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Gorgos Goetia” 2013 CD

(Forbidden Records)


The wait is over for the third A Transylvanian Funeral, it is here through Forbidden Records. Sleepwalker {all instruments, vocals} has created the strongest ATF to date with Funeral Goetia, it is 12 songs of raw, primitive black metal. Raw, razor sharp guitar chords, fast unrelenting drums. For those familiar with past A Transylvanian Funeral's releases, Sleepwalker is doing the drums himself on this release and dropped the drum machine, he does a really good job playing the drums fast, chaotic yet some well done patterns with the guitars and vocals. Sleepwalker vocals are really well sung traditional black metal screams and some vicious shrieks. If you are a fan of the past releases definitely get this you will not be disappointed!! One of the u.s black metal scene's best bands, and if you are new to the band and you enjoy early to mid 90's style raw black metal that is primitive and straight forward b.m then get A Transylvanian Funeral today!!  - Patrick

http://www.myspace.com/atransylvanianfuneral  http://forbidden-records.com/    




“Genesis” 2011 CD

(Epitomite Productions)


American death metal though not of the old school I come from and tend to like. No Genesis resides in new school sounds mixing death metal and hardcore in the breakdown kind of style. There are even some traces of the melodo Scandinavian metal ala In Flames or Children of Bodom ilk. Some of the growling vocals are actually really good, but every now and then they get kind of rhyme-y and rap like, which rapidly loses the plot for me and turns me off completely. I like Abacinate best when they put their heads down and just rip full force ahead with their heaviest death metal riffing. Those moments are generally interrupted with the breakdowns and hardcore sections. I have nothing against hardcore, I like it, but not that many death metal bands are adept at combining the two in an interesting way. The melodic power metal influence at times does help to cut down on the awkward transitions from dm to hardcore and add a touch of class to proceedings. A mixed bag here, I think you really have to dig the metal core thing or whatever they are calling it these days (hey I am an old man I might be out of touch here), to enjoy this album, at least it does not delve too far into the lame mallcore thing. We must be thankful for small favours sometimes haha.  – Dale 

http://www.myspace.com/abacinatenj  http://www.epitomite.com/  




“Self Titled” 2012 CD EP

(No Visible Scars Records)


I am and have been a big Abaza fan for many years. So I do not say it lightly that with this release Abazagorath have out done themselves and clearly show why they are leading the charge in the USBM scene! This is an EP but does clock in at 23 minutes, so really they could have billed this as a MCD or Mini album for what you get. I have much doubt that my paltry words will be able to express or get across to the reader how much of a masterwork this release is. Without doubt this is some of the best cold and cryptic black metal I have ever heard. I put it up there in the stratosphere of my all time faves. The five tracks on here, even played on a bright summer day somehow make me feel like I am alone in the dark, attempting to peer through the blackness, the blood is frozen in my veins and my heart no longer pumps bright red, it spews ink coloured hatred. The music on here is simultaneously harsh and catchy, really catchy but vicious and cruel, giving off a superb cryptic atmosphere every step of the way. This is a must own for fans of old black metal in the early 90s tradition. Order it now!  – Dale 

http://www.myspace.com/abazagorathhorde  http://www.reverbnation.com/abazagorath 




“Proselyte Parasite Plague” 2020 MCD & MLP

(Hells Headbangers | Osmose Productions)


That is interesting, and kind of cool to see Hells Headbangers team up with Osmose for a split release! I did not hear the bands debut album back in 2016, which Pete Helmkamp (ex-Order From Chaos, ex-Angelcorpse etc…) did as a one man project I gather. Now, apparently the UG legend Cazz Grant (Crucifier, ex-GBK etc…) has joined the band full time it would appear. That got my interest, as I am big fan of Cazz’s lengthy history of musical output and I have been in contact with him on and off since the early ‘90s, so I can attest that he is a cool & dedicated motherfucker. I do not know if Cazz has just joined just as a member out of necessity just to play Pete’s material or if he is co-writing the material as well. I suspect the latter. Anyways, on to the music after that lengthy preamble haha. This twenty-four minute, six song mini features unrelentingly evil black death metal music as it’s foundational core. I can definitely hear a little Order From Chaos greatness, whispering through the merciless attack on here with wave after wave of a speedy blitz of dark hate dripped riffing, backed with a devastating saturation bombing drum performance. It is angry and brutal as fuck music that will infect your soul with wickedness and batter your brain into submission. Those Pete Helmkamp trademark biting, grating and caustic vocals are alive and well and sound in fine form here. I was surprised how well Helmkamp’s guttural vocals work with, when trading off back and forth with Cazz Grant’s dark, roiling death metal growls. This really hit the spot for me, and I enjoyed this blackened death metal album, which is proving this new duo combination an impressive and sinister force to be reckoned with.  - Dale

https://shop-hellsheadbangers.com/    https://www.osmoseproductions.com/          




“Sex Sex Sex (Ceremonia Daemonis Anticristi)” 2022 CD, LP & Tape

(Iron Bonehead Records)


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

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




“Entity Of Malevolence” 2015 CD

(Comatose Music)


Abhorrent Deformity come out of North Carolina’s brutal death metal scene. They play some very well written, and performed, brutish death metal with a combination of heavy and fast guitars. The riffs are played at hyper speed, with some very chaotic and fast patterns, but also the guitarist knows when to slow down to a more mid paced range before returning to lighting speed. They also mix in some cool guitar solos within the metal storm. The drummer is very skilled at playing blast beats, but also knows how to slow down to a middle pace with some very well placed and played patterns. The vocalist, he does a great job, with his powerful growls and deeper vocal arrangements. If you are a fan of well played, musical brutality, then do yourself a favor and pick this album up today.  - Patrick 

https://www.bandpage.com/AbhorrentDeformity   http://www.comatosemusic.com/     




“The Final Damnation” 2016 CD

(Nuclear War Now Productions)


The Japanese thrash, heavy metal masters of darkness are back, with their fifth full-length release to date. This disc features eight songs of traditional heavy metal mixed with some aggressive thrash metal. The guitars are played with a lot of skill, are well written, and well performed memorable patterns. The guitarist knows how to write and mix both mid paced sections, with lightning fast guitars, all accented with some nicely played solos. The drummer is extremely tight and can play both chaotic and fast patterns on down to a more middle tempo style. The vocals are done with raw blackened thrashy screams, mixed with more traditional heavy metal screaming vocal style. If you are a fan of Abigail’s musical style, then be sure to buy this new released today, it does not disappoint.  - Patrick 

https://www.facebook.com/ABIGAILBARBATOS-208365735859610/    http://www.nwnprod.com/    




“Self-Titled” Split 2020 CD EP

(H.P.G.D. Productions)


Japan's own Abigail should need no introduction here, as they are legends in the scene. The black thrashing marauders start off on this split with two brand new songs. “Satanik For Slaughter” starts off the split setting an extremely fast pace that intertwines 1980's black metal with classic heavy metal and thrash influences. Next up is “Rock ‘N Roll Sluts Forever”, which is a classic heavy metal anthem, with influences from the punk and early the early rock and roll generation. It is not as fast or heavy as “Satanik For Slaughter” but is still great track. The other side of the coin on this split is Vulcan Tyrant, who is a band coming out of the Netherlands that play an old school thrashing death metal style. “Never Stop The Tyranny” is the first song is a fast and frenzied rip roaring song full of energy. “Infernal State Of Terror” is the second track, which is played with a crazed and violent assault on the eardrums. Both bands play a vintage and classic style of old school metal.  - Patrick 

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/split-9    http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/       




“Malignant Deviation" 2021 CD EP

(Godz Of War Productions)


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

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




“Nothing Is Safe” 2017 CD

(Comatose Music)


Abuse are a brutal death metal band who come out of the Canadian death metal scene. “Nothing Is Safe” is the bands second full length in sixteen years featuring ten gore filled songs. The guitars on here are played with a mix of heavy, mid paced patterns that do speed up to a faster and more crazed guitar style. The vocals are low brutal death growls, and a few screams are mixed into a few of the songs. If you are a fan of no holds barred brutality then definitely pick up Abuse’s new disc once it is released.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/youwillsubmit    http://www.comatosemusic.com/       




“Dominion Of The Wicked" 2021 CD & LP

(Iron Bonehead Records)


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

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




“Seasons of The Scythe” 2006 CD

(Locomotive Records)


This record hit me early and hit me hard right from the first listen. If I received a bio with this, I somehow lost it. So it is not that surprising that it was not until after my initial listen that I realized and remembered I had heard The Accursed before. A long time ago a contact of mine (who I used to hang out with from time to time at metal fests) George Pacheco the bassist of this band sent me their demo back in 2002. I must say these boys have come a long way since then. Apparently I missed out on this the first time (no surprise George and I lost touch quite a while ago – get in touch brother!) in 2005 when it was originally issued by Screaming Ferret records. It gets a new life through Locomotive Records. These boys know how to their instruments that is for damn sure. You do not often hear this many guitar solos and fills on a death metal record even if it is a little thrashy. But they make it work well within the context of the song, nothing seems forced and it does not come off as a wank session, amidst some great heavy head bang riffing. The vocal styling alternates between the main gruff ones, that are part 80s raspy yells and more modern death metal growling, along the with the more sparsely used (thank you for that) clean vocals which are not very good. The Accursed showcase the bass guitar more than most. In fact the intro to “I am Famine” is played on the bass and is a real nice touch sounding great. A few of the songs on “Seasons of The Scythe” could use a little more flow but otherwise this is just an excellent album I can honestly recommend to you.  – Dale  

www.locomotiverecords.com   http://www.myspace.com/theaccursed 




Kult Des Hasses” 2014 CD

(Listenable Records)


Vincent Crowley and Acheron return, with a brand new release and a new label. The songs are in Acheron's traditional vein of death/blackened metal, no gimmicks just the real deal, posers be aware this is no weak shit here! The music gallops out with semi fast guitars, that put on display the bands vast experience and ability. The Drums are handled with fast and some slower mid-paced beats. Vincent's vocals are death growls and some higher screams. This is by far, Acheron's best work to date (high praise indeed since their debut album, in my opinion, is one of the true metal classics! - Dale), so if you are a long time fan, be sure to pick this up and help support the scene.  - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/acheron   http://www.listenable.net/       





“Witchtanic Hellucinations” 2008 CD

(Hells Headbangers)


I am not sure if this just fell out of print from the excellent label Razorback Records or what? But the album goes from strength to strength and sees a re-release now through the almighty Hells Headbangers Records. It did not take me long to find out why this album is highly sought after by such quality labels. Acid Witch play a very cool and unique brand of death doom metal. The base riffs are slow motion bulldozers ripping up the ground like it is weak flesh from bone, so heavy, added to that are these crazy spaced out guitar leads all backed with out of this world sound effects. The vocals are really deep, slow but intelligible growls that give me a classic feel; you do not hear that many newer bands doing cool vocals like this anymore. This album sort of makes me think if you took the first My Dying Bride album, sent those bands members out to space and got them hopped up on LSD the resulting album would be Witchtanic haha. About the only bad thing I could possibly say and it is a minor complaint, would be some of the keyboard / organ and sound effects are kind of piercing and a tad high in the mix at times. But really it is a petty little complaint as this is an amazing death doom album. I dig it a lot, for me it actually blows away their follow up sophomore album.  - Dale 

http://www.myspace.com/acidwitch  http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/    




“Stoned” 2010 CD

(Hells Headbangers)


Classic intro mainstream documentary type clip on Satanism, that gives off that Rosemary’s Baby sort of atmosphere. These clips continue to pop up throughout the album. Some will see that as cheesy I am sure, but I like it. Raunchy and evil fuzz death/doom/stoner metal is what you get on Stoned. I automatically find myself thinking of great American doom band Goatlord. The bio throws in Deep Purple as an influence, maybe the pacing here and there but otherwise I do not hear that at all. I like the mix of horror / Satanism alongside the stoner aesthetic, it is different you have to give them that much. The vocals are clear and understandable but also vomiting and deep, it is a nice combination which works well with the music. The pacing is good with the rhythmic ritualistic repetition interspersed with more rocking and upbeat sections ala St. Vitus at times I suppose. Some killer guitar fills and short soloing which really adds to the atmosphere. There is nothing especially stand out or amazing about Acid Witch. But they are a little off-beat and they roll out some powerful fuzzed out death/doom with that sinister touch. I found myself enjoying this album.  – Dale 

http://www.myspace.com/acidwitch    http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/ 




“Drunk With Power” 2006 CD

(Thrashard Records)


I was not sure what to expect from these British blokes. I was pleasantly surprised when hitting the play button. I was greeted a fistful of raunchy attitude and a side order of raw sloppy metallic soup. It is some tasty shit too. But I mean wow this has to be first new crossover band I have heard in a decade at least! As music styles go crossover I find is a love it or leave it alone style. It does not always appeal to metal purists or die hard punk and hardcore fanatics. Crossover generally does not display the depth or emotion some look for in their music. But it is catchy, energetic, rocking and heavy and it is memorable, it always has the ever important head bang factor. I like the production on here. It is good in general but definitely has a little bit of the old school organic feel to it and I like that a bunch. This is the way it was meant to be. I will take this raw gritty feel over pro tool overdub to death stuff any day and twice on Sunday. Adrenicide would be aces live I am sure. I am sure the adrenaline would be pumping and it would be rather difficult not to sing along with these crude and in your face lyrics and signature choruses. I think fans of DRI, Cryptic Slaughter, Gang Green, early COC and the like will be well pleased with Adrenicide. It is a simple recommendation you know how scarce good crossover is so you know what to do.  – Dale 

http://www.myspace.com/adrenicide1   adrenicide@googlemail.com 




Limitless Life Reflections” 2012 CD

(Self Released)


After listening to Mexico's The Advent Equation's debut I'm amazed for two reasons number one a band can combine brilliant melodic, progressive music but in the next breath combine it with more heavy straight forward death and make it sound so good and original. And the second is why is this band not signed yet? When so many crappy bands get signed over the quality ones like this, it is a shame. As mentioned The Advent Equation seem to shine when playing both styles of music, the more extreme and melodic sides of metal equally. The vocals are done in mostly clean male vocal patterns which fit very well with the bands music, but there are some deeper death growls also used in the heavier parts which work just as well. This is a band to watch out for in the future, to see where they go from here. I see a bright future for them so I for one look forward to hearing their future releases.  - Patrick 

https://www.facebook.com/theadventequation  http://www.myspace.com/adventmx     




“Nocturnal Glorification” 2014 CD

(Elegy Records)


I don’t know what it is about Finland, but the country has one of the best black metal (and death metal) scenes today. Aegeon is no exception; the main man behind the band is Lord Aegeon. He is playing raw, vicious black metal on this album, the way it was done in the early to mid ‘90s. The guitar chords are screechy and raw, ranging from fast to a more mid-paced range and sound. The drumming is top notch, with some extremely fast, chaotic beats. The vocals are raw demonic shrieks. If you are a fan of raw, violent black metal, then definitely do yourself a favor and buy this disc today!  - Patrick 

https://www.facebook.com/aegeon666   http://www.elegyrecords.org/       




“Tarot” 2017 CD

(Primitive Ways Records)


Do you enjoy folksy melodies, mighty guitar solos, kinetic rhythms, and choruses fit for the gnarliest of pub sing-alongs? Well, pick up your drinking horns and boffers, lords and dames, for we have a massively fun chunk of folk-influenced melodic death metal for you. Æther Realm had been working on this album over the past few years up until its recent release on June 7th of this year. They released its first single back in 2015, titled “The Chariot”, which had fans biting their nails for two years in expectancy of the next full length after One Chosen By The Gods. Now, fans can hold in their hands the compact disc that they have been waiting for since 2013, and its weight is all at once light-hearted and hard-hitting. This spectrum starts on one end with “King of Cups”, boasting of a mystical brew and calling comrades to “Chug! Chug! Chug!” with an all-too-appropriate featured vocal performance from Chris Bowes of Alestorm. On the other end, we have the title track “Tarot” that blasts away as one of the most straightforward, true-to-form, yet exceptionally Æther Realm-esque melodeath tracks on the album. Straddling these two poles are tracks like “Death” that take a slower pace with a loping rhythm and a dismally optimistic melody that conveys a positive view of mortality from the perspective of someone experiencing the afterlife as a wandering soul. Everything about this album is memorable and enjoyable, not to mention it shows that the band has moved far ahead of the bar they set for themselves with their debut. I was most looking forward to hearing their sound mature further, as well as the production quality improve, and I am pleased to say that both of these hopes were met and then some. Definitely give this album a listen if you want an engaging folk metal experience, or if you just want to have a good time. Both will surely happen. – Aaron

https://aether-realm.bandcamp.com/   http://www.primitivewaysrecords.com/         




“Viziok” 2007 CD

(Paragon Records)


Aetherius Obscuritas descend upon us from the mists of Hungary. This is essentially a one man band with a studio drummer. So that quickly answers my first question and always a general fear when you hear the term one man band. That would be does it employ a drum machine? No to that question is a good start off on the right foot with me. What did get me worried was the bio claiming that Ancient “The Canian Chronicles” as a large influence. Thankfully it is not that noticeable, in fact, I actually think A.O. sound a lot more like Burzum on here and that I can deal with. “Viziok” is not a bad album though neither is it particularly good either. It is decent yet just average black metal and a tad run of the mill. It has it’s moments here and there and some quality material is to be found among whole if you are listening for it. So I would say if you are not too picky and like to grab just about everything you can get your hands on in this genre. Then you will not go wrong adding this as well. If like me, you do not fall into that category, then just go play some of your fave black metal albums. As you likely already own this album in some form or another spread across your record collection.  - Dale  

www.paragonrecords.net   http://www.arkhorrl.hu 





Black Medicine” 2009 CD

(Paragon Records)


Hungary's Aetherius Obscuritas have released their fifth CD "Black Medicine". The bands core sound seems to have its roots in early 90's Black Metal whether it is the cold-raw Burzum sound or the more melodic, dark Dissection, Ancient influences. Main songwriter Arkhorrl (vocals, instruments) has created a dark masterpiece. But also proves throughout the songs on this release he is not afraid to add some variety to the already dark, and unique sound of Aetherius Obscuritas. Mixing in Black Metal screams, some spoken word passages as well as clean male vocal lines. The guitars are fast and brutal riffs and solos with some rawness mixed into the production. The drums which are performed by Zson who does a magnificent job on the drums. If you are familiar with Aetherius Obscuritas past releases then you know this band unique approach to Black Metal. If you have never heard the band and you are a fan of dark, Black Metal with some atmosphere then check out this CD now.  – Patrick 

http://www.paragonrecords.org  http://www.myspace.com/aetheriusobscuritas  





“Ventus” 2012 CD

(Paragon Records)


I did not realize, as I just looked it up that it has been like 5-6 years since I last reviewed a release by this band. Now looking back and reading that review, I was a little lukewarm on this Hungarian black metal band back then. Aetherius play pretty slick bm with keyboards adding a lot of the atmospheric element, to honest I think a lot of their songs would be better off without the synth. Generally speaking though this is some solid black metal, fairly standard but well done with some good riffing. At times they are really trying to push the aggression but for me it does not seem to translate that well, I do not feel it if you know what I mean, it doesn’t burn with that feeling. I would say some of the riffing and sound are a little more traditional metal sounding and cleaner, also slower in pace than a lot of black metal in this style. Which is not necessarily a bad thing when it is done well and AO pull it off with very competently. The vocals are good and remind me of older style bands like maybe on the first Immortal mixed with maybe a hint of a less screechy Cradle of Filth influence. The drum work on here is pretty hectic and powerful. This band improved quite a bit in the last five years and I went from being lukewarm / down on them to enjoying Ventus, no not an amazing album, but a good album worth the attention.  - Dale 

http://www.arkhorrl.hu/   http://www.themetalunderground.com/    



“Blacken The Angel” 1998 CD

(Nuclear Blast USA)


This band spews forth solidly written, tight and nicely produced melodic Euro black/death metal. Do you know what my problem with that is!? In this day and age there are so many bands doing this style (i.e.- Dawn, Sacramentum, DarkTranquility, Night In Gales and the list goes on) and doing it well. You have to be better than just good There are a few guitar parts like those in “Tristetea Vehementa” and “Near Dark” that jarred me & stand out. Agatodaimon have to add something to their sound to stand out above the pack. On a side note the layout and photos chosen for each page of lyrics are superb.  – Dale




“War, Hate, Blasphemy” 2005 Cassette

(Karpathia productions)


Ahh, the Carpathians, a world of wonder of isolation and elemental unfound dark forces emanating around me. Home of Omega wolves, a netherworld of uninhibited by man stretching to the frosty skies and mists untrodden in Ukraine not unlike the dark greetings of the rockies in North America. Vocally, the Hungarians remind me of Massacre meets “Maximum Violence” era Six Feet Under and forget Napalm Death already! High produced and more talented than many bands already signed, old school riffs, early Death leads behind the killer drums that lay waste like early Immolation and old Suffocation, a real black and decker pecker wrecker. This is what death metal is all about and it’s the incredible vocals of unmatched brutality that makes the album fly or die, don’t miss out on this or you’ll be kicking your own ass otherwise. Bigger things are going to happen to AOA if labels have to the brains to help them. My copy is 110 of 333, it will likely be sold out when this is printed. Make contact anyway, you never know. – Clayton 

misanthrop@freemail.hu   http://synaptx.hu/agony/ 




Terror, Incest And Death” 2014 Cassette Album

(Ljudkassett Records)


Aggressive Mutilator comes out of Sweden's old-school black metal scene with a healthy dose of early punk influence. The guitars are well done with some at a brisk speed that has both the metal and punkish influences, there are even some nice solid solos mixed in with the crazed punkish / metal riffs. The drums are performed at alternating speeds between hyper-speed and mid paced patterns. Aggressive Mutilator has created a good mix of old school blackened metal and early influences of punk rock.  - Patrick 

http://aggressivemutilator.bandcamp.com/   http://ljudkassett.bandcamp.com/       





“Poison Minds” 2014 CD EP

(Psycho Records)


They call this an ep, I suppose because there is an ep of new songs with the title above, but you also get their 2013 & 2014 demos (“They Want To Cut Off My Head” & “Curse Of The Outlaw”), which all clocks in around 35 minutes. So if this is an ep, and sold as such, you really get a lot of music. I must admit, it is different having a CD from Aggressive Mutilator, after receiving many demo tapes from them for some years now. Not a lot has changed with Aggressive Mutilator, well with the exception of the production on the new album, with it being maybe the most professional I can recall. A.M. has always embraced the low-fi end of things, through rough and older sounding productions and I appreciate that. They do embrace late 80s black metal like Venom and Bathory, with a healthy dose of sound and attitude from that era. Not to mention a mixing in of punk influence from that time period as well. I can not help it, I simply love this stripped down, ancient sound, where the feeling of the music is king, not how technical you can get or how many riffs you stuff in a song at light speed. I love the great rhythms and riffing they have going on, it is very memorable, you will nod your head along to it, it even has a slight hypnotic effect on me. This is saying something, considering filthy and dirty this Swedish band really is. If you miss the old days, and the old ways, played by dedicated worshippers of it, who live and breathe it, then I implore you to get your hands on this disc any way possible. But do not delay as it is limited to only 500 copies!  - Dale 

http://aggressivemutilator.bandcamp.com/music   http://www.wydawnictwopsycho.com/       




“Det Djävlanästet” Cassette Promo for 2018 CD EP

(Mythrone Promotion)


It is cool for me to see Sweden’s Aggressive Mutilator return to the pages of CA after a lengthy absence. I reviewed I think four of their past demo tapes, and two CDs, one a full length and the other with new and old stuff, if memory serves. I think it has been about 4 years though since I reviewed anything by them. The band always keep things rough & raw, dirty and low-fi (but certainly still listenable) with lyrics, imagery and an attitude that is drenched in blasphemy, vulgarity and a twisted sense of humour. I love them for all of that. The music itself is stripped down, unrefined old school thrashing black metal (first wave bm ala Venom, Bathory, Sodom plus very early 2nd wave ala early works by Mayhem, Ancient Rites, Mortuary Drape, Necromantia etc…) with doses of heavy metal and healthy hints of violent harsh punk rock. Their songs are usually feature catchy as hell riffing and song structures, as mean as you like and probably as filthy as you can handle. They usually keep things in the middle range, as far as pacing of the music goes with some touches of speed. The vocals are gruff yelled thrash style vocals, but with hints of a growl and rasp yet they possess a very maniacal edge to them that reminds me a little of the crazy vocals of The Accüsed, whom I dig. Yes, those vocals might be a bit of an acquired taste for some, but for me though they are simply fucking great and drip with charisma. Possibly nowhere is the abrasive punk style stronger than the final song “Victim #59”, which is so memorable and infectiously good featuring a nasally whiny cleaner vocal, but that vocal is still demented and filled with smarmy, oily attitude that I like and reminded me a little of an old early ‘90s punk band from Canada whose name escapes me at the moment (edit – I remember now it was Grimskunk, look up the song “Rooftop Killer” ala the maniacal laugh parts). I know I am highlighting the punk influence here, but make no mistake this release is metal as all fuck! I want to thank A.M. frontman / guitarist Mikael Holm, despite this being a CD label release he made a special promo tape of it with the cover, inlay and handwritten tape just for Canadian Assault! Cheers my metal brother. Check these fuckers out, this is for all the UG metallers that love raw and extreme music that you can headbang to!  - Dale 

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




“Influx of Hatred" 2020 Split Album CD

(Mythrone Promotion & Bestial Invasion Records)


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

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




“Warriors” 2007 CD

(Nuclear Blast Records)


I should start off mentioning the fact I became an Agnostic Front fan back in 1992. During that time period for a few years my pathetic hardcore collection consisted of and did not travel much beyond bands like Agnostic Front, Sick Of It All, Black Flag and a scant few others. I was on a strictly metal trip for the most part. But when I bought the then brand new “One Voice” I was pretty well fucking hooked ever since. In the years since I have gotten my grubby paws on most of their back catalog and in my mind A.F. are hardcore legends and help define what is hardcore. While they are hardcore as fuck. They have always been a fast band and driven by rather metal guitars and they are not ashamed of it or to my knowledge ever strayed from it. Agnostic just always hits you hard with massive pounding drums, razor heavy riffs and the vocals that emanate Roger Miret’s throat are without any doubt some of the most distinctive hardcore vox ever! So you ask what has changed with Agnostic Front in the last 15 or 20 years? The answer is not a whole fucking lot and I must admit I like it that way. They are still just as energetic, pissed off and these old bastards still hit you harder than most. A fair warning that you will have those chant choruses ringing and bouncing around in your noggin for hours after hitting the stop button. I have nothing but respect for these pioneers.  - Dale 

www.agnosticfront.com   www.nuclearblastusa.com




“The Unraveling” 2018 CD

(The Flenser)


If I had to describe this album with one word, it would be torrential. The Unraveling is teeming with potentiality—always on the cusp of the next kickass movement in a series of grappling hooks. Each track on this album has a personality that distinguishes itself from the rest, exhibiting the acute depth of thought that Ails put into weaving together their work. (I know it seems a contradictory statement for them to weave something together that is “unraveling,” but bear with me.) They navigate the challenging waters of contrast with ease. For example, the first track, “The Echoes Waned,” showcases Ails’ tact with combining blackened metallic craftsmanship with earthier tones in the clean vocals (which most immediately contrast with the more prevalent blackened shrieks) and brief stripped-down moments that bookend the composition. The very next track, “Dead Metaphors,” begins in a doom-laden manner, but transitions into “Any Spark of Life,” which often finds itself at a confluence of exuberant riffing and more patient sections. Ails work with all of these dynamics with immense control, constructing an album that listeners can fully immerse themselves in while still feeling a sense of direction, of propulsive momentum. If “Mare Weighs Down” is looking over a cliff’s edge into a cyclone, “The Ruin” is the subsequent descent and experience of the whirling rapids. Everyone comes out on top in the end with the ultimate, epic finale of “Bitter Past,” which begins with a slightly twang-y guitar line that puts into music the recollection of a caustic memory that sticks in one’s cranium like an irksome bur. This track leads the listeners out of the album through craggy rapids, leaving them with a sense of catharsis. Listening to The Unraveling is an exercise in refiguring the familiar with the energy of the present—even though we exit the album through the “past,” Ails still demonstrate that progress can be made in habituated mediums. I would highly recommend this album to any fan of forward-thinking extreme metal. – Aaron

https://theflenser.bandcamp.com/album/the-unraveling    http://theflenser.com/         




“Hordes Of Black Metal Warriors" 2020 Split Album CD

(Plague Demon Records)


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

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




“Eternal Depression” 2014 CD

(Witches Brew Records)


Serbia’s Alitor are a heavy metal band, with some thrash, as well as a little progressive metal / rock intertwined throughout the tracks. Alitor has crafted and created, a good debut release. The guitars are a mix of thrashy fast guitar riffs, with some middle pacing, that is played with of talent and power. The vocalist has a nice range, going from a melodic clean singing voice, to a more raspy, thrashy screams. This is a good release of thrash / heavy metal, with some excellent progressive metal influence, especially in the guitar department. So if you are, a thrash metal fan, who likes some progressive metal mixed in, then give band a shot today.  - Patrick 

http://alitor.bandcamp.com/   http://www.witchesbrewthrashes.eu/  




“Grand Gesture Of Defiance” 2012 CD

(Shadow Kingdom Records)


I was a little surprised initially to find out this band was made up partially from the remnants of other Danish bands like Victimizer and Church Bizarre. Those are extreme brutalizing metal bands. While Altar of Oblivion are a slow paced, melodic heavy metal band, I hesitate to call them doom metal, yet they do remind me of Candlemass and they are a doom band, so let’s call a spade a spade here. So melodic heavy metal doom band it is. Now normally when you see classic doom automatically people tend to think of Black Sabbath and bands like this, but Altar sound nothing like that and do not have those big crushing riffs. Their music produces in me more of an epic, yet somber mood and if you can get in that mindset, it is an emotional journey Grand Gesture… will take you on. Despite the obvious Candlemass influence the vocalist does not have the emotional or dynamic range of Messiah Marcolin, he has some range but it is more of a monotone, hypnotic delivery and I do like the vocals. I can hear influences mixed within their doom sound such as Manilla Road, Gothic Knights, Solitude Aeturnus and the like. As I said this is a journey, not just a crush and grind you to bits with slow motion doom riffs, nothing wrong with that of course, but Altar of Oblivion spread that power out across each instrument and that glow stretches across you like a wet blanket that just encompasses you in warmth and despair. To sum things up, this is a damn fine album, which I very much recommend and the scene in Denmark continues to show it’s quality with this excellent young band.  - Dale 

http://www.myspace.com/altarofoblivion  http://shadowkingdomrecords.com/     




“Returned To Life" 2021 CD & LP

(Momento Mori Records)


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

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




“Digitaria” 2021 CD

(Plague Demon Records)


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

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




“Elde” 2009 CD

(Soulseller Records)


We have some black metal of the Norwegian persuasion. I do not know a lot about the band. But apparently they formed in 2002, signed with a label, but never released an album and then went on hiatus for some four years. Elde represents their return to the scene for the first time since their demo in ’03 and of course is their debut. It seems like each song starts out really mid-paced and sort of atmospheric or melancholic then shifts gears in the second half with some quickening in the speed. The vocals from Loge are very vague sounding whispered growling/croak and just sort of melt into the background not standing out, which I am sure was intentional. The drums back everything up well but are maybe more cymbal laden than many bm albums. The riffing can really be hypnotic at times and sets my mind wondering through misty landscapes and mountainous areas covered in forest play in my subconscious. That sounds a little corny I know but that is what Elde seems to do to me. I have a feeling the band would not be unpleased by having that effect.  - Dale

http://www.soulsellerrecords.com/  http://www.myspace.com/alverg   




““Demos 1991-1992” 2016 CD

(I Hate Records)


I really enjoyed the morbid packaging and layout of this disc. Also, the whole inside of the booklet, contains a fairly detailed account from the band leader, on the entire history of the band start to finish. It really gives that personal touch and connection. I liked the story, where their local youth centre put on a local battle of the bands type festival. Where Tim took it upon himself, to invite extreme metal bands from around the area, to sign up and dominate the line up much to the organizers displeasure. Apparently, even Marduk, in full corpse paint made their debut live performance at the event! Now on to the music… I love the raw feeling and atmosphere on the recording of the first demo tape. It is really dark, and evil sounding, it kind of reminds me on the sound on the great demos of Grave. I think some of the influences going on here (on the first demo) are things like early works of Grave, Bathory, Death, Celtic Frost, Possessed, Autopsy etc… I really like this first demo tape, and I am happy to have it in collection, it is a real gem from the early days of the death metal scene. Now, on to the second demo entitled “The Twelfth Hour”, the production still sounds good and has a little touch of darkness to it, but it is a cleaner and more professional. Here they have decided to reach even further, back into their root influences, and they have added more of a mid to late ‘80s German thrash metal attack to the mix. The result is good, and there are some heavy killer riffs on here, but I have to admit despite liking this newer style, I prefer the primitive style and recording, to this newer, more polished demo tape. But, you really can not go wrong, with album length compilation. Which unearths an important piece of the fabled Swedish death metal underground, which many people did not know of or maybe just need a reminder.  - Dale 

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Amenophis/104155    http://www.ihate.se/       




Flesh Is Heir” 2013 CD

(Listenable Records)


The Amenta are probably one of the few bands from Australia that I just don't like or at least can't get into that much {there are some good riffs here and there} but then again the band is not total metal either. The Amenta for those who don't know mix some metal riffs with industrial noises and a lot of harsh noise influences to create a very chaotic and dark soundtrack. Honestly the band is hard to pin point in one certain category or genre as it changes from minute to minute. This is good for what it is but honestly not my style of music so if your a fan of experimental, industrial, harsh noise with some metal influences. Then give The Amenta a listen, but you might not like this if you’re a die hard metal-head that only likes metal your gonna hate this.  - Patrick 

http://www.reverbnation.com/theamenta  http://www.listenable.net/     





“Nous Reviendrons Immortels” 2010 CD

(Paragon Records)


Aldaaron have been in the black metal underground for a few years now. Releasing one demo {2007's "Des Legend Et Ancients Dieus} and one listen to the new cd and you will understand why paragon records picked them up for this release {and hopefully more in the future!} as the music created is simply brillant. Eight tracks of early 90's styled fast black metal with a lot of memorable and well used atmosphere blended in nicely. The drums are furious and pounding away with so much force and aggression. The guitars are just as fast with intense riffs and blazing speeds. All mixed in with the whirlwind of guitar riffs are some great sounding and placed solo's. Aldaaron is a band that is a must hear for fans of {early} Dissection, Emperor and even a little Immortal can be heard within Aldaaron's dark sound.  – Patrick

http://www.paragonrecords.org  http://www.myspace.com/aldaaron  




“Psychopathicolorspectrum” 2005 CD

(Khaaranus Productions)


Here we have some death metal with some grind elements dredging up from the mirth and might of the Czech Republic. There are some great brutalizing riffs on here and some killer dynamic drumming. But I must confess over all Alienation Mental is just not really my thing. The flow of the songs and structuring remind me a little too much towards the boring metalcore sound that has flooded America in recent years. Some have even taken to call this mallcore. I do not really keep up on the hip terminology of youngsters. But if this is mallcore then it sounds like metalcore to me and almost no bands in this style interest me very much. If you like this sort of thing then Alienation is probably as good as most of the bands out there that play this way. The album is kind of short at just over 30 minutes including a final track that is just sound sampling. From what I understand their old material was pure grind. They should have stuck with this way, it is what the mighty Czech scene is best at!  – Dale  

http://www.khaaranus.wz.cz   http://www.alienationmental.com/



“For Those Who Were Crucified” 1998 Cassette LP

(Victory Records)


I have to agree with my bro, Mike Rogers, from Sociopathic Despair fanzine. That All Out War in the riffing department are unabashedly Slayer clones, but damn are they heavy and rippin’! I know they are on Victory, but make no mistake this is a metal band! The vocals are hardcore-ish with a hint of death growl minced in. In no way original but in every way bad ass and blasting! Fans of Slayer “Season In The Abyss” take note.  – Dale

Victory Records, P.O. Box 146546, Chicago, IL. 60614, USA website = www.victoryrecords.com 





“Kravia” 2005 CD

(Tunes of Torture)


I am surprised I have not heard of this band before. This is without doubt some of the best death metal I have heard in the last 5 years. I mean these Ukranian wizards of brutality are just not fucking around. They have the whole package really. Except for one, key flaw, in my opinion or in my tastes, depending upon your view. That is their usage of synthesizer. I am generally not a fan of their use anyway and especially in a heavy handed way. On “Kravia” if they were used just a little more sparingly as an accent then I would have no problem with it. However, it seems in some songs they have synth stuffed into them come hell or high water, no matter the consequence. Okay I got that out of my system, I am probably being a little stubborn here. Ambrazura do an amazing job of riding the line between traditional death metal (I mean the brutal as all hell variety). All the while being very adventurous and almost progressive in their song structuring and time changes etc… The intense control they maintain is impressive as well. What I mean is it is difficult to produce such powerful dynamics while staying ultra heavy and produces a very dark and suffocating atmosphere that keeps troops marching in lock step. Oh, did I mention, the killer guitar soloing? Just get this fracking thing already and you will be impressed too. – Dale  

www.ambrazura.ru   torture13@gmail.com 



“With Oden On Our Side” 2006 CD

(Metal Blade)


Personally, I was disappointed with these Viking nostalgic's last outing 'The Fate Of Norms'. Hegg and company just were not making admirable songs of DM worthiness. W.O.O.O.S. changes that with Brutal Vocals, shorter and faster songs, and lyrics that are quite vicious. The songs are very memorable, and aside from the 6 song bonus disc that is not worth mentioning here, this is a killer album. It may not be ground-breaking, but with half the DM out there these days, it's stand's out like a fucking sore thumb...it's about fucking time! Buy it or burn it, you'll surely be cranking this one up either way  - Clayton 






“Lost” 2010 CD

(ATMF Records)


That long and kind of over dramatic band name had me thinking this might just be a straight goth band. With second lingering thoughts of an atmospheric, sort of dreamy, emotional metal band with some black metal style mixed in. I was wrong on the first count, but nailed it with the second wave. AAFCC (sounds like an electrical term or something) are full of moody atmospherics, but can be heard with the odd burst of aggression and speed, via traditional instrumentation from time to time. At first I was not sure I was a fan of the fuzzy guitar tone, but it has gradually has begun to grow on me. It surely beats the plastic, carbon copy sound that has been all the rage in recent times (though maybe I am just showing my age and old school nature here?). The vocals are fairly standard fair for the style, you know the obscure yelled rasps, floating in the background like a muted, far off Varg Vikernes or some such. Some of the guitar harmonies do it for me, yet much of the music is too far on the soft and trance like side of things to realize their full potential. They could probably learn a few things in this arena, from label mates Semen Datura, who are a wonderful band. I may be being a tad harsh on them, as for the most part this is a good record and they have a good grasp on what they are trying to achieve. I probably just would have them take a slightly different path and that is probably more down to personal taste, than anything else. If you like this style of music you could do worse. I find myself left wanting just a little more, as I think the band have it within them to give more. They are a young band so… we will see.  – Dale 

http://www.atmf.net   http://www.myspace.com/crippledchildren2009 




“Peste Negra Muerte Negra” 2015 CD

(Gates Of Hell Records)


This Peruvian band, go straight for the throat, with that band name and album cover! I like it. It takes balls to truly be extreme in this politically correct world we live in these days. Anal Vomit are veterans of the scene, having released their first demo tape, way back in 1993, they also have released a slew of other demos, eps and three albums prior to this tasty, moist morsel of a record. The band plays extreme, dirty death metal with a seedy grindcore underbelly. The recording here is really good, it is really heavy and brutal, but also very clear. The music for this style is top notch, really driving and grinding death metal with lightning catchy riffing, good variation, and thought, in the song structuring, which keeps my interest strong. Everything on here is always, played at full hateful adrenaline, which gives the record a fantastic bombast filled energy. These boys play everything to perfection and really know how to handle their instruments. I find death metal growls in languages like this or Spanish etc… when done with a lot of vile and mean intent, end up sounding even more vicious and cool then growls done in English, so I really dig the vocals on here, which are in the bands native tongue. Yes, this truly is a killer record that deserves the attention of any brutal death metal and grindcore fan.  - Dale 

https://myspace.com/analvomitperu   http://www.gatesofhellrecords.com/    





When The Forest Calls" 2009 CD EP

(Heidens Hart)


This Finnish band play a brand of pagan black metal. Having released a handful of demos, a full length, a best of (already?), and a split, this EP came out in 2009. There are keyboards mixed in amongst the melodic black metal - very nice production on the instruments on this release. The vocals are very weak, though - black metal inspired despair yelling. As I sit here listening, I like the music part of the band but the vocals don't really fit in with it. Either the band needs to get more old school raw black metal for the vocals to work or the singer needs to start actually singing to keep up with the rest of the band.  Decent.  - Mark Sugiyama

http://www.heidenshart.nl.nu/  http://www.myspace.com/ancestorsbloodfinland  



“Finland .VS. Norway” 1998 Split CD

(Season Of Mist Records)


…And Oceans play a simplistic and flowing black metal that is destroyed by overuse and smothering of keybored’s! Bloodthorn seems to play pretty much in the same symphonic vein as …And Oceans. But, throw in some trendy operatic female vocals. This is a goofy release, each band has 4 songs that break down as 2 originals, 1 cover (each) of GGFH and 1 cover of each others songs. Also it sure makes it more evil for me when a black metal sings about either track running or car racing (…And Oceans) and on a military strategic move (Bloodthorn). Fans of symphonic black metal will eat this up for sure. As for me, it’s not my goblet of black blood and besides that cover picture makes me feel like I have walked in on some sort of uncomfortable moment during a mating ritual.  – Dale

Season Of Mist, 24 rue Brandis, 13005 Marseille, FRANCE  Email = season@worldnet.fr 




2006 Split CD

(Bestial Burst Records)


Angmar – 3 hymns of punishing Finnish black metal from each band. Angmar’s music is really loose and pretty rough around the edges but the atmosphere of hate and darkness manages to shine through. They actually remind me a little towards a lot of American black metal bands. “The Act In Worship” even has American death metal riffing running smack through it. They need work but pretty good nonetheless.

The True Endless – An epic sort of feeling from these Italian black metal beasts. By that I mean long songs that have monotonous riffing with little to no dynamics or variation. Which is a formula that can really work sometimes ala early Burzum but I would say Endless miss the mark a little here. I like obscure vocals but on here they have been so over hidden in the mix, to the point of near non-existence. I would pass. – Dale  

www.bestialburst.blackmetal.fi/   bestialburst@blackmetal.fi




“Necromantic Grimoire" 2022 CD

(Plague Demon Records / Masters Of Kaos Productions)


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

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




“Cold” 2010 CD

(Hammer Of Hate)


Well this is something new under the black sun for me. We have all seen and heard hundreds of one man bands. But have you ever before heard of a one woman band?! I have not and I have to admit I am intrigued by an individual of the female persuasion being this dedicated and hard to the core in the bm realm. Her corpse painted photos throughout the cd booklet are fantastic and mirror the music perfectly. Also believe it or not after all of these years and bands, she does some poses in those photos I have never seen before. The depressive and suicidal lyrics only intrigue further. This Finnish woman goes by the name Possessed Demoness and is joined only as a session drummer by some fellow going by the name of Mental Penetrator. The vocals are hysterical, I do not mean that in a mocking way, she sounds completely hysterical and maniacal with her tortured and yes anguished screams and hollering. Think of the vox from the first Cradle of Filth but turned up a notch on the intensity and more out of control. I find myself to be fascinated with them and can not stop listening. Every now and then she slips in a clean but still dark sounding vocal, no angelic type stuff, just spoken / sung bits. The music is solid, often mid paced almost introspective black metal. The silence is shattered from time to time with some raging speed and frantic darkness that runs headlong through the mist with tortured hate. I could see the riffing and some of the sound being akin to Judas Iscariot or a rougher, looser Horna type sound. I could see due to the love it or hate it type vocals, that this is probably a polarizing sort of band. As for me I enjoyed this album quite a bit.  – Dale 

http://www.hammer-of-hate.com/  http://www.myspace.com/anguished666



“The Return Of Black Death” 1998 CD

(Cacophonous Records)


I can’t tell you much about this band as no bio or other information were supplied to me. Having said that, I can tell you about the music within. Antestor are masters of droning blackened goth metal w/ heavy atmosphere from the guitars. They also show off their Bathory viking-era, Katatonia gothic overtones and influence of the Gothenburg sound. Yes, Antestor are a good band when not bringing their gay keyboards to the forefront and taking away from excellent subtle epic guitar harmonies. With regards to the album title they must be referring to the lyrical content, as musically this is no return to black/death metal. Solid release, nothing more.  – Dale

Cacophonous Records, 231 Portebello Road, London, W11 1LT, ENGLAND




“Sinful Birth” 2017 CD

(I Hate Records)


The Swedish thrash metal attack continues, coming at us in unrelenting waves violence; with the excellent I Hate Records urging them onward and bringing support artillery up from the rear. Antichrist sound quite different from their countrymen Entrench, which I just reviewed, but they also harken back in every way to mid-80s thrash nostalgia and greatness! “Sinful Birth” erupts out of the gates from all directions with swirling, blazing guitars, sounding like they are perpetually on the edge of collision. Like when you see someone on a motorbike and the front wheel starts wobble and weave, you know either the driver manages to smooth and straighten things out, or he is about to crash and scrap his flesh across the pavement. This is what the guitars sound like, the audio version of that most of the time, they are great, but almost going faster than the players can handle and are on the verge of spinning out of control at all times, they always manage to straighten out the wheel just in time, but it keeps you on the edge of your seat, as a listener let me tell you. It is also very infectious, keeping you spellbound with it’s high energy, forcing your heart to pound and your blood pump as you headbang along. The only time they seem calmed down and in control, in the zone emotionally is during the great emotive, epic ten minute instrumental track “Chernobyl 1986”. I get sped up early Slayer and Infernal Majesty “None Shall Defy” vibes from this album at times and I like it. Speaking of which, let’s move on to the excellent, if not off kilter manic vocals, which to make another analogy remind me of someone in a horror movie who is being hunted down by some entity and the prey in this case is out of breath, distraught and losing his mind in terror and verbalizing it in gasping fright. Just imagine adding that to the guitars I mentioned above and between the two this is a white knuckle thrill ride of thrash metal insanity. The vocals definitely have threads, by my ear of the vocalists of the two bands I mentioned above, with a mixing of Tom Araya on the first few records and Chris Bailey thrown in a chaos blender. This is easily one of the most intense thrash metal records I have heard in the last couple decades! Fuck me! Get this now and wreck your neck!!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/antichristsweden/    http://www.ihate.se/          




“Pax Moriendi” 2018 CD

(Iron Bonehead Records)


I have been championing the South American scene the last couple years. But, I have been surprised to often be met with comments, like “Oh yeah that scene was good way back in the day from the late ‘80s to the mid ‘90s”. Well, I agree it was great back then, but also I say fucking wake up, and take another look the South American scene now, it is one of the top scenes in the world! That area of the world is fucking killing it in recent years, and only getting better, one of the current hotbeds of that UG scene these days is Peru (endless bands from there like Runa, Anal Vomit, Blaspherion, Kraken, Mortem, Profaner etc…), which is the country Antichrist hails from as well. “Pax Moriendi” creates a dismal audio landscape of death doom, dripping with sinister evil, which torments and suffocates the listener into submission. Yes, it is death metal, but it is extremely doomy in pace and feeling, pounding and crushing you in glorious slow motion. If you were to mix the albums “Mental Funeral” by Autopsy, “Transcendence Into The Peripheral” by Disembowelment and “Rites Of The Black Mass” by Acheron then you would probably have something that sounded very close to this album. Now, that I read that description, it is little wonder I like this album so much, as those are three of my all-time favourite releases in the history of extreme metal. The vocals are obscure, suffocating elongated rumbling growls, with emphasis more on the sound they create than the words they form; often words are drawn-out before and after with this vocal sound attached, and the result for me is quite satisfying. Now and again, there are some clean half sung/half spoken passages that are equally obscure sounding, and melt into the background of the wonderfully rumbling, lurching music. For me, the style of sound the band creates are the perfect union of death and doom metal, while always keeping things extremely dark and morbid. Recommended!  - Dale 

https://www.facebook.com/antichristperu    http://www.ironbonehead.de       




Æra Dementiæ” 2015 CD

(Kaotoxin Records)


Coming out of the French brutal death metal scene, we have Antropofago with their second album to date. The band plays a very fast brutal death style. The guitars are played with a lot of skill and complex guitar patterning. The drumming is done with a lot of rapid blast beat patterns, but the drummer knows how to create and write, some excellent crafty arrangements. The vocals are deep brutal death growls. If you enjoy mid 90s style brutality, with some of today’s brutalizing elements, a mix of yesterday and today, this is a great release you all need to check out soon.  - Patrick

https://www.reverbnation.com/antropofago   http://www.kaotoxin.com/        



“Heliopolis” 1998 CD

(Morbid Records)


Woah… I had heard this bands name before, but I had no idea they have been kicking around since the late ‘80’s! They put out a couple demos and this is their 3rd album. This record does display, this German band’s, maturity as they create a multitude of emotive layers. They do so by combining fast guitar sections with slow plods, tasty lead work and throw in some speedy blasts. The vocals are deep semi-decipherable gruff death growls and top things off with some odd sprinkling of keys in the background. All is structured very solidly. Death fiends check into this.  – Dale

Morbid Records, Postfach 3, D - 03114 Drebkau, GERMANY




“From Gold To Ash” 2018 CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)


It has been four years since this Indianapolis, Indiana bands last album, has it been worth the wait? Let’s dig in and find out. For those unfamiliar, Apostle Of Solitude play doom metal, in the classic old school style, but with a definite heavy metal base mixed within the foundation. I found myself immediately struck by the great despondent sounding guitar tone, which has a real richness to it and conveys very well, the general emotional tenor of the bands sound. I found this overall staple tonal guitar sound, which runs through the entire record, to be very captivating in it’s melancholic atmospheric majesty. The two guitarists Steve Janiak and Chuck Brown share vocal duties, though Chuck Brown (ex-The Gates Of Slumber where he played drums – talented dude) seems handle the bulk of them and takes the lead. The vocals are clean sung traditional style; with Brown often choosing to extend words and phrases, adding some extra feeling and range that suits the music well. The music and vocals do a fine job at mirroring the seemingly grey and emotionally overcast mood of the lyrical content. I think one of the biggest compliments I can give the band, would be that within this well trodden style of doom, to my fairly educated ear, they seem to have managed to create an own sound that I have trouble comparing to any specific bands. Which, certainly is no mean feat, especially in this day and age. Cruz Del Sur just keep finding quality band, after quality band, it is impressive and a real pleasure to follow along with this excellent record label labours, they have done it once again in spades with Apostle Of Solitude.  - Dale

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




“Until The Darkness Goes” 2021 CD & LP

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


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

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




“Sulphur And Fire” 2015 CD

(Cryptia Productions)


Archemoron are a black metal band hailing from Greece, which of course, is a country with a great black metal tradition. This is the bands second album and it is a killer. I like that Archemoron mix in some guitar sounds, that will remind at times, of the original late 80s, very early 90s wave of black metal. Which is something, the early great Greek black metal bands such as Necromantia, Varathron and Rotting Christ also possessed in their early incarnations. But the dominant sound is definitely a more modern black metal one. The band keeps a certain level of melodicism, to their evil sounding riffs, and the drumming backs it up smoothly and skillfully. Their biggest talent is the ability to compose and arrange songs, which create a really dark, gloomy emotive atmosphere. That is not to say they are not an aggressive band, because they are, but the aggression is often a bookend to the brooding atmosphere. The mixing of both adds a depth and dynamic to their sound, which gives both elements more power through contrast. The vocals mimic the music quite successfully, producing range of emotions, from the ominous to poignant belligerence. They really serve to flesh out and finish off this album. My conclusion is “Sulphur And Fire” is an album, that die hard fans of old school, and newer black metal, should find quite enjoyable.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/archemoron   http://cryptiaproductions.blogspot.gr/        




“Fran Marder” 2009 Re-Release CD

(Debemur Morti Productions)


During the early days Arckanum was written off by some as nothing more than a Burzum clone. While there is no denying a similarity in sound and style. I feel that is selling Arckanum a little short. There is a lot more depth there and it is not like they came on the block a decade later like many bands worshipped these days. The first demo (spell) was cast upon us in 1993. Just in case there is anyone reading this that does not know of Arckanum. I should mention this is the debut album and of course a re-release with more to come. One of the areas people sell them short, in my opinion, is the overall emotion and dark atmosphere this album and band exude. It grabs you and grows on you, it envelopes you like a swallowing mist and takes you into a trance state. The guitars on here are fantastic and just flow with a melodic quality to them that keeps your attention fixed. Shamaatae’s vocals are great, quite abrasive hoarse yelling with a touch of the black metal rasp. Despite the uncompromising and rough nature of the vocals it does not distract too much from that trance-like spell the music holds over you. In fact, it is a welcome counter point to it all. I really like this album and it is very good for a first release, especially if you consider when it was released. This debut album does not have the perfect production for the Arckanum style, but it is good anyway. It could be a little more raw instead of being as clean as it, but it is still good nonetheless. I am thinking this must have been one of the early recordings at the soon to be famous Abyss studios? It seems like the perfect amount of time has passed for a set of Arckanum re-releases. It is surely an underrated band that deserves to be well known once again in the scene.   – Dale 

http://www.arckanum.se/   http://www.debemur-morti.com/ 




“Kostogher” 2009 Re-Release CD

(Debemur Morti Productions)


Listening to these re-releases of old, reminds me to the early days of Arckanum. It was when the so called black metal mafias were running around and pointing fingers at all who were not true. I recall bands like Fluerety and Arckanum labeled as the untrue and unserious. “He runs around with a paper mache mask in the woods, pretending he is a troll!” It is all humorous for me to think about now. Anyway, on to the topic at hand, this is the 1997 sophomore follow-up for Arckanum. The sound here for my taste is much more suited to the band. It is more heavy and raw and powerful, it suits the guitars very well and the drums have more ‘umph’ too. As I am sure some fans will mention an Arckanum album must be listened to as a whole to get the full experience. Just picking out a song or two in isolation produces a great disservice to Shamaatae’s seamless vision. I would say the pace on here is more intense and aggressive than the debut album. You would think that might kill some of the atmosphere from the first album, but really it just morphs it into a new feeling or aura. An aura you soak in through your skin and not just your ears. Shamaatae seems to really be perfecting his tortured spirit, emotive yelling and rasp to perfection at this point in the Arc evolution. With the lyrics all having been written in ancient Swedish, it definitely gives a vibe all it’s own with the distinctive vocal style and pronunciation. Something I have always respected about Arckanum is the organic nature of it all and the resistance to take the thin and easy way out with synthesizer all over the place. “Kostogher” for me is an important release in black metal with real vision and is surely a must own album.  – Dale 

http://www.arckanum.se/   http://www.debemur-morti.com/  




“Dawn Of Ages” 2017 CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


This band’s name reflects the two driving artistic forces behind this band. You have vocalist Brian Balich, formerly of Penance, currently of the impressive Argus. Vincent Arduini, is a real veteran of the scene, in recent times he was a member of Freedom’s Reign. But he is best known as a founding member of Fates Warning, he was with the band from the start until just after their second album. I get the impression, reading between the lines of the bio, that Butch Balich may have been originally brought in by Victor just to do the vocals. But as two kept collaborating, Balich became an integral part of the song writing and creative process, morphing it into a full time band named after two. Either way, the result of these two forces combining, is impressive and exciting. The musical style I would call a marriage of classic clean doom in the vein of Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus etc… Combine those sounds heavily, with emotionally deep progressive rock, such as you might hear on Queensryche “Operation: Mindcrime” era, Captain Beyond or for a more modern example Fates Warning from the late ‘90s onward (“A Pleasant Shade Of Grey”). The musical tapestry, these two men have woven together is lush, and darkly striking in it’s depth of feeling and atmosphere. Victor is impressive on guitar, with his intricacy, while never sacrificing flow or impact by just showing off his high skill level. You can feel Balich’s influence, on the material is quite evident, his vocals are an intricate part of the fabric gliding in an and out, and all around the instruments with grace and dexterity, completing the music in every way possible. The music builds up the atmosphere, while the vocals crescendo over it all, delivering a satisfying impact every time. That delivery is there, whether it be triumphant, sorrowful or whatever other emotive term you want to use, his vocals just drip with passion and feeling! I have to listen to my Argus album again, I remember him being good, but not this fucking good, maybe it is case of the fantastic material on here that pushed him to new ranges and heights vocally? Balich’s vocal performance, at times, reminds me of the amazing vocal performance by Urban Breed, on Tad Morose’s “A Mended Rhyme” album, which is high praise from me, I assure you. The album closes out, with no less, than three cover songs (Uriah Heep’s “Sunrise”, Beau Brummels “Wolf Of Velvet Fortune” & Black Sabbath’s “After All (The Dead)”). Now, if I had heard the entire hour long album of original material, I would have advised the band do not screw it up, with cover songs. But, it is impressive how well they incorporated their sound, and chose covers, which fit surprisingly well with the rest of the album and comes off like icing on a delicious cake. No, this is not easy listening, by that I mean not immediately accessible, but if you are a fan of the genre’s I mentioned above and open to giving it the requisite attention span needed. Then you will be greatly rewarded, with a hell of an epic emotional, memorable audio journey.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/arduinibalich    http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/      





“Return To Dust” 2006 CD

(Nuclear War Now! Productions)


When you make a lasting and let us not split hairs here, legendary mark upon the scene, for better or for worse that legacy follows you around and becomes the measuring stick by which all future accomplishments. Your new bands cock is only 6 ½ inches but your old band is a porn star worthy 9 inches of raging meat & muscle. Of course I am referring to Order From Chaos, the classic band of wonderful chaotic torment, whose members Chuck Keller and Mike Miller propelled into prominent position of the metal history books. It will always linger around them like the after taste of fine wine (or a cheap vintage depending upon the view), matching that wonderment is a lofty goal likely pushed into the back of their minds. A new day is dawning and amusingly enough, despite a somewhat paltry output, Ares Kingdom has been around at this point about as long as Order From Chaos. How does A.K. fair to these biased ears? Pretty damn well by my measure and I am not new to Ares as one of my best friends released their demo tape (not to mention a 7 inch from Chuck’s other post OFC band Vulpecula) in wonderful pro packaging (Keith Dempe where are you my friend?! The Dark Lord whispers your name!). A much more middle paced and introspective yet harsh (yes I know those do not go together but you need to listen to this music to see what I profess!) sound that peel back the flesh and meat, one sinew at a time rather than just beating you over the head with a shovel ala OFC, they protract your pain before unconsciousness. Vocalist Alex Blume belts out his sandpaper howls with emotion and brute force, it really adds a rough around the edges quality which juxtaposes itself nicely on top of Keller’s wonderful guitar work (some of those piercing solo fills had in ecstasy)  and flowing structures. Speaking of the guitars they are heavy as hell itself and roll over you full force but with an underlying finesse and reflective aura which wonderfully counterpoints the blunt force trauma. It is true one minute you headbang and the next you are swept away to some distant plane letting your grey matter go for a swim in the calming seas of eternity. This is mandatory and should do any OFC die hard proud with it’s quality. No surprise it is on a great label like Nuclear War Now, you know what to do, get this and the D.H. vinyl too. – Dale 

www.areskingdom.com   www.nwnprod.com




“Incendiary” 2010 CD

(Nuclear War Now Records)


When I see that album title, it reminds me of one my fave movies Almost Famous. If you like that flick then you know what why. It has been almost 4 years since the last Ares Kingdom album. I must say, it was well worth the wait. The band has taken their sound to new heights I had not imagined. You can tell they used that time to perfect their craft and give the material the attention it deserved. AK has never been ones to rush things before their time, as evidenced by Incendiary being their second record since their 1996 formation. They have taken the time honoured tradition of thrash metal and molded it into something most remarkable. I was not provided with lyrics, but I can make many of them out and as can be expected from these fellows, they are intelligent and well thought out. I love the lyrics to “Abandon In Place”, it is about the Chernobyl meltdown and includes an actual emergency call from the event. Which is all brilliantly executed and the emotion in the music reflects the lyrics and the incident itself. It is not an easy task to marry all of these elements in unison, but Ares Kingdom do so masterfully. I enjoyed Alex Blume’s vocals and his growls are clear and decipherable and at times remind me to early Grave (and I fucking love Grave). They are not all over the place, but there are some amazing guitar solos/fills on here that absolutely smoke and yet add poignant emotive depth to the music at the same time. I would be remiss not to mention the superb and tasteful drum performance from Mike Miller. He supports the guitars wonderfully and leaves enough room for the compositions to breathe. I like the epic feel to Incendiary and how they kept things on the straight forward side and not get tangled into too many riffs or a run away train speed. It is not just epic in scope though. There are also a number of quite somber and melancholic sections that really add emotional dynamics to the whole. I know it is early in 2010, but Incendiary for me, already has record of the year candidate written all over it.  - Dale

http://www.areskingdom.com   http://www.nwnprod.com/




“Hornets Of The Pogrom” 2008 CD

(Drakkar Productions)


I have been a fan of Arghoslent for many a moon – probably around 15 years now! That means I am old and it goes back to my tape trading days when I traded for their demo tapes. They can be called death metal, but at times in their history I have had a hard time nailing that down. Some of their stuff seemed very traditional heavy metal influenced to me despite always having vocals that never fit that mold. In the past they have had some really obscure sounding vocals that melt into the scenery. Though not any longer, now they have more of classical death metal growler not from the belching school, but rather from a Euro deep brutal origin. One thing that has never changed is they do not give a fuck lyrically and image wise and always stick to their guns. “Hornets…” is a fairly quickly paced album and it is heavy, but also there is a lot of melody and memorable structuring to be had. Yes this album is probably one of the more easily digestible Arghoslent records and I think it shows hints of European influence more than in the past. The antithesis of in the past was part of the charm for me with Argho, but nonetheless “Hornets…” is growing on me. Just because it is so easy to get comfortable with does not mean it is not good. This is not my fave ‘slent work, but it is staying in my collection, let me put it that way. Before I go, I need to mention the guitar work on here is so good and worth the price of admission alone. A really emotional performance that just tore at my soul. Just one listen and you know I speak the truth. A quote from their bio that sums up the band up “…yielding to no one, apologizing to nobody, and offending everyone.”  – Dale  

www.drakkar666.com   http://drakkar666.com/arghoslent/




“Beyond The Martyrs” 2013 CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


I have heard some good things about this band, so I was exciting to check them out for the first time. They hail from the land of the Dawn Of The Dead out in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. Just based on things I heard I expected a straight classic doom metal band. But instead what I heard is a very old heavy metal sound ala Iron Maiden, Jag Panzer, Manilla Road type aesthetic with some doom pacing and some doom metal influence in the Candlemass, Black Sabbath accenting the strong heavy metal base. This band does borrow quite liberally from some of the old gods, but they do so with superb skill and emotional feel / timing. The guitar work on here is well thought out and tasteful. The doom side of Argus does seem to rear it head a little more forcefully late in the record illustrating the bands versatility. The vocalist Butch Balich while not possessing the piercing siren range of Dickinson or a Messiah Marcolin, nevertheless his vocals sounds fit the music very well, mirroring the musical influences exactly with a classic ‘80s power metal vocal style mixed with a touch of the clean doom vocal influence. “Beyond The Martyrs” is a very moody, emotive record, which is easy fall prey within it’s clutches and become very engaged with. I would have to recommend this to fans of the old school bands from the genres I mentioned above.  - Dale 

https://myspace.com/theargus   http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/    




“Armour” 2010 CD

(Hells Headbangers)


It is probably an understatement to say this is something a little different for the mighty Hells Headbangers label. Armour might be on the lighter end of the scale for many reading this. But I have always been a fan of certain bands in this style. The first song Rock ‘n Roll Tonite, would be a mixing of what you could hear on a Loudness, Dokken, Sword or Accept record back in the day. The following song The Time is Right has a massive Keel sound and feel to it mixed with a dash of old Grave Digger. The third track is a rocker by the name of Sex Demon, you can hear the WASP influence coming through here, maybe some Tank as well. Are you sensing a pattern here? Yeah these guys are none too original, they wear their influences on their sleeves in a major way and the style they emulate or immolate (depending upon your opinion) fluctuates from song to song. Some will surely find this a little too cheesy for their tastes and make no mistake it can be cheesy. Not to mention some of the stuff is probably a little too close to so called hair metal for many people’s tastes. For me I love stuff like WASP, Accept, old Grave Digger etc… So a lot of the stuff on here is okay with me, not to mention that they keep things just serious enough and heavy enough to keep me listening. You always read reviews like this is not just another retro band, well in my opinion you probably could call this just another retro band. But it is a good one and it seems very clear to me that these guys just bleed this style of music as fans. It is hard not to tap into some of that infectious devotion. If you like some or all of the above bands you will dig this one too. These guys would totally win VH1 Rock ‘N Roll Fantasy camp battle of the bands hands down haha.  – Dale 

http://www.myspace.com/metalarmour  http://armour.hellsheadbangers.com/  




“Maitre Des Dominations Cerebisles” 2004 CD

(Exh Goetie / D.U.K.E.)


I can not endure listening to this over and over, but I’ve learned that with enough patience and perseverance you can fuck a cat. This isn’t atmospheric noir black art orchestrated metal entwined with ceremonies as your tricked to believe. I believed Cradle of Filth was the worst band ever, what the fuck is this? Seriously, what I think of France is what Huskies think of poodles; that they belong to some kind of weird chainsaw worshipping cult. It feels like I’m walking admist some tinker-bell gay parade, namely the pianist. This is the commercially saturated shit balloon band that us true metallists see scourging our beloved metal commands today. Soft voices and a vocalist that sounds like a Raptor being corn-holed. The piano / keyboards / effects is un-metal and perpetual shit that is really pointless. This album makes Dimmu Borgir and Ancient sound extreme which is sadder than hell. It’s all in French lingo too and gives me more reasons to hate this poser crap. At least in Quebec, Canada those French acts know their shit. Lock and load and eat lead you assholes! The other day I had severe food poisoning and felt like I would die. After hearing this I wish I had! This is over priced at free! – Clayton 





“Hate Induced Trance” 2007 CD

(Sinister Sound)


Italian black metal. Four piece band. A throaty shouted vocal delivery.  Musicianship is decent. I can't really find anything wrong with this release. But, I also can't find anything right about it. It's not bad but it doesn't have that extra spark to make it something special. There are so many bands in the scene, I wouldn't be able to pick Ars Macabra out from the rest of them. I would recommend riding a few of the riffs out instead of constantly changing them. The album goes by in a blur. Mediocre release bordering on good.  - Mark Sugiyama 





“March Of The Damned” 2022 CD

(Born For Burning Productions)


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

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



“Burning Out In The Atmosphere” 1998 CD

(Bishop Records)


Well, as I understand it, Mark from Asteriods read my mag before sending this and still sent it anyway. So I guess he gave me the benefit of the doubt, so I will do the same. I just am not a good person to review this though, I listen to metal pretty much exclusively a metal band this is not. Asteroids play a upbeat adventurous rock in the vein of a happier Rush or Jethro Tull. Great singer, talented musicians but I still don’t like it at all, sorry.  – Dale

12 US to: Bishop Records, Box 81488, San Diego, CA. 92138, USA  




“Renascent Misanthropy” 2003 CD

(Obsidian Records)


This album was actually released originally in 2003, but has now been given new life through Obsidian Records. This time in digipak format with a bonus of a live video of the song “Arborescence” as well as a photo gallery in CD-ROM format. I guess one thing you will notice immediately is the recording is pretty much picture perfect. I often like a little rougher recording with my black metal, but it does seem to suit Astriaal just fine. The music is generally pretty harsh and fast, but always keeping an element of melody ala the old Dissection style yet a little cleaner and slick. It is clear to me a lot of thought and work was put into this album as it woven with a lot of emotional tapestry and hatred. The vocals are done in the classic raspy, shrieking black metal way with the occasional use of cleaner vocals. I can see why this received a re-release, this is some quality music, well worth checking out. Probably even more so these days as the scene does not seem to be as flooded with bands playing this style as it was in the past. Apparently the band has been “on hold” for the last six years since this albums release – I wonder why?  – Dale 

www.obsidianrecords.com   http://www.elementalist.net/astriaal/




“Divinihility" CD & 2020 LP

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


When I was sampling albums on my various digital record label promo accounts for something new and interesting to review Atræ Bilis jumped out at me. These western Canadian metal merchants to me really have a strong varied formulation of influences, and elements of death metal that should please old school and new school fanatics alike. They combine elements of tech death, a punishing old school base of heaviness and brutality, along with semi-regular accents of undercurrent melody and touches of newer school progressive song structuring. That is why I say fans old and new school, as above all even though they keep things inventive and interesting, but they are also mindful that roots of death metal really do need to crushing and brutal. Which is something they keep at the forefront at all times, but skillfully interject and retract at various points very smoothly, never interrupting the all important headbangable song flow. When I say skilled above I do not just mean with their individual instruments, because they certainly are skilled individually, but I am also talking about their talent and feel for quality song construction is strong. I should mention the growling vocal work of Jordan Berglund, which I found very enjoyable with those classic strong deep growls, they are relatively intelligible and Jordan has a talent for elongating and roiling inflection of words and phrases that adds another layer of depth to their sound. "Divinihility" is one hell of a debut album for this new Canadian band, a successful marriage of old world violent barbarism with new world technicality and progression.  - Dale

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




“Forever The End” 2011 CD

(Seventh Rule Recordings)


This disc came with no information whatsoever. I mean not even a website or even an album title or clearly marked record label that released it on the packaging. I had to do some digging to find that contact information for those reading this review, no clue why none of that was included with the disc or on the packaging. This album is out on disc and LP by the way, which I always love to see for fellow vinyl hounds like myself. There are only 4 songs on here, yet this is a full length album, with songs ranging in playing time between 6 minutes and 14 minutes. I guess you could call these songs and the album itself a slow burner of sorts and some patience is required. The band calls their music blackened death rock doom metal. Which is probably a fair description, but the death rock title made me cringe and is probably a bit misleading to some, it is not hokey like that term might suggest. Atriarch are a dark doom metal band, they travel the less beaten misty path and do so at a sluggish and measured pace. The vocals sound like some far off yet all encompassing musings from an introspective spirit and you can never quite locate their source. Just really vague sounding but they fit with the music nicely and help set the atmosphere. Forever The End washes over you producing within you waves of grief and melancholy and forlorn. It is entirely up to you to decide if you want let those deep feelings take hold of you and take you on the journey. I know I did and the experience was a powerful one. Doom hounds might want to make a trip to Seventh Rule for another fix.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/atriarchmetal  http://www.seventhrule.com/  





“The Switch To Turn off Mankind” 2007 CD

(Vendlus Records)


This would have to be, hands down, some of the best thrash I have heard in the last 5 years. I think I need to play some catch up with their back catalog now. As I mentioned Audiopain is definitely a totally pure thrash band. They do not sound much like this band or that band. You can hear some general influence but they have a sound of their own which is a good and rare thing these days. “The Switch…” is really good straight ahead dark thrashing that keeps the foot tapping and the head nodding in mini-headbang. I am really digging Sverre Daehli’s high throaty rasp vocals as they take me right back to my roots in the 1980s. Which is a welcome and comfortable place for me. Not to mislead anyone as the music is not retro made to me but rather is modern thrash made by some dirty old Norwegian thrashers. This is some high caliber music that you will not soon forget. Now my only 1 small problem with this record is it is only 26 minutes, which is a little short, to be passing off as a full length record. I need to hear more from these guys soon.  - Dale 

www.vendlusrecords.com   http://www.myspace.com/audiopain 




“Vollig Aussichtslos" 2021 CD

(Purity Through Fire)


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

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




“Guardians Of The Aethyric Shadow" Cassette

(Planetary King Records)


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

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




Chapter 1” 2011 CD

(Ahdistuksen Aihio)


After listening to Ave Maria's debut simply titled chapter one a few times. I have to say this is one of the most impressive and well-written dark, black metal masterpieces I've heard in years. And another impressive fact is this is just the bands debut release! The music is played slower almost black/doom to a more mid-paced black metal pace. The guitars have the harsh, screechy sound in parts but also there is a lot of really good solo's and well played structures. The drumming is top notch while keeping up with the guitars never really going full on blasting. Which is good cause I think Ave Maria have a great style and sound within the mid-paced realm {although as mentioned earlier this is the bands debut so who knows the band might speed things up in the future} Ave Maria are not strictly black metal clones and add a little variety {ugh usually a horrible a word when describing black metal music in my opinion} with some psychedelic and melody and somber moments to add an extra layer of darkness to the bands already dark sound and feel. Ave Maria are definitely a band influenced by pure black metal but are also not afraid to mix in melody or different elements. Highly recommended to all who listen and enjoy blackened, dark metal.  - Patrick 

http://www.ahdistuksenaihio.com/  http://airameva.bandcamp.com/  





"Bohemian Dark Metal" 2012 CD

(Deathgasm Records)


I think if I had to describe this Czech Republic band it would be as doomy black death metal. I know that covers a lot of bases, then again so does this album. Maybe some might just call this dark metal, hence the album title. I am not sure but it is an interesting record, nothing groundbreaking, yet Avenger do have a fairly distinctive sound in this day and age when that is a hard thing to do. I really got into it when they were doing their more doomy, atmospheric material mixed with the extremity. But during the longer sections when they went all out speed and hate, surprisingly to me I kind of lost focus and interest a little. Not sure why as it is well done. Either way overall I like what Avenger is doing and can only see them getting more and more interesting on future releases, just have that feeling. If you like doom and black metal first and foremost and do not mind the mixing of the two, you should definitely check out into Bohemian Dark Metal.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/avengerofficial  http://www.deathgasm.com/    




“Scorn” 2010 CD

(Moribund Records)


By Satan’s hairy nutsack, is there ever an end to Swedish black metal, in the classic old style? The answer of course is no and I fucking love that answer! This is all assuming of course, that it is good and coming across lousy bm from Sverige is a rare enough occurrence, at least in my experience. Avsky label themselves as ‘malignant black metal’ and that is apt term. They incorporate some more slow, moody and alternating rocking parts than many black metal bands in this genre. Yet they never lose the trademark cold and evil atmosphere that is always a welcome slow down of the blood pumping in my veins. “The Beyond” is a fantastic gloomy and haunting instrumental. Which is not something you hear a lot on bm albums. But it fits here nicely. This is definitely one of the better black metal albums I have heard in a while.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/avskyband   http://www.moribundcult.com/




“Tyranni” 2019 CD

(Osmose Productions)


Sweden’s Avslut return with their second full length release. “Tyranni” is containing nine songs of well written and sharply performed black metal with a high level of intensity. The material on here is a blend of crazed, fast black metal with some strongly constructed and skillfully played mid paced black metal music. The vocals are raw black metal screams and some deeper growls, which are used in a few of the songs. The drumming and guitar work is done with a tremendous amount of ability, whether they are playing chaotic or more controlled guitar work it is top quality through and through. It is high praise I know, but in my opinion, Avslut have created one of the best black metal releases of the year.  - Patrick 

https://www.facebook.com/1008Avslut1008    https://www.osmoseproductions.com       




“Teraphim” 2009 CD

(Moribund Records)


I would suspect most people reading this have heard the Finnish Azaghal by now. They have been doing it a long time now. They formed in 1995 and released their first demo tapes in ’98. I will admit this is the first Azaghal release I have got in hand and in my head in a few years. It is good to see they are still delivering harsh, fast and dark black metal like always and as was masterfully set out in the old days. The vocals are striking and slashing classic black metal rasps, but they help keep the atmosphere cold and mean. There are some sections where Azaghal get a little too liberal with their use of synth, but thankfully those times are short-lived and well spread out. “Teraphim” is a cruel record but there is also plenty of melody woven into the hate. A song like “Filosofi” is an excellent example of this, some great texture and melody, but keeping the dank atmosphere strong. You will be presented with ambient moments and dramatic passages, but it all serves the greater good. That greater good being a heaping plate of excellent black metal with great emotional depth. I guess the quality after eight albums should be this high, but I greatly appreciate excellence nonetheless.  – Dale

 www.moribundcult.com    www.blackterrormetal.cjb.net





“Nemesis” 2012 CD

(Moribund Records)


Azaghal are old goats by now in the black metal scene, having released demos, eps and albums since 1998 at a steady pace. I believe is their 9th album. I am a fan of some of their past works. Nemesis changes nothing for these great old bm stalwarts, they have not progressed or started adding a bunch of useless frills that would only serve to dilute the purity of their sound. No Azaghal, much like their countrymen Horna, just continue to raise their goblets, dripping with blood towards the classic early 90s black metal that I know so well and worship so thoroughly. This is some cold and cryptic music with rasping screams adding a layer of frosty anger to the flowing river of darkness. For those of you that do not follow the 2nd wave of bm closely or only like to listen to the classic albums, then this not for you as there is nothing new to see or hear here. However, if you are like me and can really never get enough of this style of music then Azaghal never disappoints and you will be pleased with Nemesis.  – Dale 

http://www.myspace.com/azaghalterrorcult  http://www.moribundcult.com/