ABDUCTION

“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/       

 

 

ABREAKTION

"Bornhatred" CD EP

(Chaos Records)

 

Abreaktion is a new Chilean band that was started in 2023 that plays traditional thrash metal. These musicians know how to play their respective instruments and create some very well played strong material on this recording. The guitars are performed with skillful writing ability that features some memorable songs with catchy passages. The guitars are a mix of whirlwind fast paced riffing and adding in some well written sharp solo's. They manage to create a nice dark atmosphere on these tracks. The vocals are traditional thrashy screams and wild hollering vocals that compliment the music well. The drum work on here is equally delivered with some faster well executed drum patterns. Abreaktion finish this release off with a rousing cover of Dark Angel's "Welcome To The Slaughterhouse". If you are a fan of traditional 80's style thrash metal then definitely pick up a copy of 'Bornhatred' today.   - Patrick 

https://www.facebook.com/Abreaktion    https://chaos-records.bandcamp.com/       

 

 

ABYSSUS

“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/       

 

 

ACID WITCH

“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/        

 

 

ADVERSARIAL

“With The Eternal” CD, LP & Cassette

(Dark Descent Records)

 

Adversarial is a trio from Toronto, Canada. They have been releasing material as a band for some 17 years now! Having said that, you could certainly say the band is not a prolific one, as this album is only their third full-length album (alongside a few eps and two splits) in that long period of time. Quite often line-up changes cause this, but surprisingly they have had the same line up the entire time. I am sure they have their own reasons for that. But let’s move on to the music. Adversarial play very aggressive, hateful and speedy black / death metal that reminds me to bands like Blasphemy, Revenge, Tetragrammicide, Archgoat mixed with some early Incantation. This sound is underpinned with a gloomy atmosphere that reminds me slightly to Deathspell Omega. The pulsating riffs come at you in waves with a devastating performance of an order from chaos of carpet bombing on the drum kit. It is a cavernous cacophony of audio black blood that is truly enhanced by the sick roiling, gurgling, growling vocals that boil out of the vocalists mouth like the bubbling from breath of a gored human victim. This music is intense and maniacal, it may be too much for some listeners. But if you like some necrotic warring black death metal vitriol from time to time then you might want to give this one a try.   - Dale

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

 

 

AFTERBIRTH

“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        

 

 

AGELESS SUMMONING

“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/        

 

 

ANATOMIA / UNDERGANG

“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       

 

 

ANGEROT

“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/       

 

 

ARCHE

“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        

 

 

ASCALAPHA

“Somber Vampyric Night” CD

(ATMF - A Sad Sadness Song Records)

 

I was mildly surprised after listening through this once, to then find out this is a solo band from all places of St. Louis, Missouri. I mean firstly, it feels musically and in execution very European. Though I should not be surprised any more, US bands have come a long way with bringing the Euro feel and style to these shores, and not have it sound clunky and a bit weird like it did in the past. The one man in question behind this band goes by the moniker Monstro and does not seem share much of his identity or history. As near as I can tell outside of six or so songs, all released digitally, this debut album is the bands first foray into a label and physical format release. Having so little prior output (and no other band experience I am aware of) in Ascalapha’s two year existence, you might imagine it is a little unpolished and rough around the edges. Yet in my opinion the material on here is smooth, seamless and more mature sounding then it probably has any right to be. The style on here is black metal, very atmospheric music with great flow and an introspectively sombre aura threading throughout. The lyrical side of Ascalapha seems to reside in the world of vampirism, and before you roll your eyes like I am wont to do. This seems more rooted in the sinister, dangerous and truly horrific vampirysm of the older black/death metal ways, and not the trendy goth fashion movement in the scene that makes this topic total cringe. No, this is dark and baleful. The music reflects feeling like a musical fog slithering around the crypts searching for victims. Having highlighted above the dark streaming melody, do not let that me mislead you, the heart wrapped within is a deathly stygian and pensive atmosphere that is pumping the black blood of freezing hateful second wave black metal. It is that duality that attracts me to this album. I can’t help at times think of the old French black metal scene while listening to this, and a band I have been listening to since the end of the ‘90s named Celestia whispers in my ears. The rasping evil vocals on here are so classic and perfect, it is infectious for me to listen to them. As you can tell I like this album and band quite a lot and I think you need to check this out as soon as possible.   - Dale

https://ascalaphabm.bandcamp.com/    https://atmf.net/        

 

 

ASCENDENCY

“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        

 

 

ASTRIFEROUS

“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           

 

 

AUTOPSY

“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/        

 

 

BARBARIAN

“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/       

 

 

BAXAXAXA

“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/       

 

 

BELUSHI SPEED BALL

“Stellkira” CD & Cassette

(Self-Release)

 

I always say I am fan of crossover thrash yet I am not huge fan, nor do I listen to a lot of it. But the more I think about it that it is only a half truth. I say that as I have been listening to this stuff since it first started really. I bought the early albums of D.R.I., Agnostic Front, Suicidal Tendencies, Prong, Cryptic Slaughter, Wehrmacht, The Accüsed, Nuclear Assault, The Exploited and others. Which is a lot when I think about it for not the most prolific of musical movements. I kind drifted away from that scene (and/or the amount of bands playing this style just fell off?) and only listened to those old albums periodically save for a few. This was partly due to me delving deeper and deeper into the UG scene of thrash/grindcore/death/black metal in a serious way. During recent years I find myself seeking out more crossover bands like Toxic Holocaust, Municipal Waste, Power Trip, Adrenicide, F.K.U., Children Of Technology, The Donner Party and so on. So I guess you could say the Crossover bug has infected me once again and I can not get enough now. Enter Belushi Speed Ball who encompass so much of what I love about this style and have heavy influences from those old classic bands I cut my teeth on. That is not to say these boys are Johnny come lately’s though, as they have been slugging it out releasing a whole slew of EPs and a now three albums since 2014. These guys rip it up with a killer mix stylistically of hardcore structured songs that are presented in a lightning fast and heavy thrash metal riffing fashion. This is the kind of music that will ramp up your adrenaline and create a wild raging mosh pit live, or even in your living room, your mileage may vary. They do it all with a lot of aggression and attitude, which I like. The vocals are pretty fantastic and to me are a half sung/half amalgamation of the vocals of D.R.I., Cryptic Slaughter, S.O.D/M.O.D., Cro-Mags, Uncle Slam etc… Yeah man vocalist Vince Castellano just kills it on the mic, hell just for fun every now and then he throws in a bit of death metal growl and Steve Souza era Exodus screeches that had me roaring. Okay, I am not going to deny some of the lyrics are a bit clunky and silly, but even those lyrics are fun, and are meant to be seriously unserious ha ha. They deliver them with such energy and conviction that it is hard not to just get swept up in the whole thing. If you love classic crossover thrash metal goodness, then you should look into this band posthaste.   - Dale

https://belushispeedball.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/belushispeedballband/        

 

 

BEYONDITION

“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/        

 

 

BLACKFLOW

“Seeds Of Downfall” CD

(Personal Records)

 

After a string of EPs over the last five years, BlackFlow brings us their debut album via the very plugged in, Mexico based Personal Records. This Santiago, Chile band play traditional heavy metal doom that features very stylish, classy songwriting. Their brand of doom draws out heavy emotion, and shapes atmospheres with juxtaposed feelings of both triumph, and dark somber reflection. Having said that, I do not want to under sell the fact that BlackFlow do bring the heavy, doomy riffs and sequences you can occasionally even headbang to, even if only briefly. The playing on here is very good, it showcases a band with a penchant for melody with flowing, fluid song construction that glides through some epic stygian drenched soundscapes that always build towards satisfying crescendos. The vocals of Victor Prades are very dramatic classic doom style, bringing to mind influential threads of Messiah Marcolin and Rob Lowe. Those vocals really fit this bands style like a glove, and are extremely good at conveying that emotion and gloom. Some might find their songs a little more accessible, as you are not getting excessively long run times in the double digits (as is not uncommon with this sub-genre). No, not on here, as all the songs range form four to eight minutes. BlackFlow’s style at times may be a little more melodramatic, and/or not as crushing as some like their doom, and I would understand that view. But, if your tastes with heavy metal and doom range a little outside those boundaries, then I think you will find a lot to like here.   - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/BlackFlowMetal   https://www.personal-records.com/        

 

 

BLACK EUCHARIST

“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/        

 

 

BLACK FUCKING CANCER

“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/       

 

 

BLACK SPELL

“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/        

 

 

BLACK WINGED GOAT MESSIAH

"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/       

 

 

BLASFEMA ESTIGIA

"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/       

 

 

BLAZON RITE

“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/        

 

 

THE BLEEDING

"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/         

 

 

BLESSED CURSE

“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/         

 

 

BLOOD MONEY

“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        

 

 

BODYFARM

“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/  

 

 

BURIAL HORDES

“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/        

 

 

CABINET

“Hydrolysated Ordination” 2024 Cassette Album

(Bloody Mountain Records)

 

The productive and skillful Matthew Schott (Garden of Hesperides, Sxuperion, Oreamnos, Valdur, ex-Weverin) returns once again with his solo band third full-length record. I reviewed both this bands first two albums elsewhere, if you care to look around, the California denizen has also released a couple EPs for this entity, which I have not yet heard. I was a fan of the first two, so this was a welcome addition to my collection (I believe there is a CD version released as well). ‘Hydrolysated Ordination’ sees the band pick up where they previously left off, this album is maybe just be a little less experimental than the first two records. When I say things like experimental or progressive do not take this the wrong way, their music has always pushed the envelope on traditional styles. Yet it pushes extreme to even more extreme levels, in interesting and inventive ways. So, this may be largely a little more defined than in the past, but those elements are still there. Such as the eerie piano key accents occasionally pop up, the creepy, horror inducing sound effects, clips, and sound samples still create a gloriously grimy ‘n, sick atmosphere on here. The ambience is always thick, off-putting and sinister to the maximum. The main body of the music is rhythmic, almost ritualistic and hypnotic as those massive doom death metal riffs chug along in the musical version of an unrelenting Michael Myers stalk through the night. There is growling death vocals, and they are good, but they are so obscured and shadowy that they tend to melt right into the begrimed rumbling riffs, becoming part of the music, never standing out yet filling in the gaps in a satisfying way. The music as a whole just twists and turns, ever so slowly in serpentine streams of molten magma, liquefying all it comes in contact with. You have heard it before, but probably not quite like this, as any Cabinet recording is a experience you will not soon forget (the song titles are almost worth the admission alone! Haha).   - Dale

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

 

 

CADAVER SHRINE

“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/       

 

 

CALES

“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/       

 

 

CARDIAC ARREST

“The Stench Of Eternity” CD, LP & Cassette

(Hells Headbangers)

 

Veteran Chicago stalwart death metal band Cardiac Arrest unleash no less than their eighth album ‘The Stench Of Eternity’. This band first came on my radar nearly twenty years ago with their debut album and I have been following them pretty closely since. The band has kept active in between full-lengths with a slew of EPs, split EPs and the odd demo along the way. Cardiac Arrest is a band that has a real charm for me, maybe it is due to their love of stripped down old school extreme metal. I mean I do quite dig technical and ultra fast death metal. But sometimes, possibly even often times, I just want to just hear straight up tasty traditional death without things getting busy and possessing too much extra window dressing for their own good. This simpler approach is something this band bring in spades, that great old feeling, and style that made me become obsessed with this glorious sub-genre in the first place. They hit the ground running on here in what has become their standard mid paced yet driving style that gets me pumped up. The second song “Victims Of Blasphemy” sounds like the early line-up of Slayer did a straight up death metal song, it is a pretty awesome hymn. Cardiac have that great ancient riffing style I love that reminds me of some of my all-time faves ala the old works of bands like Autopsy, Blood, Impetigo, Dead, Repulsion, Deicide, Master, and Cianide. This is good shit, and these guys know how to write memorable, heavy songs that keep it uncomplicated yet extremely effective. The vocals are those throaty, guttural and time-honoured septic death growled bellowing that I just find extremely infectious on repeated listening. These brutal old bastards keep bring it and deserve the attention of diehards of the embryonic ways of death metal yesteryear.   - Dale 

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

 

 

CARNAL SAVAGERY

“Into The Abysmal Void” CD & LP

(Moribund Records)

 

I am a huge fan of old school Swedish death metal. So, let that colour this review any way you want to take it. Firstly, this is my first encounter with Carnal Savagery, which is a bit surprising to me, as I tend to like a fair amount of Moribund bands (and I have been ordering from them off and on since maybe even before they started the label, and were just a distro - stuff like Infester, Darkness Enshroud etc…). But, nonetheless somehow I never turned my attention to Carnal Savagery, and this is fourth album in the last four years through Moribund. If the other albums are as good as this one, I have some catching up to do. “Into The Abysmal Void” is a great album of old school Swedish death metal that blends the early classic sounds of bands Dismember, Entombed, Grave, Carnage, Vomitory and the like (a little early Repulsion/Autopsy thrown in too, but most Sunlight bands has a dash of that in their sound). Carnal have this sound down to a model fucking T! Something I love about them is they are vicious too, like think of the faster, more aggressive moments of the above mentioned bands, but Carnal do that like ninety percent of this entire album, it is relentless! It is also relentlessly enjoyable for me. It is impressive, despite how brutal and battering their songs are, they do manage to slip in some tasty little guitar fills and solos, here and there, ultra brief but they are there. The one area they are similar yet different from those bands is probably the vocals, courtesy of Mattias Lilja. The vox take influence from those old bands vocals, but have a little more of a wild and maniacal edge to them that suits the ferocity and speed of these songs. I had a good fucking time headbanging to this, if you worship that old traditional Gothenburg sound and can not get enough, then you have to get this record.   - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/CarnalSavagery/   http://www.moribundcult.com/       

 

 

CASTRATOR

“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       

 

 

COFFIN CURSE

“The Continuous Nothing” CD

(Memento Mori Records)

 

The South American UG scene just keeps giving, seemingly endless amounts of quality bands, which in my view you can add Chile’s Coffin Curse to that long list. The band is a duo, both of whom have been active in the scene for a long time in bands like labelmates Inanna (both men come from this band), Throne Of Evil, Sol Sistere, ex-Trimegisto, ex-Nocturnal Blasphemy. They play darkened death metal of the vintage variety, invoking that glorious early ‘90s American death metal sound in wicked fashion. The riffing is a great driving tremolo attack that comes at you in rhythmic waves and it refuses to let up. I mean you should get ready to headbang! Like most great embryonic death metal from that time period their thrash roots inevitably show up, especially in some of the more refined guitar work, fills and brief classy solos. The music brings a lot of energy and even though it is furious, their songwriting skill shines through with some memorable songs that are heavily cloaked in a sinister, graveyard like aura. The deep growling of Max Niera are superb, and commanding, deliciously accented with higher pitched gurgling voices to top off his quality vocal arsenal. They have this old sound and style down perfectly, this album is sure to please and possess die in the wool fans of the early works of Morbid Angel, Immolation, Malevolent Creation, Monstrosity, Deicide, Vital Remains, Massacre and the like. You know the stuff from back when the scene was exploding out of it’s birth canal. The bio uses the description of a fresh breath of old air, that is a great line and sums up this solid album.   - Dale 

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

 

 

COFFIN MULCH

“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/          

 

 

COFFIN STORM

“Arcana Rising” CD & LP

(Peaceville Records)

 

I am not going to lie, I was pretty stoked to get my claws on this album. For those who do not know Coffin Storm is a trio out of Norway, which features Apollyon (Aura Noir, Lamented Souls, Waklevören, ex-Cadaver, ex-Immortal) and Bestial Tormentor (Infernö, Lamented Souls, Waklevören) and Fenriz of Darkthrone. I think you can already tell why I was interested in this bands debut recording. Before you start thinking, oh fuck this has to be some kind of sick ‘n fast black metal madness, you will need to adjust your expectations. Coffin Storm play traditional heavy metal doom! Which is just aces for me, as I have been a fanatic of many forms of metal going all the way back to the early / mid 1980s (yes I am an old goat!). Despite my expectations, I am not sure I was prepared for “Arcana Rising” to be this good, and for it to be this faithful to the early days of metal. These three metal demons create some amazing heavy doom metal that is high on emotion, along with requisite strong songwriting that manipulates that emotion with all the skill, and command of an accomplished musical puppet master. The songs build things up slowly, stringing you along and usually crescendo in a very satisfying way. Despite the heavy doom influence, they do keep things moving along at a slow, but steady pace with some heavy (almost like molasses thrash style) riffing and some tasty supplemental guitar work. I was truly impressed with the vocals of Fenriz, he has that classic doom metal voice of old down to utter perfection. I was surprised by the range he displays, hitting multiple ranges and registers, his voice drips with an affecting emotion that matches the wonderful music just superbly. I mean who knew Fenriz could make his voice sound like guys singers such as Messiah Marcolin, Robert Lowe, John Cyriis, and Bobby Liebling? Well he does, and I simply can not get enough of it. This really is a highly enjoyable album for me. I can not imagine diehards like myself, if you love old heavy metal doom ala Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Candlemass, manilla Road, Solitude Aeturnus, Solstice, Pagan Altar or even some newer bands in this tradition like Smoulder, Crypt Sermon, Ecclesia. Then you will love this I am sure.   - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/coffinstorm    https://peaceville.com/        

 

 

CONJURETH

“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/        

 

 

CONSECRATION

“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/       

 

 

CRAWL

“Altar Of Disgust Transcending” CD, LP & Cassette

(Transcending Obscurity Records)

 

Coming hot on the heels of their searing split EP with fellow countrymen Feral. The Swedish horde Crawl, after a six year wait, now returns with their second album, once again through the mighty Transcending Obscurity label. Crawl play intense, and violent death metal that stomps and mauls the listener into submission. This is some intense, heavy music that immediately conjure up thoughts of the classic Swedish sound with bands like Dismember, Grave, Carnage, and some newer bands in this style like Kaamos, Bloodbath and Entrails. Think of the most deadly, intense aspects of those bands and you will have a mental picture of the sound of the music on this album. Another interesting and different quirk of theirs is they mix in influences of crust with that glorious Swede sound, which you can hear hints of across the board from the riffing to the song construction, and yes even in the vocals. Too many stylistic influences like this can muddy the waters, but not with this band, they mix it in so smoothly and skillfully that it enhances everything. It only serves to add a whole other edge, an extra layer of electric intensity that takes their crushingly heavy brutality to another place, an awesome place. This album, for me, it is just so infectiously delicious to listen to, I am having a hard time hitting stop after hours of the album playing on a loop. You should really give this stuff a try if you worship that old Swedish sound with a new yet still old extreme twist.   - Dale 

https://crawldeath.bandcamp.com/   https://tometal.com/       

 

 

CRITICAL DEFIANCE

“The Search Won't Fall…” CD & LP

(Unspeakable Axe Records & Dying Victims Productions)

 

This is the third album from the long running band from Chile, with all their albums courtesy of the cult label Unspeakable Axe (this time around with a collaboration on the vinyl version from Dying Victims). I am immediately struck by the blitzkrieg, lightning fast music on here that features blazing guitars that howl with the angry disgust and the rage of a caged beast that is thirsting for blood. The adrenaline laced energy on here is astounding, it does not let up for a second and will leave you battered and exhausted. The echo tinged vocals from Felipe Alvarado match every bit of the musical explosion, they are commanding, mean and dripping with acid and that classic ‘80s style edge gruff delivery. But rarely did you hear them this pissed off. Despite that freight train speed there is a lot going on with the guitars and some interesting songwriting histrionics that keep things interesting. If you love the enraged, fastest, and heaviest thrash stylings from the mid to late ‘80s ala Kreator, Slayer, Voivod, Dark Angel, Destruction, Exodus, Sadus that is made for today then you really should check this out.   - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/criticaldefiance   https://unspeakableaxerecords.bandcamp.com       

 

 

CRUCIFIER

“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/        

 

 

CRYPTOPSY

“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       

 

 

DEAD AND DRIPPING

“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/       

 

 

DEMONCY

“Black Star Gnosis” CD, LP & Cassette

(Dark Descent Records)

 

Demoncy is a New Jersey band that I have been following for a very, very long time. How long? Well, I tape traded for a few of their demo tapes in the early and mid 1990s, so that long. They formed in 1989! Enough said. The band has had some slow periods, where I will be honest I was not sure they were even still around for a couple of those times. But I am pleased to see they never stopped. I suspect line-up changes had a lot to do with those down times, as multi-instrumentalist Ixithra (at times the solo member of the band on some releases) is the only founding member of this, now five member band. It is great to see this old UG metal goat keeping the old flaming burning all these years! On the music. It opens up with a long, slow burn yet eerie, inhumane growling ambient introduction to this album. Those gurgling growls remind me to very early (7” and first album) Impaled Nazerene. Then we launch into track two, entitled “Ipsissimus of Shadows”, which quickly sets the tone for the rest of the album. Which is driving, evil as fuck old school black/death metal that is heavy with a constant permeating necrotic graveyard aura wrapped around everything on here. This atmosphere they create is so gloriously sinister, it sends me mentally to some freezing cold and baleful places. The guitars are crushing, but not in that brutal death metal way, more in a cutting, ritualistic and malevolent sounding fashion. The vocals are ominous whispers with a strong undercurrent of early second wave bm rasping. I enjoy those vocals very much. There is another long not intro in the middle of the album, maybe an interlude rather, which is very similar to the intro. Which, might make one might think they did this to pad these (totaling over eight minutes combined) out into the running time of a full-length album. But I don’t really care about that, they sound as evil as hell all by themselves, and really round out the superb atmosphere of this record. I think you will hear, if you listen close, elements of this music that remind to the embryonic days of bands like Beherit, Profanatica, Masochist, Archgoat, Blasphemy, Impaled Nazerene, Black Witchery, and Bathory. Despite some similarities with those bands, I would say Demoncy are less pummeling and blunt force trauma than those bands, it is raw yet a smoother and more serpentine version of those bands stylistically. I found this album quite intoxicating and addictive. I can listen to this endlessly, it is that good. The only time I might hit stop is to listen their mini-album, also released this year on Hells Headbangers.   - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/Demoncy1/   https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/       

 

 

DEMONIZED

“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/       

 

 

DETHEROUS

“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/       

 

 

THE DONNER PARTY

“Cutting Class” Digipak CD

(Soulgrinder Records)

 

New Jersey’s The Donner Party has been out there battling it out in the UG scene since 2009. Their output of releases has been a little on the sparse side, considering that time span, managing to only get out three (self released) EPs and a four way split disc on Pisssart Records, over the previous 14 years. But now they heave readied the release of their debut album through the dedicated Paul Caravasi’s new record label Soulgrinder Records. The Donner Party play a high energy, and monster riffed brand of crossover thrash metal that invokes, updates, and re-invigorates the old classic bands of the early days of this style. I can not say I listen to crossover thrash on the regular, but I do listen to it often enough, not to mention being into it for a very long time. I am talking about buying and listening (Yes, when they came out, I am fucking old Haha!) to the early releases of bands like D.R.I., Cryptic Slaughter, C.O.C., Wehrmacht, Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, The Accüsed, S.O.D. etc… Anyways, the music on here is a real monster, and features some ripping songs that are memorable as fuck, along with some great lyrics. Now, I am not always the biggest lyric guy, to be honest, but these guys do a great job here. I have to admit, being a big old school wrestling fan, I got a huge kick out of the song “Razor Sharpe”. Which, believe it or not it is about my fellow Canadian “Iron” Mike Sharpe, they nailed it and I can hear Mike’s constant grunting and yelling as I listen to these superb lyrics Haha! I am also not always the biggest fun, or party band guy, but I do dig that from time to time, when I am in the mood for it. I mean I am a big fan of Gang Green, so you know... Not that it is all fun, and silly here, no there is some more serious and even deep shit here and there. The song “I’m Not Amused” is a good example of this, and damn good message to boot, or even to put the boots to, if you know what I mean. I really should talk about the man who sings all the catchier than the common cold lyrics on this album. That man would be Ross Snyder. This guy has some really good classic style vocals, it is like a base of early Tom Araya mixed with enjoyable and strong undercurrents of Roger Miret, Harley Flanagan, Billy Milano, Spike Cassidy, and small sprinkle of Mike Muir. Yeah, those vocals are perfect for this music. If you kinda like, love, or are a diehard fan of crossover thrash metal then you really need to get a copy of killer record. - Dale

 

Bonus Rapid Fire Review: SOULGRINDER ‘Zine - Compilation Vol.6 CD (Soulgrinder ‘Zine Records)

Speaking of Paul Caravasi, who does one of the best print fanzines in the entire UG scene (write him and order an issue immediately!). Paul has also been putting out some discs from bands, and a series of interesting compilation discs under his Soulgrinder ‘Zine Records banner (I am not sure if considers this label separate from the label above, on The Donner Party release, but I get the impression the answer is yes). Paul always puts together good comps, this is no exception to that rule. They usually feature some combination of crossover, thrash, death and black metal bands. This volume features Thrashic, Wraith, Goat Rider, World In Ruin, The End, Mudlung, Eater Of Worlds, Day Of Doom, Shitangel, Emissary, Hell Priest and seven more bands! Lots to chew on and check out, this dude has some good tastes in music, and finds good bands. So, check it out and grab a copy.   - Dale 

www.facebook.com/thedonnerpartynj    www.facebook.com/soulgrinder.zine/