album from a band not only out of my homeland and even the same province. But, they are also signed to a record label, which is only a short drive away from where I now reside in Pennsylvania. It is a small world I guess. The band plays a style that unlike many sub-genres these days is not oversaturated. I am talking about Crossover Thrash, you know thrash metal mixed with healthy doses of punk and hardcore. Epi-Demic keep it traditional and right down the middle, with frantic speed showing little to no sizeable swings in tempo or range, another trademark of the bands that defined the term Crossover. Epi-Demic do slip in some pretty catchy rhythms into the riffing framework, at times, which helps keep the interest and differentiate the songs a little more from one another, in turn producing a light headbang from me. Between the punk and hardcore influences, I would say hardcore is far and away taking the lead with a lot of hardcore style cadence to the pacing. Plus, you have the vocals, which are probably more hardcore shouted style than your usual gruff thrash vocal staple. Some bands I can hear influence from on here are Cryptic Slaughter, Wehrmacht, SOD, Crumsuckers, COC during their crossover period, maybe a little bit of early Nuclear Assault as well. You often hear in reviews, they are retro but bring in modern touches, I am not saying that here these guys are old school all the way, even the production in some ways, but they own it and are proud of it. So kudos to them for doing what they like, and not pandering to modern fans, just to try to be more relevant as it seems like a lot of bands try to do. It might not be mindblowing stuff, but it is good Crossover Thrash, done unapologetically in the old tradition with spiked fist to the face.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/theplaguebegins13    http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/   

 

 

EPOCH

“Sacrosanct” 2015 CD

(Lavadome Productions)

 

Coming out of Belgium’s death metal scene is Epoch, with the cd version of “Sacrosanct”, which was originally only a digital release back in 2015. The music is heavy death metal, with elements of black metal and various other genre’s mixed in, to create a very heavy and unique sound and style. The guitars are nicely performed and well written; mixing in raging fast speeds, but the guitarist can also play mid paced sections with similar skill. The music is a nice mix of fast melodic parts and moving at times into more diverse tones and patterns. The vocals are brutal death metal growls with some gruff vocals mixed into a few of the songs. To sum it up, Epoch create and execute an enjoyable style of death metal with some other varied minor influences, so if you are a fan of brutal yet unique death metal then be sure to check this out today.  - Patrick

https://epoch616.bandcamp.com/album/sacrosanct    http://www.lavadome.org/  

 

 

ESKHATON

“Omegalitheos” 2018 CD

(Lavadome Productions)

 

Australia’s Eskhaton return with their third full length ‘Omegalitheos’, which features fourteen songs of aggressive and heavy death metal. The guitars are done mainly with extremely fast and well written patterns. The guitars are not all aggression and speed all the time, as the guitarist does slow to a mid paced tempo with some excellent passages and even adds some solos throughout the songs. The drummer is equally as vicious and chaotic with his performance; he is rapid fire with the blast beats though he does catch a breath with some slower paced patterns here and there. If you enjoyed Eskhaton’s previous releases then do yourself a favor and check out ‘Omegalitheos’ today.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/eskhaton666    http://www.lavadome.org  

 

 

ESPERANZA

“Self - Titled” 1998 CD

(Jester Records/Voices Of Wonder)

 

This is on Garm’s new label and is supremely gay ambient infatuation, but not gloomy rather a happy sort of soundtrack for a love scene in some Hollywood movie. In other words it chews big fat donkey nuts! No one anywhere in the CD is credited as being in the band. So I’m thinking it is a side (or even solo) project of Garm’s. If this is what he likes no wonder the new Ulver hangs like a shriveled penis on a cold, Canadian,  winter morn.   - Dale

 

 

ESTIGMA

"Revenge” 2016 CD

(Postunder Records)

 

It is always a pleasure to receive, for review, releases from the great South American UG metal scene. So it was very cool to get this album of Estigma, a band who come to us out of Peru, a country that has a bigger more quality scene than many people outside of South America would ever believe. Some might remember I listed Estigma, as one of my fave bands on a recent review of the Soulgrinder compilation. The man who put it out, Paul Caravasi seen that and sent me this album, so all thanks goes to Paul for this review. The band plays deathrash metal, with pretty equal parts from both sub-genres, possibly leaning a little more to the thrash side of things. Despite my preamble about the SA scene, this band actually outside of the well done decipherable death growls with a slight native accent undertone, sound very American, as in the United States of America. To give you a picture of the influences, think of a mixing of Bay Area thrash (late ‘80s / early ‘90s) and Floridian death metal (early ‘90s), leaning toward the more clean and polished albums from those scenes. When I say polished I refer to the total package of playing, hook laden catchy songwriting and production, which is not to say it is not heavy as fuck too, because it is! This honestly is an excellent album, truly quality from top to bottom from the music itself, to the top notch production and instrumental performances. Having said that, looking deeper into the history of the band, I was interested to find out after releasing a demo, EP and an album in the mid-90s this album is their first release in 19 years!! I assume the band split at some point or was just put on hold, not sure either way, but they had an awful lot of time to work on this record. So, it was a surprise for me, to find out that 50% of this album is made up of songs from their past works all those years ago. So I guess this album better be damn good (and it is) if in total it encompasses twenty years of song writing! Anyway, back to the music, my two favourite parts were the strong, proficient drum work and the tasty accomplished guitars, which are expertly crafted and drip with emotion and class. I think my fave track might be the title track, which embodies everything great about this band and I am sure is destined to be a future classic song live for the die hard followers of this band. Estigma represents yet another fine example among many of why the South American scene is one of the very best in the world.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/estigmaperu    https://www.facebook.com/postunderproductions       

 

 

ESQARIAL

“Amorphous” 1998 CD

(Pagan Records)

 

It is really cool to see that Pagan Records is still going and strong I might add. I recall enjoying (label head) Tomasz’s fanzine Holocaust immensely. As well as his first couple releases (Crucifier & Behemoth) on the then fledging young label. Anyway, here’s their 16th release and a fine one at that. Esqarial very craftily meld American brutal death/grind with the finesse of Euro thrash topped with raspy death vocals. They surely know how to make heavy and often, brutal music with atmosphere (without any cheesy keybored, female vocal crutches!) not often witnessed within such blistering musick.    - Dale

Pagan Records, P.O. Box 12, 86 105 Swiecie 5, POLAND

 

 

ETERNAL DARKNESS

“Total Darkness” 2006 CD

(Necroharmonic Productions)

 

Let me hit you with some interesting background information. Firstly, the name has an obvious Finnish reference. Though surprisingly the band is from Sweden, made of mainly Finnish guys living Sweden. The second tidbit is they had recorded a mini-album for Necropolis records in 1992 that was never released until now. I guess it is no surprise that Paul Thind and Necropolis screwed something up yet again that can be added to the list. What we have here is that unreleased record entitled “Twilight in The Wilderness” plus their “Doomed” seven inch from 1992 as well and their “Ceremony of Doom” demo tape from 1990. I must say this is some seriously cool doom with a slow to approaching middle pacing metal. I feel this material is excellent even by today’s standards. Well also nothing ground breaking by today’s standard either but back in the day? You fucking bet! Eternal Darkness do not get mentioned that often next to other doom death pioneers like Autopsy, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Goatlord, Thergothon, Cathedral but certainly should. That low rumbling brutality and darkness is calling for you.  – Dale

www.necroharmonic.com    www.myspace.com/eternaldarknesssweden 

 

 

ETERNAL EXHUMATION

"The Great Conquest” 2017 CD

(Gate Of Horror Productions)

 

The South American scene is so good in recent years, so I can not help, but to excited every time a band from that region of the planet arrives in my mailbox. This time around we have the debut album from Peru’s Eternal Exhumation. I don’t always talk a lot about the lyrics, but I do find some of the lyrics, which mainly deal with the history of the Peruvian Empire, an interesting read. Such as fine little bits like this “Foreigners from the north, Men arrive with hair on face and with armor, Mounted on four legged demons, With strong spears and strange language tips”. Anyways, interesting lyrical content aside, let us move on to the main attraction the music itself. Eternal Exhumation plays excellent, relentless early to mid ‘90s style tremolo picked death metal insanity. I mean this shit is fucking brutal and crushing music, which batters and bloodies you from the first second of the record to the final second with nary a break insight. These guys are unyielding and ruthless at all times! It does have a level technical craftsmanship to the song writing, yet I would not label it technical death metal, but I also would not put it into the death grind sub-genre, no this is just well done and very entertaining straight on death metal. Despite the constant brutality level, and speed attack, the band does have nuance going on in the guitar department with tasty little fills and emotive accents that a level of refinement and depth, within barbarity. The vocals are imposing and rolling growls that are pretty powerful and fit the music to a proverbial T. Something else, some South American productions can tend to be on the raw or low-fi side of things, which I sometimes like honestly, but you can put away that worry here as the production on this album is excellent being very loud, clear and heavy. I am endlessly amazed at how damn good the South American UG metal scene is, Eternal Exhumantion are just another fine example of this to add to the list of strong bands from that area of the globe. Check this out if you love early to mid ‘90s classic death metal that is of top notch quality.  - Dale

https://eternalexhumationperu.bandcamp.com    https://www.facebook.com/gateofhorror      

 

 

 

ETERNAL HELCARAXE

Against All Odds” 2012 CD

(Abyss Records)

 

Ireland has always had a great metal scene whether it was black, doom, or death. And Eternal Helcaraxe are no different. EH fall into the epic, pagan black metal genre. Against All Odds is the bands debut and is very impressive for a debut. It is fast, intense music with some well done keyboards that are nicely mixed into chaotic, violent black metal for a nice blend of traditional, fast black metal and parts of epic, pagan blackness. The guitars are blazing fast with some good riffs, drumming is fast blast beats with some mid-paced beats. The vocals are blackened metal screams but there are some really well-done and sung melodic clean vocals. It will be nice if the band uses more of the clean vocal patterns on the next Eternal Helcaraxe as they seem to fit the bands style very well. Highly recommended to all fans of quality, pagan black metal.  - Patrick

http://www.myspace.com/eternalhelcaraxe666  http://www.officialabyssrecords.com/  

 

 

ETERNAL REST

“Prophetic” 2013 CD

(Deepsend Records)

 

Prophetic starts off, with a nice mellow intro, that suddenly breaks into a blast beating fury of hyper-speed brutal death metal. Eternal Rest do slow things up, change and completely go in a different direction at times, throwing in emotional / moody material to add / create a good dynamic to their material. But they always return to the speed, ferocity and barbarism before long. I do not think people should let themselves get hit over the head too hard with ET’s extremity, in which case they may overlook some of the talented, stylish, even now and then adventurous guitar work at play on this album. In fact, I would say Eternal Rest display a higher level of song writing and arranging skills on this album than the majority of their contemporaries in the death metal genre.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/eternalrestband  http://www.deepsend.com/ 

 

 

ETERNAL TEARS OF SORROW

“Vilda Mannu” 1998 CD

(Spinefarm Records)

 

This is the Finnish band, who after releasing several demo tapes put out “Sinners Serenade” their debut on X-Treme Records from Sweden. Melodic death/black metal in the same general style as the usual Gothenburg boys but really do a lot like any one in particular. E.T.O.S. tend to be a little more sad and melancholic without thankfully incorporating any gay goth touches. The male vocals are very acidic and good as well the female ones are done straight and not that operatic cheese.  - Dale

Website = www.iki.fi/jape/etos.htm  Email = t1772@myy.helia.fi

 

 

EUGENIC DEATH

“Crimes Against Humanity” 2012 CD

(Heaven And Hell Records)

 

I do not get much thrash metal for review these days, but North Carolina’s Eugenic Death deliver exactly that with aplomb and bring back some memories for me. They actually remind me of that time when thrash had been the thing, firmly entrenched, but some thrash bands were beginning to let this new sound, death metal creep in just a little bit. The vocals make me think of that partially, they are those clear yet rough ‘n gruff yelled vocals, but in this case have a tiny hint of the death metal grow to their seedy underbelly. Crimes Against Humanity will take you right back to the late 80s and early 90s thrash metal sound, they sound like they burst straight outta the Bay Area scene from back then. Some bands that spring to mind are Exodus, Defiance, Vio-lence, Death Angel, Righteous Pigs, Testament, Dark Angel and the like. It is definitely American sounding, no mixing of German thrash sound from back then as so many old style thrash bands do, no this is made in the USA all the way. This is some energetic stuff, nothing new or outside the box here, but the material is really good, some of it will stick in your head, you can rock out to it and headbang along. I am not sure if you can ask a whole lot more out of the classic thrash sound. There is some fine guitar work on display here as well. Thrash fans of old, that need something new to listen to, you will definitely want to give this one a listen straight away. This is only for old school thrash maniacs, all others need not apply.  - Dale

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

 

 

EVANGELIVM

“Nightside Of Eden” 2010 CD

(Hammer Of Hate)

 

It seems like Hammer of Hate specializes in bands that are very unknown and hard to find info on. Much like Valoton, this Russian band seems to be quite new on the UG scene radar. My past experience with Russian bands, for whatever reason, the production is usually quite bad but Nightside Of Eden dispels that perception that Russia does not possess any proper recording studios. The guitar and huge bass guitar sound in particular is really nice here. Some of the songs on this six tracker are long, like 7 to 9 minutes. I am not really sure they have the goods to be carrying off epic pieces such as those. I think I enjoy the guitars on here most, some long drawn out dark riffs that produce a gloomy mood. On the other end the vocals are often talk / growled and are not great, I mean they are passable, but they do not seem to fit he music very well. Speaking of which for me the drums at times feel like they were constructed for a different band or song than the one they are being used on. The drums just do not seem to fit and at times I actually find them a little distracting to be honest. The sound on the drums is also fine but sort of feel like they were mixed in by a different engineer than the rest of the band or something, something weird going on with those drums. Well some interesting stuff going on here, but honestly I think the band would have been more suited to marinate and release a couple demos before going for an album. There is something there though, hopefully some time and patience will refine that talent further. I stand corrected, just realized this was recorded at Endarker studios in Sweden, which serves to strengthen my suspicion that there are not many or possibly any good recording studios in Russia.  – Dale

http://www.hammer-of-hate.com/  

 

 

EVIL

“Legenda Neskrotnych Zivlov” 2013 CD

(Hexencave Productions)

 

There has been a bunch of bands named Evil over the years. I think, I sometimes get this Evil, mixed up with the black metal one from Brazil. The Brazil one, is a much older band than this Slovokian Evil, even though this Evil have been around for ten years in their own right. Despite this band being in existence for a decade, this is their debut album. So you can not accuse this band of not paying their dues, before releasing an album, as they have released around 15 demos and split vinyl’s! This album is composed of long epic songs that alternate moods, speeds, from slow somber sections to mid pace coldness and on up to a hateful raging speed velocity. I would, have to say this album is well constructed and thought out, a lot of care has gone into this record and it shows. Legenda… is a fascinating, interesting journey, I like that they take their time and are not afraid to make long, seven or eight minute songs, yet there is no mindless droning for minutes on end as many bands do. I think this will be an album for those reading this, which will take many listens to absorb everything and filter it through your emotions and thoughts. I really like the vocals as well, they are somewhat obscure sounding and not the focal point, but those blackened whisper rasps add an extra layer to the musical tapestry. I think black metal fans, that like old black metal, but also like atmospheric black music that does not need a bunch of keyboards to take the easy way out, will find an awful lot to like about this cold piece bm ambience and furious hate.  - Dale

http://thetruevil.wbl.sk/   http://www.hexencave.wz.cz/   

 

 

EVIL MACHINE

“War In Heaven” 2013 CD

(Arachnophobia Records)

 

This is some evil sounding blackened thrashing death metal. Once again, like labelmates Odraza, this Polish band belies their debut album status, as band is populated war hardened veterans of bands like Dead Infection, Vader, Pyorrhea, Hermh and many more. I was surprised reading their included bio, apparently the original recording for this session happened in 2005! Then over the years, spanning several studios until it was finally completed at last. It is impressive, considering that process, that the album is as cohesive sounding and naturally flows as well as it does. Just to give you an idea, of where this band is coming from influentially, as well as in spirit, they have chosen two legend bands and songs to cover on this album, those being Onslaught with “Power From Hell” and “Die Hard” from the immortal Venom. Outside of those two covers, we get eight songs of gloomy thrash tinged death metal, which will chill you to the bone with the dank, cold atmosphere, as well as provide you a catalyst to drink along to the a back drop of war, both on the earthy plane with machine guns, tanks and aircraft, as well as clashes between demons and spirits rising and battling out of the fiery depths. The music always has a brooding atmospheric touch to it, it is a central focus creating that gloomy landscape, but it is also just stripped down metal that continues creeping across the night like a rolling fog, slowly swallowing up everything it touches. The vocals are very obscure, blending into the music with growls and shadowy rasps that serve to heighten the mood. Less is more with this band, but I do find their brand of slow to mid paced metal quite infectious and intoxicating. Nothing mind blowing, but I think old school fiends, who also like modern touches to their metal, will get into this one.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/evilmachine   www.arachnophobia.pl   

 

 

EVILUTION

“Shrine Of Desecration” 1998 CD

(Pure Death Records)

 

Superb brutalizing, merciless & blasphemic death metal the way it was meant to be and is sure to dehumanize your soul. There are a couple slow sections scattered throughout the speed, catchy riffs, some choice guitar leads and underlying heaviness mixed w/ great temperate and deep growling. An excellent release that deserves your support!  - Dale

Band contact: Evilution, 403 Washington Ave., West Haven, CT. 06516, USA

 

 

EVOKEN / BENEATH THE FROZEN SOIL

2010 Split CD

(I Hate Records)

 

Well going on nearly two decades after their inception. The doomy masters Evoken continue to steamroll across the landscape like a creeping fog. I see Dave Wagner is now part of the band. I know Dave’s work well as I am a fan of his other bands Abazagorath and Funebrarum. Evoken present four songs (only one under 10 minutes – it is basically a full length Evoken album!) of primordial doom death that is guaranteed to rip you a new asshole, even if the ripping is done in slow motion. The measured riffs are so heavy and foreboding, creating a truly desolate atmosphere peppered with some nice guitar fills and drumming that accentuates the obscure suffocating feel of it all. The vague growling vocals sort of float in and out of the background with stealth and add to the mental scenery the music of Evoken paints in your mind. Evoken are both ugly and beautiful at the same time. I found myself in awe of their power. I believe this is my first experience with Beneath The Frozen Soil. It appears like they have been around some years but as of yet no full length album released. There is nothing wrong with that however in my view, too many bands rush into their first album, especially it seems in Scandinavia. Beneath hit us with three songs, for just over 20 minutes of music. They do not have the same devastating effect on me that Evoken did, but all the same this is very good Swedish doom death metal. Beneath are maybe a little less obscure and ever so slightly more upbeat than Evoken, but just as dark and depressive. They are more into the keyboard accents yet it is not done in an intrusive or overpowering fashion. Some crushing stuff from these Swedes, I find myself already wanting more already. The more I listen to Beneath The Frozen Soil the more addicted to their music I seem to become. To be honest I do not see how any self-respecting doom devotee could possibly not even just want, but must have this split album in their collection. In my view, it is a landmark release in the genre, pure and simple.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/evoken  http://www.ihate.se/

 

 

EXALTED

“We are The Grim Throng” 2007 CD

(Battle Kommand Records)

 

Coming at us like a bat out of hell or rather a band out of Illinois is Exalted. First thing that hits me is the recording. I really like it, it is more than clear enough but definitely gives me that early nineties feeling and suits the maelstrom just fine. The album starts off and I feel creeping darkness that sends a freezing plague through the veins of any devout black metal junky. At times “We are The Grim Throng” resembles a mixing of tracks from “Transylvanian Hunger” and “Panzerfaust”. It may not be as good as those classic Darkthrone albums but it is a good album on its own. There is even some really rocking guitar injected from time to time ala Celtic Frost. It almost seems as if it should not fit the whole musical scheme but somehow it just does. If you can not get enough of that early 90s black metal and classic Hellhammer / Frost vibe then you might want to pick this one up. – Dale

www.battlekommand.com   exaltedhail@yahoo.com 

 

 

EXCUSE

“Prophets From The Occultic Cosmos” 2019 CD & LP

(Shadow Kingdom Records)

 

This is the debut album of this young band bursting out of the mean streets of Helsinki, the country’s capital city, situated on the frozen northern shore of the Gulf of Finland. Excuse play a slightly more stripped down speed metal style similar to bands like Sacrifice, early Razor, Exciter, Onslaught, Forbidden, Omen etc… mixed some Iron Maiden and other heavy metal influences. The music is aggressive, but always keeping this unrelenting dark atmosphere dripping from it’s edges. There are some pretty killer ripping solos and guitar fills, ala the one in the second half of the song “Goddess Injustice” or the one in the middle of “Blade Of The Antichrist” for a couple good examples. They write some fairly catchy, heavy and headbangable songs with some good hooks, rapid pacing as well as some memorable lyrics and choruses. The vocalist Oskar Lindström has a cool, clean yet slightly gruff vocal style, it fits the gloomy aura of the music, but he does use copious amounts of echoing effect on his vocals, probably a little too much, but it does sound cool as long as you do not focus too hard on it’s constant presence. I am not saying this is some kind of instant classic by any means, but if you are a die hard fan of ‘80s heavy metal and speed metal who can not get enough of that classic sound. Then I think you are going to be pleased with a purchase of this very solid debut record.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/excuseofficial    https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com    

 

 

EXCOMMUNICATED

“Skeleton Key” 2011 CD

(UW Records)

 

From the heart of the doomy sludge lands of Louisiana comes Excommunicated. They do not exactly fit in with the locals musically however. The members of Excommunicated come from bands you may or may not recognize like Suture, Despondency, Catholicon… They are a young as an entity, though obviously the members are not going round the block on their trike for the first time, nevertheless this is the debut album from the band. These blokes also have a few friends and/or connections as they managed secure a couple brief guest appearances from the likes of Vincent Crowley of Acheron & Andy Larouque of the almighty King Diamond fame. Not bad company at all. The Music on Skeleton Key is brutal and technical death metal that could probably be said to be somewhat in the Florida style ala more recent Cannibal Corpse material. The vocals however are not garbled growls (think of something closer to Martin Van Drunen of classic Pestilence fame), but they have more definition to them and the vocalist Chad Kelly has a quality to his voice and inflection that adds some originality to the band and sets him and them apart from many others in the scene. Not exactly groundbreaking granted, yet Skeleton Key is an excellent piece of darkened death metal.  – Dale

http://www.facebook.com/pages/UW-Records/162216050503802    

 

 

EXECUTIONER

“The Anthology (1982)” 2011 CD

(Patac Records)

 

Now this is the way punk rock and hardcore should be played. These raunchy bastards really rip it up, they have the speed, the good songs, the attitude and you can shout along with the lyrics. I have heard more than a few punk bands from this period in the early 80s and not many of them are this heavy or belligerent. I had never heard of this band, not that I am an expert on this genre, but all the same I was surprised after hearing the quality that I had not heard of them. I did a bit of digging online and apparently this Californian band never released any proper releases, just some had tracks on some compilations and shit. I find that even more amazing, this is a great band, the recordings sound great. Maybe they did not have enough material was the thought that crossed my mind. I mean I know all the songs are like 1 ½ to 3 minutes long, but still there are 29 tracks of pissed off punk and hardcore on here. A lot of labels really missed the boat back in the day apparently. Some of this shit was ahead of it’s time. All I can say is if you love old music from the above mentioned styles then you really need to check this out sooner than later.  - Dale

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpjM3_VZqQs  http://www.patacrecords.com   

 

 

EXPULSER

"The Unholy One” 2018 CD, LP & Cassette

(Greyhaze Records)

 

Expulser are a heavy, thrash metal band coming to us out of the Brazilian metal scene. “The Unholy One” was originally released in 1992, but here it has been remastered this reissue with full liner notes and also the “Fornications” ep as a bonus on here. The guitar work on this record is executed with a lot of skill, and ability to write and construct some excellent classic heavy metal anthems. The vocals are old school gruff growling and some blackened screechy screams are spread throughout all the songs on here. If you missed out on this classic release the first time around, as many of us did, then definitely check out this unearthed gem of blackened heavy metal art today.  - Patrick

https://www.greyhazerecords.com/          

 

 

EXPURGATE

Dementia Tremens” 2013 CD

(Comatose Music)

 

Colorado's Expurgate debut Dementia Tremens sees the light of day through the mighty Comatose Music. They present to us nine songs of brutal, guttural insanity. I am not usually a big fan, interested in bands that use guttural vocals seems like most bands the music is not that brutal or good and all the interest is on the vocalist. But that is not the case with Expurgate the musicians know how to play brutal and intense death metal with catchy and memorable guitars and blasting drums. As mentioned the vocalist uses the guttural style but uses it well and blends it in with the music to add another layer to the bands heavy brutal sound. If your a fan guttural, straight forward styled death then definitely check out the Comatose Music store and get this today.  - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/expurgate  http://www.comatosemusic.com/    

 

 

EXXXEKUTIONER

“Death Sentence” 2018 CD

(Ulthar Records)

 

This is my first go ‘round with the British band Exxxekutioner, who fire off a strafing audio experience of wicked thrashing speed metal, with a small dash of punk crossover vibe in there as well. This is all done in the olden tradition and you can hear the early German and American thrash influences abounding on this snappy 24 minute release. The first listen through, I was punch drunk on the blitzkrieg pace and explosive energy. I thought to myself this is pretty amazing stuff, okay, so maybe that feeling dwindled a bit upon repeat listens. But, I only consider that as a very slight caveat, as I really got into this mini-album and every spin it makes me fucking headbang and that is a good thing! The riffing is super heavy, and as catchy as the common cold, almost exclusively played at breakneck speeds with rapid fire pounding drum whirlwinds to match. This is all backed with some gruff yelled vocals that have this slight whispering, rasping edge to them that brings a certain darkness to the bands sound. Another thing I love about the band, and the music is a real old school attitude that just drips off this recording clearly fuelled by spikes, bullet belts, leather jackets, cigs and booze! Okay, so there is nothing utterly amazing or groundbreaking on this record, and you have heard it before. But, it is so well done; almost perfectly capturing that old magic! It is enjoyable the spin they put on old style thrash speed metal, and it is just a fun listen for real goats like me who lived through this period and height of this style, those who like and respect that description should make sure to add to this musical grenade to their collection.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Exxxekutioner/    https://ultharrecords.bandcamp.com/     

 

 

EYE OF SOLITUDE

“Canto III” 2013 CD

(Kaotoxin Records)

 

I've seen the Eye of Solitude, constantly being tagged and described as a death doom band. Now, while that element is in there to an extent, that is not exactly what I got when I hit play. Yes, there is a death doom sort of dirge through large parts of the album, but it also has a slight industrial flavour at time and at other times there is also actually quite a bit of super fast, black metal blasting speed at the drop of a hat which I kind of found jarring at times and not really in a good way. Also the heavy use of keyboards to create a lot of their atmosphere, to an old school doom fan like me, especially used this heavily, felt kind of plastic, unemotional and listless. I am not too into their goth-y feeling piano interludes either. I like the drawn out growling from the vocalist, they highlight the slow pace in those sections really well. Honestly, if these guys would drop the synth, the blasting black metal bits and just focus on their core strength, which is death/doom with traditional instruments they would be so much more enjoyable to me and lot less cluttered and clunky.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/eyeofsolitude   http://www.kaotoxin.com/     

 

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FACES OF BAYON

“Heart Of Fire” 2011 CD

(Ragnarok Records)

 

Ahh, a doom metal band. While I'm not much of a doom fan, every now and again it hits the spot. The dark, sludgy anthems can really rattle one's brain when done right. Faces of Bayon do it right. Their "Heart of The Fire" release is six songs of US darkened doom metal. I felt like I was going back to the early 70's when I listened to their music - walking through a forest that never ends - only to end up right back where I started. A trip. The production is rough but that just adds to the atmosphere. Good stuff and worth checking out!  - Mark Sugiyama

http://www.ragnarok-records.com  http://www.myspace.com/facesofbayon  

 

 

FACE OF OBLIVION

“Cataclysmic Desolation” 2016 CD

(Comatose Music)

 

Minnesota’s Face Of Oblivion are back with their second full length “Cataclysmic Desolation”. They play a brutal death metal style that has a blending of middle ‘90s sound and some elements of more recent technical death metal. The drums are played with a lot of skill that goes from crazed blast beats mixed with some really well constructed drum patterns. The vocalist is Jesse Watson (singer of Incinerate) does a great job with his deep, brutal growls, and in a few songs, there is even a few lines of raw screams mixed with the death metal growls. If you enjoy brutal death metal, with touches of technical death, be certain to pick up a copy of Face of Oblivion’s new cd today.  - Patrick

https://www.reverbnation.com/faceofoblivion    http://www.comatosemusic.com        

 

 

FAITHXTRACTOR

The Great Shadow Infiltrator” 2013 CD

(Deathgasm Records)

 

I remember hearing about this band some years back when Ash was still with Estuary {I believe faithXtractor was either in the planning stages or had just begun not quite sure on that though}. But anyways I'm glad to see the band finally got going and even happier I got a copy of their second release! FaithXtractor is a two man band consisting of Ash Thomas {vocals, guitars, bass, and drums} and his brother Marquis {vocals, guitars}. Starting off with a heavy mid pace approach, the brothers do pick up the pace slightly with semi heavy guitars. The drumming is really well played and done ranging from slow almost doomish heavy beats to more energetic fast beats. The guitars are pretty much in the same range as the drums playing some mid paced heavy old school style riffs. But without warning tears into some raging death/thrash riffs and some solo's. The vocals are shared between Ash and Marquis and work really good together with deep death growls and higher pitched screams .This is a strong release that deserves your attention and money, fans of early death/thrash will love this band without a doubt.  - Patrick

https://myspace.com/faithxtractor  http://deathgasm.com/    

 

 

 

FALL OF THE IDOLS

“Solemn Verses” 2012 CD

(I Hate Records)

 

I am trying not to put the cart before the horse here, but I always get excited when an I Hate Records package appears in my mailbox. It is like seeing the Banzai Records logo in Canada growing up in the 80s, you knew nine times out of ten, it is the mark of quality, regardless of whether it was a band you heard of before or not, just get it, chances are you will either like it or love it. Enough of that, on to the band Fall Of The Idols, hailing from the cold and dark lands of Finland. They play a rather dark, brooding form of doom metal with pacing that goes from a crawl to mid paced and back again to a snails walk. It definitely has it’s own atmosphere and vibe, I can get lost in it and drift into the murk, but they bring you out of it from time to time with some well placed aggression and energy that slaps you awake. The vocals are a little different to my ear than the usual doom vocals, it is almost something you would hear in a different genre of music. As doom vocals go, this not something I would normally get that into. It is very whispery and clean, possibly a bit too close to stuff you hear on some metallic goth acts. Yeah the vocals do kind of work, but I am not the biggest fan of them. The music on the other hand is fantastic, dissonant melancholic doom yet still heavy with a slight biting edge to them, with some minimalist well planned out and placed drumming. If you can get into the vocals, then this is an album I can really recommend to check out.  - Dale

http://www.youtube.com/user/FallOfTheIdols  http://www.ihate.se/ 

 

 

FALL OF THE LEAFE

“Vantage” 2005 CD

(Firebox Records)

 

I was in touch with this band 10 years ago, yes you read that right, a fucking decade ago, geez I am an old koot. I was in quite good touch with them, the guitarist took out an advert in issue 2! As I recall he never did pay me for it either, yet the man who ran Wild Rags that everyone accused of shady took out a full page and paid me more up front than I had asked for. Yes, well back in those gray sundry days of yore, Fall of The Leafe, played an evil brand of epic black metal band, raw yet thoughtful. Fast forward to modern day, these Finnish blokes are still kicking. Are they still black metal? Fuck no, they are not even melodic death metal at this point. No sir, now they are commercial gothic rock with a homo erotic atmosphere. They say they are old goth mixed with grunge? What the fuck? I do not hear grunge, though the singer sounds like he is trying to be a hunky version of the Pearl Jam singer, so maybe that is it? He Leafers, want to buy back your demo so no one finds out what you used to be? Total Crap. – Dale 

www.firebox.fi  www.falloftheleafe.com

 

 

FALLS OF RAUROS

“The Light That Dwells In Rotten Wood” 2011 CD

(Bindrune Recordings)

 

I do not think I have ever heard black / viking / folk sort of epic metal this good from a North American band before. I was sure when I pressed play that I would find out Falls of Rauros were from somewhere in Scandinavia. So imagine my surprise when I investigate and find out this quality outfit hails from the mist swept forests of Maine. At times they make me think of one of my all time faves of this style Kampfar. Falls produce some grand mental landscapes and produce in me waves of introspective and mournful emotions. They interweave some heavy galloping parts with flowing folkish acoustic guitars displaying a dexterity that illustrates their mature song writing skill. I really enjoyed this but you probably have to be in a mellow, low key kind of mood and be willing to let yourself be carried away with the current. For me it is a fine counterpoint to put on against the hate and extremity that often fills much of my musical preference.  – Dale

http://fallsofrauros.blogspot.com/  http://bindrunerecordings.com/    

 

 

THE FAT DUKES OF FUCK

“Honey From The Lips Of An Angel” 2012 CD

(Self Released)

 

This is not generally the kind of thing musically I listen to. But everything from the artwork to the lyrics, to the song titles, to the band name drew me in right from the start. But then again I am the type that is into extreme and sleazy things. But as an example of what I mean, search the song “Cigarette” by The Fat Dukes Of Fuck on youtube (before it probably gets taken down! haha) to get an idea what I mean. You have a preacher puppet ala the Muppets tv show rocking out, then he starts fucking a puppet chick in every way you could imagine before blowing his load (they show everything!) into her mouth, both him and the chick are licking some of cum out dripping down her face. Then later in the video he is screwing her while she is on the rag and there is blood everywhere. Holy shit these guys rule!! I love The Fat Dukes of Fuck! So yes tons of great window dressing that turns me on, but what does the music sound like? A lot of it as I mentioned, is outside of my normal purview, but I can hear some classic Faith No More influence, seen another review say Fu Manchu, that sounds like a reasonable elemental influence as well, probably shit like Primus could be thrown in there. They are decidedly hard rock and metal sounding, but I think you could throw even more spaced out stuff like Zappa and The Melvins in the melting pot that spat out this greasy super cool band! I just know I love it for all the things I mentioned, but the music is pretty killer and memorable too and for me something different than what I usually get off on. Not bad that it can win me over like that in a genre I do not listen to much. But these guys do rock and yes they do it with their cocks out, dripping with pussy juice, blood and semen. You want to check out something different, but still sick and extreme? Get this!!  – Dale

http://www.thefatdukesoffuck.com/  http://thefatdukesoffuck.bandcamp.com/   

 

 

FATELANCER

"Black Metal Against Communism” 2017 CD

(Castle Of Damnation / Maltcross Records)

 

The very prolific Troy Reynolds comes to us with another one of his solo bands, where he writes and records everything himself. Some of the other bands Troy is part of are Autumn Grave, which is another solo effort, as well as full member bands like Black Blood Stigmata and the great Path Of Damnation I just reviewed as well. Fatelancer proclaims to be black metal, but the whole concept here is very much heavily rooted in the current American sociopolitical realm. Which to me, does not seem to fit with black metal whatsoever (which as said they do call themselves bm), this sort of concept and subject matter is more of a punk and hardcore thing (the vocals on here do sound kind of hardcore-like) to tackle such issues mixed with music. The band even label themselves as “Alt-Right Black Metal”, the Alt-Right movement seems to be largely led by and comprised of ultra religious Christian zealots, which is of course is the extreme opposite of what black metal at it’s core has always stood for and it’s object of hate toward. Black metal in my opinion should never be combined with anything relating to the praise of the Christian religion. That is all I will say on that, but I would think most in the history of the bm scene would agree with that stance. So, with that aside now, it is usually the music that I focus upon most in reviews, so time to dig into the music itself which is a challenge. The music, as you may imagine is very much tailored in this case solely to the subject matter at hand with a lot of audio clips from the newscasts, public speeches and the like. Most of that did not do it for me I have to admit, I found in this case it only serves to kill any flow the music could hope to have. But I guess I appreciate the passion in standing up for what one believes if nothing else. When we do get bits of actual metal songs, a sparsely populated event, they again really do not come off black metal sounding at all to me outside of the odd sparingly used tremolo picked guitar run. No, much of the music especially with the vocal style Troy employs here comes off like a slightly growled version of the typical hardcore style shouted vocals. The music sounds more like moody slower metallic edged hardcore music all around to me, which is not something I am generally very much of a fan of honestly, so even musically this is not for me. Again, to reiterate, I am just speaking musically here, but for me, this is not Troy’s finest work or even close to it by any means. I know he has band mates to work with in Path Of Damnation for example, but that other band of his is so many miles beyond Fatelancer in quality. I would recommend highly checking out Path Of Damnation or even Black Blood Stigmata and give this one a pass. Though I suppose if you really like having social and political issues mixed with a barrage of audio clips into little chunks of music (which is only a hastily thrown together backdrop for the message and nothing more) then you may enjoy this release on a different level than I do.  - Dale

https://fatelancer.bandcamp.com       

 

 

FAUST

From Glory to Infinity” 2009 CD

(Paragon Records)

 

Originally formed by Aleister (vocals, guitars) in 1992. The band was put on hold while Aleister fulfilled his duties with Ancient. Well a new time and day are here and Aleister is back with a new all-star line-up and release. The line-up features Steve Digiorgio (bass, Sadus, Death) Luca Princiotta (guitar, Doro) among others who contributed. Faust has created some extremely well crafted and executed technical Death Metal. The band seems to be in the vein of early 90's technical death metal like cynic and Death - “Individual Thought Patterns” era, but also has a lot of the modern technical influence and sound. I am not a huge fan of technical Death Metal but Faust have done a good job of mixing in straight-forward Death with a lot of modern technical guitar, bass lines. Fans of technical Death Metal or the above mentioned bands should definitely give this a listen.  – Patrick

http://www.paragonrecords.org  http://www.deathmetal.it/  

 

 

FERAL

“Forever Resonating In Blood” 2017 CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)

 

As I always say, it adds a bit of extra excitement for me, when I get a release for review from my homeland like with Canada’s Feral. I am immediately struck by the vocals on here. Now, I like screechy and screaming vocals for the most part, I mean I am a fan of everything form Burzum to Lust to The Accused etc… But, the vocals from this one band are nauseatingly annoying, to the point of almost being headache inducing. I am sure fellow parents will get this, but I have a young daughter, back when she was 3 to 5 years old, she would have these ultra melodramatic screamy, yelling, crying hoarse voice temper tantrum meltdowns. Well, mix that sound with a bit of the usual metal and hardcore type screech ‘n yell combo, and you will get an idea of what the Feral vocals sound like. It took me two full listens of this album before I could focus much past the vocals and listen to the music. The music has it’s moments, with some nice guitar work infused with the odd cool emotive moment or nuance I enjoyed. The bulk of the music though, while solid enough I suppose, feels a little disjointed, like some jam parts were just connected together to make a song and lacking the feeling of a finished flowing song. Back to the guitar work, there are some killer guitar fills and solos, yes I know it is black metal or at least is presented as black metal, but there are a lot of moments which suddenly sound much more heavy metal or hints of thrash. Possibly a sad thing, since it is a bm band, those non-black metal elements are almost always the best moments on this album. There is definitely some passion on here and a talent for coming up with cool parts of songs, but it feels like there is a distinct lack of overall vision and aptitude, when it comes to song writing / craftsmanship. This might be a time when having people to collaborate with, might pay off if he can find some suitable people, oh and definitely work on those vocals. There is a first time for everything; I do not think I have ever said this before about a Horror Pain Gore Death release, but this is something I would say you should give a pass on.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/ftwlidtjlctp/    http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/       

 

 

FEROCITY

The Sovereign” 2013 CD

(Deepsend Records)

 

Deepsend Records has really been making a name for themselves the last few years releasing some impressive brutal death metal bands from around the world. Denmark's Ferocity is their latest release and what a band! Brutal, heavy and intense are just some of the words one could use when describing this band. The musicians of Ferocity do a great job of mixing in early to mid nineties New York style brutal slam death metal {Internal Bleeding, Pyrexia} with the heavy guitars and pounding drums. The band is not all inspired by the U.S bands as their is some old-school Swedish death metal in some of their sound with the raw chaotic guitars, fast drumming and some slower, heavier mid-paced sections that really add a little originality to the bands brutal sound. Ferocity seem to draw from various scenes and mix them together nicely and when combined with their own ability to write and perform their instruments have created some vicious and brutal   death metal that will please the fans of mid nineties but should also appeal to the fans modern brutality as well.  - Patrick

https://myspace.com/ferocitydk   http://www.deepsend.com/   

 

 

FESTER

“Winter Of Sin” 2010 Re-Release Digi CD

(Abyss Records)

 

Winter of sin was originally released in 1992 but thanks to the US label Abyss Records it is now being re-released so both old and new black/death metal fans can bask in the greatness that is Fester! Fester comes out of the legendary Norwegian underground and lets face it back in the early 1990's no other country came close to releasing great black metal like Norway. Fester was definitely ahead of their time and went against the norm {remember this was originally in 93 before black/death was blended together by so many} instead of the raw, primitive style that Norway was known for Fester played fast black metal but their guitar riffs/chords were a little thicker and even had a few solo's intertwined with the riffs to give them a death metalish feel and sound. Fester even went a little further to make Winter Sin a "classic" within the black metal scene by adding some avantgarde and melodic interludes to their already gloomy and grim sound. Even today in 2011 this still stands out as a great and original masterpiece. Definitely get this if you like original and dark black metal.  - Patrick

http://www.officialabyssrecords.com/  http://www.myspace.com/festernorway   

 

 

FETUS STENCH

Stillbirth” 2012 CD

(Abyss Records)

 

With a name like Fetus Stench you would expect brutal, solid death metal right? Well you would be correct Stillbirth is Fetus Stench’s debut cd loaded up with 9 songs of intense, psychotic death metal. Heavy guitars with some complex riffs and solo's intertwined, the drumming ranges from mid-paced all the way up to blasting rage blasting beats. There are some vicious, angry growls and screams, this is a real nice mix of old/and newer death metal so anyone into brutal death should check it out.  - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/fetusstench  http://www.officialabyssrecords.com   

 

 

FIENDS AT FEAST

“Shadows Of Extinction” 2011 CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)

 

I am not going to lie the opening track title track did not particularly interest me and as it is some pretty pedestrian black death metal. I mean they do try to spice this song up with some flamenco acoustic guitar, which did not save the lackluster song for me. Thankfully things do a pick up a little bit from there and a little more emotion and aggression are injected into proceedings. Fiends At Feast have some interesting bits ‘n pieces, but they do not, at this point seem to have a knack as a band to turn those solid elements into good songs. To my ear things just sound a little thin and under developed, not picking apart the production here either, no big complaints on that end. I mean you can write simplistic songs and still have them be good songs, just do not think Shadows Of Extinction showcases FAF at that stage just yet. I realize it sounds like I am being harsh, maybe I am a little, but there is talent, it just needs some time, experience and a little imagination to tap those talents the way they should be. Honestly this sounds like a demo tape that got released by as an album a little before the band was ready to take that step. I see the band have already followed this release up with a full length album on HPGODP, so let us wait and see maybe this young band is progressing quickly and will make me eat those words. In the meantime, I would pass on this.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/fiendsatfeast  http://hpgd.comoj.com/index.html   

 

 

FIMBULTYR

“Gryende Tidevarv” 2008 CD

(Unexploded Records)

 

I see a lot of people calling Fimbultyr viking / folk music. But unless I am little too out of touch with what is going on in those genre’s these days. Then I would are a little too fast and brutal sounding for that. I don’t know maybe they are referring more to the lyrics and imagery. I can definitely see some of the viking metal thing going here musically, but it mixed with heavy doses of black metal. Fimbultyr do a fine job of it too, as they interweave blazing speed and harsh vocals with a lot of melody and dynamic song structuring. This really is a nice surprise for me, you generally do not find material this mature, involved and polished on a bands debut record. It is impressive really. Now do not get me wrong they are not above the odd flowery keyboard portion here and there. But thankfully for me at least, it is kept fairly minimal and often in the background. Vocalist Christofer Bergqvist puts on a great performance here with his deep, menacing death metal growls that drip with emotion and depth. Since this is their first record they are still refining their sound, but they have come a long way in a short amount of time. I think some that are not crazy about viking or folk inspired bands will still enjoy “Gryende Tidevarv” and it’s many layers.  – Dale

www.unexplodedrecords.com   www.myspace.com/fimbultyrband 

 

 

FINNTROLL

“Midnattens Widunder” 1999 CD

(Spikefarm Records)

 

This quite possibly bears the distinction of worst album of 1999 and that is saying something! This band features an ex-Thy Serpent member and 2 members of Barathrum (Whom after hearing this I have lost a lot of respect for!). Please tell me this is a bad joke?! They describe themselves as get this “Trollish Howdown Metal”. Believe it or not they mix symphonic black metal with goth, folk, and polka music! Yes you read that right polka! This is an embarrassment to whole metal scene!!!  – Dale

Spikefarm Recs., Fredrikinkatu 71, 00100 Helsinki, FINLAND

 

 

FIRTAN

“Okeanos” 2018 CD

(Art of Propaganda Records)

 

Hailing from Southern Germany, Firtan bring us a truly immersive experience of a pagan/folk black metal album in Okeanos. Now, I can't swim worth a damn, and in fact have had several near-drowning experiences, but this album makes me feel like I can brave the most tumultuous of currents. I gain a sort of tranquility listening to it that makes me believe I can confidently drift through its abyss and come out changed, yet unscathed. The first track, "Seegang", is an experience akin to this: an exercise in the push and pull between stillness and the tide that feels more like symbiosis than combat. As you wade into the next track, "Tag Verweil", the pace quickens almost dramatically but still returns to an acoustic moment around the 4-minute mark that illustrates the welcome possibility of calm before the next towering wave of kinetic energy. Most of Okeanos continues thusly, with exceedingly well-crafted melodies guiding the listener through different movements within each track, persistently enveloping said listener into moments of beauty that develop into dark yet grand statements of marine omnipotence. I contend that "Nacht Verweil" does this especially well with the addition of violin during the mid-section of the track, bringing an additional layer of heightened emotive expression into the serene mix that builds into an epic, electrifying section of grisly guitars that shock the listener out of their previous lull. While this construction does get a little predictable over the course of the album, it is still absolutely gorgeous to behold. Each track (aside from "Purpur", which is a quieting interlude) approaches the bare bones of this song composition but develops fresh themes for it and ultimately becomes a new experience for the audience. If you are familiar with the conventions of black metal, the earthy roots (whether found in frigid or fertile soil) and the otherwise obscure trappings of the genre (putting the black in black metal), then you will have absolutely no obstacles in recognizing the splendor of Okeanos. What have you got to lose? Let Firtan teach you how to swim.  – Aaron

https://www.facebook.com/Firtanofficial    http://www.aoprecords.de/  

 

 

FLAGELLANT

“Maledictum” 2013 CD

(World Terror Committee Productions)

 

As you all know some the best black metal in the history of scene has originated out of Sweden. Flagaellant has set forth to continue that proud tradition and do so very well with this album. Maledictum is a dark piece of art that will take you back and revel in the great time of the second wave of black metal in the early 90s. Just think of the early days of Marduk, Dark Funeral, Darkthrone and you will start to get a mental picture of their diabolic sound. Flagellant keep in the traditional style, yet also keep more than enough variation and dynamic in the individual songs / guitar arrangements to keep your attention high. The vocals are not quite the usual old school black metal rasp however. Here they have that dark edge, but are more yelled ala a more evil version of Tom Warrior from the early Celtic days, plus a little thrash King Fowley of Deceased sound mixed along with some Quorthon “Blood, Fire, Death” era vocals, something along those lines. The production on this record has a tad more bottom end than most bm bands in this style, it seems to really work for Flagellant. If you love the old style Scandinavian black metal and are like me, you just can never get enough of this stuff when it is quality, then you will want to get this one.  - Dale

https://myspace.com/flagellant  http://www.w-t-c.org/  

 

 

FLAGELLUM DEI

“Under The Might…” 2007 CD

(Bloody Productions)

 

Almost 40 minutes of unmitigated cold and dark black metal coming from these Portugese warriors. There is no doubt right from the first seconds that this band plays some great early 90s second wave of bm dipped in audio black blood of the Scandinavian variety. I do not think it is out of line to state that the early works of bands like Darkthrone, Dark Funeral, Gorgoroth and the like are an influence. I have heard this bands name for sure but it was surprising to see this is the bands 2nd album after a few demos, an ep and 10 years have passed since their inception. Okay so I am not going to lie as Fagellum Dei do sound an awful lot like the bands they worship and do not have a lot of charisma they could call their own. But they have found the right man to do this review. As I happen to really adore this chilling style of black metal. I can never seem to get tired of it. So “Under The Might…” still managed to haunt me like a nightmare, turning my day into darkest night. Will it do the same for you or would you rather just pull out your old records? Only you can answer that question. But until then I will bathe in the cold sinister sounds of Flagellum Dei.   – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/flagellumdei   http://www.bloodyprod.com/ 

 

 

FLAME

“March Into Firelands” 2011 CD

(Hells Headbangers)

 

March Into Firelands marks the return of Finland's Flame. After a six year hiatus March Into Firelands is 8 tracks of violent blackend thrash metal. The guitars are fast and well executed. The drums are intense and well precise considering the speed and intensity. Flame has crafted and released one of the best old-school blackend thrash releases to be heard in quite sometime if you enjoy old-school blackend thrash with a lot of heart and dedication to keeping the old-school spirit alive then Flame's March Into Firelands is a cd you must hear!!  - Patrick

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

 

 

FORGJORD

“Sielunvihollinen” 2012 CD

(Hammer of Hate Records)

 

I always look forward to a new promo pack from Hammer of Hate, if there was a label that knows their violent black black metal it is H.O.H. This time the label unleashes Forgjord's third release and what an assault on the senses. Cold, vicious and pure violent black metal just the way it is meant to be played. Forgjord embrace the classic Finnish sound perfectly with harsh screechy vocals, raw razor-sharp guitars that will tear your soul apart with each riff and drums that are all over the place with mid-paced beats to more a furious barrage of blast beats. Forgjord will not disappoint any of the bands long-time fans or if your like me and new to the band but you enjoy cold, vicious Finnish b.m then Forgjord's latest is a must have.  - Patrick

http://www.hammer-of-hate.com/releases/hoh023/  http://www.hammer-of-hate.com/   

 

 

FORNACE

“Pregnant Is The Night” 2012 CD

(Paragon Records)

 

Originally released in 2012, through the Russian record label Auto Dafe, Mike from Paragon rec. heard a masterpiece and decided to re-release it for North America. For the people, who missed it the first time around. Fornace comes out of the highly under-rated Italian black metal scene. Fornace play early nineties black metal, with some excellent melodic interludes and somber acoustic guitars, before picking up the pace with some aggressive, faster black metal. There are some slower guitars, almost doomish before going fast again. Fornace is an early nineties bm band, but they are not afraid to mix it up with varying speeds.  - Patrick

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

 

 

FORTID

“9” 2015 CD

(Schwarzdorn Productions)

 

This is Fortid’s fourth album to date; the band is coming out of the Norwegian pagan metal scene. Fortid plays a nice blending of pagan metal with some progressive and folkish influences in a smooth fashion. The guitars are played at various speeds throughout each song, going from fast extreme chords, to a more controlled and melodic parts, before going full speed again. The vocals are black metal screams mixed with some death metal growls. This is a great band, that displays their talent to write by writing complex music, which ranges from aggressive metal and then going in another direction with melodic music intertwined seamlessly. If you are a fan of this band or these genres I would definitely recommend you give this album a listen today.  - Patrick

www.reverbnation.com/fortid   http://www.schwarzdorn.de/  

 

 

FREEDOMS REIGN

“Freedoms Reign” 2013 CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)

 

Well something immediately got my attention that Freedoms Reign is fronted on guitar and vocals by Victor Andruini who was one of the founding members of Misfit, who later on in 1984 changed their name to Fates Warning! I am definitely a Fates Warning fan. Now granted Mr. Andruini was only with Fates Warning once the band changed names for about a year, but that was long enough for him to be a part of their debut album “Night On Brocken” and follow up “The Spectre Within”. Okay, okay enough of my love for Fates. Damn, this fellow clearly has kept the candle burning all of these years even though it appears he has not been doing a whole lot band wise over these many years. Freedoms Reign is a more straight ahead heavy metal band than his old outfit ever was. Their sound is kind of like a sped up Sabbath sound mixed with a crunchier modern production and some ‘80s heavy metal touches and style in there. It is pretty hard hitting and energetic material, the vocals though are straight out of the ‘80s with a power metal aesthetic and Victor can belt it out pretty competently. The guitar work on here is pretty nice, a lot of pounding riffage with undercurrents of guitar fill noodling done in a classy way. I am not trying to sell this off as utterly mindblowing but this is a good album for Sab fans and heavy metal presented in a updated way. Not bad at all.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/freedomsreign   http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/  

 

 

FRONT BEAST

Demon Ways Of Sorcery” 2013 CD

(Hells Headbangers Records)

 

Front Beast is a band I have been eager to hear for awhile now, after hearing they signed to the mighty Hells Headbangers records. Front Beast's second cd Demon Ways Of Sorcery is pure, filthy old-school black metal from this German one man cult band. Avenger {all instruments, vocals} has written and created some really uncompromising barbaric black metal. The album features raw thin guitar riffs that that have a razor sharp sound and feel. Avenger's vocals are extremely sick, torturous screams before bursting into demonic black metal shrieks. Overall a great release of primitive old school black metal that is definitely worth your attention.  - Patrick

https://myspace.com/thefrontbeast  http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/      

 

 

FUELED BY HATRED

“Tears” 1998 CD

(Wrinkle Records)

 

This band hails not far from my old stomping grounds in Canada. If you were to check out their bio, you’d think this band were the next big hope or something! I got into the first song “Unleash” with it’s hatred, dynamics and memorable chorus. To be honest, I could give two shits about the rest of the album. It degenerates into a well played Korn/Fear Factory/Lost Souls/Skinlab fest with big gobs of hardcore mixed in, for all the ‘jump’ metallers out there to get into. When this trend says ‘jump’, you say how “how high!?”  - Dale

Fueled By Ignorance, P.O. Box 1552, Prince George, B.C., V2L 4V5, CANADA website = www.fueledbyignorance.com

 

 

FUNEBRARUM / INTERMENT

“Conjuration of The Sepulchral” 2007 Split CD

(Conqueror of The Thorns Records)

 

Funebrarum – I am unsure if I have mentioned it lately. But Funebrarum are one of my fave bands. So it should surprise no one that the 5 tracks here have done nothing but blow me away! You must hear this to believe it, simple words do not suffice. Funebrarum for the uninitiated play absolutely crushing old school death metal with a dirgy doom undertone. For a general reference point to their sound and style, think of the old works by bands like Grave, Autopsy, Repulsion, Nihilist… You know basically the stuff I worship. What a brutalizing and suffocating atmosphere to this music – you will feel it and know what I mean. It hits covers you in an avalanche. There are two amazing cover tracks on here of Abhorrences “Caught In A Vortex” + Grave’s “Into The Grave”. The Grave cover makes me want to break shit and circle around an invisible pit in my living room! I mean seriously I have not played this much air guitar or head banged this mucking fucking in ages.

Interment – Are really a great band to follow Funebrarum. They are a little more thrashy and not doomy like Fune but are definitely cut from the same cloth as the band they share this disc with. Think Autopsy on speed mixed with heavy doses of Carnage and early Entombed. These guys are fast and intense. The drummer Kennet Englund is a real demon on the kit and asserts himself into sound quite prominently. The riffing from Interment is just really heavy and catchy but in an oh-so-brutal way. This made me an instant fan of Interment. This release is just great and what an amazing split. This release is an absolute must have it.  – Dale  

www.conquerorofthorns.com   www.funebrarum.com 

 

 

THE FURY

“Sex” 2013 CD

(Minotauro Records)

 

I am honoured to receive albums from the legendary Minotauro Records. Minotauro is a legend label for me, simply based on the fact, that they released records by the mighty Paul Chain and also Death SS! The label has been around since the early 1980s! I have a ton of respect for that. This album is actually a re-release of the 1992 album from the The Fury, but with a whole lot of extra material. The original eleven tracks are here, plus bonus tracks like the1989 “Reflections Of A Wasted Youth” demo tape and three “Live 90 Tracks”. The Fury play some really cool old school heavy metal, that at times sounds like it could have been released a decade earlier in 1982, at time when the retro thing was let’s say a very un-cool thing to do. They do have a touch of late ‘80s thrash in their sound. So I guess I should not try to pigeonhole them back to those early metal days that completely. But they do root a lot of their sound in early 80s power metal and have appropriately clean spoke/sung vocals that take me back to those times. Which is something that may turn off some newer extreme metal fans, but I think it is fantastic. Some of the songs on here are really punchy and rocking, getting my head nodding and my fists jack hammering, along with the drums and dirty catching riffs. You can sing along with the lyrics too and just have a good time in the old tradition. They even bust out a little blues tinged ditty, with the second to closer track “Remembrances Pt. 3”, which is pretty good in my books. Then the band breaks out some thrash sounding material to end the album. Just a fantastic album all around. Thank you Minotauro for digging up this gem and bringing it to my attention. For fans of ‘80s power metal and heavy metal that think they got it all and heard it all, well, you missed one, pick this up straight away, you will not be disappointed.  - Dale

http://www.minotaurorecords.com/   http://minotaurorecords.bandcamp.com/  

 

 

FURZE

“Reaper Subconscious Guide” 2010 CD

(Agonia Records)

 

I always heard this bands name, but until now I have never gotten around to hearing them. This is interesting and not quite what I expected, though I suspect this may be a tad different from their past releases. Just going off of things I have read. I see the drummer from Satyricon, Zyklon B, Gorgoroth etc… is behind the skins here as well, busy fellow. To be honest knowing what a purist I am at heart, this is something I would probably dislike outright in the past. I mean it is gloomy and foreboding stuff but also extremely strange and quirky and off the wall for something that would be put in the black metal arena. It is so far down this path it would almost have to be called original and against all odds it somehow enthralls me in fits and spurts. There is nothing fancy or really technical about it, the combinations of elements at odds with each other is skillfully done. Some of the music on here reminds me of the more introspective spacey moments of classic 70s Black Sabbath mixed with weird chimes, bells, xylophone and peculiar guitar strumming that clearly came from a mental lunatic with no sense of the instruments unwritten rules. Part of me hates this album a little and a part of me likes it a lot. I do not know how else to attempt to put it into words. Probably best left for the more adventurous, an acquired taste to be sure, a bit of madness mixed with schizophrenic brilliance. I do not get it yet I have this yearning to keep on attempting to try to grasp it. Gonna go listen to some early Sabbath now – see you next time.  – Dale

http://www.furze.no/  http://www.agoniarecords.com/ 

 

 

FYRNASK

“Bluostar” 2011 CD

(Temple of Torturous)

 

I like the layout of this album; it comes on a fold out cardboard case with the booklet in one pocket and the disc in the other. The layout is kind of stark, simplistic with classic landscapes and artwork that gives off a really melancholic wandering sort of feeling. It reflects the music itself quite well. This German band is another in a line of one man atmospheric and black metal bands. The hymns on Bluostar are just that an atmospheric, again wandering forlorn and introspective music mixed with aggressive short bursts of all out early 90s style black metal. The vocals are pretty sparse at times, but I think the instrumentation is what is supposed to be on display front and center. But you do get the yelled black metal rasps as well as hymn like chanting and the odd spoken word bit. Overall I really got into this and it took me on a mental journey with this project. It is so perfect the time I listen to this album as it is a dark, overcast morning where I live in the mountains, a heavy fog has been steadily rolling in off the mountain peaks. Yes this is the soundtrack for my environment and that is probably adding to my enjoyment. It is hard not to recommend this record. I think the only criticism I would offer is the depressive atmospheric mainstay and the transitions to the harsh black metal material could be married together a little smoother at times. But that is a small complaint on an otherwise recommended record all done by the hands and mind of one man. Impressive.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/fyrnask  http://www.templeoftorturous.com/   

 

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THE GARDNERZ

“The System of Nature” 2011 CD

(Abyss Records)

 

The Gardnerz seems like a strange or goofy name for a metal band and maybe even more so for a doom /death metal band. Now with their music there is nothing goofy about that, it is serious, dead serious doom laden dm summoned from the pits of fire and brimstone. Apparently these Swedes have been toiling since 2008, even though as near as I can tell this is their only official release, no demos or eps or anything. This album was mastered by the mighty Dan Swano at Unisound Studios, I had no idea Dan was still doing production work or that he had re-opened his studio, cool. The growling death metal vocals have that doomy element to them, but for me I would have liked to have had a little more elongated pronunciation on certain parts and a little more emotion in them. The singer Niclas seems like he is trying to hurry through some lines of the lyrics which really does not fit the slower doomier sections very well at times. That is not to say they are bad vocals, they are adequate and he does a decent job overall, but they could be better and more tailored to the music they flowing over top of. Speaking of the music it is crushing doomy riffs with accelerated interludes and some pretty cool guitar leads mixed in to the meandering musical milieu. Not necessarily among the best bands coming out of a very talented Sweden doom scene these days, but nonetheless, an decent entry and it will be interesting to see where The Gardnerz take their sound on the next album.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/thegardnerz  http://www.officialabyssrecords.com/    

 

 

GIGANDHI

“Chaaval” 1998 CD

(Euphonious Records/Voices of Wonder)

 

Atmospheric, industrial music. I do no’t like this style, so this does nothing for me. It is I can say well put together and orchestrated and fans of this genre will like this I am quite sure.  - Dale

Euphonious Records, Skt. Jorgens Alle 7, O.G., 1615 Kbh. V., DENMARK Email = euphonious@vow.dk

 

 

GOATCRAFT

All For Naught” 2013 CD

(Forbidden Records)

 

This is simply amazing music, pure genius! A one man band done by Lonegoat. But what makes GoatCraft unique and different from all the other one man bands is Lonegoat plays the piano. Lonegoat's playing skills are beyond brilliant. Playing from hauntingly slow, mid-paced to some of the fastest piano playing I've ever heard it's  extremely well played and well written. Musically it reminds me of movie soundtracks mixed with dark classical piano music. If you are someone who enjoys piano music then GoatCraft is a band you should definitely check out soon.  - Patrick

http://www.goatcraft.net/about.cfm  http://forbidden-records.com/   

 

 

GOATHAMMER

"Ceremony Of Morbid Destruction” 2018 CD, LP & Tape

(Hells Headbangers Records)

 

Being that I am of Canadian descent, even though I moved from there long ago. I spent the first 23 years of my life in Canada and it is always a source for pride for me, to find and support good UG bands from my homeland. Now, having said that, some of the bands I have reviewed from there in recent times have been just okay, and nothing overly notable. Will that change with this release, let’s dig in and find out. Goathammer definitely have some influences that immediately stand out for me including their countrymen Blasphemy, as well as early Beherit, Ungod and Profanatica yet they do take it some subtle, and not so subtle directions those bands do not. The band definitely plays a very grimy, sadistic form of warring black/death metal, but at the same time they are prone semi-regularly to…I don’t want to say melodic parts, let’s more musical sections than the bands I named above, mixed within the chaos and high velocity violence. They never stop the sickness and brutality, but they do add those accents above coupled with some good brief somewhat frenzied guitar fills and solos without ever really being one (Okay, okay the one at the end of the second track “Invoking…” that is a fucking solo haha). All of which, as devout followers of those bands, who I mentioned as influences can tell you are not normal elements of this style. But, as I said they do never soften up or take away or sacrifice the evil necro atmosphere or the cruelty of the blackened death metal foundation their music is built upon. It is nice to review a new Canadian band putting out their debut album that I can really get behind and support got a change. Check this out and continue to watch for Hells Headbangers to search out and find all bands in the scene that have one word names ending in (Death, Goat…)hammer. :)  - Dale

https://goathammer-canada.bandcamp.com/    http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/          

 

 

GOSPEL OF THE HORNS

“Ceremonial Conjuration” 2012 CD

(Invictus Productions)

 

No strangers to the mini album format, much less to delivering crushingly effective black/thrash, GOTH are finally back from their self-imposed exile. Dust off you bullet-belts, devotees of the vile Aussie sound, 'Ceremonial Conjuration' is a proud addition to an already impressive catalogue of metal this band has produced over the years. The new songs strike the listener with an immense atmosphere of darkness and destruction, which is no small feat itself but the band did the extra mile and made the tunes super catchy and memorable to boot. In a live setting this stuff should work wonders, there's this undeniable 'instant headbanging' factor one just can not possibly resist. Damn, the malign vocals by Howitzer are just what music of such proportions requires, Masochist's guitar work and tone is spot on and you should all know by now what an intense drummer Mersus (Destroyer 666) is. No nhttp://invictusproductions.net/eed  picking a personal fave tune, all of them (including the closing cover of 'The Fog' by Goatlord) stand on their own, making this an essential purchase for those who prefer their metal rocking, raw and free of trends and fads.  - Vladimir Petrov

http://www.myspace.com/gospelofthehorns  http://invictusproductions.net/   

 

 

GODLESS RISING

“Trumpet Of Triumph” 2010 CD

(Moribund Records)

 

This is the 3rd Rising record and as far as I recall my first encounter with them. Straight off the bat, I should mention that this is a two-man band. Godless is made up of guitar shredder extraordinaire Toby Knapp (Darken, Onward etc…) and death metal legend (at least to us old UG fanatics) Jeff Gruslin of Vital Remains fame. It would at least on paper, seem like a highly unlikely combination. The imagery, lyrics and vocals scream brutal death metal. The music, minus the vox, though is really in the speed metal / thrash (though an evil sounding brand to be sure) arena with the odd dm sounding touches. In fact some of the music on here reminds me a little of Testament’s Demonic album. I am huge fan of that record, so that is a plus for me. Now I am sure many of you are thinking what I was thinking, which is how, even if he is metal guy, does a guitar shredder mesh with this style? The answer is at times it works beautifully, yet at times those guitar histrionics sound forced and veer off into wanking territory. Those sections are few and far between though and short. The riffing and drum work on here are malevolent as hell and sound great, just pounding you in the head. Jeff Gruslin definitely out does himself on the mic here. It is truly a frightening vocal performance he puts on, not to mention multi-pronged with growling, hissing, gurgles and screams that sound truly possessed. A zombie could not sound any more undead than Gruslin does on this record. Trumpet of the Triumph is an interesting release. Give it a try.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/godlessrising  http://www.moribundcult.com/ 

 

 

G.O.R.E.

“Never Sober Level” 2007 CD

(Khaaranus Productions)

 

This is some gorgeous grind straight out of the Czech Republic. G.O.R.E. follow in a similar to the tradition of one of my all time fave bands. I speak of the mighty Gut. Okay as you would expect from the name they are a little less porn then Gut and a lot more gory but a not too dissimilar in sense of humour. You can also throw in some Terrorizer and early Napalm Death and mix it all into the bloody organ stew. This is the way I like it. They just come right at you and never let up. It is an immense wall of pulverizing guitars grinding along like a chainsaw and backed with speedy buck shot drumming. The vocals are deep and growling and rather undecipherable but damn good regardless as they roll and rumble off the singers tongue. The goofy pop lounge lizard tunes used as song interludes in the first part of the album had me laughing. These bastards have got to be drunk (just check out the lyrics!) with that idea but somehow it also works. The production on here suits this style pretty nicely. It highlights the sick guitars and pummel drumming but there is room for everything to stretch its dismembered legs. It is gore and it is grind and death metal and it does make me want to break shit. So I would say I can recommend this.  – Dale

www.khaaranus.wz.cz   www.goregrinddeath.com 

 

 

GOREGӒNG

“Neon Graves” 2019 CD & LP

(Transending Obscurity Records)

 

Lately there has been a deluge of death metal releases that cover all the forms of my favorite style of metal, but that makes it difficult for bands to stand out from the pack. We’re in an age where a perfect production can be had for not a lot of money, and musicians’ chops are better developed than ever before. Goregӓng does an exceptional job of delivering real death metal the way it is meant to be played – heavy, well-written, vicious, and musically varied enough to keep the listener from being bored. From the opening track, I was met with a barbaric onslaught of sound, well-recorded but not overly sanitized, delivering a punked-up old school sound along the lines of Autopsy meets Celtic Frost meets Ghoul meets chainsaw-style death metal from Scandinavia (although they tone down the chainsaw to where it almost sounds just like a normal downtuned distorted guitar). The most important thing to me was the thickness of the sound on the recording – death metal should sound big, bad, and monolithic, and Goregӓng pulls it off well. Not to mention the sick-ass mid-paced riffs in many of the songs that induce headbang-whiplash with an immediacy rarely encountered in metal today. The vocals are also refreshing, being varied and ultimately vile all the way around. From pukes to growls and gutturals to – gasp – gang vocals in the band’s namesake song, the tones and patterns the vocalist uses are always entertaining, and they punctuate the rhythm section as well as complement the songwriting. This one gets high marks from me, and any metalist that worships at the feet of old death will dig this shit.  - Andrew

https://www.facebook.com/goregang    https://tometal.com/   

 

 

GORGOROTH

“Destroyer (Or About How Philosophize With The Hammer)” 1998 CD

(Nuclear Blast Records)

 

Gorgoroth are a bestial entity and with “Destroyer” they have created a intoxicating, caustic record of obscure rage! I became familiar with this band when I tape traded for their hellfire of a ’93 demo “A Sorcery Written In Blood”. Then went on to enjoy their straight lightning forward blitzkrieg of a debut LP “Pentagram”. Since them I had kind of lost track of them (as they did of themselves as they went through a number of member changes including the departure of Emperor’s Samoth). The cover features a naval destroyer class battleship with a corpse painted figure juxtaposed on top. Gorgoroth are not your average black metal band. They have a very distinctive (recorded in a tube) guitar sound, implementing more traditional metal riffing with their black metal attack. Also they are not afraid to throw in a few doomy parts, which compliments the acidic vocal strikes and overall bombastic open sea naval war metal!   - Dale

 

 

GRABUNHOLD

“Unter Dem Banner Der Toten” 2019 MCD & 12” MLP

(Iron Bonehead Records)

 

Grabunhold are a four man black metal band coming out of Germany. “Unter Dem Banner Der Toten” is the bands debut release, which features three full-length songs and an instrumental track. The music is performed with a good balance of mid paced material and some faster, more aggressive black metal sections. There is some really quality in the often well written and performed guitar work on this mini album. The vocals are grim black metal screams and some deeper gruff growls are also in well used in a few of the songs. Grabunhold play a style of black metal, to my ears, which is very similar to a lot of the bands in the mid-‘90s style that displays some really skilled musicianship.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/Grabunhold/    https://ironbonehead.de/     

 

 

GRAVDAL

“Sadist” 2008 CD

(Unexploded Records)

 

I am not sure what this Norwegian horde was trying to do with that almost song length intro. It has the same sound throughout the duration, which sounds like someone recorded the sound filter bubbles in a fish tank make, along with someone in the distant background banging on a piece of iron now and then. My only hope was the music that followed would be much better and gladly it is. As they come blasting through the speakers at you with some energetic and eerie sounding, second wave, early 90s black metal. The production on the guitars is very heavy and thrashy sounding for this style. Though having said that, Gravdal do offer up some catchy and almost rocking moments within pitch-black veil encompassing atmosphere. Not so much as say Carpathian Forest but that is probably a fair comparison to bring up. I would also have to mention early Darkthrone and perhaps some Immortal along the way. It never broods for long though and the intensity level and speed is usually kept at a rather high level. Generally speaking you have heard this all done before and every now and then, you have heard it done better. This is their debut and despite what I said it is a very solid release, even though it really offers nothing new and is a little done by the numbers. I still found a way to enjoy it.   – Dale

www.unexplodedrecords.com   www.myspace.com/gravdal 

 

 

GRAVDAL

“Torturmantra” 2010 CD

(Unexploded Records)

 

Gravdal are back with their pummeling adrenalized blitzkrieg and it sounds better than ever. Torturmantra is more focused than the debut, without losing a single step of their energy that made the first record an infectious listen. Quite honestly this album makes me want to run around the house in rage smashing everything in my path. It is black metal and sounds evil; it is a rare combination when you can combine that such head bang inducing fury and while being sickeningly catchy. I find myself quite enthralled with this record. Which is something that is a mean feat for me in this day and age. As I mentioned the riffing is extremely memorable, it almost seems betray how extreme and cold this album is, but I will go ahead and say it. This somehow manages to also be a very rocking album (usually that term mixed with bm is a kiss of death for me) in a way that would make classic Carpathian Forest proud. There are some breaks in the wrath of speed as evidenced on the second half of “Eg E Ditt Helvete” and immediately followed up and surpassed by “Mishandlet”. This showcases a very mysterious and brooding side to Gravdal that will send you to a gloomy headspace and provides a rich depth to the album. It only makes you appreciate it that much more once the blitzkrieg is once again commenced with cannon firing in all directions. I like the production on here it is very clear, heavy and first-rate without falling into this trap of over produced like so many releases these days. The guitar sound is raw and organic and the drums sound like thunder claps. I am so fucking pleased with this album and it receives a high recommendation from me.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/gravdal  http://www.unexplodedrecords.com/

 

 

GRAVE DESECRATOR

“Insult” 2010 CD

(Hells Headbangers)

 

Brazilian black thrash the way you expect it to be played with the past rich history of bands from South America. You know that obscure sounding, dirty riffing and dark echo style production, the recording here is better than many old releases. But you can hear influence of the earlier works of bands like Sarcofago, Vulcano type style mixed with early German thrash releases like Sodom and Kreator. The solos on Insult are smoking hot and hit you short and quick, but definitely add something to the song. The guitars at times are more mid paced and heavy with some break neck speed bursts. The mix of those speeds giving Grave Desecrator a more fleshed out sound. The vocals are classic old school whispered shouts with that thrash growl and their marriage with the music is well met. I think this record would be appreciated by all old school thrash metal fans who like their music on the dangerous and sinister side.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/gravedesecrator666  http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/ 

 

 

GRAVES

"Liturgia Da Blasfemia” 2019 CD & LP

(Iron Bonehead Records)

 

Graves are a new a new band coming out of Portugal’s black metal scene and play a primitive old school style. The guitar work is performed with a mix of fast and crazed guitars, along with some slower mid paced sections. While the guitars are played with rough chords and patterns, there are some extremely well written and played rhythmic patterns. The vocals are extremely grim black metal screams and some death growls used throughout the recording. They even use some clean vocals in a few songs that add another element to the bands sound and style. If you are a fan of old school black metal with a raw and primeval production vibe then definitely be sure to put a copy of Liturgia Da Blasfemia when it is released.  - Patrick

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/    http://www.ironbonehead.de/       

 

 

GRAVEWURM

“Blood Of The Pentagram” 2010 CD

(Hells Headbangers)

 

It is good to hear Gravewurm once again, it has been a little while for me. It is too bad to hear that this album will be the final curtain call for the band. They have been around 20 years! I used to be in contact / friends with the main man of this band (we lost contact over the years). In fact, I recall doing a couple tape trades with him and he recorded me some great Macabre stuff among other things. Shit I am old as that tape trade was about a decade ago haha. Anyway, back to the album at hand here. Gravewurm still worship the sounds of old and I hear some stuff like Nunslaughter, Varathron, Sathanas, Acheron etc… I suppose in some ways not a lot has changed, it still sounds like some metalhead coming up with some good heavy straight forward riffs and just basically jamming them without much variation or dynamics. Then take those jam riffs and fit some drums and vocals over top of it rather than attempting to make the riffs fit the other instruments and vice versa. So it is straight forward and can get a little monotone at times, but it still has a cool aura to it and you can definitely headbang to it. Being able to bang your head while having that raw old school sound is a good thing. Followers that like intricate song crafting will not get into this. The vocals are raspy whispered growls that are not a strong point for the band, but manage to get the job done. Nothing too essential here yet die hards of the old school sound that are not too picky will surely find something to like here.  – Dale

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

 

 

GRAVEWURM

Infernal Minions” 2013 CD

(Hells Headbangers Records)

 

Gravewurm return with their ninth release of old school, primitive black metal that only they can produce. We are presented with raw, thin guitar chords that range from harsh and fast to a more controlled and heavier sound. The drums are played with a lot of thought and technique for this style of metal and are extremely well done. The vocals are harsh, talking type of vocal patterns with some harsher screams mixed in. Gravewurm has created and released one of 2013’s best old school black metal releases to date. If you are a long time fan of the band you know what to expect but if you are new to the band and you enjoy fierce, yet quality old school black black metal you won't hear a better band then Gravewurm.  - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/gravewurm  http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/    

 

 

THE GREAT KAT

“Bloody Vivaldi” 1998 MCD

(Thomas Public Relations)

 

Anybody remember that old Great Kat video “Metal Messiah” from the late ‘80’s? Well, Kat is still doing the same old shtick you know “I am a god, I am your master, you are my slave blah blah blah…” Her last few releases she has taken songs from classical composers and re-does them for violin and electric guitar. This time it is Vivaldi and Sarasate. There is no doubt Kat, the Julliard grad is a virtuoso on her respective instruments. The 2 new songs on here are fast (speed is always good by me) but here it never really goes anywhere. Like her last release a couple years ago this weighs in at a whopping 7 + minutes! She’s talented, she looks good in skimpy leather and a garter but seems to be constantly treading an already well beaten (by herself) path.  - Dale

T.P.R., 775 Park Ave., Suite # 222, Huntington, NY. 11743, USA Email = greatkat@greatkat.com website = www.greatkat.com

 

 

GREY HEAVEN FALL

“Black Wisdom” 2015 CD

(Aesthetics Of Devastation)

 

Grey Heaven Fall are a Russian band, who possess a high level of musicianship, and maybe one of the cleanest production jobs I have ever heard from a Russian band. If anything, it might be a tad too clean and clinical, on the production end of things. But that is a minor preference on my part, which I am sure, some would disagree with. The band plays a very brooding, atmospheric kind of style, yet pretty technical speedy dark death metal. I realize those two descriptions sound like oxymoron, but it is true, just listen to this album to find out for yourself. A good example of this, would be the song “Spirit Of Oppression”, which is an impressive epic length song that clocks in at just under 12 minutes. The flow and imagination, of the arrangements and compositions, are smooth and superb. It is impressive, and very welcome, that they have managed to create so much atmosphere, largely with traditional instrumentation. No, the album is not awash in a syrupy soup of synth, and samples to create false, cutting corners atmosphere, like so many bands attempting a similar sound. I also enjoyed the deep, emotive growling of the vocalist, who mirrors the music as best he can and mostly achieves those aims. Mmmm there are some tasty guitar solos now and again as well, look no further than the soulful beauty, in the middle of the track “That Nail In A Heart” for proof. I guess the pestering I received, to get this review done already, was worth the it after all. I guess I would be excited to spread the word on this band too if I was part of Aesthetics Of Devastation Records. This is one you should absolutely not missed and deserves your attention.  - Dale

http://greyheavenfall.bandcamp.com/   http://aesthetics-of-devastation.com/       

 

 

GRIEF OF EMERALD

“Nightspawn” 1998 CD

(Listenable Records USA)

 

Grief of Emerald do come up with the odd structural flash and catchy riff, but otherwise are rather average black/death metal. The keys are mixed in far too heavily. Die hard symphonic black/death fans need only bother with this one.  - Dale

 

 

GROINCHURN

“Already Dead” Promo 3” 1998 MCD

(Dark Ages / Happy Hamster Records)

 

I really am digging this, it is admittedly a bit of a departure from their early stuff. I had a tape traded dub of their first demo, which was more, straight grind. This is a promo of tracks (6 studio, 2 live) from their upcoming album. Groinchurn are still grind but with a lot more traditional and death metal influence. They even throw in “Toad - Ice” a sort of death metal/punk song w/ the shout outs and all. What out for Groinchurn’s new album coming out on Morbid Records.  - Dale

Dark Ages, Ryan (Lunatic Evil), P.O. Box 39550, Garsfontein, Pretoria 0060, SOUTH AFRICA

 

 

GRUE

“Casualty Of The Psychic Wars” 2013 CD

(Eternal Death Records)

 

Grue are a fairly young USBM band, with only a split demo cassette under their belt, before unleashing this full length effort. They are definitely, not your run of the mill black metal band, while staying evil and extreme; they also manage to create a pretty brooding and atmospheric affair. It is a melting pot of hard bm elements, fast dark thrashy sounding riffing and harsh yelled rasps, mixed with slow to mid-paced atmospheric structuring. Which I could really see pleasing, the blitzkrieg early 90s bm fans and the atmospheric, gloomy black metal followers. The two varied aesthetics, are married here in a well thought out, skillful fashion. The bio, which describes this two man band, as a melding of Immortal’s “At The Heart Of Winter” with the atmosphere of Ukranian black metal bands, like Astrofaes and Drudkh. I think that backs up my description of their music, but that might clarify and hone their sound further in the minds of you reading this, that are fans of the above style. I would have to say; this young band immediately distinguishes themselves, as one of the more quality entries into the US black metal scene. Give this a try you will not be disappointed.  - Dale

http://grue.bandcamp.com/   http://www.eternal-death.com/   

 

 

GRUESOME STUFF RELISH

Sempiternal Death Grind” 2013 CD

(FDA Rekotz Records)

 

Spain's Gruesome Stuff Relish return with their third release of sick, gore death grinding metal for the underground maniacs. The band mixes in old-school sounding Entombed {Left Hand Path} and Dismember {Like An Ever Flowing Stream} raw, fast guitars and chaotic drums with some Carcass influence. The band members are not all stuck in the past just rehashing out the same old music of the gods of the past as there are some really good, heavy guitars and drum patterns as well as vocals which use some vocal effects in parts for a cool and original effect. If you enjoy brutal, sickening death metal with some grind influences, then Gruesome Stuff Relish is a band worth checking out. - Patrick

https://myspace.com/gruesomestuff  http://www.fda-rekotz.com/gx/      

 

 

 

GUERRA TOTAL

“El Armagedon Continua” 2013 CD

(I Hate Records)

 

Every time, you wonder if I Hate Records, is turning into strictly a doom metal label. They smack you upside your head, with a record like “El Armagedon Continua”! Guerra Total, uphold the ancient classic sounding black, death, thrash metal much of the rest of the world, have come to expect and worship from the South American scene. Here, we are presented with rapid, evil thrashing black speed metal of the highest order. It may be, a twist that you do not often hear that often from that region, is that sound is mixed with old school heavy metal in the NWOBHM tradition. The riffing on here is monstrous, it is so heavy, fast and catchy as all hell, yet it still sounds cold ‘n evil. This is so filthy, that it would make the most ardent fan of the early works, from Razor or Kreator punch the air, headbang and play violent air guitar. The vocals are that gruff thrashed up rasping black metal sound, which I love from the old days, in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The lyrics being in their native language, only serves to make the vocals, sound even more menacing and malevolent. There are some guitar leads, thrown around now and then, that will make your head swim. I am not sure the level of musicianship from South America is often up to this high level, not in my experience anyway. Wow, this stuff is amazing!! Do you love stuff like Venom, Bathory, Destruction or Sabbat? You will like this too. It is pure metal gold, seeping out of my headphones. Honestly, I can not even say that much more about it, except buy it and prepare for a wild ride!  - Dale

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

 

 

GUILTY AS SIN

“Psychotronic” Full Length Digipak 2011 CD

(Self Released)

 

Guilty As Sin is mainly the musical vision of one Zak Ovoian and one thing you can never accuse this dude of being is formulaic. In fact, I think the words eclectic and eccentric would be a much more apt terms to describe this musical nomads path. The albums starts with a weird intro that sounds like it would have been the sound of a muted computer voice from some 80s movie like War Games or something. Then out of left field somewhat, going on their past releases come a couple raging tunes with speedy punk / crust sort of guitars and shouted hardcore vocals. I know this band is all over the place, but going by the last record that took me off guard, decent tunes with lots of energy and still strange for me to hear. Those hymns are followed up by the epic vocal-less (nothing unusual for Guilty As Sin) wonderful mental landscape of a song going by the name of “Addicted To Cyanide”. This is much more of what I would expect out of this band. The first half of the song is really introspective, kind of melancholy and soothing with some amazing guitars that are both simple and powerful, dripping with emotion. As the song wades into the second half the same beautiful rhythm is slowly sped up and played through thrash guitars, but it is a slow build up of the speed and honestly it showcases, in my opinion, Guilty As Sin at their best. I mean Zak knows how write some truly emotional shit, I would love to see him do a whole flowing album of this style one day. We follow that up with “Gobekli Tepe”, another instrumental but this time we are treated to some more mind bending guitar landscape that takes heavy middle eastern influence with that belly dancing / snake charmer music vibe. I shit you not someone is even credited as their instrument being belly dancing in the liner notes. It is a pretty emotive intense experience complete with trumpets, finger cymbals and whole deal. It is very well done but I could see it taking the more open minded metal heads to enjoy that. Did I mention I mention the first part of the record was ripping punky guitars with tough guy vocals and songs titles like “Boston Beatdown”? Did I tell you on their last record they called themselves viking / biker metal?! See what I mean when I say eclectic and eccentric now? Well you should be starting to get that mental audio picture now. There is always something I want to leave cut out on each Guilty album, but there is no denying the talent and vision at work. I absolutely loved their last record entitled “III”, more so than this one yet this is a fine piece of work in its own right. I find it impossible to write short reviews for this band. Damn you Ovoian!  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/guiltymusic2008