“Metamorphosis” CD

(Memento Mori Records)


It has been a bit of a stop ‘n start, bumpy road for The Netherlands Ecocide. After having formed in 2012 they have stalled and re-started the band twice, while releasing a demo, an EP, their debut album and two single songs along the way. That brings us to now, when they have revived the band once again, and seemingly in a relatively short time have written and recorded their second album “Metamorphosis”. Their sound is decidedly rooted in the embryonic traditions extreme metal. Their song writing screams early American death metal, though not the barbaric, blast beating, grinding style. No, we are talking the late ‘80s, and very early ‘90s with a focus on the early days of the Floridian scene. You can hear it bleeding out of their skillful song construction, especially with regards to the clear and concise classic riffing and drum work. You will also notice these musicians have a foundation and love for thrash metal, as well in the song crafting, timing and execution. These guys know what they are doing, they know how to write a good, memorable song and have a strong feel for flow that is neither in a hurry, nor stays too long at the party. Some bands copy to the point of nearly blushing, but Ecocide do it with enough care mixed with ability, spirit and dedication that I was absolutely absorbed and obsessed with it. It is that well done in my view. I can not wrap this up without mentioning Sten Govers, his vocals fit the music like a proverbial glove and his magnetic and distinctive voice is a wonderful mix of Chuck Schuldiner with a nice dose of John Tardy. I could listen to this man vocalist all day long Haha! If you love later eighties and early nineties Florida death metal with that classic sound, and can not get enough then you need to get this one.   - Dale   




“Uten Nådigst Formildelse” CD, LP & Cassette

(Edged Circle Records)


Coming on the heels of Ekrom’s first release (a three song EP that is included on here with five new hymns), is this Norwegian bands debut album. I must admit it did not take me very long upon my first of many listens, to quickly become intoxicated with their brand of sinister, free flowing black metal. The music bitter and freezing, but always accompanied with this evil aura throughout this sweeping epic darkness, in the rhythmic guitars with crescendo-like sparse drum strikes. The attention to creating a permeating ambiance within their songwriting is strong; it is far from mindless, and executes this goal with a commanding sense of purpose. That balance between harsh, haunting evil and creeping atmosphere is very enjoyable for me. The vocals from Kharon complement that style of music well, with his ruthless and spirited yet vexed rasping, which is often punctuated with tortured, even maniacal sounding brief yells and effective shrieking outbursts. If you, like me, worship classic second wave black metal, but in this case with some majestic haunting touches, then you will enjoy this impressive debut record.  - Dale   




“Vacio Sepulchral” CD EP

(Born For Burning Productions)


Encirclement comes out of California's extreme UG scene with ’Vacio Sepulchral’, which is this young bands debut recording. This release features eight tracks totaling twenty minutes of savage and brutal black death metal at it's finest. The guitars are a mix of powerful, heavy mid paced guitars and some faster more chaotic guitar passages. The guitarist does a great job performing both the faster and more controlled patterns with equal intensity and ferocity. The vocals are powerful deep death metal growls and some raw black metal screams that are used in a few of the songs. The drums are performed with extremely fast blasting drum passages that are done with power and skill. This is recommended for fans of barbaric brutal primordial war metal should definitely check out Encirclement today.  - Patrick     




"At War With The Multiverse” CD & LP

(Dark Horizon Records)


This veteran band from Memphis, Tennessee returns with their fourth album, and the first full-length in 17 years! I say veteran band as they reach back to early ‘90s under different names before unleashing their first recording, in the form of a demo tape way back in 1994! As near as I can gather by doing a little reading up the band never officially ended, just was put on hold while other life priorities were focused upon. I must admit I almost passed up even listening to this when I seen the band described as “melodic black death metal”, the melodic part I was immediately imagining lighter works of Dark Tranquility, Children Of Bodom, Soilwork, In Flames and the like. But no, in my view Epoch Of Unlight is much more from the school of the brutality, where death metal is the most dominant element over the melodic ala Dissection, Swordmaster, Aurora Borealis, Necrophobic, Sacramentum type bands. Having said that, there was one sequence that was very Maiden-esque, but I loved the way they did it and it was quickly swallowed up again by extremity. The overall brutal nature and extreme speeds for me make the melodic side of things stand out stronger and have impact. While I would not call them a techno oriented band, their level of technicality nonetheless is a strong element in their sound and showcases the high talent level and songwriting prowess Epoch Of Unlight possess. I am really into the vocals of Scott Baggett, he has a deep charismatic growling voice with various acidic and higher accents, familiar sounding yet have this unique edge to them. Those main growl vocals is like a mixing of the vocals of Dave Ingram (Benediction), David Vincent (Morbid Angel days), and Karl Willets (Bolt Thrower). I am not the biggest fan of melodic death or melodic black death metal, so you know this must be a strong album to win me over and make me a fan.  - Dale       




“In The Lonely Light of Mourning” CD & LP

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


This is the solo album from the mighty Eric Wagner of the legendary doom band Trouble. It is amazing that this album which was four years in the making had been finished just weeks before Wagner’s untimely death in August 2021 at the age of just 62, due to complications from Covid-19 (apparently as I hear it he was opposed to getting vaccinated and that created tensions with an old Trouble band mate). As it turns out this sort of feels like a tribute to himself and/or a final gift to his many fans out there. It appears Wagner and his former band mate in Trouble Dave Snyder wrote the bulk of this album with various contributions from a cavalcade of guest musicians. Actually it is impressive with so many contributors that this album feels and sounds so cohesive in performance and even sounding stylistically too. This album in sound, atmosphere and execution is classic Trouble all the way, especially when they sort of entered that period where they took their great traditional doom metal style and incorporated a bit a of stoner doom vibe ala “Manic Frustration” and ”Plastic Green Head” albums era. Well okay, not the song “If You Lost It All”. Which is a meandering moody somewhat ballad-y song, but with prominent violin, it is the weakest song on here for me, but still a pretty good song (and the shortest) nonetheless. Eric Wagner is still in fine form with those amazingly elegant, haunting and magnetic pipes combined with his supreme talent of feeling for the best range and manipulation of his vocal timing, resulting in maximum emotive impact is still fully intact. There are some excellent, memorable songs on this record. It does feel like a lost Trouble album, but is it as good as those old classic records? Well, no it is not but it is damn good and would not be out of place quality wise with those great albums. A must for fellow diehard Wagner / Trouble diehards like me.  - Dale   




"Moribound” CD, LP & Cassette

(Memento Mori Records / Godz Ov War Records)


I have heard the name Eternal Rot kicking around for some years, and I always meant to investigate them, but somehow never managed to until now. I mean this Polish band had that classic old style band name, logo, and the Mark Riddick (art god!!) artwork, so I really do have no excuse for waiting this long. The band has long been on their home country label Godz Ov War for most of their whole existence, but now they team up with Momento Mori for a split release and promotion. I like it. In a lot of ways Eternal Rot is exactly what I was expecting, and that is a good thing, there was certainly no disappointment here from me. E.T. produces absolutely vile, boiling, sewer death metal done in the old ways of the early to middle nineties style and it crushes. The riffs are doomy rumbling and monstrous, the brooding aura they create is fantastic. It also has some great rhythmic sensibilities to it, amongst the grind you dust brutality, which hooked me and had me slow motion headbanging right along. The vocals on here are a massive and essential component to their sound, as they are constantly growling / gurgling with an evil and disgusting blood roiling audio quality that coats everything else with a fantastic splatter. When I say constantly, I mean constantly. There is hardly any sections or instances across this whole album courtesy of both Mayer and Grindak where if they are not growling out actual lyrics, it is often gushing torrents of voices murmuring, sloshing and bubbling their way sadistically along. The vocals are a tour-de-force on this recording, I love them so much!! There is so many vocal influences from the early days of death metal mixed in there, but think of a melting pot of the early vocal performances on the first releases of Carcass, Mortician, Impaled Nazerene (Goat Perversion 7” & 1st album), Demilich, Autopsy, Disembowelment, Cianide, Goatlord and who knows who the fuck else mixed together! The music is great on here, but I could just listen to the vocals alone with no music, they are that amazing. Check it out if old sewer death metal blended with ancient sepulchral style death metal and doom floats your boat, I know it floats mine.   - Dale       




"The Warriors Awakening Brings The Unholy Slaughter” CD, LP & Tape

(Redefining Darkness Records)


Holy shit! Eternal Evil bust out of my headphones like a caged beast set free, hopped up on adrenaline rush and driven by extreme hate. You had better hold on to something or strap yourself down when you listen to this album, or it may possess you to tear apart your entire home in a headbaning whirlwind fury. I mean this is some excellent and ferocious black thrash metal, despite the lightning attack everything is steeped in an evil and dark aura that creates an atmosphere that I found spellbinding. I think all fans new and old will like Eternal Evil’s brand of thrash, but there is no denying they worship and produce metal that pays devoted homage to the early releases of bands like Destruction, Sodom, Kreator, Slayer, Dark Angel, Razor etc… I hope you are okay with metal that does not give you breathers, does not give you brooding emotion and the like because Eternal Evil never lets up from start to finish, take that to the bank. Despite this there is some excellent musicianship on here on here, even at those blitzing speeds, it is controlled chaos and the riffing and rhythms on here will wreck your neck through violence and finesse. With only one demo and an EP single under there belts, this you band have produced one hell of a debut album that will be sure to please old school fans of the genre that can not get enough quality thrash in their collections.  - Dale       




"Necronomicon” CD, LP & Cassette

(Hells Headbangers Records)


Coming out of Peru's old school death metal scene is Evil Damn, who were formed back in 2004 and has released quite a few demo's, ep's and splits over the years. ‘Necronomicon’ is the bands debut full length featuring nine songs of well crafted and performed old school death metal that is both well executed and uncompromising in it's intense delivery. The music is played with skill and intensity; the guitars are done with fast and aggressive patterns. The guitarist does write some memorable guitar sequences with a mix of fast crazed passages and some calmer mid paced patterns. The vocals are a mix of gruff, raw old school death metal growls and some screams are used in a few songs. There are some deeper demonic growls used during a few of the songs. ‘Necronomicon’ is a great debut if you have liked the bands previous releases then be sure to check out this album when it is released you won't be disappointed.  - Patrick       




“Mass Grave” CD, LP & Cassette

(Horizon Nuclear Winter Records)


Excarnated Entity is a relatively new band (previously only releasing a demo a few years back), they started out in Seattle before two of the original members relocated to Portland, Oregon, where they replaced the two members left behind with a duo of fresh local recruits. The band may be pretty fresh to the UG scene, but their members certainly are not as they feature the entire two man band of the well respected Triumvir Foul in this band, as well as a collective they have done time in Utzalu, Dagger Lust, Ash Borer, Uškumgallu, ex-Mortiferum. This band has been working on this debut album ever since their resettlement and line up reorganization, the result is a hefty slab of music clocking in at nearly forty-five minutes. The sounds on here absolutely ooze a suffocating, all-encompassing atmosphere that blankets everything, creating a pretty deliciously depressive and claustrophobic air to revel within. Their brand of dark doom death metal invokes in me a strong and poignant emotional feel, with a slow burn foreboding. That is not to ignore the crushing nature of their death metal side, it may just be a slow motion pummel, but the steam roll battering commands your attention and overtakes you. The vocals are great, nothing super special on their own, though they are still good at a stand alone level, but the impact of those whispered, evil, echoing growl vocals are maximized when mixed with the monolithic music as the backdrop. I think to a more experienced ear, you will pick up on influences of everything from Cenotaph, Asphyx and early Grave to a strong feeling of the early works of Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. Imagine if you will those two Peaceville bands if they had not strayed from the path of their early releases, which I think many doom diehards wish had been the case. Hell, now that I think about it you could probably throw in small dashes of Autopsy, Disembowelment and Ceremonium into that bubbling cauldron of influential potions. If you are similar to me, where you can not get enough of this great old style of traditional death doom that is both gloomy and destructive, then might I suggest you give this album a try.  - Dale     




“Inter Arma Silent Leges” Cassette EP

(Visceral Circuitry Records)


This is a re-release of this now long defunct Massachusetts bands 2005 & 2006 demos combined together for seven tracks and about twenty-one minutes of music. The band features the heart of what was the December Wolves, with all three members being part of that band. They play straight up ferociously fast and ripping, heavy mid to late ‘80s thrash metal that showcases some exquisite skill and craft some memorable songs. The riffs on here are massive and this band is a great riff machine. The drum works is superb as well, and the vocals of Scott Iconslaughter is excellent quintessential hoarse and gruffly yelled and sung vox that I found really infectious to listen to. Some bands that will surely spring to mind, in my opinion is early Exodus, old Kreator, Razor, Destruction, Infernal Majesty, early Slayer, Sacrifice, Dark Angel and other similar legend bands in the genre. Cheers to Visceral Circuitry Records for digging these demos back up and re-releasing them. I was around in the scene during this time (and long before that too haha) and still somehow I missed out on these killer releases. Thrash diehards who missed out like I did need this!  - Dale     




“Vomitous Manifestations" Demo Cassette

(Caligari Records)


Coming to us out of Finland's old school death metal scene is the new force known as Extinguished that was formed in 2020 by members of Sadokist and Obscure Burial. The debut demo ‘Vomitous Manifestations’ contains four tracks of well delivered and executed heavy traditional death metal. The guitars are played with a great deal skillful writing with a mix of heavy mid paced guitar passages though the guitarist does speed up to a fast pace in a few of the songs. The guitars also feature some really well written and performed guitar solo's all through the songs. The vocals are done with ferocious heavy death metal growls and some gruff old school style growling is mixed into a few songs. This debut demo is a masterpiece of primitive and barbaric death metal that should please all fans of this genre - highly recommended by me.  - Patrick     





“Contempt for A Failed Dimension” CD & LP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


Faithxtractor is a veteran band in the underground scene, having announced their existence in 2006 with a two song demo. Since then they have released another demo, an EP and a split EP with Crucified Mortals, along with three previous full-length albums. This Ohio band is a duo made up of Zdenka Prado (Estuary & Surgikill) on bass guitar and main man in Faithxtractor from the beginning Ash Thomas (Shed The Skin, Surgikill, Estuary, Crucified Mortals, ex-Thorns Of Carrion) on vocals, guitars and drums. The introduction to their bio starts off kind of scolding reviewers, like don’t be a sheep and label the band as old school death metal. What I do not get is, is that supposed to be a bad thing?! Because this is old school death metal as fuck, and in my book that is a good thing, and when done this well it is damn good thing! So, bahhhh bahhhh I guess haha. I have been listening to death metal pretty much since it’s inception, yeah I’m old, so I feel like I know a traditional death metal band when I hear one. Speaking of which, the music on here is some tasty brutal death metal with sometimes quite memorable rhythms, and interesting songwriting that really got my head banging pretty hard at times. The production on here is perfect; it is crushingly heavy and in your face. Yet, it still manages to let the highly enjoyable and at times, quite nuanced guitar work, room to breathe. Another facet of their sound I enjoy is everything is blanketed in with a dark rotting aura, which gives an extra sinister dimension to their sound. The growling vocals from Thomas are massive, malevolent and commanding, as they nicely mimic the gloomy emotion and aggression of the music. If you worship, as I do, old school death metal (*ducks for cover* from the mostly empty whiskey bottle the band will throw my way ;)) in the vein of early British, Swedish and American style bands. Then you really need to give this band and this album a chance, it is worth it.  - Dale   




“From Dust To Creation” CD

(Memento Mori Records)


This is this French bands debut album, which comes on the heels of an EP and a split EP with Trepanator, which were spread across the last six years or so. Fall Of Seraphs create some ominous and malevolent sounding death metal that produces a sinister atmosphere and musical extremity in spades. The music is not just brutal and relentlessly pounding, it is all of that, but there is also some interesting song construction on here that kept my interest up throughout. That is not even mentioning some of the guitar work on here, which is very good featuring some killer fills and succinct quick hit solos. The aforementioned relentless pounding comes courtesy of a workman-like and commanding performance on the kit courtesy of Vincent Roubière. I also really enjoy the vocals of Olaf (who interestingly for years in the past was the drummer of the UG bands Ossuaire & Malhkebre) has this deep, dark and murky growl that has a whispery nuance and he often elongates his voice alongside some roiling gurgles. ‘From Dust To Creation’ is a strong debut that should please fans of the classic earlier albums of old school legends like Morbid Angel, Vader, Sinister, Monstrosity, Immolation, Malevolent Creation and the like.  - Dale     




"Unburied Corpse” CD, LP & Cassette

(Me Saco Un Ojo / Desert Wasteland)


I am new to this Texas band that is a relatively fresh band releasing just their third output on the heels of a demo and split disc with Phantasmagore. The band play dirty, grimy and crushingly heavy death metal with just enough pounding and rolling riffs to induce you into headbanging, whether you want to or not. There is also small flourishes of rhythmic finesse that briefly rears it’s head from time to time in the songwriting, even through all the filth and brutality, thankfully just enough and not over done. I really dig the guttural growling vocals of Phil Graham that often have this deadly gurgling and maniacal undercurrent to them. I think Fleshrot would probably slide in nicely into the, in my opinion, killer movement of death metal bands combining key elements of classic American, British, Finnish and Swedish metal from the days of yore into one deadly sound. Some of the influences that pop to mind (and repeat themselves consistently in this style) are the earlier works of bands like Incantation, Immolation, Cianide, Timeghoul, Autopsy, Benediction, Bolt Thrower, Demilich, Rippikoulu, Abhorrence, Convulse, Demigod, Dismember, Grave and the like. They often have a production sound in this style similar to mixing the early US bands I mentioned with the Swedish guitar sound of the early to mid ‘90s. As I mentioned there are many newer bands doing this now and that movement of bands I see Fleshrot fitting into are bands such as Funebrarum, Disma, Cerebral Rot, Undeath, Church Of Disgust, Tomb Mold, Undergang, Anatomia, Disfuneral, Haalbuaer and more. I absolutely love it and just can not get enough of it, clearly! My only one minor complaint on this release is it seems like this is being seen as an album at just a hair over twenty-five minutes. I think personally the EP or mini-album tag is much more appropriate and just wanted those interested in buying know that. Because otherwise there is nothing to complain about here as this is a fantastic release by this young band that you really should check out!  - Dale       




“Ruido Infernal” CD, LP & Cassette

(Helter Skelter Productions & Regain Records)


Fulanno comes to us out of Argentina, and the positively electric South American UG scene that has been absolutely on fire and prolific in recent times. I have mentioned in the past, but I think it bears repeating. That Helter Skelter, though they may not have created it, they have seemingly cornered the market on the satanic / occult stoner doom metal UG scene. They have many bands on their roster that fit into this style such as Black Spell, Demonio, En La Niebla, Sahara, Ibliss, Mephistofeles, Old Ghoul, Witchsnake plus more. One thing when I say that, a lot of these bands their foundation and studs are heavy metal doom, and their insulation and wiring have that doomy stoner sound as an undercurrent to it all. This subgenre tends not bring the oppressive slow motion crush, nor do they absolutely rip into rocking or fast sections, like pretty much ever. They sit in that middle realm, bringing an introspective, trippy atmosphere, sort of like sitting with the devil passing a bong of good weed back and forth, as you listen to the hypnotic rhythm of the screams and moans of his captured souls. The vocals are sung in the bands native language, which adds some extra flavour for me in this instance. Those vox are chill and melt in and out of the music like a light in a thick nighttime fog, dispersing in a wide pattern yet guiding along through the gloom like a reassuring companion. To be honest, Fulanno may not be an extraordinary band, and they can be a bit of a one trick pony, but they are damned good at that trick. Which is deep thought, mind wandering journey of a listen. If you are in that head space these guys will deliver what you need. It did for me, hopefully it will do the same for you. Check it out.  - Dale    




“Stigmata Mali” CD, LP & Cassette

(Osmose Productions)


Funeral Winds from the Netherlands, has a long and storied history, in the UG scene. Having formed back in 1991(!!), unlike many other ancient bands Funeral Winds never stopped, and have been going strong for over 30 years! I have a lot of respect for this fact. Though F.W. started out as a full band, for the better part of a decade now ,it has been essentially a solo band. Founding member Hellchrist Xul writes all the music, as well as handling all instruments. ‘Stigmata Mali’ marks the bands 7th album, the first for Osmose Productions, after putting out a couple prior records with Avantgarde Records. This album count of course does not include the scores of demos, EPs, splits and compilation releases through their many years. Onward to the music, the title track is a really great song, despite having such a cold and sinister atmosphere, you can still headbang to that killer main riff. There is also some interesting tempo changes, from the ritualistic and hypnotic to hateful aggression, which makes for a memorable song. In fact, having mentioned the template for that song, it kind of describes Funeral Winds overall style too, it is that mid tempo, baleful rhythmic pulsing chainsaw gutfuck riffing that is often between a second wave freezing black metal violent rapid assaulting attack. Think of a menacing and evil musical ceremony melting pot of bands like Mayhem, Bestial Summoning, Blood Storm, Burzum, Gorgoroth, Katharsis mixing with early Immortal, older Darkthrone, Horna, Marduk. It takes all those bands and the like, marrying the two general styles in a diabolical audio union. Now, when I mention some of those bands, do keep in mind that Funeral Winds has been around much longer than some of them, and just as long as most on that list. I would probably be remiss to not mention the great vocals of Xul, which include a number of facets rolled into one presentation of a classic acid bm rasp, underpinned with an obscured echo filled whispery tone, and a boiling, rolling elongated cold gurgle that connects each word or line of lyric. Funeral Winds in the past had some lengthy spells of time between albums, but the last five years, there has been released no less than four full-lengths, and if you are judging by this album, the quality remains high.  - Dale    




“Til Death” CD & LP

(Helter Skelter Productions & Regain Records)


This Swedish one man band must have seen me coming from a mile away. As anyone who is a long time reader of Canadian Assault will know, Autopsy is one of my all-time fave bands, especially the period around the notorious classic album “Mental Funeral”. I never go very long without listening to that album. This band is clearly knelt worshipping before the same altar, right next to me. That fellow worshipper behind this one man band is Gusten "Joachim" Andlös (Old Bones, ex-Mordgrim), and let me tell you this dude knows what he is doing with this trademark style! I mean this album could literally, easily be the follow album to “Mental Funeral” and I would have been as thrilled with it back then, as I am now. So, is this stuff original? Hell no, it is not, that should be clear and if that is a problem you, kick rocks to the next review my friend. But in the meantime, I will lose myself in the dense, morbid and gloomy musical fog that is ‘Til Death’, and let it suffocate me in it’s beautiful morose brutality. Gusten has this sound down perfectly, he has the playing down just right, that drum sound too. I mean if you told me Chris Reifert was spewing the sick and vile vocals on this recording, I would not doubt you one bit! I do not care that this album is an Autopsy clone; because if it is done this well and the music produced is this fucking good, then I am here for it all day long. This is just a great album of grimy and sinister doomy death metal sickness.  - Dale   




“Prying Sight Of Imperception” CD & LP

(Me Saco Un Ojo Records / Everlasting Spew Records)


Just to be clear, when you see two labels it sometimes means they are splitting the release straight up in all ways, other times like this one it is sort of a parent label that does all the distribution and promotion. The third reason is one label is releasing one format and the other another format, which is the case here Everlasting Spew is doing the CD and Me Saco Un Ojo is handling the vinyl version of this Finnish bands sophomore album. Galvanizer generate down ‘n dirty death metal bathed in darkness yet also dripping with filth and grindcore accents. They have a lot of that old Swedish death metal sound in their base, which I know a lot of bands are doing that sunlight sound these, but you know what I don’t fucking care I worship this shit and if it is done well it is right up my alley! As mentioned Galvanizer do mix into that Repulsion (American I know but a huge influence on those early Swede sound), Carnage, Grave, Dismember dm approach with some grimy sounding deathgrind influences as well ala stuff like early Impetigo, Carcass, General Surgery. The resulting wave of suffocating dark gutfuck riffs of sadistic grinding violence is a lethal combination that I found quite satisfying to listen to, and to mentally bathe in it’s audio gore. The vocals via the bassist Vili and guitarist Aleksi are fantastic, despite all being extreme it is a varied arsenal of growls deep and guttural, as well as high and nasal growling with a smattering of various other gurgles, yells and screams mixed in. There are also some succinct classic guitar sequences every now then, which add a touch of class to the overall sickness and depravity of this album. This release has certainly converted this listener into a Galvanizer fan.  - Dale     




"From Western Shores” CD & LP

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


It is interesting to find out, after deciding to review this album and giving it a spin, that not only is this band Canadian, but they originally came out of the area I grew up in in Canada. That is probably only interesting to me haha. Gatekeeper plays traditional heavy metal of the very melodic variety with an emphasis on catchy, memorable song structuring and lyrics. Despite the fact that they like to keep things fairly straight forward, there is still some guitar work going on with some quality fills, and the odd appetizing solo. The vocals of Tyler Anderson (Odinfist, Terrorflesh) take flight and soar into the stratosphere, punctuated with the odd siren crescendo, well within lockstep with the epic vibe of the music. I also love that little high yell that drops in on the opening track “”From Western Shores”, it reminds me to ‘80s era Jon Oliva Savatage, good stuff. Though less obvious, I think you could probably throw classic Savatage into the musical influence mix as well. Some of the other bands that come to mind when listening to this record are Manilla Road, Omen, Manowar, Liege Lord, Helstar, Sanctuary, Eternal Champion and the like. This release is the bands second full-length record; it looks like I need to need to go back and get their debut record now, to add to their previous EP and this excellent sophomore album to complete my Gatekeeper discography. Give it a try, if classic melodic heavy metal with modern touches floats your boat.  - Dale          




“Flesh Reborn" CD EP

(Chaos Records)


Coming out of Belgium's death doom scene is Gateway with their newest EP. ‘Flesh Reborn’ contains a intro and three full length songs. ‘Hel’ starts off this release with a two minute intro to ease you into things; it is very well written and performed with some excellent musicianship. The first song is ‘Slumbering Crevasses’ which combines both heavy mid paced passages and some faster more aggressive drum and guitar patterns. This one man band delivers some serious intensity and shows mature writing abiliity. ‘Rack Crawler’ is up next and this song is more on the extremely fast realm side again with showcasing skill and good songwriting. The music does slow to a heavier mid tempo pace throughout the song, but this song is definitely the fastest on the release. ‘Flesh Reborn’ finishes off this release and is the bands slowest and heaviest track. The guitars are done with a mix of slow heavy mid tempoe guitar chords. The drums are in same vein with heavy slow drum patterns, mixed with some mid to faster paced drums used. It is hard to believe this was written by one man (Robin Van Oyen), who did a great job of combing death and doom metal together to create a massive release.  - Patrick     




“Cemetery Paths” CD & LP

(Bindrune Recordings)


This is the band of longtime underground metal veteran Marty Rytkonen, who I traded copies of Canadian Assault print issues of his Worm Gear ‘zine way back in the late ‘90s. This is not my first encounter with The Glorious Dead, as I reviewed their debut album elsewhere on this site a few years back. The band returns with their sophomore full-length and I was excited to check it out. Now, I sometimes see comparisons of this band with black metal bands, I must admit I do not get it, I do not hear black metal influence pretty much at all, it is death metal through and through. This release is a massive, heavy slab of death metal with crushing riffs, hammer pounding brutality and song construction that I found memorable as it burned into my brain and kept things ever interesting. I like their mix of barbarity, speed, nuanced rapid guitar work and an overall sound that has a great dark aura permeating throughout it’s gore soaked lyrical mental landscapes. The vocals while almost entirely decipherable are still a menacing, acid boiling guttural eruption that keeps the extremity intact, while letting a little bit of accessibility creep in to make the songs, again memorable. I mentioned last time around that I felt their main influences derived from the early to middle ‘90s death metal scenes from England (Benediction, Bolt Thrower plus a touch of Napalm Death) and Sweden (Dismember, Grave, Unleashed) and all of that is still true by my ear. I could see an argument that a little bit of early Morbid Angel or Death could be detected, but only in small trace amounts. If you love old school death done at it’s top levels then I think you really should give this record a go.   - Dale   




“Fallen Tyrant” CD

(Plague Demon Records)


Goatthornsskullbonecrusher is a two man band rising out of Germany's abundant and strong death metal scene. ‘Fallen Tyrant’ is this duo's newest EP and third release overall as a band. It features four songs of barbaric and chaotic death war metal. Sgt. Jones handles the vocal duties, which are old school death metal growls that are done with a powerful and imposing vocal. There are some black metal screams that are used throughout a few of the songs. Machosias (Birkabein, Bunkerkrieg, Old Pagan, Thodtgehoelz, ex-Beyond Serenity, ex-Pagan Winter…) handles writing the music for the band which is primarily played with intense and extremely fast guitars and drum passages. There is some heavier mid paced guitar and drums used throughout the songs. This is my first encounter with Goatthornsskullbonecrusher, but if you are a fanatic for extremely chaotic death metal with some elements of war metal intertwined into the storm then be sure to pick up a copy of ‘Fallen Tyrant’ today.  - Patrick   




“Gore Brigade” CD EP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


This is Gore Brigade’s debut release yet it’s members are anything but new to the UG scene. This band from Umeå, Sweden appears to be the brainchild of Ludvig Johansson from the thrash metal band Defiatory, he recruited his Defiatory bandmate Jon Skäre on drums and great dm vocalist Jonny Pettersson (Massacre, Wombbath, Berzerker Legion, Gods Forsaken and many more!) to help bring Gore Brigade to life. The music on here while it pays slight nod toward the old Swedish bands I adore, it also pays more attention to the sound on classic releases like Carcass’ “Necroticism - Descanting The Insalubrious”, General Surgery, Napalm Death, Benediction, Exhumed, Ghoul and the like. The energy level is ultra high ala the Carcass album I mentioned, just a raging juggernaut of intensity and adrenaline smashing all in it’s path. The vocals are varied with some great deep brutal growling that has a lot of different inflection within those growls with some cool higher pitched nasal screaming accents. As the bio points out the recording on here feels more modern crisp and clean yet still retains that heavy crushing edge. Honestly the on here does feel more like a modern thrash metal album production to me, and I personally love the old dirtier style recordings, but they still pull off this sound and style pretty well despite that. It does sound a bit like you may assume from the background above like a modern thrash band trying their hand at old school death metal – it is so well done and with obvious affinity for it’s inspiration that it does work. Give it a listen you will probably dig it.  - Dale   




“Persecution Of The Living” CD & LP

(Invictus Productions)


This is my first time listening to this young Canadian band, who presents here their debut album after releasing two demos in recent years. Grave Infestation produce dirty and grimy death metal that harkens back to times of old that I tend to worship and have a lot of nostalgia for. There are sections of songs on this record that I found myself almost involuntarily nodding my head to and even slipping into a headbang, when they give some catchier shit that picks up the pace a little. Some of the influences I hear are Autopsy, Repulsion, early Morbid Angel, Possessed, Pentacle, early Grave, Nihilist and as the bio rightly points out Necrovore and early Carcass also seems pretty spot on. I can not shake early Autopsy as a definite influence for this band, and even some of the vocals remind me to Chris Reifert, in a very good way of course. Yeah, those foul roiling growl vocals fucking rule on here! It is a real varied mix on here pacing wise, there are fast steam rolling flourishes, brutal hypnotic pounding, gloomy doom laden sequences and just eerie haunting slower to moderate segments that feel like an evil occult movie soundtrack or something. It is an extremely interesting mix, the band transitions between seemingly disparate stylistic elements well done and quite seamless way. There are even some cryptic yet brief haunting solos and fills on here that accentuate the music perfectly. This is for fans of the hallowed ancient bands mentioned above, as well as newer fans that just love filthy and oppressive brutal and dark death metal sickness.  - Dale      




"Funeral” CD & Tape

(Werewolf Records)


The Finnish Grieve are like a meteor ablaze in the ink black northern night sky, hot and bright spitting hellfire leaving their mark and burning out almost as quickly as they appeared. I use that analogy because put out a 12” vinyl EP and a split w/Morketida in 2020, and now in the first month of 2022 they now present us their third and final recording before splitting up. This horde is made up of the demonic duo of Werwolf on Guitars, Vocals & Bass (Gestapo 666, Knife, Orlok, Satanic Warmaster, The True Werwolf, Vargrav, Vritrahn-Werwolf, ex-Incriminated, ex-Horna, ex-White Death plus more) and V-KhaoZ on Drums & Keyboards (Druadan Forest, Olio Tähtien Takana, V-Khaoz, Vargrav, ex-Oath, ex-Azaghal plus more). They play explosive, driving and harsh early to mid ‘90s second wave black metal that produces a freezing cold evil atmosphere. You can definitely hear influences from the classic early albums of Darkthrone, Immortal, Horna, Judas Iscariot, Satyricon, Graveland and the like. It is very well done here though; the music is filled with so much energy, venom and spite. The vocals of Werwolf are biting and ruthless, throat ripping rasps that I could feel the audio daggers stabbing into my ears repeatedly. They may already be gone as a band, but Grieve left a memorable mark in a short period of time. Worshippers like myself who can not get enough of second wave early nineties black metal need a copy ‘Funeral’ in their collection.  - Dale        




"Anthems Of Mournful Despondency” CD, LP & Cassette

(Signal Rex)


This is a two man band with those men coming out of Ecuador (Wampyric Strigoi) and Chile (Lord Valtgryftåke) respectively. These two demons may have started a new band, but they are both very prolific and respected names in the UG black metal scene with a lengthy list of bands on their record like 13th Temple, Aurae Lunae, Dungeon Steel, Wampyric Rites, Evighetens, Gryftigæn, Lord Valtgryftåke, Pyreficativm, Ründgard and even more! It is also worth noting one band in particular worth singling out here which features that these two men is a trio known as Winterstorm. The music on here is absolutely saturated with a freezing, creeping aura of pure malice, which seeps into your bones and your mind turning your life blood into ink black venom. I am sure the recording on this release will turn off some, I must admit even myself I have been listening to too many slick, robust recordings lately that I had that immediate initial reaction. Then I settled into this low and somewhat raw production, it brings back those old feelings from the early to mid ‘90s second wave bm demos and albums I worshipped. I went from hesitant, to turning up the volume a little and coming to the conclusion that the recording on here is not only intentional, but nearing perfect for the marvelously cold and evil music on this album. This material relies heavier on an almost hypnotic atmosphere, rather than more of a high velocity and hate filled black metal style. I would say think of their style leaning slightly towards the early releases of say Burzum or Forgotten Woods than the blitzing speed of much of the second wave. The tortured yet somewhat obscure howling vocals in particular can not help but remind of those early Burzum releases, in a very good way. The CD version of this release is out this month of December, while the other two listed formats are scheduled for a March 2023 release date. If you worship that cult feeling of the early days of the second wave of black metal, and like myself you can never get enough of it, when it is well done and filled with deep dedication then you should absolutely get this album.  - Dale          




“Durance Of Lightless Horizons” CD, LP & Tape

(Blood Harvest Records)


This is my very first foray into the world of the Canadian band known as Gutvoid. The band formed in 2019 and thus far has released an EP, a digital single, and another single song on a 4 way split. This young band features members of Fumes, Grotesque Mass, Intestinal Hex, Wexler’s Prime and Exsanguinate. The band plays a brutal yet quite meandering style (I mean that in a positive way), that is quite emotive and at times kind of introspective. They also create an atmosphere that is dark and suffocating yet despite drawn out nature of a lot of their material is, to me it never gets boring. It is not driving or direct music in an aggressive way yet I still feel a simmering barbarity emanating from it nonetheless. Despite how slow a lot of it is, despite how long the songs are (ranging from 7 to 15 minutes!), I don’t know that I would call their style doom death, but it would not be right off the scent to do so either. I like the growling vocals on here, they mimic the music wonderfully, drawing out the vocalist’s growls and at the same time injecting an inflection to his voice that draws out and reflects the reflective, poignant aspects of the slow moving gloomy aura that makes their style so imminently enticing and an absorbing listen for me. When I listen, despite Gutvoid taking their own spin on them, I hear a lot of influence from bands like Bolt Thrower, early Incantation, Demilich, Timeghoul, Gorguts, Blood Incantation, Tomb Mold and bands in that vein. This album is an impressive debut and has me interested, even eager, to see what comes next for them.  - Dale   




"“Mortal Ones Scream In Horror” MCD

(Caligari Records)


It is a true pleasure for an old underground metal bastard like me, when I find bands with young members who worship old metal and old school death metal in this case! I mean look at these guys they are so young, and one guy has an Infester shirt on, fuck yeah! This trio play primitive filthy death metal in the traditional vein on the early works of bands like Autopsy, Infester, Demilich, Repulsion, Incantation, Rippikoulu, Funebrarum. Some newer comparisons for them may be countrymen like Obliteration or Undergang. I hold all of those bands in high esteem, so it is probably little surprise I like the pounding, trance inducing audio brutality and suffocating atmosphere produced by Haalbuaer so much. Those chunky grinding guitars are so damn barbaric and those hammering drums are wrecking my neck listening to this, it brings back nostalgia for the early days when I put on a classic “Mental Funeral” album when it came out! The vocals of Stian “Masticator” Hjertvik (also editor of the new print fanzine Black Blood) are such great obscured shadowy growls, they add an aura all by itself and remind slightly me to again early Autopsy or maybe early Grave too – excellent. It all combines into a massive horrifying wall of sound that permeates everything with it’s darkness. I see this EP (or mini-album) at most listed in multiple places as an album. I mean call me an old goat, but 21 minutes is at least ten minutes short of the bare minimum of what I would class an album. I just wanted throw that out there so you know what you are getting. But do not let that deter you from getting this killer release!  - Dale       




“Pimeyden Kosketus” Digipak CD & LP

(Purity Through Fire)


Hautakammio comes from the supremely fertile Finnish black metal scene. This band is a triumvirate made up of guitarist/songwriter Grim666 (Grimirg, Kalmankantaja, Lathspell, Order of The White Hand, Seal of Beleth), lyrics & vocals by Vritrahn (White Death, Infernal Darkness, Vritrahn-Werwolf) and drummer Lima (Amberian Dawn, Azaghal, Lathspell, Wyrd) and as you can see they are very experienced men in the UG scene. The band has been in slumber after releasing two albums in ’13 & ’14 shortly after forming, but now have returned with their long awaited third full-length. Hautakammio have managed to skillfully marry old second wave black metal’s raw darkness and hate with the newer epic sweeping bm style to excellent effect. There are some really affecting rhythms that are serpentine-like as they slice through the cold audio fog, and run in between many sections of put your head down burst forward blazing speed sections. No worries there is no folk-y or progressive shit here, it is raw, forceful and hate filled black metal all the way. The vocals of Vritrahn are very much like his vocals in the band White Death. They are absolutely freezing cold classic black metal rasps that are so powerful and as smooth as a sharp dagger across flesh. If you are into relentless, icy black metal that also has a real depth and scope to it then you should give ‘Pimeyden Kosketus’ a listen immediately, if not sooner.  - Dale     




“The Great Conjuration” CD, LP & Cassette

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


This is the third album for Heads For The Dead, which for those who do not know is one of those international bands with four members spreading across the globe from the US to the UK, Germany and Sweden. Their ranks feature members of well known UG bands like Sentient Horror, Just Before Dawn, Wombbath, Revel In Flesh, Massacre, Gore Brigade, Human Harvest and a bunch more actually! Their music is very active and high energy yet always with a mind towards horror movie soundtrack dramatics (almost like a death metal version of King Diamond, minus those diverse high pitched vocals of course) woven into the heavy brutality of their malevolent style. It is a real balance between those emotive creepy elements and the crushing barbarity/speed and the band seem to have really struck that balance very well on the majority of this album. I should probably mention the guitar work as well, as there is some excellent fills and some short smoking guitar solos along the way. The vocals of Ralf Hauber is another feature of this band I enjoy from his excellent deep mainstay growling vocals, to the cool array of accent vocals flourishes that include rasping screeches and disturbing spine-chilling howls. Despite them being in different countries and I am sure sending files back and forth, the music while not perfect in this area is more cohesive and flows better than you would think. This is for death metal fans that are really into bands like Entombed, Grave, Dismember, Bolt Thrower and similar sounding bands mixed with a love of horror movie soundtracks atmospherics and histrionics. It is a smooth ride until the last couple songs where they go off script and suddenly throw in some punky thrash crossover bits, which in my opinion stunts the flow of the good momentum they had built up on this album to that point. If you are more into just straight up death metal, you should still find plenty to like here, but things may get a little dramatic with a bit too much going on for your liking. It is a mixed bag at times, but still definitely worth checking out.  - Dale     




“Forfedrenes Taarer” 12” LP & Cassette

(Edged Circle Productions)


You know I was quite into some of the bands in the style known as pagan black metal, during the middle to late ‘90s. Which, at it’s base back then was the relatively recent, and burgeoning second wave of black metal, but it often incorporated more of an inspiration of flowing, sweeping organic approach folded into the previous cold hatred musically. This new element was a organic musical representation of the pagan worship, of the old ways, of the earth and it’s natural forces and dark inspirations. I was quite into this for a while, while I still am, but not as nearly as actively as I once was. As, somewhere around the early 00’s it seemed like a lot of those bands, and that style, seemed to fade and/or morph into incorporating a lot of things like flutes, timpani, clean vocals and just outright heavy melding of folk music. I think it is these aforementioned elements that kind of strangled, or at least muted my feelings for that pagan bm musical movement, and except for a couple exceptions, I moved on. This brings me to Heimland, who I feel in many ways pick up that mantle, from the middle to later ‘90s pagan metal style and tradition on “Forfedrenes Taarer”. You have that fluid, streaming guitar, and song construction I mentioned earlier, mixed with a nice dose of the second wave bm freezing hatred to create a dynamic yet still somewhat uncompromising mixture. Basically they revive that cool style that endeared me to this style all those moons ago. This even extends to the vocals somewhat in this style, they feature as their foundation the evil, grating classic black metal rasp, but they also like the music, extends slightly to add some elongated, flowing yet again uncompromising accents that conjure up those epic, sinister nature induced emotions. It is kind of hard for me to describe right now, Haha. As I listen to Heimland I can not help but think back to the early releases of Enslaved, Kampfar, Månegarm, Taake, Helheim and the like are swimming through my head while I listen to this band. Heimland is for me, in that old musical sweet spot of caustic frozen, simmering hatred, and the epic all-encompassing musical mists sinuously creeping through the dark forests.  - Dale       




“Fire, Frost And Hell” CD & LP

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


This is the new band of vocalist Dave Ingram of the mighty Benediction. Something you may know already about me is that I am a big Benediction fan and I consider Dave Ingram to be one of the very elite vocalists in the history of death metal! So you might say I am coming into this review on a brand new band more than a little biased. Because of Ingram’s vocals it is hard for me at times not to think of Benediction. But besides the fact Hellfrost And Fire also play old school death metal, the music on here is fairly different than his main band. The music here is a little more groove oriented, a little more lively and energetic in the song construction yet still heavy and hard hitting. There are some great, tasty guitar solos on here courtesy of guest musician Scott Fairfax (Memoriam UK, As The World Dies) that add some depth to the proceedings. Then there is the vocals and they are as you might expect absolutely magnificent, such deep growling with good range and dripping with supreme charisma. It is a joy for me to repeatedly listen to a master applying his craft with such skill and conviction. I like the music, not nearly to the level of Benediction, but it is still really solid enough and enjoyable death metal. The vocals alone are worth the price of admission my friend – come for the music and stay for the vox.  - Dale   




“Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags” CD, LP & Cassette

(Peaceville Records)


There is a lot of good one man bands nowadays, but there is a rare few that operate at an elite level. This is my first run-in with Scottish phenom known as James McBain and his solo band. But, the whirlwind that quickly faced me here, even upon the first listen, said to me Hellripper belong to that elite group. I mean James plays everything on here at a high level, from the performances on each individual instrument, to the songwriting, and it is damned impressive! The music on here is a touch hard to pin down, even though it is consistent in form and consistently extreme, fast and detailed. But if you pinned me down, I guess I would call it black metal influenced speed metal, with a healthy helping of thrash on the side. The music on here is so classic sounding it hurts, it has that splendid old school feel, with killer riffs, and smooth song composition that that transitions beautifully from vigorous tempo changes, to emotive melodic passages, and rip ‘n tear metallic shred, all with silky flow. Hell, even James’ vocals are superb, featuring a mixing of heavy metal vocals, speed and thrash metal screams topped with gruff shouts, even some clearly sung yet acidic poison black metal rasp and more. Just his vocal performance on this record is a diverse tour de force; he puts everything into those vocals, such a satisfying listen. I do not know if his past material over the last eight years is at this pinnacle, but clearly I need to go back and listen, because I have apparently been missing out. This is must have, in my opinion, for metal fans in general but for sure for die hard ‘80s metal fans that worship the classic releases from bands like Venom, Sodom, Destruction, Iron Maiden, Kreator, Motorhead, Slayer, Bathory, Bulldozer or some newer bands like Aura Noir, Midnight or Toxic Holocaust. Great fucking album!  - Dale      




"The Lore Of The Cloaked Assembly” CD & LP

(Purity Through Fire Records)


Despite this British band having been around for a long time, a decade in fact since releasing their first demo and despite releasing an EP and a couple split EPs, this release marks their debut album. The five members of this band have not been dormant during those years however, no, they have been creating audio darkness in many bands like Morte Lune, Nefarious Dusk, Skiddaw, Thy Dying Light, Torver, Úlfarr, Volition, Whinlatter, Absinthropy and yes even more! The music is hateful and cold second wave black metal that gives off a snarling and caustic sound. The guitars have a slightly grittier and maybe metallic edge than some of the earlier second wave traditional bm music, but that great archetypical sinister aura is burning ever so bright here. Their songwriting has that creeping evil atmosphere, but often resides in the central pacing then speeding up and running headlong into the night for short bursts to strong effect. I do not often notice the drumming in a standout way within this old style of black metal yet I must say J.D. puts in a strong performance here. As does vocalist Damien Fowler who is a rasping and howling demon and really commands things with his acidic vocal emanations. If you are like me and hold great reverence for traditional second wave black metal, as much of it as you can get your claws upon, then I am certain you will like this strong debut album from Helvellyn. I do hope the long periods of silence from this band shorten, as I look forward to hearing more from this band sooner than later.  - Dale          




“Mystikk & Mørke” MCD & 12” MLP

(Purity Through Fire)


There is precious little information that I could find on this band. However, the bit I do know is this band is a duo, consisting of Letaliis and Peregrinus. I know Peregrinus from his other one man bands Solus Grief and Unholy Craft, he is also in Praefuro and Darkest Bethlehem. Now, I only see this Letaliis listed in one place as doing the lyrics and other non-musical things, so outside of lyrics I assume, at least musically, this is another solo band from Peregrinus. The guy is quite prolific, I must say, he has only been releasing with these bands for around two years yet has released six albums and a bunch of demos, EPs etc… in this time!! I am not sure if he is in a super flowing creative state, or has been writing most of this music for years and finally unleashed it all?! Anyways, on to the music of Hjemsokt, which is early to middle ‘90s second wave pagan black metal sung in this bands native Norwegian. The music combines the harsh elements of the cold second wave of Norge bm (ala bands like Darkthrone, Immortal, Aeternus, Satyricon) and mixes it with a more free flowing and sweeping melodic style of bands such as the early works of Enslaved, Kampfar, Hades, Helheim, Borknagar, Taake. I am a bigger admirer of the former bands than the later ones mentioned, but I do like the early releases of a lot of those bands too. Hjemsokt I think marry those two styles quite well, with an even hand and possibly lean a tad more into the harsher territory. Which is how I like it, and when it is done very well with a lot of thought put into the songwriting, from the flow and emotional impact, as on here, then I am pleased as a listener. I should mention the rasping, shadowy vocals, like the rest of the music it conveys the freezing anger along with an epic style delivery, which reflects the more introspective streaming atmospherics. I must say it is refreshing when I see labels/bands call releases under thirty minutes in length EPs, or in this case a mini-album. There are so many out there (and I think it is a rip job) calling releases that are 15, 20 or 25 minutes like this release an album. As a listener, I appreciate the honesty and upstanding behaviour and am always more motivated to further support those labels and bands. So, hails to the band and record label, not only for that fact, but also producing an excellent mini-album that should gratify die hard followers of this amazing style of black metal birthed in the nineties.  - Dale    




“Kuoleman Kirjo" Digipak CD & Gatefold DLP

(W.T.C. Productions)


It is always a pleasure to get my hands on a new release from one of the true legend bands in the black metal scene! This Finnish horde regale us with their 10th full-length album (plus of course demos and countless splits and EPs in their 25+ year history) of musical majesty, which clocks in at over one hour of music. I got into Horna fairly early on in their existence with their second demo “Hiidentori”, and then I did my first of two interviews with the band shortly after their debut album was released in 1998. I am a bit of a bm purist at times and think bands should stick to their roots (or change their name if they want veer off in a completely different direction), and you can point to a band like Horna as a shining example of this. I mean sure they vary their patented second wave bm sound from time to time, from release to release, but they always keep that evil core as their anchor point. "Kuoleman Kirjo" while still the cold hateful black metal they have always been known for, it has a bit more of an epic feeling to it with free flowing melodious riffs that sweep across your mental landscape like a rapidly creeping fog. The main vocals are classic bm rasps with a slight ominous sounding husky undertone to them, vocalist Spellgoth does pull from his arsenal at times to accent that main vocal with a myriad of yells, hollers and the like. There are often some subtle guitar nuances going on here, if you are paying close enough attention that are quite enjoyable for me. Second quick one is while I enjoy the drumming on Horna releases, I rarely focus upon them or truly notice them specifically, but the drums and performance from LRH on here is a strong element on this album. This release is a bit less aggressive than some of their past material; it instead focuses on taking you on an all-encompassing melancholic and crepuscular cerebral journey. The main man, only founding member and chief songwriter & lyricist Shatraug just keeps endlessly marching along, prolifically creating great freezing black metal for Horna (among other bands he is involved with) for going on three decades! He has my utmost respect and admiration, hail Horna!  - Dale    




“Altar of Depravity” CD

(Blasphemous Creations Of Hell / Plague Demon Records)


Ohio's one man black metal band Howling returns with their debut full-length release. ‘Altar Of Depravity’ contains eight tracks of brutal and hateful black metal at it's  finest. Musically the band mixes both extremely fast black metal and some slower more controlled musicial passages into it’s songwriting. The guitars are played with some memorable patterns and feature skillful writing. The drumming is played with hyperspeed blast beats that are forceful, intense and violent in it’s delivery. The vocals are harsh, demonic black metal screams and stabbing screeches. Their are some gruff growls and screams also mixed in throughout some of the songs. If you are a fan of Howling's previous releases (demos or EP) then do not miss out on this massive debut album.  - Patrick   




"Godslastering Hymns Of A Forlorn Peasantry" CD, LP & Tape

(Iron Bonehead Records)


Hudler is a one woman band from Oregon, but that woman who also goes by the same name as the band Hudler (aka Marz Riesterer) is originally from Belgium. She conjures up evil tremolo picked black metal that has that raw metal edge to it, which for me, puts it’s influences in the early ‘90s second wave of black metal. But it is more akin to the other side of the coin from that era, which means it is not the Scandinavian second wave, but rather the bm movement and sounds brought forth in the early works by bands like her countrymen Ancient Rites, as well as Varathron, Master’s Hammer, Kawir, Root, Mortuary Drape, Grand Belial’s Key, Kampfar etc… There are brief passages and an entire song like “Purgations of Bodily Corruptions” where there is more prominent melody mixed in than you would normally except from a band playing this sort of harsh style. I must admit that is my least favourite aspect of the Hudler sound, but it is not overused, so it is not a real problem either. The music as mentioned while raw and caustic, also mixes in a healthy amount of eerie synth as an adjunct whispering in the darkness throughout the album. Hudler’s vocals are most often a coarse yelled growling hiss mix, but is almost always accompanied with a freezing undercurrent of classic black metal rasp. I quite enjoy those vocals. This is a really impressive piece of work to come from one person, and I can see / hear clearly what enticed a great label like Iron Bonehead into wanting to release this enjoyable piece of dark musical art.  - Dale        




“Deranged” CD EP, 12” Vinyl EP & Cassette EP

(Dark Descent Records & Me Saco Un Ojo Records)


This is my first dance as reviewer, or listener, to Hyperdontia yet they are not a new band having already released two albums, and a slew of EPs and splits. Their members, who spread out across the countries of Turkey and Denmark are even longer in the tooth in the UG than Hyperdontia, as band. Their members have seen time in bands like Decaying Purity, Septage, Apparatus, Sulphurous, Diabolizer, Taphos, Phrenelith and more. Now, I see this band listed everywhere as a straight up death metal band, and to be fair they are that in spades, not sure about past releases, but their thrash metal game is also strong here. Their material has really good flow, and is also really like chunky heavy, despite them being quite technical and a bit busy at times. The transition work through that crushing heavy sound and intricate songsmith-ing, is silky smooth, showing off the maturity of the musicians involved. The vocals, courtesy of guitarist Mathias Friborg are fantastic on this recording; he has some strong range and variation on his myriad of subtle growling voices, which I find quite satisfying. The material is fast and lends itself very well to headbanging along, I am sure they are a good live band, assuming with the country divide that they do indeed even play live. There is a dark and evil yet swampy aura that spreads across their music, which is the perfect counterpoint to the sharp crispness of the technicality, and hectic song structures. I think fans of bands like Disciples Of Power, Phrenelith, Incantation, Ripping Corpse, Dead Congregation, Sadus, Gorguts, Immolation etc… will love this shit.  - Dale   




"Caledonian Black Magick" MCD & 12" EP

(The Sinister Flame)


Ifrinn are apparently from Scotland and for all I know a one man band even, it is one of those deals where we are not allowed to know anything about the band member(s). I am not a fan of this practice, but it is their choice. So this is the bands second EP and second release overall, the first self-titled EP came out five years ago. This extended player at hand consists of three songs and runs about twenty-five minutes. The music on here is hateful and aggressive yet woven throughout that odious emotion is a concurrence of majestic and memorable rhythms and sweeping riffs. It would seem those two things would be like oil and water, but here they melt together very well into one freezing conglomerate of black metal musical ceremony. The vocals themselves are one of the biggest elements of the enmity; as they are coarse rasping yells with a growling undertone that also occasionally reflect the more emotive side of the musical sorcery. I am not sure if we will wait another five years, but you can contemplate that while you enjoy listening hypnotically to ‘Caledonian Black Magick’ repeatedly.  - Dale       




“Ikuinen Kirous” MCD & MLP

(Purity Through Fire)


This Finnish band has been around since releasing their debut record about six years ago. Since then they have released a slew of splits, EPs and a couple subsequent full-length albums. Despite this, maybe sadly for me, this is a my first encounter with this interesting band. The members of which have plenty of experience in other bands such as Order Of Nosferat, Nachtvrucht, Wrathage, Alkuharmonian Kantaja, From the Void, Serpentfyre and more. Now, normally I am not the biggest devotee of the heavy use of keyboards in black metal (what is often referred to as symphonic bm). However with Iku-Turso, the way they employ them is to my liking. They are haunting yet played aggressively at high speeds, which really suits and enhances the cold steel hatred of the underlying traditional instruments. The style of this band is challenging, while also quite familiar (it’s foundation surely being early ‘90s second wave Scandinavian black metal), they do things, and present certain elements in pretty unique ways at times. There is some good traditional black metal rhythms that will freeze your soul, as they drip with free flowing disgust. The one thing that might surprise here, with all of that icy vitriol I am describing is that the music is explosive, and filled with an electric grandiosity of adrenalized bombast. It is a truly interesting mixture. The vocals of Lafawijn (who is from The Netherlands, the only non-Finnish member) have this wonderful grating quality at times, always crackling with an intense energy that I found quite addictive to listen to. He varies his vocal style in some songs, sometimes within a single song. His vocals always possess a harsh classic bm rasping base, yet as mentioned, his arsenal of weapons is quite varied and within that seething hate he manages to express different shades of emotive hatred. There is some added vocals from other members from time to time (without over use IMO), such as a more clean style, but never done in any kind of lame operatic or pretty way. Anyone who reads a lot of my reviews, knows I hate it when labels, in my opinion, mislead people calling EPs an album. But this is quite the opposite, I seen one place call this an EP, the promo material here lists it as a mini-album, but it is 37 minutes long, so I would be comfortable calling this release an album. But, I respect it if the label and band see it as something shorter than that, and commend them for stating so, when it would be easy not to do so. This is some truly provocative black metal that does takes what we all know so well, and puts a different spin to it. You really should give this a try.   - Dale       




“Eight Headed Serpent" CD, LP & MC

(Osmose Productions)


The return of Impaled Nazerene! My experience with this legendary UG band goes back to almost to their very beginning. Impaled started out by releasing demo tapes way back in 1991. I had my first encounter with them when in late 1992 I purchased their “Goat Perversion” 7” EP, which believe it or not still resides in my collection all these decades later! That EP is one of my fave EP’s all time, it is so amazing and showed the band turning up their audio sickness, extremity and darkness to whole new levels that would be continued with their debut album the next year on Osmose Productions. Around this time frame I also tape traded for both of their ’91 demo tapes as well and bought their first album straight away. So you can see how much I am invested in this band since the early days. Yes okay, stop reminiscing and move on to more recent times now. ‘Eight Headed Serpent’ is the bands thirteenth full-length album, a new record from Impaled has become more of an event in the more modern history of the band, as this is just their second album in the last ten years. While other veteran bands of the scene have matured or expanded horizons or spread their wings and shit, or even got more progressive and/or sold out for a period of time or for all time. That is not Impaled Nazerene, not even for a minute, they only go one direction and that is fucking intense, dark and diabolical! They still play their patented brand of lightning speed black metal with some of the most severe accents of raunchy punk and dark death metal. It is an audio cacophony / tsunami if you will of violence, and caustic sadism that dismantles, destroys and brutalizes everything in it’s path! You know despite how barbarous their musical blitzkrieg is, it has this memorable and infectious quality to it still. This aspect is furthered through the main man and main force behind I.N., which is Mika Luttinen (aka Slutti666) through his amazing throat ripping and shredding vocals. Those vox manage to convey unforgettable yet lecherous debauched cruel lyrics that tattoo themselves to your brain like a creeping virus. He even still employs (much to my delight) some of those same screeches and bellowing beast growls I fell in love with in 1992 when I bought that seven inch. As an extreme metal devotee going way back, how can you ask for anything more than a band 30 years later that has stayed so true to their roots and still deliver that fatal musical stab to your heart?!! I say you can not ask or expect nothing more from this legend band. I stand in reverence of Impaled Nazerene and worship at their altar of darkness and evil.  - Dale      




“In Nomine Diaboli” CD, LP & Tape

(Dark Descent Records)


I was and am a big fan of this veteran bands demo tape “Ceremony Of The Nine Angles”, which was released in 1992, which I tape traded for not long afterwards. The Texas band went on to release another demo and an EP, before calling it quits in the late 1990s. However, you can not keep true metal demons down forever as they reformed in 2009, and have been terrorizing the UG scene ever since. The news on this band is not all good, as “In Nomine Diaboli” is the final recording of founding member and drummer / keyboardist Ruben Elizondo, as he unfortunately passed away in 2021. Imprecation continues to stay true to the mighty and strong roots they set down at the start of the ‘90s this album. They still produce primitive, dark and gloomy death metal with that great old feeling that hits me with headbanging pangs of wistfulness and fury. They have always used keyboards as an accent, like a horror movie soundtrack for added effect in the background and they do it well. The drumming on here is a strong backbone for the band often transitioning back and forth with the music, transitioning from a brooding beat to flurries of ripping whiplash. Which also reflects their songwriting as a whole; it has a very ominous aura running through mid-paced simmering that eventually always gives way to short yet powerful bursts of neck wrecking speed. Another strong trademark of the bands patented sound is the shadowy, obscured and darkly emotive growling vocals of Dave Herrera. If you are an old fan of Imprecation or just a worshipper in general of ancient styled primal and sinister death metal then this will no disappoint.  - Dale     




“An Eternity Of Misery” CD & LP

(Iron Bonehead Records)


While not all things created by or out of the pandemic, and the ensuing lockdowns (which Italy was well known for early on) are necessarily bad. As in this case with In Grief, that sudden shutting out of the world and lack of movement helped create this interesting band. They are a trio that is very active in the UG scene as their ranks features members currently or formerly of bands like Necro, Congenital Deformity, Yakisoba, Vulfehrie, Profanal, Black Oath and more. In Grief produce some excellent, emotive and heavy death doom metal straight out of the early to middle ‘90s. The guitar work and songwriting is extremely poignant and they get that classic guitar sound down perfectly, not just sound but tuneful intonation of it all. The vocals are excellent and just reek of early nineties Nick Holmes, and that is good thing because I love his vocals from that period. In fact, I was just listening to the “Gothic” album while grocery shopping yesterday by timely coincidence. There is no denying the heavy influence of The Peaceville Three (Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride & Anathema), especially the early works of all three bands, with Paradise Lost’s first few releases weighing in the heaviest. The bio also mentions the classic “Clouds” album by Tiamat and that is spot on reference as well with a lot of the emotional notes and cadence of the music and vocals. On the song “Demons” they suddenly employ clean vocals throughout the majority of the song, and they are decent but... Now I know this is just my personal taste and hang ups, as I love doom death and I also worship classic clean doom metal with clean vocals (you know ala Sabbath, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus etc…). But, I am not a fan of either style mixing in growled vocals or clean vocals outside of a maybe a line or two, once in a while. As once you start doing that you move more into the category of the later works of Katatonia, Novembre or hell once again the Peaceville Three, but the later albums, it starts to feel like doom goth, ‘and I don’t like that’ as the Grandpa said in Lost Boys about his TV guide labels ripping the cover hehe. Okay I got that little nitpick out of the way, it did not however manage to affect how much I enjoyed this album. If you enjoy or even borderline worship like me, those classic death doom bands mentioned then you will love this, it is so well done and dripping with talent.  - Dale   




“Void Of Unending Depths” CD

(Memento Mori Records)


Innana is yet another band from the plentiful South American UG metal scene and as with the band Suppression I just reviewed originates specifically Chile. They present to us their third full-length album, and I believe their first release with Memento Mori. The band produces some top shelf death metal that displays superb musicianship and well seasoned songwriting. The lyrical content seems often center around the great writer H.P. Lovecraft and his intricate fascinating lore, which seems to rightly provide a fertile breeding ground for metal lyrical inspiration. It feels like this album has some of just about everything and it all is done with a high skill level and a true penchant for strong, memorable musical composition / construction. I mean do you want breakneck speed brutality, do you want headbang riffs, do you slower moody sections, do you technicality and creative songs, do you want smoking guitar solos?!! If any or all of that is what you crave then in the immortal words of a infamous rock band ‘if you want blood, you got it’ with this album. It will make your ears and your mind bleed! It is no mean feat to include all those stylistic elements and not come across as convoluted, too cluttered or just be a musicians wankfest. Yet Innana has an ability to bring you all of these things without it sounding too busy and impressively everything has good flow to it, which is kind of everything to me, when attempting to combine a seeming dichotomy of elements. I am honestly kind of blown away at how good this album is, this band deserves more attention, so buy a copy and I am confident you will be singing the bands praises just as I am.  - Dale      




“Unholy Deification” CD, LP & Cassette

(Relapse Records)


I do not think I have even reviewed very many Incantation releases over the decades. But my relationship as a listener goes really far fucking back, to a time when I bought very first classic 7’’ EP “Entrantment Of Evil” on Seraphic Decay Records. No, admittedly not right away when it was released, it was about a year later (1991) from a distro. I frequented at the time. That is how the UG scene worked back then, shit moved a lot slower and did not sell out online ten minutes after it was announced for pre-sale haha! Needless to say it was not long after that that that their debut album came out and I was already a fan, but now I was hooked on this great band. Speaking of “Unholy Deification”, it is a great death metal killer of a record, and these old veterans just keep battling it out and slaying all in their path. They keep churning out good stuff and they have maybe never been more influential in the UG death metal scene than they are now. There has practically been a whole new sub-genre battalion of bands that draw heavily on Incantation and handful of other choice bands (ala Autopsy, Bolt Thrower, Abhorrence, Convulsed etc…) in recent years. This album not surprisingly brings the doom end of things with a slow yet heavy hand, which produces some slow pulverizing sequences and produces a very necro graveyard creepy aura across all the music. While the doomy elements are permeating and strong, it is not like never speed up, because they do, just not that much. You are not going hear any extended grinding and juggernaut blast beating, but it is a nice mix of doom death and just embryonic death metal style song crafting. I really am enjoying this album a lot, for me, this is probably my fave out of the last four albums and that is saying something, believe you me. As oft is the case the underlying guitar work is classy and a underrated highlight. Maybe it is partly the trip down memory lane talking here, but I feel like the song construction on this album goes back a lot to those early days of yore, heavy and crushing yet straight forward in a very satisfying way. It is no secret that line up changes have been frequent with Incantation, with McEntee and drummer Kyle Severn being the only real constants since the beginning onward (though the great Chuck Sherwood has stabilized the bass guitar position for a long time now). This turbulence has certainly affected the important vocal position as much or more than any other, so in my opinion it was a very wise move for John McEntee to take over the vocal duties. I am sure he was reluctant to do so for many years, as it is probably a bit of a pain the ass live to deal with this and be the foundation of the band on guitar. But since 2004 he has managed to do so. This release is as good of an example as any that his excellent growling vocals fit the band like a glove. His vocals are the perfect compliment to the music and a big credit to the man to accept this challenge and succeed at a high level, after about twenty years in bands never doing vocals. While not every Incantation album is a classic, some are better than others, but their level of consistency of output and quality over a 30+ year term is pretty fucking impressive and highly commendable in my view. I would place “Unholy Deification” in that upper echelon of the say top half dozen (out of thirteen total) albums the band has released in their history. If you are a fan of the band you do need this one.  - Dale       




"Severed Within” CD & LP

(Willowtip Records)


Intonate rise up from the province of Quebec, which has a long and storied death metal scene history going back to the early days of the genre. Thusly producing some of it’s classic bands like Gorguts, Cryptopsy and Kataklysm (the tape trading nerd and patriotic side of me wants to throw in bands on that list like Dislocation, Gorelust, Lord Mortis, Necrotic Mutation, Neuraxis, Purulence and more! Haha). Intonate pick up this mantle and in some ways I can hear influences from all three of those heavy hitting bands I mentioned above, yet they put it all together and come away a slightly different sounding death metal style of their own. Intonate also form time to time, like to mix in slower and more atmospheric brooding sections into their usually epic length songs (ranging from 6 to 10 minutes each). It is actually a really nice juxtaposition to their mainstay of speedy brutality and intricate song structuring. There are so many little inventive nuances going on especially with the guitars that it will probably take you a bunch of listens for your ears and your cerebral cortex to drink in and absorb it all. I enjoy how guttural and abrasive the growling vocals are, as for me they add that bit of needed grit to all the polish and refined skill of the rest of the instruments on display. I have not mentioned the drumming yet, but if you are going to pull off a diverse technical death metal record, you need powerful and commanding drum work which Dominic Nucciarone brings all of to his kit. If quality techno death metal that is also deep and varied is your cup of tea, then you should look into getting a copy ‘Severed Within’ in your collection as soon as possible. Also keep a sharp eye on this promising young Canadian band, they are bound to really make a name for themselves going forward.  - Dale       




"“IV” CD, LP & Cassette

(Shadow Kingdom Records)


I reviewed this United Kingdom bands previous album, about five years ago. I had not looked into the member’s history that much, the last time around, something you know I usually like to do. I was a little surprised to find, that at least two of the members of this trio have quite an extensive black metal bands history. It is not that often that you see black metal musician’s crossing over into the doom realms in a big way. But Iron Void is just that, in spades, as they play a very satisfying brand of traditional doom metal with a heavy bent toward the old sounds of the genre. This album has a bit of a stoner doom fuzziness to their guitar sound, but the Void is definitely not a stoner doom band at all, besides that tangential element in their sound. It has been some time since I listened to their last album “Excalibur”, but just going off of memory, I feel this album has a little heavier and darker lean than that album, and not quite as upbeat and triumphant musically. Though having said that, the same great downtrodden, moody and melancholy trademark Iron Void aspects are very present here and welcome to my ears. I must say the aura and atmosphere they manage to consistently blanket the entire album with is pretty delicious, as is some of the splendid classy guitar work and nuances. The vocalist Jonathan Seale truly has a feel for those classic old school style vocals and puts in an excellent, emotive vocal performance here. I can not imagine this album not pleasing fellow doom diehards like myself who worship Black Sabbath, The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, Solitude Aeturnus, Pagan Altar, Pentagram, Saint Vitus and the like. So, if that applies to you, you know what to do.  - Dale       





“Watch You Burn” CD & LP

(Seeing Red Records)


I had heard this Florida bands name many moons ago, but I figured this is probably a different, newer band now under this name as well. You can imagine my surprise when I found out this is the same band! Intoxicated started out in 1992 (!!!) yet did not put out any recordings until their 1996 demo tape, followed by a full-length self-released recording in 1997. I have not been able to find anything on them of them ever breaking up, but all the same they did not release any new recordings for 23 years! Most of the members were in a band called Pain Principle during this time who were somewhat active during that period, so that likely had something to do with it. Yes, if you read my reviews very often, you know I am really into band histories and cross pollinations and the like. Another bit of my endless trivia is this album was recorded in Morbid Angel’s old rehearsal studio, which was “rehabbed and converted into a state-of-the-art studio” to record this great sounding album. I know, finally on to the music, Intoxicated manufacture old school deathrash with a smattering of crossover thrash tendrils that weave in and out of their music at times. With the experience level of it’s members it is no surprise that the well thought out songwriting sounds very mature and smooth. It is catchy and memorable times yet always keeping it’s eye on the chugging heaviness of it all. Despite my talk above of maturity, adept song construction and skillful playing, make no mistake this album at times just flat out rages and you can headbang like a maniac to it! Being from Florida that is where I hear a lot of influences from with bands like Death, Malevolent Creation, Obituary, Monstrosity, Brutality with hints of the aforementioned crossover stuff like early Nuclear Assault, early COC, DRI, Cryptic Slaughter and the like. Vocalist Erik Payne puts in a whirlwind performance on the mic, with a fiery and forceful display of classic death and thrash vocals of the storied days gone by. I am not sure if all readers know the man behind Seeing Red Records is also behind the great Redefining Darkness label, but he has been hitting it out of the park lately and has great taste in music, as evidenced by this killer record. Check it.  - Dale   




“Invoking In Darkness" CD

(Plague Demon Records / Blasphemous Creations Of Hell Records)


California's Isataii return with their second full length release, one of two this year alone for this prolific band. The album features nine songs of savage and brutal black metal at it's finest. Wvlfgar handles all the composing and writing the music for the band. For the most part the music is played with extremely fast and raw guitars that are done with a skillful writing ability. There are some slower, mid paced guitar passages intertwined within the songs. The drumming is done with hyperspeed blast beats that are performed with real intensity and some violent patterns. Lord T handles the vocals which are a mix of harsh and evil black metal screams and screeches. There are some gruff screams and growls used in a few of the songs as well. Isataii with “Invoking In Darkness” have unleashed a great full length release that should please all fans of chaotic and brutal black metal.  - Patrick      




“Garden Of Rot" CD

(Plague Demon Records / Blasphemous Creations Of Hell Records)


‘Garden Of Rot’ is the prolific Isataii’s third full length release (and second album this year!), which features seven songs and a run time of 36 minutes. The music on this new release is still traditional black metal that Isataii is known for. But the music seems more controlled and mid paced in the delivery than their last album. Each song is crafted and composed with a great writing ability. The guitars are played with some extremely well performed mid paced gloomy passages. The guitars do speed to a faster pace throughout some tracks, which helps to give each a song it's own identity. The vocals are raw, grim black metal screams and deadly screeches. Isataii has released another masterpiece of black metal showcasing the bands ability to create traditional, straightforward yet ominous black metal music.  - Patrick      




“The Hallowed” CD & Double LP

(Atomic Fire Records)


The American heavy metal legends are still alive! It is damn impressive in my book that 40 years (!!!) after their first release, the band still has three original members in the band. Despite my being a fan of this band going back into the ‘80s with their debut album, which was released in my native Canada by the mighty Banzai Records, I must confess to losing track of them somewhere along the way. I believe I lost track of their activities after their solid 2001 album “Mechanized Warfare”. Nonetheless, it is good to re-connect with them after all these years. I should also note for metal history buffs like myself, this album is out on Atomic Fire Records, which is the new-ish label of Markus Staiger, whose name you might recognize as the founder and long time former owner of Nuclear Blast Records. Alright, yes, I digress. It is incredibly cool to see, and hear for that matter, sixty year old dudes still producing and playing classic heavy metal! This is exactly what you get on ‘The Hallowed’, no wimp out shit here; you get some stylish and mature heavy metal with superb performances from all corners. The boys still know to write interesting heavy riffs, and tasty leads, alongside catchy and memorable songwriting. Possibly one of the most impressive things is Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin’s vocals still sound amazing, all these decades down the line. He may be an elder statesman, who is within spitting distance of retirement age with his AARP card coming in the mail soon, but this bad ass can still belt it! He still has that silky smooth voice that runs up and down the register, and he can still hit those siren highs with seeming ease and power. I love to listen to this man sing, whether it is in his other bands Satan’s Host or Titan Force, and especially Jag Panzer of course. This album is comes recommended from me, to any newer school and above all old school power heavy metal diehards.  - Dale      




“Katakomba” CD & LP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


Katakomba is a new band out of Stockholm, Sweden having in the last few years of their existence released an EP and a couple single songs on digital download. They now make the jump from that to a full-length album, which can be a lot for a young inexperienced band formed right out of high school. But let me tell you these Swedes are up to the challenge. The riffs on here are massively heavy, fuzzed out cruelty that batters and crushes you. This is backed superbly with some creative song construction that really kept my interest up; as well underneath the brutality they manage to intertwine sometimes brief yet always infectiously catchy melodies that do not to take away from the heaviness of it all. The growling vocals of Fabian Brodén are killer and inject a certain level of emotion and charisma to the sound that draws me to them and enjoy the hell out of them. Those vocals remind me slightly of Nicke Andersson’s on the classic “Clandestine” album. So speaking of influences I definitely hear some Bloodbath and Dismember with a strong dose of Entombed on here, but the secondary guitar work and some of the songwriting reminds me of old US death metal bands like Possessed, Morbid Angel, and Death. Speaking of that secondary guitar work above, it is in the form of some interesting nice fills and short but smoking solos. There is a cavalcade of guest spots on a few of the songs featuring either vocals or guitar solos from people like Mats Andersson (Skam & Wretched Fate), Adrian Selmani (Non Divine Sun & Wretched Fate), Niklas Sandin (Lik & Katatonia), and Tomas Åkvik (Nale, Lik & Bloodbath). For me this is a strong debut for this young death metal band, a band to keep an eye on in future, until then you should get your mitts on this.  - Dale     




“Peace Through Tyranny” MCD & MLP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


The bio states Kill Division’s mission statement is to tear down and cut through the elements that divide us as people. It would appear with their album cover this task is focused mainly on America, but I am sure it can apply to other places as well. They make sure to say they oppose both the left and right politically, religion and other areas of society that seek to divide and pit us against one another. The band is made up of some really heavy hitters in the metal scene with members that include the drummer of Megadeth, the guitarist of Gruesome, as well as the former guitarist and vocalist of Malevolent Creation. The final member is interestingly Jeramie Kling on bass, which for those unaware he is the drummer for a number of bands like Goregäng, The Absence, Ex-Dio, Inhuman Condition, Ribspreader and Venom Inc. Okay, my fascination with metal band & scene lineage satisfied, finally on to the music itself which is raging fucking grindcore! The band is clearly big fans and want to keep the traditions going from old grindcore and deathrgrind bands of yore like Terrorizer, ‘90s Napalm Death, Repulsion, Brutal Truth and the like. You can imagine with this line-up of musicians that everything is top shelf from the performance to the execution and songwriting. The vocals courtesy of Kyle Symons (ex-Malevolent Creation, ex-HatePlow) are absolutely commanding, in-your-face and brutish growls that give Vincent with Terrorizer and Barney Greenway a real run for their money. Obviously you will have to love the bands mentioned above, and turn classic deathgrind and grindcore in general to want to get this release. But, if you do fit that bill as a grind devotee then I can not imagine you not having a mental world bending downfall, as you thrash about sending yourself straight into utopia banishment.  - Dale      




"Úpal” CD, LP & Cassette

(Willowtip Records)


This is the one man American band Kostnatění, who have previously put out a demo, an EP, and their debut album over the past five years. Much like all good one man bands, had you not known everything was created and performed by one individual, you would have never guessed it to be so. Such is the case with Kostnatění, who produce an extreme, harsh and evil style of music yet this is also a tremendously progressive and inventively unique style. By that, I mean main man D.L. very skillfully incorporates some interesting, and distinctive melodies from I don’t know where, it sounds like it could be some sort of middle eastern, Asian or possibly African traditional music influence. I know, I know, that would immediately get my back up too, and think ‘oh hell no’, but hear me out. This guy incorporates it into his song construction in a way where it does not water down, lighten up or kill the extreme black metal core of the music. I say that, for some that might not turn them off at all, but normally that would turn me off, as it does in bands that heavily mix folk music into second wave black metal or heavily into death metal. Most of the time, that sort of thing effectively kills the essence of the extreme music it is mixed into, rendering it largely impotent to me. I mean do not get me wrong there are brief moments of that, but they are few and far between, and relatively minor. Mostly it just adds a new dimension to the harshness and the evil black metal sounds. I do not think you could even combine it this way without being careful not to let dilution over power anything. It takes some vision and talent to pull it all off; these are things D.L. clearly possesses, and to me it seems to be his intention. I could see in future where he could lose the plot; I hope it does not though, as he seems to have found a superb balance and own style on ‘Úpal’. I see some comparing this to early Deathspell Omega, I can see it, but to me Kostnatění while somewhat similar, still walks it’s own path. I love when the vocals get really crazy and out of control, like a tortured spirit mixed of early Burzum vocals with the vocals of Canadian UG legends Lust. If you are okay to try out something that is progressive, adventurous yet sinister and extreme you should give this album a try. This is coming from someone who is often hard headed, and a bit of a purist with metal of all stripes.  - Dale        




“Kriegszittern” CD

(Chaos Records)


This bands name is the German word for Shell Shock, for those curious. I should get this out of the way, despite Kriegszittern only having released one full-length, this is a compilation release that contains said debut album “Yellow Cross”, as well as their recent “Stratofortress” EP plus a few unreleased songs recorded live. The sounds this German horde produce are very much old school death metal, somewhat primitive and convey a feeling of subterranean claustrophobic gloom. The music is generally middle paced, but does fluctuate often into slightly speedier realms, as well as down tempos into doom death territory. The whole thing has this aura to it I love; it reminds me to the atmosphere of the demos and early albums of the almighty Grave. I can definitely hear other influences besides Grave in here though, like strong smatterings of Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Morbid Angel and early Autopsy. The vocals here are great roiling growls and sound like what I imagine a disturbed demon would emanate upwards from deep down in the pits leading to hell itself. The production on the EP is so fucking thick and heavy! The guitars will reverberate in your chest! I love that sound, not that the sound on the album is not great in it’s own way, but damn it does hit you when that “Stratofortress” EP kicks in. The live song recordings sound good and fit in more seamlessly with the studio material than I anticipated it would. Yeah man this is my kind of fucking brutal death metal, the sort that has that old school flavour with an atmosphere of suffocating darkness along with a necrotic audio cocktail of purely sinister pernicious intent.  - Dale     




"Black Forest Path" CD EP

(Blasphemous Creations Of Hell / Plague Demon Records)


Kuupyr is a solo project coming out of the Michigan black metal scene. ‘Black Forest Path’ is the debut demo that was originally self released, but has now gotten a cd release through Plague Demon Recs. and Blasphemous Creations Of Hell. The first track "Black Forest Path" is fast, raging song with extremely fast guitars. The guitars, despite being played at such a lightning fast pace features some well executed patterns. The vocals are raw and grim black metal screams. "Blood Moon Arcana" is up next and continues the aggressive style with hyper speed blast beats. The guitars in this song are played with some blazing and crazed guitars, but there is some calmer mid paced guitar passages later in the song to give it a nice mix. "Taikuus" is the final track and is a little more calm and not as aggressive as the first two songs. But the music is raw and brutal in it's delivery. Musically Kuupyr plays raw and primitive black metal, but main man Oleh knows how to write and create some really devastatingly evil bm music that l for one look forward to hearing more of very soon.  - Patrick        




"Saturnian Bloodstorm” CD & LP

(Argento Records & Not Kvlt Records)


Lamp Of Murmuur (my brain for some reason whenever I read that name, changes the a to a u) is a one man band from Los Angeles, California. Now I am familiar with Lamp, but not overly familiar with their output, as prior to this the only recordings I had by the band is one of their three 2019 demos, the debut recording “Thunder Vigil And Ecstasy”, and one of their two 2020 demos “The Burning Spears Of Crimson Agony”. So, I am little behind the game with this lone wolfs output, this album marks his third full-length, preceded by no less than five demos, three splits and a lone EP. While the black metal music on this recording may be slightly less lo-fi, and slightly less raw, not to mention a bit more controlled and focused, it is still not so different or any less haunting or deadly. My first listen through this album, before even looking at the song titles or reading the bio, I kept getting the feeling of the early albums of Immortal. Then I thought on the fifth song, man this track could be on the first Immortal album, and then the song title starts getting repeated again, and again “In Communion With The Wintermoon”, Immortal indeed! I very much dig it though, and I fucking love early Immortal unabashedly, so... Though I could maybe mention the guitar sound is actually a little more akin to “At the Heart of Winter”. While it is true that Lamp Of Murmuur rely on it, the highly effective and haunting synth, more than some it’s second wave bm peers. The traditional instruments of guitar and drums are still very high in prominence, as well as strong in the mix of this recording. Both (somewhat separate in my mind) elements are prominent, and integral to the music of here and a great balance has been struck, so as not to drown out one or the other. Despite the cold and callous nature of the cold black metal sound, there is also a fair amount of melody and memorable rhythm injected in Lamp’s audio darkness. The vocals of Mister “M” is also a highlight for me, some very commanding and understandable harsh rasping, again quite Abbath-like, which inject a level of intensity and venom into the proceedings. “Saturnian Bloodstorm” is an excellent album, and clearly also a message to me that I need to go back and collect more of this one man project’s back catalog.  - Dale         




"Shattered Vanity” CD, LP & Cassette

(Shadow Kingdom Records)


Leathürbitch out of Oregon is a new band for me, despite this being their second album. They craft some heavy / speed metal that grabbed me pretty quickly, and just does not seem to want to let go. In my view, a great vocalist is needed for this style, and Joel Starr really brings it on this record. Joel has that slick and strong mid level base to his voice, but seemingly hits various shouts, yells and screams on the wild siren register with ease, wonderfully fleshing out that smooth base. This band has a penchant for high octane, rapid paced metal that will keep you engaged and keyed up, it will probably force you to do a little headbanging too, which is never a bad thing. I dig the high speed animated yet classy sounding guitar fills and solos, which dip in and out with excited purpose. Despite the up tempo pacing and energy that often is the bands trademark; they do manage to leave space for emotive beats and sections that bring a little extra weight to the proceedings. Which is all highlighted by some really catchy and memorable songwriting, punctuated by infectious choruses and lyrics that will continue to swim through your brain after you are done listening. If I was going to make even an admittedly tiny critique, they could sprinkle in a few more of those more moody, slightly slower sections now and again. I think it would add even more depth to their already solid material. This album is one for diehards of old school heavy metal and speed metal. I would say this is for fans of stuff like Raven, Savage Grace, King Diamond, Accept, Manilla Road, early Grave Digger, early Motley Crue, early Queensryche, Jag Panzer, Helstar, Omen, Sanctuary and the like. If those bands and that period of time float your boat, sail away with Leathürbitch.  - Dale       




"Self Titled” Digipak CD

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


This band is a triumvirate of musicians that are storied veterans in the scene and include vocalist Marc Grewe (Insidious Disease & longtime vocalist of the excellent Morgoth), drummer Jon Skäre (Consumption, Defiatory, Gore Brigade) and on guitar/bass is the extremely busy Rogga Johansson (Paganizer, Ribspreader, Revolting, Massacre, Johansson & Speckmann plus tons more!). Leper Colony produce some really quality, multifaceted yet extremely faithful old school death metal music that I find pretty satisfying. They bring to the table killer headbang inducing riffs, heavy brutality and all the while, at times, manage to inject a level of atmosphere and emotive tension. There is some solid guitar work on here with some nice guitar fills and the odd smoking solo. The drumming here is commanding and powerful, while surely also benefiting from a really solid drum production on this record. That brings us to the vocals, as good as the music is Grewe’s performance is a fucking tour de force, where he combines a myriad of styles together including his trademark monstrous growl and sprinkles in off-kilter, unhinged screams and screeches, all topped off with a Tom Araya style gruff thrash voice. The vocals are a real highlight for this album. If you are, as I am, a big old school death metal enthusiast and love classic stuff like Death, Morgoth, Asphyx, Pestilence, Slayer, Possessed, Cancer, Bolt Thrower, Obituary, Pestilence and the like then you will dig this album.  - Dale      




“Diabolical Omen Of Hell” CD, LP & MC

(Helter Skelter Prod / Regain Records)


Lord Mortvm is a new one man band from Norway and it is an interesting one. When I say new, I mean really new as this full-length is their debut recording and already a record deal. The music on here is heavy dark doom metal with stoner doom touches that is mixed with black metal and occult influenced metal in general. Yes, I know on paper and in theory mixing those genres together should result in an absolute musical train wreck. It is mildly shocking to me that this not only works, but it works really well. I guess in the right hands, with the right vision, and keeping the core roots of each of those genres seems to be the right modus operandi to create something quality. Some of the guitar on here features some fantastic classic doom licks and appetizing guitar fills that won me over. I would say traditional doom metal is the prominent base layer, but the stoner sound and the black metal atmosphere alongside sinister vocals is all well represented in the songwriting. Lord Mortvm is talented at creating an aura of audio darkness while at same time also expressing strong emotive feelings of oppressive sorrow and bleak gloom that is a hallmark of doom metal. I can definitely picture the listener in a dark room with reddish glow from a far off lamp, smoking a joint, chanting an incantation and welcoming Satan’s embrace. ‘Diabolical Omen Of Hell’ for me was a pretty satisfying mental journey that combines some of my favourite sounds, styles and eccentric dark feelings. I would have to recommend this to those who are possessed by the music of bands like Black Sabbath, Pentagram, early Mayhem, old Darkthrone, Electric Wizard, Orange Goblin, St. Vitus and the like.  - Dale  




“The Broken Seal” CD, Gatefold LP & Tape

(Dark Descent Records / Norma Evangelium Diaboli)


The shadowy and dangerous sounding Lvcifyre rise once again like dark fog out of the United Kingdom with their third album. This searing dyad is made up of active UG musicians guitarist/bassist/vocalist T. Kaos (Death like Mass, Sodality, ex-Hödur, ex-Sons of Serpent) and drummer Menthor (Bestia Arcana, Death like Mass, Enthroned, Epping Forest, Nightbringer, Voz de Nenhum). According the bio songwriter and main man Tom Kaos, despite some other releases along the way by the band, this album was seven hard fought years in the creation process and ‘the biggest mountain to climb so far’ in his many years as a musician. It is easy in some aspects to describe the bands sounds and in other aspects not so easy. The nucleus can be described as blackened death metal, but there is such a free flowing, spacious yet incredibly suffocating atmosphere and aura to the music. It is sort of like being covered in a huge wet audio blanket, shutting out all light and invoking a feeling of no escape. There is so much space for that gloomy ambiance to float, and wind its emotive self in between the simmering brutality that will suddenly pound you down. The growling vocals are great, they are so murky sounding as they transform and mutate between traditional deep growl, throaty dark whispering, some short expressive yelling outbursts, along with brooding and roiling growls. There are even obscured into the background sung/spoken word bits that remind me a little of something from the bands Root or Acheron “Rites Of The Black Mass” era. The music would not achieve it’s full effect, if those vocals did not possess the scope and range that they do as opposed to just straight up death growls. I am not saying Lvcifyre sound just like these bands, but all the same if you think you would like the idea of a very atmospheric, morose version of the earlier works of bands like Incantation, Morbid Angel, Immolation, Deicide, and some newer ones like Dead Congregation, Funebrarum then I think you will dig the hell out of this album.  - Dale     




"Monumental Ruin" CD, LP & MC

(Unspeakable Axe Records)


There is some interesting history to this Georgia band, and I am a sucker for band history trivia Haha. So Malformity was first birthed unto the UG scene way back in 1991 and released a couple demos over the next four years, before calling it quits. The two main members of the band from the start are Eric Snodgrass (bass & vocals) and Dan Ratanasit (guitar & vocals). Dan kicked around the scene in a couple bands like Amoebic Dysentery and Neuroblast, while Eric was even more active doing time in the bands Disillusioned, Vomit Froth, Eridian and more. Those two pillars of the band decided to revive Malformity in 2014, some twenty years later, bringing in Craig Vogel on drums and Glenn Sykes on guitars. Glenn’s name will likely ring a bell for some, he is a dual citizen of the USA and Sweden, Glenn has a long active history in the UG (going back to the start of the 1990s) in both countries having been in bands like General Surgery, Regurgitate, Coprophilia, Cardiovascular Sub-Hypothermia and more. Sykes himself in some ways reflects the music of this band, as it is a near faultless marriage of old school Floridian death metal and old school Swedish Sunlight death metal. I am big fan of both of those scenes and time periods, but Sweden during those earlier days of the genre for me is the pinnacle for my death metal worship. So it may be of little surprise that I enjoyed this long, long overdue debut album from Malformity. I am sure some newer dm fans will be expecting uber technicality, adventurous progressive song construction and/or all manner of outside of metal influences, and they will disappointed. Because what you do get much to my pleasure is skillfully written, proficiently executed high quality classic early/mid ‘90s death metal that is brutal and memorable. The dual growling from Eric and Dan are both deep, well done and differ just enough in tone to set each apart and play off each other nicely. As mentioned above the music is a wonderful mixing of old Swedish death metal and Floridian style that will have fans of the roots of genre howling and headbanging for more. That is what it did for me. Well done Gents.  - Dale        





“The Fires Of Heaven” CD & LP

(Armageddon Label)


Coming out of Boston Massachusetts is Malleus, who are a band that plays a ‘90s style of blackened death metal. ‘The Fires Of Heaven’ is the bands debut featuring eight songs of well delivered and executed death metal. The guitars are played with extremely fast paced passages that showcase some skillful playing. The guitarist does slow to a mid paced range while playing some interesting sequences and impressive song designs. In some of the songs you can hear the guitarist go into a thrashy pacing which gives the band even more of a unique and original sound. The drumming is done in the same vein with hyperspeed fast drums and solid drum work in general. As is the case with the guitarist, the drums do slow to a more middle paced range at times in the songs. The vocalist does a great job with his raw, raspy black metal screams that fit the bands musical style perfectly. If you are a fan of well played music then definitely give this impressive debut release by Malleus a spin, you will not be disappointed.  - Patrick   





“As Torment Prevails” CD

(Memento Mori Records)


I missed out on this Polish bands debut album some years back, but I am here front and center, for the follow up. The music on here is exudes a massive aura of grimy sickness and evil gloom that encapsulates the listener in a thick mist of musical oppression. This is doomy death metal of the highest order we are talking about, it may be on the slow side, but it never really slows to a crawl and always keeps the stream going in an ever flowing state of methodical forward momentum. They really have a great classic guitar sound on here, which they shape nicely through their song construction into some really heavy riffs you can plod your headbang along to. They also manage to mold the songwriting in a way that creates tension and foreboding, which is crafted in a very satisfying way to this listener at least. The influences this band draws from pulls straight at my heart, and mind, with so many great old bands I absolutely worship. I listen to this and I hear bits and pieces from Autopsy, Morgoth, Benediction, Rippikoulu, Grave, Asphyx, Obituary, Demigod, Convulse and a couple other wonderful bands cut from a similar cloth. While this album may not be different enough to be essential to some. But, if you are like this old goat, and you can not get enough of these old sounds, especially when it is done at this level then you know what you need to do. P.S. - If that is not enough to sell you, maybe the cherry on the top will be a great cover of “Caught In The Grip Of Winter”, from Autopsy’s ‘Mental Funeral’, which of course is one of the greatest dm albums of all time.   - Dale   




“Seraphic Punishment” CD & LP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


North Dakota’s Maul despite only releasing music since 2018 have already built up quite an impressive arsenal of demos, EPs, splits and even live releases. So, this band has put in the work so to speak, and come up the right way (according to me at least), which wisely sets up the foundation to build their first album ‘Seraphic Punishment’ upon. The vocalist Garrett Alvarado jumped out at me on first listen; he brings it with a strong repertoire of extreme metal vocals styles, from the slightly higher pitched acidic style to various screeches and elongated roiling howls, to an underpinning of great deep sinister growls. Some of the songs have this creepy horror soundtrack type of stirring layer, which is not achieved through wall to wall drenching of synth, which only serves the music better in my opinion and is not the easy cheap way to do it. That sound produces a dark emotive element to their sound, when combined with their heavy riffing and overall brutality makes for a very enjoyable musical collective. Maul does seem to have a knack for creating that aforementioned emotion in a way that builds and crescendos very nicely within their crafty songwriting and pacing. They achieve this quite affecting style often in the middle to slightly faster range yet even manage to deftly mix in doomy elements at times. The more I listen the more guitar fills and nuances become quite satisfying to my ear. I suspect those components along with the underlying horror feel are going to make this album something I continue to return to in the future. Which is actually no mean feat considering how much I adore my old classics, not to mention how much new music I listen to on a monthly basis. I definitely have to highly recommend this to fans of early Incantation, Bolt Thrower, Demilich, Funebrarum, Tomb Mold, Disma, Dead Congregation and the like. You know the stuff I fucking love too. Check this out.  - Dale   




“Maule” CD

(Gates of Hell Records)


Maule is a new band hailing from the west coast of Canada and after one demo, they now present us their debut full-length album. I have to say one of the first things that struck me was for a new band whose members largely have little to no previous band experience, their level of skill is high and their performance on their instruments shows off a smooth polish usually reserved for veteran musicians. This band writes some extremely lively, catchy heavy metal songs that stick in your head and leave an impression. The singer while he does not hit those crazy siren levels you sometimes see with this old heavy metal style, he has a strong enough range from clean to shouted, to screams with a charismatic sounding voice to really pull off this bands ambitious sound. It is, in my opinion, imperative to properly pull off traditional NWOBHM inspired sound / style that you have to have a really strong vocalist and Maule have found that in guitarist Jakob "Riddle of Steel" Weel. Some of the guitar work on here from the gorgeous fills to the galloping head bobbing riffing to the engrossing way it is all incorporated into the song arrangements. There are many great influences I hear on here, but none more prominent than Iron Maiden. Maybe you would just rather listen to the classic albums of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal than something new. But if you can not get enough of those amazing traditional sounds from the early ‘80s, then I have something here you really need to check out.  - Dale     




“Black Coven” CD & LP

(Hells Headbangers Records)


I am pretty sure when I reviewed their excellent album a couple years ago (without looking it up) I wrote some version of what I will write now. I was / am a fan of Medieval Demon going way back to when I tape traded for their demos in the mid 1990s. Culminating in me getting their debut album in 1998, after which they suddenly split up and did not return until 15 years later! There is now only three members in the band, two founding members and the other man is a founding / long time member of Rotting Christ. That would be one Jim Mutilator who went back to start of Black Church in 1984, a band who then changed their name to Rotting Christ in 1987. Mutilator with my respect for doing so checked out of R.C. when they decided to sell out and get soft playing goth music. ‘Black Coven’ sees the Demon picking up where the last album left off, by continuing down the path of old school Greek black metal in the vein of the classic bands like Necromantia, early Rotting Christ, early Varathron, Thou Art Lord and that whole line up of classic bands from Greece. I would also throw in some non-Greek bands like Master’s Hammer, Mortuary Drape and Root for good measure stylistically. The music is moody and baleful music that focuses on a freezing black aura and atmosphere with the trademark bombastic flourishes, from time to time. During the tracks “Black Coven” and “Baptismal Blood” you almost have to hear it, to believe what I am about to tell you because I would be highly skeptical without having heard it myself. These tracks actually employ not only haunting piano sequences, but also saxophone and it blows me away how emotionally dark and evil they made the Sax sound on here, somehow it fits in perfectly with this gloomy and sinister record seamlessly. That is saying something for me to like it, a lot actually, as I often fancy myself as a bit of purist with metal sub-genres. The vocals of Sirokous is a strong feature of the band as he strikes with his clear yet raspy ‘n deep charismatic voice, which melts together with a dark obscure sounding hissy / echo-y growl that adds an eerie presence to the bands sound. These old veterans continue to grow their UG legend and keep the old flame burning bright a while longer.  - Dale     




"Violent Theatre” CD, LP & Cassette

(Helter Skelter Productions & Regain Records)


Well that album cover caught my attention and made me chuckle right off the hop, which I am sure is exactly what the band was going for. This is Mephistofeles fourth full-length album in addition to a slew of demos, EPs, splits and believe it or not even multiple live albums in their decade plus existence. When you think of Argentina, you probably do not think “Oh this band is probably a classic stoner doom metal band”, but that is precisely what you get and you get it in spades on “Violent Theatre”! It is fuzzed out and has that classic stoner sound and vibe to it, but the serious and sober doom element is strong here. The songs are heavy and rhythmic with an almost a hypnotic ritual vibe at times, yet at times there will be some smoking guitar in the fill-in areas of the song spaces. While listening to this some bands that spring to mind as influences is Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Orange Goblin, Cathedral, Sleep and old Pentagram. The vocals follow suit with singer Gabriel Ravera wafting out some classic doom style vocals that probably fall somewhere in the vein of ‘70s era Ozzy & Bobby Liebling crossed with say the vocals of Count Raven or the aforementioned Sleep. It is kind of extra trippy for me hearing this style of music and those vocals with Ravera singing about Satanism and ritual black magic. I love it. I mean hell their previous album is entitled “Satan Sex Ceremonies”, you just gotta love it Haha! Some of the songs are traditional general song of duration of 4-5 minutes, but Mephistofeles do definitely take you on extended mental journeys with a couple songs topping seven and eight minutes. Then the band go full balls deep epic length with the track “Communion Of The Vile”, which hits the 14 minute mark! So strap in, smoke up, turn your cross upside and enjoy the ride through a colorful kaleidoscopic of a musical expedition into evil ecstasy.  - Dale        




"Beyond The Wall” CD & LP

(Temple Of Mystery Records)


Holy hell! I had heard the name around the scene a bit, but hot damn, how have I not heard any material from this Canadian band up until now? I was very quickly blown away at how high quality and how good Metalian really is!! They are amazing, this is without doubt one of the best heavy metal records I have heard in the last decade probably. I was instantly grabbed and these metal demons refused to let me go, lobotomizing my brain and turning me into a zombie that kept hitting the repeat button again and again. This is classic heavy metal to the maximum! I swear each and every song feels like a future classic to me, it just has that sound and feel, sort of like I had back in the ‘80s when first listening to amazing album after amazing album were pumped out. Their talent on their instruments is strong and their ability to write interesting, memorable songs even out strips their technical ability. It is catchy, hook-y, but also heavy and all the material has this silky smooth flow and timeless quality to it. I am not sure if it is just the mind-numbingly superb soaring vocals of the uber talented Ian Wilson, or just the music, I honestly believe it to be both but they remind me a lot of one of my all-time fave heavy metal bands Grim Reaper. The funny thing is as much as I love Grim Reaper, I am not sure if that band had an album top to bottom this consistently fucking good. Some of the killer guitar work on here will definitely remind you of quintessential Judas Priest and Accept. If you are open to new old heavy metal, so to speak, and worship those old bands I mentioned then you will regret it if you miss out on this record. I have also just now (despite having a couple of their releases already) found out that Temple Of Mystery Records is owned / run by Annick Giroux! I was in touch with her many years ago with her great Morbid Tales fanzine, I think we traded print issues with one another actually. She is also the vocalist in the band Cauchemar, anyways you continue to have great taste in music Annick, keep up the great work with the label my metal sister! Get this right now!!  - Dale        




“The Day Bastard Leaders Die” CD & LP

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


This is the third album from Mirror, a band with an international line-up. This is of particular note for me at least, as the ranks feature a talented musician on bass guitar named Tasos Danazoglou (vocalist of Satan’s Wrath on Metal Blade Recs., drummer of Friends Of Hell on Rise Above Recs. (Lee Dorian from Napalm Death / Cathedral’s label), as well as an ex-member of Electric Wizard)). Yeah I know I do that a lot, but I love band history shit and background as you know. Okay yes onward to the music of Mirror, who play traditional heavy metal of yesteryear in every way. I could see the vocals of Jimmy Mavrommatis being an acquired taste for some as they are painfully early ‘80s, being very high pitched soaring, even siren-like at times. There are enough bands these days playing that early heavy style, but not a lot of them port over that style of vocal along with it. I like those vocals even though there is some infrequent times where they fall short, but I still end up loving them as they have a certain timelessness for me and Jimmy possesses enough natural charisma for me to dig them. The music is very clean and smooth with strong songwriting that is a bit on the simple side yet still nuanced and catchy. They do speed things up from time to time to a galloping pace, a little more of that would be welcome in all honesty, not mention maybe a little more grit and darkness to their sound. Some of that might be due to the production needing a little in that lower end and bite within the mix. Yet the final two tracks “Sleepy Eyes Of Death”, and “The Day Bastard Leaders Die” might argue against my production theory as both songs happily have more of what I am hoping for, so maybe we see more of that going forward with Mirror? But those are minor complaints; the music is very solid, very enjoyable and even a touch infectious at times to boot. This is definitely worth checking out if you love early ‘80s melodious heavy metal.  - Dale      




"Dypet” CD & LP

(Peaceville Records)


It has been quite some time since I listened to any of Mork’s music, but I guess their sixth album is as good a time to catch up, as any, right? Mork is, and has been, essentially a one man Norwegian band (which is Thomas Eriksen) since the beginning. Though, at least in recent years, he keeps a full band to play live shows and do some touring. I feel like some of the second wave of black metal sound, and influence has melted away since the earlier days, but it is still there strongly enough. There is a strong duality here of evil and cold second wave black metal combined with a haunting, somewhat heavy metal tinged sense of melody ala a Root/King Diamond/Mortuary Drape, Death SS style vibe (I am only speaking to the guitars and nothing else from K.D.). The songwriting mixes things up well from callous, grating darkness to gloomy melancholy, and emotive bombast all in one song ala the epic track “Et Kall Fra Dypet”. One thing that has not changed is the great, harshly caustic and rasping bm vocals, which I dig. I feel with this album, it is more of an overall experience, rather than being able to pick out a fave song or two, you need to play the whole thing through for proper effect. I am not saying this is essential, but it is a good album that showcases Thomas’ years of experience as a songwriter come to bear as he continues to perfect that balance he is looking for. I would like to also say you should search out the Mork Youtube channel (link below), as Thomas puts episodes of a podcast he does, where he interviews other musicians (often black metal ones) face to face. Like this album, the podcast too is well done and well worth a listen.  - Dale       




“Plight Of Acceptance" CD & LP

(Willowtip Records)


I have to admit, and if you read enough Canadian Assault, you likely know I am not the biggest fan of melodic death, or black metal. Which, should tell you this California one man band did a pretty damn good job of winning me over, as you could call this album melodic black death metal. I feel like not only is the songwriting that strong, but it also strikes a admirable balance between the extreme elements, and the melodic sides of the musical coin. The guitar sound and riffing, while still conveying a rhythmic, flowing nature is also extremely heavy with a nice raw edge. As does the vocals, which are strong and commanding with an obscured sung whispering growl, that is intermingled and overlapped with a couple strong cleaner voices. That mix written down on the page here, probably does not do justice to just how well this all melds together. The voice is both smooth and raw at the same time, with punctuated flourishes of evil acidic elongation. I have to mention that while I would call this a black death band, there is clearly some classic heavy influence in the guitar work, and a touch of infectious thrash definition to those excellent riffs. I am sure some will listen to this, and wonder how I can come to this conclusion, but listen closely and I swear I hear a King Diamond influence in the song construction, and the vocal delivery. It is subtle, but for me clearly there, on the vocal side, no no high operatic siren vocals, but more on King’s grittier moments and in the delivery style. I swear I hear that in there, which surprised me, but also pleased me, as I am huge KD fan from way, way back. Those stylistic influences absolutely rear their head in the some of the more nuanced guitar sequences, during the fills and brief solo work. All of which, I find combines into a very satisfying package on this album. Now, I will leave one caveat, which is a future one, and that is this balance is a very careful one that is kind of poised on a knife’s edge. By that I mean, at least for me, as a fan of this music, if those heavy and extreme elements (production included) go too far into the harmonious realms then it risks falling off of that knife’s edge. I mean unless he wants to go full heavy metal and King Diamond, I will be there for that Haha. Supposing it morphs into pure melodo black death with softened edges and too much of what I call pretty, then I will be out. But, if Andrew sticks to this formula, I will be very excited to listen to his next album. Because this one is very good for the here and now, which shows a ton of potential for down the road.   - Dale       




"Electrified Brain” CD, 12'' LP & Cassette

(Nuclear Blast Records)


Municipal Waste returns with a new album and I am excited for it. I do not follow a lot of thrash crossover over the years, but I do have a handful of favourites and a soft spot for this style. One of those current bands I like is Virginia’s Municipal Waste who have been around for about twenty years, but only got on my radar about five or six years ago. These guys play classic thrashing crossover in the grand tradition and tear things up with short burst songs that are all speed, adrenaline with ripping riffs and high velocity drumming. Like all good crossover they also write catchy songs that make you headbang and want to sing-a-long with the memorable lyrics, and even the odd gang sung chorus. The vocalist is great his voice and vocals are a mix of Kurt from DRI, Bill Crooks from Cryptic Slaughter, and John Connelly of Nuclear Assault. You will find those same bands showing up as musical influences too; in addition to a couple other bands that come to mind like Gang Green, early C.O.C. Plus some more recent bands like Toxic Holocaust and Power Trip. If you love archetypal traditional crossover thrash then Municipal Waste is for you my friends.  - Dale       




"The Temple Of Eosphoros” CD & LP

(Iron Bonehead Productions)


Well I know what Frater Odium (drums) and Frater Noxathra (all other instruments, plus vocals), a duo that make up one half of the band Lunar Chalice were doing during the pandemic lockdowns. They were forming Mysteria Mystica Aeterna together and writing the music for their debut album. This new union seems to have created a strong enough foundation that they have carried the band forward and we are now presented with their follow-up album “The Temple Of Eosphoros”. Mysteria create and play ancient first wave melting into the birth of the second wave black metal. This is a time and style I personally adore. While listening I think immediately to the late ‘80s / early ‘90s first works of bands like Rotting Christ, Necromantia, Mortuary Drape, Varathron, Root, Fulgor, Morningstar, Mystifier, Ancient Rites, and maybe releases like Acheron’s first classic album or the Emperor’s demo. Anyways, I think that laundry list of bands give you an idea of what to expect on this solid release. Which features gloomy and evil middle to slightly uptempo black metal music, backed with a menacing undercurrent of baleful ritualistic synth  that flows like a creeping mist. The vocals are a great obscured mix of a partially clean, partially growled whisper-y voice that compliments the music perfectly and adds an extra cold aura to their sound. If you dig that aforementioned style and the early stages of the bands I listed then you should enjoy this album.   - Dale          




“Vandring" CD & LP

(Osmose Productions)


Norway's Nattverd return with a brand new release continuing the rich traditional Norse black metal style that was they have become known for over the last decade. But on “Vandring” the band seems to incorporate some cryptically epic and atmospheric elements into the music this time around. The musicians still keep the music in the traditional cold and hateful realm, but do add more melody and again epic flowing elements into their songwriting. The vocals are grim black metal screams and screeches that are spat out with a powerful delivery; the vocalist uses some deeper gruff growls and screeches in a few of the songs. The musicians never really slow down too much even when the music goes more to the atmospheric areas of their sound which I like. It seemed a lot of bands in the early 00's dropped the cold black metal style, and went all atmospheric and lame. But that is not the case here. Nattverd have incorporated both styles into their grim music to forge a great release that is recommended to fans of quality black metal.  - Patrick     




"Paths Are Left Here...” CD & LP

(Osmose Productions)


I normally never touch on anything political with Canadian Assault. But while listening to this bands debut album, who hails from Kharkiv, Ukraine it is hard not to think of their country being invaded by the filthy dictator Putin and his war criminal regime. This should be a happy and proud time for this band and instead for all I know they have weapons in their hands as I write this fighting to defend their homeland and fighting for all democracy around the world. The province of Alberta in Canada I grew up in for the first 23 years of my life has a very large Ukranian population, some of which have traveled to Ukraine to fight alongside. I have included a picture above of the Canadian Brigade badge that are now fighting over there. Okay I got that out of my system I think let’s move on to the bands music. Necrom is a relatively young band having formed in 2018 and only previously released an EP in 2019, they now are able to present their debut album. When I say young band it is a bit misleading, as the members have currently or in the past done time in many bands over the years. That list includes guitarist Knjaz Varggoth who was in the death metal band Suppuration who released a demo tape way back in 1992 (!!), which eventually changed the bands name to the well known Nokturnal Mortem. The music on this record is high energy brutal death metal which forcefully shreds everything in it’s path. It is old school death metal and while I hear various influences from the US and across Europe, possibly the strongest influence sounds to me is drawn from Sweden with the earlier works of bands like Entombed, Dismember and Grave. There is a level of melodicism mixed into the crushing brutality, just enough to make things interesting and keep anything from getting stale. Something else that is quite evident is the presence of well thought out songwriting on here, showcasing a talent for emotive builds and crescendos that pay off in a very satisfying way. I did not yet even really touch much on the killer guitar fills and rapid guitar solos, not to mention the commanding and powerful growling from vocalist Andrii Verovkin but suffice to say they damn good too. Hail Ukraine!  - Dale       




"Dogme el Rituel de la Haute Magie” CD & LP

(Helter Skelter / Regain Records)


This is a one man band from Greece, and that one man is Echetleos (Caedes Cruenta, Ithaqua, Kawir, Opus Magorum, Walpurgia plus more) who is obviously a well known figure in the UG scene. This is the bands debut release and I believe this was first released as a demo on cassette, and now Helter Skelter & Regain Records have combined to release this on disc and vinyl. The music on here is total old school first wave style black metal, slower to middle paced, very atmospheric music that just bleeds audio darkness in a chilling yet hypnotic and ritualistic fashion. Some influences I hear are Necromantia, Varathron, Mortuary Drape, early Grand Belial’s Key, early Ancient Rites, and even King Diamond (especially on the epic fifteen minute title track) believe it or not. There is absolutely no getting around the Necromantia influence comparison on the ten plus minute song “Necromantical Ritual”, none, I mean this track sounds like a long lost and unreleased Necromantia recording from the early to mid ‘90s. So is that a problem for me? Absolutely not I fucking worship old Necromantia and that style, it is amazing, well done and captures that sound and spirit so completely, it is both frightening and invigorating for me to listen to. Necromantical Invocation most definitely keep the classic Greek bm traditions alive here. Both epic length songs are wrapped around with an intro / outro combination, and both sound quite different from one another, which I suppose could be a positive or negative depending upon your tastes. I really hope we hear more from this one man band in the not too distant future.  - Dale       




"Corrupted Crescendos” 5 LP Boxset

(Helter Skelter Productions / Regain Records)


I have to admit I remember this Swedish bands name going around the UG scene way back in the early days, through flyers and fanzines. But I do not think I have ever heard their music, if I did it was back in the early to mid ‘90s during my tape trading days, I do not remember for sure. This release is a massive undertaking, an amazing undertaking and one hell of a tribute by Helter Skelter (and their parent label) for this great old band to document their legacy. As you have likely guessed by now, this voluminous vinyl set documents Necrony’s entire existence, which covers from their 1991 demo and 7 inch EP, to their one and only full-length album, as well as their promo tape in 1994. The only thing that you may say is missing is a final EP by the band, also in 1994, but was a release entirely made up of cover songs so not sure I would count that. But I will leave that up to your judgement I suppose. The demo tape kicks things off and shows as you might expect a bit of a thin and slightly amateurish performance, but the music is great and you can see where things are headed, and the direction is interesting. Just imagine if you will, the first couple Carcass albums mixed with the plodding, deliciously necro doom death atmosphere of Autopsy’s legendary “Mental Funeral” album with a dusting of Impetigo spice to give it all an even sicker flavour. All of that comes with a Sunlight tinged production sound, it is not at all original despite time period, but nonetheless the result is still pretty glorious, if you ask me. As you might expect as time goes onward, the band got tighter, their song construction more nuanced, and a massive chunk of superb death metal is the result. I should mention the vocals which are great, they remind me like a mixing of the vocals of Bolt Thrower, Grave, Carcass, Impetigo and Autopsy all thrown in a bubbling, roiling melting pot. Classic vocals that became a classic for a reason, which is because they are the gold standard. If that all sounds good to you, then I recommend you give this cool release a try. It goes without saying if you are already a Necrony diehard, and love vinyl, you simply need to add this to your collection.  - Dale        




“In Chaos Ascend” CD & LP

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


This new Swedish band is a trio that includes Tommy Carlsson on Vocals & Guitar, Jocke Svensson (Birdflesh & Skogen) on bass and Martin Michaelsson on drums. As well these men have history together from the long running band Entrails; all three were in that band and seem to have all left at the same time, possibly to form Necrophagous for all I know. Something else they all have in common I would say is they are fans of old school American death metal, primarily from the early to mid nineteen nineties period of this magnificent genre. Some band influences surely are Suffocation, Morbid Angel, Dying Fetus, Immolation, Cannibal Corpse, Broken Hope, Malevolent Creation, Deicide and the like. They keep this traditional sound alive and well here with this record. The music is fucking brutal with those chunky guitars and riffs, which vary from pure pulsating pummel to adroit speed with some tasty little rhythms to add some spice. The drumming is commanding and powerful, keeping that backbone strong with some help from bassist Jocke. Tommy Carlsson nails those old traditional US death metal growling vocals with a demonic cadence nicely, it sounds like he is ripping his throat to shreds in the process. Yes, it is some retro worship, but everyone has their influences they are passionate about and some wear it on their sleeves more often than not. But when this traditional style is done this well and gets me headbanging like ‘In Chaos Ascend’ has managed to do, I am all about it.  - Dale   




“Nefarious Dusk” CD, LP & MC

(Purity Through Fire)


Hrafn is the mastermind behind the great Nefarious Dusk who release their self-titled second album through the well respected label Purity Through Fire. Hrafn is one very busy and productive man in the British UG scene as he is also in the bands Helvellyn, Morte Lune, Skiddaw, Thy Dying Light, Torver, Úlfarr and more past and present! I wasn't fortunate to hear the debut release, but this self-titled release consists of ten tracks of cold hateful black metal intensity. The music is delivered with a mix of extremely fast passages and some slower mid paced patterns that are done with skill and a great writing ability. There is also an epic flowing quality to the music despite being so frosty and bitter at the same time. The vocals are delivered with raw raspy black metal screams and screeches. If you are looking for a release that is uncompromising black metal then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the self-titled release today.  - Patrick      




“Black Metal Hordes” CD

(Plague Demon Records / Blasphemous Creations Of Hell Records)


‘Black Metal Hordes’ is the debut release from California's Nekcrium, which is a re-release of their debut (and only) album that was released over a decade ago with an extremely limited release. As you can see above this is a joint release through Plague Demon and Blasphemous Creations Of Hell, both American labels from the high north and the deep south. The band plays a brand of grim and unrelenting black metal similar to the mid 1990's elder gods of the bm scene. Each musician on this album knows how to create and write some good music with their own individual instrument; for the most part the music is played with raw and fast passages. The vocals are raw black metal screams and some deeper gruff screams are also used throughout a few of the songs. If you are a fan of well delivered and performed traditional black metal then be sure to pick up a copy of this forgotten and under appreciated release.  - Patrick     




“Visions Of Trismegistos" CD, LP & Cassette

(Hells Headbangers / Indie Records)


After a nine year slumber Norway's old school thrash maniacs Nekromantheon return with a brand new release. Some of the members have been active in the meantime as members of great bands like Obliteration, Black Viper, Flight and Audiopain. ‘Visions Of Trismegistos’ is the bands third full-length release in the last eleven years and features eight songs of intense and ferocious thrash metal mayhem. The guitars are played with skill and extremely aggressive guitar patterns and riffs. For the most part the guitars are played with insane and chaotic speed passages, but the guitarist does write some slower memorable passages even adding in some well written solo's. The vocals are traditional thrash metal screams that are delivered with tremendous power and intensity. If you are looking for a band that brings it with relentless old school  thrash metal then look no further then Nekromantheon.  - Patrick





"Zavjera Nocnih Zvjeri" Split CD

(Masters Of Kaos Productions)


Croatia's Voha is a solo black metal act that starts off this split album with four tracks. The music is presented with a very well crafted and composed mid paced style of music. Each of the songs on here feature some strong guitar and drum passages. The vocals from Grof are grim and gruff screams backed with some some growls throughout their songs. Bringing up the other side of this split is Nilflungar, another solo project band from Koschei Bessmertny (he is also the bassist of the babd Pannox), who hails from Serbia. Niflungar plays a nice mix of old school black metal with some strong atmospheric elements added to round out the music. Musically, the four songs are fast paced mainly that mixes in some mid paced passages, and are played with skill and talent. The vocals are raw, coarse black metal screams. Both of the bands presented here on this strong split play a strong style, which I think could be enjoyed by all those who value raw, old school black metal.   - Patrick   




“Elevenfold Tail” CD, LP & Cassette

(Into Endless Chaos Records)


Trying to track this Mexican band’s history is a winding road for sure. It all starts in it’s birthplace of Mexico, the somewhat confusing part for me is Encyclopedia Metallium lists all members as being from Mexico yet apparently they all now live and have their home base in Sweden! My early impression was from Jacobo’s deadly cutting, rasping and harshly yelled vocals that slash through everything like a deadly poisonous serpent strike. This band musically has a really interesting mix I have not heard before, at least not quite how they do it, some of the music is heavy yet catchy tuneful thrash metal style, then it speeds up a little and will completely morph into pure second wave cold and harsh black metal. This transition is pretty smoothly back and forth between these two usually disparate musical styles and moods in my head, it feels like they should not work together, but with how Nigrum employs these influences it really does. At times, it feels like two different bands yet there is never any doubt it is all one overall musical vision assimilating one another. Additionally, despite the thrash comparison I would not call them a thrash band and/or they do not even sound/feel like your usual black thrash either. I would say It feels more like thrash based musicians decided to do a black (even death ala early Dissection) metal band, and this result is how their influences bled through. I would also say the talent level of these fellows is higher than your average black metal band, some of the guitar work and songwriting with regards to the guitars especially resides at a pretty high level. Nigrum brings bits and pieces of their Mexican musical origins with American touches, then mixed them liberally with Scandinavian extremity and the result is a pretty solid debut record.  - Dale   




“Ulvekrieger" CD

(Blasphemous Creations Of Hell Records / Plague Demon Records)


“Ulvekriger” is the fourth masterpiece from Puerto Rico's Niohoggr. Musically on this release, it is delivered with a dark and sinister mid paced black metal style. The guitars and drums are crafted with some very well performed passages, which is all done with a skillful writing style. There are some faster and more aggressive parts intertwined within the music, before slowing things back down. The vocals are a mix of grim and gruff death metal growls and some raw black metal screams. “Ulvekrieger” is a much darker and haunting release, then their past releases. If you are a fan of quality, well performed black metal then be sure to check out Niohoggr newest masterwork today.  - Patrick      




"The Barren Form" CD, LP & MC

(Willowtip Records)


Creeping on up from the densely forested pits of Denver, Colorado is Noctambulist with their sophomore album and first on the excellent Willowtip Records. The individual members have been kicking around the Colorado scene for quite some time, doing time currently or previously in bands like Nicaraguan Death Squad, Cordyceps, Despise The Sun, Burn The Fleet, Twatrot, Expurgate and more. They play blackened and brutal semi-technical death metal with a high degree of polished musicianship. Their style is interesting despite them always keep things dark and very brutal, there are also numerous sequences smoothly mixed in that are very depressive, moody and brooding. Which when combined tends to create an intriguing, discordant emotive misery blend that is quite striking and appealing to me. The vocals of Sean McConnell are excellent deep growls that expand and contract expressing a lot of anger and rage, but also manage to mimic the depths of despair you can feel from the music. It is this strange alluring yet also disturbing mix of fury and despondency. It took me a few listens before this album went from a dark death metal album to something deeper than that as the top layers peeled back for me. I have not heard their debut album, but this second offering is something to behold if you are brave enough to really embrace it’s joy draining grasp.  - Dale       




"Clandestine Theurgy” CD, LP & Tape

(Hells Headbangers Records)


Canada’s Nocturnal Departure style is primitive, jagged Scandinavian black metal. It is an interesting mix that is more caustic, noisy and rough than what you usually think of in this sound traditionally. Yet those freezing and deadly traditional second wave bm rhythms are there snaking a threading path smoothly cutting through the chaos. Some of the vocal work (though not a musical influence here) reminds me to the great early bestial Impaled Nazarene vocals mixed with some a little early Burzum too. This music melding opposition of the skilled cold assassin with a bludgeoning berserker frenzy killer. It almost seems like it should not work very well, but it certainly does and the resulting sounds are quite satisfying for me. Every now and then you even get some wisps of somber and haunting atmosphere, but as you might expect that fleeting introspective or gloomy feeling is quickly shattered by a slicing blade of hatred with a side of blunt force trauma suddenly emerging from the darkness. This bands quality material and that excellent intense battery of vocal emanations, I find surprisingly addictive and enjoyable. I am not sure if this album is for everyone, hell even for the average black metal devotee. But I found this sinister black metal album, the bands third by the way, to be well worth my time and attention.  - Dale        




“Red Is The Color Of Ripping Death” CD, LP & Tape

(Hells Headbangers Records)


Unholy shit Nunslaughter return with their first full-length album in ages! I am so, so damn stoked for this thing. I am tempted to write an entire essay on how great the sadly departed drummer Jim Sadist is, who I was lucky enough to get to know a bit personally and even hang out with, but I will try to refrain. I will instead quote the bio who sum things up well in a briefer manner than I could “…at long last, the band's first album in seven years. Many are still mourning the loss of legendary drummer Jim Sadist (RIP), and while Red is the Color of Ripping Death is their first full-length without him playing on it, some of the 14 songs contained herein are unfinished / unrealized music that Jim and founding frontman Don of the Dead wrote years ago”. So, the patented black blood sadistic death metal the band is revered for is alive and well, surging and roiling along in classic fashion and this particular devotee of the band is exceptionally jubilant about it all. It also conjures up so many good memories connected to this band and it’s music. Don’s pipes are in fine form as his wonderfully gurgling and acidic growls, screams and howls creep into my ears and into my body into through violent headbanging gyrations. New or at least recently (you know you are an old goat when call 5 years new Haha) drafted drummer Wrath has a tighter, more technically precise style that is forceful and powerful. It definitely contrasts to an extent with Jim Sadists drumming that had more of, for lack of a better term organic and natural feeling, where the spirit of the music seemed flow through his sticks. While I do prefer Jim’s style a little more, the drumming here still kicks some ass and conveys the diabolic character of the music more than well enough. While there is little doubt in my mind during his 20 years in the band that Jim Sadist put his stamp heavily on Nunslaughter and indelibly changed and improved the music of the band, it is equally true that the true essence and heart of the band is Don of The Dead, who was there from the formation of this band nearly 35 (!!!) years ago. No matter whom Don recruits to join his blasphemic musical horde, it will always be Nunslaughter and it will always be truly great, uncompromising and evil metal of death, devil metal to the fucking core!  - Dale