AMPUTATOR

“Deathcult Barbaric Hell” LP

(Greyhaze Records)

 

Originally, this was released in 2007, “Deathcult Barbaric Hell” is the debut album from this US war metal band known as Amputator. Greyhaze Records is re-releasing this classic on vinyl, for the first time, if you have never heard the band they play a barbaric and vicious form of blackened death war metal. The guitar work is done with chaotic and extremely fast guitar riffs and patterns. The guitarist does slow to a more mid paced controlled speed, in a few of the songs, before going back to the extreme and crazed guitar sound and style. The vocals are harsh, raw screams and some deeper, gruff death growls used throughout the release. The music has been remastered for the LP version, but still holds things up in the barbaric blackened death war metal scene.  - Patrick

https://greyhazerecords.bandcamp.com/    https://www.greyhazerecords.com/     

 

 

 

ANGELBLAST

“Rotting Paradise” 7” EP

(Edged Circle Productions)

 

Details on this band are scarce, but I believe they are a duo and features Canadian Gord Olsen (Ye Goat-Herd Gods, Demisery, Divinity) and Swede Hempa Brynolfsson (Ordo Infernus, ex-Excruciate, ex-Mykorrhiza etc…). As well, both gentlemen are in the international band Darkened whose debut EP I reviewed in these pages just recently. There are three tracks (two long players and an outro) on this piece of vinyl. The band play a high energy style of black death metal, where they keep the extremity levels up, but also inject quite a bit of melody into the proceedings. I would say they are a little too brutal and heavy to put in the melodic death category though. There are some razor riffs on here played at lightning speed, but also some solid, semi-intricate skillful guitar work cutting through the fray. The vocals are dark sounding, bestial growls that are quite intelligible in their style and delivery with strong enunciation on the growls. As mentioned this EP ends with an outro, which is a gloomy atmospheric synth/piano piece that is decent, but felt like a bit of time filler to me personally. This is a solid release though and I look forward to hearing more from this new band.  - Dale

https://edgedcircleproductions.com/    https://www.facebook.com/edgedcircleproductions   

 

 

CAVE OF SWIMMERS

“The Sun” 7" EP

(Southern Druid Records)

 

This is my first encounter with COS, spoiler up front; I very much hope it is not my last. The track on first side is the title cut; it captured me almost immediately, as the music and the singer are filled with infectious charisma. The song features a rich tone and silky flow, the music is classic doom metal influenced, but there is much more going on as it also has hard rock influence and a touch of progressive rock flair. The guitars dance and gallop along, but always return to that emotional doomy heart punch, it is hard to even call this doom at the same time, because in certain sections of the tune the pace is very quick. It is so damn infectious, I can not stop listening to this song, I am convinced it will be a future classic! I can not move on to track two without mentioning the vocals of G.E., he has one of the best classic doom style vocals I have ever heard!! His voice is smooth, so deeply achingly emotive that I can feel it is my soul as it soars through my headphones with such a dynamic range, reflecting the poignant sentimentality of the music step for step effortlessly. It is just wonderful and I am not sure I have ever written so much about one song before haha! Side B of this record features a live recording of “The Hangman”, which is a song from their debut self titled full-length record. Honestly, the first reaction is a slight letdown, but that is partly due to such a drastic drop in sound quality, the recording on the first song is stellar, loud and full then it drops way down here to kind of a flat low level. About halfway through the song, it has this metal or hard rock version of a latin inspired beat / section. It is strange and maybe an acquired taste, but it does seamlessly weave in and out of the hurriedly mournful metal mainstay of the tune better than you would think. This side of the record is a step down from the first, a true B side in that sense, but Side A is more than worth the price of admission, all on it’s own. That title song is a fucking masterful work of art, from the beginning of it’s six minute length, to the last second! Get this posthaste!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/caveofswimmers    http://southerndruidrecords.storenvy.com/     

 

 

COSCRADH

“Mesradh Mache (The Heads Of The Men Who Have Been Slaughtered)" 7" EP

(Invictus Productions)

 

Coscradh are a four man band coming out of the blackened death metal scene in Ireland. This vinyl features two songs of intense and well delivered black death metal. ‘Mesradh Mache’ starts off the release with a mix of fast, blasting metal instruments. Their are some mid tempo guitars and drum parts that are mixed into the song to give it a nice balance between unrelenting speed and a more controlled pace. The vocals are gruff growls and some raw black metal screams are used throughout the song as well. ‘Plagues Of Knowth’ is the final song of this release and is much more furious and frenzied in it's delivery. The guitars are played at extremely fast aggressive patterns. The drums are hyper-speed blasting drum passages that fit this song very nicely. The vocals are a mix of heavier death metal growls and some insane screams. If you are a fan of intense and well delivered blackened death metal, then do yourself a favor and check out this seven inch as soon as possible.  - Patrick

https://coscradh.bandcamp.com    https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/      

 

 

DATURA

“The Harrowing” LP

(Rusty Knuckles Music)

 

Datura came out swinging in the second week of June with their debut full-length The Harrowing, celebrating its release the day after at the Raleigh Deathfest with one of the best performances on stage that night. These guys have been a part of the local metal scene in North Carolina for many years, and in their current incarnation have been making music together since around 2015. They began recording The Harrowing last October, and now the fruits of their labors finally manifest! The album expertly combines various influences within its 43-minute playing time, most significantly from thrash and death metal, although one may find sprinkles of doom here and there in such tracks as “Haxan” and “Keeper of the Light”. Regardless of subgenre nitpickiness, the album will have you headbanging no matter what track you listen to. Give “Battle Worn” a listen, and the initially mid-paced riffing will guide you into each verse, building anticipation up until the chorus calls out at the “battle-worn betrayer” with righteous indignation, then releasing you into the rhythmic aftermath that eventually winds down like the falling action of a story within the track’s latter half. Or maybe you would prefer the next track, which showcases Kellie Gates’s vocals at their best, in my opinion. Listen as the guitars at times punctuate the verses, and at times gallop along, keeping the composition moving in a constantly forward direction until you get the broken-down form in the chorus where Gates takes over with deadly delivery of punching lines and contrasting soaring screams. Needless to say, there is a lot to love about this album—more than I can succinctly determine in a single paragraph. Navigate to Datura’s Bandcamp or Spotify in order to hear for yourself why Datura is one of the most promising extreme metal acts coming out of central NC today.  – Aaron

https://datura666.bandcamp.com/    https://www.rustyknucklesmusic.com/collections/datura       

 

 

DEATH OF KINGS
"Hell Comes To Life” 7” EP

(Boris Records)

 

We see the return of the old school thrashing maniacs to Canadian Assault, with a new two song EP. The first song, on this vinyl, is “Hell Comes To Life”, which an aggressive thrash metal attacking track featuring ripping guitars played with a lot of skill and fierce patterns. The vocals are some raw screams mixed with some blackened style vox. The second song is a cover, Judas Priest’s classic “Hell Patrol”, the band does a great job capturing the intensity of that song, but also adding a dash of their own style to the song. If you are a fan of the early years of thrash, such as Kreator, Exodus, Judas Priest “Painkiller”-era, then be sure to check this slab of vinyl out as soon as it is released.  - Patrick

https://deathofkings.bandcamp.com/    http://boris-records.com/   

 

 

DEIPHAGO / AMPÜTATOR

“Deiphago / Ampütator” 12” EP

(Greyhaze Records)

 

So up first on this split vinyl is the Philippines own Deiphago with three songs from their recent demo “Lucifer Alpha Omega”, which was a demoed version of songs that wound up on their “Satan Alpha Omega” album released on Hells Headbangers some years ago.  The music is raw, crude black metal that stays true to the early black metal genre. The vocals are raw screams mixed with some deeper growls that are used throughout the songs. The guitars are played with aggressive and fast guitar chords, but do slow down to a slow to heavier mid pace within some of the songs. Flipping over to the second side, we have the U.S. war machine known as Amputator, who presents two unreleased songs for us. Amputator’s style is barbaric and vicious war metal. The drums are blast beats, performed with fierce brutal attack, going from an all out assault of blasting beats to a calmer and fast drum pattern. The vocals are gruff screams and growling. The end result of this split release is a pretty great one uniting two of the underground’s best blackened death war metal bands.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/deiphago/    https://www.greyhazerecords.com/    

 

 

 

DØDSFERD

“Skotos" 7" EP

(Transcending Obscurity)

 

It really is impressive, while I was not paying as much attention to them as I should over the years, Dødsferd has amassed a seriously prolific (ten albums, many demos, splits and EPs) body of work stretching back to their start in 2003. Prior to this I think I only have one album, one split CD with Mortovatis and now this interesting release. I know whenever I see their band name my brain automatically thinks they must be Swedish, but no, this storied black metal horde hail from Greece. I never tire of this old style of black metal and I can never get enough of it. As I understand it this will also be released on CD, but will include as a bonus on that disc their entire last album which clocks in at over 50 minutes! That is one hell of a bonus. For the vinyl version (this version) however, it is a stand alone seven inch vinyl EP. There is a lot to like on this two song piece of vinyl, they play in a style that is a passion for me, that being great freezing cold in your veins second wave Scandinavian black metal. Both hymns are cryptic and icy flowing black metal that immediately entranced me. The vocalist gives a great performance here with his roiling and acidic yelling rasp, which punctuates the music with a level of hatred and haunting menace that keeps you on edge. This is a really good piece of vinyl that I am sure any second wave black metal die hard will want to own.  - Dale

https://dodsferd.bandcamp.com/    https://tometal.com/   

 

 

DREADFUL FATE
"
The Sin Of Sodom” 12” EP

(Edged Circle Productions)

 

There is no beating around the bush here, from theme, to look, to the music itself is a violent and evil sounding love letter to the German thrash scene of the early to late ‘80s. You could maybe even narrow the focus even further and call this Sodom worship (“In The Sign Of Evil” MLP and the first couple albums in particular), but there is no doubt bands like Kreator, Destruction etc… also played a part in shaping this band. I am sure, with this being nothing new or experimental, progressive or whatever the fuck focused fans have already stopped reading this review. Which is just fine, this not made for you, so continue moving along as there surely is nothing new here. This Swedish band features members (which has been kept kind of hush, hush for the most part) who are currently or formerly members of bands like Destroyer 666, In Aeternum, Centinex, Interment, Hypnosia etc.. After finding that out, you may not be surprised to discover the ferocious Teutonic thrash, played by these maniacs is picture perfect old school blitzkrieg metal of the highest order. This is truly top shelf thrash; played at break neck speeds with amazing riffing that had my head banging like a puppet on a string, leaving me no choice to bow to it’s will. Yes, it is that fucking good! The only problem is it is too short, only two original songs, followed by a scathing cover of “Tormentor” by Kreator. All of which, barely breaks the nine minute mark, so a rather short 12”, but one thing I can promise, if you worship ’80s German thrash. You will be standing close to the record player, because you will be flipping and replaying this constantly, as you punch the air with your spiked fist and bobbing your head in between swinging that arm back to the beginning of the record time and again. Take it from me; during the course of writing this review, I am literally 30 listens deep on this thing with no end in sight!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/DreadfulFate/    http://www.edgedcircleproductions.com/  

 

 

ECTOVOID

“Inner Death” 7” EP & Cassette EP

(Blood Harvest Records)

 

Birmingham, Alabama’s Ectovoid returns with a brand new release featuring three brand new tracks of extremely solid and heavy death metal. The vocals are a mix deep death metal growling and some old school gruff style growls. The music is interesting and keeps your interest at it chugs along at a brutal edge and a fast tempo. The band does play some brief slower, mid paced sections as well. If you are a fan of early Autopsy and Immolation then be sure to pick up a copy of this nice piece vinyl audio violence.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/ectovoid    http://shop.bloodharvest.se/      

 

 

 

EXIL

“Warning” LP

(Armageddon Label)

 

This Swedish band is made up of members that have a long history in the UG scene, but they span more than just the death and grindcore scene. They are vets of the punk and hardcore scenes as well. Some of the many bands the members have done time in are Asterisk*, Demon System 13, Invasionen, The Lost Patrol, The Vicious, Epileptic Terror Attack, Feral Brain, Imperial Leather, Sonic Ritual, Suicide Blitz, Axis Of Despair, Infanticide and a bunch more. The bio states this is no thrown together super group one off or an internet band, but rather a proper regularly rehearsing full on band. I like that. So what area of music do Exil fall into? Well, for me, they are straight hardcore punk rock to the max. They play these styles the way I like them, which is fast, mean pissed off in your face ripping hardcore punk! There is a small touch of metal crunch in the guitar, but this is hardcore at their heart with catchy songs that you can gang sing along to. Yet, as mentioned the music is also speedy, destructive and irate enough to pummel you into submission. It is like if you mixed early Sick Of It All, Dead Kennedy’s, Earth Crisis, Agnostic Front, Cryptic Slaughter, Circle Jerks, DS 13, Violent Reaction, Black Flag and Crucifix into a melting pot, then you get something pretty killer like Exil as the result. The vocals match the music and are classic coarse hardcore vocals with those aforementioned sing-a-long parts and the lyrics have something to say, but I will let you discover that part for yourself. If you a devotee of hardcore and the bands I mentioned then you are going to want to add this LP to your collection, and sooner than later.  - Dale

https://exilhardcore.bandcamp.com/    http://www.armageddonshop.com/   

 

 

EXPULSER

“Fornication” LP

(Greyhaze Records)

 

Originally, these three songs were a part of the split release with Brutal Distortion, which was released way back in 1990. The Expulser half of the split have been remastered, but the songs still hold a raw sound and feel to them. The first song “Vomiting Paradise” is a semi-fast thrash style, which features some very good musicianship. The guitarist even adds some well written and performed nice solos. The second song is “The Offensor”, which is a faster, more crazed tune that goes for it. The final track is “No Resurrection”, which is probably the heaviest out of the three tracks on this LP. The drumming on here is done at hyper-speed and the vocals are more old style death growls with some gruff screams intertwined throughout the growling. If you are a fan of old school thrash metal with elements of the early days of death metal, then be sure to pick this up today.  - Patrick

https://greyhazerecords.bandcamp.com/    https://www.greyhazerecords.com/     

 

 

EXTERMINATOR

“Total Extermination” 12” LP

(Greyhaze Records)

 

Exterminator was an early Brazilian thrash metal band with some early death metal influences. This recording was originally released in 1987; it was the bands debut (as it turns out also their final release) which is now getting the vinyl treatment with this reissue on Greyhaze Records on the thirty anniversary of the original release. The vocals on here are raw thrashy screams mixed with some early death metal growls that really fit the bands musical style. The guitarist wrote some very aggressive and memorable riffing patterns, he even mixed in some well played and written solos. For the most part, the guitars are played in mid paced range with some faster parts here and there in some of the songs. The drummer does a solid job of combining both middle speed drumming and faster paced drums, which he uses throughout the recording. If you are a fan of original, well played thrash mixed with elements of death metal you should pick up a copy of “Total Extermination” as soon as it is available to the public.  - Patrick

https://greyhazerecords.bandcamp.com/    https://www.greyhazerecords.com/      

 

 

GODLESS NORTH

“Dark Rites Of The Mystic Order” LP

(Nebular Carcoma)

 

Nebular Carcoma is re-releasing western Canada's Godless North’s 1998 debut demo for the first time on a format other than cassette on this special vinyl release. Othalaz (see also his past bands Deus Inferi, Gloria Diaboli, Rites of Thy Degringolade) is the sole member of the band, and on this recording plays a very bestial and unrelenting traditional second wave of black metal style. The music is raw and noisy with some well executed guitars and drum patterns that are played with real zeal and aggression. The guitars do slow to a more calmer mid pace within a few of the songs, before inevitably going back in for the kill with hyper speed drums and razor sharp guitar chords. The vocals are raw black metal screams and screechy vocal patterns that fit the music perfectly. To be honest I have never heard this bands other releases, so I can not compare the re-released demo to his present material, but if you are a fan of raw aggressive black metal then you should order a copy of “Dark Rites Of The Mystic Order” as soon as possible.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/nebularcarcoma    https://www.nebularcarcoma.com/    

 

 

GROG / NAMEK

“Monsters" Split 7 EP

(Hellprod Records)

 

Grog produce intense and high energy death metal grindcore with chunky brutal riffing and piston drumming that is often sped up to light speeds. The vocals are fantastic, utterly guttural growling vocals with accents of higher nasally vocals often used believe it or not, during the choruses. The result of those choruses over the top of this mind numbing grind brutality is pretty awesome and not something I would have expected. Grog takes up side A of this sweet piece of vinyl with two new original songs and then covers of Simbiose, Marginal and Napalm Death. I think I tape traded for a Grog demo tape way back in the early ‘90s. I had no idea they were still going strong (30 years in 2021!!) until last year when I listened to killer split live tape with Agathocles. They are still destroying all in their paths thirty years later! Namek like to mix it up and play parts that are middle paced heavy deathrash style riffs, before inevitably launching into sections of blinding grindcore, crusty mincing blitzkrieg speed and barbarity that I found pretty damn satisfying. The vocals are a garbled wall of noise, but they work. Namek also do two new original songs and then do two covers of Regurgitate and Cock & Ball Torture. I can definitely recommend this for grindcore fans that like a healthy dose of death metal mixed in. Namek is damn good on here, but Grog is even better, putting on a tour-de-force performance on their side of the split.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/grogpt    https://namekgrind.bandcamp.com    https://helldprod.com   

 

 

HAUNTING
"Sealed Shut” 7” EP

(Boris Records)

 

Haunting were a band that was part of the Atlanta, Georgia underground metal scene. The band only put out one release, entitled “Sealed Shut”, which was a limited run demo tape that came out in 2014. That release plus a new intro is essentially what this is, so a re-release, but now on the vinyl format for the first time, giving a chance for those that missed it the first time around to get on it. Just reading the bio from the label, apparently the band was very important back in the 2013-1016 time period in helping revive a local Atlanta seen that was in decline. Haunting’s music is a nice blend of thrash and early death metal. The guitars are played with crazed, fast guitar patterns. The guitarist has a talent for writing some well executed guitar riffs, and even adds some solos, which are weaved into the music quite skillfully. The vocals are old school gruff growls and some screams are used here and there in a few of the songs. If you are a fan of old school death and thrash metal, then make sure to you check this one out and pick up your own copy today.  - Patrick

https://borisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/sealed-shut    http://boris-records.com/   

 

 

HELLGOAT
"
Death Conquers All” 12” LP

(Boris Records)

 

This album was originally released in 2011; it is the bands second full-length release, which is now finally getting the vinyl treatment via the great Boris Records (a champion of the Atlanta, Georgia extreme metal scene). Hellgoat play a straight forward and thoroughly Satanic vicious black metal style. The vocals are harsh, raw blackened screams and screeches. The vocalist does use some deeper, gruff growls and shrieks in a few of the songs as well to round out his vocal arsenal. The drums and guitars are played with fast and chaotic patterns reminding me a lot of the early ‘90s black metal scene. If you are familiar with Hellgoat’s musical style and appreciate then do not hesitate to pick up a copy of ‘Death Conquers All’ on the sweet format of vinyl as soon as it is released.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/Hellgoat-359498710801448    https://boris-records.com  

 

 

HELLTHRASHER

“Hellthrasher” 12” EP

(Blak Skul Records)

 

This came out of left field for me, as I had never heard of Hellthrasher before now, at least not a band by that name. As I understand it, you might be able to call this Memphis band a bit of project band featuring members of Incineration, an ex-member of influential crust punk band His Hero Is Gone and some other local musicians. The result is a pretty brutal mixing of death metal, grind and crust, which is heavy and chunky as fuck, not to mention just catchy enough in many sections that I can not even help myself from headbanging to the metallic maelstrom. The pacing is up and down, from middle pacing chunky death metal to vicious outbursts of high velocity grinding at times, with crust-like structuring and vibe. The vocals, much like the music, seem like a hybrid of the above subgenres with an undertone of aggressive hardcore crust screeching cutting through the slightly more predominant dm growling. I find that combo pretty satisfying, but I guess it depends on how particular you are with those styles, on whether you would mind or not the mixing of those styles. The drums are really the backbone of this record in a lot of ways, it is a rather menacing forceful drum performance, which sets the tone, strongly backing up the thick rumbling bass and stout guitar riffing, and propelling the whole thing in a forward motion in a lot of ways. I am uncertain of the running time, I would guess somewhere between 15-20 minutes, but it is an intense ride you will want to take repeatedly, so you can keep the intensity rolling and trust me you will want to keep it rolling. It is always a treat for me to receive vinyl for review, it is like an Xmas present for me, so cheers to the label for sending this cool limited (300 copies I believe) release on beautiful dark red marbled vinyl (it comes in three editions of red & black marbled and straight black). I listened to this on bandcamp just for comparisons sake and the sound, in my opinion, kills on the vinyl version.  - Dale

https://hellthrasher.bandcamp.com    http://blakskul.bigcartel.com/      

 

 

HOUKAGO GRIND TIME

“Bakyunsified (Moe To The Gore)" 12” Gatefold EP

(Outrageous Weeb Power Productions / Grindfather Productions / Psychocontrol)

 

So one of my fave new brutal death metal bands is Ripped To Shreds, a one man band from the mind and hands of the uber talented Andrew Lee. A little background on Mr. Lee is he comes from Taiwan, he appears to split his time between the USA and his ancestral homeland, but I believe he was born and lives mainly full time over here in California. So why am I waxing on about Ripped To Shreds and Andrew Lee? Well, that is because Houkago Grind Time is his other one man band, so as you can imagine I am a little excited to review this album. Due to my interest in his other band I actually have sought out a couple H.G.T. releases and just let me say, in my opinion, "Bakyunsified (Moe To The Gore)" takes Houkago to a new level of quality across the board. Where as Ripped To Shreds is an amazing death metal band, this band is in the ferocious grindcore / mincecore style and tradition. Andrew has a talent or maybe a better term would be a feel for extremity and brutality, as well as how to keep that as the core of music, never letting it wane, while at the same keeping a lot of variation in the songwriting. Things are always extreme and bestial yet never monotonous or repetitive. Those traits to his music have been a staple of all of his works (so far that I have heard), which is something I greatly appreciate and wish more death metal bands should strive harder for. This is a grind album, but all the same there are sequences of just pure highly enjoyable old school death metal riffing that is allowed to briefly gallop. Some examples of this are scattered throughout the recording, but a couple songs to look out for that come to mind are the title track and “Fuwa Fuwa Grind”. Having said that for a goregrind record there are a lot of cool nuances woven into the blinding speed, crushing garble that are skillfully inserted with a touch of finesse ala some of the succinct guitar fills and solos that Mr. Lee makes work delightfully well inside the maelstrom of chaos. Oh did I mention the whole concept of this band lyrically is Anime? I am mostly taken by and engrossed in the music itself, but yes, it is about Anime cartoons/movies and there are pithy audio clips from that artform strewn throughout the release. It is hard to believe this is only 20 minutes long, I keep it on repeated listens and have been listening to it for over two hours and I never tire of it! Andrew Lee is the fucking man. Get this sweet piece of vinyl (no disc or tape just yet) and/or go get a copy off of bandcamp ASAP!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/houkagogrindtime/    https://houkagogrindtime2.bandcamp.com/    

 

 

JOHN FRUM

“A Stirring in the Noos” LP

(Relapse Records)

 

Death metal seems to be experimenting quite a bit this year in terms of bringing influences from other sorts of music into its compositions. Death doom often reigns in this area, but recently psychedelia elements have been sneaking their way into the brutal form. Enter John Frum, a super group of sorts, with “A Stirring in the Noos” released on May 12th in association with Relapse Records. This album merges psychedelia with dusky death metal with seasoned competence, as is to be expected from a lineup that includes members like bassist Liam Wilson of The Dillinger Escape Plan and vocalist Derek Rydquist of ex-The Faceless fame. These two band members produced the elements that I found myself focusing on the most when I was listening to the album, not because of their status in the scene, but rather because of just how much control each has over their deliveries. Wilson’s bass at times pummels through the composition, and at times acts as the pulse to the music. Rydquist’s vocal performance demonstrates his wide range, fluctuating from mid-lows to blackened mid-highs. He has complete power concerning the verses he conveys. However, the drums and guitar do not feel as exceptional in comparison, even though they both show technical capacity throughout the album. Matt Hollenberg’s guitar solos are often astoundingly tortured in the manner that has become familiar in this brand of death metal, but they sometimes fall short in terms of being memorable. Similarly, Eli Litwin’s drumming exhibits his mechanical proficiency, but there were only a few sections on the record where I truly noticed the drums as being brilliant. This is not to say that the album overall is lackluster. Quite the contrary—I believe the band will only better from here because this album presents much promise for their future. John Frum carve out a space to call their own in the vein of psychedelic death metal, but whether they will maintain their rank alongside so many other fantastically written experimental death metal projects churned out this year remains uncertain.  - Aaron

http://johnfrumband.com/   https://john-frum.bandcamp.com/   

 

 

 

KATAVASIA

“Invoking The Spirit Of Doom” 7'' EP

(Iron Bonehead Records)

 

This five man band out of Greece may have only been around about five years or so, but the experience of it’s members stretches back much, much further than that. The various musicians on Katavasia have done time in bands like Varathron, Zaratus, Funeral Storm, Melan Selas, Aenaon, Agnes Vein, Freefall, Riffobia, ex-Kawir etc… Perhaps their most veteran member is the vocalist the mighty Necroabyssious, the leader of the legendary band Varathron. A moment of indulgence here, did I ever mention I was writing letters with Necroabyssious back and forth way back in the day and he wrote me while in the studio recording the 1993 classic “His Majesty At The Swamp”. Okay, okay enough of that, on to the music of Katavasia. The band play a kind of mix of harsh first wave black metal mixed with newer epic flowing black metal style that features accents of melody, and also the odd guitar sequences or riff that feel very of heavy metal or thrash. There are just two tracks on here “Descending To Acheron” and “Premonition of Doom”, but it is a seven inch vinyl after all. Necroabyssious handles all the vocals and he sounds fucking great! He spits out vocal venom in deadly fashion with a gruff deep voice that is mixed with a traditional bm rasping edge yet it is all quite decipherable, evil and commanding. I need to hear more and explore the bands past releases that include a second EP and two full-length albums. But until then this is a quality piece of work I am sure any fan of the band will enjoy and/or maybe it could be a jumping on point for a new fan, like me. Check it out.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/katavasiaofficial/   https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/      

 

 

KHANUS

“Flammarion” LP & CD

(I, Voidhanger Records)

 

It is an interesting choice by this Finnish band to start off the opening song on their debut album with a cover tune. After listening to it though, it does feel right, as they really add their own style heavily to this cover of Darkthrone’s “The Serpent’s Harvest”, from the Total Death album. They end up largely making the song their own, yet still paying homage to the songs immense cadenced foundation riff. This is my first encounter with this young band, after apparently having missed their digital single and ep, both released a couple years ago. Khanus has been hard at work on this introductory record ever since and that hard work shows. I suppose you could call the band avant-garde or progressive to some extent, as the band incorporates many unusual elements, such as all sorts of primitive sounding ritualistic and occult or Shamanic ceremonial type elements such as chants, hypnotic rhythmic drumming, overall tempos and timing. Like I said, I guess you can call them that, but unlike most bands placed into the avant-garde / progressive realm Khanus never abandons their root sound. Which is very heavy and slightly doomy darkened death metal, that brutal underpinning is always the anchor with everything else spinning around it’s orbit. Despite that description everything on here is solid and well performed, but there is really nothing overly technically impressive or amazingly complex going here with their slow-ish to middle paced music. But, the way it is all put together, the vision and song crafting are where it is special or at least different, and somewhat original (okay so maybe Master’s Hammer and Root have done something approaching this) when combined together as you all know that alone is an achievement these days. All the above described, conspire together to create a very shadowy and mysterious atmospheric vibe that is magnetic in a sinister trance-inducing manner. The vocals display an impressively wide spectrum of styles, often featuring spoken word or partially sung and spoken passages in a brutish intimidating style, as well as growling, clean voices, triumphant almost classic doom style singing and as mentioned previous various iteration chanting. As I said earlier, there is nothing mind-blowing here with regards to it’s unremarkable individual elements, but the manner in which they have all been masterfully woven together, in a different and original sounding way is what makes this a special record, worth your attention.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/khanusband    https://i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com      

 

 

KROSSFYRE

“Burning Torches” 12” MLP

(Hells Headbangers)

 

This Spanish band is new, but it’s members have been around for years in other bands (Sheidhim, Graveyard, Morbid Flesh etc…), so it is no surprise how mature this mini-album sounds and the performances within. Things start off with a possessed demonic intro that reminds of the early vocalization of the infamous Hellhammer. Following the intro, the music explodes out of your speakers with an exciting burst of forcefulness, which is sure to invigorate the listener into a frenzy of adrenaline filled headbanging fury. It is a straight shot to the veins of potent, swirling guitars producing a catchy and heavy riff storm. The energy is high, often with a rapid pace to match, but the band does slow things down now and then to create an underlying evil atmospheric to underpin the barbarity. Think of a blitzkrieg melding of early Venom and Celtic Forst, mixed with newer influences like Vomitor, Dissection, Bestial Mockery, Nifelheim, Destruktor and Gospel Of The Horns. So yes, it is in my mind, a caustic love letter to some of the most vicious bands from the Australian and Swedish UG scenes. There is not that much of an own sound, but fuck it, when they do it this fucking good and put this much dedication and diabolic energy into it. I can do nothing but praise what they have accomplished here on this six song, twenty minute recording. Not to even mention, how do you not love a band with high quality music, who also have a song title called “The Great Masturbator”!  - Dale

https://krossfyre-spain.bandcamp.com/    http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/   

 

 

MALFORMITY

“The Rapturous Unraveling” 7" EP

(Boris Records)

 

Atlanta’s death metallers Malformity return with a new 7” EP, which features two tracks of old school brutal death metal. The first track is “Rapturous Damnation”, which is four minutes of solid and raging barbarous death metal music. The vocals are growls that fit in the musical style very well. The guitars are played at a mid paced tempo, but do speed up a few times, before calming back down to the middle paced realm once again. The second and final song is “Unraveling”, which is a much faster and chaotic piece of music compared to the first track. The drumming is played with some blasting drum parts that do slow down slightly to a fast style similar to the mid ‘90s US and Swedish bands from this era. The vocals in this song are a mix of gruff growls and some deeper brutish growling as well. If you are a fan of quality old school death metal, which has influences from both American and Swedish death metal scenes, you should definitely pick up this seven inch when it is released.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/Malformity/    http://boris-records.com/    

 

 

 

MALIGNAMENT

“Demo 1” 12” EP

(Purity Through Fire Records)

 

Malignament are a brand new band coming out of Finland's mighty black metal scene. Purity Through Fire is re-releasing the bands debut demo on vinyl, it featuring three tracks of well crafted and executed black metal darkness. The music is played with a mix of fast and aggressive yet well composed melodic musical passages, as well as some slower more mid paced sections. The vocals are a mix of gruff growls and some black metal screams and cleaner sung passages. If you are looking for a new band that plays well devised black metal then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of “Demo 1” that is hot off of the presses and await the next output from this promising new band.  - Patrick

https://www.malignament.bandcamp.com/    www.purity-through-fire.com   

 

 

MEDIEVAL DEMON

“Medieval Necromancy” LP & CD

(Hells Headbangers Records)

 

If anyone knows me, and my musical tastes, they know how big of a die hard I am for early to mid ‘90s Greek black metal. I worshipped at it’s malevolent altar back then, and since tape trading, buying releases and following this scene. It unfortunately, over the years, largely morphed stylistically and sound-wise into something I largely did not care for. I long for those olden days, so does Medieval Demon, who are keeping them alive and attempting to return the scene to past glory. I immediately think of one of my all time favourite black metal releases when listening to this, which is Necromantia’s side of their split album with the mighty Varathron, released way back in 1992, a pure masterpiece. Before anyone gets the wrong idea that M.D. are a new young band, picking up the old mantle, forget that straight away. despite having called it quits for 15 years at the end of the ‘90s, Medieval Demon actually formed in 1992 releasing demos, a split ep and album prior to the hiatus. The two main driving forces of the band are brothers Lord Apollyon & Sirokous, who also run a record label called Cryptia Productions, as well as running a black/death record store together in Athens. This release spews no less than fifty-five minutes of the audio personification of blasphemic darkness and evil! The old Greek bm style, while similar to the early ‘90s second wave of black metal coming from Scandinavia, tends to possess more ritualistic drumming and effects. These bands also show more passion for the first wave of black metal, in the late ‘80s, with more traditional metal elements than many of their Scandinavian counterparts. The sound also often includes dark and freezing synth accents, frequently coupled with a building crescendo of dramatic hypnotic beats. When performed and crafted correctly it can truly take the listener on a sinister emotional mental journey. I know I have built this album up high, I do not want to mislead here, it may not rival those early classics, as good as it is. But, it does capture that sound and tradition with an authentic reverence, assuring that the flame is lit again and that the air crackles electric with the old magic once again. So, if you miss the early years of Greek black metal, as I do, and adore the early releases of bands like Necromantia, Varathron, Rotting Christ, Nergal, Kawir, Agatus, Zemial, Thou Art Lord and more (not Greek but I even hear a bit of Mortuary Drape in there) then you will need to look into this straight away!  - Dale

https://medievaldemon.bandcamp.com/    http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/    

 

 

 

MORBOSIDAD / KILL

“Santaurio Del Diablo” Split 7” EP

(Hells Headbangers Records)

 

Starting off this cool piece of split vinyl is the American warring blackened death metal horde Morbosidad with a new track, entitled “Verdugo”, which is an excellent death black metal assault of real destruction and fury. The vocals are cool raw gruff growls and screams. The music is mid paced with a few outbursts of intensity mixed into the anarchy. The second song is “Pureza Del Martir”, which is a more of a little faster paced, and straight to the point with blasting drums backed with a mix of gruff growling and tortured screams. Sweden’s Kill (featuring Carl Warslaughter whom long time CA readers will remember well from the infamous band Bestial Mockery) like their counterparts on this split release are veterans of sick UG game. Kill appear with one longer song (well longer than the two Morbosidad tracks) entitled ‘Prayer Of Destruct’, which is a frenzied piece of blackened death metal music and a real beast of a song! The music is played with a lot of raw intensity that is grim, but also showcases the bands experience and sadistic song writing abilities. The vocals on this track are raw, harsh hateful sounding screams. This is an excellent release for fans on truly dirty and evil metal from the depths, so check it out and also support the great Hells Headbangers who have fine taste in music and champion true death and black metal.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/thetruekill    https://shop-hellsheadbangers.com/   

 

 

NIGHNACHT

“Christophilia” 7” EP

(Hells Headbangers)

 

This is the debut release of Don Of The Dead of (the legendary) Nunslaughter’s new band. Don never ceases to deliver both quality and debauchery in equal quantities! This is such an interesting mix of death metal depravity, combining things like hints of Nunslaughter greatness with classic influences from the likes of Autopsy, Impetigo, early Morbid Angel, Slaughter (from Canada) and small whispers of other necro inspirations from things like Punk and black metal. The vocals are a diabolic mix of raspy black metal style vocals, deep growls, higher pitched growling, hysterical screams, and gore grinding gurgles, along with half spoken bestial howling! These vocals would make the likes of Stevo from Impetigo, Abscess and the vocal chords of demons straight out of hell proud!! It is hard to choose a favourite song out of the five on here, but “Abducted, Raped And Eaten” is a strong contender for me. This is 12 minutes of an utterly wonderful cacophony of sickness and depravity that must be heard to be believed! I fucking loved this and can not wait for the full-length album due out somewhere around the end of 2019.  - Dale

https://nighnacht.bandcamp.com/    http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/   

 

 

 

ROTTING CHRIST / VARATHRON

“Duality Of The Unholy Existence” Split 7” EP

(Hells Headbangers)

 

This evil union of two of Greece’s longest running and notorious bands have now come together for a special release split featuring one new song from each band. Rotting Christ starts the split off with their track ‘Spiritual Sancti’, which is played with the bands signature style and sound, while adding some melodic black metal with touches of gothic music elements. The vocals are gruff growls that fit this song just perfectly. Varathron owns side two with their song ‘Shaytan’, which for the most part is played with a lot of speed and intensity, but does slow down to a calmer pace in a few parts. Personally, I prefer both bands earlier works, but the new songs have a lot of complex and well executed structures. If you are looking for quality black metal then look no further than the “Duality Of The Unholy Existence” split release.  - Patrick

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

 

 

SADISTIC DRIVE

“Anthropophagy" LP

(Blood Harvest Records)

 

This album was already released on both Cassette and CD (through respectively Headsplit & La Caverna Records). Now mighty Blood Harvest Records has decided to pick quality album to release on the vinyl format for all the maniacs out there. ‘Anthropophagy’ is this Finnish bands debut release featuring ten songs of crushing old school intense death metal that is truly sick and filthy in a great way. The music ranges from mid paced death metal riffing patterns that transition to more aggressive and faster tempos throughout the songs. The band seems to be able to play both the faster and more mid paced styles equally as good, showcasing both their skill and their penchant for musical and lyrical depravity. If you are a fan of old school intense death metal then do yourself a big favor and pick up a copy of this killer long player piece of vinyl today.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/censoreddrive/    https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/      

 

 

SARCOFAGO

“The Worst” LP & Cassette

(Greyhaze Records)

 

This is a re-issue of this notorious legend bands final album that originally came out in 1996. The album starts off with a short intro before kicking off the music with a middle paced thrashy old school black metal sound. The vocals are a mix of old style gruff growls and some screams mixed in. There is also some clean singing believe it not and even some whispery spoken word type of vocals used in some of the songs. The guitars are done mainly with mid paced guitars, but do speed up to a faster pace now and then throughout the recording. ‘The Worst’ (a very apt title as this has to be the worst thing the band released - Dale) is Sarcofago’s last full length release, while this release is nowhere near as fast or chaotic as the bands earlier releases, but the ‘The Worst’ does still have some good music on it at times.  - Patrick

https://www.greyhazerecords.com    

 

 

SUCCUMB

“Succumb” LP

(The Flenser Records)

 

From the Bay Area of California we have some fresh, hearty meat entering the contemporary death metal scene: Succumb’s self-titled debut. This album was released by the band formerly known as Cloak on May 5th in association with Flenser Records, and has made ripples in the metal community, or at least in the metal blogosphere. Coming in at about 34 minutes of spin time, this record wastes not a single second within its tracks, moving from passage to passage seamlessly with such ferocity that you will wonder when you are truly allowed to catch your breath and massage your neck. Harry Cantwell’s drumming especially adds to the band’s mercilessness, taking a methodical approach that reigns in the other elements of the compositions while still maintaining his own furious pacing and rhythm. Indeed, the guitar and bass consistently feel like they are on the brink of becoming chaotic throughout certain areas of the album, but the drums chain them to the coarse earth while the vocals shout down at them from above. Cheri Musrasrik’s feral, yet controlled, yells exchange lines with bassist Kirk Spaseff’s deep growls intermittently in such tracks as “Bedchambers”, providing a terrific contrast that helps keep the listener invested in the well-crafted verses. Altogether, the elements combined on this record rightly fit together, and thanks in good part to the masterful mixing by Jack Shirley, they only rupture at the seams when it is strategic for the band to do so. Oftentimes heavily rhythmic, and always heavy, Succumb’s self-titled debut brings a hardcore flare to death metal that will definitely see their ripples in the medium turn into waves.  – Aaron

https://succumb.bandcamp.com/album/succumb    http://theflenser.com/      

 

 

 

WALD KRYPTA

“Possessed By Nothingness” LP

(Eternal Death Records)

 

Wald Krypta is a two man band with members from the U.S and Canadian black metal scenes. ‘Possessed By Nothingness’ contains seven songs of cold, traditional black metal darkness. Heresiarch handles the drums that are done with razor sharp fast drum patterns. There are some slower drum passages throughout the release to give the band a nice mix of extremely fast and a more controlled black metal style. Heresiarch (Life Denied, Targrave) also handles the vocal duties for the band, which are raw black metal screams and some deeper gruff growls and screams. Einsam (Antinatalist, Bodhisattva, Cursed Altar, Einsam, EmptyLife, Life Denied, Lorem Ipsum, Targrave plus many more bands!) who lives in the great country of Canada handles the guitar duties for the band. The guitars are played with an adept and clever writing ability and some extremely fast paced guitar arrangements. There are some slower more mid paced guitar sections used throughout the recording, which gives the guitars a nice blend of extremely fast and a more mid paced varied music.  - Patrick

http://www.eternal-death.com/    https://www.facebook.com/eternaldeathUSA   

 

 

WHITE DEATH

"White Death” LP

(Hells Headbangers / Werewolf Records)

 

This is the debut album from this young Finnish band, having formed in 2013, subsequently releasing a demo and a couple seven inches since then. I am extremely pleased that I chose review this album; it is one of the best black metal albums I have heard in recent years. White Death proudly continues the old traditions of early 90s black metal, but put their own stamp on this classic sound, whilst updating it in their own way. I also get impression, unlike so many black metal bands these days, they are serious about the philosophies and meaning behind what originally started the black metal scene and made it severe and evil. This album takes everything you love about early ‘90s Scandinavian black metal and stokes that fire up to a full northern blaze! The mainstay of the music, is mainly a blitzkrieg attack of seething hatred and violence, tearing asunder everything in it’s path. Despite that being the staple of their sound, at times it is also surprisingly diverse, in it’s emotive qualities and thoughtful song structuring. There are also times, when it is almost perplexing that the music is this grim and harsh, yet also incredibly melodic. I say that, because all too often a lot of melodicism is the enemy of musical barbarity and violence, not so with White Death, they marry the two into a catchy, stealth-like savage beast. Always present within the sound, is the classic bm freezing grim atmosphere, which produces that tangible feeling of darkness and evil within the listener that has made me a slave of this movement for nearly three decades. There are some keyboards, but they are mainly kept as a background accompaniment, filling in the atmosphere and not dominating in the forefront, which is just way I prefer. The vocals, much like the music, are harsh and varied in an interesting way, the icy rasping quality is great, but has some depth to it and as mentioned containing some diverse nuances. There is even one vocal bit that sounded like a tortured demon possessed horse snarling or something fucked up like that. This is a fantastic debut album, showcasing what traditional black metal is really capable of, while still staying true to it’s roots and deadly tradition. I simply can not recommend this enough!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/unholywhitedeath    http://neuntoter.org/