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“Unholy Rock & Roll” 2011 CD

(Abyss Records)


This is a band I have been hearing and seeing a lot about the last few months so I was eager to hear this cd when it arrived with the Abyss promo's. With a title like "unholy rock and roll" it shouldn't take a genius to figure out what style of music this band plays. Dirty, filthy old school blackened thrash with a lot of rock and roll influences especially with their catchy guitars. Hyper-speed yet very catchy and memorable guitar riffs and solo's intertwined with equally as catchy and fast paced drumming that keep the pace moving nicely and never lets it get boring or too slow. Vocals are a mix between blackened screams and outbursts of deeper growls. Maax are a band that know how to play and craft old-school sounding black metal and make it sound like sheer perfection. If you enjoy blackened thrash with rock influences look past all the posers and pick up Maax's unholy rock and roll today!!  - Patrick

http://www.myspace.com/maaxmetal  http://www.officialabyssrecords.com/ 




“It Makes Us Hate” 2011 CD

(EBM Records)


Some thraaaaassshhh metal from Brazil bitches! Machinage is an interesting case for me, I do not get a ton of thrash for review, but enough I suppose, yet almost never get that late 80s / very early 90s style thrash when the scene was still heavy and extreme, but also moving towards a slightly cleaner, less blitzkrieg and dare I say it somewhat commercial edge. Okay so to give you a little reference think of the output of that time period above from bands like Exodus, Sacred Reich, Prong, Death Angel, Testament, Overkill that kind of thing. Yes, it is a pure thrash attacking audio barrage upon the senses! It is kind of nice to be honest to hear some bands still playing this style; I would not want the scene flooded with this. But all the same listening to it now makes me realize how much I miss it. Machinage are not a clone band, they sound like those bands I named but also have a dose of their own sound and their vocalist is great, he has a reasonably unique sound and emotes very well with his voice, which only further serves to draw you into the It Makes Us Hate spider web. Now that you are caught in that web thrash or die suit ‘n tie guy!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/machinage  http://www.ebmrecords.com/  




“Mercury” 1999 CD

(Misanthropy Records)


Madder Mortem (formerly Mystery Tribe - wise choice in name change) didn’t catch many ears until their song “These Mortal Sins” was released on Misanthropy comp “Presumed Guilty”. Upon listening to this 7 track album, I am left feeling kinda bored. The instrumentation is far superior to many bands out there but isn’t very original. The vocals are the weakest point for me though. I have never been a fan of female vocals and the vocals laid over this melancholic, depressed sounding metal just seem utterly plain. Most of the disc is slow and uneventful and personally just doesn’t do anything for me. I definitely find solace in something like Rozz Williams but this is in another area but possible M.M. were aiming for that crowd? They definitely should throw out their heavy riffs and concentrate on their vocals and slower material; that seems to be their niche. - Jeffrey Kusbel   




“Lucifer Leviathan Logos” 2013 CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)


I know there is a deeper meaning to that album title and it means something different than first blush. But the word logos throws you off when combined with the band name and the words Lucifer and Leviathan. Actually to be honest I glanced at it quickly the first time and thought it said Legos, not Logos haha. Okay, sorry I just felt a need to say that, let us get past the album title. I also expected a harsh black metal album. But instead I got a black themed classic epic doom metal band! Which surely did not disappoint as I am a huge doom fan, which this Norwegian band delivers in spades mixed with a old school heavy metal flair as well. If that confuses you think of stuff like Mercyful Fate, Death SS mixed with Solitude Aeternus, Candlemass, The Obsessed or some similar type of diabolical mixing of deliciously dangerous influence. I seen another review on the From The Dust Returned blog describing the vocals on here as being along the lines of Bobby Liebling of Pentagram and Robert Lowe and I think those are really spot on. You get the doom and you get the dark heavy metal as I stated above with my influences and they are melted together to something nearing perfection, not quite there, but damn close. I really love this album, you can tell it is a young band still honing their craft with room for improvement. But all the same this is a fantastic, emotionally transcendent album highlighting so much of what I love about both genres. The lyrics employ some writing of Aleister Crowley, Eliphas Levi and H.P. Lovecraft, a wonderful heady blend of Satanism, the occult and superbly disturbing, frightening, ever so fascinating world masterfully created by Mr. Lovecraft. So many elements from top to bottom that I love, maybe not the most original but Magister have a put their own twist on these influences and created something I really enjoyed.  - Dale

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




“Lazy Stream of Steel” 2010 CD



Former member of Hungary's Wall of Sleep's new band Magma Rise which means more doom metal. The music is nice and sludgy but once the vocals kick in - eh, things take a turn of the worse. The clean delivery is fine especially for doom metal. But the vocalist has a really odd sounding voice.  Maybe if I were stoned I'd like it but since I don't smoke weed, that's not much help. As the rest of the album plays, I really like the music. The production gets the job done as well. But, yeah, I've made up my mind. They need to sack the singer. Gabor (ex Wall of Sleep) should stick to just playing bass and hire a new vocalist.  If they do that, Magma Rise will indeed - rise.  - Mark

http://magmarise.net/  http://www.psychedoomelic.com/   




“From The Womb To The Tomb” 2009 CD

(Soulseller Records)


Some fucking death metal of the old school worshipping variety, straight out of mighty Sweden. It just immediately hits me with healthy dose of influence from one of my all time fave bands Autopsy. Not to mention a dash of Repulsion. You also get the old Swedish sound ala Dismember, Repugnant mixed in and anyone who reads Canadian Assault knows I absolutely love that stuff. So it is probably of very little surprise that I greatly enjoy the to some extent doomy and brutal sounds of Maim. The riffs on here sound so classic and they are extremely heavy and memorable. The band also manages to slip in some tasty little guitar solos to assure you are hooked. The vocals are dark sounding and obscure growls that seem to fit the music well. I honestly do not have a lot more to add to this. But if you like the classic stuff from the bands I mentioned above then you will want to check into getting yourself some Maim. Their new album is supposed to be out any time now. Argh!  – Dale

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




"Monumental Ruin" 2021 CD, LP & MC

(Unspeakable Axe Records)


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

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




“Prostration” 2006 CD EP

(Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions)


Sick and ugly French black metal - originally released in 2006 but re-released in 2010.  This EP of material is full of hatred and dissonance. The band also has one demo and a split to their credit. The conviction is there with this band - something mandatory for any band, but particularly, for black metal bands. I want to feel like I'm about to be burned to the ground when I hear a black metal release. This one captures that feel nicely. Instrumentation reminds me of countrymen Eternal Majesty in places but much more hateful. While not original by any means, it definitely has the black metal appeal of old.  I'd like to see what this band can do with a full length release.  – Mark Sugiyama

http://www.ahdistuksenaihio.com/  http://www.myspace.com/malhkebre  




“Krupinské Ohne” 2020 CD, LP & Cassette

(Invictus Productions / The Ajna Offensive)


Now I am a die hard for second wave black metal, of that there can be no doubt. But my heart and the black blood that comes out of it have a real soft spot for the early days of metal in the ‘80s and very early ‘90s with the first wave of black metal! It is clear listening to “Krupinské Ohne” that Malokarpatan also shares that same worship for those early days of musical darkness and evil. The band plays black metal without doubt and their musical heredity, to mine ears, stretch clearly to the ‘80s and the dawn of the ‘90s, and even as far back as the 1970s where black metal was deeply rooted in heavy metal. I can hear those wonderful influences from bands like Ancient Rites, Venom, Mortuary Drape, Mercyful Fate, Bulldozer, Infernal Majesty, Kat (Poland) and more. Also, more broadly speaking UG scenes like the early ‘90s Greek bm scene (ala Zemial, Varathron, Agatus, early Rotting Christ & Necromantia), more specifically a scene close to their homeland in the Czech Republic with awesome bands like the legendary Root and Master’s Hammer. This Slovak band is a mix of all those bands and styles, but the first wave itself was an malevolent, raw and dirty heavy metal base mixed with portions of speed & thrash metal alongside dashes of the darkest and meanest parts of punk rock even. I may even be imagining things, but I feel like I even detect whispers of ‘70s progressive hard rock. Either way, do not let that fool you, this is fucking dark music that is audio evil and possesses a great old days gloomy & sinister atmosphere I adore so much. The vocals are classic first wave as well with their shadowy obscure sounding sung, gruff growled voice, which is dripping with a wicked darkened echo-y quality. There are brief touches of non-traditional instrumentation worked into the tapestry of certain passages, usually in the embryonic stages of songs, before the wickedness of the heavy metal takes control and drives the song. This band is really interesting; they have a lot of depth and dimension to their sound, while always showing reverence for the old days of heavy metal and black metal, whilst never forgetting that is where the bands sound comes from. There is a lot of thought, feeling and devotion put into the playing and the song writing here. I am not sure if newer black metal fans and even the melododeath fans may find no joy here, as there are no pretty melodies around each bend, but those with a deep respect for the foundations of the earlier days of metal, heavy, black and all in between I think will appreciate this interesting and committed band.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/malokarpatan    https://invictusproductions.net/     




“Masakr” 2010 CD

(Negative Existence Records)


I am a Maniac Butcher from way back and yes I am an old coot. Just like these old warriors and I would like to think I still have just as much fight left in my black heart as the Butcher. Who make a triumphant return after a decade long hiatus. I always respected Maniac Butcher for never giving into the trends of synth, goth, angelic female vocals and such things – they were always true to their roots. The intro is cold and creepy sounding as hell, dank ambient backdrop and what sounds like a great pre-historic beast breathing and snorting in a hypnotic rhythm, each breath sending tendrils of steam in the darkness. You can not see the beast through the night and are paralyzed with fear. We then launch into bombastic black metal dripping with ferocity and driving at an electric pace. This new album may be a little more rocking than in the past, but no less evil sounding and still mean & hateful. It is simple and cruel like any good barbarian horde. Masakr is a great combination of catchy speed riffing, blasting rapid fire drumming and some truly sinister rasping black metal vocals that help create a real eerie atmosphere. All the songs are good, but the highlight for me was “Projizdka hvozdem”. It really marries the epic early classic black metal sound I worship with the memorable tremolo riffing and vocalist Barbarud simply sounds possessed and maniacal. The Butcher is back and they are not fucking around. The black metal scene needed an album like this right now and so do you.  – Dale

http://negative-existence.com/   http://www.maniacbutcher.com/




“Invasion” 2012 CD

(Shadow Kingdom Records)


I consider myself a Manilla Road fan, but I also admit I only have a few of their albums, which are classics in their own right, in my view at least. So Invasion, a re-release of their 1980 album is a new one for me. As the bio states the band were a rock ‘n roll band at this point and the material on here was written in the late 70s. You can hear hints of what would come for Manilla Road as the 80s wore on and they adopted a more metal sound. Thanks to Shadow Kingdom for pulling this out of obscurity for fans of the band and fans of late 70s/early 80s rock in general to hear. The fans that are hoping to hear vintage in their prime Manilla Road metal may be a bit disappointed. As for myself I am a fan of 1970s hard rock and this is a neat little time capsule for me. There are some cool effects and sounds on here for the time period. You can definitely feel the band attempting to find their way, it is beginning of the power that the band would become. There are strong hints at this on the awesome thirteen minute album closer The Empire. It is an epic and ambitious tune that is finely crafted with a superb main riff and plenty of dynamics, such as dueling guitar effects, some tasty fills and mystic, moody atmosphere that keeps you interested the entire length of this marathon song. That brilliant song alone is worth the price of this album, it is well ahead of any other tune on here, this song The Empire is fucking fantastic I am telling you. I dig the vintage band and rehearsal photos too. I would say this is a must have for Manilla Road fans and 70s rock aficionados alike.  - Dale

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




“First Death Of The Lutheran” 2018 CD

(I Hate Records)


This is an interesting Finnish band, which counts many members, no less than eight members of this band though one of them is the former drummer who now only handles all of the lyrics for the band. Speaking of which, I am not even going to get into the horse shit lyrics (and the bands belief system) because…well check into it yourself and decide I suppose. But, musically on the other hand, my goodness does this collection of musicians know how write songs and craft a truly remarkable, creeping & crawling atmosphere of dark malevolence. Not to even mention, at least to mine ears, they create a pretty distinctive brand of doom music that has their own stamp and vibe on it. Okay, so maybe I do not listen to enough of that style of early style gothic music (before the wimpier end of the black/death scene got a hold of it and combined it with goth turning it into a sappy Twilight vampire teen books & movies soundtrack). I guess I can hear some things like Fields Of The Nephilim, early to mid period My Dying Bride or maybe some influences of early Type O Negative, but probably a little less metallic at times, then those two latter bands and little more experimental sounding (maybe a touch too much for my liking at times). Maybe something like Jex Thoth would be a more contemporary comparison to make? I would be remiss to not talk about the impressive vocals, which are shared by Osmo and Alma, though I feel like Alma is the more dominant force between two in this skilled male / female vocal duo. They combine perfectly with the music to create a truly sinister and doomy music whole, and above all, an atmosphere that would bring out a sardonic smile from almighty Satan himself. When I listen to doom, it is usually classic style doom, but now and then, when you feel the itch to listen to gloomy doom that strays a little from the beaten path then Mansion will scratch  that itch very nicely.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/mansionalma    https://ihate.bandcamp.com/     




Behold The Ascension Of The Execrated” 2012 CD

(Deathgasm Records)


After six years of silence Ohio's Manticore are back with a new full length of vile, harsh blackness. You get raw, filthy mid-paced guitars and drumming, the drummer does let loose with some moments of furious faster blast beats before relaxing back to the more controlled mid-pace sound. Inhuman shrieks spew out the blasphemous lyrics. Manticore definitely won't appeal to the newer breed of black metal bands/fans of the scene out there but if you’re an old-school fanatic who worships the raw, harsher side of black metal done in the eighties and early nineties then Manticore are a definite must have for your collection.  - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/manticore666  http://www.deathgasm.com/    




“A Conjuration Compelling Obedience” 2006 MC

(Kampf Records)


An Italian “Occult black metal” is what this one man band bills itself as. The 7 tracks, which include 4 songs, 3 intros that were done in ’06 but apparently just now seeing label release, from what I can gather. I am rather hoping this release was nothing more than an early, beginners demo tape. As Manth to be blunt are all kinds of sloppy with a liberal does of down right horrible. Manth try to play equal parts of extreme black metal ala Profanatica / Havohej and heavy synth atmospheric ala a dying cat that swallowed a mini korg keyboard. I mean what an mess we have on our hands here. The metal half, is poor to barely passable but possess no real flow, feeling or direction to the song. The atmospheric half, sounds like a child who got a synthesizer for christmas. The two halves are merely smashed together in exceptionally amateurish fashion. I am left scratching my head as to why a label would want to release this?  – Dale

www.kampf.ws   kampfrec@go2.pl   info@kampf.ws 




“Nightwing” 1998 CD

(Osmose Productions)


Another great, Marduk album in a legacy of hateful black metal. Marduk, have always delivered superior quality with their song crafting skills and this album, while not my favorite is supremely excellent. Split into two chapters as to explain a tale, it has an overall concept feel to it. Chapter one contains some slower fare such as “Dreams Of Blood And Iron”  which sounds very Bathory influenced (title and music alike). Chapter two contains a re-recorded version of “Deme, Quaden Thyrane” which originally appeared on the great “Opus Nocturne” album. All in all this is a great album with plenty of violent, hate inspired lyrics and music to go around. This is black metal!  - Jeffrey Kusbel  




“Enemies” 2009 CD

(Listenable Records)


We have some melodic death metal from Sweden on tap. I like only a very select few bands in this genre. So a band in this style has to be quite remarkable to capture my interest. In fact, after the initial quality releases in this style, the early works by Dark Tranquility, In Flames etc… I have found very few albums of any use really. A second mark against Marionette is they seem to have decided to meld the Goteburg melodious death style with a genre I mostly actively dislike. That would be American metalcore, some call it deathcore and others call it mallcore. I mainly call it garbage. There are some quality harmonious riffs and interesting structural moments to be had. The band has some talent and are young – so it is impressive from that point of view. At other times the music is just too sweet or drowns you too much in metalcore for me to truly attempt to enjoy it. The production on here is slick, almost to a fault, but if you like things over produced as many do these days, then you will enjoy “Enemies” on that level. You have heard it all before, one thousand times, but if you are a big fan of the styles I have described above. Well then I see no reason you will not enjoy Marionette. Excuse me though if I pass on this.  – Dale

http://www.listenable.net   http://www.myspace.com/marionettesweden 




“Product” 1998 CD

(Bishop Records)


“Melodic shred instrumental rock”, I would say that bio snippet about fits. Mark (from Asteroids), is one talented guy and certainly does shred up the fret board, something wicked. He plays with a lot of emotion too. Imagine some Malmsteen, Beck wanking mixed with some cool Rush, Led Zepplin and Eric Clapton style stuff. Much better than Asteroid, but still not metal. Same price and addy as the Asteroid CD.  – Dale




“The Fine Art Of Murder” 1998 CD

(Pavement Music)


The American death metal vets return! They continue to do it - here is another album of top quality, catchy and heavy brutal death. Bret Hoffman’s growls flow nicely, a perfect balance between indecipherable and not. Also Dave Culross steps in and puts down one deadly maelstrom drumming performance. Great album & they continue to uphold after all these years the mark of real death metal musically and lyrically. I take great pleasure listening to this album and much respect is what I feel for this band.  – Dale

Pavement Music, P.O. Box 50550, Phoenix, AZ. 85076, USA




“3 Way Split” 1998 Cassette Album

(Shindy Productions)


All 3 of these Czech bands play fast, heavy and intense grind with belching vocals. M.T. do a cover of Agathocles during their 7 songs. Gride do 2 covers, one of Rupture, and a interesting one of Health Hazard which include female gind vox and all - cool! Nothing to blow you away but still some great mind-grind to be had on this pro packaged cassette. $5 US to Shindy Productions (see addy elsewhere).  – Dale




“Scorned” 2012 CD

(Selfmadegod Records)


I must send greetings and thanks to Godz Ov War records for sending this my way. They have done this before, an extremely supportive label, they send promo copies of other labels releases around for review and that is the case with this release and a handful of others reviewed elsewhere. Another piece of metal sickness from a very underrated Polish metal scene. I am not going to laundry list them off here, but suffice it to say Masachist is made of members of a number of old bands from the scene, this might be their second album but they are veteran UG musicians. The riffs on Scorned are some of the heaviest, chunky riffs I have heard in a while, reminds me slightly Banished from the early 90s. The opening song “Drilling The Nerves”, the music and vocals are very rhythmic, kind of metalcore sounding, I honestly did not like this song very much, I like all the elements from the guitar to the drums to the vocals, just not way they employed and the song constructed. I am happy to report that after the opening track, they leave the deathcore, mallcore junk in the rear view mirror. After that you get what you hoped for, straight on guttural death metal with some interesting guitar patterns, pounding drums, harsh deep and throaty growling vocals. This is some old school, American NYDM style death metal, it does steam roll along with some non-typical guitar rhythms and musical ideas within the brutality to keep your interest. This is topped off by some again old school sounding vocals that are combination of Suffocation and Deicide type vocals and I really, really like the vocals (except that awful first track). It almost seems like they arranged the songs on this album worst to best, as the album seems to just keep building and getting better as you go along. If you can just get past that opening track clunker, you will be satisfied you were patient. Check it out.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/masachistband  http://selfmadegod.com/    




“Of Carrion And Pestilence” 2012 CD

(Wydawnictwo Muzyczne Psycho)


I must confess off the top, I am a confirmed worshipper of the old Swedish death metal sound of the early to mid 90s. So if a band plays that style, it is not terribly hard to win me over and win me over Mass Burial from Spain have done. This is intense, heavy death with rolling razor riffs, and obscure pounding drums that patter upside your head harder than a pair of bloody knuckles. Yes this is Swede influenced to be sure; I can definitely hear the band is big fans of the almighty Grave! Also I am sure early Entombed and Dismember. It is well done and unquestionably unoriginal but it is still fucking fantastic, Mass Burial just pummel you into submission. I am sure some will think these guys borrow too much, in fact I could swear a whole section of one song sounded very close to some Entombed material. The vocalist reminds me very much of Ola Lindgren from Grave and I love his semi-decipherable classic growls, yeah these vocals kill. I really enjoyed this album and can recommend it, but there is an argument to be made by more picky fans to just listen to the albums of the original masters instead. As for me I just can not get enough!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mass-Burial/115395335235420  http://www.wydawnictwopsycho.com/   




Insurrection Divinity” 2012 CD

(Victim Music)


The duo of Tim Labossiere {vocals, bass, guitars, drum programming} and Vic Silvia {guitars, backing vocals, co-drum programming} unleash their monster known as Mass Murder Frenzy one more time upon the unexpecting underground. Insurrection Divinity is Mass Murder Frenzy's fourth masterpiece of sickness and their most complex, powerful and intense work to date. Nine songs that start out heavy and never let up until the final note is played. But both Vic and Tim have been playing music for a long time so yes the music is heavy and fast it is also complex with a lot of memorable and catchy riffs that are memorable even after the cd has long ended. The drums are programmed but have a human feel to them in areas you hear the programmed drums, but the guys have done a great job in making the drums as real as possible and fit perfectly with their guitar and bass structures. Tim's vocals have never sounded better or more vicious then on Insurrection Divinity and Vic's higher screams and growls. If you heard the bands previous release "Unleashed" then definitely buy this!! As the music on Insurrection Divinity is even better then Unleashed {which I didn't think they would be able to match} or if you are a new listener to Mass Murder Frenzy and you enjoy vicious, violent brutal death metal you won't hear a better a band!!  - Patrick





“Global Enslavement” 2010 CD

(Maple Metal Records)


Another band from the fertile ground of Quebec, Canada. Massive Slavery are proficient at playing what they play, which is modern melodic death mixed with metalcore. I am not the biggest fan of either style, so the mixing of the two only tends to amplify things for me. As mentioned though they handle their instruments well and I found myself if nothing else enjoying the individual performances from each musician. The musical whole however is not overly distinctive or memorable and lacks a little focus. I mean they have a lot of quality parts and sections but they are put together in a somewhat clunky, patchwork manner and seemingly lose the plot a couple times over within a song. The vocals from Jonathan are the style we usually hear with melodic death bands. You know they are growls but laced with a little thrash gruffness and kept clean and decipherable enough so that all the lyrics can be understood to those that listen closely. I can appreciate the talent and the performance, but as mentioned the execution in the song writing department needs to mature and refinement that should hopefully come with time. I am always excited to get new releases from my mighty homeland, despite that Global Enslavement missed the mark for me. Admittedly I am not a fan of this style in general though.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/massiveslavery  http://maplemetalrecords.bigcartel.com/   




“As Days Grow Darker” 2009 CD

(Dynamic Arts Records)


Symphonic power metal from Finland and Masterstroke hit us with their third full length album. The first moments of the opening track really grabbed me and got me excited. It reminded me a little of the great & underrated Tad Morose A Mended Rhyme album. From there though things sort of settled down and the energy drained and mellowed a little. As the album continued to wind along my interest seems to be dropping bit by bit. I think another band that comes to mind as an influence for Masterstroke would be Nevermore, though not as powerful or quite as memorable in my view. I am probably being a little hard on them though. There is some quality material on here, some solid melodic riffs and they do have the ability to draw emotion out of the listener. Something for me that is integral to a good band playing this style as things can get very stale, very quickly if they do not have that emotional hook to draw you in and keep you there. As obviously with this mid-paced flowing style with the keyboard atmospherics do not lend themselves to heaviness or speed. The best part of this band may just be vocalist Jari Tiura whose has a great soaring set of smooth pipes and he carries off the sound beautifully. I would say the biggest drawback for Masterstroke might be is that from song to song they start to get kind of same sounding and lack identity from one another. I am being a little picky here as stated, but this is a talented band who are on the cusp of turning into a something special if they play their cards right.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/masterstrokefinland  http://www.dynamicartsrecords.com/  




“Seraphic Punishment” 2022 CD & LP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


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

https://maul701.bandcamp.com/   http://shop.redefiningdarkness.com/   




“In Memoriam” 1999 CD

(Iron Pegasus Records)


This is a good album by a cult band. I really enjoyed this bands 7” EP “Cythraw” years ago. Said seven incher is included here. A superb album done by fine musicians who write music with feeling. But I have heard this album before, but it was called “Twilight Of The Gods” and/or “Hammerheart”! Yes, they copy viking-era Bathory heavily. But they do it so fucking well! M.T. mix in raw black metal but that too sounds kind of similar to earlier Bathory. If you can look past all of that. You are awaited with a fine, raw and majestically epic piece of work, by individuals that are true to the underground spirit!  – Dale

Iron Pegasus Recs., c/o Costa Stoios, P.O. Box 1462, 56804 Cochem/Mosel, GERMANY




"Arcadian Witchcraft" 2020 CD & LP

(Hells Headbangers)


So until just a couple years ago, I had thought this band from Greece that I remember well from the mid to late ‘90s was no more. As it has turned out, after 20 years (!!) the band was revived and released an album in 2018. Now with ‘Arcadian Witchcraft’ the band is making a statement that they are here to stay and not just making a one-off reunion release. There are now just two of the original four members (Sirokous on vocals & Lord Apollyon on drums / keys) of the band, they have pared down to a trio, having added a hell of a great storied veteran member in Jim Mutilator on bass (founding and long time bassist in both Rotting Christ and Varathron!!). Just a coincidence that Jim left Rotting Christ as their softer, more melodic, more goth-y period was beginning? The music on here takes you on a real haunting and atmospheric black metal journey. Medieval Demon do employ quite a bit of synth, which is often not something I like in black metal (I normally prefer it only a supporting accent), but there are no catchy, folk-y, pretty melodies here, no they try to always keep the synth dark and sinister with a slight morbid or disturbing quality to it. That is not to say the traditional instruments do not play a strong part as they are prominent and there is some great freezing riffs, as well as skillful guitar nuances. The drums on here are commanding and powerful in the mix in a damned good way. The vocals of Sirokous especially these days feel very different and stand out as a bit unique because of it, at least to do to me. He sings with this clear, clean and deep charismatic voice that when melded together with a dark obscure sounding hissy / echo-y growl creates a pretty fantastic combination. These three veterans experience, dedication and songwriting craft, which they have honed over the decades really shines through on this evil and poignant quality black metal album.  - Dale

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




“Black Coven” 2022 CD & LP

(Hells Headbangers Records)


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

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




“Hel” 2012 CD

(Temple Of The Torturous)


Ambient black metal hailing out of Italy and is the vision of Climaxia (now there is a name heh), whose vision is Melencolia Estatica, she handles the overall concept, guitar, bass, and “vocal orchestrations”. I guess that last bit means she plans out and coaches the vocalists every move and emanation? Speaking of which the vocals, they are really often more of the dark death metal variety, set to sometimes ambient and other times noisy harsh aggression. Something about the music does not flow for me, maybe that is the way it was intended to be, but often the guitar patterns and tones are just grating rather than atmospheric, the different instrument sounds seem to clash again at times and step upon one another’s toes. For me, rather than finding that harsh and extreme, it just came off grating and annoying, sort of headache inducing. I do not so much mind headache inducing music, as long as the music pays off and is awesome in it’s extremity, that is not the case here. This more often then not comes off like a cluttered mess and displays a muddled musical direction or possibly lack of direction I suppose. The more atmospheric moments (and some of the vocal work), where they slow down the din of silver wear cascading down a set of stairs, is actually decently done and enjoyable, yet it is a little hard to enjoy at the same time, because you know the mess is going to start up again soon. Yes, maybe I just do not see or understand what they are going for, but to me this is trying to do a bunch of things at once, not doing them that well, suffocating the musical whole and not letting the individual parts much room to breathe, rendering them nearly useless. I would pass on this, but give their myspace a listen and see if you agree with me before writing them off.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/melencoliaestaticaletum  http://www.templeoftorturous.com    




“Animus” 2011 CD

(I Hate Records)


Some doom coming out of Oklahoma via Sweden with I Hate Records. This is my first experience with Memory Driven. Animus is a pretty diverse record and I would say not as accessible or as immediate as many of the bands on this label. It will probably take a few listens to really grasp what all is going on here. The more I listen to it though the less inclined I am to the doom tag that comes with the label reputation and is around the band. A reputation that I think in large part owes to the main creative force being Dennis Cornelius, who has been in bands like Place Of Skulls, Revelation, Doom Stone etc… But to be honest a lot of this record both musically and vocally probably has more to do with the early 90s grunge sound than it does with doom rock. Both musically and vocally I can hear some Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam and that type of music. I mean do not get me wrong these guys are great musicians and have some really interesting things going on in the music and I really can dig some of it. Maybe it just was so much of the opposite of what I was expecting that I just had a hard time really getting into Animus. I really do not care much for the vocals either. I would say if you like some of the better stuff from the grunge days mixed with some doom rock type tendencies then you would most likely like Memory Driven. However for me it was just not my cup of tea, I gave it a good shot and listened to the record 4 or 5 times looking for stuff I liked. But ultimately the things I did not care for about Memory Driven outweighed that which I liked.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/memorydrivendoom  http://www.ihate.se/




“Decimating Titans” 2018 Cassette EP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


Usually, the most politically motivated metal that I hear these days comes from the thrash and core scenes, but here is Mendacium with their leviathan work of black/death metal, Decimating Titans. Decimating Titans is the inventive side-project of Daniel Jackson, who is known for his work with his main brainchild, Void Ritual, which takes a more straightforward black metal approach in terms of lyrical themes (e.g. odium and misery). This album, according to the description from Redefining Darkness Records, takes on the themes of abhorrence for and usurpation of conservative establishments that maintain and direct power as they see fit. The tracks take on just as lethal an edge as the topic matter indicates, and to which the black/death metal form handily lends itself. Crushing from the start, the title track is damn near anthemic in its call for annihilating those in power, repeating the line, “Decimating titans!” as well as decreeing with raspy growls, “Let them die! Let them decay!” The rest of the tracks follow suit, proceeding with the grimness of black metal and the ferocity of death metal to detail sonically the toppling of the titans’ reign. Every moment of Decimating Titans is packed with rage and aggression, making it an energizing listen, and a cathartic one by the end. Truly, this album is almost entirely well executed. However, as someone who is not a fan of the fade-out, I cannot say that I enjoy the ending to “An Invocation for Bloodshed”, though I do love its overall composition. Including chanting vocals does wonders for expanding the foreboding tone past the extremity of everything else contained within the composition. Overall, Decimating Titans will not disappoint fans of extreme music at all—rather the opposite. Jackson does not waste a single second on the album, making it feel like a complete release despite its short run time. Definitely give this release a listen if you relish death and/or black metal in all their ruinous glory.  – Aaron

https://mendacium.bandcamp.com/    http://www.redefiningdarkness.com/   




“Metal of Death” 2005 CD

(Bestial Burst Records)


The opening movie sample on “Zombie Terror”, track number two for those keeping score at home, of gut munching and that beyond awesome, high pitched scream right out of the 80’s had me hooked like a fish. Do they have quality music to back the window dressing? Oh Lucifer I invoke thee, the dark prince raises a spiked hoof and proclaims “God be cursed, Mephisto knows how make me headbang!” Speaking of Satan, there is very little doubt Mephisto musically worship at the black magic altar of Venom!! Hell, they even wear the influence on their sleeves by closing with the richly titled inside nudge “Again At War With Satan [Introduction]”, it is a short brutal little ditty incorporating the song title in the lyrics and a nice little “Teachers Pet” guitar run, among others, for nostalgic value. I only hope I am not making Mephisto out to be some kind of un-serious band because they make stone cold sober black metal of the thrash ‘n death variety. These Italians do have a knack for writing that old loose style, most of these plastic (i.e. – Pro Tool cheatin’) bands would shake their head and call it sloppy, but no this is the way real bands play, this is the way metal is supposed to be fucking played, ‘Metal of Death’ indeed. The drums are so “Welcome To Hell / Black Metal” sounding it almost hurts and other influences, speaking in a much more general arena would be Sodom, Bulldozer and Slaughter swim through my brain. The vocals sound so familiar as well but I will damned if I can remember who, the closest I can seem to come is Hellhammer with early Bathory with a dash of Cronos and something else I just cannot put my finger upon. How does Bestial Burst keep finding these maniac bands?! I must confess this album has an atmosphere and feeling to it that I have not felt in a new band in many years. Buy this now or I might interview and then you will be sorry you waited later. – Dale

www.metalofdeath.com   http://bestialburst.blackmetal.fi 




"Violent Theatre” 2022 CD, LP & Cassette

(Helter Skelter Productions & Regain Records)


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

https://www.facebook.com/mephistofelesdrone   https://www.helterskelterproductions.se/        




“Chaosphere” 1998 CD

(Nuclear Blast America)


Here it is, the long anticipated (not by me, but by a large portion of the scene) new Meshuggah album. I loved their first LP “Contradictions Collapse” but became repulsed after they released their next material “None”. It saw them dropping their old school jazz tinged speed metal roots and crafty structuring. Replaced by straight-forward, boring stop ‘n start Pantera / MachineHead /  Skinlab tough guy ‘jump’ metal (a phrase coined by C.A. writer Arto Lehtinen). I fail to see where all the hype on this band is justified! Just to be fair, I have this album a multitude of listens to see if I was missing something. I will give them one thing on here, they try some spaced out stuff to distinguish them from the pack but ends with being a futile effort. This genre is limp, I just don’t get it it is so fucking boring. Vocalist Jens spoken word/shouted screams really grate on my nerves after a couple songs. I have to comment on album closer “Elastic” halfway thru the song, there is this 5 to 6 minute electronic drone that takes over. It sounds like a video game soundtrack (I guess in the 3 years, since the last full length, they couldn’t come up with enough material for a full album so they threw on 6 of filler to bring it up to normal album length). All else I can say is if you liked the last one, you’ll probably like this too. So go get a boner & jump around, jump around, get up, get up & get down!  – Dale




"Beyond The Wall” 2022 CD & LP

(Temple Of Mystery Records)


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

https://www.facebook.com/metalianz   https://templeofmystery.bandcamp.com/music        




“Ominous Radiance" 2020 CD

(Unholy Prophecies)


Miasmal Sabbath is a somewhat mysterious triumvirate emanating out of Greece. They do not seem to put much out there about who they are, outside of having experience in past bands. There is much talk about punk and d’beat (Discharge) having a huge influence though. While I can definitely hear a some d’beat in the drumming at times, maybe more than at times actually, possibly it is more in the vocal delivery and playing feel that the punk comes in? Yes, I think I am getting to the heart of the matter with that thought process, the more I play this record. What I hear is some is some pretty killer loose ‘n dirty death metal that has this dark, doomy aura to it, which I find pretty satisfying to listen to. That punk laxness to the compositions and rough shot dbeating style definitely give Miasmal Sabbath a different feeling, than a lot of death metal bands. Some of the death metal influences I hear are things like Repulsion, Impetigo, Nihilist and the early works of Death, Obituary, Autopsy, Dismember and the like. As fast and raunchy as they often are, they are also project a sinister, gloomy atmosphere across it all and also manage wrap everything in a doom metal air whenever things do slow down. The vocals follow along with the music, as the main vocal is clear, but deep growling filled with aggression and emotion which fits the music like a glove. I was not sure what to make of this Greek triad at first, they take a variety separate styles that everyone has heard many times, but with "Ominous Radiance" have managed to combine them all into something very different sounding. The result of which approaches brilliance, while still leaving just enough room for future growth. What a debut album!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/miasmalsabbath    http://www.unholyprophecies.com/ 




“Satanic Royalty” 2011 CD

(Hells Headbangers)


This is a one man band and that one man should be known to anyone into the UG heavy / speed / thrash metal scene of the last decade or so. I am talking about Athenar (aka Jamie Walters) besides Midnight, he was also in Destructor and in the past was part of Boulder, Abdullah and more. Just listening to this album, it is painfully clear Jamie is one dedicated motherfucker and is a devout worshipper at the altar of metal. Despite Satanic Royalty being the bands debut album, Midnight has been releasing demos, split eps, eps, and even a live album since 2003! This is some mean, dirty shit bro, I am telling you I have never tangibly smelt Canadian Whiskey, cigarettes, pot, leather and the crotch of bar sluts emanating from my speakers before, but there is a first time for everything. You get fast and angry speed metal with lots of energy and some large nods to the early works of bands like Piledriver, Kreator, Destruction, Celtic Frost and big dose of the almighty Venom with a dash of punk. Hah even the vocals sound an awful lot like Cronos. So yes it is retro and nothing new, but it is done with such dedication and ferocity you can not help but respect it. Not to mention it is catchy and memorable as hell, with great singable choruses and all out head bang inducing riffage. It is really a must for old school goats like me that can never get enough of this classic sound. Satan himself could not have conjured such a cacophony of audio debauchery!  – Dale

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




“Complete And Total Hell” 2012 CD

(Hells Headbangers)


Dale's review (see review above or in the album archives for reference) of their proper debut full-length album 'Satanic Royalty' will answer your question "who is that" if Midnight are still an unknown entity to you. Hell, this is Canadian Assault you're reading so chances of that are null. A big "thank you" and a resounding drunken "cheers" salute goes into Hells Headbangers' direction for releasing this compilation of red hot carnality and infernal decadence. Not the first time for the band to offer a compilation type album but with the limited nature of those 7 inchers and splits of theirs the idea holds well. Raw, catchy and instantly headbangable, Athenar's Midnight are all you need for a mighty good time, reducing the ongoing Venom soap opera reunion carcass to dust and then some. Right, not the most "in depth" or "intellectual" review the world has ever seen but the music doesn't warrant one - get this 21 song album (preferably the 2-LP version), indulge in unhealthy amounts of your favourite alcoholic poison and blast the fucker LOUD! They say the simple things are the best. How fuckin true.  - Vladimir Petrov

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




“Devolution” 2010 CD

(United Guttural Records)


Mincing Fury come at you like a screaming fireball of metal coming from the Czech Republic. The Czech is a country that longtime underground minions will recognize as a hotbed of grindcore / brutal death mix the last couple decades. It will also come as no surprise that Devolution fits nicely into that description as well. You could even say they helped solidify that reputation as they have been mincing it up in the Czech scene for a decade now. I always find it a little hard to describe these releases. It is basically gurgling, toilet growling vocals, on top of spastic fast guitars intermingled with slower sections, always return to lightning fast blast beat insano drumming. Mixed in between all of this sickness are many crazy, off-beat samples. It is probably an acquired taste for some people. Especially those that like all their metal to refined, thought provoking, presented on over produced albums. You will not find that here at all. Personally though, I have always loved the lunacy and the break neck speed and resulting destruction left in its wake from this style. If you like that shit too, then check this out, by all means.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/mincingfury  http://www.unitedguttural.com/    




“Power Of Darkness” 2010 CD

(I Hate Records)


This is a re-issue of this classic German thrash bands debut album. The album itself was recorded as a demo in 1987 and then one year later was a repackaged as their first album with three new tracks added. This new version seems to have the demo tracks plus four new songs recorded in 2009. Anyway Power of Darkness is done in the traditional old school German thrash way, it is extremely fast and ripping. The music is sure to remind you of old Kreator and the vocals do the same as the singer sounds very close to Mille. Yes it is may not sound too original even for the time it came out. But I can tell you it is great and Minotaur created their own feeling and atmosphere, picking up the gauntlet of their heroes and immediately charging into battle. The freshly recorded tracks sound a touch different, but still great and show the band know how to play raging thrash. As you have come to expect with I Hate Records everything is done the right way fully draped in dedication and worship to the foundations of metal we all love.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/minotaurthrashers  http://www.ihate.se/  




“On Demon Wings” 2007 CD

(Obsidian Records)


It amazing that this quality Australian band has been around so long (that is since 1991 for those keeping score at home). Yet, outside their homeland and the staunchest die hardcore followers of death metal. They seem to still be a fairly unknown name. It is a shame and I suppose they will be one of those bands that everyone claims they always revered once they are gone. First off as opposed to my review of Limb From Limb, this album, has a great recording that really helps the music stand out and be heard. This record is just fantastic. Some avalanche heavy death metal that is mid to slightly fast paced, but is intermingled with heavy doses oppressive doom elements that smother you like a blanket of darkness. Some really massive and memorable material and more than enough dynamics to keep me interested every minute of the way. I really dug the guitar solos, tastefully done and bring to mind some of the classic metal bands from the late 80s. Damon Robinsons vocals are superb as well and bring to mind some legendary American death bands like Incantation, Immolation, Grave, Asphyx, old Morbid Angel etc… They are growling and brutal but just clear enough make decipher and convey a range of depth and emotion the garbled style growls can only dream of. I am not sure what else to say except every self-respecting death metal fan must have this album in their collection!  – Dale

www.obsidianrecords.com   www.myspace.com/ondemonwings 




“Church Of Bones” 2019 CD

(Nine Records)


This is this young Polish bands second full-length release and the band features members from the secretive, studio only, veteran band Evangelist. Like the band it draws members from Monasterium play a classic doom and epic heavy metal mixture. I mean I would call them a doom metal band overall, but the epic heavy metal influences are strong and certain passages or songs end up crossing over into that style almost completely, before returning to the slow & heavy (both musically and emotionally) doom stronghold. Monasterium’s music has a very forlorn and affecting aura to it that I enjoy. The vocals of Michał Strzelecki have a heavy accent bleeding through his singing voice, which is something you would normally expect from Euro singers, but it seems like vocalists from foreign countries that sing English lyrics tend to try to hide their accent. Either that, or perhaps many just trying to sound like their influences, so they just naturally sing that way and the accent melts away, not sure, but in this case the Polish accent is quite prominent. This could be something that turns off some listeners, but honestly, for me it adds a certain element of uniqueness to his traditional doom heavy metal singing style. I am not going to going to say this is the best doom release in years or groundbreaking, but I will say this is a really solid, enjoyable doom record that fanatics and die hards of the genre should really dig quite a bit. I know I did and I look forward to this young bands next release.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/monasteriumdoom/    http://shop.nine-records.com/      




“The Sins Of Aquarius” 2012 CD

(Hells Headbangers)


Lets not start beating around the bush, time is precious: Mongrel's Cross are Australian (Queensland, more precisely) and they're on HHR. Yes, this is devastating, take no prisoners, Oz-style black/death/thrash amalgam that's full on on aggression, pummeling drumming, flesh-tearing vocals and a constant barrage of riffs, riffs and even more motherfuckin' riffs that will smash your head in with ease. As viciously sounding as these songs are this is made even more impressive by the band's ability of managing firm control over the playing and song structures, less Bestial Warlust trademarked chaos and more of an Assaulter / Razor Of Occam malevolently thrashing vibe off this monster, especially with those guitar rhythms and solos. 'The Sins Of Aquarius' is a seven-headed beast of an album, straight from the sulphurous pits , clawing at you with steel talons designed and sharpened by the likes of Sodom, Bathory and Frost - this one charges forth with megatons of lethal vigour and skill. You'd have to be nuts to miss out on this band.  - Vladimir Petrov

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/mongrelscross/  http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/ 




“Gospel Of Despair” 2017 CD

(Transcending Records)


This is my first time tangling with this U.K. doom metal band which features members of Khang, Lazarus Blackstar, Solstice etc… Monolith Cult play classic traditional epic doom metal, in the vein of bands like Candlemass, Black Sabbath, Solitude Aeturnus, Argus, Iron Maiden (some melodies and structural nuances remind me of them). Also, even though they do not play doom death metal, as such, there are some points they remind me a little of old Paradise Lost, partly in sound and partially in the atmosphere create. Speaking of atmosphere and feeling their music invokes, it conjure up in me a very mournful, desolate mood, making me feel melancholic in a good way. This is not a feeling I like feeling in everyday life, but Monolith Cult make it feel like a warm, soft and comforting blanket to mentally wrap myself within. The guitars and song structuring are really make that happen, they get their hooks in you drawing you in and pulling you along almost trance-like, with their heavy flowing melodies and emotive, expertly crafted compositions. A couple minor criticisms I have, well they may fall more into personal taste territory, but at times, there is a cool heavier section and riff they could really set down on a ride out a bit more to great effect, but they move on to lighter or more subdued material too quickly. Finally, the bass seems so low in the mix, it feels almost non-existent at times I wish the bass was a little more prominent, which would give the record more bottom end and density to properly back the great guitar work and fantastic poignant drumming. This finally brings us to the vocalist Bry, he has a very time-honored conventional doom style to his soaring voice, which reminds me of a mix of Robert Lowe from Solitude Aeturnus and Messiah Marcolin of Candlemass, but with possibly more of an ‘80s heavy metal singer undertone like maybe hints of Dio, Dickinson etc… that is not prominent and down in the mix of influences, but I still feel it is there. His vocals do much to proliferate and accentuate the somber vibe, which is steeped in gorgeous misery. I have to admit all of this took a while to sink in for me, it was not immediate upon first or even second to be honest, but every listen there after, it started to sink and possess me with it’s hypnotic and depressive charms. So, I would wholeheartedly recommend this to doom maniacs, however I would suggest you be prepared to give it time to work it’s magic.  - Dale

https://www.reverbnation.com/monolithcult    http://www.transcendingrecords.com/     




“The God Album” 2011 CD

(Casket Music)


A band that has been around since the 90's - from far away New Zealand to boot. This is a difficult album to describe. In parts, such as on the opener "Everything You Believe Is A Lie", the band seems dead serious and inspired. Yet, there is a trace of this almost humorous tone to the songs at times. It's hard to put a finger on whether that's intentional or not. In any event - Monsterworks play a varied mix of metal. At times chugging along like old Pantera mixed with black metal type vocals with a dash of progressive metal thrown in as well. On track three "Reprieve" the band starts things off acoustically with some choral type voices. It's just an interlude piece (with a nod to the religious references of the album title I can only assume). The album also reminds me of the Swedish death/technical metal scene in places and wanders into pagan metal territory at times, too. It's interesting this release. I'm not sure I like it, though. The band has some decent chops but none of the tunes stood out to me. Oh - I'd also consider changing the name. I can't take a band too seriously that calls themselves Monsterworks.  - Mark

http://www.myspace.com/monsterworks  http://www.coprorecords.co.uk/casket/ 




Caduceus Chalice” 2010 CD

(Moribund Records)


Caduceus Chalice is Moon's debut cd and a very impressive one to say the least. Six tracks of cold, dismal atmospheric black metal. The guitars and drums are played at a mid-pace and done perfectly. The vocals are a raspy, whispery whispery voice. Mixed within the music is some well-played keyboards that add another dimension to Moon's already dark sound. This is a band and release that should appeal to all fans of "atmospheric" black metal.  – Patrick

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




Funeral Mysticism” Double Compilation 2012 CD

(I Hate Records)


Holy fuck I am so amped up listening to this album! I just want to break shit and hit people in a furious rampage! Morbid Insulter have a rare talent for creating really fucking dark, atmospheric music that is also a hateful adrenaline rush of the highest order. That was only disc one, which blew my head off. The first disc contains their ’05 demo, ’06 promo and some unreleased tracks also from 2006. The sound on here is excellent, it is totally old school, sounds like it came straight off a late 80s/early 90s clear but low-fi recording, with that suffocating black atmosphere to it, which is the perfect compliment to the music. The second cd picks right up where the first left off more or less, maybe with a slightly cleaner sound, still harsh and extreme, but undoubtedly a better production with a little more clarity and less harsh. Maybe the atmosphere has a little less of that old cult quality I love too, but it is still awesome. The tracks on the second disc are from MLP’s from 2008 and 2010, plus a compilation tape track they released. Which added together this release covers the bands entire catalog, covering a five year span. I think it is safe to say these guys worship the South American scene with bands like Sarcofago, Vulcano, Pentagram but also mixed with things like Nifelheim, Mortuary Drape, Blasphemy, Grand Belial’s Key but also with an undertone and foundation of old school thrash like Sodom, Slayer etc… They combine it all wonderfully and destructively, creating a true controlled chaos of storming metal sickness, surrounded by an avalanche of darkness & evil! I really have recommend this highly to fans of the bands listed above. You will not be disappointed and it is hard to pass up getting a killer bands full catalog in one single release. Well done I Hate Records, a fitting tribute to the bands legacy.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/morbidinsulter  http://www.ihate.se/  




"Demoniac Paroxysm” 2018 CD

(Momento Mori Records)


Spain’s Momento Mori Records has crossed the pond in search of some of the finest old school brutal death metal doom, and have struck gold, deep down within the dark depths of Mexico. I had not heard of Morbid Messiah before now, but cheers to this label for uncovering them and spreading their disease around the globe. This whole recoding is dripping with a suffocating, necrotic stench of an atmosphere, which permeates all of your senses with a wonderful mix of audio grime and tremolo picked brutality. I feel like a happy as shit metal pig on mud bath day listening to this album! There is a lot of great old death doom smudged dirty bands that influenced this bands sound like Imprecation, old Incantation, early Death, Repulsion, Autopsy (Mental Funeral era). As well as, some other classic bands in that ancient grimy American style mixed with a little bit of old Swedish death metal ala early works by Grave & Entombed. I would be remiss, had I not mentioned another influence from Morbid Messiah’s motherland in the form of the great Shub Niggurath. The vocalist has a good deep as hell growl, which he clearly conjured up from some evil plane of existence projected with demoniac fury all over hell’s half acre on this recording. This is some truly heavy and crushing shit; love it when they interrupt the furious and brutish speed attack with a nice doomy interlude and/or a cool frenzied short guitar solo. This homage is of definite interest for die hard’s of the glorious origins of death metal that all the modern style death metal bands you listen to today only wish they sounded this genuinely depraved, gritty and atmospheric.  - Dale

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




Eens Weer Prevaleert Het Heidens Hart” 2010 CD

(Heidens Hart / New Era Prod.)


Another Dutch band - this time playing Pagan inspired black metal. Supposedly this was the bands last release in 2010 as they have since split up. The usual order of the day - black metal screeches, rough guitar, and a rhythm section that is definitely the weak link in this band, particularly the drummer. His lack of skill is holding back the music from rising to another level. I like the overall vibe - it has that pagan metal feel which some bands have difficulty capturing. But having said that, this is an average release. The band doesn't have the talent even if they have the vision.  - Mark Sugiyama





“Necropsychotic” 2011 CD

(Deathgasm Records)


This is by far one of 2011's best death metal releases!! The Swedish masters combine crushing, heaving guitar riffs, pounding fast drums with sick and deep growls. Mordbrand isn’t worried about playing two thousand miles an hour or trying to be as technical as ever, instead they rely on their ability to perform flawless, old-school death metal. With bands in the scene like Mordbrand, Cianide, Deus Otiosus maybe death metal will return the greatness it once had.  - Patrick

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




Imago” 2014 CD

(Deathgasm Records)


Sweden's own Mordbrand have released their mighty debut album. Imago combines heavy, fast death metal with some old-school Swedish death metal. This is a great release, and if you have heard Mordbrand in the past, you know what to expect, but for all the new fans who haven not heard them. The guitarist does a great job, writing some killer riffs that range from fast to mid-paced, even throwing in some solo's to the mix. The drummer does a good job of keeping up with the guitarist and is intense, with some great drumming, that ranges between fast and some mid-paced range. If you are a fan, of quality Swedish death metal or have heard Mordbrand's earlier work, you will love this release. - Patrick

http://mordbrand.bandcamp.com/   http://deathgasm.com/      




Extrinsic Pathway” 2013 CD

(Blind God Records)


I knew Texas has always had a good metal scene but they seem to be on a roll as of late. This time Texas has given us the old school metal machine Morgengrau, the band plays early nineties style death metal mixing both the Florida and some European influence into their brutal sound. Lots of aggressive guitars that are both thinly raw but also powerful and straight to the point with the furious riffs and solo's. The vocals are handled by  Erika Morgengrau but her vocals are extremely well done and powerful and fit the bands music perfectly. If you enjoy early nineties death metal then you will definitely love Morgengrau's morbid and heavy sound!!  - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/morgengrau  http://morgengrau.bandcamp.com/     




“None Left To Worship” 2014 Live Mini-Album Cassette

(NoVisible Scars Records)


We have a live recording here, but the details are very scant, no idea when these tracks were recorded or if they were even from the same live show. I would say judging by the lack of like flow, transitioning between each of the four songs, not to even mention the different sound qualities, I would think they are not from the same gig. Morgirion play straight forward, raw assaulting black metal, in the early 90s tradition coming out of Norway. The recording at times, is a little rough and distant, and on other tracks quite clear, heavy and up close feeling. But this style of music, has always lent itself well to recordings more on the raw low-fi side, and this release is no exception. There are some great driving guitar sections, filled with freezing hate that possessed me, especially on my preferred tracks “The Pulse Of Death” and “A Cancer Now Severed”. The vocals are excellent rasping razor blades, slashing through the audio darkness, thirsty to dig into flesh. This is a damn good release, for black metal fanatics to check out, it leaves me wanting more Morgirion. So hopefully I hear more soon and hopefully they do their next release with the impressive NVS label once again!  - Dale

http://morgirion.bandcamp.com/   http://novisiblescars.bandcamp.com/      




“Through The Eyes Of Death” 2011 CD

(Relapse Records)


It was kind of cool to see this show up in my mailbox. As soon as I read the band name it brought up memories of the early 90s death metal scene and me tape trading for Morta Skuld demos and shit. And no, just in case you were wondering as I did, Morta Skuld have not gotten back together (though I hear whispers of some reunion gigs). This is a compilation type release of both of their 1990 demo tapes combined on one disc. An interesting tidbit from the bio for you is the demos were produced by Death’s manager Eric Grief back in the day, he had recently finished working on the Spiritual Healing album. The vocals especially on the second demo even remind me of Death a little bit. I am not sure how much work Relapse did with this as far as possibly remixing and I am sure remastering it. But the sound on here is absolutely fantastic, you can every bit of everything, loud and clear and crushingly heavy. I think people have to remember that these were demo tapes and were recorded in 1990. It was a time when death metal was such a new entity on the scene and kind of still figuring out what it was as a genre to some extent. So the music on here at times is not as intricate and a little less technical than what we are used to with modern extreme death metal bands. I mean in contrast Morta Skuld may even sound a little more doomy and slower paced. But that is what a lot of death metal sounded like back then and I was a huge fan of it. You know what I am still am too, because I enjoyed the hell out of this brutal death metal compilation. You even get a bonus Metal Church cover song that was never released. Morta Skuld had their shit going on as far as I am concerned. I think this is pretty cool Relapse put this out, it shows how big of fans they still are of death metal, as Morta Skuld was not even one of their bands back in the day, as the band released most of their albums on Peaceville Records. Check this out all old school dm fans, if you missed it the first time around you will not be disappointed!  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/mortaskuld  http://www.relapse.com/   




“Eat The Evidence” 1998 Compilation CD

(Mortal Coil)


As you will read elsewhere, this label split apart right after this release! Jay went onto form No Middle Ground and Jill joined up with a partner to form Razorback Records. Stand out’s for me are: Insatanity, Skinned, Ton, Sanguinary, Devileech, Viral Load, Fleshtized, and lastly not to be passed over is The Forgotten. There is only one band on here I flat out didn’t like and that is the mundane Rotting Flesh. Here are the rest that didn’t blow me away but are still solid death/grind: Sabbatic Feast, Malignant Inception, Unhallowed, Incarrion, Unblessed, Psychophancy. A fine example of what the death/grind underground has to offer.  – Dale

Get it for a skimpy $5 US: c/o Jill Girardi, P.O. Box 308, Deer Park, NY. 11729, USA




District Destruction” 2012 CD

(Digital Media Records)


To be honest in this day and time with so many clones within the thrash metal {or to be honest any genre really} scene, it's hard to tell who's gonna be good or who's gonna be a total-rip-off clone. So I wasn't really too excited with high hopes for Mortal Infinity but this all changed once I started listening to District Destruction. These German metal warriors play violent, thrashing metal that is both full of furious riffs and beats but also metal passion that is definitely lacking from a lot of metal bands these days. Fast razor sharp guitars and solo's, the vocals are more vicious/aggressive screechy screams and even some deeper death metal growls {but I definitely wouldn't call or put this band in the d.m genre total thrash maniacs here}. If you’re a fan of straight forward uncompromising thrash metal then Germany's Mortal Infinity is definitely a band you should listen to soon!!  - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/mortalinfinity  http://www.digitalmediarecords.com/ 




"Temple Of Flesh” 2020 CD EP

(Purity Through Fire)


Coming out of the United Kingdom's black metal scene is Morte Lune, whose ranks feature members from various bands (Thine, Blasphemer, Atra Mors, Ulfar, Written In Torment, Thy Dying Light, An Axis Of Perdition and more!).’Temple Of Flesh’ contains six songs of aggressive, icy second wave black metal darkness. The music is very well written and assembled with some extremely fast paced flowing guitar passages at it’s center. The guitarist does write and compose some slower patterns rhythms, even adding some solo's into a few songs. The vocals are a good mix of raw black metal raspy screams, some gruff yells and growls are used in a few of the songs. If you are looking for a new band, which combines satanic black metal with some finely crafted and composed music then be sure to pick up a copy of this disc as soon as possible.  - Patrick

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




"Altar Of Decay” 2017 MCD

(Blood Harvest Records)


Coming out of Olympia, WA is Mortiferum with their debut demo, which Blood Harvest will be releasing in digipak format. “Altar Of Decay” features four tracks of crushing death doom metal. The vocals are gruff growls along with a deeper death metal growling approach. The drums range from a mid paced drum style with some faster drum patterns used in a few of the tracks. The drummer also plays a very slow and heavier drum style. The guitars are played in the same vein, as the drums, with some fast guitar mode before slowing down to a more crushing doom pace.  - Patrick

https://mortiferum.bandcamp.com/    http://www.bloodharvest.se      




Origin Of Extinction” 2013 CD

(Napalm Records)


Mortillery returns with their second thrash attack from Napalm Records. Ten tracks of aggressive and rage fueled thrash madness. The riffing is fast and intense with some solo's intertwined in the music. Once again the music is handled by the extremely talented Cara McCutchen who has some of the best screams/vocals in metal today. Pure screams of fury and anger that fit perfectly with Mortillery straight forward thrashing insanity. If you have heard Mortillery in the past you pretty much know what is in store for you, but if you’re new to the band and your a thrasher ‘til death get a hold of this band today!! They won't disappoint you. - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/mortillery  http://www.napalmrecords.com/    




“Contra Mundum” 2018 CD

(Orchestrated Misery Recordings)


Sweden’s Mourning Sign are a new band to my ears, and this is a review of their third full-length album. The bands musical style is best described as progressive death metal, the music is very heavy and complex with newer death influences. The guitars are some well executed and skillfully performed guitar arrangements, which are both very heavy and fast, but also played with at a very accomplished level showing the band member’s years of experience with their instruments. The band even uses some keyboards that gives the music a melodic sound and feel in a few of the songs. The vocals are death metal growls that are raw and brutal with some screams used throughout the music. I am not the biggest progressive death metal fan, so if you are a big fan of this sub-genre then do yourself a favor and give this album a chance.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/mourningsign    https://www.facebook.com/orchestrated.recordings      




“Death Suits You” 2010 MCD

(Agonia Records)


There is quite an array of notable items with regards to Mr. Death, at least to old time die hards like myself. Firstly this release was engineered by the legendary Tomas Skogsberg (who twisted the knobs of many early 90s death metal classics) and produced by Fred Estby of the mighty Dismember. It does not stop there however, as the bands members themselves were in notable Swedish bands such as Treblinka, Tiamat, Septic Grave among others. A slightly different take in the bands photo imagery, corporate suit ‘n tie guy, with the more literal mindless bloody zombie visual makes a statement. The music, as you can guess is very much in the classic early 90s Swede death metal style. Though it is probably a little looser, with a touch of old American thrash, and maybe not as hectically paced as much of this genre in the past. It is easy to throw out Dismember, early Entombed, first Hypocrisy as influence and a general audio starting point for those reading this. The vocals could probably be thrown in the early Entombed or Grave type realm, though not as good or as distinctive as either comparison. I am a big fan of this sound and style, so I enjoyed this for sure. But honestly Mr. Death does not stack up that well against those classic bands. Especially so for a fan of the style, that is a bit more discerning and, not just the type to get everything in this style.  – Dale

http://www.mrdeath.se/home/  http://www.agoniarecords.com/  




“La Conquista”  2007 CD EP

(Negativity Records)


Muerte Villa are, a Texas based, death metal band. The entire concept and lyrical content deal with and promote the ideals of the Mexican Nationalist agenda. As you may have already guessed all lyrics are sang or rather growled in Spanish. Before you begin to scratch your head, there is no need to get worked up you death purists, as there is no Mariachi music or any traditional Mexican instruments like trumpets or maracas incorporated into “La Conquista”. No, it is traditional, straight forward, non-technical American style death metal. So for better or worse, the music does not support or directly compliment the message and/or concept. The production is pretty bass heavy and kind of low (you will have to crank it up). “La Conquista” presents some solid and enjoyable death metal but at the end of the day, nothing really stands out for me. – Dale





"Electrified Brain” 2022 CD, 12'' LP & Cassette

(Nuclear Blast Records)


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

https://www.municipalwaste.net/   https://shop.nuclearblast.com/       




“The Lost Tapes” 2018 CD, LP & Limited Cassette

(Osmose Productions)


Meyhna was the main man, sole composer and essentially a one man band for most of the bands existence. So he is all you should be concerned about with this release The Lost Tapes, which is a compilation of some of the bands classic songs that Meyhna has re-recorded. Before you get excited about a brand new recording, this was actually recorded back in 2009-10 shortly before the band was ended. For those unfamiliar with the bands musical style, it is filthy and grim black metal. The music is extreme in every sense of the word, but it is also very well played and enjoyable to listen to. The vocals are raw black metal screams and screeches that fit Mütiilation's music perfectly. If you are familiar with Mütiilation's body of work, and you are a fan then do yourself a favor by picking up a copy of the new release when it becomes available.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/meyhnach/    http://www.osmoseproductions.com/      




“Immortal Force” 2016 CD

(Greyhaze Records)


Greyhaze Records is getting set to re-release, yet another Cogumelo Records classic Brazilian band, this time around it is Mutilator with their debut album. Originally released in 1987, “Immortal Force” is thrash metal at it’s best, playing extremely fast thrash showcasing musicians who know how to write and perform quality music. The guitars are played with hyper-speed riffing patterns executed with skill and excellent precision. The guitars do slow to a more mid paced range, at times, with some nice patterns and solos intertwined within the music. The drumming, is top notch, with both fast blasting drums and more controlled mid paced patterns. If you were lucky enough to have heard this band back in their prime, then you know what to expect, but if you are a new listener then just imagine fiercest, most violent thrash metal possible. Check this release out today.  - Patrick

https://greyhazerecords.bandcamp.com/    https://www.greyhazerecords.com/ 




"The Temple Of Eosphoros” 2022 CD & LP

(Iron Bonehead Productions)


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

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




“Goetia” Digipak 2015 CD

(Greyhaze Records)


Greyhaze Records has done it again, with another gem from the early days of the Brazilian extreme metal scene. Mystifier as most of you know, is one of Brazil’s pioneering black / death metal bands. Combining early death and black metal guitar chords and riffs, for a great style of their own, it is an eerie atmosphere within the guitar sound and music as a whole. The drumming is done with a lot of power and range, going from mid-paced patterns, to all out fast drumming, before going back to the middle paced once again. The vocals range from death metal growls to harsh black metal screams of terror. Besides the original songs from this release, there are also three live tracks, for all the real fanatics of the genre and the band. If you are a fan of blackened death metal, with some atmosphere thrown in, then do yourself a favor and get this classic re-issue today.  - Patrick

http://www.mystifier.com.br/   http://greyhazerecords.com/      




"Mystik” 2019 CD

(I Hate Records)


This self-titled album is this Swedish bands debut after releasing a single demo tape prior to this, which must have been impressive in it’s own right to land them on the respected I Hate Records label. The band play heavy riffs and songs, but it is not raunchy and crushing heavy, it is much more controlled and vaguely subdued similar to the musical styles of bands like Warlord, Manilla Road, Omen, Stormwitch, Attacker, Cirith Ungol etc… Yes, it is great old school classic early to mid ‘80s heavy / speed metal worship, but done with an own vibe and presented with a superb modernized recording (courtesy of talented and experienced engineer / producer Magnus “Devo” Andersson of Marduk). I enjoy the high energy guitar solos / fills that add an injection of zest and energy into some of the songs ala a song like ‘Gallows Hill’, which really adds spice to their mainstay unrelenting (and headbang inducing) riffing speed machine. I dig the vocals on here they are belted out with a lot of ardor and a natural sounding feeling of when to elongate and accent certain words or the finish of sentence. These accompaniments add a lot emotion and a level of dynamics, which sticks with you, as do the infectious choruses, making the songs more memorable and enjoyable. It is cool on the song ‘Lake of Necrosis’ where vocalist Julia von Krusenstjerna sings a combination of Swedish and Enligsh lyrics, it is how it changes up her style slightly having put different emphasis on the Swedish phrasing. I enjoyed that and hope they do a little more of that in the future. I should mention the drum work here, performed by Sven Nilsson (Antichrist, Eviscerated), as it is really solid supports the guitar & vocal feature attractions in tasteful and competent fashion. If you are a devotee of early to mid 1980s heavy / speed metal, especially the American bands of that era, you should enjoy the hell out of this debut record. Sweden is keeping this hallowed art going strong with Mystik leading the way!  - Dale

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