"Reflections Of Horror” Demo Cassette

(Caligari Records)


This Californian band is brand new and just hot off the presses. But the two members that make up this duo are anything but green around the gills, in the UG scene, as they span many years and sub-genres. These two have been in hardcore, crust, thrash, death and grindcore bands over the years. Those two members are Federico Davila (who plays or has been in Unurnment, Primal Rite, Permanent Ruin, DeadEyedStare etc…) and Jeremy Meier (from current or former bands like Cøndition, Sanctum, Primal Rite, Scalped, Yadokai, Ritual Control, Effluxus etc…). Abysmalist play old school brutalizing death metal, but not in the death metal way you may assume filled with grind and blast beats, no they play more middle paced death metal with doomy touches. They place an emphasis on creating a very morbid, creepy graveyard rituals type atmosphere and aura, which permeates the whole sound. Some bands that come to mind as I listen to this demo are Obituary, Asphyx, Grave, Autopsy (Mental Funeral era), Bolt Thrower, Benediction (ala Grand Leveller), early Incantation, Morgoth etc… I dig the deep growling vocals, they have that guttural, garbled edge to them, but still solidly enunciated enough to follow along and decipher much of the lyrical content. Yeah man, I fucking love those vocals; they even throw in lyrical echoing backing (clean) vocals in a spot or two that I enjoyed. I would not really call them a headbang or moshpit type of band, but they do have sections here and there like in the songs “Chain Ripper” and “Black Lacquer” that got me nodding and headbanging like a madman with those killer brutal infectious riffs and catchy song structuring, while still impressively retaining that dark, sinister cruelty in the sound. I enjoyed this demo and look forward to their next release, maybe a seven inch or will they go for it with a full length? Either one sounds good to me!  - Dale

https://abysmalist.bandcamp.com/releases    http://www.caligarirecords.com/          




"Tomb Of Dissonance” Demo Cassette

(Self Release)


I am very pleased to have Aggressive Mutilator return to the pages of Canadian Assault! Some long time readers of C.A. should recognize this band, I have reviewed the majority of their releases over the last decade or so (search and you will find them). This Swedish band is, and always has been, the duo of Mikael Holm (Urtiden, Blixtnedslag, Hang The Lord) on guitars/vocals and Micael Zetterberg (Terrorama, Dautha, Wardenclyffe). There is four songs on this demo tape, and this band is known for short songs, this time they all range from 1:04 on the short end, to 3:17 on the long. Aggressive Mutilator has always had a dark metal bent, often bordering as much on black metal, as it does on thrash and traditional metal. They have always had this raw, rauchous riding the line of controlled skill, and out of control runaway chaos, musically speaking. ‘Tomb Of Dissonance’ may be the Aggressive Mutilator’s most disciplined, and calm release that I can ever recall. It is still shadow-y metal with hints of their traditional tumultuous sound (mainly in the great versatile vocals of Mikael). Yet, the darkened thrash remains a constant with a little more focus on the streamlined traditional heavy metal songwriting. It is a different face musically than in the past, but this band always manages to retain a solid quality and a lot of charisma, it is the calling card for this interesting band. Check it out.  - Dale

http://aggressivemutilator.bandcamp.com/   mikael_holm@hotmail.com       




"A Cold Night’s Death” Demo Tape 2019

(Nekrassious Tapes)


This is the debut release (the European version of this tapes release) for Nekrassious Tapes label from France. The release itself comes out of the great South American UG scene. This Argentinian band at the time of this recording was a duo consisting of Annabelle (drums) and Gisselle (guitar & vocals), who are twin sisters, which is pretty damn cool to see sisters doing a band like this together. The music itself is rough, dirty and loosely played low-fi yet quite enjoyable and even infectiously listenable death metal. This tape feels like a demo I would have tape traded for at the start of the ‘90s and I like that. The musical whole has this dark, evil aura across it with some really heavy slower riffing mixed with some fast biting rhythmic riffing sections, which remind me of some classic demos by North American and European bands from that early ‘90s time period. The growled vocals are semi-decipherable, but keep a strong obscured whispery edge to them and fit the music very well. If you are into the South American scene, demos (you should be damn it!), cassettes and old school raw death metal then I think you will definitely dig this release. It is pro printed and comes with a pin and sticker.  - Dale

https://apofenia.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/Nekrassious-Tapes         




"Beware” Demo Cassette

(Self Release)


This is an interesting recording, there is very little included in the promo package I received from the band. However, after a little digging, I was able to find out this band was formed out of the embers of Unhallowed Torment from Florida, this recording was made in Florida yet the band appears to now be based out of Tennessee (north of Knoxville). Adding to that background is this recording was actually done on analog way back in 2013, but due to problems with the studio owner and then chaos within the band (a couple moves to different states and a death, more on that in a second) the recording sat dormant unreleased until now. The band recently was able to secure their own mixing board and other equipment and finally mix the recording some seven years later. The death I spoke of was when the band was in New Orleans, after moving from Florida, where member Bestial Revelations was apparently gun downed in 2017 in an exchange of fire. Bestial Revelations (J. McBride) does appear on this recording as far as I can tell. So finally on to the music itself, my apologies, I am sucker for band history and especially a storied history. Beware compose and perform old school black metal, which probably has it’s roots more in the first wave of black metal than the second (Scandinavian) wave. A few bands, in addition to those ‘80s first wave bm bands, which come to mind as similar reference points are the early ‘90s works of Ancient Rites, Varathron, Absu, Master’s Hammer, Grand Belial’s Key demo, Mortuary Drape, Necromantia, early Destroyer 666 etc… They have a touch of their own sound in there, but that is what I hear and I am a big devotee of those bands time period, so it should come as no surprise I enjoyed this demo tape. I should mention in addition to the above description, they do use keyboards and sound effects (wind, bells etc..), but only as sinister atmospheric accents to the main music. They also incorporate at times a very doomy metal element into in their dark sound, and do generally keep a slower, deliberate stalking pace. The vocals are great too (also of that time period mentioned above), they are very murky and obscured, haunting whispery black rasps and yells that create a roiling, evil sounding malignant aura. I enjoyed this tape, now I can only hope the wait for the next recording will not be so long next time around. I could see a label picking up this recording, but until then contact Beware and order a copy ASAP, as it says my copy is #25/50.  - Dale





"Symptoms Of Annihilation - Stage 2” CD EP

(Self Released)


Brain Stem hails from my homeland of Canada, even more specifically my home province, and even the same area that used to be my stomping grounds for live gigs. I moved to the USA in late 1998, so surely there is no connection with this band back to my day? Actually, there is as I seen two of the members past bands (bass player of Section VIII & drummer of Dead Jesus) play live in Edmonton around the ‘97/98 era. Okay, so that only means shit to me mostly, but still noteworthy considering we are talking 22 years later!! Those old goats are still kicking in the UG scene, and so am I haha. I must confess when I read the tag “experimental death metal”, I had worried sugar plum visions of wall to wall synth, goofy audio samples, non-traditional instrumentation, lots of clean female vocals and watered down, softened melododeath with pretty melodies. What did I get? None of that shit thankfully! No, Brain Stem keep things heavy and brutal never sacrificing either of those key elements to advance their experimentation, but instead it is the song structuring itself, time changes, speed modifications and creativity that deservedly earns them the experimental tag. This is the kind of experimentation I can get behind, while the music is technical and very much so at times, it also brings the speed and aforementioned brutality that should please straight up death metal fans with it’s high quality, skillful and memorable material. The vocalist Jessy Leduc kills it with deep infectious growls, which are forced to stay on their toes to match the music’s ever churning, morphing song structures and consistently altering speed shifting – well done sir. The music to me has a respectful foundation in the past death metal ala classic ‘90s era you and I love, but also at the same time looks to take you into the future with some new twists and turns. This EP comes recommended from me for death metal fans new and old.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/BrainStemBand    https://brainstemmetal.bandcamp.com/music         




“Capricorn” CD & LP

(Self Released)


Their band name is the French word for funeral procession. This is something a little different, not sure I liked it at first to be honest, but a few more listens in a row has been changing my mind and winning me over. Cortége compose and perform (using the word play seems wrong here somehow) very atmospheric and ultra slow moving doomy droning metal. There are also subtle doses of electronica, which sounds like it comes straight out of ‘70s progressive rock and moody dramatic sci-fi movie soundtracks from that same period (have you ever heard the brilliant soundtrack to Beyond The Black Rainbow? That sort of vibe). It is minimalist in every aspect and instrument, but so slow moving it is almost like if you think of the creepy audio version of time-lapse photography. This album does feel, to me, like auditory artwork is being painted across the canvas of my mind as I listen to “Capricorn”. Despite how slow it is going, you can tell it is based on a certain amount of melody and musicality which has been stretched out almost beyond belief, as opposed to the mindless droning that most bands in that style do. I guess I should mention this is instrumental music; there are sounds of crows, bells and things like that, but vocals, not so much. When I say droning, don’t get the wrong idea here, it is not that grating, noise drone, no it is far more smooth and flowing than that, literally like taking a doom metal band and slowing it down by a factor of a hundred. The epic length 17 minute title track that finishes off the album, makes me think a lot of if a droning doomy metal band that incorporated sound the gloomy soundtrack from Twin Peaks into a song. For me, this is something different than what most bands are doing, it is not original sounding per see yet it is different as they take elements that tried and true, manipulating them into some thing you probably have not heard before in this way. But it is good; if you like hypnotic musical soundscapes then Cortége will scratch that itch in a satisfying way.  - Dale

https://cortege.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/cortegeatx          




“Insect Politics" CD

(Sewer Mouth Records / Self Release)


This is a Salt Lake City, Utah band whose previous EP I reviewed in CA a few years back. That last release was pure old school middle ‘80s thrash metal goodness. I would say on this, their second full-length album, the band still have that high quality traditional thrash core going strong, but maybe it is the song structuring or heavier production, or maybe even both that I hear a little bit of death metal style punch. I also hear a more looseness and in the music and attitude that feels a bit punk rock to me. It is a real killer mix though, and make no mistake thrash is still king in their sound; and those vocals still absolutely scream 1980s thrash. There are some smoking solos and nice guitar fills mixed in to their blitzing juggernaut songs. The music on here is heavy and fast, but also really catchy and memorable with some good lyrics, which are infectious and hard not to sing and nod your head along with (look no further than the opening track “Brain Bugs” haha). I think the band has also done a good job with increasing the emotion and atmosphere that bleeds through songwriting. Before I wrap this up, I should mention the killer cover artwork courtesy of Axel Hermann (who is an UG metal staple artist that has done artwork for the likes of Asphyx, Bloodbath, Demolition Hammer, Grave, Morgoth, Runemagick, Samael, Unleashed, Wargasm and many more) is fantastic, so full of detail, colour and is very affecting to examine. But back to the music I have probably said enough, but this comes recommended for fans of old school thrash and metal in general.  - Dale

https://deathblow1.bandcamp.com/music    https://www.facebook.com/deathblowofficial          




"Rise King Death” Demo CD EP

(Self Release)


This was an interesting and welcome sight in my mailbox, and now worming it is way into my ears and taking possession of me. Dogma Omega is a new-ish band rising from the German land with a storied metal tradition with a very fertile UG metal scene the last decade or two. These demons play old school death metal mixed with the heart of dark ‘80s thrash metal to the bone and I am stoked about that. This trio draws inspiration from some of that amazing early ‘90s Swedish dm, a little of that punishing ‘ole Australian barbarity from the same time period, and a solid dose of early pounding Floridian death metal. This is all wrapped in a cloak of ‘80s thrash ala Slayer, Dark Angel, Sadus, early Exodus and Possessed. You know the good stuff. It makes for a nice mix of so many crucial bands and styles that made me into the life long metal maniac I am – so you know I am enjoying this ride! There are some killer, crushing riffs on here and some nice scrumptious guitar solo attacks. The band employs an interesting line up of dm growls from the early ‘90s Swede style, to the early to mid ‘90s American style. There is this interesting growled voice that is nasally, but not that usual high nasal sound, no, this is low and guttural but almost sounds like the singer has a bad sinus cold, it is pretty unique sounding to me. They of course also mix in some vocal tinges of traditional dark thrash style whispery and gruff edges to the voices at times. Dogma Omega really knows inside and out the ancient underground scene and metal traditions and attitude, so if that appeals to you contact the band pronto. There are five tracks on this EP for a run time of about twenty minutes of music. The price (including sticker) is €7.50 Germany, €9.50 worldwide- Dale

https://www.facebook.com/DogmaOmega    dogma-omega@posteo.de         




"Ergodic” CD EP



This ep release is the bands first release period as a band. When you hear the level intricacy and skill displayed on the fifteen minutes of music is highly impression, showing the members of this North Carolina band clearly have been around the UG scene paying their dues in a number of bands over the last number of years. Ergodic compose extremely energetic and intense technical brutal death metal. The multifaceted musicianship, the speed it is played at is as impressive as the fact they main good flow in the songs and keep the brutality quotient of their music high. The vocals of Zach Senicola are commanding and he has a solid arsenal change up in his guttural growls whilst spitting them out often rapid fire and deftly with the stop on a dime time changes, twisting and turning speed shifts are difficult ask, but the man is up to the task. This is an extremely impressive debut and fans of technical and brutish dm need to turn an ear in this direction of Ergodic posthaste.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/ergodicmetal    https://ergodic.bandcamp.com         




"Reverse Engineering” MCD

(Self Release)


Inhumanity Vortex sent me a physical promo disc of this mini-album in the mail and it is much appreciated, it shows how serious this Polish band is with promoting their music in this day and age. That is not to even mention the pestilence that has been sweeping the globe this year that only further complicates these things. The band has been around releasing material since 2009, functioning through Tom D. as a one man until 2017 under the name Inhumanity (changed Inhumanity Vortex and expanding the line-up to five members); they released three demos over those years. All of the visual and lyrical concepts deal with futuristic and/or dystopian sci-fi themes, which is something I have always been a fan of, so that is all welcome to me. The music itself is death metal, but of the very crisp clean variety though, it is also very heavy and extremely intricate. The song structuring here is superb and elaborate, it is easy to see that a lot of time and careful planning went into it, but the thing I like about that is the song flow and memorability is always a top consideration and never stifled by that intricate musical web presented. The band in addition to being complex, also adds inventive progressive writing elements and various imaginative sci-fi electronic feeling FX layering, samples and synth accompaniments. Does it sound like a lot to make mix in? Well, it is, it will surely take you a number of listens to hear it all and have it all sink into your cerebral cortex in order to get the full effect of what this talented band is striving for. It really does feel at times like you are listening to a moody, intense serious sci-fi movie soundtrack that your mind, upon repeated listening will start play in your head with all the requisite visual trappings. The vocals are classic cleaner death metal growling, which became more popular in the mid to late ‘90s when a lot of death metal got a little cleaner and “more professional” sounding I suppose. But they are good vocals, and well done, they fit the music well. If you are into highly produced death metal with progressive touches and love Sci-fi like I do, then you need to check this out and remember the name Inhumanity Vortex.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/inhumanityband     IHV Vimeo     https://inhumanity.bandcamp.com      




"Kundalini Rising” Full-length Digital Album



Mæntra is an interesting band, a little out of the ordinary of what I often choose to review. This Californian band is a trio (near as I can tell) that features members of Origin, Cartilage, Terrorizer L.A. and Ghoul. The music is technical yet frenetic brutal death metal with large doses of industrial mixed in. The industrial I am talking about is think about the early releases of Pitchshifter, Godflesh and Fear Factory to illustrate the speed and pounding extremity at the heart of things here at all times. There are some not overused sequences which do not really fit either of those descriptions, such as the middle-eastern section to close the track “Vishuddha” and the like sprinkled in a couple songs. The music is quite dynamic and shape shifting at times, but as mentioned and a big part of what attracted me was the bands dedication to keeping things brutal and often crushingly heavy. I do like some industrial death metal ala the bands I mentioned above, but only when the industrial side while still prominent at times, is used in a backing role to the death metal nucleus. I like the balance and marriage Mæntra has achieved on this album. The vocals much like the music is a real myriad of screams, nasally maniacal yelling / shouting, at the forefront is charismatic dm growling that manages to create some range and convey emotion really well. Now okay, as sometimes happens with me in all honesty, a bands whole lyrical content or concept is something I can pretty much ignore entirely. That is largely the case with Mæntra as their whole concept as a band, the entire notion of this album is a kind of new age-y, Chakra inducing, anti-ego, inner piece stuff philosophical focus. As the saying goes take it or leave it I will leave it, but if they believe it and it works for them have at it. I am not sure how all of that vibe ties into the dizzy technical song construction or consistent raging brutality, but I have time for the music all day long. So I encourage you to give it a try if you even you just dabble in death metal industrial as a casual fan (like me) and I highly recommend it if you are a big fan of this sub-genre.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/maentr3   https://maentr3.bandcamp.com/releases         




“Dreaming in a Dead Language” CD & LP

(Self Released)


I cannot resist raising as much awareness as I can when it comes to awesome, independent, North Carolinian bands producing new material. I saw Mo'ynoq for the first time last year at Raleigh Deathfest, and they put on an amazing stage performance that contrasted greatly with the lineup of mostly death metal bands (as the name of the festival suggests) but also certainly complemented the general ethos of the concert. They were a breath of fresh air because I don't know about y'all, but taking in some black metal that invokes slightly colder climes during a sticky Raleigh, NC summer is just about as refreshing as it gets when water bottles cost $1.50 a piece (that shit racks up!). The main vocals in particular have that consistent howling quality to them that makes one think of the 50 mph winds that gust through the mountains of NC more often than the Piedmont. The guitars also often have a certain edge to them that's not quite ice pick, not quite serrated knife—somewhere in between that is both pleasant to listen to in moments like those at the beginning of and throughout "These Once Tranquil Grounds" as well as energizing in passages like we find in the dominant riffing and tenacious percussion of "Carve My Name." Mo'ynoq have crafted an album that rides this balance with precision and grace. You'll understand what I mean if you listen to the middle three tracks—how they lead seamlessly in and out of the central interlude, "Doomed to Endure," a piano track that is boldly emotive in such a way that stands head-and-shoulders with the character of the rest of the album. But don't just take my 303 words for it—definitely give these guys a listen if you have a taste or curiosity for quality NCBM. –Aaron

https://moynoq.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/moynoq   




“Overwrought” CD



Neurectomy is a new band, hailing from New York, but you would not know it from listening to the whirlwind of controlled chaos on this debut album. This collection of musicians clearly possess a high level of skill and the freshness of the band is not reflected in the seeming experience level of this group. I do not know much about the band, I do know however that the amazing drum work on this album comes courtesy of none other than John Longstreth (Origin, Dim Mak, Hate Eternal, ex-Angelcorpse, ex-Gorguts)! His performance alone on here is a audio sight to behold. John truly puts on a tour-de-force of tight, insane blasting and constant motion activity. Does the rest of the music on the this record keep up with him? You are damn rights it does. “Overwrought” is an embarrassment of riches, with regards to it being a manic, pin-point technical death metal tornado. It is not all just technicality and nothing else, this album also manages to bring the heavy, it brings the brutality and it manages to do it all at ultra hyper lightning speed. I mean you better be well rested, well fed, and have some real mental stamina to keep pace with this album as a listener. If you can bring that you will be well rewarded by this challenging, well written, and entertaining record. I think fans of Suffocation, Cryptopsy, Nile, Dying Fetus, Origin and Deeds Of Flesh will dig the hell out of this killer record. - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Neurectomy/    https://neurectomy.bandcamp.com/   




"Calm Before The Storm” Cassette EP” CD

(Doomsday’s Today Records)


This is my first time ever hearing the Texas based Nilhilistic Outlaw Criminal Order, who play an experimental style of music with some industrial touches added here and there throughout the songs. This is decent band, but hard to put into any one or even two genres as the band seems draw influences from a genres and bands. The songs themselves are short in length with there being 14 songs and the run time is around 15 minutes. If you are a fan of this bands previous releases and enjoy experimental metal with touches of industrial then do yourself a favor and check out N.O.C.O. today. Send orders of physical copies of this tape to either of the following: Doomsday Today Records, Eternal Darkness Creations, c/o Keith Dempe, PO Box 268, Coraopolis, PA. 15108 and also thru Ralph's Records, c/o Doug Stapp, 3322 82nd St., Lubbock, TX. 79423 USA  - Patrick

http://www.RalphsRecordsTX.com    https://therealnoco.bandcamp.com/      




"Depredation" CD

(Self Released)


‘Depredation’ is this Wisconsin bands second full length release, which features eight tracks of brutal yet complex black metal terror. The guitar work is done with strong skill and also displays some excellent writing ability. The guitarist plays a range of fast and chaotic guitar passages even adding in some thrashy guitar elements. The guitarist does slow things to a more mid paced range in a few of the songs, and add some well played solo's that add a level of depth. The drums are performed in the same range with fast blasting drum patterns that are executed with skill and the drummers experience writing ability shows through. The vocals of Luka Đorđević are evil and grim black metal screams with some deeper death metal growls also used throughout most of the songs. If you are a fan of furious black metal with some complex guitar and drum patterns utilized within, then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of ‘Depredation’ today. I believe a record label named Dread Records has also released this full-length on cassette format, so any tape aficionados might want to also look into that.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/Prezir    https://prezir.bandcamp.com/      




"Rotten Brain” Demo CDR

(Self Release)


I have been touting the quality of the French death metal scene of last couple years; and low and behold a demo by a death metal band from France shows up in my mailbox, coincidence? I do not know, but either way it was a pleasant surprise. Rotten Brain play dirty, grimy and brutal dm that has an evil, necro sort of air running across all the songs on this demo. There are some killer riffs on here, and with that gloomy atmosphere I mentioned it really adds an element of menace to these super heavy riffs. The drumming on this demo is relentless and enjoyable; Eddy Polo really punishes his kit and in turn pummels the listener into submission. The vocals are sewer growls with a real broiling, gurgling acid edge to them, these vocals are some really throwback stuff to the earlier days of death metal and I really dig the hell out of them. Yes, this entire six song demo takes me back in a good way to early days of death metal, with a mix of Swedish and American classic band influences. I am surprised my old friend Gabriel from the French tape label Nihilistic Holocaust has not tried to snap up his countrymen in Rotten Brain for some kind of release, they are right up his alley in my opinion. Anyway, if you love dark, gritty, raw and guttural death metal in the late ‘80s & early ‘90s tradition then I think you will find something to like in Rotten Brain. I know I did and I look forward to future releases.  - Dale

https://rottenbraindeathmetal.bandcamp.com/    https://www.instagram.com/rottenbraindeathmetal/      




"In Darkness Alone" CD



Scars Of The Flesh is a five piece coming out of Texas that play melodic death metal with touches of black metal influences. ‘In Darkness Alone’ is the bands third full length featuring five original songs along with four cover tracks. This is the bands third full length, but my first listen to them, so I can not compare it to their previous releases but the five original songs highlight skillful songwriting abilities. Each of the musicians plays their instrument with nice mix of fast paced guitars and drums, but do slow to a more in a melodic fashion. The first cover “Chant For Ezkaton” is a Behemoth cover and is played with precision and intensity. “Silent Night Fever” is a cover done from Dimension Zero, I have never heard the original but the cover is played with catchy fast paced thrashy guitars and extremely fast drumming. This is a good cover if you are looking for a high energy thrashy song. ”Victorious March” is an Amon Amarth cover, which in my opinion is not a great cover song, but not totally bad either. The final track is a Metallica cover of  “The God That Failed” this is a pretty good cover, not a song by Metallica that I really like but the cover here is actually really good. Scars Of The Flesh plays a really good style of modern melodic death metal with some black metal elements woven into the music.  - Patrick

https://bryaneckermann.bigcartel.com/   https://scarsoftheflesh.bandcamp.com/         




"Naught For The Fathomless Eyes” Digital EP

(Self Release)


Anyone who has been reading Canadian Assault the last few years knows this is one of my fave new (and old, more on that shortly) Canadian bands, which features cousins Clayton and Chris Shaver. I have a long history with these fellows going way back to the duos original band Morbid Darkness, who did battle in the UG scene from the end of the 1980s until the mid 1990s. As I often comment on, this band has been extremely prolific during their three years releasing no less than 14 EPs (!!!), most of those EPs clocking in at 25 minutes or more. Oh, and they also released a full-length album as well, see what I mean that is a lot music in a short period of time. It is also a lot of great music in that compact timeframe. Thus, it is with some disappointment I sit down to review this EP, as Clayton tells me the working relationship has once again gone sour and this may well be the bands final recording. This release follows along on their patented great old school deathrash fashion with some classic heavy metal influences creeping in now and again. Clayton told me they went for a production similar to Darkthrone albums like 'Dark Thrones And Black Flags', 'Hate Them’, 'The Cult Is Alive', it is an interesting choice and gives their style a different nuance. Their music always pounds relentlessly with endless cool riffs, stalking paced drums and the odd cool fill and guitar solo. Their music is also always heavy, catchy and dark with ‘Naught…’ strongly continuing that tradition with five new tracks of quality music. The vocals are always fantastic and feature charismatic deep yells, shouts and growling with some of the most memorable and interesting lyrics around that you can clearly follow along with. They branch off a bit and try a couple new things on this release, but it decidedly is still classic Shadu and that is a good thing. It is sad if this is the bands final release, but hot damn man this band burned bright the last few years, taking up the ancient metal flame and leaving behind a lot of music that will live on for many years and keep wrecking ears throughout the UG scene!  - Dale

Shadu Youtube Channel    Shadu Bandcamp    Shadu Facebook    Shadu Spotify      




"The Spooky Gloom” Digital EP

(Self Release)


My fave current Canadian band returns to the pages of Canadian Assault! This band as I have mentioned often in the past is extremely prolific, putting out releases on what seemed like a bi-monthly basis for most of their existence. Well, they finally took a much needed break to re-charge their batteries, when I say break, it is a break only by their standards, as it really is only less than a year since their last EP (most of their double digit EPs releases range in the twenty-one to twenty-nine minute marks). This particular release is a little straighter forward, and straight up metal in a lot of ways than many of Shadu’s past releases. Which is also a trademark of the band, they change things up slightly sound wise, style wise every couple releases, sometimes from release to release, but only in incremental ways and never stray away from their core style / influences. ‘The Spooky Gloom’ is a mixture of mostly traditional metal sounds, containing accent elements of speed metal, thrash, death and black metal influences rolled up into one package. Despite how that probably sounds, they are not all over the place, it is one cohesive and steady sound, it is not jumping all over the place, it is just solid dark metal with a heavy and inky black aura surrounding it all. I feel like maybe this release is a little more stripped down this time around. It is a little on the rollicking side this time, mostly middle paced with a good head nodding groove they settle into with each song. There is a few cool doom moments, it was not lost on me that the “1, 2 Fuck You!” lyric from their early days during with two demon’s first band together the mighty Morbid Darkness. But, never was that classic line uttered with so much slow motion hatred, I love that. As always you get some tasty, brief enjoyable guitar run fills. Plus those bands patented charismatic gruffly sung, clearly sung, and always greatly enunciated, highly intelligible gurgling growls that will send chills down your spine. I am told by Chris (one half of this duo with his cousin Clayton Shaver) that this is just a taste for a full-length album they are about to set to work on, with hopes for a late 2023 release date. I for one can not wait for it, as this nicely wet my Shadu thirst, but I looking forward to the end of the year when I can drink deeply!  - Dale

Shadu Youtube Channel    Shadu Bandcamp    Shadu Facebook    Shadu Spotify        




"Flight Among The Tombs” CD EP



This is my first encounter with this Detroit band. They have been around for over a decade, though looking at their discography it is a little sparse with a CD single, two EPs and one full-length prior to this new Twenty-six minute Extended Play disc. The high level of musicianship and skillful nuances of the impressive song construction became apparent very quickly upon pressing play. Theandric combine influences (ala Maiden, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Queensryche, Fates Warning) of heavy metal, progressive hard rock/metal and classic doom metal. The songwriting on here shows a real flair and feel for writing emotional yet heavy memorable metal music that builds and crescendos by manipulating the listener’s emotions with the aplomb of accomplished puppet master. I am not generally that into bands lyrical content in many cases. The lyrics on this release have a very theatrical dramatic feel, sometimes they really hit with some poignant clever lines and other times border slightly on being a bit too melodramatic to minor cringe levels in my opinion. When it works though it is great, a sequence that comes to mind is from the track ‘The Battle Of Sherramuir’ and goes along like this “The King will separate the goats from the sheep, Soaked in lukewarm apathy, Cloaked in black hypocrisy…” That is damn good stuff especially when you hear it come from the soaring pipes of vocalist Paolo Tiseo, who silkily delvers the lyrics, he is a real talent combining influences and tendencies of legendary singers such as Geoff Tate, Bruce Dickinson and Messiah Marcolin to superb effect. Theandric wear their influences blatantly on their sleeves and that might concern some, but not me. When it is pulled off with this level of proficiency in all areas of the music’s composition and execution then I am all in on this impressive release.  - Dale

https://theandric.bandcamp.com/    www.facebook.com/Theandric   https://www.theandric.com/      




"Cad Chuing Nach Faigheann Sibh Bas?” Demo CDR EP

(Self Release)


David Vora through his one man band VDC has hung in the underground scene creating music for 25+ years! I admire him for that and for everything he lacks in musical ability and songwriting prowess, and he does, he makes up for in dedication and perseverance. I do not speak Gaelic, but I believe the title track translates “Why Don’t You Die?” David usually does mostly originals with one or two covers, but this time around it is mainly covers as you can see above in the track list. The musical performance on here as sub par as it is, still as all of his releases in my opinion,  has a charm to it and I always dug this cool Irishman’s gruffly sung voice. Something else I appreciate about his releases is he puts it all out there and is not afraid to explore in poignant detail his mental health struggles and give the listeners a small window into what it is like to try and deal with all of that. It is inspiring for me. What I have to say to wrap things up is keep doing what you have being doing David, never give up no matter what anyone says, stay UG and stay extreme brother.  - Dale

https://youtu.be/u4_1kJDSY6k    davidvora10@hotmail.com       




"Conqueror” Demo CDR EP

(Self Release)


David Vora returns with his long running, veteran one man band Venusian Death Cell (I always loved that band name). This Irish headbanger is musically alive and kicking, after all of these years, and when I say veteran I mean this guy since 1996 has released over 35 demos!! I respect that so much. I always have to be honest though, the music not great, it is rudimentary and probably a little too simple or disjointed for many listeners. Yet, I can never look down on it because it is created with great passion, despite his obvious limitations on his instruments, and songwriting ability that passion always shines through for me. There are always elements that I enjoy on these VDC releases. I have always dug his vocals, and in particular his distinctive voice. I should also mention the lyrics, David always pours himself into his lyrics, and they are often quite thoughtful and poignant. Also, in the past, the recordings have been extremely low-fi, fuzzy and hissy, but I feel like this is the clearest and most even sound quality yet. I also dig on recent releases, David first states the song title and the date, he is recording said song. It just feels that much more personal to me when he does that. I have long admired David’s dedication for metal, and making music despite limitations, the drive to create and share is strong and he is in it for the long haul.   - Dale

https://youtu.be/u4_1kJDSY6k    davidvora10@hotmail.com       




“Songs From The Land Of The Little People” Demo CDR EP

(Self Release)


Well if you have been reading Canadian Assault for a long period of time. You will have heard of Venusian Death Cell (always dug that band name), as I have reviewed many, many VDC releases over the years. How many years you ask, well I forget the first one I reviewed, but if memory serves, certainly since the late 1990s. VDC is a one man Irish band, and that man is David Vora who has released I would estimate 35 demos, or more, since 1996. As you should gather David is a very dedicated fellow, and I find his perseverance to be very admirable. I dig how David often times tells you at the beginning of each song, what the title is and when it is being recorded. Now, this is the part I often find the hardest to write/say, as I respect David, but he does not have much in the way of skill and proficiency on any of the instruments (ie - guitars, drums) he employs with this band. Not to mention his songwriting skills, while to me they have a charm, are also beyond threadbare, and rudimentary at best. Okay, I got that out of the way, I always feel like I need to be honest with any listener who wants to give a VDC release a chance. Honestly, I know people who absolutely love sort of stuff in a it is so bad that it is good way. It is very honest music, it is filled with commitment, not to mention an honesty you will not find with most other metal bands, as there is no studio trickery and layering to artificially inflate the bands skill and writing abilities. Something I have always liked is David’s vocals, they are distinctive, he has a cool voice in my opinion, so I enjoy his metallic spoken word style of gruff yelling with a very slight growl-y, gravely undertone. More often than not David also does interesting covers of past death metal bands and this time around he does Ripping Corpse and Malevolent Creation covers. I guarantee his will be different than the original and different than anyone else’s cover of those bands songs. They may be death metal covers, but they no longer sound death metal in the VDC patented style. Okay, again by most people’s standards in the metal UG, this stuff is not good, some will cringe at it. But for me I always find something to enjoy, and always appreciate David’s many years of earnestness, sincerity, and his love of metal and the scene always shine through. I am not sure, outside of the odd song on youtube where you can preview VDC (have you thought about a bandcamp page David?), but that is what I would suggest anyone curious to do. If you can manage that and are still interested. Then I I highly recommend you contact David, he is a very cool guy to talk to and to deal with. I believe this costs 7 Euros for this new eight track demo (with an awesome title by the way), for those ready and willing to take the plunge! Cheers.   - Dale

https://youtu.be/u4_1kJDSY6k    davidvora10@hotmail.com       




"Tempest Of Reckoning” Cassette EP

(Self Released)


I was surprised and extremely pleased to receive this tape in my mailbox. This is one of the many one man bands (Edifice, Transir, Worms Of The Birth, Eat Your Maker plus more) from Chris Shaver, who is one half of one of my fave Canadian bands in the scene UG scene today, which is Shadu-Nar-Mattaru (the band he does with his cousin Clayton who created music together from the end of the ‘80s thru middle ‘90s under the name Morbid Darkness). I should write in here that the recent whispers of Shadu’s demise were premature and that mighty band is taking a short breather, then they will be back!! Just the band Shadu alone is exceptionally prolific, so I have no idea whatsoever how Chris can create so much varied music, so fast and it is all good, just mad respect from me for this talented man. VHOD produces some excellent dark death metal with heavy doom influences, which in combination creates a enticing dank and heavy atmosphere that I found myself submitting to again and again, as I hit the play button repeatedly. There is some killer guitar work on here, keeping things fresh and it showcases Chris’ memorable, interesting songwriting. The growling vocals on here are well done, the inflections on the voice and his timing really convey the emotion needed and if you listen closely you will discover some cleverly crafted lyrics. Death doom fans should take note here. Chris has some superb, tempting deals on his bandcamp site for large swaths of his projects combined catalogs, so go load the fuck up his releases! You will not be sorry you did.  - Dale

https://www.instagram.com/VHODofficial/   https://vhod.bandcamp.com/music