“All Pain As Penance” CD & LP

(Inferna Profundus Records)


This is a re-press of this long sold out 2019 album. Abduction from the UK is a solo band from A/V (aka Phil Illsley), and is the bands third album, despite this release being only three short years after the bands inception. That is an impressive catalog of music A/V built up, in a short amount of time, all of which was preceded by a demo tape as the bands debut recording. With all of that in mind, I am a little taken aback at the quality of the music on here, from a single man, who was pumping out a full-length album every year. The music on here is malevolent and frosty black metal, yet everything on here is coated with a thick, dense aura of flowing sinister ambiance. The material and the songwriting feel gets me on this album, you experience the haunting evil yet there is an emotive and introspective quality, that lulls me into a brooding trance, at times. The vocals fit the music perfectly as well, with their obscured slightly growled, and moderately rasped blend, which is all underpinned with a whispering echo-y disembodied quality. This is an excellent piece of black metal with an otherworldly, celestial bent that I very much enjoyed. I can see why Inferna Profundus decided to re-release this album, after it’s initial run, because I missed out on it the first time and I am sure I am not the only one with a second opportunity to get this quality album.  - Dale 

https://abduction616.bandcamp.com/    https://www.ipr666shop.com/       




“Sex Sex Sex (Ceremonia Daemonis Anticristi)” CD, LP & Tape

(Iron Bonehead Records)


Abhor is a experienced band coming out of the Italian underground scene, presenting to us here no less than their 8th full-length album! They stand strong and proud next to Italian legends like almighty Mortuary Drape. Abhor play ancient black metal, but do not let your mind automatically go to the second wave of Scandinavian bm, steer your mind toward the first wave of black metal. You know that period of the original bands (Venom, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Mercyful Fate, early Sodom, early Death SS) and their passed down strong influences. I speak upon the continuation of the first wave of bm into the late ‘80s, early ‘90s with bands like Mortuary Drape, Necromantia, Master’s Hammer, Ancient Rites, Varathron, Absu, Denial Of God, Necromass and the early works of Root, Rotting Christ & Samael etc… Okay, history refresher 101 there for you, I can not help myself sometimes, dear reader. As much as I adore and worship the second wave of black metal, the first wave is underappreciated these days in my view and it’s influence went somewhat dormant for years. That does not include Abhor, who were one of the few to pick up the mantle in the late 1990s and continued it’s glorious traditions and cult sounds ever since. Their sinister black metal music is an audio mist of cold yet heavy devouring guitars, emotionally charged with crescendo cresting bombastic songwriting, sharply backed up with haunting and creepy ritualistic synth. Abhor has a penchant, as most good first wave does for creating eerie, evil music that can also strike a balance between freezing malevolence and the ability to induce you into a good old fashion headbanging. For me, this is a thoroughly enjoyable album that I can highly recommend to diehards like myself of those classic influences and that deadly style. Just remember to keep the ancient flame burning bright as for damn sure Abhor is here doing it with you.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/abhor666   https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/        




“Malignant Deviation" CD EP

(Godz Of War Productions)


Coming out of Canada's death metal scene is the new band Abjection. Godz Ov War will be releasing the debut EP, which contains five songs of heavy and crushing death metal. Cole Benoit {Anion, Dead Again} handles the vocals, which are deep, powerful death metal growls, he also uses some death metal screams and growls throughout a few of the songs. The lead guitarist Troy Horton {Sinews, Wiser Fool} does a great job of creating and executing some well written and performed guitar patterns, mainly played with fast aggressive guitar structures and even adding in some solo's. Troy does slow to a heavier more calm mid paced range in the songs to give the music a heavier sound. Sergey Jmourovski handles the bass and also plays guitar in the band, he writes and perform some extremely tight bass lines that are done with both intensity and tremendously fast pace patterns. Josh Bueckert {Wake, Sparewife} handles the drums for the band, which are played with power and showcase some skillful writing. For the most part the drums are played at a high rate of speed, though Josh does slow to a heavier mid paced drum patterns throughout a few of the songs. Abjection plays a relentless style of death metal that is both well written and shows off some excellent musicianship and is filled with memorable passages.  - Patrick

https://abjection.bandcamp.com/    https://godzovwarproductions.bandcamp.com/        




“Death Revival” CD & LP

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


The Greek Abyssus has been around for nearly a decade yet this is my first encounter with them. Prior ‘Death Revival’, their second album, the band has released not counting their debut of full-length, no less than eleven splits and EPs. Abyssus produce deathrash metal that is absolutely top quality. The musicianship on here is superb, the songwriting while tight and crisp, still manages to keep that heavy brutality and produces a nice grimy audio aura. If you made me nail it down I would call them a death metal band, but ultimately it is a very even mix with their thrash metal roots holding in strong and pushing for dominance. They are heavily influenced by late ‘80s US thrash and most definitely influenced by late ‘80s and early ‘90s Floridian death metal (ala Death, Malevolent Creation, Massacre, Monstrosity, Deicide etc..). The biggest stand out influence by far both musically and vocally (killer Tardy-esque vocals courtesy of Kostas Analytis who puts in a monster performance behind the mic) is Obituary. Now I know Abyssus do wear their influences deeply on their sleeves, and that might turn some off, but honestly when it is done this well, when the skill level is this high and the songwriting strong then I am all about it. I really enjoyed this album a lot if you are a diehard deathrash fanatic and adore traditional roots and style of the genre, then I am certain you will dig this album. As always with Transcending Obscurity the variety of versions of all it’s releases and merchandise is diverse and top quality.  - Dale 

https://abyssusgreece.bandcamp.com/    www.facebook.com/transcending    https://tometal.com/       




“Dominion Of The Wicked" CD & LP

(Iron Bonehead Records)


This is Abythic’s third full-length album, first for Iron Bonehead, and my first encounter with them. From what I understand this German band started out as more of a straight up death metal band, but as the drummer MDB switched from then his primary instrument (in past bands as well) to the guitar and primary songwriter, Abythic became a doom/death band, heavy on the doom. ‘Dominion…’ creeps along at a decidedly glacial pacing, but they always keep things very dark and gloomy with a thin yet constant thread that traces back to those primary death metal roots. I really do have to emphasize just despite only really using traditional instrumentation this album is very atmospheric. This is really my favourite method of creating atmosphere in metal, not to mention the hardest to achieve without relying upon synth, samples and the like. The result really brings emotion out in the listener, ominous emotions of desolation and sinister foreboding alongside whispers of threatening intent that envelopes you like a suffocating wet blanket. The vocals of Ulrich are deep, elongated death growls that also do well conveying emotion, whether that be brooding despondency, potent menace or even flashes of animus and acrimony. I like those vocals a lot and they suit the music absolutely. Looking at that cover artwork, even for a boob hound like me that is a lot of tits! If you are a fan of slow motion murky doom/death yet not all the way over the funereal doom precipice, then I think you will enjoy taking in some Abythic.  - Dale

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




“Rot Among Us” CD, LP & Tape

(Hells Headbangers Records)


I am a little late getting on reviewing this album, oh well, anyways as is the custom with Acid Witch this was a Halloween album release. These veterans come from Detroit, which being the old goat I am I remember well the reputation of that city and the surrounding areas (in the ‘80s/early 90s) as being notorious on devil’s night and all the tricks, destruction and arson that heated up mischief night as we often called it where I grew up in Canada. The music on “Rot Among Us” in many ways is the musical and marvelous lyrical manifestation of devil’s night! This album is quite a death doom metal ride with killer heavy riffs, catchy twisted songs featuring creepy synth and some subtle yet sickly sweet underlying guitar work. The story the band conveys through crafty, diverse song construction is kind of brilliant and surely highly entertaining to listen to. A strong component of what makes this album tick is the superb multitude array of vocals from growling, acidic gurgles, creepy narrator voice, to whispers and shouts, it goes on and on and all are excellent. One of my favourite voices on this release is the distinctive Macabre style vocals, diehards of that band know exactly what vocal I refer to here and it is a killer vocal style that I am surprised more bands do not copy and employ. Speaking of Macabre which I am a huge fan of; in many ways Acid Witch make me think of what would happen if you combined Macabre and The Accüsed together, and had their concepts be about Halloween and ‘70s / ‘80s classic or cult classic horror movies into a death doom style. I am here for it all fucking day and inky black night long! For many of us metal demons, Halloween goes on all year, so better late than never on my review, so with that spirit in mind just get this record immediately!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/acidwitchofficial/   http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/        




“In But Not Of” CD, LP & Cassette

(Willowtip Records)


I remember hearing this bands name waaaay back in the day, we are talking early to middle 1990s. When I came across this promo I assumed of course it was a different band with the same name, much to my surprise this is in fact the exact same Long Island, New York band. Though to also be fair to myself, they did break up (after releasing two demos) for nearly 20 years, so it was an easy mistake to make. It is rather impressive after that long away, that three of four members are founding members, and these old veterans have been busy. As this is their third full length album since the reformation, over the last five years. I was not sure what to make of this at first. I can be a bit of purist when it comes to taking brutal death metal in too many different directions, pushing it very far outside of the envelope. But Afterbirth most certainly do just that, not only that but they manage to take tried and true sounds into interestingly adventurous paths yet do so while maintaining the core brutality and heaviness. That is a big part of the key right there in winning someone like me over. It is impressive the fluidity they achieve in the process of writing such soaring and interesting transitions, all the while crushing you in the filthy audio sickness. The music is not a million miles an hour, but it is harsh and boiling, while also being introspective and wrapping the whole thing in a very tasteful spaciously technical package. There is even a couple ripping guitar fills and galloping heavy metal parts, and they do not sound out of place or stupid…at all. Admittedly, a big part of the barbarous and harsh feeling comes courtesy of the impressive vocal work from the only non-founding member Will Smith. Who journey’s through everything from sinewy emotive obscured growling, to superb roiling sewer toad belching and bubbling, to more direct commanding growls and even a little higher pitch nasally screams. It has to be a hell of a challenge to put vocals this music, but I will be damned if Mr. Smith did not pull it off and never backs down a inch on his extremity. A lot of it you could not even call death metal, but it is so seamless and flowing, that it is hard for me to not call them progressive death metal. Which, believe you me is usually a type of tag that makes me roll my eyes and bristle at, but I will be damned if these talented visionaries have not figured out a way to make a skeptic like myself enjoy and accept this. If you want something different yet very much not commercial, heavy and brutal and so much more, then I really think you should do yourself a favour and listen to this superbly constructed musical spider web of an album.   - Dale

https://afterbirthnydeathmetal.bandcamp.com/   https://willowtip.com        




“Corrupting The Entempled Plane” CD, LP & Cassette

(Dark Descent Records)


While “Corrupting The Entempled Plane” may be this recently formed British bands debut album, it belies the fact that this band is far from short on experience. These lads have done time, or are still doing time in Abyssal, Úir, Sluagh, Belliciste, Neuroma, Of Spire & Throne, Black Talon, Scordatura and more. Ageless’ features a doomy style of death metal where they place importance equally both on crushing brutality and slowed down dooming ambiance. Ageless Summoning do it well, and invoke thoughts within me when listening to this of bands like Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Monstrosity, mid-era Morbid Angel, Immolation, Funebrarum, Gorguts and the like. They put their own character into these classic sounds though, which I appreciate. I find myself immersed in and swept away in the massive roiling, swirling riffs that occasionally speed up and turn up the brutality before suddenly diving into some all encompassing doom death metal audio suffocation. It is a great and gratifying rollercoaster ride of interesting and skillful songwriting. I love how they make some of the guitar parts howl, scream and moan, and that is not just hyperbole here, it is amazing how the range of emotion and mood they manage to pull out of this music. This results in a very affecting yet somehow upsetting in a very satisfying way. Yes, there is some really good and more nuanced then you would think guitar work that is going on here. The vocals of Ali Lauder here are immense, commanding and spread themselves out with deep elongated classic growls that slither and weave through the music like an imposing serpent. Those vocals definitely remind of some of the great vocalists from the bands mentioned previously. If you worship those bands above and ‘90s British and American death, and also love a little doom mixed in then you definitely need to give this band a try.   - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/agelesssummoning/   https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/        




“Influx of Hatred" Split Album CD

(Mythrone Promotion & Bestial Invasion Records)


Anyone who has read CA for a long time knows I am Aggressive Mutilator fan, so I was pleased when I found this in my mailbox, courtesy of Mikael Holm of A.M. But more on them later, as this split starts off with Poland’s Cadaveric Possession, which is a first time listen for me. Their five songs feature a wonderfully suffocating and hypnotic atmosphere that blankets the senses with mordant evil. The music is a raw, stripped down & primitive mixture of late ‘80s and early ‘90s first wave black metal, which brings to mind at times the very early works of Necromantia, Ancient Rites, Mayhem, Mortuary Drape mixed with a slower paced version of the embryonic sounds of bands like Necrovore, Beherit and Profanatica. This my first taste of C.M. and it has left me hungry for more. Taking up the second half of this is Sweden’s Aggressive Mutilator, who after a short calm and solemn acoustic style guitar intro, suddenly burst out of the speakers with the explosive and raucous metal energy one can come to expect from them. As is the Mutilator way, they keep their songs short and fill them with order through chaos metallic battering, which is cut through by old school catchy heavy riffing. Their music tends to be raw and loose, but generally always littered with runs of memorable classic sounding metal that you can headbang like a maniac to! They sound quite different than Cadaveric Possession yet they possess a lot of the same influences to my ear like the fledgling works of bands like Ancient Rites, Necromantia, Mayhem, Bathory, Master’s Hammer & Hellhammer, but mix it with some more traditional metal influences like early Sodom, Sadus, Possessed, Onslaught, Venom etc… The band also always has little whispers musically, and definitely in their playing style and attitude of really raunchy punk rock, sort of like if GBH played first wave black metal! I love this band, is it any wonder why, when you read that great melting pot of influences, all delightfully coalesced into one gratifyingly extreme and diverse musical entity known as Aggressive Mutalitor. This is limited to 500 copies, so don’t sleep on picking up a copy ASAP.  - Dale 

https://aggressivemutilator.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/mythroneprom       




“Hordes Of Black Metal Warriors" Split Album CD

(Plague Demon Records)


Starting off this split release is Florida's A.K.U. who are a duo that plays barbaric war metal. The four tracks presented on this release are primitive in their delivery. The guitars and drums often reside in the mid paced range. The instruments do speed up to a faster more violent and destructive pace before long. The vocals are raw black metal screams and shrieks that fit A.K.U.’s music perfectly. Up next is Spain's solo project False Faith, which has three songs on their side of this collaboration. They start things off with a intro, but the music does not take long before to speeds things up to a more vicious and violent speed. The guitars are played with razor sharp slashing passages. The drums are done at hyperspeeding blast beats and some well played patterns. The vocals are demonic growls with some deeper growling employed in parts throughout the songs. Both bands deliver chaotic and bestial war metal at it's best. This is most definitely not for the weak and timid.  - Patrick

facebook.com/A.K.U.    facebook.com/FalseFaithBM   https://plaguedemonrecords.storenvy.com          




“Returned To Life" CD & LP

(Momento Mori Records)


This is the bands second full-length album; having risen from the grave in 2013 they released two demos and their debut long player in back in ’16. Altered Dead play my kind of metal of death, old school and brutal, dirty and sinister, and drenched in decaying audio flesh. The overall sound is extremely heavy yet suffocating, backed with relentless drum work while showing a knack for interesting and infectious songwriting that you will bang you head to all night long. If I had to give you some bands as a general signpost as to their sound it would be bands like Autopsy (“Mental Funeral” hell yes!), Grave, Unleashed, Dismember, Bolt Thrower, Repulsion, Asphyx, Impetigo and other filthy and gloriously depraved death metal bands along those lines. The album wraps up with an outstanding high energy cover of Celtic Frost’s iconic “Into The Crypts Of Rays”, which sounds killer with their grimy, heavy death metal riffing tone and those evil sewer growls. This is my first time hearing this Canadian duo and I really hope it is not my last. If you are devotee of the sound and style I described above, then you need to listen to this as soon as possible.  - Dale

https://altereddead.bandcamp.com/    http://www.memento-mori.es/          




“Digitaria” CD

(Plague Demon Records)


Coming out of Austria's death, doom metal scene is Alvarez, who released their second full length earlier this year. ‘Digitaria’ is a very unique blend of death doom metal style with a strong stamp of the bands own identity. Each instrument is played with both skillful writing and a creative approach to the song crafting. The guitars are played with slower and mid paced guitar passages that are creative in their delivery. The guitarist also does write some memorable guitar parts, even adding some well played solo's into the mix. The vocals are death metal growls, which are delivered with power and some sorrowful emotional growls that fit Alvarez's musical style perfectly. If you are a fan of well written and performed death doom metal then be sure to check out the ‘Digitaria’ release you as you will not be disappointed.  - Patrick

https://alvarezband.bandcamp.com/album/digitaria    https://plaguedemonrecords.storenvy.com/          




“Split Album” CD & LP

(Me Saco Un Ojo & Dark Descent Records)


This is in some ways difficult to review this split album, because in so many ways both bands are split from nearly the exact same piece of cloth. Yet this release is very easy and enjoyable listening for me as that fabric of influences they share is made up of some of my most cherished bands and overall style. That style is a down in the grime of the musical sewer soup. Which is a mixing of, in my opinion, legend bands of the old school like Autopsy, Asphyx, Disembowelment, Rippikoulu, early Incantation, Bolt Thrower, Demilich. I would even include some newer bands in the same modus operandi of newer vintage which I hold in high regard like Funebrarum, Hooded Menace, Coffins, Undergang and the like. I might say one of the slight differences between these two bands Undergang is slightly more chugging riff sequences and mixes in a lot more middle speed sections into their sound. While Anatomia lives a little more on slower, doomier end of thing with their death metal blueprint. Both bands produce extremely heavy, oppressively dirty and guttural death metal audio filth. The kind of filth I revel in mentally rolling around in like a pig in mud on a hot stinking sun drenched day Haha! Both bands have those nasty puss filled nausea and inducing gurgle vocals mixed with sinister slow motion growl croaking dm vocals that are superb and create a real ominous aura to their bands sound. I confess I may be a little less discerning with this style because I just can never seem to get enough of it to seemingly ever quench my thirst. If you worship this style like I do then you definitely need a copy of this split in your collection as both bands are killer and two of the prominent leaders of it in recent years.  - Dale 

www.darkdescentrecords.com/   mesacounojo.bandcamp.com/    www.facebook.com/anatomia    www.facebook.com/undergangktdm       




“The Profound Recreant” CD & LP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


Well I do not know what that intro track is about, it is feels a little strange and out of place (this clean sung, sort of emotional thing) within the context of the rest of the album – at least it is short. I say this considering the rest of the album is death metal of the extremely brutal and crushing variety. This is this South Dakota bands third album, I did hear their debut album, about five years ago, and I liked it. This record I would definitely posit shows some good progression for the band. I would say they show a sharper edge now, a tighter overall presentation with a noticeable up tick in songwriting abilities, also a slight injection of melody in their battering attack now. The band mix glorious classic Swedish death metal style with traditional American death metal of yesteryear, but presented with a more modern sensibility, in some regards. Despite my opinion of this being death metal, through and through, there is definitely whispers of black metal attitude and atmosphere, which occasionally nibble at the edges. Angerot’s brand of death metal is not just classic; there is also an air of straight up traditional metal that adds a certain polish to their sound, elevating it slightly. I was very surprised by the impressive, and even diverse collection of guest appearances on this album, which range from guitar god Andy LaRocque of King Diamond (!!), to Sammy Duet of Goatwhore, and Steve Tucker from Morbid Angel and more. There is some fine nuanced guitar work on here, and some short refined solos mixed within the mauling musical maelstrom. The arsenal of vocals from guitarist/vocalist Chad Petit is impressive, the man puts on a truly imposing and commanding vocal performance on this recording. I do not think great, charismatic and strong vocal performances, such as on display on this album, get as much attention and respect within the UG scene as they should. My one very minor complaint is the clean vocals of guest musician Sebastian Brecht, on the opening and closing track, both short, and while not a traditional intro/outro, basically do serve that purpose on this album. For me, those two tracks are the only misstep on ‘’The Profound Recreant, I think this album would only be stronger if those axed from this otherwise fantastic album. But, never mind that you really should check out this album, it is a real killer piece of death metal art.  - Dale 

https://angerot.bandcamp.com/   https://shop.redefiningdarkness.com/       




“Necromantic Grimoire" CD

(Plague Demon Records / Masters Of Kaos Productions)


‘Necromantic Grimoire’ is the debut release from Angrbodas Curse, a band which originally started in Puerto Rico, but has relocated to the U.S. Things start off with a short intro of whispering and fire sounds at the end, followed by some rain and thunder sounds, pretty original for a intro. Musically the band blends a nice mix of mid paced and extreme fast black metal to create a wicked sound. The guitars are played with intensity and are always well written and performed passages. The guitars range from mid paced patterns to a faster more aggressive style. The vocals are raw, grim black metal screams and some gruff death metal growls mixed in. Both those vocal styles are done with powerful and aggressive vocal patterns that fit Angrbodas Curse's music nicely.  - Patrick

https://plaguedemonrecords.bandcamp.com/   https://mastersofkaos.bandcamp.com/music        




“Until The Darkness Goes” CD & LP

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


I reviewed this Indianapolis, Indiana bands last album a few years back and quite honestly I simply loved it, turning me into a fan of the band. So I was happy to see the promo for this album cross my desk, where I then made sure it wormed it’s way into my ears and swim around my cerebral cortex. Apparently one of the members of Apostle has lost not one, but both parents to the global pandemic that continues to ravage the planet. I can only imagine how much of that deep residual sorrow and despair has managed to bleed and seep into the music on ‘When The Darkness Goes’. I say that because the doom metal music on here is possesses an extremely emotional, mournful and introspective atmosphere that was very affecting for me. The vocals of guitarist / vocalist Chuck Brown (clearly a talented musician who also plays drums in The Gates Of Slumber) compliment and mirror the music with clean classic style vocals that feature a bouquet of emotion, often through elongating lines of lyrics or just certain words to good effect. I can not imagine most traditional doom metal fans that like a large helping of the old school mixed with accents of more recent times not appreciating this quality record.  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/apostleofsolitude    https://cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com/       




“Transitions” MCD & MLP

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


Arche is a relatively new band, as far as output is concerned with this being debut mini-album being only their second release. The first output for this Finnish band was an EP released way back in 2015 and 2016, depending upon which physical release (cassette and then CD) we are talking about. The band plays funeral doom metal that is extremely sparse and slowing moving, which of course to those in the know on this style is the hallmarks of this sub-genre. Their music is a true mental journey as it paints an audio landscape of oppressive emotional despair and despondency, for you to wallow in and slowly, patiently be swallowed by if you can manage to endure it. Generally speaking, I am reticent and apprehensive when I hear any band in metal, and further so in the more extreme styles, which uses an acoustic guitar. Hearing this fact left me a little uneasy waiting for it to show itself, and it certainly does, for example heavily so in the track “Transition”. I was relieved however that Arche manages incorporate this instrument quite seamlessly into their music quite successfully by my measure. It is surprisingly effective, not to mention reinforces their overall sound nicely. I can not help but think of bands like Thergothon, Mournful Congregation, Shape Of Despair and Skepticism (to show how old of a goat I am, I reviewed that bands “Lead And Aether” album & “Aes” EP in Canadian Assault in the late ‘90s!) for sure comes through strong. Now that I think about it Finland really is the home of funeral doom in many ways. I am a fan of funeral doom, yet I do not listen to it often, and I seem to need to be in the right headspace for it. I need to be in this very calm, introspective and solemn mind frame, and when I am in that mode it becomes very effective and affecting for me. The bands I like in this style is a short list, but after listening to this mini-album, you can safely add Arche to that select few I hold in regard. So if you are like me, I think you will like this album and if you are a diehard funeral doom devotee then you really need to add this one to your collection.  - Dale

https://archefin.bandcamp.com    www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurity    https://tometal.com        




“A Manifest Of Imperious Destiny" CD & LP

(Me Saco Ojo Records / Dark Descent Records)


Ascendency is a three man band coming out of Denmark's black and death metal scene. ‘A Manifest Of Imperious Destiny’ is the latest release featuring four songs of well performed and played blackened death.”The Triumph Of Draconian Might” starts off the proceedings. Each musician can play their respective instrument with ability and the band shows some skillful writing abilities.This song is done with mainly fast paced guitar passages that add some very well done solo's and passages in the song. The drums are done with a fast paced drum style that is very well delivered. The next song up is “Victory - In All It's Ephemeral Glory”, which is a fast paced song. The guitarist does some impressive strong work here. The vocals are black metal screams and some gruff imposing growls. “Domitor Invictus” is a fast paced raging song with extremely fast guitar passages that are done with near perfection in their presentation and delivery. The drumming is top notch here with some fast and intense patterns. ‘A Manifest Of Imperious Destiny’ is the final song and is another fast rager with some great guitar passages driving things to towards the finish. The guitarist does write some memorable patterns even adding some slower parts throughout the track before speeding back up. Ascendency has crafted a great release of quality black and death metal that has applied the strength in equal parts of both scenes. The band does a great job in writing some memorable music on this record.  - Patrick

https://ascendency.bandcamp.com    www.mesacounojo.com   www.darkdescentrecords.com        




“March Of The Damned” CD

(Born For Burning Productions)


Greek black metal band Askalaphos have unleashed their debut full length release. ‘March Of The Damned’ is eight tracks of old school raw black metal with high intensity. Dark Invoker Of Chaos once again handles performing the music here (he also does Born label mate one man band Woundcult). The music is performed with mid paced guitars and drum patterns, but on the new release the music does speed up to a faster tempo at times throughout all the songs. Both the faster pace and mid paced passages are done with perfection and proficiency. The vocals are grim black metal screams and along with some gruff screams and hollering throughout a few of the songs. ‘March Of The Damned’ is a great debut of old school black metal all those reading this that are into this genre should pick up a copy of this disc today.  - Patrick

https://askalaphos.bandcamp.com/   https://bornforburning.bigcartel.com/        




““Pulsations From The Black Orb” CD & LP

(Pulverised Records / Me Saco Un Ojo Records)


I really like to see label collaborations on releases, Me Saco Un Ojo may just be the king of such arrangements. This time around Pulverised is releasing this album on CD, and Me Saco the vinyl version. Despite Astriferous being a relatively young band, and this being debut album, I have been following the band since the start when they released “The Lower Levels of Sentience” EP a couple years ago. The band brings a brutalizing, deadly blend of old school influences that include the classic albums and sounds coming out of Sweden, Finland, the UK, and America in the ‘90s, in particular. Some of my old hallowed faves such as Autopsy, Repulsion, Baphomet, Morpheus Descends, Abhorrence, Convulse, Dismember, Grave, Bolt Thrower, and Benediction are all running through my mind. It is all mixed together with own touches to create this Costa Rican bands pulverizing, dark and chunky heavy death metal sound. The majority of the time they keep the pacing in the powerful steam rolling middle range, but slow it down at times to create brooding, gloomy sections that blanket you oppressively as a listener. It is in that way, which this young band shows, without needing to go a million miles an hour or be ultra technical, that they have a good ‘feel’ in their song construction to create a strong, crushing emotional impact. The vocals are a battery of slightly differing, yet always effective dark, whisper-y, echo-y growls that dove tail with the sinister sounds of the music wonderfully. This is a strong debut, which I would recommend to old goat diehards, like myself, who worship the early works of the bands I mentioned above.  - Dale

https://astriferous.bandcamp.com    https://www.mesacounojo.com    https://www.pulverised.net           




“Vollig Aussichtslos" CD

(Purity Through Fire)


Aussichtslos are a three man band coming out of Austria's black metal scene. Their band name for those curious translates in English to “forlorn, futile, hopeless”. The debut release ‘Vollig Aussichtslos’ contains six songs of traditional black metal with some well performed passages. Norsk and Garst founded the band in 2014 and some songs with a drum machine. Now all these years later they have a human drummer by the name of -Rest- to finish the recordings that result in this debut full-length. Norsks vocals for the band that are raw primitive black metal screams and screeches that will chill you. Norsk handles the guitars that are played with a mix of fast guitar passages and some creative well performed mid paced guitars that are used throughout the recording. Garst handles the bass duties and also plays some guitar on this album, Garst plays a balance of fast and a more controlled black metal style that is done with skill and proficiency. -Rest- handles the drumming that is executed with a mix of extremely fast drum patterns and some slower more controlled drum passages, The members of Aussichtslos have crafted a great debut full of cold and majestic black metal that is highly recommended to all fans of black metal.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/Purity-Through-Fire    https://shop.purity-through-fire.com/en/          




“Morbidity Triumphant” CD & LP

(Peaceville Records)


After a six year absence the mighty UG legends Autopsy return with a new album!! If you have known me for a long time, you know I am huge diehard for this band. You probably also know I consider their 1991 album “Mental Funeral” (which I actually did buy on cassette shortly after it’s release) one of the very best metal albums ever released, in any metal sub-genre. Now, I like and often love all of Autopsy’s releases despite their sound from that classic album morphing into something a little different, though still always an extreme audio fist in your face at all times. So does ‘Morbidity Triumphant’ sound more like that early glorious “Mental Funeral” sound than some later releases? I would say yes, it certainly sounds more along those lines, but this new material still draws as you might expect from all periods of their existence. We are getting spoiled here, in the regard as drummer/vocalist demon god Chris Reifert has released a debut album with his new band Static Abyss just earlier this year. That album from Static Abyss features Reifert and Greg Wilkinson, it is probably even more in the early Autopsy vein and is a must have for all diehard fans of Autopsy in my view. Just imagine getting two albums in one year with the old sounds and featuring the distinctive drums and vocals of Reifert! This where I also tell you this album features all of the classic line up of Autopsy (Cutler, Coralles & Reifert) plus the addition of the aforementioned Greg Wilkinson, who is the owner and engineer of Earhammer Studios as well as a musician in bands like Brainoil, Leather Glove and Deathgrave. That doom death style is strong here yet the pace is often more in the middle range with speeds hastening things, only briefly, before eventually skillfully sliding back into that warm decomposing dead skin that is like a cerebral weighted blanket on my mind. The classic patented guitar crushing putrescent covers everything with a glorious murky metallic aura, which I can not seem to get enough of. Something else that is infectious is the amazing feel and timing of Reifert’s every drum beat, sounding off like the deliberate foot falls of a wolfpack horde on the hunt. It would not be Autopsy without the magnetic tortured and tormented vocals of Reifert, whose vocals are death growls and emotive howls at their pinnacle and is venerated for its influence throughout the scene. Those vocals are simply amazing in my view. As I probably mentioned in the Static Abyss review, this is a perfect time for Autopsy to bust back out on the scene, as their musical and stylistic influence on the underground metal scene has never been more keenly felt than it has been in the last few years. It is almost like a new sub-genre of death metal, or at the very least a new movement that has developed with Autopsy prominently at it’s nucleus. That however was the past and this the present. I am extremely happy to report that in my view this is the probably the bands best album post ‘90s, that is not praise I heap on lightly with the respect I have for this band.  - Dale

https://www.instagram.com/autopsyofficial/   http://www.peaceville.com/        




“Guardians Of The Aethyric Shadow" Cassette

(Planetary King Records)


Avadryn is a solo project coming out of West Virgina's black metal scene. ‘Guardians Of The Aethyric Shadow’ is the their debut full length, featuring five songs along with a intro and outro. “Watcher Of The North” is the first song and is played with a mix of mid paced and faster musical passages. The vocals on this track are powerful grim black metal screams. ‘Isle Of The Flame’ is up next, this song is a much faster and more aggressive song. The guitars and drums are played with lightning fast paced drums and guitars that are played with intensity and skill. The vocals are harsh and raw black metal screams and some screechy vocal passages are used in the song. ‘Horns Of The Moon’ is next and is the longest track on this debut album (previously only available on digital download), weighing in at just over nine minutes in length. The guitar and drums on this song are very well performed with slow to mid paced passages, the music does speed to a faster pace, but seems to be more at home in the mid paced realm. ‘Watcher Of The South’ is comes next and continues the faster, more fierce style in the previous songs. The guitars here are played with extremely well written and performed passages. ‘Dragon Of The Under Light’ is the final song and is played with semi fast guitars, and drums that are done with some powerful arrangements. There is some slower, more mid paced sections that are done with skillfully played with interesting arrangements. Main man Dalton L. has crafted a great debut of second wave black metal that should please all fans of this musical style.  - Patrick

https://ulfrinn.bandcamp.com/music    https://planetarykingrecords.bigcartel.com          




“Viperface” CD, LP, Tape

(Hells Headbangers)


I am probably not going to have enough room, but I plan to include as many of the awesome old horror flick take-off posters, which they mocked up for this album. I hope you enjoy as much I did manage to fit Haha! This band features on guitar and vocals Borys Crossburn of the great crossover band Children Of Technology. I have reviewed a few of C.O.T. releases on this site if you wish to look for them. Despite what those hilariously great posters would lead you to believe, and despite this band being a little loose, a little raw and musically raunchy they are not as awful as they would like you to believe. They mainly draw on a lot of old school classic metal influences from the early days of heavy metal, thrash, crossover and speed metal, along with subtle (if anything with this band could be called subtle) first and second wave elements of black metal wafts of mist that blow through their sound at times. I have even seen some compare them to Running Wild, not sure how they came up with that shit though lol. The bio calls it blackened traditional metal, not sure that covers it all, but not a terrible description. Yet if you mix the blackened traditional metal with the band calling themselves Absolute Metal, Obtuse Metal and my favourite Regressive Metal - throw that all in the melting pot and that is a pretty good description! Despite all the old metal worship these guys do have a penchant for writing heavy, catchy and memorable songs that rip ‘n tear at your audio wounds like a school of blood thirsty piranha. The vocals of Crossburn are great whispery, hoarse and gruff sung shouting that follow along with the music and drip ancient metal acid that comes out of your speakers and headphones to burrow into your brain with wicked accuracy. The album closer “Regressive Metal” is soo fucking Hellhammer / Celtic Frost flattery that Tom G. Warrior and company must be blushing like their asses are on fire! If you love retro bands that sound like a killer headbanging flurry of 52 pick up of classic metal influences, and plenty of attitude to back it up, well then son have I got a band for you!  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/barbarianmetal   https://hellsheadbangers.bandcamp.com/       




“Catacomb Cult” CD & LP

(The Sinister Flame)


I could literally write an essay probably on this band and various connections to it that mean something to me. I will try to write a somewhat brief version here. But I have been a diehard follower of the band Ungod whose debut 1992 demo tape I tape traded for around that time, and then I ordered a copy of their first album in 1994 and became possessed by this band ever since, so only around 30 years now. Why am I talking about Ungod so much? That would be because Baxaxaxa also released a demo in ’92 and two of the original members were also in Ungod. There was also one member in the band Fulgor, whose demo I ordered in ’93, but that is getting too far sidetracked to talk about Fulgor. So Baxaxaxa went dormant and ceased the same year they released that demo, and stayed that way until they were asked to reform for the well respected Destroying Texas Fest in 2018 and they decided to actually revive the band and released the excellent “The Old Evil” demo cassette, which was re-released the next year by Iron Bonehead Productions, which I reviewed elsewhere. They then released a seven Inch entitled “Devoted To Him” last year which I have a copy but never reviewed in CA. So, more connections to Ungod, I really got into Baxaxaxa a decade ago when they released a split album (which contained both bands ’92 demos) which I got a copy of to no surprise by anyone reading this still. Okay, fine one last thing and that is the Ungod connection is still strong as now instead of two Ungod members like the original line up, this current one features three members of Ungod. So, essentially the whole band plus a different vocalist in Baxaxaxa, who is an old long time contact of mine named Patrick Kremer, who also owns the great record label Iron Bonehead. The music on ‘Catacomb Cult’ is gloriously and unapologetically a spiked fist to the face, and unapologetically old school, first and early second wave black metal to the maximum. It is like their demo tape all those decades ago was just released recently, and this is the follow up to it without missing a beat. Those slow burning riffs, that godless bewitching drum work and sinister, haunting funeral synth accents are in the classic Baxaxaxa style. The music mostly middle paced with slight tempo variation in both directions, but stays in that middle ground a lot and for me is very hypnotic, like I would imagine as a soundtrack to an occult ritual in some deep torch lit cave. The atmosphere and air the music creates permeates everything with a crawling freezing mist that chills the listener to the bone. I love this album it brings back so many great old feelings. At very long last after nearly 30 years the band releases their debut album and it is a triumph of the ancient UG ways and traditions!  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/baxaxaxa    https://sinisterflame.bandcamp.com/       




“De Vermis Mysteriis” CD, LP & Cassette

(The Sinister Flame)


I went on quite extensively on my long 30 year (!!) history as a listener to Baxaxaxa, and by clear extension, also the band Ungod. A band which counts three of their members as being in both bands. Baxaxaxa and Ungod both date back to the very start of the 1990s, so do keep this in mind if I mention bands they share similarities with, they have been around as long as those bands and in some cases longer! I would say you could even count them within the secondary movement of bands that came along in the first wave of eighties black metal. I speak of bands which started at the end of the ‘80s or the very start of the 1990s, and are quite separated in my mind from the second wave of Scandinavian black metal (with a scant couple of exceptions ala early Bathory) stylistically. I hear in Baxaxaxa’s sound influences from the aforementioned Bathory, Hellhammer, early Samael, early Sodom and a dash of the origins of it all - the mighty Venom. The secondary wave I spoke of that came along after those bands, you could count Samael in there, but also some others coming to mind are Mortuary Drape, Fulgor, Xantotol and the early works of Root, Master’s Hammer, Rotting Christ, Mystifier and so on. There was a long period of time, and inactivity, when these guys concentrated on more on Ungod before thankfully reviving Baxaxaxa once again. I was very pleased when they returned, about five years ago, by releasing a demo and an EP. I reviewed their long awaited first album a couple years ago, which I loved, but I must confess that this new album takes everything they are so good and deadly at, and turns it all up to another level. The old school black acid on this album is supreme, every song is a mini work of musical art, as each hymn is burning an imprint on my brain. Where as I worship second wave black metal, it is a more an encompassing experience, where the whole is a freezing singular dagger to my black heart. But with ‘De Vermis Mysteriis’, as is the case with first wave black metal in general, each song while clearly connected to the whole is an individual experience of evil darkness and sinister horror. Another thing I enjoy about this release is the vocals of Traumatic (aka Patrick Kremer owner of Iron Bonehead Prod.), who truly understands this style of music, he feels it coursing through his veins, and conjures those dark impulses perfectly in his vocals.Patrick really have his own style and his vocals has a unique feel. This album for me really does re-capture those old times of the late eighties and early nineties, it is like the members of this band were frozen and removed from the UG metal scene, then awoken and asked to create a new album in this day and age. The middle tempo riffing feels like an eerie ritual music, literally the music is dripping with haunting atmosphere and crafted within songs that stay in your mind long after you finish listening. Which, I think in black metal is truly a sign of ultimate quality, at least in my book it is. I honestly can not recommend this album enough, it feels like a record that will be considered a classic in the future. If you love the old ways of those bands then you simply need this in your collection.  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/baxaxaxa    https://sinisterflame.bandcamp.com/       




“Beyond Man” CD & LP

(The Sinister Flame)


Beyond Man is an old band that made one official recording nearly fifteen years ago and then went largely dormant it would seem. I wonder looking at some of the members past if one door closing, re-opened another, as two of the four members recently laid to rest a long running band (One Tail, One Head) and decided to stick together to revive another in Beyond Man? Whatever the case this Norwegian band has been awoken from it’s slumber, now reworking the two songs from their 2008 demo and conjuring up four more to comprise at long last their debut album. The music on here is very atmospheric, created largely through traditional instrumentation, which is my personal preferred method and takes more talent and creativity in my view. That aforementioned baleful evil aura is like a demon whispering in your brain and permeates everything from start to finish. Their sound to me is classic second wave black metal that stays extremely true to those roots, while branching out and incorporating more pernicious metal sounds more often associated with the first wave of black metal (ala the early works Venom, Sodom, Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate, Master’s Hammer, Mortuary Drape etc…). The vocals on here are fucking fantastic and incorporate a myriad of voices and vocal styles, all are kept very ominously chilling, acidic and sinister despite the wide arsenal. The more I listen the more admire what this group of musicians has managed to craft.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/beyondmanband    https://www.thesinisterflame.com/        




“Abysmal Night” CD & Cassette

(Chaos Records)


I must admit I did a bit of a double take, when I seen the name of the drummer of this German band. His name is Patrick Schroeder, which also happens to be the exact same first/last name of my decades long partner in crime with Canadian Assault. So, unless our Patrick is traveling back and forth between Missouri and Germany, then I am pretty sure they are not one in the same haha! Okay, sorry for the side bar, it is a happy coincidence though. Beyondition is a triumvirate of musicians that play an ancient form of black death metal on this, their debut album. When I say ancient, I mean the music on here reminds me of a mixing of late ‘80s / early ‘90s embryonic death metal bands, which are intermingled with some first wave black metal bands. I am sure after reading that you might want a few general examples of such. So, from the death metal category I will go with the earlier works of Pestilence, Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Asphyx, and Cianide. The black metal side I would go again with (in most cases) the earlier works of the mighty Mortuary Drape, Denial Of God, Master’s Hammer, Rotting Christ, Root and Varathron. I mean even the production on here sounds like it could have been recorded in that 1988 to 1994 time period. Which, for me, being the old goat I am, that is not a bad thing at all! The music on here sounds very clear yet has that raw and unrefined feel that gives it of an organic feel to me, when comparing modern recordings. The songs, much like a lot of that music back then have a more straight forward, stripped down quality. Which, in some respects strips away the modern style side noise, and makes you focus more on writing good, memorable songs. The memorable, infectious songwriting is something Beyondition have managed to do on “Abysmal Night”, to some real success. This music is heavy, it is evil, it has an aura to it and the songs will stand out and stick in your head. They often have choruses, and hooks, but also they bring the heaviness, as well as that glorious darkness and evil feel. The classic sounds became classic for a reason, because it is a great style, and when presented by the hands of dedicated diehards, like these three men in Beyondition it can spark that ancient flame so it burns bright.   - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/beyondition    https://www.chaos-records.com/        




“Invocation Codex” CD & LP

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


This Spanish death metal band presents their debut album after previously releasing a demo and a pair of EPs prior. They start things off with a brief foreboding intro and then launch into some excellent brutal old school death metal that has an enjoyable murky and macabre aura permeating through it all. The bio mentions Lovecraftian works and that is a good touch point, as I can imagine this being the soundtrack while you read some amazing works of H.P. Lovecraft. Musically speaking though it is some really driving stuff, and the songwriting overall is just really solid and interesting to me. The bio also mentions old Finnish death metal and I can definitely hear some of that in their sound from the early works of Fin bands like Adramelech, Demigod, Sentenced, Convulse, Abhorrence etc… But there are other influences from around the world I hear in there like early Morbid Angel, Asphyx, Imprecation, Incantation and the like. That is just a lot of great influences from the early years of the rise of death metal in the early 90’s. Now I may just be a nostalgic sucker at times, but I don’t care, this is really well done and crafted homage and continuation of an amazingly time in the extreme metal scene. I love it and can seem to never get enough of it. If you are the same way you will want to check this debut full-length out sooner than later.  - Dale 

https://bizarre.bandcamp.com/    https://transcendingobscurity.merch.com/    https://tometal.com/       




“Inn Of The Vaticide” LP & Cassette

(Stygian Black Hand Records)


This is the debut album from this triumvirate of musical demons, which features in it’s ranks members of Demiser, Blood Ouroboros, Primitive Warfare and Impest. The band churns out harsh, grating black metal full of energy and seething with hatefulness. The music is ever driving forward with a blitzing speed yet does have a slight edge of rhythmic ritual atmosphere and a feeling of freezing darkness. The vocals are great throat shredding, coarsely yelled rasping that still manages to be commanding in their own livid emotive way. I can not help agreeing with the bands influences sited in the bio, which are Profanatica, Demoncy, VON, and Masochist. I am a long time fan of all of those bands, possibly with Masochist and Profanatica especially strongly for me. I can hear both those bands clearly here, and I must admit to feeling some familiar nostalgia pangs when listening to this album. This brings me back to 1992, when I purchased the cassette version of “Weeping In Heaven” (that included two killing live tracks not on the seven inch release), this is when I became obsessed with Profanatica and listened to that cassette endlessly. A side note, if I may, I later unknowingly at first became good friends with the guy who filmed the infamous pissing and ejaculating on the bible Profanatica videos! Haha. While clearly borrowing heavily from those bands above, it matters not to me, as I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Inn Of The Vaticide’ and can not get enough of this distinct black metal style, when it is done this well with clearly this level of conviction. So, if you worship blasphemy, spit, piss and cum on christ (in audio form), and love the bands above. Then I have a new soundtrack of profanity and humiliation of christianity for you revel in!  - Dale

https://stygianblackhand.bandcamp.com/   https://www.stygianblackhand.com/        




“Procreate Inverse” CD, 2LP & MC

(Sentient Ruin Labratories)


This is my first encounter with this band, which does surprise me a little especially with them being from California and being around for nearly a decade now. I mean I do tend to get around so to speak in the UG scene yet we were still like gloomy ships passing unnoticed in the foggy night. ‘Procreate Inverse’ is the bands second album clocking in at a robust 54 minutes, some fucking bands these days try to pass off some really thin and paltry run times as albums, this is like three or four ‘albums’ for them. Black Fucking Cancer play extremely hateful black metal and to my ear does not really belong to one time period necessarily. I mean the base of their sound is second wave Scandinavian black metal, but I hear influences from the first wave of bm with elusive whispery hints of things like speed metal and war metal at times making their presence briefly known. The majority of the time things go at a breakneck blitzkrieg pace of audio darkness and evil with a go for the throat cruelty. It may be difficult at times to hear through the unrelenting barbarity and violence, but there is a real level of musicality going on here with some strong guitar work. The drumming on here is a powerfully inhuman whirlwind of drum kit torture and destruction, which is technically precise and clear. You would think the vocals in the sound I have described would have a difficult time keeping up or standing out yet that is not the case at all. The vocal performance is supreme and commanding with an imposing mix again of all ages of the black metal past, from early days of the first wave through the rasping acid of the second and beyond up until today. I think some influences that stand out for me would be Bathory, early Darkthrone, Marduk ala “Panzer Division Marduk”, Craft, Gorgoroth, Funeral Mist, Watain, Antaeus, Katharsis. That should give you more of a clearer impression of their sound. It is well worth your attention as Black Fucking Cancer carry on the tradition of those black metal hordes in an impressive way while still carving out a sound of their own stamp along the way.  - Dale 

https://blackfuckingcancer.bandcamp.com/music   http://sentientruin.com/       




“Onward Into The Abyss" Cassette EP & Digital EP

(Helldprod Records)


Coming out of Poland's thrash metal scene is Black Hosts. So far the band has released two demo's in 2018 and 2019, and the bands debut full length "Times Of Eternal Torture", which was self-released by the band in 2019. ‘Onward Into The Abyss’ is the newest EP that features four songs of aggressive and memorable thrash metal insanity. The guitars are delivered in a fast whirlwind and are played with skill and a high intensity. The guitarist does write some memorable passages, even adding some well written and played guitar solo's into the mix. The drums are played with a mix of fast drum patterns that are performed with furious power, the drummer does slow to a more calm, mid paced range in a few of the songs smoothly transitioning between both styles with intensity and forcefulness. The vocals are high pitched screams and some clean hollering vocals. If you are a fan of aggressive thrash metal with hints of heavy metal influence, especially in the guitar work then be sure to pick up a copy of this EP.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/BlackHosts666/    https://hellprod.bandcamp.com/music          




“Season Of The Damned” CD, LP & Cassette

(Helter Skelter Productions & Regain Records)


It seems like Helter Skelter is really getting into the satanic and occult classic doom metal style and aesthetic, possibly even partially cornering the market with Mephistofeles, Demonio and now Italy’s Black Spell. I am here for it. As is the case with those two aforementioned bands, Black Spell also mixes in touches of psychadelia and stoner sound elements into their potent and sinister musical mix. This is a new-ish band having been around for less than 3 years at this point, yet this already is this creatively fertile groups third full-length album. They draw upon all the archetypal influences like of course Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Trouble, Candlemass as well as more recent notable bands like Electric Wizard, Spirit Caravan, Kyuss, Orange Goblin and the like. Also, I have to mention not too surprisingly you have to point to the early works of their great countryman Paul Chain as a strong influence. Despite the stoner style having a strong weight on Black Spell’s sound, they are not all rocking and all grooving though as much of the time they place importance on the seriousness, and on the heaviness of those older bands I mentioned above. They also always keep a vague aura of darkness throughout, which I like. This album is equal parts catchy and rocking yet there is always this pounding, heavy gritty doom metal thread running through it all providing a rock salt foundation for this sound. I also like how these fellows at times keep it simple, when they find a killer rhythm and groove they milk it and sit down on it. So much so, that they often spread it out so it transitions between that infectious pulse in to a introspective, creeping mental journey before working their way back to rocking you out of your leather boots and ceremonial ritual robes. I found myself really enjoying this album and connecting with it’s atmosphere and approach, if you are into the mix of influences I mentioned then I think you will dig how this band blend them all together and put their own stamp on it.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/black.spell.doom   https://regainrecords.bandcamp.com/        




"Satanic Morbid Lust" CD

(Masters Of Kaos Productions)


Black Winged Goat Messiah is a solo project from Nunslayer (he also has other one man projects like Shrine ov Absurd, Skjult, M.O.S.S.), which comes out of Cuba's bestial black metal scene. Starting off with a intro that is mixed with chants and thunder storm effects. It doesn't take long before the music goes for the throat with an intense and fast attacking style. The drums on this album are insanely chaotic in their delivery.There is some slower parts used throughout a few of the tracks, before going back to that grinding lightning fast drumming style.The guitars are a whirlwind of fast-paced and crazed guitar passages. The guitarist does play some heavier mid paced patterns in a few of the tracks that are played very well and interesting. The vocals on this release are grim black metal screams mixed with some gruff growls. I would say brutal, ferocious and bestial are a few words that can describe this bands sound and style. So, if this sounds like your kind of black metal then I highly recommend picking up a copy of “Satanic Morbid Lust” today.  - Patrick 

https://www.facebook.com/bwgoatmessiah   https://mastersofkaos.bandcamp.com/       




"Blasphemous Sickness Of Lust" CD

(Masters Of Kaos Productions)


Blasfema Estigia is a two man band coming out of Colombia South America. The band will unleash their debut demo through the mighty Masters Of Kaos. Blasfema plays ancient death metal with some black metal elements mixed into the music. The demo starts off with a short intro and wastes little time going for the kill with uncompromising death metal. The second song is “Lujuria” is a bestial and primitive assault, that wastes very little time getting into the fury and goes straight into pounding drums. The guitars are played with fast and chaotic passages. The vocals are raw death metal growls that are heavy and commanding in their delivery. “Clavicula” is up next and is a primal and brutal attack on the senses. The drums on this track are insanely fast blasting drums that pummel the listener into pulp. The vocals are raw and powerful death metal growls. The fourth and final song is “Nekromantik” starts off with church bells and crackling fire sounds, before the music speeds up to a fast and destructive pace.The guitars are played with fast paced passages and some mid paced heavier guitar parts are used in the song. The drumming is aggressive and unrelenting forceful beats that are played with real intensity. If you are a fan of unpolished raw death metal that does not follow any trends, then be sure to pick up a copy of ‘Blasphemous Sickness Of Lust’ today as you will not be disappointed.  - Patrick 

https://www.facebook.com/Blasfema.Estigia/   https://mastersofkaos.bandcamp.com/       




“The Lower Catacombs” CD & LP

(Nuclear Winter Records)


New Jersey’s Blasphematory may only have been releasing music for a relatively short amount of time (that would be since 2019). But this aggregate of musicians is long in the tooth in the UG scene with the members of this three piece band currently or previously having done time in many bands like (the mighty) Abazagorath, Mausoleum, Altar Of Gore, Death Fortress, Disma, Jaws Of Hades and more. “The Lower Catacombs” is a crushing yet shambling, oppressively suffocating doomy death metal style done just the way I like it. It is thick heavy death metal with a gloomy, almost frightening atmosphere, that slowly and steadily stalks it’s prey like a tireless all-encompassing creeping black audio fog. The obscure sounding growling vocals of Joe Aversario twist and melt through the music seamlessly, reflecting the music with it’s own contribution to this ominous yet brutalizing musical collective. This album is highly recommended for fans of raw and filthy old school death metal along the lines of Autopsy, early Grave, old Incantation, Convulse, Abhorrence, Demigod, Disma, Funebrarum, Rippikoulu and the like.  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/blasphematory   https://nuclearwinterrecords.bandcamp.com/       




“Endless Halls Of Golden Totem” CD & LP

(Gates Of Hell Records)


These fellows are a new band from Philadelphia, PA with only a previous EP on record; we now have their debut album courtesy of Gates Of Hell (an imprint of parent label Cruz Del Sur Music). Blazon Rite play epic heavy metal that reaches back to the earlier days of the genre incorporating a lot of the NWOBHM traditions, alongside the emergent bands on these shores from the same time period of the late seventies through the middle eighties. I feel like there is also always this emotive and sullen thread whispering through the music, which nods towards a classic doom sensibility yet I would still firmly call them heavy metal. Some bands that come to mind when listening to this album are early Iron Maiden, Brocas Helm, Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol, Omen, Cloven Hoof, Liege Lord – it is a great list to be sure. I have to admit the first listen through, I thought this is solid but just is not grabbing me, now it feels like almost every repeat listen it sinks it hooks in me a little deeper. It is like each layer I peel back is more affecting than the last. The passion and emotion is reflected and matched by the great triumphant and dulcet tones of vocalist Johnny Halladay. If you like the classic early days of heavy metal then Blazon Rite will remind you once again why those great bands and albums became classics in the first place.  - Dale

https://blazonrite.bandcamp.com/    http://www.gatesofhellrecords.com/        




“Wild Rites And Ancient Songs” CD & LP

(Gates Of Hell Records)


This Philadelphia, PA band has wasted little time following up their quality debut album “Endless Halls of Golden Totem”, with a new long player for me to feast my ears upon. Blazon Rite just keep riding high with their energetic, and triumphant heavy metal that champions the old days of yore, with their spin on the NWOBHM sound and style. There is a heavy dose of Iron Maiden influence on here mixed with a large measure of classic American power metal ala Manilla Road, Omen, Heavy Load, Riot, Helstar, Liege Lord etc… There is some fun interplay with the guitars, great galloping riffs, all accented with some lively guitar fills and solos. The band has a real penchant for writing songs that are memorable, and stick in your head, along side some superb lyrics that fit the feel of the music perfectly. I have always loved the quality of European heavy metal singers, who often are kind of forced to phrase things differently with their accents being applied to a second language. So, it is interesting in that way with the vocals of Johnny Halladay, there is some points he has a similar style and phrasing, clearly on purpose here, but I dig this choice. Halladay’s vocals and his voice has this great classy quality, intoned with a strong triumphant and epic quality that I enjoy very much. I bet this band is great live, I rarely ever go to live gigs anymore, but this band is from my state, so you never know. But, in the meantime, and in between time, if you love traditional late 70’s through to the later ‘80s power / heavy metal, and can not get enough of it, then you need to hear Blazon Rite.  - Dale 

https://blazonrite.bandcamp.com/   http://www.gatesofhellrecords.com/        




"Monokrator” CD & LP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


Upon completing just one listen to this album, the bands third full-length, I find myself lamenting for the time lost in never having heard this British band sooner. At this point I am several listens in, and I am no less impressed, maybe even more so by the absolutely blistering and intense deathrash metal on this impressive release. These guys bring a little bit of everything you could possibly ask for in this style. I mean it, they bring the intensity, the speed, the razor sharp playing and technical yet still as catchy as the common cold songwriting. Despite the rapid pacing, they do still manage to dial that quotient back a cunt hair at times, to add some emotive flow to their music. There is a ton of heavy, headbang inducing ripping riffs, and neck wrecking fury at a high level. It is not just wall to wall riffs though, as there are some brief and tasteful guitar fills and solos. At all times the crushing heaviness, blitzkrieg velocity, audio fist to the face forward flow is the king of their stylistic approach. The vocals of Jamie Stungo are superb, they are a near perfect marriage of the gruff / screeching / squealing classic thrash vocals mixed with just enough of a dose of death metal growl to give his layered, charismatic voice histrionics a nice brutal edge. If you love the early releases of old school legend bands of thrash and death metal genres such as Overkill, Demolition Hammer, Ripping Corpse, Morbid Angel, Kreator, Possessed, Death, Morbid Saint, Sadus, Dark Angel mixed into one kick ass, explosive package then you need to get your claws on this album!  - Dale

https://thebleeding.bandcamp.com/   https://shop.redefiningdarkness.com/         




“Pray For Armageddon” CD & LP

(M-Theory Audio)


Blessed Curse hails from California, and they have been going for about a decade now. Though, it appears there was a fairly long period of very little activity, after releasing their debut album way back in 2012. This album is out on M-Theory Audio, at least in the USA (overseas it is on Cyclone Empire). Which is the label of Marco Barbieri (Metal Blade, and later Century Media), who I used to be in contact with in the early to mid ‘90s, buying issues of Marco’s fanzine and compilation tapes. These fellows worship old school thrash metal (and who could blame them?!), it bleeds out of every musical pore on this album. It clearly became evident to me just how much dedication and care went into this album, as they live and breathe thrash metal to the maximum. Luckily, for us they also have talent and skill to go along with it, they know how to write memorable songs to go along with those attributes. In addition to songwriting abilities, Blessed Curse also know how to write razor sharp, ripping riffs that will wreck your neck. The music may be brimming with nostalgia for me, but these fellows do put their own stamp on these tried and true sounds, which makes it all the better for me. So, beyond the unforgettable heavy as hell, catchy riffs, there is also some cool tasty guitar fills and solos to spice up the pounding melodic barrage. I can definitely feel the influential ghosts of classic Annihilator, Exodus, Kreator, Vio-lence, Testament, Sodom, Razor and Dark Angel walking through the graveyard outside. The vocals of Tyler Satterlee have that traditional gruff thrash yell, but there is a real gurgling, and pissed off snarl with little hints of a death metal growl occasionally. Those vocals are familiar yet those extra touches kind of set his style apart a little bit. Tyler puts his own touches to the style, and it gives this bands music an added dimension from the usual thrash vocals, good stuff. If you love thrash metal of old, executed at a high level, then I suggest you get your mitts on this album sooner than later.   - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/BlessedCurseOfficial/   https://m-theoryaudio.bandcamp.com/         




“Complete Execution” 2 CD & 3 LP

(Svart Records)


Svart Records digs up a classic ‘80s heavy metal band, which is fairly, if not entirely unknown over here on North American shores outside of few hardcore maniacs. As this British band only had their albums (Red, Raw and Bleeding! & Battlescarred both remastered here) released exclusively in England, on two different Brit record labels. Their two albums were released in 1986 and 1987, both of which are present here with a boat load of extras, as the title suggests this is their complete history, which includes their demo material and some live tracks. Listening to this it is a shame this band did make more of a mark, as this is some fucking fine meaty and ripping heavy metal that nestles into so many of the bands from America and Europe, which we hail as must hear classics. I have to say I am surprised, at least in Canada, that Banzai Records never got wind of this band to release it there, like they did with other lesser known Euro bands like Tokyo Blade, Warfare, Axewitch and Overdrive etc… Blood Money wrote good songs, they displayed a high skill level, and the music is fast in your face stuff. Among the many speedy riffs there is a lot of brief high speed solos that are a lot of fun. You can hear the NWOBHM influences, but these fellows definitely sped things up and went heavy compared to some counterparts. I could possibly see that maybe their vocalist could hold them back a bit, he does not have as much siren style range or a lower grit register. Despite that I enjoy his rapid fire vocal delivery, and despite the slight one dimensional middle range, he performs said range fantastically and I like his vocals a bunch. If you have yet to hear of Blood Money, as was the case with me, and I like to think I know my shit with classic heavy metal then you really need to get your claws on this release. I mean you get everything from the band beginning to end, and all in between and it is all good stuff in my opinion. P.S. - Sorry, I realized I forgot to add in the review the demo and live material is apparently only available in the box set version.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Blood.Money.NWoBHM   http://www.svartrecords.com        




“Ultimate Abomination” CD & LP

(Edged Circle Records)


I must admit looking at this Dutch bands discography, that I am surprised I have not listened to any Bodyfarm releases, before now. I mean their first release, an EP, came out in 2010 and this release is their fifth full-length album. I keep my ear to the UG pretty strong yet this is still my first encounter with them. Be that as it may, the old saying goes better late than never. There has been quite a lot of turn over with this band though; it appears there is only one original member left these days. I have no idea what their past material is like, but it only took a few songs into ‘Ultimate Abomination’ to realize that I have been missing out. Something that comes quickly when listening to this, is the musicians that make up this band are quite polished and skilled. It shows up in the playing, as well as the fine songwriting that showcases some really emotive elements that feature some interesting builds and crescendos, which keep the music balanced and interesting for the listener. The music itself is brutal as fuck, crushing riffing yet also slick with a lot of fine guitar work, showcasing some interesting fills and cool solos. The emotive part comes in between the brutish riffing, with some deft song construction that manages to inject some small hints of catchy rhythms, and melody in between the vicious clubbing barbarity. The vocals of Ralph de Boer are severe, commanding growls though still decipherable enough to still make out the lyrics, pretty much throughout the album. I mean, those are just great vocals, in my view. I am quite certain this album will impress and capture fans of classic releases from bands like Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, Dismember, Grave, Unleashed, Sinister and Benediction.  - Dale 

https://bodyfarm.bigcartel.com/   https://edgedcircleproductions.com/  




“Ruins” CD

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


This veteran band from Greece has been putting out demos starting in 2001, and working through a series of subsequent demos, EPs, splits, and now “Ruins” marks the bands fifth album. Despite Burial Hordes being around for such a long time, I mean I know them by name, but I am not that familiar with their releases (though I may have reviewed one of their demos a couple decades ago, fuzzy memory Hehe). The band features a seasoned line up consisting of on guitars with founding member Dionysis Dimitrakos (also the main man of Enshadowed), on guitars K.T. (Dead Congregation, Cursed Blood), on drums F.V. (Necrovorous, Paroxysm, Sacral Rage). I keep seeing them listed as a black metal band, but if you ask me they are definitely a death metal band, maybe with some small bm touches here and there. The music on here highlights this bands experience, both with their individual instruments, as well as their smooth and refined songwriting. The result is some brutal, driving death metal, wrapped in a sinister dark atmosphere, which permeates everything in a satisfying way. I really like T.D.’s growling vocals, they remind me kind of a mix of L-G Petrov of Entombed and Dave Ingram of Benediction. So obviously two of the greats in death metal, what is not to like? Nothing, that is what. Though at the same time, for my liking those vocals blend into the background of the mix, a little too much. A small criticism, yes, it is just I want to clearly, and powerfully hear those killer vox. The quality of this album should not be understated, nor should it be a surprise with the bands lengthy history, and pedigree, for me it is better late than never to really get into this worthy band.  - Dale

https://burialhordesdm.bandcamp.com/   https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/        




“Oculus Rot" CD

(Brutal Mind Records)


Buried is a new band featuring Joel Sta on vocals, Mark Wormmeester on bass and Robbe Vrijenhoek on the drums, all three men started out in the long running, but now defunct death metal band Pyaemia who made their mark on the UG scene. Further that history, the duo of Sta and Vrijenhoek have been together in bands dating all the way back to the middle 1990s in the band Nocturnal Silence, which later changed it’s name to Disavowed (who are still going strong today and are label mates of Buried as a matter of fact). The music on “Oculus Rot” is definitely rooted in the old school death metal style, but does add some newer elements of more modern day death metal ways, which results in a very interesting style and mix. The guitars are well played and showcase some great writing abilities, going from a mid paced style, to a much faster pacing highlighted with a heavy guitar tone. The songs are very well put together and executed with those featured guitar passages that are both complex and memorable. The vocals are a mix of old school death metal growls and some deeper more modern day growls, both styles are done with power and great range. If you are a fan of solid death metal produced veteran members of the UG that are not afraid to add different elements into a sound that helps Buried stand out then you should check this out.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/buriedmetal    https://brutalmind.bandcamp.com/          




“Claustrophobic Dysentery” CD & Cassette

(Bloody Mountain Records)


This is the solo project of the talented and prolific Lord Sxuperion aka Matthew Schott (Garden of Hesperides, Sxuperion, Oreamnos, Valdur, ex-Weverin). This album is a maelstrom of chugging, rumbling, discordant guitar mixed with much white noise and sound effects dissonance and topped with brooding ugly atmospherics. There are fleeting moments of beauty and finesse, but you have to search attentively through the audio file folders to detect them. The music in a lot of ways is more of an overall experience than individual compositions, it is less defined and formless than that yet still a real journey. I mean everything about this release is pretty unconventional in all ways, right down to the roiling obscure growling yet not truly growled vocals. It is all well-known, but when all of these elements are combined the way they are here it is also something very unfamiliar. You will have sections with great brutal death metal riffs and then transition into detuned and untuned clean guitar that keeps you off-kilter, then suddenly a profound emotive bleak bombast sequence and that is just the opening track “Claustrophobic Dysentery Excreted from the Chiffonier”. Oh, did I mention the song titles alone are a confusing trippy and disturbing ride all of it’s own? For example how about “Lilliputian Flicker of Fasciollasis”, which I believe means a very small flicker of a liver parasite. There is plenty more of that lyrical subject style to delve into if that interests you in any way Haha! I was not sure I liked it at first, it took a while but it continued to grow on me like a liver fungus with repeated listens. “Claustrophobic Dysentery” is an interesting listen and it surely goes to show you can be experimental without softening your music. You do not need pretty melodies and musically cultured influences, it is very much the opposite here, it is progressive in the uttermost and evil and ugly with it’s boundary pushing of extremity. This is for those who complain it all sounds overdone and tired, this is something different and challenging in the severe.  - Dale 

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




“Benighted Desecration” CD

(Chaos Records)


This band marks yet another collaboration between Chaos Records and Maurice de Jong, with another of this man’s solo band projects. I have reviewed this labels two previous releases of his other band The Sombre, which is excellent, and you should check out. Some of the other bands Maurice or ‘Mories’ as he is also known include (this is a partial list!) Black Mouth of Spite, Caput Mortuum, Cloak of Altering, De Magia Veterum, Dodenbezweerder, Gnaw Their Tongues, Golden Ashes, Grand Celestial Nightmare, Hagetisse, Malorum, The Black Mysteries. Most of his bands are some variation of black metal, but like The Sombre, this band is in the doom death metal realm. Though, I think Cadaver Shrine may lean a little more in the death metal direction, if only slightly more than the aforementioned band. The death element on here may be more omnipresent, in it’s own suffocating and marching way. The doom aspect is still strong though, and brings along with it a darkly dismal aura, that closes in on you on all sides and weighs you down, as a listener. I feel like this music is more about the feeling and atmosphere, but that does not discount that there are some killer heavy tremolo riffs, and some enjoyable fills with some tasteful guitar work on display amongst the audio murk. Mories also has the very obscure, shadowy, murmur slow roll growling down nicely, and it only adds to the overall ambiance and gloomy tone of the musical experience. I have not listened to a lot of this fellows black metal projects, but damn he has some strong talent in the death doom realm that you should look in to, and focus some of your attention.  - Dale 

https://gnawtheirtongues.bandcamp.com/   https://www.chaos-records.com/       




“Chants Of Steel” CD & LP

(Edged Circle Productions)


This Czechia band is one I have been wanting to check out for a long time. The reason being in large part due to this being the band of main man Blackosh, who was a key member of the great band Root for the first 15ish years of their existence. I am a diehard fan of the early works of Root, especially their first album “Zejeveni” in 1990, which I was lucky to buy the first pressing of the vinyl a year or so later on an obscure distro. There is even a guest appearance from the mighty Big Boss of Root on here. Well, anyways, I get sidetracked, but from what I am listening to now, and what I read about Cales earlier releases, I am assuming their sound/style has evolved since earlier years of the band. Because I see a lot of mention of goth-y hard rock/metal and folk mixed into the music, but thankfully I hear none of that on “Chants Of Steel”. Maybe that is what kept me from going too far out of my way to check Cales out sooner. I also seen the odd mention of traditional doom and heavy metal, now that I do hear on this album alongside a slightly more modern pagan metal style. It seems to me that emotion is key to the bands songwriting, it is heavy, it is triumphant, it is atmospheric, but above all everything is done evoke emotion in the listener. It is sometimes haunting, it is sometimes poignant, it is introspective and at other times injects some anger and exultant evil energy. I do not want to push the doom element too hard here, it is there in the classic sense of that style, but it is a background fixture with dark heavy metal and blackened pagan/viking metal in the forefront. When it comes to the building feeling of the music, that crescendos and morphs while always keeping things straight forward and memorable, it all speaks to Blackosh’s talent and mature songwriting abilities. I should also mention here Blackosh’s vocals, they are phenomenal in my opinion. Much like the music, his is filled with emotive electricity, and charisma drips from his voice and helps you feel the music so much more. Blackosh also has a distinctive, interesting voice and vocal style that makes me think of an interesting mixture of viking-era Quorthon, older Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, and a small sprinkle of Messiah Marcolin of Candlemass for good measure. There is just something very infectious to me about his voice, which I am addicted to. This is a good album, if you tend to like the styles and influences I have listed above then you will want to give this record a try my friends.  - Dale 

https://blackosh.bandcamp.com/    https://edgedcircleproductions.com/       




“Defiled In Oblivion” CD, LP & Cassette

(Dark Descent Records)


Castrator is an all female band based out of New York City, presenting us with their debut album that comes on the heels of a previous demo and EP. The band features Carolina Perez of Hypoxia on drums, Kimberly Orellana ex-Harlequin on guitar, Clarissa Badini of Hypoxia & Tartarus on vocals. Plus on bass you have a real veteran of the UG scene in Robin Mazen of Gruesome, Derketa and ex-Demonomacy (whose demos I tape traded for in the early to mid ‘90s! Yes, I am an old goat haha). Castrator play real old school US style death metal that harkens back to those embryonic days of the genre in a pretty glorious way. I really dig the guitar sound, so heavy it just fucking punishes the listeners under it’s considerable weight and ferocity. I like the traditional structures where the song is king, not how fast you can play, how many riffs you can stuff in a song or being ultra technical. The songs have flow, they almost force you to headbang to them and the drumming just pounds the listener into pulp. There is some memorable songwriting on here that keeps things interesting and features some interesting refined guitar work, which gives these chugging, audio catacomb songs an extra dimension. The growling vocals with their acidic, boiling undercurrent fit the music so well, adding their considerable weight to the bands style. To top off the proceedings Castrator do a killer cover of possibly my all-time fave band Venom (my ‘zine is named after one of their releases!) with “Countess Bathory”! This album is a damn good addition to any classic early to middle ‘90s death metal fanatic that can not get enough of those great old sounds.  - Dale 

https://castrator.bandcamp.com/   https://www.darkdescentrecords.com       




“The Pact Of Morbid Conspiracy” Split Cassette Album

(Eternal Death Records)


Ceremonial Worship is the sole creation of one High Priest C.W. (ex-Skogen, ex-Violator) who handles everything for this Greek band. The four tracks featured on this release are exclusive to this split. The music is performed with heavy and fast guitars that are delivered with experience and showcases skillful writing ability. The music does slow to a more controlled mid tempo pace throughout the bands songs on here. Alright so up next on this split release is the Philippines OmenFilth, who also deliver four exclusive tracks to this split release to round things out to nearly thirty-three minutes of music overall. OmenFilth's style is rooted in the old school, traditional style black metal. Their music is more aggressive with fast paced guitars and drums that are performed with skill and a great writing ability. Both bands on this split deliver a solid release of black metal intensity that should please all fans of this genre.  - Patrick 

https://ceremonialworship.bandcamp.com    https://omenfilth.bandcamp.com    eternal-death.com       




“Effigies Of Obsolescence” CD & LP

(Dark Descent Records / Me Saco Un Ojo Records)


This is the debut album from this relatively new band (having previously released a couple demos and an EP) coming out of Denmark, and they share a member with the excellent band Phrenelith. ‘Effigies Of Obsolescence’ comes off sounding quite refined and mature in the songwriting department for a young band. I would say they belong to this movement of mixing some old American death metal with healthy helpings of classic Finnish dm along with smatterings of UK death of yore. Though it is decidedly death metal music, there are also elements of doom death going on here for sure with Chaotian. Their music is so densely pounding and crushing with a lot going on musically with the guitar work, which features flourishes of skillful refinement of tunefulness despite the utter brutality of it all. It makes for an interesting mix in the song construction department and really piqued my interest with rapt attention as I listened. The deep brutish whispery growling vocals on here is very enjoyable for me and compliments the bands oppressive all engrossing dark atmosphere perfectly. A few bands older and newer that come to mind to give you an audio compass point are Rippikoulu, Convulse, Incantation, Bolt Thrower, Immolation, Funebrarum, early Autopsy, Tomb Mold, Deiquisitor, Undergang and the like. I love it when record labels work together on releases as I often mention. Dark Descent and Me Saco have been doing it a lot lately, it is great for the bands and fans, especially having one label in North America and one in Europe. As usual with their partnership Dark Descent is handling the CD, and Me Saco Un Ojo the vinyl. If you are a diehard follower of the bands styles I mentioned above, you should check out this album, it is another fine example of this killer musical form.  - Dale 

facebook.com/ChaotianOfficial   www.mesacounojo.com   darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com  




“Wrapped In The Morning Red" CD

(Plague Demon Records / Blasphemous Creations Of Hell)


Coming out of Colorado's black metal UG scene is Charon Kruk who combines harsh and experimental black metal with some ambient elements to create a unique style and sound. ‘Wrapped In The Morning Red’ is the debut full-length featuring seven tracks of well composed musical passages. The guitars are played with a heavier mid paced range, but do speed up to a faster more aggressive pace throughout some of the songs. There is some very well played guitar sequences on this album, even adding in some solo's throughout. The vocals are all over the place with harsh raspy screams and some deeper death metal growls. Both of the vocal styles fit the music perfectly and give each song it's own identity. If you are looking for a band that combines harsh black metal and adds some ambient and even death metal influences then be sure to check out Charon Kruk’s debut album today.  - Patrick

charonkruk.bandcamp.com/    bchrecords.storenvy.com/    plaguedemonrecords.storenvy.com/        




“Weakest Is The Flesh” CD, LP & Tape

(Hells Headbangers)


I have been on such a heater of listening to only dark, dingy and oppressive death metal the last month or so. As you may be able to tell from the bands line-up of bands I chose for the monthly update this time around haha. Church of Digust from Texas is not going to change this trend I am afraid with their third full-length album ‘Weakest Is The Flesh’. Which is their first for Hells Headbangers after putting out their previous two records on Memento Mori, talk about going from strength to even greater strength. The music is a nice mix of medium to speedy death metal pacing yet there is clearly death doom elements as well, which adds another layer of depth to their sound and creates cool alternating currents of differing atmosphere. There is often the main brutal super heavy riff, but also frequently backed up with secondary guitar fill parts keeps the music varied and interesting. This is some tremendous old school death metal with some creative songwriting that manages to keep things mildly upbeat and memorable, yet never sacrifices that repressive aura or its crushing barbarity. Some bands that come to mind when I listen to this album are Funebrarum, Gorefest, Autopsy, Cianide, Undergang, Benediction, Bolt Thrower mixed with a dash of Deicide and Malevolent Creation. Being that I am big fan of H.P. Lovecraft, something which figures into creative process quite richly with this bands lyrical history and imagery. I am also now interested in checking out some works by author Brian Keene, a fellow who apparently is quite influenced by Lovecraft and in turn also possess a similar level of influence on the Disgust. Speaking of the vocals they are classic deep growls that fit in quite nicely with the influences I mentioned above, complimenting their murky sounds of extreme metal sickness to near perfection. I just can not seem to get enough of this style of death metal and if you are the same way you need to check this out. FYI the vinyl version is set for later this year, but the other formats are a go as of now.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/churchofdisgust   https://hellsheadbangers.bandcamp.com/          




“Spectral Intercession” CD

(Memento Mori)


I have heard rumblings of this relatively new Scottish band, on the back of their first label release with the “Septic Funeral” EP. Which was unleashed initially through the vocalists label and then coming on to my radar with that EP’s re-release, on the great Redefining Darkness Records. Those positive rumblings were well warranted, in my view. The first thing that struck me is the music has this morbid graveyard atmosphere to it, which casts a stygian inky coating all over their crushing metal sound. The songwriting often fluctuates between a medium to moderately fast pacing with real gutfuck riffing, but they also manage to mix in with some regularity delicious necro doomy elements (that remind me to almighty classic Autopsy album "Mental Funeral"). I fucking love it when they do this, it also, in my opinion really gives a depth and a superb emotional juxtaposition against the speedy core of their sound, with epic results. Having said that, when they do decide to sit back and pound, they pound a hole in your chest that a jackhammer would be proud of. Their music is a wonderful mix of influences from the hallowed earlier days of death metal with bands like Entombed, Dismember, Grave, Benediction, Bolt Thrower, Massacre, early Death, and the aforementioned Autopsy. The one slight difference in style I feel is Coffin Mulch has a little bit more of a thrash edge than some of those tectonic bands. This extends to the killer vocals, courtesy of Alastair Mabon (who also runs the aforementioned record label At War With False Noise), who puts in a hell of a monstrous performance on the mic, which much like the music is an amalgamation of the vocalists of those influential bands above. Also like above there is a minor yet noticeable and effective hint of a gruff thrash metal style yell mixed into these SUPERB sounds coming from this mans vocal chords. Admittedly, there are a lot of bands these days combining these influences and styles, or similar variations of the described influences, but I honestly do not care because it is death metal perfection by my personal tastes. So I am here for it all day and night! Beyond that though Coffin Mulch really does this sound with their own little spin and they do it really fucking well.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/coffinmulch   http://www.memento-mori.es/          




“Majestic Dissolve” CD, LP & Cassette

(Memento Mori & Rotted Life Records)


This devilish triumvirate hail from San Diego, California and even though this is Conjureth’s debut album these three musicians have done time currently or previously in bands like Encoffination, Messial, Sarcosium, Ghoulgotha, Gloomed, VoidCeremony, Father Befouled, Eternal Suffering, Wooden Stake and more. Conjureth produce enticing (at least to me haha) old school brutal death metal that very much brings me back to the late ‘80s and very early ‘90s death metal. I hear a lot of influence from bands in that time frame from the northeast US and definitely Floridian dm, but maybe also some occasional spicing of Scandinavian influence as well. During that era you still had stronger remnants of ‘80s thrash metal in the roots of most death metal bands, and I do hear some small hints of that here both in the riffing and song structures on ‘Majestic Dissolve’. I can most definitely headbang along to this and imagine a pretty big churning pit down front when this band plays live. The music on here besides always keeping the pace brisk, the meat of the sound is always brutal, possesses a certain dark and evil aura that I enjoyed. The growling vocals courtesy of Wayne Sarantopoulos are perfect for the music and again remind me so much of those old days, with a mix of the aforementioned northern and southern US influences. They really top off a damn good listen in my view, so if you love those old sounds from the embryonic days of this amazing sub-genre of metal then be sure to check this out. Momento Mori will be handing the CD for this album, while Rotted Life are putting out the vinyl and tape versions for those wondering.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/conjureth    http://www.memento-mori.es    https://www.rottedlife.com          




“The Parasitic Chambers” CD

(Memento Mori Records)


After this Californian band released two demos in 2020, and subsequently their debut full length in 2021. Conjureth is back with their second full length ‘The Parasitic Chambers’ contains ten tracks of heavy pure death metal music. The members of these bands have plenty of experience in the UG scene and are also in bands like Gravespell, Encoffination, Messial, in addition to three of the four members of Cojureth also currently in the death doom band Tumulation together. This group of musicians on this release play their instruments display some skillful writing ability. The guitarist showcases a nice mix of mid paced heavier guitar passages, then will go into an all out assault with fast paced frenzied guitar patterns. The guitars are both feature both heavier and faster parts with equal intensity, and even adding some well performed solo's throughout the songs. The vocals are performed with traditional death metal growls that are powerful and commanding in their delivery. This album sees the band taking a clear step forward and in my view a must have for all of the death metal fanatics out there.  - Patrick

https://conjureth.bandcamp.com/    http://www.memento-mori.es/        




“Cinis” CD & LP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


This is my first foray as a listener of this UK bands music here with their third album, and first for the well respected Redefining Darkness label. Consecration produces an interesting brand of doom death that is pretty nuanced drawing from old school death metal sounds ala Bolt Thrower, Benediction, early Autopsy, Obituary, Immolation and Grave. Their doomy side is a mix of more traditional doom death like Disembowelment, Winter, Thergothon. This, with hints of funereal doom alongside a healthy doses of classic melancholy doom style, I am thinking of the embryonic early days / releases of bands like Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Novembers Doom, Mourning Beloveth and the like. I can not really express enough how strongly the dark despair and hopelessly gloomy aura deeply saturates itself across the entire landscape of this album. It is to the point of oppressive, but in a good way, just stay away from all the sharp objects in your lair. The simmering growling courtesy of vocalist Daniel Bollans have a wrathful acid edge to them yet are always filled with emotive brooding and cavernous despondency. The production and mix on here is absolutely perfect for this bands sound. Speaking of the vocal work on this album, the song ‘Ground To Ashes (A Cremulation)’ features a superb guest performance from one of my all-time fave dm vocalists, the great Dave Ingram from Benediction! Which was a real treat for me to top off a death doom album that has to be one of the very best I have heard in this style, maybe in the last decade! It is that fucking good.  - Dale 

https://consecration-uk.bandcamp.com/   http://shop.redefiningdarkness.com/       




“Sinbad" CD & LP

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


Coronary very proudly throw goat horns in the air, while headbanging and playing their brand of classic heavy metal with all the traditional trappings that come along with it. Yes, this Finnish band revel in it, and I can dig that, it is where I got my start in metal too way back in the early to mid 1980s. There is one thing for sure for me with this band, they know how to write heavy catchy metal songs that are infectious and stick in your head. There are plenty of hooks and good flow to the songs, alongside some really memorable lyrics and unforgettable choruses (ala the song I am listening to now “Fight Street 666”) with the odd gang vocals to add some good energy. There is some real tasty guitar playing on here with some sweet fills and the odd smoking solo. I think fans of Accept, Riot, Saxon, Grave Digger, Rage, Running Wild etc… will appreciate this record. The vocalist is pretty perfect for this music; he has that early ‘80s combination of smooth middle range mixed with some grit and higher soaring accents as well. If I had to make one critical comment about this album, and this is probably down to just my personal tastes, that being for me the recording feels a little over produced, a little too controlled feeling and it would their sound to another level if there was a little more raw punch, and less reserved individual performances. I am not sure if it sounds like it, but that is honestly a minor criticism, because this is an extremely impressive debut album from Coronary that deserves attention. I will look forward to what is next from this talented band.  - Dale 

https://coronaryfin.bandcamp.com/    https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com        




“Forked Tongues” CD, LP & MC

(Dark Descent Records)


This British band has released demos, an EP and two albums, and now their third full-length ‘Forked Tongues’, surprisingly for me as deep as my tentacles are in the scene this is my first encounter with the band. Before even hitting play, just knowing it is on the well respected Dark Descent Records usually previews the quality to come. It is apparent quite quickly that one of bands calling cards is intensity, in spades, as they race and rip along with their brand of explosive black deathrash metal. I hear influences from American and Aussie greats like Destroyer 666, Ares Kingdom, Gospel Of The Horns, Absu feel like core influences to me. But you can also hear other things in there for sure like Bathory, early Sodom, Bestial Mockery, Desaster and the like. But what might surprise some is they sprinkle and splice in classic dark and evil heavy metal band accents ala Mercyful Fate, Satan, Angel Witch, Brocas Helm, Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol Altar and other archetypal legends. It is impressive how smoothly they weave and intertwine those very old school accents into their lightning quick and punishing extreme metal foundation. They even mix it through the vocals as well as you will have the excellent growled, yelled, acidic screamed mainstay vocal, then all the sudden you will get an injection of early to mid ‘80s siren screams or screeches and it sounds flawless. They never sacrifice the black, the darkness and evil if you will in their sound, nor the power and punishment in their attack to meld these seemingly conflicting influences. This is a testament to the detail and vision that went into the song construction of this album. I am a fan of both worlds so this hits a real sweet spot for me, but it is still more than pummeling enough to satisfy the more modern extreme metal UG maniac in my view. This album comes very highly recommended from me. You will not regret this purchase.  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/cravenidol    https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/       




“Say Your Prayers” MCD & 12”' MLP

(Iron Bonehead Records)


The old UG scene legends Crucifier still live on and are battling after all of these years! For the uninitiated and unwashed those years of history stretch back to the bands formation in 1990 and the release of their first demo tape "Humans Are Such Easy Prey" in 1991(!!). The band since the beginning has been the demonic hoofed baby of Cazz Grant (Hearse, Abhomine, ex-Grand Belial's Key). I guess the second longest serving member off and on would be Spencer Murphy (ex-Goreaphobia), who I used hang out with years ago in my Philadelphia days, get in touch Spencer! Crucifier has always trafficked in a primeval brand of driving old school black death metal insanity that always possesses an evil, rotting necro atmosphere. I like semi-regular interesting guitar fills, which at times drive the song as opposed to a more singular riff largely driving the entire song. The excellent vocals from Cazz Grant are dripping with a classic shadowy, echo-y malevolence and those growls are always clear enough and enunciated well enough to follow the lyrics clearly. The vocals really remind me at times to one of my favourite Canadian bands these days and that is Shadu-Nar-Mattaru (formerly Morbid Darkness from the late '80s to mid '90s). Another thing I like about the music on here, it is stripped down and a little more on the simpler side of things. I mean that as a compliment as they are not about maximum brutality, or lightning speed, a million riffs or ultra technicality. No, Crucifier are all about just serving the song, striving for what is memorable and stirs emotion and it really works. This is a definite case of less is more, with a tried and true style this band has exemplified and honed to a sharp cutting edge through years of experience. The band finish things off with a pretty spirited Carnivore cover of “Jesus Hitler” that fucking kills, I enjoyed this cover a lot and they brought something new to it. This is a great mini-album for old school fans of debauchery and blasphemy from the early embryonic days of death metal madness. Get this!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/theblacklourde666   https://ironbonehead.de/        




“As Gomorrah Burns” CD & LP

(Nuclear Blast Records)


I actually have a very peripheral history with this band. I was clued into Cryptopsy very early on, by my great old friend / tape trader Alex Gagnon. Who sent me their demo tape, as well as a number of their live shows (audio & VHS) he recorded or obtained in 1993/94 of the band. I became a huge fan of the band immediately, talked to them by letter back then, shortly afterward as fate would have it another old friend / tape trader Mike Campbell (The Sepulchral Voice fanzine) became their manager for a brief time. During this period Mike gave my phone number to then guitarist Steve Thibault (original member who wrote music on the demo and first two albums, even though he left the band before the recording of the second album “None So Vile” for a high paying job apparently). Sorry for my side tangent, anyways Steve told me he was setting up their first tour outside of their province (at the time in 1994 their first and for me the best album “Blasphemy Made Flesh” was only out on cassette tape), and the tour was falling apart because they could not find anyone to set up shows through the middle of Canada. So, to make a long story less long, haha, I helped them with contacts to organize the shows they needed to make the tour happen. I attended some of those shows and they were amazing! The band got signed and kind of exploded not too long after that, and became a hugely influential band in the UG scene, as most reading this will know. For me, after those first two classic amazing albums that seen the departure of Steve Thibault, and shortly afterward also the almighty Lord Worm, despite the amazing talents of Flo Mournier the band went dishearteningly downhill. So much so, that I have to admit as big of a Cryptopsy fan as I am/was, I found myself so turned off by the Mike Disalvo on vocals era (somewhat musically and most definitely vocally) that I largely stopped following the band for a long time. I have purposely kept them at arms length since then, maybe not fair, but it was my choice. That was until I decided to give “The Book of Suffering - Tome I & II” EPs a listen, which sparked some interest for me back in the band. I was even looking forward to this album. It does not hurt that Disalvo is long gone, and while vocalist Matt McGachy is no Lord Worm, in my opinion, he is miles better than Disalvo and fits the reinvigorated music pretty well with a more classic rapid fire death growl and alternating high nasal screeching. Musically this album fully returns to all the signature earmarks that made them great, from the manic hyper busy pace, to the speedy ultra techno structuring, to the crushing intensity and stylish guitar musicianship, it is all here. You never mention a release by this band without mentioning the tour-de-force drum work of Flo Mournier, who in a lot of ways changed drumming in death metal with his influential and signature style. I do not think Cryptopsy will be able to once again reach the heights of their first two albums. Yet, I think the band is truly back on the track of creating and releasing very good to great material again, for me this is easily the best work from them I have heard since those early days. It has been over a decade since their last full-length album, that is a long wait, but despite that Cryptopsy do not disappoint on “As Gomorrah Burns”, and have delivered a hell of a record showing they have plenty left in the tank.  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/cryptopsyofficial/    https://www.nuclearblast.com       




“All Light Swallowed" CD & LP

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


This is my first encounter with these Lithuanians and this only their second release as a band. Their first was a self release full-length that got the attention Transcending Obscurity, who snapped them right up and I can hear why they did. The material on here is some top notch dark and brutal death metal, which is largely reminiscent of the early to middle ‘90s American death metal style. Despite the crushing nature of Crypts brand of death metal, they do manage to inject a good amount of memorability to the riffing. They also project level of emotive and gloomy atmosphere intermingled into a healthy portion of the songwriting. The vocals are deep growls with a morose and shadowy edge to them with accents of more guttural or higher / clearer registers. The vocals are really enjoyable for me. They (the band and engineer) have managed to strike a good balance of a crisp, highly produced recording yet unlike many recordings that do this with extreme music, they have managed not to throw a toned down wet blanket upon the acute barbarity and crushing meat of the music. ‘All Light Swallowed’ is a really solid album that will satisfy fans who truly appreciate the foundation and traditional sounds of death metal.  - Dale 

cryptsofdespairdeath.bandcamp.com    www.facebook.com/transcending    https://tometal.com/       




“Black Flame Dominion” CD & LP

(Iron Bonehead Records)


Cult Of Eibon from Greece presents their debut album after previously releasing two EPs and a split EP. The band may have only been in existence for five years, but the members have done time previously or currently in bands like Kawir, Black Blood Invocation, Lykaionas, Nergal, Walpurgia, Hate Manifesto, Funeral Dusk, Wargrinder and more. It is no secret I am die hard follower of the amazing early to mid ‘90s Greek black metal scene with it’s diabolic blend of the first wave and second wave black metal that also incorporated hints of dark heavy and death metal. Cult Of Eibon also worship this period of their countries UG metal scene and their music carries on that tradition superbly. They create sinister sounding evil black metal that is mostly middle paced, but absolutely permeated with that gloomy atmosphere and aura that seemed to be a trademark of those old great bands. I mean the music is filled with those foreboding and ceremonial drums and hypnotic guitar rhythms. It all brings me back to those nostalgic times for me being possessed by listening to the early works Varathron, Necromantia, Rotting Christ, Thou Art Lord and the like. Also yes, I know they are not from Greece, but they also a little of Mortuary Drape which is a musical cousin to that scene in many ways. If you adore the old days of classic Hellas black metal and simply can not get enough of it, as I do, then you should get a copy of this album posthaste.  - Dale 

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




“You'll Never Know Pleasure... [25th Anniversary Remastered Reissue]” CD & LP

(XENOKORP Kvlt Series)


If you have been reading Canadian Assault for a long time, then you might know I am a big fan of the band Dead from way fucking back. I tape traded for some of their early demos, EPs and their split album with Regurgitate in the early to mid 1990s and have followed them, on and off ever since. I am sure at least a couple of their releases from past decades are reviewed somewhere on this site. This as you can tell above is a re-release of their first album “You'll Never Know Pleasure... Until You’ve Tasted Pain” released originally by Poserslaughter Records way back in 1995. This album is a minor masterpiece of death metal, porn and grindcore. I love this quote from the bio and it is so true, I am paraphrasing a bit but it goes something like ‘Napalm Death created Grindcore, Carcass created Goregrind and Dead created Porngrind’. It is so true these guys were degenerates from the start creating this filthy and depraved sub-genre (The Meat Shits may rightly so argue that point, but never mind that) and perfected it, setting a blueprint for extreme metal sexual sickos to go by for decades to come. It is amazing to think these brutal and sleazy Germans have been going strong and never split up since they first formed in 1990!! I have nothing but absolute mad respect for that fact. I must give kudos to Xenokorp for christening their new Kvlt Series sub-label by making Dead’s debut album one of their first releases. If you worship this band then you need this album, and if you are new to them then this is a damn fine place to start making up for lost time.  - Dale

https://deadxxx.bandcamp.com/    https://xenokorp.bandcamp.com/    https://www.xenokorp.com/        




“Blackened Cerebral Rifts” CD

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


This is the solo band of New Jersey’s Evan Daniele, and this bands third full-length album in as many years. Which, before we get much further, to me that is impressive all by itself, no? There is one guy writing all the music, practicing and recording all the parts himself and releasing three albums (all real albums too, not this passing off 20-25 minute recordings as an album) in three years. This dude does not rest on his laurels, I mean that is not even counting his other band Sentient Horror, in which he is the drummer, has also released an album during that time frame. The music on here is pretty massive too; it is some brutalizing, crushing and technical death metal. The song construction is often a duality of speedy and heavy death metal (that you can really headbang to), along with intermittent bouts of slightly slower guttural audio gut munching sections.Good luck having any hopes of catching ones breath, and resign yourself to enjoy wallowing in it all like a fat pig in mud on a hot day. Something else to savour along the way is the chunky sounding bass and skillful technical guitar nuances, which slither and swim in between a severe speeding pummel. Those bits, which are a staple remind me a little of techno elements of Gorguts “Obscura” album, if you placed them in the middle of a classic mixture of albums from Suffocation and Disgorge. There is also no denying, at least for me, the influence of Demilich, not just in the music alone, also in some of those fantastic gurgling toad growling vocals that band became known for, I should probably throw early Carcass in there too somewhere. I have to admit I am really enjoying listening to the otherworldly death metal devastation on this record. It also makes me realize I need to catch up on this young bands back catalog. You know what to do, and soon.  - Dale 

https://deadanddrippingus.bandcamp.com/    https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/       




“Abyss Vanguard” MCD & MLP

(Osmose Productions)


This is a long awaited return for Demonized, who released put out a demo, a split, and their debut album 20 years ago! The only member of the band that is still around is founding member and Mexican UG scene legend Antimo Buonnano, who is known for a number of bands like Profanator, Hacavitz currently, as well as in the past Impiety, Ravager and some very influential (these days) releases with Disgorge. Antimo has went out and replaced the old members with some real veterans of the scene like César Sánchez (Hacavitz, Xiat, Profanator) on drums, and Gene Palubicki (Perdition Temple, Hexorcist, Malefic Throne, ex-Angelcorpse) on guitar. This five song, twenty-one minute release explodes immediately out of the gate with a raging, warring death metal attacking blitzkrieg and it really never let’s up from start to end. It just keeps coming, and coming with biting, driving guitars that pummel forward like audio lightning yet also manages to inject small amounts of headbang rhythms into the maelstrom. Hell, there is even some short frantic guitar solos that strike in, and out, like a venomous cobra. The hammering drums is utterly relentless battering upside your skull. Then you have Antimo’s vocals which are scathing, caustic cheese grater to the vocal chords yelling / growling that are definitely reminiscent to me of Pete Helmkamp, and I am not just saying that because Gene is in this band. I mean Antimo here sounds more like Helmkamp than he does like Antimo, for example, going back into his Ravager or classick Disgorge days Haha! If you like some of the past works of these fellows bands (especially the ones that shared their current record label in the past hehe) you should look into the warfare death metal madness on here.  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/demonized666/   https://www.osmoseproductions.com/       




“Forever Burning” CD & LP

(Agonia Records)


Australia's Denouncement Pyre has returned (to Canadian Assault see archives for some past album reviews) with their fourth full length release ‘Forever Burning’. The band features members from well known bands like Hunters Moon & Nocturnal Graves, The new release contains eight songs of well executed and delivered black and death metal at it's finest. The guitars are played with some very well written and performed passages that range from aggressive to a more controlled mid paced range. The guitarist does show is ability to create some memorable guitar patterns with both the extremely fast and more controlling paces I spoke of above. The drummer also showcases his ability to perform a variety of styles with skill. He goes from a heavy fast and chaotic drum style to a more restrained material smoothly showcasing his experience on the kit. Denouncement Pyre has created a masterpiece of well delivered blackened death metal that should please all fans of this style.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/DENOUNCEMENTPYRE   https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/          




“Fires Of The Dying World” CD & LP

(Dark Descent Records)


I find the Finnish Desolate Shrine has quite a unique line up in some ways, a line up that has stayed the same since their inception in 2010. By that I mean this three man band is made up of Lauri Laaksonen who writes most, if not all of the music and he plays all the instruments. The other two members Markus Tuonenjoki & Roni Sahari are both full time co-vocalists and play no instruments. The other thing with this is it is not like Markus and Roni are just vocalists as musicians. I mean Roni is the vocalist of Lie In Ruins yet he is the drummer in Sargeist and Perdition Winds. Then on the other hand Markus is the vocalist in Sargeist and The Crescent yet Markus is the drummer in two other current bands (not to even mention the drummer in the past in bands like Uncreation’s Dawn & Urn). So yeah, this is why I find this line up fascinating because of that and it has lasted over a decade and across five albums, so clearly this unique roster make up works very well. Sorry I really like digging into interconnected band histories and find guys who play various roles in each extremely fascinating. But let’s finally move to the music on here, it is really interesting and multi-layered dark death metal with decided influences rearing their heads from the second wave black metal style and even more prominently so from the doom metal arena. This all originates from Laaksonen’s sole mind, so I guess I should not be a surprised as his other two bands are Convocation who play funeral death/doom and Ordinance which is a black metal band. I find it very appealing that while the music is oppressively gloomy yet always brutal, also has more layers, as I mentioned it still manages to convey a lot of dynamic emotion. The music also possesses an underlying sense of melody that makes it very memorable and even can even make you want to headbang from time to time. I find this impressive that Laaksonen was able to strike such a strong balance of all those elements. I would be highly remiss not to talk about the strong dual vocal performances, which feature a high quality myriad of styles from deep rousing magnetic growling vocals, rasping evil acidic bm vocals, caustic visceral shouts and so much more that I probably can not do justice in describing. It may have ended up being a five year wait between albums, but I can assure you ‘Fires Of The Dying World’ has made that wait well worth your while by delivering a masterful album indeed.  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/desolateshrine   https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/       




“Unrelenting Malevolence” CD & LP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


Detherous is a Canadian band that hails from my general stomping grounds where I grew up in the province of Alberta. The band has put out a demo, a few single digital download songs, a split cassette EP and then their debut album (also on the awesome Redefining Darkness label) on limited disc and vinyl. ‘Unrelenting Malevolence’ is their sophomore record and despite not having heard any of their previous material I am confident these guys have managed to shake up off the sophomore jinx, so to speak. Detherous has two speeds only and those are moderately rapid and fast forward heading headlong into the fire! I mean these guys are fucking relentless and never let up for more than a second. There is some nice guitar work on this album including those sudden brief hit and run crazed guitar fills that border on blitzkrieg soloing. The vocalist Damon MacDonald has that marriage of the classic raspy thrash yell mixed with highly decipherable death growl down to a model fucking T – damn good stuff! The drum sound here is really good as well highlighting a really solid and spirited performance on the kit, they avoid over producing and neutering the grit and character of the drum sound. This band style wise is the demon child of Demolition Hammer cross bred with the first Death album “Scream Bloody Gore”, early Kreator, Possessed and Dark Angel alongside dashes of Obituary and fellow Alberta band and local legends Disciples Of Power. If you love old school deathrash metal then I have a band you need to check out.  - Dale 

https://detherous-ca.bandcamp.com/   https://shop.redefiningdarkness.com/       




“Bushmeat" CD

(Momento Mori Records)


Dipygus may come from California, but they play dirty, grimy and depraved jungle cannibal loving sewer death metal with touches of doom conjured up straight from the depths of hell itself. They sound like a vile mixing pot of bands like Impetigo, Autopsy, Repulsion and the like that is as potent and powerful, as it is ingenious in it’s pure degeneracy. The music is just so heavy, guttural and rough possessing this great suffocating heinous aura across it all. I mean not to drive a point into the ground, but talk about chainsaw guttfuck, just listen the song “Long-Pig Feast”, and that riff in there is the audio equivalent of sawing through flesh and bone, it is damn thick and heavy as an anvil. I love it. The vocals are like a throaty whispery version of the great classic Autopsy style gutter growls that I worshi. The doomy sequences really throw some emotional weight upon the listener, which then adds even more of an expressive dynamic when they start to turn up the tempo and the pummeling brutality. I really enjoyed this album quite a bit, I think diehards of the bands and their sound I mentioned above will probably love basking in this blood spray afterglow long after hitting stop, assuming you still have the strength to do so.  - Dale

https://dipygus.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/memento.mori.label        




“Blood Red Tentacle” CD & LP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


The first time I read that album title I swear my brain saw it as Blood Red Testicle ha ha. The music however on this French bands debut album is no fucking joke let me tell you. I mean this is my kind of shit! By that I mean old school death metal that takes some of the best parts of the American and Swedish death metal scenes of the days of yore. The band produces grimy, brutal and high energy musical depravity that punishes and pummels you with delight through indiscriminate audio violence. I am also a big fan of author H.P. Lovecraft and their lyrics are inspired by his works, which are brought to life here by the maniacal and superb growling vocalist Renaud Mann who puts in a tour de force performance here. The music is really heavy and al is permeated with this oppressive gloomy atmosphere that I find very inciting and infectious. My only minor complaint on here is the drums as they are a little too tinny sounding at times with the oft used cymbals. When I mention influences above from the US side of things think Repulsion, Autopsy, early Death and from Sweden bands like Nihilist, Carnage, Grave and Dismember. It is also cyclical in some ways as even though Swedes put a different spin and sound on it, the bands I mentioned were all very much influenced first by the above mentioned American bands especially Repulsion and Autopsy. So maybe Disfuneral are not doing anything new, but as mentioned I am diehard devotee of this style and when a band like Disfuneral does it this well I just can not help myself but love it to death.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Disfuneral/   https://shop.redefiningdarkness.com/        




“Degenerations” CD & LP

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


I have to admit when I did a preview listen to this album to decide whether or not to review it, I was not sure I could adequately describe and convey what ‘Degenerations’ is all about. But I decided to take up the challenge and hopefully I can at least somewhat succeed in my goal, here we go. A lot of what you hear on here is familiar bones with bits of sinew and tissue sporadically attached, yet you have likely never heard the base music old school brutal death metal, techno death, grinding death and just extreme metal twisted into a Frankenstein form quite like this. Some might call this progressive or avant-garde, but for me Diskord is heavier, more vicious and dark in a grimy way than most bands that use or are pinned with that tag. The songwriting is masterfully twisted and quirky, it is surgically reordered into something that sounds quite unique and creates an atmosphere for the listener while gratifying on one hand by being heavy and brutal and familiar, it is also disorienting, foreign and exigent on the other hand. It is easy in some cases to pick out influences and difficult in others, it sounds like what I have heard before and nothing like I have heard before yet some influences that come to mind are Gorguts, Demilich, Atheist, Pungent Stench, early Cadaver, Cynic, Afflicted, Disharmonic Orchestra and Atrocity. Some of the off-kilter timing signatures and rhythms of the music is taken to almost demented and eccentric levels, there are times when it is in danger of snuffing out the song flow entirely, but they just manage to always just keep it on the rails and not go completely against the current, so to speak. An extra little content warning (warning for some haha) there is plenty of little weird yet infectious sound samples and effects that proliferate throughout this release. The vocals remind me a bit to some of the above mentioned bands as well, they are growled vocals, but also clear and have a strong edge of gruff thrash style vocal. There is also this murky edge to vox with that echo-y effect, they are mainly aggressive in delivery yet do convey emotion quite well. I will not sugar coat it for you, this may not be for a lot of extreme metal fans, as it is a particularly challenging listen to be sure. Yet I think there is enough crushing heaviness to keep many from refraining from hitting stop, as they let the layers of this impressively constructed, technical and highly unconventional music get its hooks into you and work it’s way into your brain and your good graces. For those always complaining it all sounds the same, you need to get this album and I dare you to say that with what Diskord have created.  - Dale 

https://diskordband.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/torecords    https://tometal.com/       




“Relics Of The Dead” CD, LP & Tape

(Hells Headbangers)


I have to admit I am slightly surprised to have a new Druid Lord album a little over 3 years after their last album “Grotesque Offerings”. I say that as it was eight years between that and their debut full-length “Hymns For The Wicked”. It almost felt like a comeback album even though I do not think they ever split up or anything. “Grotesque…” was a massive comeback / follow up effort in my books, one that I would think is hard to match. Druid Lord features two (Tony Blakk & Pete Slate) ex-members of Acheron from their great period of the early to mid ‘90s. Pete in particular you can hear his distinct guitar playing / writing was a big part of one of my all-time favourite album 1992’s “Rites Of The Black Mass”. That duos seasoned playing truly shines through, as does guitarist Chris Wicklein who brings a boatload of experience and skill from his 25 years in his other band Killing Addiction. It is showcased with some massive crawling heavy riffing, as well some excellent emotive fills and classy classic metal sounding solos, which often have a creepy dark vibe instilled into them. Maybe I just need to go back and give the last album another listen, but it feels like to me a little more traditional heavy metal influence has crept into this album yet fear not that trademark Druid Lord doom death metal sound is still alive and kicking. Tony Blakk’s growling vocals are very much to my liking, they remind me somewhat to Mike Perun’s vocals from the mighty Cianide, they fit the music so well. Through the stream rolling doom death the band mix in slight elements of melody and catchiness now and then, just enough for you get a headbang going as you are slowly egulfed by the oppressive doom at a bit more than a snail’s pace. This record is great listening experience throughout produced by a skilled group of talented veterans. I did not think they could top the last album, I am not sure I can say this album has managed that feat, but it is damn close! This is an excellent release.  - Dale 

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