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V:28

“Violution” CD

(Vendlus Records)

 

I see V Twenty-eight are described as an “Industrial death metal” band. Which is certainly fair but I might put the words death metal first in that description. As it is definitely their base sound "Violution" is built upon and directional choice. These Norwegians like to mix up some heavy middle pace driving sections and moody / brooding sort of slow sections with the odd lightning speed attacks sprinkled around. The vocals are a mixed bag of growling, black metal rasps, clean vocal bits and some obscure shadowy whispering. There are some guest appearances on this record from Garm (Ulver) as well as members from G.G.F.H. and MZ.412. As far as this style goes, this is not ground-breaking, or destined to be a future classic in the genre. Yet there is enough diversity and overall quality to make this recording enjoyable and worth some repeated listening. If you are a devout death metal and industrial fan, then, this is a worthy pick up. If you are instead an occasional or cream of the crop collector you can get by without this.  – Dale

www.vendlus.com   www.v28.com

 

 

VALOTON

"Beastificate" CD

(Hammer Of Hate)

 

Interesting album title, and strangely it is hard to find much information about this band online. The bio mentions that some of the members “have a long history of performing the music of the black arts”. Well talk about teasing you to wonder who these members might be and what bands they were in previously or currently. I guess it is meant to be kept as a sinister secret? The music on Beastificate has good musicianship and is extremely slick melodic tinged black death metal, played most often at breakneck speeds. You can definitely hear the melodo metal Scandinavian roots of this Finnish band. It has been a while since I heard them, but a meaner, slightly heavier version of earlier Children of Bodom is the first band comparison that springs to mind for some reason. Valoton tend to play it safe and once you get beyond the first song, each subsequent hymn is unlikely to surprise or intrigue you with anything adventurous or off the beaten path. It is a heavy, fast and quite professional album that honestly to my ear is so slickly produced that it is over produced for my tastes and helps hide any own  unique qualities of Valoton.  – Dale

http://www.hammer-of-hate.com/   

 

 

VARATHRON

“The Lament Of The Gods” 1998 MCD

(Pagan Records)

 

The mighty legends Varathron return! This new stuff is a bit different than the old material. It is a simpler and stripped down but still in very dark. The new vocal style is a rolling growl/whisper and reminds pleasently of a raspier version of the vocals Mortuary Drape used on their superb ’92 MCD “Into The Drape”. The keys are used as an accent and don’t bother me, which is nice. The Mercyful Fate cover of “Nuns Have No Fun” is a surprising but welcome addition as Varathron slap their stamp all over it with good results. I don’t enjoy this direction (a sort of atmospheric blackened heavy metal) as heavily as the old stuff. But, after this release I can safely still call myself a fan.

Varathron, c/o Necroabyssious, P.O. Box 1265, 451 10, Ioannina, GREECE

 

 

 

VARGSANG

"Throne of The Forgotten" CD

(Undercover Records)

 

Welcome back Germany! Highly influenced by Darkthrone’s early BM offerings, one could also say Mayhem 1993 to the early days of Bathory and Celtic Frost. Vargsang is truly in a world all of his own. Vargsang has a dark side unto himself that you can hear and feel, like he’s stalking you, a one band of perfection and I’m waiting to be found. This is slow yet energetic blackened death metal, Satanic sorrow and induced death. As the earlier-mid ‘90s were, every song is memorable, beautiful darkness in it’s pain and devotion. He’s deeper than many BM gutturals, this man’s a demon, his musical talent is as good if not better than most remembered bands today. It is sad for me to announce that by being disgusted by the development of the so called scene TOTF is Vargsang’s final release, he is calling it quits. Come back V., we need you to again show scene what true black metal is all about! You need this album. No contact or interviews are welcome. Undertakers report that human bodies do not deteriorate as quickly as they once did because of the many preservatives in the modern diet, thus Vargsang shall return soon enough.  - Clayton

www.undercover-records.de   

 

 

VARULV

"Hellish Presence" CD

(Naturmacht Productions)

 

Austria has always had a very strong, but at the same time an underrated scene to me. Whether it is a more atmospheric gothic, dark metal band or more straight forward blackened death band the bands have always been at least good. Well Varulv can definitely be put in the genre of violent, straight forward black/death. The band uses and shows a lot of musical talent and potential with the song-writing on Hellish Presence. Filled with semi brutal black/death metal guitars and thunderous pounding drums roll through like a tank rolling its way into battle. The vocals are equally as powerful and evil sounding with a deeper, gruff death metal growl and harsh black metal shrieks. The overall sound is violent and angry but the band does add some melody in some of the guitar structures to give Hellish Presence that exact feel and sound. With the brutal. violent black/death mixed with some melody it creates a very dark and eerie piece of metal art. Varluv are a band you will be hearing a lot about in the future. If you’re a fan of blackened death metal with a dark atmosphere then definitely Varulv are a band you will want to hear and own today!!  - Patrick

http://www.myspace.com/oldwainds  http://negative-existence.com/  

 

 

VESTAL CLARET/UNGOD

Split” 2012 Cassette Album

(No Visible Scars)

 

It's great to see labels in this day and time of digital labels, cd's etc.. That still release cassette tapes! It gives me a little more hope for the real d.i.y underground. Up first on the split is Vestal Claret the best way I can describe their music is a mix of 70's "classic" rock with traditional heavy doom riffs. The vocals are sung in a really well done clean voice which goes good with the music. This is not really my style of metal/rock that I listen to on a regular basis so I will end by saying if you enjoy classic rock and early doom, then give Vestal Claret a shot you might enjoy them. Up next is a band that you should be aware of if you have been a black metal fan for a few years now. Germany's Ungod are masters of raw, primitive black metal. Four songs of filthy, grim black metal with thin guitars, fast drums that do slow down from time to time. The vocalist unleashes harsh black metal shrieks that spew the lyrics out. These four songs just prove why Ungod are still a force within the black metal underground. This is a good release with two very different bands but both are obviously old-school influenced and have a lot of talent and show it their ability in their songs. Old-school maniacs and tape collectors (just to interject the packaging NVS comes out with always very unique / different for tapes, always awesome and super collectable ~ Dale) show your support for the smaller cassette labels and buy this gem of metal.  - Patrick

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

 

 

VISIONS OF ATLANTIS

"Ethera" 2013 CD

(Napalm Records)

 

I have to be honest and say that Visions of Atlantis never really appealed to me but that changed with their 2011 Maria Magdalena Mcd, which had some good music/songs on it. So I was kinda interested in hearing what Ethera had to offer and I'm happy I did. Ethera shows the band progressing with much better song writing more memorable songs that are both symphonic and memorable but also have some heavy metal heaviness to them. So there is a little of everything to keep the listeners attention. Beautiful keyboards and melodic guitar structure intertwined with two of the best singers of this genre Mario Plank and front lady Maxi Nil who work extremely well together. Their vocals blend extremely well together and with the rest of the music to add another layer of beauty and atmosphere. This is definitely a must have for all fans of atmospheric, epic metal.  - Patrick

http://www.myspace.com/visionsofatlantisofficial  http://www.napalmrecords.com/     

 

 

VETUS OBSCURUM

“Blood Revelations” MCD

(Debemur Morti Productions)

 

It is good to receive some US black metal. I have not heard much in recent days coming from this territory. Vetus Obscurum is a new band made up of three members who have been in the past or are currently in a whole host of bands such Abazagorath, Drawn & Quartered, Infester, Krohm etc… Apparently mainman Numinas of Krohm felt this material did not fit with Krohm so the “Blood Revelations” release was born. Vetus play some excellent black metal in the early 90s Scandinavian tradition (Darkthrone is one of many that come to mind) and carry on the tradition left by a great American band like Judas Iscariot. Anyone who reads Canadian Assault regularly knows I am a hopeless slave to this style, no matter how many times I hear it, as long as it is well done, I appreciate the hell out of it. Vetus Obscurum is no different and this cold blast of cryptic black metal done in the traditional way gets my seal of approval. I guess the only real drawback here is the release is only about 23 minutes. So hopefully the price reflects that. But this is well worth your time if you are disciple of this style, as I am.  – Dale

www.debemur-morti.com   www.myspace.com/vetusobscurum   

 

 

VILE

“The New Age of Chaos” CD

(Unique Leader Records)

 

Let me just preface this review with the following statement: “The New Age of Chaos” is the best brutal death metal album I have heard this year, possibly longer than that. I mean it is fan-fucking-tastic yet experiencing something this devastating may be hazardous to your health, robbing you of your reproduction abilities. The planet is too over populated anyway right? There were two things that stood out and struck me and that was how atmospheric this album is for it’s brutish nature and again keeping in mind how punishing Vile are, there playing bleeds a lot of emotion on through. I do not want to harp on these points, however it cannot be glossed over that it takes a hell of a lot of talent and vision to truly give this level of emotional and ambiance to music that is this fast, this vile (hehe) and blistering. “The New Age…” is also a record that grows on you, the more you play the more you will appreciate some of the guitar intricacies (see the smoking solo in the title track, around the 3 minute mark for proof positive) and counter points swirling through the compositions with ease and with style. There is even a whisper of black metal in some of the darker guitar melodies on here. The vocals are classic death metal growls but even here I would class them as top shelf, very deep, flowing and forceful reminiscent of some of my fave growlers such as Dave Ingram, David Vincent etc… with a just detectable King Diamond during his gruff deeper vocals (too many levels to that mans voice to explain further, but KD die hards know what I mean!). Great job with the recording it reminds me much more of the early / mid 90s before Pro Tools turned everyone into a robot, despite talent level. Colour me impressed and this is coming from someone who previously was not really much a Vile fan. – Dale 

Unique Leader, Box 6544, Los Osos, CA. 93412, USA www.uniqueleader.com  info@uniqueleader.com 

 

 

VINTERRIKET

“Landschaftsmalerische…” CD

(Parasile Records)

 

Now I do not know much about Parasile records, they are likely not a black metal label but Vinterriket never cease to amaze me. They manage to get their stuff released by black metal record labels, time and again, when their music has more in common with Danny Elfman and Nature sound cds you see at your local bookstore for $4.99. I mean really truly some of the ‘music’ on here sounds like the sound tracks to a montage in a chick flick of the guy and girl falling in love, going out to dinner, walking hand in hand and kissing at the outdoor skating rink. I mean what the fuck is this shit?! What it is is a boring pot luck meal of the most dainty ingredients, in other words fruity sound samples, nature noises and loops on top of some really boring synth music which is neither well timed nor variety rich and not allowed to flow in a proper manner, it becomes increasingly obvious that this is merely a bunch of parts sewn together like a patch work quilt with plenty of thread bits sticking up out of the stitching and way too many powder blue and barbie pink squares in the color scheme. You would think flow and musical vision would at the very least be a pre-requisite when playing a form of the music (i.e. – atmospheric synth), that takes little to no talent. What do I know? I had an old tape trader of mine who made a bunch of this kind of garbage up over a weekend once and sent me a few tapes of it, I told him it sucked but somehow he managed to get some damn Italian label to release 2 albums full of that junk! I am not a fan of this kind of…er…material but I would think those that are would at least want to spend money on something of value that was interesting, had musical vision and was actually executed with a level skill? Maybe I ask too much, at very least this drivel should be in the chick flick soundtrack or New Age fruit loop section of the record store and not equated with  metal or even black metal music. Oh did I mention this is some sort of collection from 1996-2002, I am hoping that it was not meant to be a best of and actually refers to the stuff Vinter previously thought was too lousy to release but now that maturity has kicked in and they have bills to pay, they said what fuck let’s release it, these morons will buy anything with our name on it. This is very un-recommended and you die if you buy! – Dale

www.vinterriket.com   www.parasilerecords.com 

 

 

VITSAUS

“Sielunmessu” CD

(Hammer Of Hate)

 

I must admit Hammer of Hate do a really professional job with the packaging on their releases and presentation of their bands. Not to even mention that I am finding their releases reviewed far and wide in the UG scene, good news for the bands on their roster. It is always interesting though from one release to the next the difference at times. I am talking about the recording here, the last Hammer band I reviewed Sacrilegious Impalement had an almost sickeningly slick glossy production. Then we have Sielunmessu from Vitsaus and it goes in the other direction with an extremely raw, low-fi old school early 90s black metal production. This might be far at the opposite end of the scale of some people interpretation of a quality recording. But I prefer the sound on this album to the pro tools lacquer spread across many releases in recent years. You know in so many reviews when I say well if you can not get enough of this style then get this. That applies with Vitsaus, who throw at us a freezing flame of creepy Nordic black metal in the early 1990s tradition. I can not help but think of bands like Horna, Graveland, Darkthrone, early Emperor, Judas Iscariot and the like. I am sure some will find this derivative and over done. As for me I never tire of the cold and sick black atmosphere created by this style. Just give me more and more until death. It is funny I mentioned Horna as I have just discovered Horna’s drummer plays drums and guitar in this band. Hail Finnish black metal!  – Dale

http://www.hammer-of-hate.com/  http://www.myspace.com/vitsausofficial 

 

 

THE VLADIMIRS

"The Late Hours" 2011 CD

(Hells Headbangers)

 

Well now, this is something different than what I have been getting to review lately. Not to mention something a little different for Hells Headbangers to release. We have before a horror themed punk rock band. You will immediately have to think of The Misfits, Samhain and Danzig (to a lesser extent) when you hear this. Now this might be partly due to my shallow knowledge of the genre that I am not summoning up more influences to list. But those influences are prominent and I do not think the band could or would deny them. I mean the vocalist even sounds an awful lot like early Glenn Danzig. The song titles and lyrics draw me in right away being a huge horror movie hound. I mean there is even a horror movie name as one of their song titles with “City of The Living Dead”. You have got to love it or at least I do, at any rate. Everything is done in a pretty serious sounding way though and they try to capture the frightening terror of the genre as opposed to just doing a spoof on it like some bands, not taking it seriously. The Late Hours is a pretty rocking album, they keep the pace quick, with some nice guitar fills to keep things a little fuller, so to speak and not so thin like some punk bands tend to be. The lyrics and choruses are pretty memorable and you can sing along with them. Not sure what else to say, they are not a total clone or anything, but again if you like The Misfits and Samhain then I am sure you will dig this, just remember to bring a shovel and headstone with you.  – Dale

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/  http://www.thevladimirs.com/ 

 

 

VOCIFERIAN

“Triumphant Usurper Beast” CD

(Time Before Time Records)

 

Polish label, Australian band. Yet easily from your local madhouse, morbid passion a-plenty into psychedelic maliciousness; all the shit that makes me whole! Vociferian is an uncontrolled instrument of audio apocalyptic masochism, chaos and regression once called Lord Genocide. Check out “Babel Tower” and catch my drift with demented Satanic hymns as beautiful in aural blasphemy as it comes for sick minds like my own. A better vocal delivery in production would kill this release dead, and that’s smart on their part. This vocalist is so infectious and scornful, he sounds like he is ripping faces off. The lead guitars and electrics guitars are fuckin “A” and “Possessed Worshippers Ov Doom” highlights this band at their best. They sure don’t make them like this anymore! They never let up and persist to bleed your ears for ages, this vocal insanity is for real UG demons only. “Scardance In Damnation” is like Abruptum on coke as “Mary’s Kunt Ripping” is straight jacket style black metal. The “It’s supposed to hurt!” was taken from Exorcist 3 and explains everything about this band for you. Yes, I believe in murder, I believe in pain…in cruelty and infidelity. I believe in slime and stink, and in every crawling putrid thing, every possible ugliness and corruption you son-of-a-bitch – I believe in you!” – George C. Scott 1990. In Nomine Satanas, the noise, the filth and the fury. – Clayton

www.time-before-time.com    

 

 

VOLTURYON

"Coordinated Mutilation” CD

(United Guttural Records)

 

Volturyon hit us up with their sophomore record and my first listening of this Swedish group. Maybe you are expecting some old Swedish death metal or perhaps the newer melodic Scandinavian sounds? You would be wrong on both counts. What Coordinated Mutilation is all about is brutality and I am talking about brutality of the American kind. I think it would be fair to say Cannibal Corpse is a big influence on these guys and a template for their music. Sure it is derivative, but it is also executed quite well and Volturyon hit you with a barrage of barbwire wrapped riffs, some excellent drum work, the odd guitar soloing and caged bear adrenalized vocals. I enjoyed it. But let’s be honest this is really only for diehard fans of vicious American death metal made popular in the 90s. Then again if you are shopping the United Guttural catalog then you already worship this style of violent storm.  – Dale

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

 

 

VOMITOR

“Devil's Poison” CD

(Hells Headbangers)

 

This Australian old school thrash/death band has been around for years. Several demo releases along with an EP, a full length, and a live album. This is their second full length released on Hell's Headbangers (US). I'm a guitar player. I can appreciate the old fucking metal tone Death Dealer (vocals/guitar) got on this recording. His playing style is on the sloppier side of things but that's okie - it fits the band nicely. This ain't a progressive metal band! Overall, a decent effort although the vocals get weaker and weaker upon listening. I would rather hear Death Dealer scream it out then talk/whisper with effects.  \m/ \m/ \m/   - Mark

http://www.myspace.com/thevomitor  http://armour.hellsheadbangers.com/       

 

 

VOMITOR

“The Escalation” 2012 CD

(Hells Headbangers)

 

I have been into this Australian band since they sent me their Roar Of War demo tape in 1999, then followed that up by sending over their follow up demo Neutron Hammer. I was immediately drawn into their thrashing metal storm of violence and old school attitude. So here we sit nearly a decade and a half later (fuck I am old and time flies), with the bands third full length album, having joined forces with the almighty Hells Headbangers in recent years. A perfect match, if there ever was one. This album is patches on a denim vest, spiked fist pounding the air, headbanging metal all the way and proud of it. Vomitor hit you with a stripped down, no frills, no bullshit speed / thrash metal assault with old school violent and awesome riffing interspersed with little bursts of roaring insanity and controlled chaos. You even get some spastic guitar leads / fills clearly played by a demented barbarian looking to wreck your head. The drums just pound right along to the monster “thermonuclear” riffing and remind me to classic Sodom and Celtic Frost shit, just awe inspiring. The vocals are cool whispery blackened yells with that cultish hissing underbelly that many old South American bands and the like employed to such perfection. I know I say old school too much but old school maniacs of thrash played the way it was meant to be back in the mid to late 80s need to own this fucking album, pure and simply put, it is everything you love about that time and music!  - Dale

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

 

 

VORE

"Gravehammer" 2011 CD

(Self Released)

 

This was quite a surprise as I remember hearing, buying this bands debut demo "Dead Kings Eyes" back in 1997. So it was great to hear the band still going strong. This is Vore's fourth release. Gravehammer is simply amazing and flawless death metal. I would say the first thing that caught my attention was the bands sheer heavy guitar sound and pounding drums. The musicians never stray away from the mid-paced range, but Vore only prove you don't have to play a million miles an hour to be heavy and intense death metal. I am not sure why the band is still unsigned but this is another thing I wanted to mention as this is a quality band that plays what they love and want to, not what’s popular. Vore are a band that will please all fans of heavy, pure death metal.  - Patrick

http://www.youtube.com/vorefare  http://www.reverbnation.com/vore    

 

 

VULCANO

"Tales From The Black Book" CD

(I Hate Records)

 

Well what can one say about Vulcano. They are a legendary band among the extreme underground and they are from the well respected Brazilian scene. This is the come back album for Vulcano. I believe it was first released back in 2004, but only in South America. So this is the first time it has seen the light of day and the dark of night worldwide. So cheers to I Hate Records for making this possible. Well 14 years of inactivity is quite the feat to attempt to over come. Yet Vulcano have appeared to do just that with “Tales From The Black Book”. With this album they have left some of the old chaos and mud behind. That might disturb some but I am quite satisfied with this refined sound. But the old spirit is alive and well and this album is a truly dark piece of work. It ensconces you with a suffocating atmosphere of middle pace music propelled by dark brooding riffs and decipherable maniacal vocals that give you that wonderful dirty South American feeling that many of us worship. The all important head bang factor is present on this album and I could see it ruining some necks in a live setting. It may not be as good as their early classics but all things considered and the time that has passed this is a damn fine come back album. Now it has been 4 years so when do we get to hear the follow up record?  – Dale

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

 

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W.A.I.L.

“Self-Titled” CD

(Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions)

 

Well the name for this Finnish metal band certainly is interesting as it stands for Wisdom Through Agony into Illumination and Lunacy. They have an interesting sound, it is sort of like one long doom riff slowly played over and over with moody obscure but clean vocals and minimalist drumming as a backdrop. There are black death vocals as well and at times it sounds slightly black metal mixed with their extremely dark doom metal constant. The vocals are in the old Swedish tradition and remind me to Grave or something along those lines. There are some more upbeat, heavy metal-ish sounding doom moments in the latter portion of the album and that sounds good as well. But the plodding, gloomy atmosphere is the bands forte. I have noticed this album getting some so-so reviews but to honest I think it is fantastic. They sound like a lot of bands you have heard in the past, but manage to morph it into something of their own with their shrouded style / sound and feeling. Take a look into this sickness, it will change you.  – Dale

http://www.ahdistuksenaihio.com/    

 

 

WALL OF SLEEP

“When Mountains Roar” CD

(Psychedoomelic/Nail Records)

 

Hungary's Wall of Sleep return with their fourth full length of doom laden metal.  The first thing that stood out to me was the production - clean, punchy, yet a little retro - a good balance for a doom metal band. As for the music, it's good.  The vocal delivery doesn't gel with the music to these ears.  It's not bad at all but it's missing something to really take the band to the next level.  Almost like the music is first and the vocals are second which should rarely, if ever, be the case. I smell a bit of cheese in the lyrics but that's easy to over look.  Overall, a fairly solid release from beginning to end.  - Mark

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

 

 

WAN

Enjoy The Filth” 2013 CD

(Carnal Records)

 

With a release title like "Enjoy The Filth" you pretty much know what your getting and with Sweden's Wan you will not be disappointed. It is filthy, raw grimy black metal. This album is the follow up to 2010's Wolves Of The North. The music on this album sis hateful, raging raw black metal the way it should be played. The drumming is fast, it is both extremely fast and precise with it's attack and truly played to perfection. The guitars are mainly played with intense speed and chaotic riffs but there are some slower, heavier mid-paced riffs before the band picks up the insane assault again. The vocals are harsh black metal screams with a raspy/whispery voice used on a few of the tracks. “Enjoy The Filth” is one of best Swedish black metal bands I've heard in a while and definitely recommended if you are a fan of the early nineties you should definitely check this release out as soon as possible you won't be disappointed.  - Patrick

http://www.last.fm/music/WAN   https://www.facebook.com/Carnalrecords.sweden     

 

 

WAY TO END

"Desecrated Internal Journey" CD

(Debemur Morti Productions)

 

I have always found the French scene to be a pretty diverse and interesting one. It is not really a scene that you can pin down either and say has a sound that represents many of the bands. Way to End, enjoy employing a lot of diverse and quirky melodies and rhythms that almost sound mental, but brilliant at the same time. In some spots it reminds me of another very old quirky band named Disharmonic Orchestra and possibly even a dash of early Pan-Thy-Monium. Though with WTE, they tend to keep things darker, more atmospheric and introspective as well. The vocals are a combination of growling and rasps, but they are buried into the mix and kind of melt into the whole musical tapestry. Which is likely for the best and possibly the only way vocals could be employed on this record and work well, in my opinion. If you had them contrasting and playing above or alongside the music it would effectively kill the wonderful atmosphere they worked hard to create. I think it is fair to label the band as black death metal. Yet, as you can see from my description above there is a lot more than just that going on here. I am really liking what I am hearing here and find myself going into a cerebral trance under its apocryphal, discordant and enchanting guidance. You must be prepared for a depressive and almost emotionally confusing ride with “Desecrated Internal Journey”, yet it is one that you will be compelled to take and if your mind can handle it you will be better off for it. In more simple terms this album is a depressing, draining, dark and desperate psychological mindfuck that you will want to take again and again.  – Dale

www.debemur-morti.com   www.myspace.com/waytoendmetal  

 

 

WEAPON

"From The Devil’s Tomb" CD

(Agonia Records / Ajna Offensive)

 

Always good to get releases from my hallowed homeland of Canada. This is even more special I suppose since this band is from the same area I grew up in and where I cut my teeth in metal and the underground. I found it interesting to read the founder of this band had moved to Bangledesh and recorded this bands initial demo and ep, then moved back to Canada, picked up more members and we are now on album two. Weapon, are a marriage of old dark death metal and olden black metal and it is superbly combined. The bands citing of the early works of Morbid Angel and Mayhem are a good ones when naming some influences. Speed and angry fury play big parts in their sound, but they know the value of a good riff as well. The drums are a great pounding barrage, as to be expected when you have my old acquaintance Paulus (Sacramentary Abolishment, Rites Of Thy Degringolade, Warmach etc…) lighting up the kit like a military bunker that has been targeted from all sides. The vocals of founder Vetis Monarch are a frightening blend of muffled growl and obscure gruff hiss and fit the sinister and oppressive atmosphere the music wraps around you superbly. An impressive release and band, I only wish now I was back home so I might be able to witness this in a live setting.  – Dale

http://www.weaponchakra.com/  http://www.agoniarecords.com/  http://www.theajnaoffensive.com/ 

 

 

WEH

"Origins” Double CD

(Souseller Records)

 

This is some dark acoustic folk music recorded between 2002 - 2006, with some unreleased material from 2009 - 2010. Acoustic guitar and vocals. Being a musician, I can appreciate the chord patterns at times within these tunes. Very folk oriented. But, the vocals though? They stink. Goodness. At least Erik E is in tune but when you have such stripped down instrumentation, the voice has to carry the tunes. Period. The melodies, delivery, and emotion are just not there in my opinion. Most of the songs start with a chord pattern that sets up the vocals. Then he starts singing and the tunes just fall apart. If an outside producer was involved, he should be reprimanded in the worst way. It's his job to red flag weakness in an artist and help mask those areas of need. It's hard to take such music seriously if you're going to use such bad vocal lines. I think, as a folk album, this could of been decent as an instrumental album - but, please, Erik, develop your vocals if you decide to pursue more of this genre. I would also suggest add a little more percussion on future releases. There are some tracks where the percussion adds to the soundscape. Explore this further and the tunes will improve - sound wise. Thankfully the last tune just played. Now I can listen to some quality music - which isn't Weh.  - Mark

http://www.soulsellerrecords.com/   

 

 

WELTKRIEG

“Fable of Unholy War” CD

(Armour Get Dawn Productions)

 

This time I’ve one Russian band which is into black metal war. I have not heard this band before so I don’t know if WELTKRIEG is an old band or not? But from the musical side they are good! WELTKRIEG plays obscure true black metal. The music based on such fast yet devastating riffs, but here’s one fault – the band does not have a live drummer (it’s a drum machine). The main band’s ideology is extermination of human race (with this fact I agree?), and this aspect is great shown in the musical structure, because the music is really sick and aggressive, from time to time with some atmospheric means. I like also all of those rhythm-changes and down tempos which are here and there on this album. As a whole there is an intro, outro and 8 songs on about 48 minutes of destruction. What is yet to add to the statement that here’s an old-school true black metal, based on rawness and gloom, with such great necro touches in the main structure and is devastating, full of hatred guitar riffs with screams. I think this is enough for those fans, who are into true black metal rawness! Worthy stuff, but with no live drummer.  - Aleksandr Maksymov

http://www.myspace.com/weltkriegrus   

 

 

WITCHBURNER

“Final Detonation” CD

(Undercover Records)

 

Blazing a path through the German scene and no stranger to the pages of Canadian Assault (see interview in issue 7), Witchburner are thrash and speed metal in the grand tradition. They are a prolific band as well, releasing albums regularly (this is their 4th album + numerous ep’s & splits for those keeping score at home) and they tend to clock in at close to or above 50 minutes. I must guilty admit that though they are a killer band, there are small stretches where they kind of drag a bit, that is only bad thing I could possibly say. Otherwise, Witchburner are just fantastic thrash with serious head bang qualities and pitch a whirlwind storm of top notch riffs, beer drenched speed picking back stopped with wild 80 screams and screeches that many bands and fans would consider cheesy but it is literally music to my ears and missed by myself in the league these days. The incinerators of the evil hags definitely will get inside your head with their catchy lyrics and music and you will have a hard time getting them out. In the immortal words of Ian Gillian of the supreme Deep Purple “I am a Speed King”, hear Witchburner sing it! – Dale

Undercover Records, Stockhauserstr. 3a, 35638 Leun, GERMANY alex@undercover-records.de  www.undercover-records.de

 

 

WITCH CROSS

“Fit For Fight” 2012 CD

(Hells Headbangers)

 

Fit For Fucking Fight huh?! This is a blast from the past for me. I have been listening to this album for many a moon, for those that do not know about this fantastic metal album, it was originally released back in 1984 on Roadrunner Records. This album is so highly regarded that I believe Hells Headbangers is no less than the 4th record label to release this fucking thing! As you might guess this is classic mid 80s heavy metal, Witch Cross are from Denmark and you can imagine them fitting in that scene right next Mercyful Fate and Maltese Falcon – can you imagine a gig with all three of those bands? My head would explode! The music on here is marvelous and just chugs along with speedy ripping music that commands you like an evil old witches spell to headbang and play air guitar. I mean seriously listen to the songs Fight The Fire & Light Of A Torch and tell me you were able resist rocking out those amazing tunes. Just some fantastic guitar work on here with some smoking solos. The vocals may be an acquired taste for some, they are very early to mid 80s dated vocals, quite high pitched with not a lot of range, some might even mistake them for chick vocals, but they are great and work with the killer music. Seriously if you have not heard this by now you better get it or you do not even like classic heavy metal and why are you still reading this review? This is a must own for 80s metal fans, get your grip on this intense fire ball of metal now.  - Dale

http://witchcross.dk/index.html  http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/ 

 

 

WITCH TOMB

“Mocking Jehovah” CD

(Bestial Onslaught)

 

What is this I see crawling out of Boston’s armpit? No it is not lice or crabs. It is Witch Tomb who play black metal that is extremely raw, loose like a hooker and evil. It did not take me very long to pinpoint their influences on “Mocking Jehovah” as being the great, late old crusty purveyors of filth and darkness – Profanatica. In fact it would not even surprise me if that was Paul Ledney himself using the name Drath and playing drums for Witch Tomb. Seriously, it is that uncanny. I am not entirely sure what else to say, except, if you think you would like a slightly more atmospheric version of Profanatica? Then by all means, pick this up. If not, then just put on some of the real shit instead, and start weeping in heaven. – Dale

www.bestialonslaught.com    

 

 

WITCHCRAFT

“Alchemist” CD

(Rise Above Records)

 

I must say as a big Witchcraft fan (starting with their debut seven inch). I am a little offended at a statement in their bio, accompanying this album. It states that this album shows Witchcraft “…moving away from their generic doom rock…”. It is a shame to belittle an already wonderful legacy built up by the band. While I admit “Alchemist” is a bit of a departure from the past work of these Swedes. It is not exactly a far trip in distancing itself from their rocking doom roots and wonderful Pentagram worship. That organic 70s vibe and atmosphere, I love so much, have not gone away. Another quote from the bio that is, ahem, music to my ears – “Recorded 100% pro-tools and digital free”. It sounds fantastic too and kudos to the band for sticking to their guns. The band does seem very comfortable in their skin with this record. Their flow is smooth and their playing is really relaxed, like a needle gliding down the groove of a record. Yes, this is still 70s rock but it has that floating sort of psychedelic atmosphere that made the classic works of Led Zeppelin so special. Vocalist Magnus Pelander still owes a debt to Bobby Liebling but you can hear other influences creeping into his style such as the front man of the aforementioned band (i.e. - Robert Plant). The counter point and interplay between the more rocking heavy moments and the soul grabbing, stream of consciousness psychadelia, is wonderfully composed and executed. “Alchemist” was not what I was hoping for or expecting. But I jumped on the ride anyway with an open mind packed in my pocket. The end result is a fascinating journey that sees the band morph their style somewhat but continues to produce another wonderful record which will see their legacy carried forth. Just give it a chance to put its spell on you. I am now so curious to see where they will go next?! – Dale

www.riseaboverecords.com 

 

 

WITHERING SOUL

"No Closure” CD

(Mortal Music)

 

I read a review online of this album. I could not agree more with the opening of that review. It is stated that melodic death/black metal bands from Scandinavia and Europe in general are a dime a dozen. The difference here is Withering Soul hail from the States and they do have a touch of an American sound. But for the most part they sound like every other boring band from overseas. I guess I am just not and never really have been the biggest melodic death fan. I like a few of the excellent original bands. But after that I really lost interest in the scene and it all sounds so interchangeable to mine ears. Something that makes it even worse for me is Withering Soul like to absolutely drown this sound / style in heavy keyboards, only compounding my apathy towards No Closure. I think my (only) favourite part of this album is the killer guitar solo / fill on the song “Possession of Deception”. A little sad if that is the highlight of the album. Suffice it to say I will not be listening to this one again.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/mortalmusic  http://www.myspace.com/witheringsoul     

 

 

WITHERING SURFACE

“The Nude Ballet” 1999 CD

(Euphonious Records/V.O.W.)

 

This is a very talented Danish band who know what they want and execute it with confidence. Too bad I didn’t get into it too much. W.S. play a melodic death metal, with  heavy metal (Iron Maiden) and black metal spice ups. I could have enjoyed this a bit more without the soft female vocals, goth touches and heavy keys, which dominate too much. I didn’t like this but fans into the Gothenburg styled harmonic death should dig this. Stunning packaging.

 

 

WIZARD’S BEARD

“Pure Filth” CD

(PsycheDOOMelic Records)

 

This was not what I was expecting just based upon the bands name and the label that released it. I had imagined beforehand that Wizard’s Beard would be a cleaner, classic old doom heavy metal band. I was instead immediately taken aback by the sheer anger and hate that drips from this album. This level of adrenalized vitriol is usually reserved extreme thrash, death metal or grindcore played at break neck speeds. I mean every now and then there are short sections of a moderate level of quickness. But for the most part it just amazes me they can give off such harsh and destructive energy playing such slow, plodding doomy pace. The vocals on here are just as scathing and raging, sure to will peel paint from your wall. The song writing on Filth is a rather simple formula, but it is executed with such feeling and preciseness that the end result really delivers the goods. I would not even really know who to compare this band with? Maybe Cavity and Iron Monkey mixed with Disembowelment, and a dose of the quirky off-kilter rhythms you get from something like old Pungent Stench. I liked on the opening track “Paint The Skies” where the bassist drops out of lock step with the rest of the instruments to do his own thing laying down some killer bottom end chug. Definitely recommended for fans that like both death / doom and sludge metal.  – Dale

http://www.wizardsbeard.co.uk/  http://www.psychedoomelic.com/ 

 

 

THE WOUNDED KINGS

“The Shadow Over Atlantis” CD

(I Hate Records)

 

I love the cover artwork, it fits very well with a classic doom metal record. I think that would look good on a vinyl LP cover size. I mentioned doom metal, which to those who do not know much about The Wounded Kings, is exactly what you will find lurking within The Shadow Over Atlantis. The bio included explains the meaning behind their moniker: “The Wounded King, also known as the Fisher King, is a figure in Arthurian legend and guardian of the Holy Grail whose kingdom suffers as he does”. Good to know for those of us that have not brushed up on the legend. Their music and imagery also reminds me of what a soundtrack, to many of HP Lovecraft’s classic novels, might just sound like. Musically TWK for me, fall into the realms of old great bands such as Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Count Raven and maybe even a little hint of something like Spirit Caravan (I was lucky enough to be at their final show and it was fucking great! Yeah a useless bit of information for you…). This is a very hypnotic, sort of reflective cerebral album and you get lost in it quite easily. I like it when an album can do that to me. It almost feels ritualistic as much as just a journey inducing music. These songs are pretty epic sounding with some clocking in over the ten minute mark. Though there are a couple of short mood setting kind of songs, but the rest are no shorter than eight minutes in length. The vocals are also hypnotic as well, they really have no range most of the time, no excited high shrieks or dynamic changes, rather they drone along like the music, they are quite spellbinding for me and fit the music nicely. I suppose some might find this drone a bit monotonous or repetitive, but I find that is one of its strengths here and the flow of the songs keep it moving in the right way. I think this album is one that is really for doom fanatics like me rather than those that just dabble here and there. I can recommend this wholeheartedly to fellow doom mongers for sure. This is my first experience with The Wounded Kings, it was a good one and I hope not the last time we cross paths.  – Dale

http://www.ihate.se   http://www.myspace/thewoundedkings2  

 

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XANTOTOL

“Liber Diabolus: 1991-1996” CD

(Kampf Records)

 

I am sorry I missed out on this band the first time around. Xantotol were one of the first Polish black metal bands in existence and featured two members, including a sick female named Mala on guitars and vocals. Yes this was a special band. This you can probably guess from the title is a compilation of the bands releases. The first seven tracks are from the “Thus Spake Zaratustra” demo excreted in 1995, eight to twelve are from the '93 demo “Cult Of The Black Pentagram”, and finally tracks thirteen to eighteen are off of the “Glory For Centuries” demo tape from 1992. The worst thing about this promo disc I have hear is that it only has a cross section of songs from each of the above releases. Curse you Kampf! haha After a lengthy and none too interesting intro, we are treated to some shadowy, obscure and compelling riffing. Which border on doom metal but managing always to still sound evil and black metal, they lead you into the dark wilderness and abandon you for dead. The vocals are just as mysterious and undefined but really help to set the atmosphere of gloom. Returning to the intros. There is an intro / interlude in between each song ala Acheron on their classic debut “Rites of The Black Mass”… Only Xantotol write lyrics based around the philosophy works of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. I could see fans of the first Samael record, old Varathron and other quality old school black metal bands like this. Cheers to Kampf Records for digging this gem up! – Dale

www.kampf.ws   kampfrec@go2.pl   info@kampf.ws   

 

 

XENOMORPH

“Necrophilia Mon Amour” CD

(Under Her Black Wings)

 

Well, well…this is interesting, the debut release of Under Her Black Wings records which interestingly enough is the new sub-label of stoner rock label Freebird records. I would say this is quite a departure for them. Replacing T-birds, denim, 8 tracks and mondo sweet leaf smoking comes blood dripped skulls, growls, dark musty mold encrusted stone chambers and the inhalation of burning flesh. I must say I was a bit dismayed with the first 2 songs as they are very one dimensional, monotonous and stale. These 1st two songs (“Insidie Teradome” & “Neon Black Stronghold”) really lowered my expectations with repetitive unimaginative drumming, thin sounding growls and very simplistic non-quality riffing. I wonder if they put these two snorers up front to lull you into a lowered hope for the potential of “Necrophilia…”, because from that point onward winding through the proceeding 8 tracks, it is like they have spawned from a different band entirely. The one trick pony of the start of the album is ‘morphed (hehe) into a roller coaster ride of rich point and counter point brutal but brooding and moody death metal, which knows when not to over sell the brutality and speed. Instead working in some somber and thoughtful soundscapes and slower sections, which in fact give the lightning speed and howling barbarism so much more punch, intensity and effectiveness. The vocals after the opening volley also spread their wings with added depth in the growl, hightened highs and lows with the main growl adding a sort of oven heated gurgle and boil onto the back end of sustained bellows. The production is very good and there has been care taken not to let the digital age completely squash all of the organic heaviness of the guitars and pounding torture of the drums, though the high-hat and cymbals are a little too much typewriter for my liking. Worth some investigation on your part. – Dale

U.H.B.W Records, Box 464, 5600 Al Eindhoven, The Netherlands www.freebird-records.com 

 

 

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ZWARTPLAAG

"Haatstorm" CD / Cassette

(Heidens Hart)

 

This Dutch band plays straight ahead black metal. After the keyboard intro, the band tear into it. The four piece have that rawness to their sound, particularly the guitar player, that brings back memories of the old 90's BM bands. "Haatstorm" is their only full length from 2010, after releasing several demos. This release actually reminds me more of the French BM scene than anything - which ain't a bad thing. I'm liking it. Personally, I would of dumped the intro and outro and just came out of the gates blasting. If you're in the mood for no frills black metal from yesteryear, this one will do the trick.  - Mark

http://www.heidenshart.nl.nu/  http://www.myspace.com/zwartplaagblackmetal