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JAG PANZER

“The Age Of Mastery” 1998 CD

(Century Media)

 

Jag Panzer are back, no one off come- back here! J.P. are championing ‘80’s heavy metal and of course they are well suited to do such as they were around the first time and made their mark. I really love the soaring, smooth vocals as they slide across the ranges of high screams to gritty lows. The vocals remind me heavily of the latest Tad Morose singer whom I am an admirer. J.P. are masters of melody & layering the material to create a very emotional, driving metal anthems Tweaked by some great guitar leads that tattoo themselves to the brain. Mid-paced and melodic heavy metal near it’s pinnacle. Yes, Jag Panzer need no longer to ride on the reputation of their classic ‘80’s album “Ample Destruction”, as they have a bone-a-fide winner in this LP. All power/heavy metal fans will want this in their collection.

Century Media Recs., 1453 - A, 14th Street # 324, Santa Monica, CA. 90404, USA

 

 

JEX TOTH

“Witness” MCD

(I Hate Records)

 

This is my introduction to Jex Toth. I do think I shall be searching out some releases by the group. I would posit that they will appeal to fans of traditional doom metal and fans of epic heavy metal. What grabs me immediately are the monolithic, ploddingly heavy riffs that set the atmosphere for the fantastic and hypnotic vocals of Jessica Toth. They draw you in and you quickly lose yourself in their mental tapestry, drawing a superb melancholy range of emotions. You kind of forget about everything else around you and your eyes are closed even when they are open as your mind is off swimming in the ether. For those of you that have experienced this sort of trip, it is magic and there is no slight of hand involved. There are only 3 songs on here so it is only a taste of what is to come. It leaves me wanting more and hoping it comes soon.  – Dale

http://www.jexthoth.com/   http://www.ihate.se/

 

 

JUMALHAMARA

“Resignaatio” CD

(Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions)

 

This Finnish black metal band has been in existence 10 years already and this is their debut album. During that time they only released a couple of demos, eps and a live disc. I am sure they have had their offers, I really have to respect that they waited until they were ready, and it is obvious they create this music for the right reasons. Jumalhamara have their own distinct character and I do not find myself saying every other song this sounds exactly like this band or that album. I think you could call them atmospheric, but not the usual way of that term, in this genre. They use a lot of organic sounds to achieve this goal, something that is harder to do than just smothering everything in sight with synth (hello Xasthur and the like); it takes more creativity and imagination than that, in my opinion. I like their use of percussion, it is very spiritual yet dark sounding, uplifting at times and melancholic the next moment. This album is all about flow, and feeling the songwriting, rather than just putting parts together, it is a highlight of their years together and emotional maturity as a band. Such words in this day and age, I do not throw around lightly. The vocals tend to be used sparingly and the guitars are drawn out to the point that they melt into the background and become part of the scenery, though an important part. I am a proponent of traditional black metal purity in sound, but when something is done this well, it is impossible for me not to respect and enjoy it. I could see other staunch purists having a hard time liking this, I can only stress that you are missing out and making a mistake passing it up.  – Dale

http://www.ahdistuksenaihio.com/

 

 

JUNGLE ROT

“Skin The Living” 1998 CD

(Pure Death Records)

 

This is a re-release (this time on disc) of this bands now classic ’95 demo tape of the same name. I remember liking this when I reviewed it the first time for The Sepulchral Voice, a mag I used to write for. I also reviewed their first demo in ’94 “Rip Your Face Off” in which I told them to drop some of the weaker thrashiness and concentrate on their death metal side - their strength. They did exactly that on the this raging demo that got them signed to Pulverizer Records (now they are on Pavement Music). If you liked their album at all, then u, need this!

Pure Death Records, P.O. Box 3019, New Haven, CT. 06515, USA  Phone # = 1-800-994-4178

 

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KERASPHORUS

“Cloven Hoofs At The Holocaust Dawn” MCD

(Nuclear War Now! Productions)

 

This is one mean fucking hateful slice of North American black metal. Yes, I have heard it called USBM, but when one of the main members is Canadian, that title becomes a little less than accurate, no? The two foremost players in Kerasphorus are Pete Helmkamp (the mighty Order From Chaos, Angelcorpse, Feldgrau etc…) and James Read (Revenge, Conqueror, Cremation etc…). So there is plenty of experience and seasoning going into Cloven Hoofs. I would say you can definitely hear influences or probably better stylistic signatures of these individuals past endeavors. There are most definitely bits and pieces of Order From Chaos, Angelcorpse and Revenge in here and on here. Maybe if you have those releases you do not need this one? I would look at like the perfect compliment to that collection, I suspect devotees of those former bands, will absolutely love this. It is a monstrously acidic release and will not let you down. I would in fact even go so far as saying this is as good and possibly better than those past bands, with the exception of Order From Chaos, who virtually untouchable, in my view. Just splendid blitzkrieg warring metal with classic Helmkamp vocals striaght from the masters. You will only wish it was longer.  – Dale

http://www.nwnprod.com/   http://www.myspace.com/helmkampkommand

 

 

KHORS

“The Flames Of Eternity’s Decline/Cold” 2 CD Compilation

(Paragon Records)

 

This 2 disc release from Ukraine's Khors is basically a re-release of their first two full lengths from 2005 and 2006 respectively, along with a few demos and live tracks to add the "newness" to the package (for the diehards). As I sit here listening to the music, it reminds me of bands such as Behemoth - black n death. Not as high tech as said band but I would not categorize Khors as a black metal band, regardless of what others think.  The atmosphere for me is almost non existent which instantly disqualifies them from the BM scene alone. Having said that, the music is decent. The level of skill in the band is above average on some tracks. There are keyboards on some tracks for those that avoid such bands. Vocals are harsh mid level growls and scathing screams. Blast beats and a few time signature changes permeate both discs. The demos on The Flames....disc are pretty close to the final versions - not much worth with their inclusion. Overall, not a bad release for the uninitiated but I think there are more inspired bands out there in the scene.  - Mark

http://www.myspace.com/khorspagan  http://www.themetalunderground.com/  

 

 

KILL II THIS

“Deviate” 1998 CD

(Visible Noise Records)

 

Grooovy metal that is very straight-forward and mixes in industrial/techno touches. The vocals are raspy shout and at times have a sickening rap style to them. People into stuff like Fear Factory, Meshuggah, Skinlab ought to like this just fine. Me, I fucking hate it!!

V.N. Records, 231 Portebello Rd., London, W11 1LT, U.K.

 

 

KILLGASM

“Bloodbath of Satanic Vengeance” CD

(UW Records)

 

Another release from UW, and another band from them producing their debut album. This California trio vomit out some brutal grinding death metal that is noisy and heavy as hell. Some of the vocals are of the garbled, undecipherable constant stream variety, which I know turns some off, but I like some of that flavour now and then. The drummer is the back bone of the insanity level of the music, he punishes his kit with such speed and fury, you would think it stole money from him or fucked his girlfriend or something. The guitars could have a little more punch and be a tad higher in the mix for my liking, as they get drowned out by the drums and vocals at times. But that is only a minor complaint; this is some really decent anti-christian death metal that die hards of the genre will enjoy.  – Dale

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

 

 

KING

“Forged By Satan’s Doctrine” 2012 CD

(Deathgasm)

 

The opening couple tracks of this Columbian bands album had me worried. Those first tracks came off very generic, unimaginative and even seemed to lack energy or emotion. I am pleased to report though that things really pick up from there and the rest of Forged By Satan’s Doctrine is a pretty intense listen. When the band turns up the heat the drummer goes pretty insane beating his drums into submission with rapid fire blitzkrieg legs. To me I hear influences like the early albums of Deicide, Morbid Angel maybe mixed with a little Blasphemy, Angelcorpse type music. Good thing you need to judge upon the whole album as after a slow start, this album goes off the deep end and kicks your ass all over the place. Just intense!  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/kingbathroz  http://www.deathgasm.com/   

 

 

KOZELJNIK

“Deeper The Fall” 2010 CD

(Paragon Records)

 

New York's paragon records have struck gold again! It seems very few labels are able to sign and release quality one after the other, but paragon has done it with the last 4-6 releases. This time they released Serbia's Kozeljnik. The duo have crafted a very dark journey of mid-paced black metal with some outbursts of insane, blasting drums and razor-sharp guitar chords. The band never really lets completely loose with the violent black metal side instead opting to use it more as a mood-breaker from the dark mid-paced songs. The vocals remind me a lot of mid-era Immortal, with the raspy, gruff vocal patterns. There is also some deeper, clearly chanted vocal pattern used throughout the songs and is placed very well. The drums seem to stick out most of all for me. Going from the hyper-speed intensity of early european black metal to a more controlled and mid-paced beat with some well executed solo's. Kozeljnik is band that fans of old Immortal, or quality black, dark metal can appreciate and listen to countless times.  – Patrick Schroeder

http://www.paragonrecords.org  http://www.kozeljnik.com/  

 

 

KOZELJNIK

“Null: The Acheron Of Multiform Negation” 2013 CD

(Paragon Records)

 

Well this is cool to receive. I have not gotten anything from the awesome Paragon Records in a long time. They are old friends of mine, but we just kind of lost touch lately. Anyway, the band actually sent this to me (by one of their members now residing in Canada!), but it was a welcome sight, so thank you to this Serbian band. Kozeljnik play a very atmospheric brand of metal, that is probably rooted the deepest in black metal. The music gives off an oppressive, epic sort of aura and is quite often mid paced, the riffing and sound of the guitars is very dense and magnetic, picking up speed here and there which amps up the tension. I do not see these guys as overly technical but they do have a progressive aesthetic to their music, these moments keep the music and listener fresh. The vocals are both murky and clear at the same time, which does not make sense on paper, but makes sense perfectly in my head, maybe it is just one of those instances where a musical element is hard to describe. I like the vocals though. It probably sounds from my description like there is no aggression to their black metal sounds, but that is not true, it is there, but only comes out in short explosive bursts and when it does, it punishes you. I quite like this band, they sound a little different than most of what is out there these days and for that reason alone are very worth checking out.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/kozeljnik  http://www.themetalunderground.com/   

 

 

KRATORNAS

“Over The Fourth Part Of The Earth” CD

(Grave Smasher Records)

 

I used to be in the touch with the guy behind this 1 man band from the Philippines back in the mid to late 90s. It is good to see thee crusty old bastard is still going. A lot of time has passed since the early days of Kratornas but not that much has changed to be honest. His early recordings were extremely raw and not always the easiest to make out or distinguish one instrument from the next. The recording on “Over The Fourth…” is definitely better than those days though not a lot better. It is still very raw and low-fi but it is clearer and you can hear everything with more separation. Another difference between then and now is these days Kratornas is probably a little less grind and not quite as black metal influenced though that is still there. The music is still pretty dark but a slight bit more energetic and frenetic with a healthy dose of thrash metal mixed into the riffs and overall guitar playing. There is even a hopped up adrenaline blitzkrieg solo or two to be had. The vocals are still obscure sort of dark whispers with the classic black metal sort of undertone. This is a pretty good record showing some maturity and focus that has come with age and experience. The one thing I could do without is the drums. Unlike the Rigor Sardonicous album I just reviewed here is an example of how a drum machine can hurt an album. Otherwise this is some good work if you like things dark and you love catchy thrashing riffs.   – Dale

http://www.kratornas.com

 

 

KRIEG

“Rise Of The Impaled Hordes” 1998 CD

(Blood, Fire, Death Records)

 

Extremely raw, caustic and lawlessly, hateful American black metal sums up the music of Krieg. They blend acidic riffs that cut into you like a rusty knife leaving jagged, gaping wounds. The drumming is pretty repetitive but manage, to do the job and the vocals of Lord Imperial are maniacal, insane, and emotional as he goes from spoken passages to agitated shrieks. Said vocals really are the only thing that separates this band from the average black metal hordes.  

 

 

KRUGER

“For Death, Glory And The End Of The World” CD

(Listenable Records)

 

A little something different than what I usually get, I had not heard of them previous, but this is already their 4th album. For Death… has a certain ambient quality to it, whilst still being a fairly riff driven rock record. When listening I think of influences from bands like possibly Fugazi, Mastodon (though not as crushing), Neurosis (not as trippy or as heavily atmospheric / psychedelic). Another band that comes to mind to a small extent musically and a large extent vocally is Godflesh, especially with vocals from their Pure album. Kruger bounce around from being heavy and rocking on some riffs to much more introspective, drawn out soundscapes that let the mind float around and get lost in a spaced out fog. You would think this would be somewhat jarring when transitioning back and forth between aggression and the ambiance, but Kruger seem to pull it off with skill and subtlety that probably comes from being a veteran band at song crafting. Generally speaking this is not the sort of thing I would listen to much. I did not expect to like Death, Glory and the End of the World when the first song ended. Yet somewhere along the way they managed to win me over. Check it out.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/krugerband  http://www.listenable.net/  

 

 

KRYPTS

Unending Degradation” 2013 CD

(Dark Descent Records)

 

Krypts are from the bowels of the Finnish death metal underground scene. On their debut full length "Unending Degradation" Krypts has recorded some of the most stripped down, guitar heavy death metal recorded in quite some time. The trio mixes heavy slow to mid-paced death metal, there are a few moments of aggressive speed, but they are few and far between instead keeping the music more to their liking of mid-paced and heavy. The vocals are deep, low death growls and go perfectly with Krypts slow, heavy sound. This has to be one of Dark Descent's best releases to date and highly recommended to fans who enjoy their death metal stripped down, heavy and mid-paced with touches of death/doom.  - Patrick

http://krypts.wordpress.com/  http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/    

 

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LACRIMAE MORTALIUM

“L'ange De Glace” CD

(Self Released)

 

Canada's Lacrimae Mortalium have released one of 2010's best death/doom/black metal releases hands down. The album starts off with some heavy and bone crushing riffs. The band seems heavily rooted in the early 90's death/doom with their approach. The band picks up the tempo to mid-paced range with some impressive guitar riffs and solo's not normally heard in death/doom bands. The drumming is just as impressive and devastating with some heavy crushing beats but picks up the pace right along with the guitarist and makes for an interesting and enjoyable listen. The vocals are really where the bands black and death metal influence can be heard with some vicious and brutal {yes I know brutal is not a word normally used to describe a doom band} growls and some insane black metal screams the two very different vocal patterns fit very well with Lacrimae Mortalium's music and add an extra layer to the bands already heavy sound. I am not really sure if traditional-doom fans will enjoy this. But if you are a fan of death or black/doom then Lacrimae Mortalium is a must hear! Buy this now!  – Patrick

http://www.myspace.com/lacrimaemortaliumdoom  

 

 

LAVAGOAT

“Monoliths Of Mars” 2012 CD EP

(Somnambulist Sound System)

 

Why does the band list this as an EP? I have no idea as it is album length, clocking in at I believe just a cunt hair under 45 minutes. This is some Canadian doom metal, so prepare to get pounded like a cheap whore who did not bring back enough money for her pimp. I hear influences in their sound like early Cathedral, Black Sabbath, Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard. I get a bit of Stoner feel from Lavagoat but they definitely have this cool sci-fi vibe running through their music and imagery, which sets them apart from most doom bands. I like that, not sure if you would call Hawkwind an influence, but they probably have a connection with regards to tone and atmosphere of their music and overall presentation. The vocals are sparsely used, but also are something different for traditional doom, they are growled and yelled vocals that are dark and guttural, I dig them but they are a different than the norm choice for a band of this style. Honestly the vocals remind of me Chuck Billy’s death metal-ish vocals from the hugely underrated classic in my eyes, Testament album “Demonic”. There are some more clean, just generally shouted coarse vocals as well, almost hardcore like. The final song on here, the title track is over 21 minutes long and is a mindfuck soundscape of a song that helps set the mood of the whole release after you were aurally abused by the twenty-three minutes suffocating colossal fuzz and fucking heavy doom that before! It is a great for me a source of pride having this band come from my homeland. You should check them out toot sweet. This is the kind of band I could see popping up one day on the mighty I Hate Records doom label from Sweden.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/goatlust  https://twitter.com/Lavagoat  

 

 

LEATHER NUN AMERICA

“Kult Occult” 2011 CD

(PsycheDOOMelic Records)

 

I am not deep into the Doom UG but I do wander that path often enough. With that in mind I must admit I had not heard of this band or put my claws on any of their releases. This is a traditional American doom band from sunny and sweltering California. I can picture the palm trees, shading a crispy patch of lawn, a small table with a whiskey bottle and a couple of glasses with the rapidly melting rocks and a nice breeze blowing through as strains LNA waft out of the garage. Leather Nun America are a doom band and like most doom bands they borrow some from Black Sabbath. Sab did it all man and it that is no knock, it almost impossible not to let a little of the godfathers of this classic sound seep into your subconscious. I think you can hear it most in some of the song structuring and even their mix of songs styles. They have the straight up doom but much like the Sabs mix it up with some introspective, melancholy songs and passages ala a Laguna Sunrise or Planet Caravan vibe. But in overall sound when they start to rock out in slow motion I just can not help but think of The Obsessed and I think they were a big influence as well. I love and virtually worship at the altar of The Obsessed so you could say I enjoyed Kult Occult quite a fucking bit. The vocals are a little different though than those bands and definitely sparingly used but  there are a few different styles employed like clean spoken vocals, then cleanly sung but slightly more gravelly ones and some bits of others that bring Corrosion of Conformity to mind. Either way there are so few vocals that they do not make or break the album one way or the other. I really enjoyed this record and recommend it to classic doom hounds that like it a little more on the mellow side at times.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/leathernunamerica  http://www.psychedoomelic.com/  

 

 

LEGIONS OF WAR

“Riding With The Blitz” 2011 CD Single

(L.O.W. Productions)

 

Well now, you may remember my review of this bands demo way back in 2006, and to be honest I kind of ripped it a new asshole. I was a dick in the review to be honest (I am known to be like that now and then), saying it sounded like a one man bands home riffs cassette. With this two song CD single, this Swedish horde has come a long fucking way since that demo. I mean huge improvement and Legions now will proudly give me the middle finger and make me eat my words. This is simply some fantastic blackened thrash metal that has a little bit of everything for fans of the genre. Yes this is only two songs, but two killer songs, the music is a mix of newer razor sharp thrash mixed with lots of the old school brutality and raw sound. It even has some gang sung choruses which make think heavily to the old days and love it, more of this boys. The main vocals though are a melding of gruff thrash yells with a smattering of black metal rasp. The drummer is a monster and provides a strong backbone and the guitars flesh things out with some nice underlying fills. It is only two songs, I wish I had more, this leaves me lusting for more. You will find the energy infectious as you put the release on a continuous repeat loop as you become hooked more and more by the Blitz! I am really looking forward to hearing an album now.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/theworldoflegionsofwar  http://www.inferno-records.net/  

 

 

LEGEND OF A MADMAN

“Ozzy Tribute” 1998 CD

(Olympic Records)

 

Olympic did a great job on this, all bands have a good sound and here is a run down for ya. There are only 2 bad bands who shamelessly butchered Ozzy classics: Soulstorm “Mr.Crowley”, and Filthboy who do an awful, awful “Ultimate Sin”. The good bands include: Obliveon “Suicide Solution”, Los Gusanos “No Bone Movies”, Opressor “Over The Mountian”(I heard this song on the metal channel on digital cable here in Philly!), Morta Skuld “Believer”, Syris “Crazy Train” and Distorted Rage “I don’t Know”. Stand out blow your doors off covers come from: Solitude Aeturnus “No More Tears”, November’s Doom “Revelation (Mother Earth)”, and Lethal with “S.AT.O.”

 

 

LEGIONS OF WAR

“Riding With The Blitz” 2011 CD Single

(L.O.W. Productions)

 

Well now, you may remember my review of this bands demo way back in 2006, and to be honest I kind of ripped it a new asshole. I was a dick in the review to be honest (I am known to be like that now and then), saying it sounded like a one man bands home riffs cassette. With this two song CD single, this Swedish horde has come a long fucking way since that demo. I mean huge improvement and Legions now will proudly give me the middle finger and make me eat my words. This is simply some fantastic blackened thrash metal that has a little bit of everything for fans of the genre. Yes this is only two songs, but two killer songs, the music is a mix of newer razor sharp thrash mixed with lots of the old school brutality and raw sound. It even has some gang sung choruses which make think heavily to the old days and love it, more of this boys. The main vocals though are a melding of gruff thrash yells with a smattering of black metal rasp. The drummer is a monster and provides a strong backbone and the guitars flesh things out with some nice underlying fills. It is only two songs, I wish I had more, this leaves me lusting for more. You will find the energy infectious as you put the release on a continuous repeat loop as you become hooked more and more by the Blitz! I am really looking forward to hearing an album now.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/theworldoflegionsofwar  http://www.inferno-records.net/  

 

 

LIMB FROM LIMB

“Rip Him From His Fucking Throne” CD

(Obsidian Records)

 

Coming at us from the armpits of Australia is Limb From Limb. One look at the album title and the track listing shows these guys are pissed off and it shows in the music. This is some heavy and guttural death metal that definitely has an American sound to it. Maybe mixed with a touch of Australian blasting war metal style. For me there is something wrong the mix on this album. It is kind of all separated and the lower levels seem to just get lost while other aspects are loud and clear. It is kind of hard to describe. Some the riffing though just comes at you like an avalanche while your body is pounded to a pulp by the drums. There is a clearer less used growI but the main garbled vocal sickness would make Mortician proud. I think death/grind fanatics will love this album but if you are a little more selective when it comes to this genre. Then you could probably due without this one. This was pretty impressive for a debut and I will be interested to see what they can do on their follow up with a more balanced recording. I must mention that Obsidian Records have done a fantastic job on their promotional package and seem like a label that is really serious about promoting their bands.  – Dale

www.obsidianrecords.com   www.myspace.com/brutalozzydeath

 

 

LIVIDITY

“Fetish For The Sick” 1997 CD

(Ablated Records)

 

I know this is a little old, but I finally got a copy on CD (to replace my dub) and felt it really deserved the space. Lividity play some of the sickest brutal prono death/grind on the planet. They slam you with gut wrenching riffs and an explosion of vomitous growls from 2 separate members and slash you from every direction. Highly recommended to all extreme death / grinders with strong stomachs! Send $12 US/$14 WORLD to:

Abound Distro., P.O. Box 176, Winchendon, MA. 01475, USA

 

 

LOST SOULS

“Fracture” 1998 CD

(Nuclear Blast America)

 

Pppfffftt…Put Machine Head, Meshuggah, Fear Factory in a blender and get wannabe’s Lost Souls. Generic crap and I am getting so thoroughly disgusted this boring style of Canadian Assault termed ‘jump metal’.