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"Illusions In Infinite Void” 2015 CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


Sacral Rage is a band out of Greece, who has burst out of the gates, with a hell of a debut album! They play classic 80s power / heavy metal, with touches of prog metal and speed metal thrown in for good measure. The vocals for some, will undoubtedly be an acquired taste, as they splatter the sound wall to wall, with high pitched whiney siren vocal spikes like you heard back in the 80s. I like them myself, but I know a lot of people, even those that are power metal and heavy metal fans, do not necessarily like that style of vocals. I would say musically as well, but also vocally, think of the second and third Fates Warning records, as well as the vocals of John Cyriis of Agent Steel, from around the same time period springs to mind. Musically speaking, these are some finely crafted songs, at times technical, at other times epic in scope, and always heavy and driving. There are some amazing riffs on here, expertly placed within the song framework, not to even mention the tasty guitar playing featuring killer fills and smoking leads. When I think of some possible musical influences, bands which come to mind are Jag Panzer, Coroner, Helstar, Watchtower, Iron Maiden, Annihilator etc… As you can see, even their influences within style vary nicely. I would warmly recommend this, to fans of old school metal and the bands I mentioned above, you will love it.  - Dale

http://sacralrage.bandcamp.com/   http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/      




"Beyond Celestial Echoes” 2018 CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


Greece is well known for their dark death and black metal scenes, which have a rich tradition, but this is one of the first speed / thrash metal bands that come to mind from that country. The album consists of eight songs, which includes two instrumentals and the excellent finishing opus track that clocks in at nearly 15 minutes! Sacral Rage play extremely energetic and speedy tempo music, which is highly melodious and technical, yet kinda possessing a prog-y thrash metal edge to it. There are so many time signatures, change ups that will have your attention spinning, as you duck the many swift guitar fills and solos fly around. Soaring over the top of the music are high pitched, sorta whiney, ultra siren vocals that I like the more and more I listen to them. They could probably use a little lower register accents now and then, but fuck it I dig them, though at the same time I could see them as being an acquired taste for some. I mentioned John Cyriis of Agent Steel, early Fates Warning as reference points for these vocals, when I reviewed their record a few years ago and those are still fair I think. This album kind of sounds, to me, like a group of musicians coming from a melododeath style background who later decided to form a thrash band. As opposed to just die hard thrashers, but maybe some of that is just down to a production that reminds me more to that style of music? Their style reminds me of bands like Annihilator, Helstar, Coroner, Queensryche, Fates Warning but taken further down that melodic path and adding a little more emotional less heavy finesse flair, to that sound. There is a futuristic vibe like sort of like a space opera prog vibe, largely achieved through numerous synth accents and sound effects. I would say, that is one slight down note for me, but this is more just my tastes, that they may have went a little too heavy on the side melody and harmony this time around at the expense of just heavy riffing. The heavy riffing is there at times (ie – on the track “Suspended Privileges”), but some of the songs or sections of songs are begging for them to let loose with a headbang riff and just ride it a little. The song structuring and pace seem to often not allow for that to happen or maybe the band just does not want to rip it up, so to speak. But, if you love melody over all, and masterfully emotional passages mixed with some heaviness, and with some adventurous elements that borrows heavily from the past while making something their own that is also current sounding? Then you should definitely check this album out now.  - Dale

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




“The Bloodshed Summoning” 2013 CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


I think this is my first run with SS, even though these German metallers have been at it for over 15 years. I do recognize the name floating around over the years however. I have heard some people complaining about the vocalist Gerrit P. Mutz, but for me he might be close to my favourite part of the Steel’s musical maelstrom. He has a distinctive voice, the accent is quite present, but I like that, he seems to have a pretty varied delivery from the mainstay clean power metal vocals, to gruff thrash yell to growling death metal tinged vocals and he transitions between them all quite seamlessly. The vocalist also conveys a variety of emotions really well and at times reminds me a tad of the vocals of countrymen vocals from the band Rage, but as said with more varied genre influences. The music kind of like the vocals, has a heavy power metal base, but mixes things up with thrash elements and you get epic metal and heavy head bang metal with some slower emotional material in there which only serves to highlight the heavy parts and make the music as a whole more dynamic. I am definitely a Sacred Steel fan now, this is some good shit, fans of power metal mixed with some thrash elements and distinctive vocals should really check this album out.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/truesacredsteel  http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/  




"Heavy Metal Sacrifice” 2016 CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)


Gernany’s Sacred Steel is getting ready to release their newest full length “Heavy Metal Sacrifice”. The band does a great job of writing and performing traditional heavy metal with some power metal influences. The guitars showcase a lot of creativity and skillfully played guitars that go from fast heavy metal to a more mid pacing tone. The drummer does a fine job of writing and playing fast drum passages, transitioning to fast patterns and back down to a more controlled style. The vocals are sung with a clean vocal style but there are some screams and hollering used in a few of the songs. Anyone who is interested in traditional heavy metal mixed with some power metal touches then you will want to this up today.  - Patrick

http://www.sacredsteel.eu/    http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/          




"American Deathrash" 2011 CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)


I love split albums now and then and this release from Horror Pain looks to be an interesting one. First up is Sacrificial Slaughter and they bludgeon you over the head right out of the gate. SS play brutal death metal but with a real thrash underpinning. A reference band that immediately jumped to mind is the great old deathrash band Demolition Hammer. There are bands out there playing deathtrash, but I would have heard very few these days playing it this way. It is sort of a throw back to a time when thrash fans and bands were getting adrenalized for this new thing called death metal and you could hear the merging of the two distinct styles, sort of like hey that thrash band plays some sickening death metal. That is what you get from Sacrificial Slaughter and I like it. Oklahoma’s Enfuneration on the other are a more polished and modern sounding death metal band. They also hit you hard in their own way with razor riffing and deep rolling growl vocals. The drummer stands out as well on these tracks, a very controlled, precise and commanding performance turned in on the kit by drummer Rodney Cochran. All in all a great pairing and a must have type album for brutal death fans. I lean a little more towards Sacrificial, but both bands bring the goods, on five songs a piece and punish your ears.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/championsofmetal  http://hpgd.comoj.com/index.html  




"From Which Nightmares Crawl” 2022 CD, LP & Cassette

(Chaos Records)


After releasing a demo a few years back this Salt Lake, Utah band have rounded out their line-up, and now unleash their anticipated debut album. Sacrilegion show a pretty high level of skill on their instruments, and some strong proficiency in memorable songwriting ability on this record. The music on here displays some heavy and driving death metal, backed with a dark atmosphere yet always possessing a strong melodic thread running throughout. There is a lot of transitioning between the catchy melodicism, the heavy brooding pummel and sudden bursts of breakneck speed. Some of the bands like The Chasm, Demigod, Shub Niggurath, At The Gates, Cenotaph, Darkness Eternal and the mighty Edge Of Sanity count among the acts that come to mind as influences  on this release. I really dig the vocals of Connor G. Carlson, they fit the music perfectly as he puts in a nuanced performance featuring an array of voices, yells and growls that accentuate and pull out the darkness and emotive elements of the music. This is a solid debut album that is worth your attention.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Sacrilegion/   https://www.chaos-records.com/         




"Cultus Nex" CD

(Hammer Of Hate)


Some speedy Finnish polished black metal with a strong death metal undercurrent is what is on tap here. The production is heavy yet slicker than I generally care for or look for, I have heard worse though mind. The members of this band are involved in many different Finnish bands, such as Uncreation’s Dawn, Evil Angel, Satanic Torment, Tuonela etc... All of which I am mostly unfamiliar with, but might be a point of interest to those reading this that are fans of said acts. The vocals are a deep black rasp juxtaposed with a cavernous death metal base and fit the music well enough. I feel like Sacrilegious do not manage to create anything of an own sound and come away sounding like so many other overproduced Scadinavian black death bands, spewing out one after the other in the last decade or so. Maybe that is your thing though? So many bands like this get signed and spread around, so clearly there are many out there who worship things done in this fashion.  – Dale

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




“II – Exalted Spectres” CD

(Hammer Of Hate Records)


I actually thought this was going to be a death metal band based on their name alone. But what we have here is a Finnish black metal band. Reminiscent of (Sweden's) Dark Funeral in places, this sounds like something that would of come out of the late 90's or early 00's. A four piece on this recording, the songs are unrelenting with enough studio polish to make them raw but produced. An intro plus eight tunes. A solid effort but in such an over saturated, been there done that, market, it's hard for any black metal band to stand out. Sacrilegious Impalement are a decent band but hardly remarkable.  - Mark Sugiyama

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




"Misty Breath Of Ancient Forests" 2020 CD & LP

(Purity Through Fire)


You know, Sad has been around for right around 15 years and somehow they have managed to escape my attention. That ends now as I sink my audio claws into no less than their seventh album! When I read the band name, I automatically had thoughts of them being a Funeral Doom band, but no, make no mistake Sad conjure up utterly pernicious black metal in the mighty second wave early ‘90s tradition. This duo is made up of Nadir on vocals and Ungod who handles all instruments and is the main songwriter. Both of these men are also in the bm band Kvele, but Ungod in particular is a busy guy as he is also in bands like Slaughtered Priest, Steelwitch, Obsecration, Necrohell plus more! If that is not enough this busy Greek maniac also runs the Metal Throne Productions record label. Focusing back on the music here, it is freezing cold black metal cloaked in that old familiar sinister aura that is a trademark of second wave bm, which is something I must confess that I worship to no end. The music, as wintry and aggressive it is, still manages to have an epic feeling, flowing quality to it that is quite entrancing to me. The vocals of Nadir are as forcefully acidic and bitter rasping as you will hear in any black metal horde, it is a tour-de-force performance of emotional bile and dark rage. I now see that I have a lot of catching up to do with this excellent bands back catalog of releases. "Misty Breath Of Ancient Forests" comes highly recommended from me to fanatics and purists of the early to mid ‘90s black metal rituals and traditions.  - Dale

https://hordeavsad.webs.com/    https://shop.purity-through-fire.com         




"Oale Groond" 2021 CD & LP

(Heidens Hart Records)


Sagenland come out of the Netherland's pagan black metal scene is Sageland with their debut release. From what I understand the previously had only one release way back in 2005, a split album (w/Vargulf), but the label shuttered it’s doors very soon after the release was pressed and less than 100 copies were circulated. This album features all three songs from that split plus seven additional songs and after 15 long years of dormancy their debut album ‘’Oale Groond” sees the light of day through the veteran Dutch label Heidens Hart. The music on here is delivered with both skill and showcases some excellent writing ability. Musically the duo play very aggressive, and fast black metal, but these musicians do add some slower moody folkish elements into their aggressive music. The vocals are a mix of traditional black metal screams and some excellently sung clean vocal arrangements. Sagenland plays a high class brand of second wave black metal that is traditional yet very well progressive in its own way.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/SagenlandTwente/    https://heidenshart.bandcamp.com/         




"Loathe Over Will” 2012 CD

(Supremacy Through Intolerance Rec.)


After a couple of e.p's and demo's Australia's Sanguinary Misanthropia release their debut full-length. Loathe Over Will is nine tracks of traditional satanic black metal. Raw, thin guitar riffs, aggressive blasting drums with some mid-paced breaks to keep the music interesting and the listeners attention. The vocals are demonic screams and screeches and fits nicely with the bands old-school primitive sound. I know a lot of bands are doing the "old school" sound way too much these days but Sanguinary Misanthropia do a great job of creating and playing traditional, raw black metal without sounding too much like one particular band. Definitely recommended to old-school fans who enjoy their black metal raw, primitive and ugly.  - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/sanguinarymisanthropia  http://shop.supremacy-through-intolerance.org/   




"A Funeral For The World" 2017 CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


Cruz Del Sur just keeps pumping out quality bands, generally of the heavy metal doom variety, with an emphasis on the doom side of that equation, in most cases. This is once again the case with Sanhedrin, but they lean much more in the classic heavy metal (and hard rock) direction, alongside occasional sprinklings of more modern day sounds than much of the labels staple roster. The production on here sounds and feels quite modern and current as well despite their love of old bands. The band is competent at song crafting / structuring, but they are not trying to impress at how clever or aggressive they can be in this area. The band are definitely much more concerned with catchy hooks, rhythms with songs purely focus on feel in between their rocking grooves. The seven plus minute opus “Collateral Damage”, placed at albums mid-point is a rather moody, solidly impressive song, which shows the band really wearing some influences on their sleeves with heavy doses of more modern Iron Maiden and classic Queensryche, bleeding through with touches of class and skill. Speaking of Queensryche, vocalist Erica Stoltz has a classic ‘80s heavy metal side to her voice, but I can not shake the Geoff Tate comparison when listening to her effortlessly belt out those great vocals of hers backed by high-quality range, control and poise. I am huge fan and believer in Cruz Del Sur Music, they have superb tastes in music and find impressive bands consistently. So, while Sandhedrin for my tastes, is not necessarily the cream of the crop on their roster, this is nonetheless still a solid record that fans of the murky emotional stylings of bands like Queensryche and modern Maiden mixed liberally with NWOBHM (along with American bands in that style from the mid to late ‘80s) in an updated package should find this right in their wheelhouse.  - Dale

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




“A Touch Of The Burning Red Sunset” 1998 CD

(Breath Of Night Records)


Not sure if you can call this an album or just a discography collection. Included are the bands 2 demos, ‘92’s “In Hate…” and ‘93’s “Dark” tapes. I always wondered what happened to this band, who play a well balanced combination of melodious and memorable structuring with a courseness of harsh speed, all fully steeped with passion and hate. Cult darkness!  - Dale

Breath Of Night Recs., P.O. Box 54, Dekalb, IL. 60115 - 0054, USA  Email = akhenaten@niu.edu




"Hate” CD & LP

(Greyhaze Records)


‘Hate’ is Sarcofago's 1994 album that is getting a re-release through Greyhaze Records. It features eight tracks of old-school black metal with some thrash influences, especially noticeable in the guitar tone. Wagner Antichrist handles the guitar duties for on this recording, which are played with mid paced structured chunky riffs. The guitars do speed up to a more aggressive and thrashier pace throughout some of the songs. Wagner also handles the vocals for this release, which are a mix of gruff death metal growls and some black metal screams. Gerald Incubus performs the bass duties and he creates some well crafted and interesting bass-lines. The drums are programmed, but are not all blasting beats including some sections that feature drums with a more controlled slower, mid paced patterns. If you can get past the drum machine you might like this album from a legendary UG band.  - Patrick

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




The Rebirth Of A Cursed Existence” 2013 CD

(World Terror Committee Productions)


One of my favorite black metal bands from the Finnish black metal underground. The 'Rebirth Of A Cursed Existence' is seventy two minutes of raw, vicious Satanic black metal that only the masters can provide. Fourteen rare tracks from Sargeist's vault originally released on vinyl's, cassettes, or compilation songs used over the years. I have been a fan of this great bands music over the years which has never changed or let me down with their traditional, raw vicious black metal. The thin guitars are fast and screechy played with a lot of extreme cold and hateful riffs, but there is also has a lot of talent mixed in with the hateful blasphemy. The drumming is precise and chaotic at the same time going from mid-pace to all-out blasting assaults on the drum kit. Sargeist are one of the best black metal bands ever to be unleashed into the scene and thanks to the great W.T.C  label you now have a chance to own some of the bands hardest material to find. Highly Recommended to all Sargeist fans and anyone into classic raw, hateful black metal.  - Patrick

https://myspace.com/sargeist   http://www.moribundcult.com/  




"Flagellation Of A Saint” 2012 CD

(Nekrogoatheresy Productions)


Sarratum is a black metal band featuring Martin Ciappara {Prayer Of The Dying, Black vulture} who handles the drums and keyboards in the band. Sarratum seem to stick to the more primitive, raw straight forward style of black metal and do it well. The guitars are raw, simplistic yet have some catchy riffs. I'm not sure how long martin has been drumming for but he seems to be pretty good behind kit going from mid-to fast beats. And the band does show somewhat of an "atmospheric" side with their instrumental track Beyond The Helios before picking up with the demonic harsh blackened vocals and black metal attack. Fans of early Emperor, or early 90's Norse black metal in general should check out / enjoy Sarratum.  - Patrick

http://www.myspace.com/sarratum  http://www.nghproductions.net/index.php?cPath=2      




"Of Atavistic Fury & Visions" 2020 CD EP & 12" EP

(Soulseller Records)


This release “Of Atavistic Fury & Visions” is the debut from these Finnish newcomers Sarvekas, which is being released through Soulseller Records. The music on here is definitely rooted in the Finnish black metal style, but the band does add some slower more melodic passages in with the faster more aggressive style core. The individual members of the band are skilled with their instrument with skill and show some songwriting talent. The drums and guitars are played with furious aggressive patterns. The vocals are traditional black metal screams and screeches that are done are powerful and feature some interesting vocal arrangements. I have admit for a debut release Sarvekas have unleashed a masterpiece of black metal by combing both the faster more traditional style with some slower interludes. You should check them out and keep an eye on this new band.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/sarvekas    https://soulsellerrecords.bandcamp.com         




“Life Sentence” 2013 CD

(Listenable Records)


Well, fuck me, Satan reforms after only a 26 year absence! Do the old goats still have it? I had my apprehensions about that. But I am happy to report that “Life Sentence” is one hell of a comeback album. Satan have stayed true to their roots and made a great old school ‘80s heavy metal record that is dark, catchy and rocking as all hell. Vocalist Brian Ross sounds great as he belts out that proud warrior epic style voice that is still as smooth as ever and has great range. I love this. The drum sound on here is really nice and performance on the kit is energetic and precise. In fact, energy that is a good word to use for this whole they keep the pace brisk and full of adrenaline. Yet they manage to create a certain dark emotional atmosphere that I really enjoyed. It is nice to see a comeback record that was not just shit out there to get people interested in the name again and have an excuse to tour. Satan took their time and created a very good album that upholds the legacy. Check this out!  - Dale

http://www.satanmusic.com/   http://www.listenable.net/      




"Double Denim Shotgun Massacre” 2013 Cassette Mini-Album

(NoVisible Scars Records)


The band Satanic Dystopia comes to us out of the U.K. blackened death metal scene. This band surely knows how to play violent, vicious and darkened death metal whirlwind. The heavy and fast guitars rage their way through the song at break neck speed, mixed in with some mid paced riffs, though not very many. The drumming is just as good backed with some violent blast beats galore and some middle paced drumming as well. The vocals are some disturbing death growls and screams. This is a good release that should please any metal demons into sadistic old school metal. (As always with NVS the packaging as always is amazing – get this and support this fantastic label! - Dale)  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/SatanicDystopia   http://nvslabel.blogspot.com/      




“In To Hell” 2013 CD

(Hells Headbangers Records)


This release covers the entire existence of the band, a flame that burned brightly, but burned out in a hurry. They released one seven inch ep (in 2008) by the same name as this release, Satanic Threat then played one live show before calling it quits. This disc has that 7” plus the live show, covering the existence of the band. If you like the first couple songs you will like the entirety of In To Hell. Because honestly, while good, the songs mostly sound the same, the vocals sound the same in each song, just with some different lyrics. That is not really a knock, this is how a lot of ‘80s punk bands did their thing back in the day. To be fair there is some variation from song to song to differentiate the songs, just not a whole lot of it. This is some good punk rock though, those driving rhythms will get in your head and stay there. If you love straight forward 80s punk and love Satan you will probably dig the hell out of this shit.  - Dale

https://myspace.com/satanicthreat#  http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/  




"Aamongandr” 2022 CD, LP & Tape

(Werewolf Records)


The man of the black metal underground known as Werwolf (Grieve, Knife, Krüel Kömmando, Orlok, Satanist Terrorist, The True Werwolf, Vritrahn-Werwolf, ex-Horna, ex-White Death and more) returns with his (solo) band Satanic Warmaster, which he is arguably most known for. Satanic Warmaster does not release albums very often, as this is their 6th album in the last twenty-two years, this time around it was an eight year wait! Though to be fair during this long existence S.W. has released nearly 30 demos, EPs and splits, not to even mention a handful of live albums, so this band is never dormant for too long. But let us move out the bands history and into the moment at hand here. The opening hymn “Bafomet” is a less frosty and little more mildly melodic, especially with regards to the guitars, than I was expecting when I hit play. Yet those deathly and dangerously acerbic vocals I admire were exactly what I had hoped to hear from the start. A solid track yes, though not entirely what I hoped to hear, but my apprehension was quickly erased and never returned for the remainder of the album. As the hateful, sinister archetypal second wave Finnish filtered black metal only grows and strengthens as this strong record progresses. That cold and spiteful black metal continues to drive hard through this musical snowstorm and winding through it all like a writhing serpent is a healthy dose of timely, well placed eerie synth work that brings in some malevolent arcane atmosphere. Werwolf’s lethal and bitter bm caustic rasping vocals are some of the best in UG scene in my opinion, a superb welcome knife to the brain! I worship this stuff and can never seem to get enough of it, but was it worth the wait? Well is any release worth waiting eight years for? Probably not, but that does not mean it is not excellent, because this album is indeed. The vinyl version of this is not due until later some time in 2023, but whatever your preferred choice of format, if you love Satanic Warmaster and good second wave bm then you need to get your mitts on this.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/satanic.war.terror   https://www.werewolf.fi/          




“Sadomasochrist” 2008 CD

(Negativity Records)


Hailing from the far North come Satanist and their grim low-fi “Sadomasochrist” debut album. So black metal from Alaska? I already feel an unpleasant cold chill run down my spine just thinking of that combination. I suppose I should clarify here that Satanist are a speed metal and black metal combination. Which for me is just great and I would like to see more of it. It reminds me to the early days of the second wave of black metal when bands generally had more of their own sound. They were definitely black metal but incorporated speed, thrash, heavy metal and doom type elements into the bm sound. I think to bands (and their early works) like Mortuary Drape, Necromantia, Morning Star, Acheron etc… etc… The visuals that this record is wrapped in are in your face with the cover portraying a crucified christ flying with bat wings and possessing marks of Satanic desecration and mutilation upon his skin. Then you get a bonus poster inside of a naked nun pissing on a holy bible. The vocals on here are excellent in my opinion. They are kind of more akin to dark heavy metal or thrash vocals but sung at sort of a mid-pacing and while they are evil sounding you can certainly make out everything that is sung. They have ambient synth type interludes here and there and that reminds me of the classic “Rites of The Black Mass” album by Acheron. Though here it has a little different feeling to it, more modern and not quite as classic and creepy as “Rites…” Apparently these ambient sections have been contributed by the band Absynth whom I know very little about. The guitars on here are so speed metal that it almost aches but in a good way for me. It is well done and despite this (speed guitars) they always manage to turn in a cold black atmosphere on it all. “Sadomasochrist” is a good album that I can recommend. For me though the only real drawback is the drums, which are a programmed drum machine. Now I have heard them done much worse but in general I detest drum machines and that was an unfortunate black mark on the album. But do not let that deter you from giving this a try because it is worth it.   - Dale

http://www.negativityrecords.com/   http://www.myspace.com/satanist666  




"Power – Purity – Perfection 999" 2009 CD

(Moribund Records)


These guys are still around?! I have their 1986 album “Metal Hell” from my tape trading days of old. I knew there was a Satan’s Host around, but I had no clue that this was that same one! I am guessing with the gap in releases between 1987 and 1999 that they were broken up during that period. I just paused to read the bio, apparently they broke up back then because drummer D. Lucifer Steele was murdered. For those that do not know, this was the band of Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin of Jag Panzer fame. But, he is no longer with the band, not that that is a surprise. Yet, they carry onward today, as far as I can tell guitarist Patrick Evil is the only founding member left. Now of course they do sound a lot different now than that old debut album. A record where they displayed, as you might have guessed a classic and dated sound, but still solid darkened power metal. Nowadays you they play a form of death/thrash metal sounding music still with a definite old school heavy metal backbone running through it. The vocals come off sounding the usual current black metal rasp mixed with some dm growling undertones. Satan’s Host like it heavy, but also pretty melodic in between the bouts of horrific brutality. The production is good, really forceful and captures the power and hateful emotion of the band. All in all, a well crafted record that has enough dynamic to separate it from the masses in this style.   – Dale

www.moribundcult.com   http://www.satanshost.com/  




"Assault On Evil…666” 2010 DVD

(Moribund Records)


I always have trouble with trying to review Metal dvd’s. I mean generally it is a live dvd of material that has been released previously over multiple past releases. So there does not seem to be much point in reviewing the music. As far as the disc contents go... You do get a 7 song live show basically. It is all very well done, Moribund should be commended for their work here, as you get nice quality video shot with multiple camera angles. The sound is crystal clear with nice separation so there is no problem there at all. There is a horde of bonus material present, including a bunch of bootleg videos shot by fans at live shows. I am not sure the average black metal devotee will necessarily want this, though I may be wrong about that, but surely those who are already fans of Satan’s Host will get their monies worth. A side note of interest for those who did not know that Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin of Jag Panzer fame was in the band in the 80s and reportedly recently re-joined!  – Dale

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




“By The Hands Of The Devil” 2011 CD

(Moribund Cult)


Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin, of Jag Panzer fame's, old side project that has been resurrected for 2011. Pretty straight forward heavy metal with Conklin's typical soaring vocals. In some ways it's nice to hear this type of Maiden/Priest type of metal - brings me back to the early 80's scene. Solid riffing throughout, time signature changes, and elements of more modern metal are mixed in for good measure. In other ways, there's no escaping the dated sound of the style of metal (with modern production of course). But, having said that, I'd much rather hear a band like this than metalcore crap any day of the week and twice on Sunday.  - Mark Sugiyama

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




Gnostikoi Ha-Shaitan” 2011 CD

(Ahdistuksen Aihio Records)


Finland's Saturnian Mist  have created an interesting release with their newest album mixing black metal, industrial, and even some heavier progressive guitar riffs. All of the members of Saturnian Mist are good at their instruments and I give the band a lot of credit for trying to be original and creative {something that is lacking in music today} but in this case I think Saturnian Mist have bitten off more than they can chew. Maybe if they only combine two elements together like prog and black metal or black metal and industrial it might be more memorable. This might appeal to the newer fans of black metal but as for me I say pass.  - Patrick

http://www.ahdistuksenaihio.com/  http://saturnianmist.net/  




“For The Loveless Lonely Nights” 1998 CD

(Euphonious Records/Voices Of Wonder)


Saturnus are a melancholic doom band with gothic overtones. When I read the description I was worried, but this is not too bad I actually got into some of it. It seems obvious to me that Saturnus are very talented and play with emotion. This disc is produced by Flemming Rasmussen (Morbid Angel, Blind Guardian, early Metallica), so you know the sound is nice. If melancholy is your poison, I have a fix for you.  – Dale




"7 & Live ‘N Lethal” 2015 DBL CD

(Minus2Zebra Records)


Savage are a storied legendary metal band, hailing out of the U.K., and playing a mix of hard rock / early heavy metal. The drumming is done with a lot of precision, and well done drum patterns. The music is going from heavy, semi-fast sections to more mid paced range. The music is written with a lot of variety, fine song writing by experienced and talented musicians. If you are a fan of late seventies and early eighties rock ‘n roll, mixed with heavy metal, then this is a good band for you to check out if they new to you. The second disc contains thirteen live songs, a mix of old and few newer songs. The songs are presented very well, with good sound quality. So again, if you are a fan of the band Savage, or a fan of well written rock ‘n roll / heavy metal, then give this double disc a disc a chance you won’t regret it.  - Patrick

http://www.savageband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/savageuk        




"Decade Of Savagery” 2021 CD & LP

(Inhuman Assault Records)


Coming out of Thailand's brutal death metal scene is Savage Deity with their third full length release. This is my first encounter with the band, so I can’t comment on the music of their previous releases. But the music on ‘Decade Of Savagery’ is well executed and powerfully delivered old school death metal that is intense and filled with many well written musicial passages. The guitars are played with skill and high level writing ability and range from extremely which fluctuate from fast patterns but does slow to a heavier more controlled guitar pace. The vocals are powerful old school death metal growls that fit Savage Deity’s music perfectly. This bands new release is highly recommended to those who enjoy quality death metal.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/savagedeityofficial/    https://inhumanassault.bandcamp.com/      




"Sorrow And Skin” 2013 CD

(Sevared Records)


It took me a couple listens, for what this Massachusetts band was doing and really going for to sink in. Once I settled in though, I was treated to some extremely brutal mid to late 90s death metal that crushes and grinds, but in a very controlled fashion as this is a pretty technical, tight album. As we know, technicality often serves to impede brutality and ferocity, yet Scalpel seems to have done a pretty skillful job of wedding the two. Think of early to mid ‘90s New York and Floridian death metal, mixed more specifically, with stuff like Suffocation and later day Cannibal Corpse just as a loose general guide. The vocals are in the classic duality style with the deeper growling and the slightly higher nasal growling ala old Carcass / General Surgery or something along those lines. The band name fits the music, much like a doctor with a scalpel, this band is very precise, controlled and forceful in its task. If you like nineties dm and do mind it a little more on the technical side, then Sorrow and Skin is for you.  - Dale

https://myspace.com/scalpel08   http://www.sevared.com/index.htm      




"Unutterable Horrors” 2018 CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)


Rising out of the Boston, Massachusetts UG scene is brutal death metal band Scaphism. “Unutterable Horrors” is the bands second full length featuring eight songs of violent old school brutal death metal music. The vocals are old school growls, as well as, some more gruff death metal growls mixed into a few of the songs. The drumming on here is top notch employing some hyper-speed blast beats, but the drummer also writes and performs some mid paced drum patterns, which are a high skill level. The guitars are played in the same vein with some extremely fast guitars and then peppering in some slower middle paced guitar sections. If you are a fan of well built and solidly played old style brutal death metal, then be sure to pick up a copy of “Unutterable Horrors”, when it is released in January.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/Scaphism    https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/          




"Recollections Of The Insane” 2022 CD & LP

(Redefining Darkness Records)


This quartet rises up out of Antwerp, Belgium and despite Schizophrenia only releasing their first recording (a single track) a few years ago. They have been around a while starting out as the band Hammerhead, they put out a couple EPs under that name before changing their name to Schizophrenia. Since unleashing that single three years ago, it was followed up with a CD EP two years ago and now comes their debut full-length. This album features nine tracks of slickly produced heavy, driving and skilled old school death metal with thrash touches. A number of influences pop into my mind while listening to this like earlier works of bands like Sepultura, Demolition Hammer, Ripping Corpse, Slayer, Malevolent Creation, Pestilence, Sadus, Morbid Angel, Possessed and the like. The vocals kind of walk the line between death and thrash metal styles, and also like the music lean heavier on the dm side of things, but they are good husky yelled growls that fit the music well. There is some excellent guitar work on display here with some smoking guitar fills and solos. All of that is neatly nestled within some thoughtful and interesting song writing. This is a real solid first album, it has me looking forward to what comes next as this talented band continues to come into it’s own.  - Dale

https://linktr.ee/schizophrenia.official   https://shop.redefiningdarkness.com/         




"Echoes Of Dismemberment" 2016 CD

(Unspeakable Axe Records)


Delaware’s old school death metal band Scorched have released their debut full length cd, featuring ten songs of brutal, heavy old school death metal. The guitars are played with a lot of skill and good patterns, going from a mid paced heavy old guitar style, to a crazed fast speed. The guitarist knows to really write and play, extremely tight material, whether playing exceedingly fast or at a controlled pace, he even is great while playing some well crafted and played solos in a few of the songs. The drums are played with a lot of power and skill, going from a slow to mid paced range to a faster more brutal drum style throughout the songs, to give a nice mix of mid paced and faster music. If you are a fan of mid ‘90s brutal death metal scene, then be sure to check out and buy a copy Scorched’s debut today.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/scorchedde/    http://www.unspeakableaxerecords.com/        




"Marauders” 2012 Cassette EP

(NoVisible Scars Records)


It has been a long time since I heard Scorched Earth or since they graced the pages of Canadian Assault. I was in touch with the band many years ago for quite some time. If memory serves I even interviewed the band over a decade ago for Agonia War zine from Poland (ran by editor Filip Jesion, current owner of Agonia Records). There are two songs on this cassette. First up is “Thy Kingdom Doomed / Marauders”, I am digging the lead instrumental part of the song, it reminds me some of stuff from the great 70s hard rock / doom bands I worship. After the lead in, we quickly transition into some smoking ‘n thrashing extreme heavy metal music that has great energy. The gruff, yelling death metal tinged vocals are delivered rapid fire, matching the adrenaline of the music step for step. I am digging the frantic, but stylish guitar solo, just before the song changes up to a slower tempo that I bet gets some heads banging in live shows. A superb song from start to finish. Track two, entitled “Harken To Your Allfather”, hits the ground running, no build like “…Marauders”, you just have to keep up or be left behind with this one. Scorched Earth is a band that has some flowing catchy hard ’n heavy riffs and this song has an even more frenetic solo in the center portion of the tune. Unfortunately this is the final release from this band, after a 15 year existence, they apparently just broke up. This tape will not disappoint, check it out. Order the cassette for $4 USD or an mp3 copy for $2 USD.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/hailscorchedearth  http://nvslabel.blogspot.com/      




"Via Liminalis” 2014 MCD

(Pavitra Kunta Prod. / Saturnal Records)


So apparently this release, from the Finnish band Scorpio Doctrine, is a co-produced release between two record labels. I am sure more bands would not mind this situation, where you have not one, but two different labels promoting your record. This debut mini-album, consisting of four songs, according to the bio the culmination of a year of writing and rehearsing by the two members. The first thing I did was read the lyrics, which are thoughtful, striking and well written. I am afraid that is where the compliments end. Honestly it is very minimal, stripped down dark wave, gothic, folk dominated by keyboards. There are some other elements mixed in, but honestly and probably by design they are completely drown out by the synth which is very loud in the mix rendering them virtually as a non-entity. But yes, it is essentially the same synth sequence, largely repeated over and over with vocals over top. Well the vocals, to be more descriptive are clean and clear, half spoken word, half sung. They are voice has certain sincerity to it, but ultimately backed by the limp boring music, the vocals are not strong enough for me to hold my attention and take me along with the journey they attempting create. The bio lists them as darkwave / industrial, I do not hear the industrial influence whatsoever, but maybe devout fans of darkwave, goth, folk style moody music will manage to get more out of this than I did.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/scorpiodoctrine   http://pavitrakunta.org/     




“Lamentations of Destruction” 2007 CD

(Dynamic Arts Records)


Yet, another fix of Finnish barbarity, to the tapped vein courtesy of Dynamic Art. Sear are an interesting band that manage to play some good extreme death metal. Despite the brutal nature of their music they always seem to administer a strong air of stark, somber, almost psychotic atmosphere to their sound. To create this kind of feeling threaded throughout a severe death metal album is both unique and admirable to mine ears. I mean seriously when was the last time you could put on a new album bang your head, punch a fist through the wall all the while feeling like you are hearing the soundtrack to a graveyard horror movie?! It has been a long time for me. Finland is really starting to assert itself as the new UG metal super power in Scandinavia.  – Dale

www.officialsear.com   www.dynamicartsrecords.com




 “No Cure, No Feeling” 1998 CD

(Wild Rags!)


Imagine if you will a looser, less melancholic and riffier “Bloody Kisses”. Slow to mid-paced passages with Peter Steele-esque, ‘I’m too sexy’ vocals. Season, are not the most original, but they do play this style well. Too bad I hate gothic like it is the plague  – Dale!

Website = www.webmedia.pl/hardgothic/index.htm 




“Purulent Reality” 2010 CD

(Paragon Records)


Sectioned introduce themselves with a solid salvo of old school death metal. I can not tell for sure if they are based out of England where the band had its origins. As there are full time members from the US and Hungary it would seem. They do apparently get together and play live gigs from time to time as well. Anyway, this album should conjure influences of old greats (at least in my view) such as Grave, Morgoth, Dismember mixed with old Floridian bands like Death, Malevolent Creation, Resurrection and the like. I borrowed from the bio on a couple of those influences, but they really nailed it so… The riffing on here is fucking great, straight ahead ripping speedy riffs that are catchy and memorable. You also get a dose classic, well suited to the music guitar solos that really add some depth to the compositions. The vocals alternate fairly evenly between nice low guttural growling to higher gruff rasping vocals that are more decipherable. I can see where those gruff vocals might be an acquired taste for some, but for me they are excellent and really fit the music. I must say this is some really quality stuff and especially if you are an old school dm devotee as I am. Sectioned has to be one of the best bands out of the UK since the almighty Bolt Thrower and Benediction.  – Dale

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




"Nefarious” 2014 CD

(ViciSolum Productions)


This is a veteran band, whose members have been in many other bands, such as Necromicon, Mork Gryning, Therion, Sobra Nocturne etc… These Swedes, play brutal technical death metal, with an unorthodox flow and time signatures. I am convinced these guys, have listened to a ton of one of my fave late ‘90s albums, entitled “Obscura” by the legendary Gorguts. This album sounds very similar, in a lot of ways to that album, it has similar free flowing, non-traditional song structuring, technical minutiae and off kilter time changes. Even some of the brief somber moments, remind me to Gorguts and the vocals, do not seem that dissimilar either to those talented Canadians of yesteryear. Does that make it bad? No, in fact, there is some really quality material on here, some very good performances, that could only be pulled off by talented musicians. I like this album; it is good thinking mans brutal death metal. However, I must admit the more I listen to it, which might me being a little unfair, but all I can hear is good, yet feels like weak sister of “Obscura”. It just, makes me feel, like I should shut it off after a while and put on the originators and masters of this sound. But that is just me, if you like my description of their sound; you could do a lot worse these days than picking up this quality album. If you like things like late ‘90s Gorguts or Immolation even, then you will probably dig this.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/sectu   http://www.vicisolum.com/     




"Vol. III & IV: Cult of the Void" 2017 CD

(Art of Propaganda)


Let me tell you about an album that I have not been able to quit listening to ever since I found it at the top of the “best-selling” metal albums section of Bandcamp a few weeks ago. Seer (a.k.a. Seer BC) released Vol. III & IV: Cult of the Void on July 7th of this year through the German label Art of Propaganda. There is an evident divide in the album between these two volumes with “Volume III” being the first four doom-laden tracks of the album and “Volume IV” being the last four, acoustic and more lax, tracks. If you are headbanging while listening to the album, you are probably still caught in the thick, captivating webbing of the third volume, which begins with the nine-and-a-half minute track “Ancient Sands (Rot Preacher) that moves from riff to riff without a single stutter. That track hooked me into the album immediately. It shows all that “Volume III” has to offer like an overture of themes to come: entrancing clean vocals, blackened harsh vocals to contrast, groovy riffs, and a rhythm section that plays an integral part in keeping the compositions tight and moving with forward momentum as well as providing accenting features that fill the periphery. I must also mention the literary quality of the lyrics throughout this album—they construct a story involving the Cult of the Void and its disciples from another world in a sort of modernist science fiction form. For me, the lyrics were just as enthralling as the instrumentation, so I highly suggest following along with them as you listen to the album. This suggestion is most pertinent to the fourth volume because the first three tracks of this volume contain lyrics, but they are not vocalized. The overall effect of the album with its parts combined takes the shape of a journey, guiding the listener through the pained experiences of this cult from their pilgrimage to their pyre. I highly recommend Cult of the Void to any doom metal fan that enjoys hearing extreme metal qualities in their doom as well as acoustic cool-downs after the headbang fest.  – Aaron

https://seerbc.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/seervancouver       




"Einsamkeit" 2009 CD

(Aeternitas Tenebrarum Music Foundation)


This is the third album from Semen Datura, but my first taste of their music. Good god how does one go about even describing this record? I suppose the base would have to be undoubtedly residing in the black metal arena. But there are so many small bits borrowed from other genres like thrash, traditional metal, industrial (mostly in some of the vocals) and I swear some crust type stuff. But it is just little tidbits and it is so seamlessly incorporated that it is kind of a mind job. I mean when I read back what I just wrote above I would think that sounds like shit. But truly, believe me, it is so brilliantly done and integrity of the music and the flow of the atmosphere is never compromised. It is remarkable how atmospheric this record is despite some of the intense, caustic heavy (and *gasp* even catchy) riffing and various elements. Semen Datura stay in your face, but manage to produce a certain melancholy and foreboding throughout their expertly crafted compositions. This is also evident in the vocals which can be coarse and raw and even going at times with the aforementioned processed industrial style vocals. You would think this would destroy the atmosphere of the music, yet somehow it compliments everything wonderfully and the deep emotion stays intact despite the violence. It is also sung in pissed off sounding German which sounds extraordinary to my untrained ears. Sort of in the same way clips on death metal albums from Spanish horror movies somehow sound that much more frightening. The variety on “Einsamkeit” is pretty impressive and even more impressive that Semen made it all work to perfection. You will never be bored and they will always keep you guessing while blissfully bathed in pure evil. None of the elements, riffing, vocals or drum play anything you have not heard before. Yet they take those unremarkable fundamentals and somehow manage to shape it all into something exciting, progressive, regressive, organic sounding and original.  – Dale

http://www.atmf.net/   http://www.semendatura.com/  




"Ungodly Forms” 2016 CD

(Testimony Records)


New Jersey’s Sentient Horror have unleashed their debut album, featuring twelve songs of aggressive, well played Swedish inspired death metal. Though Sentient Horror are heavily influenced by the Swedish dm scene, the band can write some original and well played death metal that is not just a clone. The vocals are deep death growls that really fit the bands sound very well. The guitars are played with a level of skill and are impressively performed. The guitars range from an extreme and crazed speed, to a more controlled mid paced level. If you are a fan of the early Swedish death metal sound, played by a band with the ability to write and perform a brand of death metal with their stamp on it. Then be sure to check out this album ASAP.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/sentienthorrorofficial/    http://testimonyrecords.bigcartel.com/        




"Morbid Realms” 2019 CD & LP

(Redefining Darkness Recs (N.America) | Testimony Recs (Europe))


Sentient Horror are from New Jersey and this trio’s individual members have been around for a minute in the UG scene currently or previously in bands like Dark Sacrament, Angmar, Sentience, Dark Empire and Beneath The Red Dawn. Not to even mention this is the bands sophomore release, having their debut and a couple EP’s already under their belt. The band from time to time like to just sit down on a catchy riff and just rock out with it, but never really for long enough that I would throw the melododeath or death ‘n roll tag on them. No the band sticks to the raw brutality and scathing nature of this great sub-genre of metal. There is a guitar solo in pretty much every song, not entirely uncommon in brutal death metal but close enough to it, but well done here. Again, like the melody injected in their music, it is not prominent and this element (solos) are mixed in in a way that compliments the mainstay extremity of their musical foundation. The vocals on here remind me a little to one of my fave dm vocalists of all time which is Dave Ingram of Benediction (who apparently after a decade away has just rejoined Benediction! Fuck yes!!), ex-Bolt Thrower and various other bands, which is never a bad comparison to have in my personal book. I am guessing this New Jersey band is pretty killer in a live setting, I do not get to live shows much any more, but this is one band I would I think I would dig live. I suppose this is where I could put the disclaimer that I am a fanatic for the Sunlight ‘90s sound and style of death, and can just never seem to get enough of. So if you are not that into that style you might not love this as much as me, but fuck who cares when a tried and true old sound is done this well, this skillfully?! Not me, this is some sexy old school Swedish brutal death metal madness! Oh, one last thing before I go, the cover artwork is amazing.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/sentienthorrorofficial    http://www.redefiningdarkness.com/         





"Apocalyptic Rhymes” 2018 CD & LP

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


Septagon come to us out of the fertile German metal scene that seems to be deep in talent, and deep in just about every genre and sub-genre of metal. Septagon throws their hat in the ring of worthy bands from that country, how do they measure up? Let’s find out. There is really a lot to like here, honestly from the extremely adroit guitar playing (some wonderful fill and solo work), which brings to mind some of the classic bands of the heavy metal and speed metal ala Cyclone Temple, Annihilator, Sacred Reich, Znowhite, Wrathchild America, Ludichrist, Anthrax, Toxic Shock etc... I hear those influences, but Septagon are more often than not, not as heavy as those bands and rely much more on lighter melodic elements. Another of the bands strengths are courtesy of vocalist Markus Becker, who has a great voice that glides and soars around the music wonderfully. I really like those vocals a lot, not always when they are mixed with a lot of lower spoken or spoken sung type sections where he mixes things up, but also gets away from his mainstay vocal style which is his strength. I am not a fan of mixing politics and metal, but having said that with the song “P.O.T.U.S.A.” these Germans seem to have a pretty good grasp at the root of what is so wrong over here. All the individual elements on display here are of high quality, but all the same, I am not always the biggest fan of some of the song structuring and style. They often tend to stick on the wandering, light end of the scale taking on more of a commercial edge, rather than turning up the heavier riffing and running with it, like my own personal tastes want them to do. There is no denying the skill and talent on exhibit here even if some of the music is not my cup of tea.  - Dale

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




"The Seth Avalanche” 2012 MCD

(Abyss Records)


I didn't really know what to expect to from this Swedish band of metal fanatics. The band plays a very a chaotic, frenzied style of death, thrash metal with some punk rock mixed in the insanity. The guitarist likes to keep the listeners attention with heavy, mid-paced riffs, to hyper speed whirlwind riffs. Vocals are more in the black metal realm with raw screams there are some death metal growls used to keep the listeners attention {but as fast and chaotic as Septkh play keeping the listeners attention should not be a problem}. If you enjoy and appreciate chaotic, raw death/thrash with some punk and even rock influences then Septekh is a band worth checking out and adding to your collection!  - Patrick

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




"From Beyond The Burial Mound” 2022 CD & LP

(Soulseller Records)


After releasing a couple demos and an EP, this triumvirate from Spain unleashes their debut album. They may be a relatively new band, but their influences are deeply entrenched in old school death metal. Some ancient bands of inspiration for them in my opinion are the earlier works of Dismember, Autopsy, Impetigo, Ancient Rites, Pestilence, Slaughter, Obituary, Entombed and the like are thrown in a fiery melting pot. They end result comes out with some quality brutal death metal that is wrapped in a dark and oppressive cloak. Having said that their music is often a bit of a dichotomy to me, you have this gloomy morbid aura yet a lot of the music is very upbeat and energetic, even catchy at times. When I read that back it feels like those things should not work together, like oil and water, but somehow Sepulchral mix it together and make it work for them. The vocals are absolutely killer growls like if you mixed Lemmy with the vocals from the old days of bands like Autopsy, Impetigo and Bolt Thrower together – all with an evil whispery undertone. Also there is a truly killer cover of “Blood Freak” by Necrophagia on this recording that people need to hear. This album is a solid debut and I look forward to more from this promising band.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/sepulchraldeathmetal   https://soulsellerrecords.bandcamp.com/         




"Ascent Through Morbid Transcendence" 2020 Demo Cassette EP

(Invictus Productions)


It is always interesting when a demo is released on a full fledged record label, then again releasing it on tape, at least to this old metal goat, with this format it does in fact make it feel more like a demo. There is three tracks plus an intro for fifteen minutes of dark and dusty old school death metal. Sépulcre play death metal the way I love in the traditional Swedish style from the early to mid ‘90s. They keep things brutal, washing everything in a very gloomy and sinister audio aura that is very reminiscent of the almighty classic first releases from Grave from their demos through the early albums. That necro atmosphere is just so evil and oppressive in the best possible way; the malevolent bestial growling vocals only further serve to add to the ominous ambiance. Despite how fucking heavy and crushing the riffing and music is, there is also a certain level of memorable hook to each song and there is some really enjoyable little guitar fills and nuances that keep thing interesting. After listening to this a half dozen times now, it is easy to see why Invictus wanted to be involved in this demo release and promotion. I honestly now find myself waiting in real anticipation for this bands debut album, whenever that shall be. I must say there has been some excellent death metal coming out of France in recent years, now you can add Sépulcre to that growing list.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Sépulcre    https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/          




"Cursed Ways Of Sheol” 2022 CD EP & 12'' EP

(Invictus Productions)


This band was born out of Demonic Oath, which was the prolific musician Kevin Desecrator’s solo band whose name changed when he decided to go with a full line-up and Sépulcre was born in 2020 (only releasing a demo prior to this release). I wrote musician above because despite Kevin D. being the guitarist / vocalist in this band, he is also the drummer of the mighty Destroyer 666 and plays guitar / drums in Iron Bonehead Productions band Venefixion, not to mention all those instruments in prior bands. That is what I call a real musician to do all of those instruments at a high level. But the band now has 3 other members and those guys bring some of their own experience in prior bands into this line-up. Sépulcre create dark heavy death metal that gives off an emotive gloom and dank aura that I find quite an enticing listen. They also keep things driving and memorable with some good riffs and some strong varied song construction, which is reminiscent of earlier releases of bands like Morbid Angel, Incantation or newer bands like Tomb Mold, Funebrarum and Sedimentium. All of those influences are good thing in my book and very well done here with some talent and vision behind it. The shadowy and somewhat obscured shouting growl vocals that possess a whispering underbelly to them adding to the sinister air of the music and blend nicely. If you like quality death metal and are fans of the bands I mentioned above I think you will find much to like about this album. Also, you can add Sepulchre to the growing number of quality death metal bands in recent years coming from the French UG death metal scene.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/sepulcre   https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/          




"Bright Euphoria” 2019 CD

(Goathorned Productions)


This mini-album has three songs, which clock in at about 27 minutes, consisting of dark and aggressive black death metal horror. This Swiss band turn the heat up almost immediately and ride that boiling, churning wave of cutting inflamed tremolo riffs infused with a sinister aura at all times. There are fleeting moments of melancholy and introspection, but they are quickly shattered by vitriolic core that fuels this bands engine. The vocals are a varied mixing of voices, screams and screeches, but the dominant vocal is a hoarse, yelled bellowing voice with a hint of a growl that is filled to the brim with anger and hostility. Some might find the vocals a little grating, but once I got used to them on repeated listens I enjoyed them more. The final song “A Wreathed Skull”, which is over 11 minutes long, is quite an effective and even a startling audio varied emotive experience. This is a pretty solid release.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/SerpensLuminis/    https://goathornedprods.bandcamp.com/      




"And When The Sky Was Opened” 2015 CD

(Comatose Music)


Serocs are back with their new album, containing eight songs, the band for those unfamiliar plays a very brutal death metal style. But Serocs are not afraid to add in their own touches, to the tried and true methods of old. They roll out fast, chaotic guitar riffs and patterns, yet do slow down slightly at times, to a more middle controlled pace with some complex well written guitar secions. The drumming is a mix, going from blasting drums, to a more slowed down mid range speed. This is a band for anyone into well written, and performed, technical brutal death metal to check out soon.  - Patrick

https://myspace.com/serocs   http://www.comatosemusic.com/        




"Demo Collection 1987” 2013 Compilation Cassette Album

(NoVisible Scars Records)


I was pretty excited, to find out this was the first band of the almighty Stevo, from the legendary death metal pioneer band Impetigo. I love everything, with the packaging it looks great, a very nice job done by the label with the cassette and inlay. I can definitely hear some influences here like SOD, Misfits and DRI. First up, is their 1987 demo, which is then followed by two rehearsal sessions from the same year. Honestly, the demo is not that good, the playing is kind of terrible, the songs sound like they just tried to play fast, without actually playing much of anything, just let’s make noise. One thing I liked right from the beginning and throughout is the add ins of army related songs, drum patterns and sing songs etc… That stuff is great, done with a party attitude, adding some great atmosphere in the musical tornado. The rehearsals, for the most part for me sound much better than the demos, they still lack direction at times, but they slow down a little bit actually trying to play songs at times, and rock out on some infectious pit and headbang inducing sections, filled cool merrymaking teenage angst and energy. Those elements are fun and saved this release for me, as something I can sit back listen to and enjoy, as opposed to having it, just for the historic novelty of this being Stevo’s first band. During the rehearsal stuff, there are friends there and they are all just having a party and playing, so yeah just fun. The military theme is well represented, for people who love that stuff, from the bits of army culture and lore I mentioned above, to songs with titles like “Combat Boots”, “Foxhole Blues”, “Rambo”, “Military Time” etc… Also one of my favourites “My Friend Lost His Face” hehe. I could see some getting this for the novelty, as I mentioned, but there is definitely some good times to be had if you look beyond the car crash moments. This is limited to only 150 copies, I believe currently there are a few left, but if those run out, you can get the digital download version for only three bones. So check it out.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/NoVisibleSacrs   http://novisiblescars.bandcamp.com/     




"Serpent Warning” 2014 CD

(I Hate Records)


The Scandinavian doom scene just continues to grow and get stronger by the year it seems. The leader, in proliferating and promoting this fertile scene, once again and always, is the mighty I Hate Records from Sweden. This time we have Serpent Warning, spreading its shadow out across the globe, from the wintry laden soil of Finland. The band play old school classic doom metal, but more specifically lean towards a mix of Black Sabbath, Candlemass and a big influence on them by my ear is St. Vitus. The songs rumble along, like a slow motion scene of a WWII tank rolling over and crushing everything in its path, ever inexhaustible, continually rattling teeth and nerves in its wake. I really like the deep vocals, you can feel them resonate in your chest, courtesy of Samuli Pesonen. They really fit the music well, giving it that backing flow, which fills in the cracks, smoothing out all the spaces left behind by the immense musical foundation. It may be too bad that I enjoy the vocals so much, as apparently Serpent Warning, after the recording of this album, have replaced him with female vocalist Suvi Laaninen. I will just have to give her a chance, maybe she fits just as well as Pesonen, time will tell on that. But until then, apparently Pesonen’s main band is a doom band, called The Mighty Midget, I have never heard that band, yet now I am intrigued to do so now. Back to Serpent Warning though, it is just no frills, solid, enjoyable doom metal that should please devotee’s of the genre. I know it pleased me.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/serpentwarning4   http://www.ihate.se/         




“High Decibels” 2011 CD

(Listenable Records)


Something different than the norm for me on offer here. Seventy Seven are basically AC/DC knock offs. Which is okay I suppose, if they at least do it well, and I think you have to to stand out doing this. But High Decibels is honestly fairly pedestrian stuff, lacks balls, and definitely lacks that high voltage energy and emotion that good AC/DC has in spades. It is just sort of there, meandering its way around, no really catchy, high energy riffs, sometimes they start to really rock for a second, then just take their foot off the gas and go back to sleep. The vocalist follows suit, he just passable, kind of a thin voice without much range or power and he follows along with the music and does not put much energy or umph into his performance. They can play their instruments fine and seem to be fans of this style, but lack seriously in song writing and need to learn to bleed of their art a little more.  – Dale





“From Death To Death” 1998 CD

(Wild Rags!)


This was originally released in cassette format on the Russian label Hobgoblin Records. Sermon play solid and stylish melodic death metal with black overtones. The music and playing are really smooth and well put together. In the end though, it is not very memorable.  – Dale




"Cenotaph Of Defectuous Creation” 2019 CD & LP

(Dark Descent Records)


Imagine, if you will, a very large and extremely powerful bulldozer, you are deep in in a dense forest, you can not see the bulldozer yet you already hear it’s unrelenting deliberate rumbling engines. As it slowly gets closer, you can feel it in your chest and in your clenched vibrating teeth, as it approaches you can now hear the rending, snapping of trees & roots torn asunder everything in it’s path as you are filled with an immeasurable sense of impending disaster waiting to befall you. For me, that is an apt description of the music produced on Sempiternal Dusk’s “Cenotaph Of Defectuous Creation”. It creates an atmosphere of dense suffocating and obscure sounding death doom metal, which envelops you in it’s oppressive mental weight, slowly consuming and pummeling you into submission. I mean this is some really damn good epic old school death doom that is cold, dark and heavy, as it lumbers along pulverizing the listener with unrelenting riffs that keep coming at you like Michael Myers. Alongside this great music, you have these really murky, gloomy growling vocals which really compliments the evil aura of the music, sort of dissolving in and out of the music becoming one with it. I really liked this album and I think fans of extreme death doom along the lines of Disembowelment, Rippikoulu ’93 demo, Cenotaph, Adramelech, early Incantation etc… will want to investigate this quality album as soon as possible.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/SempiternalDusk/    http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/       




“By Fire, Power Shall Be…” 1998 CD

(A.M.S.G. Label)


A very nice looking release visually, by a young committed label. All the elements of a good black metal band are here. Rapid fire drums, sweeping guitars, venomous whispers/screams. There are some, synth accompaniment, which I can usually throw out but it isn’t really forceful here. All on here is well done and this is a good album but nothing really beyond intense or really stands out. The album is 3 tracks and 30 minutes and the songs do tend to drag on.  Die hards will want this but anyone else could probably take or leave it.  – Dale

AMSG, Centre MBE 175 - 82, Rue Jeanne D ‘Arc, 76000 Rouen, FRANCE




"Apocalyptic Symphony” 2013 CD

(Metalism Records)


From the Russian underground comes Shadows Host, a thrashy speed metal band. That has created some very memorable and catchy songs. The guitars are all over the place, with some very creative riffs and fast thrashing guitars. The drummer is in top form on these songs, with some heavy, fast drumming and some creative drum patterns. The vocalist has a great range mostly singing and screaming in a thrashy voice. This is my first encounter, with this band, but hopefully I get to hear more soon. There is some really good musicianship on display here.  - Patrick

http://www.shadowhost.ru/   http://www.eldritchlunarmiasma.com/         





“Temptation + Psychoelectronic Experience” 1998 CD’s

(Wild Rags! Records)


Wild Rags is a cool label but shit they have a good share of crappy bands as of late. I put these two albums together, as they sound pretty much totally alike to me. In fact, I bet they were both written on the same night. It says in the bio this preferably listened to “under the influence of LSD…”. I can where you would have to be under the spell of a hallucinogenic drug to like this! Mikael formerly of Buried Beneath (a band I liked) and apparently these 2 CD’s are his 2nd and 3rd albums (The first to be recorded in a studio). Yes, 2 LP’s of synth music in a spacey kind of style with a few spoken word vocals whispers and lame effects. That sound like they are sampled from some cheesy video game or  maybe a tv show like Doctor Who or some shit. I guess this is supposed to be evil and surrealistic but I don’t get that feeling even listening to it in the dark! The only synth music I can get into at all is the first Mortiis album and the original Halloween movie soundtrack, now that is creepy!  – Dale

Shadowcaster, P.O. Box 174, North Greece, NY. 14515, USA  website = www.frontiernet.net/~mikael




“Magazine Compilation # 2” 1998 CD

(S.O.M. Productions)


This is an accompaniment to issue # 5 (reviewed in the Fanzine Assault section) of S.O.M. and is a nice promotional tool for bands the mag likes. So here is a run down of the good, the bad, and the okay bands as they pertain to my tastes. Ragin’ bands: Lividity, Morbus, Neuraxis, Disciple and Insatanity. Next are the decent but unspectacular acts: Thorn, Zeus, Mysophilia, Imperial Foeticide, Godless Truth, Scabmaggot. Last and certainly least: Epidemic Cause and Undercurrent. As you can see a pretty solid comp and it comes free with the first 1,000 who order issue # 5.  – Dale.




"Beyond The Grave" 2011 CD

(Self Released)


U.S. black metallers Shadows In The Crypt have released their debut cd Beyond The Grave. You get seven songs of raw, fast uncompromising black metal that the fans of this genre will either love and beg for more or totally hate and despise. Starting off with some raw, blasting drumming and thin screeching guitars the band rarely lets up with the intensity throughout the songs on this release going straight for the kill and leaving little for the imagination with their violent approach and sound. The band does have a few slower breaks in a few of the songs but that’s probably to let the musicians and the listener catch their breath. The vocals are inhuman shrieks and very well done and just as intense sounding as the other instruments. A lot of people in the black metal scene don't seem to go for this violent primitive, rough style {not like they used to anyways}, so it's great to hear band doing this again.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/shadowsinthecrypt  https://www.reverbnation.com/shadowsinthecrypt      




"Cryptic Communications" 2012 CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Records)


Wow is this the same Shadows In The Crypt? It surely is the band has definitely improved a lot from their debut Beyond The Grave. But before any long time fans write them off as sell-outs or anything don't worry the band is still as aggressive and violent sounding as ever. There are nine tracks of cold, vicious black metal with blasting drums, fast guitars and very well done black metal shrieks. But this is not just a rehash of the band's debut; no this time around the band has also added a little more "atmosphere" within their songs giving the Shadows a little darker sound within raw, violent sound. There are even a few vocal lines of clean singing, chanting that really add another layer to Shadow In The Crypt's great sound. If this band keeps going the way it is I see great things for them, definitely worth checking out!!  - Patrick

https://www.reverbnation.com/shadowsinthecrypt  http://hpgd.comoj.com/index.html    




“Dead Presence” 2006 CD

(Power Play Records)


Shatterpoint are, a Canadian band that are, new to mine ears. I suppose you could call this a modern thrash core band or something similar. They claim Slayer and The Haunting as major influence. Yet I hear fast enough or heavy enough to really justify such a claim. To my ear a fairer comparison might be a diet version of Skinlab and Machine Head. A point of interest may be that in addition to this album you get a 2004 ep, tacked on as a bonus. I will give them their due where they deserve it and that is on track 5, “Torn Apart”, with a really nice solo / lead guitar fill. For their style the recording on “Dead Presence”, does the record very little justice. Overall it is just too weak and not heavy enough and the beefy riffing falls flat. I believe I would be just fine if Shatterpoint and myself never crossed paths ever again. – Dale

PP Records, Box 571, New Hampton, NY 10958, USA   www.powerplayrecords.com  




“The Electric Sleep” 1999 CD

(TMC/Rise Above Records)


Don’t let the goofy name fool you! This is the best Black Sabbath inspired act to come along since the mighty Sabs themselves! Described in their bio as Sabbath meets Kyuss in a ‘70’s kind of style. Drop the Kyuss tag and add how blissfully heavy and mind-warping, they are and I am in full agreement. I didn’t even mention singer Steve Hennessey who sounds almost more like Ozzy on the first 5 Sab albums than the man himself! In closing I will tell you they steal nothing directly from Sab like some other groups and their Canadian so what more do you want!? Put aside your lava lamp, and go buy this.  – Dale

Sheavy, P.O. Box 1262, Station C, St. John’s, New Foundland, A1C 5M9, CANADA  website = www3.nf.sympatico.ca/ren.squires  




"The Forbidden Arts" 2020 CD & LP

(Hells Headbangers Records)


I know this is the bands third album, but it is regrettably my first time hearing them. Shed The Skin play probably my favourite brand of death metal. I mean I am absolute fanatic of bands that blend the early to mid ‘90s Swedish death metal sound and style together with some of my all time fave American death metal bands from the late ‘80s / early 1990s. A couple bands I have in mind on the US side are early Autopsy and Repulsion (which to be fair especially with Repulsion were a big influence on the Sunlight Swedish style), and from the Swedish side some bands that come to mind are the demos and early albums of bands like Grave, Entombed, Carnage and Dismember. This band is made up of UG scene legends and long time grizzled vets that are or have been in bands like Incantation, Acheron, Crucified Mortals, Ringworm, Beyond Fear, Eustuary Of Calamity and many more. As you can imagine with that sort of talent and experience that everything on this album, from top to bottom, is top level quality. The songs are memorable, possessing a nice mix of melody and heavy as hell death metal brutality with some doomy undercurrents. They slow things down from time to time (a brief respite from the speed & brutality), steeping these sections with a brooding and gloomy atmosphere, a good example of this is the killer song “Veins Of Perdition”. They really vary the song structuring with a mind to keeping the listener engaged, and some of the guitar work with regards to the fills and succinct solos are pure gold and really resonate with me. The drumming on here is beyond reproach with a dynamic and powerful performance put in by Kyle Severn. This style of death metal, for me, needs to have quality, compelling and commanding deep death metal vocals and Ash Thomas brings that in spades! This album comes highly recommended from me.  - Dale

https://shed-the-skin.bandcamp.com/    http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/         




"Diabolical Regurgitations" 2021 CD EP & Cassette EP

(Caligari Records)


Shrieking Demons is a new band rising up out of the Italian old school death metal scene. This debut EP release contains four songs of heavy, death metal in the vein of notorious bands as the bio rightly points out like Autopsy, Dream Death and Decomposed. Each song is displays intense and skillful songwriting ability that is delivered in the bands ferocious grimy approach. The musicians do speed things up to a faster pace throughout the songs, to give the music a nice mix of extreme speed, which is then countered by a slower, heavier approach at other times. The vocals are powerful deep death metal growls. If you are into death metal with an old school style and feel then definitely pick up a copy of ‘Diabolical Regurgitations’ today.   - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/CaligariRecords/    https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/         




"Dark Meditations in Monastic Seclusion” 2011 CD



Shroud have released nothing for the last six years. Now suddenly they release two new full length albums as well as a live album. When the inspiration comes, and the iron is hot you have to strike I suppose. The album opens with a lengthy acoustic track and some sparse, weak and cleanly sung vocals in the final minute. However do not be tricked into thinking this is a stripped down folk album throughout or something of that nature. The first track is quickly followed up by a dirty and dark metal style played at a brisk pace with shouted/growled vocals and a nice guitar solo or two. I like the obscure and organic sound to the guitars on this record. The song “Parting Of The Way” is interesting, it is some guy telling about how he felt isolated, had his final walk and cigar. Then went home and attempted suicide in the Dr. Kovorkian fashion, but at the very last second as he was drifting off his hand (he makes it sound like it had a mind of its own) pulled the plastic bag filled with gas off his head. It is quite creepy and poignant and a little depressing. An apt description that could probably be applied to this album as a whole. Dark Meditations… is probably going to be an acquired taste for some, it is an emotional journey that can come across as a little unconventional at times. I personally found it to be worth the patience required to explore this well crafted album.  – Dale





"Tied To A Dying Animal” 2014 Full-length Double CD

(Self Released)


I think I listened to these discs in the reverse order of intended presentation, but it is an album as a whole right, so maybe that matters not. Now I do not listen to certain kinds of music a lot. Such as contemplative, hypnotic moody and melancholic folk-y music, which is stripped down, that has the purpose of taking you away on a mental journey. A journey, where you are really being carried away by experience of the album as a whole, and it is constructed and stretched out to keep you in that head space for the duration. As I said I do not often listen to that kind of music, but I do from time to time, I absolutely adore it when a special band can take me there and lose myself in it. It is not an easy task to do and I am not always the most susceptible subject. This is a two disc album; each disc is album length, so I tried to do exactly what I outlined above. However, it failed fairly miserably for me, it is not horribly performed or anything of the sort, there is some pretty good material here comprised of acoustic guitars and organic traditional percussive sounds. But it never hooked me, even for an instant, it never goes anywhere and despite each song be very similar to the one before it, it really falls down with regards constructing that singular journey, that one piece of hypnotic music to pull it all together and take you along with the current. No it is more like you are getting caught on every piece of debris or eddy in the current, which spins you around and around and you feel like you have gotten nowhere by the end of the disc. It was with trepidation that pushed play on disc two. I honestly did not know that I wanted to sit through another 40-50 minutes of directionless tedium. Well, thank goodness or maybe thank darkness, that disc two (which was meant as disc one?) has no resemblance whatsoever to the failure of the first disc. The second disc while not exactly amazing, at least has some dynamic to it, some direction to it. We are treated with harsh black metal rasping vocals, over some energetic dark guitar riffing and bombastic drumming. Maybe I just needed a break from the other half of the album. But I immediately welcomed the harsh metal sounds of black metal with open arms. The more I examine it, honestly this material feels kind of thin to me at times, like skeletons of songs that need later care with the arranging and placing of new pieces of flesh to fill them out. That probably sounds a little harsher than it should, because at times their bombastic ‘90s black / death metal sounds really do get rolling and grind like an audio axe and bring a smile to my face. The vocals are harsh and forceful, which helps drive home the raw darkness and hate in the guitars and drumming. Nothing overly stands out or amazing, but this disc is some pretty good harsh black metal, in the mid to late 90s Scandinavian vein, that should please some followers of that era. But the other disc just did nothing for me and went absolutely nowhere. So a mixed bag, you decide if that sounds like it is for you or not. It is an ambitious undertaking attempting a double album like this, maybe a bit too ambitious for Shroud.  - Dale

http://shroudofdespondency.bandcamp.com/   https://www.facebook.com/shroudofdespondency     





"Necrosymphonies Of Necropsy” 2013 CD

(Grundar Productions)


I have reviewed and come across my fair share of bands named Sickness, during the ‘90s I was quite into a Greek band by that name. But, this Sickness is from Malaysia, it is immediately obvious when you read the album title, see the cover art, the logo… well just everything about them, unabashedly proclaims their worship of early Carcass. Hey, General Surgery created quite a following, out of being a Carcass clones and executed that style and atmosphere very well. Do I see Sickness as a Carcass clone? Yes, I do. That is not necessarily a bad thing at all, I appreciate that they are proud of it and do not try feebly to hide it as some do. I would say these guys are more obsessed with the first Carcass album, than the later works, at least on the musical end of things. I mean first off, they do not have the skill or precision to match that second Carcass album, and have a hard enough time keeping up with the more primitive first one. This is okay stuff, but honestly if you are hoping for something as good as early Carcass, or even as good as General Surgery (who I am a fan of), you may come away slightly disappointed. This is fairly sub-par, too simple, thin and one note to really pull off this style properly, in my opinion. Despite this band being around since 1996, I am not sure if they were really ready for an album yet, this is demo level material. It has it’s moments, do not get me wrong, but overall it is just not there yet, they know what they want to do, but fall short of being able to realize and pull off their vision. I would only recommend this, to real diehards of early Carcass, who can not get enough of that style no matter what the level of quality.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/gore2sickness   http://www.grundar.com/        





Ascension To The Throne Ov Self” 2013 MCD

(Kaotoxin Records)


Sidious is a new band from the U.K featuring two members from the great death/doom band Eye Of Solitude {also on Kaotoxin}. Well Sidious are more of a blackened death metal band with a lot of symphonic and dark atmosphere. The mix in heavy, fast death metal guitar riffs and pounding drums and occasional blast beats. Sidious intertwines some very well played and used keyboards into the heaviness that adds a nice layer of dark atmosphere within the heaviness. The vocals are raspy, black metal screams and deep, death growls that mix nicely together. If you are looking for something original and heavy then look no further, as Sidious has released the Mcd for you! I am ready for the for the full length from this great young band now.  - Patrick

http://sidious.bandcamp.com/  http://www.kaotoxin.com/   




"Psychodelic Death” 2022 CD & LP

(Edged Circle Productions)


This band from Chile is a serious change of pace that is an interesting and peculiar yet menacingly sinister musical experience. I believe this is largely a one man band and had been that until just recently, when main man Witchfucker (also in the bands Dekapited & Invocation Spells) after doing their demo by himself has brought in Thoth from Denying Nazarene to handle the drums for this debut full-length album. The band is labeled as black speed metal and I think that is a fairly apt description, but it is all presented through a psychedelic audio lens. Though not the cool hippy psychedelia trip with all the colours, bongs, lava lamps and shit – no this is a dark hallucinogenic musical trip that is disorienting and sadistically evil. This is going to be hard to review and describe, but fuck it I will give it a try. Besides the creative and strange off-kilter rhythms of the riffing, there is also a lot of the time put into this effect on it where it sequences sounds similar to an old, stretched out malfunctioning wobbly sounding cassette tape at strategic times. You might think that sounds annoying and it may to some, but for me the way they did it and only apply it lightly it actually cool in this quirky unique way. Then at times things will switch on the higher toned guitar parts, and then is off on the heavier secondary riff to bring this mix of traditional metal sounds and eccentric sounds to create a pretty unique idiosyncratic sound. This extends in a similar way to the vocals where you have the more traditional yet crazed yells, screamed and growled vocals with a range of metal genres employed. Then there is this second set of warped vocals courtesy of a harmonizer distortion that like a cross between an evil menacing alien and a demon straight out of hell (the label bio sites "very early Carcass, Impetigo, or Carnage" to give you a general idea of the vocal processing used here) - all of this gives the vocals a wide spectrum of depravity for a really varied interesting to listen to in my opinion. You are probably wondering about some influences well they are a huge cauldron mix of some great first wave black metal, thrash and speed metal bands like Venom, Mortuary Drape, Hellhammer, Necromantia, Master’s Hammer, Warfare, Bulldozer, Motorhead, early Bathory, early Destruction and many more. There are even hints here and there of extreme hardcore / punk bands like G.I.S.M., Amebix and GBH. If you are looking for something different, something filled with darkness and evil yet dripping in traditional metal worship then you really should take a ride on this bizarre depraved musical trip.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/signofevilchile   https://edgedcircleproductions.com/  




"The Great Bear” 2012 CD

(Vanity Music Group)


This is Silencer, the new age thrash metal band from Denver, Colorado. Not to be confused with the now split up, and also vastly superior atmospheric black metal band Silencer from Sweden. I am honestly not sure how this band got signed, this is some of the most simplistic, slowed down and ultimately very boring thrash I have heard in quite some time. The drumming is pretty good, but outside of that the riffs are uninspired in both creation and performance, they sort of sound like some guy pulled out his riff cassette tape out of the closet that was recorded only for himself and decided to make an album out of it on short notice. The vocals are lame and limp, seems like they are caught between trying to decide if they wanted to be heavy metal vocals and/or commercially friendly vocals, there is an undertone of both, but both lack style or any real emotion, it just sounds like the vocalist is going through the motions to be honest. I do not think I have been this hard on an album in a while, might be getting soft in my old age, but screw it, this is a piece of shit guys, avoid this like it is going to spend all your drinking money and give you herpes to top it all off. I even find their logo and cover artwork to be dull and bland.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/20483365  http://vanitymusicgroup.com/     




"Amortean” 2008 CD

(Dynamic Arts Records)


The opening song kind of threw me off track. It had sort of an epic symphonic heavy metal feel and pace with the clean female vocals over the top. A good track actually, but not an indication of what was to come both in style and quality on the rest of the album. The rest of the album is more mellow and resides roughly somewhere in the gothic symphonic category with a heaping helping of Cello if you believe that. I think the only thing I really liked about the album was vocalist Riina as her vocals are much deeper and less sappy than most female fronted bands in this genre. Having said all of that this style of music is honestly not my thing at all. Silentium do what they do very well, but I still do not care much for it I am afraid and will not be listening to it again. Those that like and follow this genre will likely enjoy it.  – Dale

http://www.silentivm.com/  http://www.dynamicartsrecords.com/    




"Silure / Feretro” 2020 Split Tape EP

(Nihilistic Holocaust Records)


Starting off this split release is France's Silure who deliever four songs of obscure and well performed old-school death metal. The music is played at a faster pace with some very well written and skillful musical passages. The guitarist even adds some well some enjoyable guitar solo's throughout the songs. Up next is Chile's Feretro who have released quite a few demo's and EP'S over the last few years. The musical style of Feretro is a very fast paced old school death metal with both powerful guitars and commanding drums. The guitarist does write some memorable guitar parts, even adding some heavier, slower guitar passages that fit the band's style perfectly. The vocals are old-school death metal growls that are done with some power alongside some gruff thrashy screams as well. Both bands possess a lot of skillful writing ability within the old school death metal sickness and cruelty. If you are a fan of well executed 90's style death metal then be sure you don't miss out on this killer split cassette.  - Patrick

http://nihilistic-webzine-distro.fr/    https://nihilisticholocaustrecs.bandcamp.com/music          




“Aggressive Measures” 1998 CD

(Nuclear Blast America)


I have been a Sinister fan for a long time, ever since buying their ’91 split 7” w/ Monestary (side band w/ members from Entombed and Sinister), and shortly after tape trading for their ’89 demo “Perpetual Beginning”. I totally missed their debut LP “Cross The Styx” but reveled in their sophomore effort “Diabolical Summoning” & follow up to it “Hate”. Which brings us up to speed, I really had visions of a Grave “Hating Life” abomination due to the loss of their original songwriter/vocalist. “Aggressive Measures” is a decent affair, with a lot of cool riffs but gone is the unrelenting juggernaut brutal and technical attack of “Hate”. Now replaced with a less technical, simpler approach, that while good does not match the pummel of days of old. New throat Eric keeps things deep but with a higher degree of decipherable edge that I can take or leave really. Excuse, me if you will, I’m going to put on “The Diabolical Summoning” and sit this hand out. I suggest you do the same.  - Dale




World Of Evil” 2013 CD

(Shadow Kingdom Records)


This is my first encounter with Allentown Pennsylvania's Sinister Realm and what a band! Sinister Realm embody all that is great with traditional metal and that keep the fires of pure metal alive. Sinister Realm plays a mixture of melodic heavy metal and more traditional heavy metal. The guitars are done to perfection between the whirlwind fast riffs and more galloping heavy metal riffs with some really well played solos mixed throughout each song. The drumming is played all over the place going from slower beats to mid-paced beats and drum solos to the more aggressive heavy metal. The vocalist is amazing reminds me a little of Ronnie James Dio but then has more of his own original deeper scream vocal. Fans of Dio, Judas Priest, Maiden, and original traditional heavy metal are urged to check out Sinister Realm today.  - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/sinisterrealm  http://store.shadowkingdomrecords.com/   




“The Nature Of Evil” 1998 CD

(Nuclear Blast America)


I’ve heard this bands name in the past, never heard their stuff though, apparently they have been kicking around since the early ‘80’s! Mainman Matt Sinner is also in Primal Fear as you will read in that bands interview elsewhere. Sinner play straight forward, classy heavy metal that is a bit on the accessible side. There are some great riffs on here sprinkled with some keys that do spice the music up without holding it back. Sinner’s best asset is the emotional and richly textured vocals of Mr. Sinner himself. I really enjoyed the guitar solos on here as well. Beyond that I must say much of the music falls flat and doesn’t really have the punch and intensity that is called for here.  - Dale




"Self Titled" 2021 CD

(Plague Demon Records / Blasphemous Creations Of Hell Records)


Sisters Memon are a duo with members from both the Poland and the U.K black metal UG scenes. The self titled debut release features eleven tracks of well crafted songs and shows some amazing musicianship. M.W. Daniels who lives in the U.K handles the songwriting and performs all the music on this old school black metal release. The guitars are played with high intensity and skillful deftness with a mix of mid tempo guitars and some faster and more extreme passages. There is some very well executed and performed solo's which in turn create some memorable sequences that you don't always hear in a black metal release. Natalia Sara (also vocalist in the band Aura) handles the vocals for the band and she produces some old school screams and demonic shrieks that are done in an impressive vocal style. This bands self titled debut recording is a must have for all fans of quality black metal.  - Patrick

sistersmemon.bandcamp   https://plaguedemon.storenvy.com    https://bchrecords.storenvy.com  




"I, The Witch" 2022 CD

(Plague Demon Records / Blasphemous Creations Of Hell Records)


I, The Witch is the second full length from the duo known as Sisters Memon. Natalia handles the vocal duties; the vocals are a mix of grim old school screams and some very original gruff growls and screams. Natalia has some of best vocals I have ever heard and one of the best performances to be recorded on a release. MW handles all of the music side things, and once again this is composed and written with pure musical genius and his experience shines through. The guitars are performed with a mix of fast paced structuring that is played with intensity. MW does slow things down to a more controlled mid pace guitar range at times in the songs. Both the fast and mid paced passages are played with quality and a skillful writing ability. If you have never heard Sisters Memon and are a fan of quality and original sounding black metal I very highly recommend I, The Witch.  - Patrick

sistersmemon.bandcamp   https://plaguedemon.storenvy.com    https://bchrecords.storenvy.com         




"Cyber Metal” 2019 CD & LP

(Gates Of Hell Records)


Coming out of Seattle, Washington (after relocating from California at some point) is Skelator, who play a very unique and original style of epic heavy metal. They champion the old school metal lifestyle and look, intertwined with serious lyrical doses of fantasy sword & sorcery, this release in particular lyrically seems to be influenced a lot by Japanese Anime. Some the lyrics are a little cheesy, not going lie. But let’s move on the music. The band in addition to the aforementioned epic ultra melodic heavy metal, adds in some speed metal elements into the riffing and guitar work. The vocalist has a really good, smooth vocal range with some siren level high screams and hollering within some very well sung clean melodic vocal patterns. The vocalist Jason Conde-Houston has a distinctive, impressive voice and singing style, but I do definitely hear some Rob Halford and Geoff Tate in there especially in their early years. The music itself is extremely tight and silky with each instrument shining through with some excellent performances. If you are a fan of epic, melodious heavy metal with speed metal touches, then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of ”Cyber Metal” today.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/TrueSkelator    https://www.gatesofhellrecords.com/       




"Devouring Mortality” 2018 CD

(Dark Descent Records)


I knew the second I looked at that amazing cover artwork, it just had to be Dan Seagrave, and it was, seems like this great artist is having a bit of a resurgence with creating extreme metal covers again. Also, I can hear the skilled mind and fingers of master mixer Dan Swano, who helped make this recording sound heavy and crushing as fuck! Skeletal come to us out of the Californian (Whittier to be exact, was that not the home of Wild Rags! back in the day?) scene, and they write and perform devastatingly brutal and proficiently performed death metal. This record is definitely a bit of a throwback to the old school style, which you know I love, bringing to mind some of the best of the early to mid ‘90s superb output from bands like Gorguts, Pestilence, Sinister, Asphyx, Monstrosity, Brutality, Demolition Hammer, Obituary etc…  The band does inject some melody into the barbarism, at times, but they make sure to keep things predominantly brutal at all times. They also inject enough variation in the song structuring to keep things interesting; the guitar fills and solos are classy and emotive adding that extra dimension to complete the songs, and make it a real pleasure to my ears. The vocals are pretty standard mid-range, semi-decipherable growling, nothing too mind-blowing there, but they get the job done nicely and fit the music pretty well. This album comes recommended from me, fellow devotees of the above mentioned bands and old death time period will love this, as it is top shelf quality, top to bottom. I have to say before going that Dark Descent Records continue to prove themselves, as being one of the best labels in the scene, possessing a real ear for picking through the endless masses and consistently finding truly quality bands.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/SkeletalRemainsDeathMetal    http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/      




"Unveiling The Threshold" 2020 CD, LP & Tape

(Hells Headbangers)


When I think of the French UG scene I don’t think of any one style or sub-genre as a stand out of the scene in France. If anything for a long time it was known for black metal. But damn is it just me or has France not been producing a lot of really good death metal in recent times? I say yes, even though Skelethal is not a really new band, they are new to me with this sophomore full-length album. I reviewed an album by Bütcher earlier this year that I enjoyed, it turns out the drummer from that Osmose Productions band is also the drummer for Skelethal as well. He is a busy man. Skelethal compose some memorable brutal death metal with speedy and crushing riffs that wreck my head and my neck for that matter! There are some affecting and cool, but brief guitar fills and little nuances that pop up from time to time, which flesh things out without detracting from the brutality or blitzkrieg pacing. The growled vocals on here are classic sounding growls that enjoyed a lot. Anyone who reads Canadian Assault regularly knows I am a huge old Swedish death metal fanatic; it may be my fave style of death metal period to be honest. I just can not seem to get enough of it. So maybe it is not too surprising that I dig the hell out of this record, as that is the exact style Skelethal worship and play. They sound very much like one of my fave bands from that era of the early to mid ‘90s, which is Dismember and thrown in a dash of Carnage too for good measure. It may be far from original or breaking new ground, but when it is this well done and of this quality, Swede dm fellow worshippers of this sound will surely want to get their claws on posthaste.  - Dale

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




"Dermal Harvest” 2013 CD

(Pulverized Records)


Skineater carefully crafted a meeting of the minds between old school US death metal and old Swedish extreme death. Think of something like Cannibal Corpse / Suffocation mixed with At The Gates / Hypocrisy or some sort of similar mix. As we often come to expect with Swedish bands, the members of Skineater are members of a bunch of other bands past and present such as In Thy Dreams, Carnal Forge, Defleshed, Embalmed etc… This record is brutal, it is catchy at times marching along and pounding like machine gun fire in battle. It is the balance struck between the immense brutality and the catchy melodies that is the strength of Skineater and pulls their sound together. You even get some really emotive guitar fills during slower sections, where you can hear some Carcass “Heartwork” influence, but it does not last long before the avalanche of crushing riffs wash back over everything, making you use up that that breath you stole during the interlude. This is a pretty impressive piece of work with Dermal Harvest. I think fans of olden Swedish and American death metal will go a little weak in the knees for this album. All the members past experience aside, this is a very impressive debut album.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/skineater  http://www.pulverised.net/      




“Eyesore” 1998 Limited Edition MCD

(Century Media)


This is limited (5, 000 copies) and has 5 tracks that go as follows 2 new songs, a demo tune, a live one, and a Brujeria cover tune “Raza Odiada”, this song is the best on here, too bad it isn’t even their own. If you will recall I ripped this band a new one in my debut issue in a review of their first CD. They still sound like a Machine Head (who also suck!) rip-off with the deep Alice In Chains styled deep spoken word and slow guitar breaks. *YAWN* More lame tough guy commercial  power thrash crap, still can’t believe Steev Esquivel (former creative force behind thrash ragers Defiance) has sunk this low. If you liked Skinlab on “Bound, Gagged And Blindfolded”, then ‘jump’ up and down to store ‘cause your in for a treat!  - Dale




“Disembody: The New Flesh” 1999 CD

(Century Media Records)


If you read Metal Maniacs lately this is the new great hope for the scene. HA! Yes, I hate Skinlab and this is exactly like their old releases rehashed but they have toned down on the Alice In Chain-isms a bit. Lost Souls, Machine Head, Korn ect. fans take note ‘cause you’ll love this. For some unexplainable reason each time I listen to this, the title of that cheesy ‘80’s tv show “21 Jump Street” springs to mind?  - Dale




"Grisera” 2013 CD

(Ewiges Eis Records)


Skoll is the side project / band, of the mighty M. [The true Endless], among the other bands he worked or works with currently. M handles the vocals and guitars for Skoll, here he presents his newest outfit, a more folk inspired black metal band. The four songs featured here, are quite a variety metal style, from somber passages with acoustic guitar, that are done beautifully before the band inevitably picks up the pace with icy, raw guitars. The drumming is done extremely well, backed with slow to mid paced drums. M’s vocals show a good range of emotion, mainly using the black metal shrieks, but there are also some deeper death growls, used in a few songs and even some clean vocal patterns and chants. This is definitely worth the price if you’re a fan of folkish black metal.  - Patrick

http://www.skoll.altervista.org/   http://www.platten-firma.de/     




"Esoteric" 2009 CD

(Pivotal Recordings)


Well a melodic death band from Sweden. Who would have guessed it? I like this style, but I find I only ever listen, to the absolute cream of the crop, in this genre. In other words; I am not just into every band that comes along and they have to be damn good for me to give them the time of day. There is some quality material on here, you have heard it all before, but still some solid stuff nonetheless. It is a hooky affair and the flow in the guitars is nice. But where I have a problem is with the peripherals or at least what should be the peripherals. The synth and orchestral elements are too over the top, much too busy and too loud in the mix for my liking. If used at all it should be a compliment, rather an overpowering fight for center stage or the plot often gets lost. One of the only albums I can think of, where these elements were this prominent and the album was good, would be Tad Morose’s “A Mended Rhyme”. When we stack “Esoteric” up against a high watermark like that, it falls painfully short. The growling vocals from Joakim Karlsson are excellent though and guitar solos/fills are quite fantastic and prolific. If I could recommend this album it would be for those two facets of this musical piece that grabbed me. It is worth a listen, and for those who can not get enough of this genre, you will be pleased. But for the more critical follower of this style, you will lose no sleep by passing on this one.  – Dale

http://label.pivotalalliance.com   www.myspace.com/skyfiremusic  




"Purging Sacred Soils” 2020 CD, LP & Cassette

(Purity Through Fire)


Slagmark are a new black metal band coming out of Germany with their debut full-length. It may be a new band, but their line-up features members of Sarkrista and Totenwache. The music is laced with raw and grim black metal influences. But do not be fooled, as the musicians can write and execute some well written and performed skillful melodic patterns within that framework. For the most part the music is rooted in the mid 90's black metal style, but the band do add those aforementioned, slower more melodic black metal fluid passages, which fit the bands musical direction better than you might think reading my description. As fierce and fast as most of the music is, they do mix in accents of some slower, somber melodic passages, which add a wider depth to their overall sound. If you are looking for a new band that combines extremely fast black metal aggression with some measured melodic passages then be sure to pick up a copy of ‘Purging Sacred Soils’, it is worthy of your attention.  - Patrick

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




“Jerusalem” 1999 CD

(T.M.C./London Records)


This album is one 52 minute long song of stoner doom rock. The band were dropped from their former label and this almost never came out. I wouldn’t have minded if it didn’t! “Jerusalem” serves up Sab worship in the form of slow, undynamic, unheavy, unchanging boredom with no identity, thoroughly mediocre. Fucking awful.  - Dale




"Pissed On Resurrectine” CD

(UW Records)


Apparently this is a re-mastered and re-released version of the bands 2009 full length demo CD. Pissed On Ressurectine is a black metal album that is a low key, heavy and dark record. Every now and then they abandon that laying in the weeds or creeping mist approach / pacing and hit you over the head with a dose of grinding blast beat sections. To be honest those rapid fire interludes for me do not really fit the music, they are used sparingly however, so I can not complain too loudly. The vocals of Null I really like, they hover between mean yells and really obscure sounding whispered growling. Much of this record is driven by the riffing, which is kind of epic and keeps the mind wandering in an old Burzum-like fashion. Though Slime do like to throw in some unconventional parts or jolting bouts of aggression and song structuring that do keep you guessing a little bit and add some dynamics to the experience. Not you’re every day mundane black metal band and this is a good album that is worth a listen. Are UW Records going get a proper website? They are putting out a nice roster of releases lately, but still only have this clunky long address of a facebook page and an Email address to get the album from. Hopefully they will be a little more accessible in future.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/slimeinthecurrent  uwrecords@cox.net    




"Behaviour Modification Theory” 1999 CD

(Twist Of Faith Records)


Self-described as “hardcore mixed w/death/grind”. Their riffing is certainly metal charged but I hear no death or grind. Just metallized hardcore. The vox are the usual angst-ridden hardcore shouts but their pretty good. Could have done without the clean nasal vocals. I reviewed this bands past two demos and 7” & with each release they have gotten a bit better. This album is no exception and they have slowly gone from a band I didn’t care about at all to a band I kind of like (that is a compliment as I dislike most hardcore). They have nicely shored up a few areas. The riffing is better, song structure is better and the songs are much more memorable then their earlier repertoire. *P.S. – Are hardcore people really good fishermen or something? They are always wearing fishing caps!  – Dale

T.O.F. Recs., c/o Todd Caranhan, 1819 Duke Of Norfolk Quay, Virginia Beach, VA. 23454, USA Email = Guitaru@aol.com  




"Slumber Room” 2012 Cassette Album

(NoVisible Scars Records)


Bill Connolly from NoVisible Scars never ceases to amaze me with the different, very cool layouts on his tape releases. This one is no different, I hope the pictures accompanying this release do it justice, because the finished product in your hands looks even better than in the picture. There are 5 songs on here, but they are all long songs and equal roughly a short full length album. This stuff is different from what I have been getting for review lately. The write up on this band compares them to “Filosofem” from Burzum, “Slow Deep And Hard” from Type O and Mysticum. I can hear a little bit of all of that. This is some really moody, brooding atmospheric metal, generally going at a slower blackened harsh metallic pace, then switching to a meandering introspective clean string plucking intermingled with piano. The industrial tag is thrown around with this band too, to be honest I do not hear that much to be honest. I mean the vocals they use remind me of the some of the 90s industrial metal bands, you know those pitched kind of vocals, albeit with a black metal undertone, I guess that is where that comes in, otherwise I do not really hear it. This album definitely has some interesting and good elements going for it. But I would be lying if I said this bowled me over or completely floats my boat. Fans of the above mentioned bands and albums would probably want to give this one a listen though. I believe this cassette is still available (limited to 100 copies, so act very fast) for only $7 or you can download it for $5.  - Dale

http://novisiblescars.bandcamp.com/album/slumber-room-ep  http://nvslabel.blogspot.com/     




"Times Of Obscene Evil And Wild Daring” 2019 CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


At this point I have listened to this album so many times now; I got the album a while ago and listened to it many times, then I received a kind of a late arriving promo disc for this album some months later. So, it gives me an excuse to re-visit and promote this album and gladly so for me, as I am a fan of the record. Smoulder perform and produce old school heavy metal doom that is very traditionally composed, skillfully building a very emotionally affecting aura wrapped around their sound, which I enjoy the hell out of. There is some very tasteful yet subtle guitar work on this album that keeps that traditional heavy metal moving along slowly, but steadily and smoothly like a small and forceful creek washing over the listener like a warm mournful audio blanket. I absolutely adore the way vocalist Sarah Ann (who I knew of from Banger TV on youtube where she does a solid job as a reviewer and she is from the same province of Alberta in Canada and general area I grew up) enunciates certain words as she sings, emphasizing or elongating certain syllables, giving the words a distinctly different and cool feel, as opposed to just vocalizing them all in the normal and expected way. This helps give the vocals, killer lyrics and the music itself, as a trickle down effect more character and makes certain areas of songs I enjoy just stand out for me that much more. The main creative force behind this band seems to be guitarist Shon Vincent and vocalist Sarah Ann, but this is/was not entirely a Canadian band or production, as the duo recruited a couple American members and I believe this was actually recorded in a studio in Chicago. So, that must have been an interesting process to sort out, but the final result is very cohesive and resulted in one hell of a debut album. Fans of quality archetypical heavy doom metal style along the lines of Spirit Caravan, Solitude Aeternus, Candlemass, Reverend Bizarre will be sure to dig this record. Check it out ASAP!  - Dale

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




“Self - Titled” 1998 CD

(Elmergod Records)


It says in their brief bio that these boys have been around for 7 years, in all honesty the cohesiveness and maturity that should accompany this is sorely missing. This actually is limp simple rock/metal that is full of groovy rhythms that sound kind of forced, as the tunes seem to really go nowhere. The vocals are a little dry and strained sounding. These boys are trying but it is just not there for them. The bio also says they have released 5 demos, maybe a 6th before a full album would have been a good idea.  - Dale

Society’s Burden, 5312 Manson Road, Julian, North Carolina 27283, USA




“Steel Bath Suicide” 1998 CD

(Listenable Records USA)


I have oft heard this act compared to At The Gates. I would disagree, what I hear is more of a Carcass “Heartwork” mixed with some ‘80’s Bay area thrash and general heavy metal (Accept, Lethal and ect...) of that era as well. None too original but damn this is well done and contains plenty of quality material.  - Dale

Listenable Recs. USA, 554 Warburton Ave., Yonkers, NY. 10701, USA Website = www.listenable.com 




"Casting Ruin" 2014 CD

(ViciSolum Productions)


Solace Of Requiem play very technical death metal and the band have some talented musicians within its ranks. They keep things very speedy, maybe a little too much speed at times, but they also always make sure everything is nice and brutal, which I can surely appreciate. Sometimes, it feels like they try to play this fast, just make sure they pack enough elements in a song, enough techno bits, enough time changes rather than worrying about making a memorable song. Not that the songs are bad, there is some good material here, but with some more slightly slowed down sections, with a little more editing they could go to a whole other level. SOR employ a variety of vocal styles, the high-ish shriek, deep growling and a growl that is sort of that of a in between the other two. None of those vocal particularly stand out for me, but all are more than good enough to get the job done. The level of brutality is the most enjoyable part of the album for me, the band gets major points for that, also it is impressive the speed, time changes and technicality they are able to perform this material at. But honestly, at the end of the day, I am not a huge ultra technical death metal fan. All the same, I think SOR could learn a thing or two about balancing technicality, with song flow and just good memorable song writing. I think on here, at times, one suffers from the lack of the other. But if you like things like great albums, like Gorguts “Obscura”, and especially Theory In Practice’s “The Armageddon Theories”, then I am sure you will find something to enjoy in this album.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/sectu   http://www.vicisolum.com/      





"“I.T.S.C.” 2015 CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)


Coming to us, out of the Canadian crossover scene is, Solanum with their newest cd. They combine both catchy and fast thrash metal guitars. The guitars, are played at high speeds, with some well written guitar parts, but the guitars do slow to a more mid tempo in a few of the songs. The vocals are a mix raw screams, and some hollering, mixed in to a few of the tracks. I am not the biggest crossover out there, but Solanum do write and perform, some catchy and good songs so if you are a fan of this genre then you definitely should give Solanum a chance.  - Patrick

http://solanum-crossover.bandcamp.com/    http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/          




"Spectral Devastation” 2020 CD & LP

(Gates Of Hell Records)


After releasing a demo and an EP last year, Washington's Solicitor have inked a deal with Gates Of Hell to release their debut full length. ‘Spectral Devastation’ contains eight songs of well crafted and composed intense speed metal, along side some elements of heavy metal influence sprinkled in. The guitars are played with a lot of skill and memorable passages. The guitars are played with extremely fast patterns, but do slow to a heavier and slower pace throughout a few of the songs on here. The drums are played in the same vein with some crazed drum arrangements. The drummer can, and does, write some slower more mid paced drum parts that fit the band's music perfectly. The vocals are a mix of well sung traditional heavy metal vocals and some screams that are done with a lot of powerful and energy. If you are looking for a new band that plays a very impressive style of speed metal then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of ‘Spectral Devastation’ straight away.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/solicitor.speedmetal/    http://www.gatesofhellrecords.com/       




“New Age Dark” 1998 CD

(Misanthropy Records)


I was looking forward to this one. I haven’t heard any good classic doom metal for a while now and this band comes in billed to be just that. What I got from this (now former) doom act is a couple upbeat heavy rockers (though not as limp as the last couple Cathederal efforts). Things really go downhill fast as the album progresses to it’s middle and latter stages as things degenerate into music that sounds like some European hippies sittin’ on a hillside playing. If this makes sense it sounds melancholic and disparate but in a very unsad and uplifting fashion. If you want the short form review this album is fuckin’ shite! Straight up.

Misanthropy Records, P.O. Box 9, Hadleigh, Suffolk, 1P7 5AU, ENGLAND Email = amazon@misanthr.demon.co.uk




“Our Frosting Hell” 1998 MCD

(Skinmask Productions)


Solus is a name I have heard kicking around the Canadian scene for years on comps and thru their ’96 album “Slave Of Mind”, which was sort of a thrash/death with a hint of the ‘jump metal’ style. Now, gone is the ‘jump’ crap in favor for a more chunky, brutal melodic death metal style with some very stylish and well written  & executed slower clean sections (reminiscent of the old Canadian act Disciples Of Power). Vocally they employ a thick growl, cool nasal scream/rasp and some sparsely used but integral clean voices. Great improvement from their album and I see them only getting better.

Solus, Box 271, Stn. B, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2W1, CANADA website = www.skinmask.com/solus/ Email = solus@skinmask.com




"Into The Beckoning Wilderness" 2019 CD

(Chaos Records)


This is a one man band and that one man is Maurice De Jong, who is originally from South America, but now resides in The Netherlands, and I am sure that is an interesting story all by itself on how he ended up there. But De Jong is a really interesting guy and very prolific in the metal UG scene with bands like Black Mouth of Spite, Caput Mortuum, Cloak of Altering, De Magia Veterum, Dodenbezweerder, Gnaw Their Tongues, Golden Ashes, Grand Celestial Nightmare, Hagetisse, Malorum, Obscuring Veil, Pyriphlegethon, The Black Mysteries and has done time in many more believe it or not!! The name of this solo project is a pitch perfect representation of the music it produces, it is very emotionally somber, cadaverous and melancholic like it is purposely draining you of all joy and optimism. It is not only the omnipresent dismal feeling, it is more complex than that, as I also I find it also invokes in me an feeling of tension and an oppressive vibe of dread that slow builds and sustains within me for a long stretches of time. The death doom music on here is also very heavy yet slow, so yes doom death that is heavily reliant on the doom end of that dual spectrum. The vocals do feature some relatively sparsely used spoken word or cleanly sung accents, but the main vocals are deep, obscured and cryptic whispery growling. I enjoy those vocals a lot as they manage to convey emotion and mirror the gloom of the music. I can surely recommend this quality album to fans of profound and cavernous doom death metal.  - Dale

https://gnawtheirtongues.bandcamp.com/    https://www.chaos-records.com/        




"Monuments Of Grief” 2022 CD

(Chaos Records)


Here again I return to The Sombre, who I have become a fan of thanks to Chaos records re-releasing the bands 2019 debut album “Into the Beckoning Wilderness”, around a year ago. This time around it is an album of all new material released through Chaos Records once again. This is a solo band of one Maurice de Jong, who is a long time veteran (his first band released a demo in 1989!!) of the UG scene and an extremely prolific musician. Some of his current or past bands, the majority of them one man projects include Black Mouth of Spite, Caput Mortuum, Cloak of Altering, Coffin Lurker, De Magia Veterum, Dodenbezweerder, Gnaw Their Tongues, Golden Ashes, Grand Celestial Nightmare, Hagetisse, ex-Atrocious, ex-Soulwound, ex-The Nefarious Cult, ex-Cauteror. Those are not even all of them, there are probably another half dozen or more, most of his projects near as I can tell are various black metal related mixed with a lot of noise, experimentation and such. Okay, I am an absolute sucker for band history related stuff as you probably know by now. Finally working my way to the music of The Sombre, it is not black metal at all, but rather we are talking classic doom death metal. The material is of course very slow, but not in a crushing way, as it is extremely depressive and sorrowful in a contemplative soul wrenching fashion. It is utterly joyless music lacking any aggressive qualities, just an all-encompassing and oppressive blanket of hopelessness. The bio rightly points out the so-called ‘Peaceville Three’ as a strong influence, which of course includes Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Anathema. Not to worry though, we are talking their early works and not after they went all soft and mushy later on Haha. The one thing that differs here in my opinion is the vocals, Maurice’s vocals on here are very obscure sounding gruff growls that almost seem, when I think about it, like they should not work with the deep emotions of this music yet somehow they really do and do not distract from what is going on and add to it. If you are a fan of melancholic, mournful doom death then you should give The Sombre a try.  - Dale

https://gnawtheirtongues.bandcamp.com/   https://chaos-records.bandcamp.com/  




"Monument In Black” 2013 CD

(Apostasy Records)


I think I missed out on this bands debut album on Metal Blade records. Sonic Reign is a two piece band from Germany. I can see why Metal Blade gave them a shot. This is some very cool, addicting thrashing black metal. It has that black metal base but also has strong hooks and some serious headbanging riffs that will stick in your head as it bobs around on that thing you call a neck. It is fairly simplistic music, but as I said heavy and catchy. So it probably just comes down to whether you like the thrash and black metal genres and do not mind them being combined in a rocking or headbanging way. The vocalist has some nice, very clear raspy bm vocals with a hint of gruff thrash undertone. The music is dark, but not as dark as most black metal bands, backed with mid paced, chugging thrash guitars. It does not blow me away, but damn it is catchy and just heavy, yet dark enough to appeal to what I like about both genres. Give their myspace a listen and I think you will get an idea quickly of this quality, simple straight forward band.  - Dale

https://myspace.com/sonicreign  http://www.apostasyrecords.com/      




“Inner Receivings” 2010 CD

(Nordvis Produktion)


The second full length release from this Swedish atmospheric black metal group.  I hesitantly use the term black metal for this band as they are more in the vein of a metal band infused with folk metal, progressive metal, and ambient elements. I'm mixed about this release.  Parts of it work well - bringing the listener along this path of longing.  Other parts of it are just filler.  I get the sense the band is trying to find it's sound but this album is one of the releases that is caught in both worlds.  Not black metal but not a pure atmosphere album either.  The production is lacking as the instrumentation is all over the place.  They really need someone to help them bridge all their sounds together to create a cohesive piece of music.  – Mark

http://www.nordvis.com/  http://www.myspace.com/sorgeldom       




"Natt Av Tusen Dödsfall” 2022 CD, LP & Tape

(Werewolf Records)


Sorgetid is the solo band of the well known veteran UG Finnish musician V-Khaoz, who has done and been in many bands over the years like Vargav, Druadan Forest, Hellkult, Grieve, Oath, Azaghal and more. As for Sorgetid, as far as I know this debut album is also the bands first release period. The music is absolutely freezing cold black metal that is dripping with a malevolent acid aura. It will remind you immediately to the, for me, glorious days of the second wave of black metal out of Scandinavia from the early to middle 1990s. It was surely a time when most creating this music were coming from a release place of dedication to darkness and evil rather than just a style. I immediately have the nostalgia of stir of the early classic releases bands like Darkthrone, Immortal, Mayhem, Emperor, Enslaved, Marduk and then bands that soon followed on their heels like Horna, Graveland, Dark Funeral, Judas Iscariot etc… There is some sound effects like wind howling, wolves baying and synth interludes, but for the most part it is icy and biting traditional black metal greatness with just enough baleful melody to keep dark musical river flowing. V-Khaoz’ vocals are fantastic archetypal rasping vocals that will send a chill through you at night. If you worship, as I do, second wave Scandinavian black metal and again like me just can not get enough then this album deserves your attention.  - Dale

https://shop-hellsheadbangers.com/sorgetid   https://www.werewolf.fi/  




"Black And Blood” 2013 CD

(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)


It is small wonder, why this young band sounds as smooth and mature as they do. Just looking through info online about the band, the various members have been or are currently in a whole slew of bands like Armory, Forced Asphyxiation, Burial, Frozen, Death Ray Vision etc… That past experience is on display, throughout their vicious brand of death metal brutality and in the underlying melodic elements and tones. The melodic aspect, in their sound, is very reminiscent to mine ears to Carcass “Heartwork” era material, some later era Death in there as well. The barbarity and brutality side of Soul Remnants, is more from the Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation school of death metal. Honestly, the influences are pretty obvious and not hard to pick out, all the same this is very well done and has a certain feel and flow of its own. It might not be very original, but it is extremely well done, solidly constructed album that will both make you simultaneously headbang and have your emotional heart strings pulled at. So, I would most definitely recommend this, to fans of the above mentioned bands.  - Dale

https://myspace.com/chopwork   http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/index.html      




"Ouroboros” 2017 CD

(Lifeblood Records / eOne Music)


Boston’s Soul Remnants come out of the gates like an angry caged bear set free on a rampage. Yes, what is old is new again, Soul Remnants weave old school American death metal (Morbid Angel, Suffocation etc…) and thrash aesthetic and influences into a modern structured stylistic flow and feeling. A combination which dug it’s claws into me pretty quickly! The song construction and performances have this dynamic energy to them that keeps me really interested and engaged. Plus, it is extremely catchy, while also being extremely brutal, which is a combination I love and is not often pulled off with the proper balance for my tastes. By that, I mean I see this more as real melodic death metal that is brutal dm with some melodic elements rather than the usual stuff that is called melodic death these days, where it is heavily melodic music with a little kinda watered down death metal music mixed in. There always needs to be a level of brutality in there, for it to even really be dm at all, in my opinion (think things like At The Gates “Slaughter Of The Soul”, Dissection “Storm Of The Light’s Bane” etc…). Sorry for that little sidetrack rant, back to the music at hand. The band speak of Scandinavian black metal influence in their music, I do hear it a wee bit, but honestly I think it is more Scandinavian melodic death elements, so I think anyone buying it for the black metal elements might be a little miffed. Despite the aforementioned melodic dm element rant, and slightly contradicting myself here, one of my fave tracks is a slightly prog-y instrumental, a three plus minute brief divergent path of a song entitled “Wall City”, which simply bleeds poignant emotive atmosphere. I loved the great affecting guitar fill in the middle of this excellent track. The music on here sounds and feels so fucking tight, I can only imagine the work put in until they feel they have what they feel is perfect and rehearse the shit out of music so it is super snug, when it is time to hit the recording studio. I am not saying it is the most amazing death metal album I have heard, but I will say this is a really solid, even excellent dm record, that I can fully recommend.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/SoulRemnants/    http://www.lifebloodinc.com/          




Package Round Up 1

(Thrashirts Records & Gate Of Horror Productions)


This package of releases from Paul Caravasi (aka my South American UG scene Guru) from the almighty print fanzine Soulgrinder features four bands from South America on the Thrashshirts and Gate Of Hell record labels. Paul really does his part to promote one of the very best underground scenes, so let’s get on with it.

Blizzard Hunter - Live At Padova Italy 2018 (Thrashirts Recs.) So I tried to dig up some info on this label Thrashirts, as I suspected from the name they started out and still do make metal shirts, but they also organize the annual Lima Metalfest and now run a record label as well. Most often bands only release a live album after they have been around a long time with many releases, no so in this case as Blizzard Hunter has been around since 2011 and only released a few eps and one album. Having said that, with how good the sound is on this live show and with how tight the band was on this impressive hour long performance, it is hard to blame the band and label for not wanting to release this! It really is an impressive listen, as the band navigates their way skillfully through twelve songs of early to mid-80s old school heavy metal, which got me going and really into it. The playing is superb, but also I have to mention Sebastian “Dragon” Palma has that classic ‘80s high vocals that he belts out with authority and range, also his charisma bleeds through his distinctive voice. I would recommend this even to people who have never heard this band, it was my first audio taste of this talented band that have a knack for writing good, catchy songs that rip shit up. Okay, they do wear their influences on their sleeves, but when it is done this well, and you love that style then who cares, right? Fans of American early to middle ‘80s heavy metal with a healthy dose of Iron Maiden influence mixed into that sound need to check this out!

The Fallen Symmetry - Renancer En La Tormenta (Thrashirts Recs.) This album was originally released in 2016, but only through the band itself, now the Thrashirts label decided it needed wider promotion, so they have re-released it on this beautiful look digipak. I swear one of the opening screams in the first track, it sounded like a dead ringer for this whiny screech my cat does, when she is not happy and I was looking around for what was her problem haha. That is not at all to disparage the vocals on here, because they are really good. Fallen Symmetry like their label mates above play heavy / power metal, however, F.S. push the melody to the forefront and base everything off of that. It is good stuff, though at times I feel like maybe the melody takes a little too much edge off the heaviness of the material and dominates too much in the song construction and flow. I did still enjoy it; the playing on here is really good and features some thoughtful solos and interesting songwriting tidbits. It is not that I would say the material is light, but it does have more of a commercial vibe to me and also maybe listening to Blizzard Hunter’s wonderful brand of heavy metal above, which is more to my personal tastes perhaps coloured my mood and view in this review. I think fans that worship melody to the max (unlike me), above all else, will really like this band more than I did.

Aggression - Metal Hasta Snagrar (Gate Of Horror Prod.) I believe the album title translates to something like Metal To Bleed. This Peruvian plays a brand of really heavy, punishing thrash metal with an old school flavour, but also possesses some modern touches and a sharp, contemporary sounding production. Just speaking to the music (not vocals), I get a strong Possessed “Beyond The Gates” vibe from Aggressions brand of thrashing mayhem, some Slayer influence is in there too for sure. The vocals, even though they have that classic gruff thrash yell to them, remind me to somehow like if a death metal growler tried to change over to thrash vocals with a touch of growl lingering in there, even some of the drumming has a death metal style blast beat going on. But, make no mistake, overall this is thrash metal to the max. The songs in some spots seem almost a hair too controlled and could use a little more natural flow, but honestly that is really a nitpick on an otherwise very enjoyable thrash assault.

Epilepsia / Necropsya “Involution” Split Album (Gate Of Horror Prod.) Epilepsia start things off with the first 7 songs on this 14 track album. Epilepsia produce fast, violent and unrelenting thrash metal that reminds me a lot of the early German thrash scene with bands like Sodom, Kreator and Destruction on their first couple albums. The drums are a powerful whirlwind of disciplined chaos paired with ripping razor riffing and hyper adrenaline lightning guitar solos and fills. The vocals remind me of slightly more murky and dirty version of Kreator’s vocals from those old days. Good stuff that got my blood pumping! Necropsya grabs the baton from Epilepsia and keep up the rapid thrash metal pacing of this killer split record. Yes, Necropsya are thrash maniacs similar to the band they share this split with, but possibly they have a little cleaner, tighter performance and sound yet no less lethal. The guitar work and song structuring is more refined, complex and catchy, but still very high quality material. Honestly, this has to be the best split I have heard the last couple years and should be a must have for all old school thrash metal fanatics out there reading this. You know what to do and do not waste time doing it!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/thrashirts    https://www.facebook.com/gateofhorror     




Package Round Up

(Soulgrinder 'zine & Xibalba / Seol Productions)


Mithlond "Death for Those Who Worship" CD (Xibalba Productions & Seol Productions) Hailing from New Jersey is this depressive, ambient black metal band. Despite there of course being keyboards on here, Mithlond do not rely on them heavily like a crutch, no they bring out a lot of their eerie and despondent evil sounds through a lot of traditional instrumentation (i.e. guitars, bass, drums). The vocals are a series of obscure echo-y whispers, yells, rasps and anguished screams kept buried within the music never really standing out, melting in and out to help create that foreboding, gloomy feel. The playing at times is a little loose, the recording a little raw (intentionally so I think and I like it), but both help to make a more richly organic sound by my ear. It took me a few listens to really get into this, to grasp what this trio of demons is going for here. But once I did I grew to enjoy it’s malevolent, morose vibe more and more with each successive listen.

Soulgrinder Zine “Assault Volume 3” Compilation CD The new volume of this great fanzines compilation series is now out and in my mitts. Much like the ‘zine itself, this features a fairly even mix of South American and American bands. This volume leans heavily on thrash bands, alongside a few death / black / heavy metal & crossover outfits too. A listing of the bands on this 21 song disc are Krusifire, Cruel Bomb, Necropsya, Natthammer, Morbid Cross, Sepulcro, Shark Bullet, Vulture, Concussion, Sylent Storm, Final Judgment, Extinger, Deicidios, Murder Method, Hyena, Father of Sin plus more. This is a killer comp with quality bands and packaging including a booklet with all the bands. Get it ASAP!

Soulgrinder ‘Zine “Deadly Mosh Revenge” 6 Way Split CD This is called a split, but it is just one song from every band, which makes it feel a little more like a compilation to me, but that is just me I guess if it had multiple songs it would feel more like a split. Maybe Paul took his fave songs he had had earmarked for the compilation above and decided to feature them on more of a showcased release? The six bands on here are Fatal Agent (USA), The Donner Party (USA), Distruptor (Peru), Dick Vomit (USA), Paralysis (USA) and Azotador (Bolivia). All the bands play thrash metal, and honestly I thought every song on here, at least in my view is truly good to great. There is a lot of energy in each song and great headbanging / thrashing songs with lots of old school feel and attitude. The lyrics to Evil Dead’s “Tree Rape” scene are pretty hilarious with awesomely delivered vocals. Just like the packaging on his compilation everything is top notch, also comes with a booklet (full colour this time) and looks great. Please support Paul (Soulgrinder main man), who is an ultra dedicated UG metal supporter that deserves more recognition for all he does.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/soulgrinder.zine/    http://soulgrinderzine.blogspot.com/  

https://mithlond.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/Mithlondband/  




Package Round Up 2

"4 Way Split" + "Ultimate Power Corrupts & Concussion" 2 Way Split EP + "Skin Deep" 5 Way Split + Empathica Radio Vol. 1 Compilation CDs

(Soulgrinder 'zine)


Soulgrinder ‘Zine “4 Way Split” CD The almighty grinder of souls returns under the commanding direction of Paul Cravasi, a very dedicated man in the UG scene who puts out one of the best fanzines in the world. Paul also puts out some compilation and split CDs under his Soulgrinder banner. This time around on this split as the title suggest there are four bands which are Cruel Bomb, Ritual Moon, Concussion and Dark Zodiak. All of these thrashing bands get four songs a piece. First up is Cruel Bomb who is from my state of Pennsylvania and these guys play high octane, crushing riffed thrash metal with a healthy amount of crossover elements and influences mixed in. It brings to mind the big four ‘80s thrash metal bands mixed with stuff like Pro-Pain, early COC, early Prong, Sacred Reich etc… If you like riff heavy crossover thrash (though not much punk influence here) I think you would get into this band. Next up is Ritual Moon, who in some ways while still probably a thrash band is a little different than the other bands on here with more of a black thrashing style. There are even some death metal touches that show up now and then, but they are at their heart a thrash band. They could maybe use a bit more low end, but still some quality material here for sure. Next up is Concussion who also much like C.B. above play pounding thrash with absolutely crushing riffs and booming bass that I enjoyed here. These guys also have some crossover tendencies like Cruel Bomb, but maybe not quite as pronounced and they definitely mix in a little death metal influence in the pounding and grinding moments. The yelled coarse vocals may be the biggest part of their crossover influence bringing to mind a less insane vocal style similar to The Accüsed with some hardcore influence and a little Macabre thrown in. Holy shit Concussion bring the adrenaline and in your face brutality yet marry it with technical sequences and inventive song structuring. I mean the first two bands are good, but Concussion take things to a whole other level, these guys are the real deal! I need to keep a close eye on this fucking band let me tell you, best extreme band I have heard out of New York City in a long time. Finishing up this so far fantastic release is Dark Zodiak. They play a thrash heavy style of death metal. The vocals are half clean yelled and half growled, but not at all extreme or guttural, in fact pretty accessible sounding for a wider audience appeal I suppose. I would not go as far as to say the way the vocals are delivered and the way the lyrics are crafted are rap style, but it is not that far off to me, there is call and answer stuff and lot of rhythmic rhyming lyrics. I have to be honest I disliked pretty much everything about the vocal arranging, delivery and lyrical style. The music at times follows along and mimics that and those parts I was not into either. Having said that there are some heavy, killer riffs here and there that were good, so a real mixed bag for me. They should have ended the disc on a high note with Concussion because those guys fucking kill and are worth the price of this disc alone. But you do get a lot of music on here and Cruel Bomb + Ritual Moon deliver quality as well. Check this out ASAP and remember the name Concussion and that you heard them on this release first.  - Dale   

https://cruelbomb570.bandcamp.com/    https://ritualmoon.bandcamp.com/  

https://www.stabbyhamlet.com/    http://soulgrinderzine.blogspot.com/ 



Bonus Reviews: Okay yes I got excited while listening to Concussion above while writing up the review, so I fired off a message to Paul of Soulgrinder raving about Concussion. He wrote me back quickly saying he had released two different releases with Concussion and he is putting the second one in the mail, that package contained that release plus more and now grows this review into a robust Round Up Review!!
Soulgrinder ‘Zine "Ultimate Power Corrupts & Concussion" 2 Way Split CD EP I was chuffed at that news and here it has arrived. The only slight downer is I thought the Concussion material would be all different material, but it is the same four amazing songs on the 4 way split above, so I have covered that already above and it is extremely great. This disc is a 2 way split CD and like the 4 way disc above each band gets four tracks. Ultimate Power Corrupts is from my current home state of Pennsylvania and these guys play steamroller, forceful thrash metal to the max. They do have some death metal touches here and there, but it is straight up thrash for the most part with some old school crossover tendencies mixed in. These guys know how to create some massive killer riffs and memorable songs that you can really headbang hard to! I have to say this is an amazing, absolutely top shelf thrashing split EP and it may be an EP, but you probably get close to 30 minutes of utterly great music from start to finish from both of these bands. Concussion is a really hard act to follow, but Ultimate Power Corrupts put up a valiant and commendable effort of holding up their end of the deal. If you want to discover the best thrash the UG scene has to offer then you need to follow what Paul and Soulgrinder ‘zine are doing. You can thank me later. 

Soulgrinder ‘Zine "Skin Deep" 5 Way Split CD I am not sure if I have heard of a release like this before. It is a five band split and all five are all female bands. If you want to discover and support women in the underground scene, this is a disc you need to have. All the bands have 3 songs to showcase their stuff. First up on the release is Auxiliö from Los Angeles, California. They play thrash crossover sounding music with heavy punk and hardcore influences. It is fast and violent and I am sure pit inducing live. The music is stripped down, rough and kinda loosely played stuff, but it also has that old style punk / hardcore delivery and captures that vibe nicely. Next up is Psycotic Scum (also from the LA scene) who seem to have my kind of attitude from what I can tell and there is a killer clip of them on their fb page inducing a hot and sweaty pit live. They have an album out entitled “Cuntaminated” with great cover artwork that actually reminds me of some past Canadian Assault artwork I had done. Anyways on to the music of Psycotic Scum, it is heavy riffed thrash that much like the first band are a thrash crossover band with strong influences from the punk and hardcore scenes. When it is this heavy, fast, sadistic I have no problem whatsoever getting into this and headbanging to it. I find it interesting how much there seemingly is death metal inspired vocals sprinkled into these two bands even though their music is not dm influenced. I like it it adds an extra dimension over most thrash crossover/punk/hardcore bands. Damn Psycotic Scum are fucking relentless in a good way and keep bringing that in your face attitude I love. Band number three is Sepulchral Rites from Chile. They really stand out from the first two bands as they play brutal, chunky riffed death metal that definitely brings that evil sounding South American dm vibe. The music is largely mid-paced with sped up accents to get your head nodding. S.R. is a trio and the ladies go by great nicknames like Hellwitch, Speed Blast and Satanic Lust. Speaking of Satanic Lust she produces great ominous and dark sounding echo-y growls that will chill you. They keep things heavy and pounding and I found their darkly emotive aura infectious. There are some thrash metal touches here and there, which I guess kind of ties them to the overall theme thread of this release. Rolling into the fourth spot in the line up is Ritual Moon, once again from Los Angeles like the first two bands. I am happy to report unlike the two releases Concussion is on, Ritual Moon’s three songs on here are different from the ones on the four way split above. They continue in the same vein as their other material which is some solid blackened thrash. Their material is simple yet effective and they are successful in creating a dark, sinister aura throughout their music that is enjoyable and has a slight melancholic feel as well. Finishing up this epic five way split is Harlequin, who hail from, you guessed it Los Angeles. Who knew the female extreme UG scene was so rich and diverse in LA, not I. Harlequin produce brutal death metal that definitely wins the award of the best bottom end in their music out of the five, it is generally lacking in the others and the bass guitar is pretty good here. I like the juxtaposition of the vocals with guttural growls and higher nasally yelled vocals in some spots. These ladies are also probably the most talented on their instruments out of all the bands, and there is some interesting and well done songwriting. A quality and interesting release (including a fold out digi package with pics & info on the bands) you should check out ASAP.

Soulgrinder ‘Zine Presents: Empathica Radio “Hail To The Underground” Volume 1 Compilation CD I was not sure what exactly to expect with this disc, I mean I figured it was a compilation album. But it is also from some kind of online radio style podcast, so does it have commentary from a DJ/host(s) in between tracks? That would have been kinda cool, but no it is a straight up comp of upcoming bands they play on their show I assume. There was no bio or explanation included in the package so I am guessing here. This is put out by Soulgrinder ‘zine, but I don’t think Paul who runs it is part of the radio podcast just judging by their facebook page. If you are interested in discovering unsigned UG bands that play all forms of metal as well as hardcore and punk then look and listen here as that is what this show and this disc are all about. You get 19 of those bands here including Gravehuffer, Macabre Eternal, Basilisk, The Downstrokes, TxBxDx, The TV Dead, Spit of The Sin, Christ Dismembered, Autumn’s Silence, Ulvkult, Season of Evil, Haaze and more.  - Dale

https://concussionbk666.bandcamp.com    https://ultimatepowercorrupts.bandcamp.com  

https://auxilio-la.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/psycoticscum/  

https://harlequin1official.bandcamp.com/    https://www.facebook.com/empathicaradio/  

https://www.stabbyhamlet.com/    http://soulgrinderzine.blogspot.com/ 




"Compilation Vol. 5" CD

(Soulgrinder ‘Zine)


Paul Caravasi from the mighty Soulgrinder fanzine continues his excellent compilation series. This is a series that really tries to promote and bring to light UG bands from around the world that deserve more attention. It is good to see Soulgrinder bringing comps back to the forefront again. They were very popular in the ‘80s and through most of the 90s, and then became devalued in my view by labels and fanzines trying to be commercial to get attention making comps and just giving them away free – I seen this at big metalfests. This important showcase stage became throw away items and looked down upon after a while. But enough of that rant, on to the review haha. Damn this opens up out of the gate with high energy, high octane to the maximum with back to back great hardcore tracks from Body Blow and Ultimate Power Corrupts (UPC may be hardcore but they employ a killer thrashing crossover metal riff in this tune) that immediately got my adrenaline pumping. It is a mix from there you get thrash, death metal and hardcore, it is definitely a running theme that this compilation leans towards crossover style bands that have elements of all those styles. But this is some great stuff, a few bands stand out a bit more than the others yet honestly there are really no bad bands / songs on here, in my opinion, they range from decent to very good. Some of the bands which really stood out for me, in addition to the couple already mentioned, would be Auxilio, Glass Street, Gravehuffer, Pnuk, Necrosexual, Carrion Curse, Tuol Sleng and the killer heavy metal band Royal Hell. I could have easily picked more faves as there are 23 bands and 23 songs on here for you, so it is packed and you get a lot. Please support the scene by buying a copy of this compilation and in return you are virtually guaranteed to discover some great new bands you knew nothing about. They have literally done the work for you, now reap the benefits!  - Dale

https://www.stabbyhamlet.com/    http://soulgrinderzine.blogspot.com/         




"Skin Deep Vol. 3” Compilation CD

(Soulgrinder ‘Zine Records)


This comp has 3 songs from each of the five bands. Naitaka (Canada) starts off with a clear, almost too muted production on their thrash metal mixed with melododeath style. Their songs feature some solid musicianship with vocals that are all over the place from a bit of a gruff thrash voice, a tinge of a death growl and suddenly out of nowhere clean siren heavy metal vocals. A bit uneven vocal performance to me, although there is a lot of talent and potential bubbling under with this band, but they need a more in your face production IMO. Next up is Narcolepsia (Argentina) and they have the heavier, grittier production that the previous band needs. They rip things up with some intense, energetic straight forward death metal littered with some thrash leanings. They have short songs like a punk band, but they are not a punk band. I like the dark growling vocals from this band too. Good stuff. Now comes Jenner (Serbia) who plays speed / thrash metal and it is good shit. Some nice galloping riffing, smoking fills and leads on guitar backed with some pounding drum work. Aleksandra Stamenković has some great vocals and good voice; she can do the clean soaring style, then seamlessly transitions to deeper and even slightly coarse gritty vocals. This is a very strong appearance by Jenner on this disc and maybe the top highlight in an overall strong line up. Strujen (Argentina) slides in next and they are duo that plays death metal grindcore sorta mince style. Maybe it is because this is coming on the heels of such high end musicianship and good songwriting by the previous band. But this feels very rough, raw, simplistic and has it’s brief moments, but otherwise honestly I found this to be very so-so stuff at best. Finishing up this interesting compilation is Apofenia (Argentina) which is another duo that is again raw and simplistic yet much more effective than the last band in their primitive death metal style. Maybe a sound that brings to mind a looser version of the early demo days of Swedish bands like Unleashed, Nihilist and Carnage. I have a soft spot for this style and enjoyed these songs. Something all of these bands share in common is all have at least one female member or as is the case with Jenner, Narcolepsia and Apofenia are all female bands. So, that may add an extra element of interest for some out there I suppose? At this point females in extreme metal is now fairly commonplace, so it is just another band for me. Which is good thing in my book as the UG metal scene is progressing fast and I am sure that is what female bands want, to be seen as being no different for better or worse than any all male band and judged solely on their music only and not their gender in any way, shape or form. There is many kick ass dedicated and talented women in the scene the world over these days for damn certain. As always with Soulgrinder comps, they do an excellent job with the packaging and you get a nice looking foldout inlay of band logos, pics, web links. Check this out and support the great Soulgrinder!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/soulgrinder.zine/   http://soulgrinderzine.blogspot.com/  




"Death’s Crown” 2012 CD

(Abyss Records)


Southwicked are Floridian death metallers featuring one of the founding members of the movement in one Allen West. You know that guy from Obituary, Massacre and Six Feet Under. I seen one review say this album is super similar to the first Six Feet Under record, I would not really know as I honestly never tried to get into that band. As for Death’s Crown it is some solid death metal that is a cross between a muted, less awesome Obituary sound mixed with the Swedish death metal sound of old. The combining of those two on paper actually sounds pretty damn exciting to me. I love Obit and worship old Swedish death and you know this is a pretty good album, but really that is all it is, just pretty good. I guess I was just expecting a little more with that sound mix and having it involve Allen West. Maybe I project unfair baggage and expectations Mr. West, but that sort of comes along with him, whether he likes it or not, the price of being a legend in the genre. If you can keep your expectations out of the sky where mine were I think you will probably really dig this album. It is certainly growing on me bit by bit with each new listen.  Still has a ways to go to get to great album status for me though.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/southwicked  http://www.officialabyssrecords.com     




"Infernal Decadence" 2018 CD

(Vendetta Records)


As soon as you plug in Infernal Decadence, Spectral Wound teleport you to a labyrinthine forest crowded with frosty-limbed trees and crispy autumn mulch. The further you explore, the more frightening the scenery becomes--twisting and turning into a vision of occult darkness that will have you losing yourself in its all-encompassing conceptualization. Spectral Wound conjure sonic imagery in Infernal Decadence that, for me, will always make up the defining sounds of black metal at its protean core: cold production that reinforces the serrated edge of the riffing, which itself often settles into a whirlwind of tremolo picking that creates a menacing yet ultimately cathartic atmosphere. Because Spectral Wound focus so keenly on these characteristic elements of the second wave, complete with throaty screams that soar like a bird of prey over the instrumentation, they do two things: (1) they truly hone their abilities to an impressive degree for this medium and by virtue of this propensity (2) they place constraints on their sound that restrict them from taking the genre in an innovative direction. That second point is not to say that Spectral Wound sound unoriginal--I would actually argue that I could certainly pick them out from the crowd in which they situate themselves. I do find Infernal Decadence to be a truly new album because of its creative transitions and tonal shifts that grip the listener from start to finish, but I cannot ignore that the general sound is something that is more customary than I would hope for it to be considering it was released on June 1st, 2018, not in the early '90s. Regardless of my perspective, however, Spectral Wound have produced an album here that shows their skill with refreshing what some might consider a tired genre--an album with a familiar atmosphere yet renewed vigor that is sure to please its target audience. I would call Infernal Decadence a warm, fuzzy blanket for black metallers, but it would be more fitting to call it an icy blanket of snow instead. Give this a listen if you find enjoyment in the side of extreme metal that revels in frigid blasphemy.  – Aaron

https://spectralwound.bandcamp.com    https://vendettarecords.wordpress.com      




"Neoconception" 2020 CD & LP

(The Artisan Era)


This record is Spectrum Of Delusion’s (featuring members of Cadaverous and Hyperconvolutor) sophomore album and my first time encountering this Dutch band. This appears to be a full concept record lyrically, and musically obviously, which seems to follow a planet that has a cataclysmic planet shattering extinction event and the gradual rebuilding of said planet into something new out of the old world over a countless number of years. The story is told through the lyrics sung with a cool myriad of deep death growling that I found enjoyable. There is also series of daisy chain, what I thought were possibly samples from a movie, but come to find out are apparently all clips done by voice actors depicting news reports and other story telling elements for added dramatic effect. I like the amount of these clips used, it is just enough to add flesh to the story and depth to the emotional elements of the music, but the band did not fall into the trap of over using this device. The band plays brutal death metal that is both intricate and bludgeoning at the same time. There are enough roots and foundation building blocks in Spectrum Of Delusion’s sound to please fans of old school brutal death metal. While at the same time there is plenty of innovation and progressive modern construction sensibilities within the bands songwriting to satisfy devotee’s of current forward-looking death metal modern approach. The bands music is also extremely technical and that should appeal to fans of bands like Spawn Of Possession, Death (later days of the band), Xythlia, Theory In Practice, Suffocation, Obscura and the like. Spectrum Of Delusion have been labouring on “Neoconception” for four years and it shows in the level of intricacy, conceptual connection of lyrics and music in a close marriage of vibrant technicality and ruthless brutality that stays true to their musical vision and roots. This is well worth your attention.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/SpectrumofDelusion    https://theartisanera.bandcamp.com/       




"Antimoshiach" 2018 CD

(Invictus Productions)


I can not help but wonder if the title of this album is homage to a certain infamous and revered black metal musician, shop and record label owner. I am immediately taken aback by the sinister electricity and gutsfuck high energy right from the opening song of this album. The sound on this album also heavy, gritty and crystal clear and real, for lack of a better term, something only a top notch analog recording can sound can achieve. For influences, I hear strong influence and parallels, to the earlier works from bands Immortal, Darkthrone, Mayhem, Satyricon, Carpathian Forest, Impaled Nazerene, Mortuary Drape, Ancient Rites, Root etc… As well as, I even hear some hints of early on Slayer, stealthily wafting throughout the evil and hateful maelstrom. The guitar sound, song structuring, and nearly headbangable melodies take this album to edge of not being purely black metal. However, Salpsan may be a little more versatile and dynamic, with regards to incorporating structural influences into the bm sound, but he always contains it within a harsh, freezing bestial black metal exterior which encompasses and exemplifies the time-honored ways of darkness and evil. The lyrics and concept follow suit, to me Spite are upholding the true black metal principles, which were set forth by the forefathers in the first and second wave of this sacrosanct and enshrined grand musical / conceptual movement. The vocals on here are fantastic, they are a semi-clear screams that are wrapped in a traditional black rasp with an obscure whispering undertone. They feel very much influenced by the early days of black metal, as the first wave and second wave met and began merging into an astonishingly ominous spiteful force that has possessed me and others for many years. This is highly recommended to old school die hard black metal devotees. Honestly, this easily has to be one of the best black metal records I have heard in the last year or so, maybe alongside White Death’s self-titled album.  - Dale

https://spitedesecration.bandcamp.com/    https://invictusproductions.net/      




"Ride With Death" CD

(Hells Headbangers)


This is some of the better Motorhead worship I have heard since the mighty Superchrist burst onto the scene like an artillery shell. Speedwolf seem to like the Motorhead stuff that has the most punk-y type elements to it and a little of that GBH / Amebix type of flavour. The song titles should give you a further feel of what you get such as “I am The Demon”, “Up All Night”, “Out on Bail”, and “I Can’t Die”. This is total beer swilling, chopper riding hard rock and metal party music. No nothing remotely ground breaking or bringing anything new to the table and yes it is full on retro. But I am full on retro myself and a classic sound is a classic sound for a reason. But it is also a fun ride and devotees of all things Lemmy Kilmister like will dig this.  – Dale

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




"Cypher” 2013 CD

(Agonia Records)


Spektr have created a very interesting but also kind of disturbing and morbid sounding release at the same time. The French band mixes elements of experimental black, industrial and even ambient music. There are some fast, chaotic guitar riffs blended with industrial noises and sounds that create a very harsh sound but at the same time the band blends all these elements together for a really good outcome. The band mixes in some aggressive metal heavier industrialized soundscapes throughout the entire cd. It's hard to pick one favorite song as all the songs are really well done and blend together and it's better if you listen to Cypher from start to finish. Spektr is definitely not a band for everyone to enjoy but if your a fan of industrialized, experimental black metal with some melodic ambient interludes then you might enjoy listening to Spektr's vision on cd known as Cypher.  - Patrick

http://www.agoniarecords.com/  http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Spektr/18228      




"Yersinia Pestis" 2012 CD

(Xtreem Music)


After a few years I can honestly say this was well worth the wait! If you are like me and have been lucky enough to hear/follow this bands earlier e.p's you know the quality {yet equally as violent sounding} black metal Spellcraft can create. Yersinia Pestis is Spellcraft's full-length debut and the songs range from 4-7 minutes but the band has enough creative ideas to give each song their own identity and life so they don't become boring or repetitive. The guitarist stays within the mid-to fast pace range for the most part but are not all about the speed as there as some really well-played and done obscure, and melodic guitar patterns that give a dark atmosphere to the overall sound. Midgard's vocals have never sounded better as he mixes demonic screams and raspy, whispery vocals. Spellcraft also use keyboards but like so many other bands that let the keyboards outshine the other instruments. Spellcraft intertwines the keyboards with the guitars, drums perfectly to make a dark atmosphere within the violent black metal storm. Spellcraft have released one of 2012's best black metal releases buy this if you consider yourself a fan of black metal!  - Patrick

http://www.myspace.com/spellcrafthell  http://www.xtreemmusic.com/    





Self-Titled 2007 CD

(Unexploded Records)


It has been some time since I have heard some real Swedish black metal in the old traditions. Just when I feared Sweden was getting soft. For the trivia buffs, Spetalsk is Sverige for “Leprosy” and the band features members of Terrorama, Satanic Slaughter and few other bands. Three bands per member, yes it must be Swedish. This self named platter was recorded at Pure Dechristianizing studios with by Magnus Devo Andersson (Marduk), so you know it is sick sounding. Without any doubt in my mind this debut album fits into the Marduk, Funeral Mist, early Dark Funeral & old Darkthrone classic Scandinavian mold. For some I know it will seem a little unoriginal but for a maniac like me that worships it it is absolutely bestial and great. The music is mainly straight ahead blitzing darkness and brutality, yet the riffs, are catchy you can actually head bang to them. Another thing I like about this album is the quick and squealy guitar solos that act as a counter point to the rushing chaos. The real highlight though just may be the drumming by Endymion. Who turns in a forceful and commanding performance that can not go unnoticed. I feel like I just received a 35 minute beating while engulfed in darkness. – Dale





"Homo Hereticus” 2012 CD

(Masterful Records)


I have to give a shout out to Gods Ov War Productions. They are supporting the scene in their country and surrounding areas, that label is the one that sent me this album, as well as the Mass Burial, Centurion, Stillborn, Embrional releases and others from other labels and bands they support. That is the true underground spirit, I am happy to see some still remember it and still live it! I have heard some compare Sphere to their fellow countrymen like Behemoth and Vader and those are probably pretty fair comparisons. This is some pretty raging death metal and there is a fair bit going on if you listen closely. The vocalist is like a bear locked in the cage, attempting to batter ram his way out. A lot of the music is straight ahead visceral onslaught but they do change things up and add some interesting dynamics and tempo variations to keep you from getting bored. I can definitely headbang to it and that is good thing. I don’t think there is much to fault with this record, it did not completely blow me away but it is a damn solid and a strong example of Polish death metal done right.  - Dale

https://www.reverbnation.com/sphereband  http://www.masterful-records.com/     




"The Great Seal” 2022 CD & LP

(Svart Records)


Being the doom metal hound I tend to be, it is surprising to me that this is my first encounter with the long running Finnish band Spiritus Mortis, which started releasing demos back in 1990!! I am not sure I would call their style straight up doom, more like traditional doom and classic heavy metal mixed together to pleasing effect. You get the slow gallop heavy doom riffs and the skillful, finesse heavy metal guitar intricacies and melodies under one banner. I could go for even more of the heavier plodding riffs than are present here, but they do a pretty good job of mixing it up, they have a penchant for the moody, even slightly melodramatic emotional moments. Kimmo Perämäki does an admiral job of conveying the deep introspective tones of the music through his vocals, as he shape shifts his silky voice to mimic the poignant musical affectations. As much as I am digging Kimmo’s vocals on here, it also gets me wondering what their past two albums sounded like, as they featured the vocalist Albert Witchfinder of the infamous (now sadly defunct) doom band Reverend Bizarre. I guess I will have to look into their past works now to find out, hey? I think I shall. Until then I will keep enjoying the moody and somber heavy metal doom sounds on this solid album. An album that I am sure fans of bands like Candlemass, Reverend Bizarre, Manilla Road, Omen, Solitude Aeturnus, Count Raven, Pagan Altar and the like will enjoy. Give it a try if that applies to you.  - Dale

https://spiritusmortis.com/   www.svartrecords.com         




"The Plague Of The Aeons" 2020 CD EP

(Personal Records)


This release is on the newly minted Personal Records, a Mexican label owned / run by Jacobo Córdova from the long running bands Majestic Downfall & Zombiefication. So much like their label Sporae Autem Yuggoth from Chile is a young entity as well, in fact, this EP is their debut release. The band plays truly gloomy yet brutal and primordial doom death metal that brings to mind some of the classic doom death bands from the early to mid 1990s. Despite the tempo of the music being very slow, it also is steady if that makes sense, like the forward motion is continual even if it is at a glacial pace. The music is crushing in it’s own way, but also it feels very ominous yet introspective and emotionally overcast. The vocals are mainly a slow moving elongated and obscured sounding whisper growl, the vocals do occasionally pick up their speed in those rare instances that the music speeds up, ala sections of the song “Cathedral Of The Abuser”. All of the four songs on here are not surprisingly epic in length, averaging 7-8 minutes a piece. This release may not have blown my doors off metaphorically speaking, but I also can not deny that this is some strong doom death, which fans who like the old school sounds of this sub-genre will likely really enjoy.  - Dale

https://sporaeautemyuggoth.bandcamp.com/releases    http://www.personal-records.com/          




"Manifest Of Refusal” 2012 CD

(PRC Music)


Upon hearing Manifest of Refusal the most lasting impression I come away with is their anvil destroying brutal backbone. Yes these Russians are not quite your usual death metal band, they mix in some minor influences from time to time from the industrial genre and goth sounding bits and weird synth. The goth type tidbits are few and far between, which is a good thing because they are out of place, sound a little forced and are distracting. When Stalwart hit straight on, albeit in a technical fashion, they are at their best and this is the mainstay of the album. Just fucking raging death metal that brings to mind things like old Napalm Death, Strapping Young Lad, Carcass, Meshuggah, Theory in Practice – though these guys may be slightly more brutal and not quite as technical as some of those influences I mention. All in all this is a pretty impressive record, some of the material might not be the freshest sounding stuff you heard, but the way it is presented does sound fresh to these ears.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/stalwartmetal  http://www.prcmusic.com     




"Psychic Secretions" 2021 CD, LP & MC

(Nuclear War Now! Productions)


These Australian avant-garde occult black/death metallers have been doing this for a very long time, so I do not lump them in with the current trend of progressive extreme metal bands the last few years. I would instead claim them as one of the fathers and originators of this sub-genre, as they started doing this in the mid-90s when very few if anyone else was. So full disclosure, I go into this release as a long time StarGazer devotee, I even ordered a band tshirt that had, if memory serves, the cover artwork from their ’99 split album with Invocation. The two original members of this trio are The Great Righteous Destroyer on bass/vocals & The Grand Inquisitor on guitars/vocals are currently or have been in a ton of bands you should have heard of like Misery’s Omen, Cauldron Black Ram, Mournful Congregation, Martire, Road Warrior and more. The music of StarGazer is always cloaked in a dark and sinister aura, but the music and the playing is always so smooth, precise and as classic metal sounding as one can imagine. They do have a lot of inventive songwriting, but one of the things I love about this band is they never let things get out of hand by splicing flowery melodies, or just silly sound effects and samples to let those do the work for them at being avant-garde. StarGazer makes everything sound very shadowy and do as much as possible with traditional instrumentation. They stay as true to the evil sound and intentions of the pioneering days of black/death as a central thread, while pushing envelope in dynamic ways that I find infinitely entertaining. The talent and song crafting vision is thing to behold on “Psychic Secretions”, as it invokes in the listener feelings and emotions of malevolence and introspection thusly taking you on one hell of a mental journey. Pay your respects to one of the inventors and masters of this musical concept / sub-grenre by ordering a copy of this excellent album posthaste, if not sooner.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/StarGazer-292821067421712    http://www.nwnprod.com/         




"Bazaar Of Wonders” 2013 CD

(Sublimity Records)


The production on this album is so clear and loud, it is almost too much for me. But I can see why this Russian band wanted it so crisp, because they are fantastic musicians and pull off some high level stuff, as they wind their way through this progressive metal album. Some sections of this album were very enjoyable for me, other sections, I found a tad pretentious sounding and purposely so. I think the band might have gotten carried away, with inviting literally ten or twelve guest musicians, probably from their university music courses, or some such, to play on it looks like 9 of the 12 songs on this album. I wonder if a collaborative effort that wide spread, may make the flow of the songs and album as whole, a little less cohesive. The vocalist is excellent, not that much of an accent can be detected and he reminds me a little to Ray Adler, whom I am a fan of. The more I listen to this record, it is growing on me. I think Starsoup (I do not like that band name much at all), to give you a better mental picture, probably reside somewhere between newer Fates Warning and Dream Theater (a little less intricate / more accessible) mixed with a touch of the Metallica “Black” album influence. Some of the speedy guitar solos, which flow in and out of the mix, are fantastic and really add a dynamic punch to the emotive material. I must admit a couple songs in; I did not think I would like this album as much as I do. Definitely something I can recommend to progressive metal fans. I have to throw out a caveat to this whole thing, there are two tracks, thankfully short, “Rumors Of A Better Life” & “Road To Sunset”, that quite honestly border on top 40 radio pap. I can do without that shit and I am slightly insulted, that they tried to slip those in, muddying the waters, among an otherwise wonderful progressive metal album. I think when I put this on my mp3 player; those two songs will be deleted and my listening experience benefit greatly for it.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Starsoup  http://sublimity.bandcamp.com/     




"Labyrinth Of Veins” 2022 CD & LP

(Peaceville Records)


If you have read Canadian Assault for any length of time you know Autopsy is one of my all-time favourite bands in any genre. You say but there are a lot of bands these days influenced by them, well this is different because this new band features Chris Reifert, the drummer / vocalist of that same said legendary band! Okay, but does it sound anything like early Autopsy and the answer is a resounding YES!! I mean there are differences here, but musically, stylistically and sound wise it is probably 70% classic doomy Autopsy, and Reifert’s amazing growling vocals are one hundred fucking percent early Autopsy! Oh it is glorious my friends, those vocals are in such fine form, it is almost unbelievable how good that man’s vocals still sound – I have chills literally. His vocals added to that music are like some sort of arcane musical rite that only Chris can master with that charisma, perfect inflection and brutal yet clear enough to understand growl. I do apologize that I have yet to mention the other half of this two man band, which is Greg Wilkinson (owner / operator of Earhammer Studios as well as being in bands such as Deathgrave, Brainoil & Leather Glove) on guitar / bass. The production on this album is clear yet not clean, everything is incredibly heavy and powerful. Static Abyss create death doom metal at it’s finest, at it’s most grimy and necro with that quintessential old ‘Mental Funeral’ (also known by me as the masterpiece album) sinister aura wrapped around everything. As mentioned there are differences like the pounding sections like in the song “Jawbone”, which will compel you to headbang on command before it transitions into this extensive gloomy emotive section that is wonderfully hypnotic, then snapping you out of it once again to briefly to finish with another neck wrecking fury. Yes different and not so much old Autopsy sounding touches, but also very good and welcome sounds that are seamlessly transitioned in and out of with aplomb. This is honestly a great album in it’s own right, and in my opinion an absolute must have for fellow Autopsy diehards like myself. This is not even mentioning that I am sure many fans of bands that are heavily influenced by them like Incantation, Immolation, Funebrarum, Undergang, Disma, Dead Congregation and similar bands will love this. Speaking of which, like I have not mentioned Autopsy enough in this review, they also added this same Greg Wilkinson to their classic line-up and are working on new music as we speak! Will it sound more like Autopsy than Static Abyss?! I am not sure, but I can not wait to find out!! Until then get this ASAP.  - Dale

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




"Static Of Masses / Zogthorgven” 2018 Cassette EP

(Doomday’s Today Records)


There is not much to go on here, just one single song from both bands, so about 12 minutes of music total. But I will give it a good try here. The Static Of Masses track starts off with a distorted sci-fi pulsing mixed with like an old tv white noise type of sound with distorted, slowed down voices filtering in and out, in a trippy sort They Live tv transmission interruption signal. It is tough to make out the spoken word, likely taken from a movie or tv show, it is understandable at times and difficult to discern at others, but it is some sort of recount of a messed up traumatic event or something. It eerily repeats the song title “Just A Dream”, again and again and that is it, other than the background effects slightly changing up now and again. Next up, Zogthorgven with their single track that kind of picks up just like the above song, with wavy distorted sci-fi type pulsing, this time with some real vocals that are more sung and slightly growled, but more malevolent sounding than the Static song. Again, like the other bands track with the repeating, slightly different sounding white noise bits along with old sci-fi beeps and sound effects. There is actually more a of rhythmic music that comes in like a very stripped down version of an industrial bands drum beats. This is not really my kind of music, neither band tracks are really for the most part, but this one had a sci-fi feeling mixed with a slight Ministry moody vibe. As well, as I mentioned at times there is a little more musicality and was a little more enjoyable for me. Check it out if you like this sort of thing or think you might, traditional UG metal fans that read this might not like it much as there is no metal to found on this here.  Feel free to send orders of physical copies of this tape to either of the following: Doomsday Today Records, Eternal Darkness Creations, c/o Keith Dempe, PO Box 268, Coraopolis, PA. 15108 and also thru Ralph's Records, c/o Doug Stapp, 3322 82nd St., Lubbock, TX. 79423, USA  http://www.RalphsRecordsTX.com  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/staticovmasses/    https://www.facebook.com/zogthorgven/      




"In Putrescence" 2010 CD

(Agonia Records)


I like the energy and often manic pace on this record. The Stench is emanating from Sweden and play rancid death metal. Maybe the first thing you think of when reading that is classic early to mid 90s Swedish death metal. Especially after reading band name, knowing they are Swede’s and hearing the opening riff of the song “The Blackness”, it quickly became clear that such assumptions were quite valid. Those lovely oceans of rolling chainsaw riffs fans of this style love so much are present here. The band I think of most when listening to them is Dismember, but I am sure you could throw a number of others from back in the day in the pot as well. The vocals themselves are not too far many of the old Swede bands with that raspy shouted growl. Stench know the value of a catchy heavy riff and slow down the pace from time to time just enough to add some extra depth to their sound. I have to say personally I enjoyed this record, but should probably throw in the caveat that I am a massive die hard fan of this style. I would say for those that like old style Swedish dm, but are picky with it; you could probably pass on this. I just can not get enough of it myself.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/swedenstench  http://www.agoniarecords.com/




"The Shadow Compendium” 2011 CD

(Listenable Records)


I have never been much of a follower or a fan of guitar shred or guitar virtuoso albums. I might have two that fall into this category, which I actually listen to once in a blue moon. I was all ready to dislike this and crap on it. But Stephan Forte has managed to capture my imagination and attention with The Shadow Compendium. I think upon listening to this one would call Stephan a guitar virtuoso, yet this is no shred or guitar wank fest. No every guitar riff, every sweeping guitar sequence fill and noodle, actually means something, it actually propels the song along and most importantly for me, it conveys immense emotion and atmosphere. I find myself mesmerized one moment by the playing and the next I forget all about the playing completely and am whisked away on cerebral journey. This is one of the few albums I have ever listened to that I was glad there are no vocals on it, quite honestly that would ruin the experience. What a fantastic work of art this album is, one that I can wholeheartedly recommend to metalheads that are fans across many sub-genres. Please check this out.  – Dale

https://www.facebook.com/stephanforte  http://www.listenable.net/   




"This Is Rock ‘N Roll" 2012 CD

(Listenable Records)


I am not going to lie when I heard this French bands name. I thought what a lousy band name, it sounds like the title of a man on man porno movie. Either that or they are big, big fans of sticky cinnamon buns. I am happy to say either way that they managed to clean off those sticky hands and use them to play some good rock ‘n roll son. I mean this is no frills, non-technical just rocking music that might bring to mind influences from bands like AC/DC, Thin Lizzy and the like. I can not call them AC/DC clones, but they really take on that style and it is the best way to get across to you what you will hear. They have a good vocalist, which is really important to trying to pull off this type of music, he has a slight accent but also has a certain charisma that pulls it off. It just goes to show you once again you can not judge a book by it’s cover, just on the band name alone I fully expected to hate this and rip it a new one, instead it ripped me a new one. It’s not metal but if you old school rock in the AC/DC tradition then give this one a try. - Dale

http://stickyboys.bandcamp.com/  http://www.listenable.net/     




"Los Asesinos Del Sur" 2011 CD

(Ataman Productions)


Yet another piece of heavy Polish darkened Death metal, what an intensely stuffed package of goodies Gods ov War Productions sent to me. Stillborn play some really heavy, chugging metal and the production is crystal clear and sharp, almost riding the line of over produced but never quite sticking their toe across that line. If you like good, clean ‘n crisp as the morning air in the dead of a cold winter, I have an album for you. Los Asesinso Del Sur has some interesting things going, they play at as expedited pace and I do not think anyone can accuse them of not keeping the song structures fresh and constantly moving. About the only thing I could say is at times they try to do a little too much and could sit down on a cool section and milk it a bit, get a little bit of headbang reaction going. But that is a small gripe; this is generally a very finely constructed and produced death metal album. I had no idea the Polish dm scene was this diverse or had this much depth, it is surely a scene to be reckoned with. Check this album out for all fans of stuff by countrymen Vader, Behemoth and the like. I could not find a website for this label, but apparently the excellent veteran label Pagan Records are their official distributor.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/naturalborndestroyers  http://www.pagan-records.com   




"Golet 2011 CD

(Folter Records)


One of Serbia's most well respected and known bands return with their best release to date!. Golet is the latest release from the stone and shows the band still creating complex, uncompromising and above all original black metal. The bands sound is firmly set in the roots of black metal but is very hard to pin point a certain band they sound similar to. The songs are mid-paced range but do speed up but usually move back and forth between mid-range and fast as hell black metal keeping the listener interested as to what the band will do next. The band keeps their production somewhere in the middle not the most crystal clear sounding band  {personally black metal should never sound like this to me}  but it also does not  have a real primitive, rehearsal type of sound like so many of the early bands of the genre had. The Stone has been going strong since the mid 90's and one listen to their latest release Golet you will understand why. All hail the stone and Serbian metal!!  - Patrick

http://www.myspace.com/thestonehorde  http://www.myspace.com/folter666    




"From Time…To Eternity" 2013 CD

(Rest In Peace Records)


The second Stone Magnum release From Time To Eternity was a nice surprise to my ears why? Because usually traditional doom bands bore me and I loose interest after a few songs, but this isn't the case with stone Magnum. Heavy Sabbath like riffs roll over you like a tank, slow pounding drums and new vocalist Nick Hernandez has amazing vox that have awesome vocal range / tone. Magnum are definitely a doom band by sound and heart but the guys are not afraid to use more uptempo, bluesy riffs and some classic rock influences. I haven't heard Stone Magnum's previous release so I can't compare the two in sound but I can say that From Time To Eternity is flawless in all it's doomish glory.  - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/stonemagnum  http://www.restinpeacerecords.us/      




“The Knave” 2013 CD

(Paragon Records)


This is a bit of departure for Paragon, who seem to be primarily a black and death metal label. Storm Breeder, yet another one man band, I suppose could labeled at times experimental (mainly due to the odd unconventional accent here and there not common to this genre such as synth, clean female vocal bits, sound effects) speed / thrash metal. The playing on here is pretty impressive, some amazing riffing and ultra precise time changes often executed at galloping speeds. I am not sure what is that wavy sound over and around the chorus sections of the opening song but it is quite distracting, not in a good way on an otherwise impressive opener. There are some somber, slower moments but the mainstay is a heavy metal gallop or marching thrash riff speeds with some well done but not always as imaginative (as the rest of the music) drum patterns as the song could really use, but they surely do get the job done. This is some really good music and it is impressive that one man managed all of this at such a high quality level overall and with such superb execution. The production is fine, quite clear but for me could have used a little more bottom end to bring out the heavy. But I think honestly the biggest let down for the band is the vocals, they have little to no range, virtually no power and the base voice is a little bit limp sounding. That is something this style needs much more than say death metal or black metal etc… is a strong, distinctive and power vocalist of which you will not find on The Knave. I guess the main man could not find a vocalist and was just forced to do it himself, with that in mind they are not terrible, just not would they need to be to match the level of everything else. I really look forward to hearing more from this band, especially if they can secure a full time vocalist that suits this style.  - Dale

https://myspace.com/stormbreeder   http://www.themetalunderground.com/  




"A Mother's Curse” 2022 CD, LP & Cassette

(Dark Descent Records)


This is surprisingly, to me, this Danish bands debut full-length album. I say surprisingly because the band has been around since 1997. Though as you might imagine there are huge gaps of silence between releases, as during the last 25 years they have only released 2 demo tapes, one 7” EP and a CD EP. This trio of musicians that make up this band have many other bands past and present bands that kept them busy, some of which include Undergang, Cerekloth, Procession Of Headless Angels, The Cleansing, and Usipian. The music on here features some nice guitar fills in there, a little melody too, but just enough to add depth and keep things interesting to augment the brutality of it all, which stays firmly in the driver’s seat of this album. The vocals of Martin Leth Andersen is something I enjoy very much about Strychnos and this album, he has an extremely magnetic traditional growl that bends and shape shifts around the underlying music like a serpent. I also like the epic length strident, boiling yell near the start of the song “Regiments Of The Betrayed”, and this song is a fine example of Andersen’s ability elongate his vocal chords and convey good emotion. Speaking of emotion, the music is always extreme yet showcases a real talent for building deeply emotive sequences into satisfying crescendos and mental journey’s. I am not saying Strychnos sounds overly like them, but their talent in this area is very reminiscent to me of the magnificence of the middle ‘90s Edge Of Sanity albums. That is high praise coming from me, as a diehard fan of that period of E.O.S., and in turn speaks to Strychnos’ strong songwriting abilities and feel for song flow. The artwork and lyrics are about a famous story of a Danish author written in 1847 and the music wonderfully conveys the range of despair, sadness and tragedy of the woman the story focuses upon. As debut albums go, even despite the long wait for this one, it remains one hell of a debut record that I would recommend.  - Dale

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




“Heir Today – God Tomorrow” 2010 CD

(Unexploded Records)


An amusing album title, which received a smirk from me. Then the music hit and it wiped that grin right off of my face. I mean it is really simple stuff if you strip it down, but holy shit is it ever angry and heavy like a spiked fist to the face. The vocals are fuming with hatred and are coarse, gruff sort of yelled growling, you can make out everything said yet is still extreme sounding. The vocals are honestly great and big part of the Styggelse sound and effect. The first few songs on the record had me kind of jacked up on the energy and fury. I must admit though it starts to wear thin after that initial gut reaction. As I mentioned it is very simplistic stuff, it all goes at one middle to fast paced speed, it never changes up, never really adds much dynamic. Which as the album winds on makes it sound quite repetitive and seems to have a hard time maintaining my interest. Styggelse for me are a one trick pony, they do that one trick pretty well, but when you are listening to that same unchanging thing over and over for more than half an hour. Well it grows stale.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/styggelse  http://www.unexplodedrecords.com/




“Cryptobiosis” 1998 CD5

(Wild Rags!)


Well, this band lists their influences as Cryptopsy, Katakylsm, and Suffocation. Though I don’t hear any of those here and their skills are not on par with them either. Having said that I loved the first 3 songs of heavy but not brutal death metal and they know how to work a good memorable rhythm with some decent leads and cool echo style death growls. The last 2 cuts are where things break down and while the fourth song is cool it is ruined by an awful sounding instrumental intro, but if you can get past that it is a solid enough tune. The final track “Anoxibiosis” features a acoustic intro with birds chirping in the background that is pretty lame and makes it hard to like the song that follows. Guys tighten things up a bit and forget those intros they are embarrassingly bad.  – Dale

Wild Rags Records, 2207 W. Whittier Blvd., P.O. Box 3302, Montebello, CA. 90640 - 8602, USA. Band contact: Subverator, Casilla 158, La Pax - Bolivia, SOUTH AMERICA




"Existential Realism” 2021 Cassette EP

(Nekrassious Tapes)


It was good to find this in my mailbox, and it is always great to be in touch UG maniacs from France. This band however is from Chile and this twenty-two minute tape is the European version of this release, which first came out in 2019. The music on ‘Existential Realism’ good ancient darkened death metal with thrash roots, like taking Possessed and Morbid Angel then mixing them with classics from their homeland like the early works of Sepultura, Sarcofago, Mutilator, Pentagram, Atomic Aggressor, Vulcano etc… That should give you a good idea of what you have in store when listening to this release. The music is filled with punishing, weighty riffs that will force you into a headbanging fury whilst violently stomping you into the ground. The production on here is perfect; it is heavy and gritty while still being clear enough to hear everything well, especially the killer guitar work on here. The arsenal of caustic growls, gruff yells and  gritty screams all delivered with a nice creepy whispery, echo-y undertone courtesy of vocalist Impetigo. This is some pretty killer stuff I must say. I believe Suffering Sights have just released debut album just recently, but a little birdie told they think the music on this EP is even better than the new stuff. I will let you decide on that. The cassette from Nekrassious is very limited, so hurry up if you want a copy, and if you really love old school deathrash metal and can not get enough of it then you should own this.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/sufferingsights   https://nekrassioustapes.bandcamp.com/music      




"The Black Mouth Of Sepulchre” 2021 CD, LP & Tape

(Dark Descent Records / Me Saco Un Ojo Records / Desiccated Productions)


Sulphurous hail from Denmark, despite only being a duo they produce a very big and full death metal sound. M.F. handles the Guitars, bass & vocals (he is also in the bands Ascendency, Had, Hyperdontia, Sort Sind and Taphos), while the drums are handled by Tuna (Apparatus, Eldjudnir, Eternich, Hyperdontia, Redivivus and Witchburn). As you can see both men have been very active in the UG scene for many years. Sulphurous’ songwriting is sort of a structure within a structure, by that I mean they have that old school brutal death metal foundation as the skeleton and flesh it out with a lot of newer death metal creativity. That flesh and those organs musically speaking are vibrant and at times almost busy, there is a lot going on with the individual instruments that is interesting and presents a real energetic drive that keeps things compelling. Yes, there are a lot of sub textures, interesting fills and patterns whilst never losing sight of that dark crushing brutality. I like all of that and you will not get bored whatsoever listening to this band. In addition to a very strong performance on the drum kit by Tuna, I also very much enjoyed M.F.’s somewhat obscured evil, commanding and aggressive yet not too aggressive growling that fits the music well and adds that touch of cruelty and audio depravity to the aura of darkness their music is enveloped within. For me, the band delivers well on their sophomore album and it is worth your attention.  - Dale

https://sulphurous.bandcamp.com/    www.darkdescentrecs.com/    https://www.mesacounojo.com/    https://desiccatedproductions.com/         




"Ylem” 2021 CD & Cassette

(Willowtip Records)


Sunless hail from the not so sunny, heavily forested and often snow covered landscapes of Minnesota. This sophomore full-length shows itself as very technical, often creative and sometimes quirkily structured rhythmic death metal music. I think to give you a general audio picture of their sound you can reference influences like later day Gorguts, Gigan or maybe a little less brutal / aggressive version of the music on recent albums from Deathspell Omega, Ulcerate and Pyrrhon. You can tell at times the band want the instruments and their songwriting to do the talking, so to speak. I say that as there are growling vocals on here, which are a dual layer mixing of deep growls and slightly higher pitched cleaner growling, though good they are sparsely used for long sequences to allow the underlying music ample breathing room. I feel like I should mention the drum work on here as well, it is superb in it’s own technical yet nuanced fashion. Despite the level of technicality, much like say Gorguts there is an emphasis put on an oft times moody, emotive and introspective atmosphere through the album. It is a bit of an onion type of album, not always immediately accessible yet the more you listen and the more you absorb I think the more you will get out of ‘Ylem’. If you like the bands mentioned above and imaginative and busy technical death metal with a slight lean toward pensive tonal touches then you should really give Sunless a chance.  - Dale

https://sunless.bandcamp.com/    https://www.willowtip.com    https://willowtip.bandcamp.com/         




"Calculations Of The Ancients” 2014 CD

(Minotauro Records)


The band sells themselves with some lofty and ambitious expectations. And I quote “Intriguing, thought-provoking and memorable, Super Massive Black Holes (aka SMBH) plays a mix of genres that will make you scratch your head and tap your foot, all while banging your head into solid objects. Seamlessly blending Death Metal, Rock, Jazz-Fusion, Prog, Blues, and “Other”, SMBH will expand your mind and prove that new and interesting music is alive and well.” For me, to even attempt what they set forth in that description, you need to not just be good, but be superb in two areas. First, being simply or not so simply, the technical skill and wide ranging musical knowledge, in applying that skill. Secondly, a natural talent for song flow, song arranging and transitioning, from one thing to the next, constantly changing style, as the band has set forth to do. I think SMBH have the first area covered off pretty well, they obviously are well learned in a variety of contrasting styles / genres, as well as just being very skilled in their instrument(s) of choice. So so far, so good. Then, we enter in the second area, of expertise needed I covered above. This is where, in my opinion, SMBH fall flat on their faces, not all of the time, but well most of the time. Their song flow, more often than not, is abysmal, their transition between time changes and stylistic changes, that are constantly happening are clunky, stilted and disjointed. It is almost, like they took some cool jam cassettes, chopped up the tape inside the cassettes into a hundred pieces, then mixed them all together, and piece by piece pulled out each section, scotch taped them together and said let’s see what this shit sounds like. That description is a too harsh, granted, but all the same it is a mental example of what I am talking about, taken to the extreme, yet at the end of it I think it gives you a picture of what I mean. Catchy or meaningful song structure, which really makes it a piece of music, tends to get thrown by the wayside, in favour of just getting all our parts in, all our influences crammed in there. I am not sure, if it is just that that they got greedy, about a packing all of this stuff in and damn the result, or these talented musicians just lack vision and talent, when it comes to the task of actual song writing and song arranging. The vocals, on top of this discordant music, are pretty thin and weak sounding, not really bad, they are passable, but all the same they do the already lacking music no real favours. There is a lot of talent here though, if only it could be focused in a more productive and refined direction. I really wanted to like this record a lot too. I mean it is released by a veteran label, which I have a lot of respect for (did I mention the packaging on this album is absolutely superb?); not to even mention I have a soft spot for the band immediately, because they are from my old stomping grounds, where I was born and raised, in Alberta, Canada. I gave it a good try boys, a lot listens went into this review, but sorry I have to be honest on how I feel about it.  - Dale

http://www.smbhmusic.com/   http://www.minotaurorecords.com/     




"Holy Shit” 2012 CD

(Hells Headbangers)


I am a Superchrist fan I can tell you that up front. It should be no secret though; as with Autopsy Kitchen Records, the label I co-founded with Jeffrey Kusbel, we released a Superchrist album haha. Superchrist has changed up their sound a little since those days though, back then they were more of a really killer, talented punk-y Motorhead mixed with Iron Maiden clone. They also had quite the raunchy, fuck you I will spit beer in your face attitude. The attitude is subdued but pretty similar, the sound on the other hand has taken more of a melodic metal, hard rock and punk (well the punk was there before but different influences now) directional turn. I mean you can still hear small hints of Maiden and Motorhead, but I also am hearing influences like Bad Religion, The Ramones along with maybe stuff like Saxon, The Rods, Thin Lizzy and Diamond Head. Definitely musically they have gone in a friendlier, less raucous direction. I gotta admit it really does work for them and I enjoy what I hear. I might like their old sound a little better, but this is good too. There is definitely more of a light melody driven punchy air to their sound and pacing now. I mean the closing track “Beer Metal” reminds me a little more of their old sound and that is a cool track. Yes it is a new direction but if you like the influences I mentioned (I realize some of the extreme metal fans reading this are cringing right now haha) about then you can always be sure Superchrist will deliver it all with quality and conviction. Check it out.  - Dale

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




"The Sorrow Of Soul Through Flesh” 2022 CD & LP

(Unspeakable Axe Records / Dark Descent Records)


Suppression hails from South America, the absolute hotbed for extreme UG metal, more specifically in this case the country of Chile. Their debut album (even though they released a demo in 2012 and have been going ever since!) features some excellent death metal music that possesses a decided undercurrent of thrash metal darkness. Their influences clearly originate in the early to mid 1990s death metal scene and you can hear influences from that time period like Death, Pestilence, Obituary, Sadus, Gorguts, Skeletal Remains etc… I might even throw Pungent Stench in there for those little off-kilter guitar fills which rears it’s head from time to time. The old school death metal description is a very apt one here, not only do they have those old school influences, but the songwriting and structure itself is very early nineties, and I for one dig it. There are some little inventive yet quirky underlying guitar nuances like in the song “Unperpetual Misery” that are kept subtle yet they really add an extra dimension and make things interesting. I mean really some the guitar work on here in general may not jump out at you upon first listen, but with repeated listening you can really start to appreciate the thought and skill put into a lot of those impressive passages that dot the landscape. The good growling vocals on here, also like the music are death metal yet have that dark yelling gruff air of thrash style vocals. This is of particular note for diehards of that classic deathrash metal of early days of extreme metal.  - Dale

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




"Cube 3” 2013 CD

(Listenable Records)


I see terms like experimental and avant-garde death metal thrown around often while describing this French band. Those are fairly lofty terms for me at least and you better be good, damn good to pull off this style well enough to impress me with it. So has Supuration managed this mean feat? Every now and then I would say yes, but the answer for the bulk of the material on Cube 3, is a fairly firm no. I am not saying this is a bad band. They take a lot of influences from good bands in the heavy metal and death metal arenas, and while it is good, they tend to present some of the more generic parts of those influences or at least they are fairly generic in re-producing those sounds. The kinds of bands I mean are things like Edge Of Sanity, later Carcass, late ‘90s Voivod. All of which I like, but well as I already explained above, it is about how they present those influences to the listener. The avant-garde or experimental parts are where I guess you could say they admirably tried to dress them up with some off-beat timing, slowing things down or punch it up in a happier way. They add some, not so much experimental as much as just different elements, it helps spice things up a little bit, but it has rather limited effect for me. I think the thing I like best about this band are the cool deep, yet very discipherable growling vocals that remind me again to Edge Of Sanity or maybe slightly to Grave or something. It was a nice try, I like what they were trying to go for, but it is a bit of a miss, a listenable miss mind you, but a miss all the same.  - Dale

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




"Part Of A Sick World" 2020 CD & Tape

(Metalville Records)


I think this is my first review of a Metalville Records release. The label interestingly, to me at least, happens to be owned and ran by Holger Koch (manager of Doro Pesch) and Chris Boltendahl (vocalist / songwriter of the mighty metal legends Grave Digger!). This is also my first encounter with Surgical Strike who play a high octane brand of power metal and thrash, which is decidedly polished precise, both in performance and album production. It is impressive how seamlessly they meld those power and thrash metal influences together, it just switches back and forth with perfect flow like two large creeks converging into one smooth river current. The guitar playing on here is superb, whether it is the briskly paced melodic heavy chug or the lightning blitz of the aggressive thrash riffing it is sure to induce headbanging and sore necks. Surgical Strike also has an infectious, fuck you sort of raucous attitude that comes through their music and lyrics including includes some memorable choruses and gang sung sections. The vocalist Jens Albert, while singing in English throughout does not really try to totally lose his accent, as many Euro bands heavy metal and thrash bands do. So, I suppose that might be an acquired taste for some, but for me it is totally fine and he is a pretty killer singer for this style. I think “Part Of A Sick World” can be recommended to old school (late ‘80s, early ‘90s era) heavy metal / thrash fans, who do not mind a bit of a modern coating on their classic metal and an ultra clean (possibly too clean?) production job.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/surgicalstrikemetal    http://www.metalville.de          




"No Grief” 2015 Cassette Album

(Merdumgiriz Records)


There is an interesting story behind this release as well as the main man behind what is a now a full band (see the review of one of their newer release). This was written and recorded, during a period of time that he was not only recovering from a car accident, but also just as he was about to be sentenced to go to jail. It is kind of a long story on the jail thing, needless to say his previous band kicked him out in a under handed way, then he alleges had security keep him out of live shows and continued to release/use material, he had written for the band. Subsequently, he showed up at the main offenders place of work, and apparently beat the shit out of him with a bike lock. So with that back story, it really gets you intrigued, no? I have to say this sounds very different from the bands current direction. I am not even sure what to call the style on this release, which was recorded back in 2012, it is a hodge-podge of dark emotional atmospheric hard rock/heavy metal (like stripped down, watered down influences from things like old Queensryche “Operation Mindcrime” or Voivod “Astronomy Domine” type of stuff), but mixed with little snippets of hardcore and thrash, plus half spoken/half sung vocals. I don’t know, there are some good parts, here and there, which I enjoyed plus overall I like how much emotional hate, pain, regret, melancholy that shines through the music. But honestly, overall I did not like it, it feels pretty disjointed, it feels sort of like main man Nick Noro is just vomiting all the emotion he can, all over the listener. But his thoughts, much like his feelings are scattered and fleeting and confused. I mean, even though it must have been a cathartic process for Nick, which is good for him, yet not necessarily good for the listener. Which is probably why, he never released it until now, who knows maybe people have heard about it and asked for it, it is not bad, just not that good either. Maybe some die hard fans of the band, would like to have it regardless, as it documents an important time in the birth of Survival, and what would help shape it later on. Apparently, they want to keep this very underground, to that aim they have made this limited and charging high prices for it (unless you think $100 is not too high for a tape), so you definitely need to want it very badly to buy it. If that interests you, then go for it, it is an unique experience. However, if that is not your cup of tea, and love thrash metal, I would encourage you to check out their new releases, like their “Shayda” album. Because that is good bay area crossover thrash metal, and much superior this release, they only got better and better with time, after “No Grief”, I am pleased to say.  - Dale

https://www.reverbnation.com/survivaloakland    http://merdumgiriz.org/           




"Black Mirror Reflection" 2020 CD & LP

(Eisenwald Records)


Svabhavat are a duo rising out of the dark forests (not the ones recently ablaze one would hope) pacific northwest of the United States. As far as I know this full-length is not only their debut album, but also their debut recording. Svabhavat play cold, harsh black metal that does have a slight or not so slight epic tone in their style. But they mainly produce cruel black metal, devoid of the sugary rhythms and riffs, and/or adventurous song structuring that has crept into a lot of modern black metal. Some of the influences I hear in the bands music are Judas Iscariot and Horna mixed with some early Darkthrone & Immortal, maybe to a lesser extent also bands like Black Funeral, early Mayhem, early Marduk, Nargaroth, Moonblood, Graveland etc… The vocals follow suit on of the influences I mentioned above. There is also some secondary tortured, lunacy filled screams and yells that remind me a little of Lust from Canada or the early Burzum releases. Both of those styles of vocal emanations are tremendous and add to the menacing evil atmosphere. This will probably not please newer black metal fans that love the incorporation of heavy flowery melodies, folk influence and “progressive” song structuring. I suspect the band is none too worried their music does not appeal to that crowd. No this is fucking black metal of old; it is sodden with freezing malice, always threatening darkness and evil around every dim corner. Fellow devotees and worshippers of the second wave of black metal, like myself, should take note of Svabhavat and "Black Mirror Reflection".  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/MalumInSe/    https://www.facebook.com/Eisenwaldofficial/         




"Sadness and Wrath" 2007 CD

(Soulseller Records)


The bio for Svartahrid was an interesting read. I admit I had a chuckle and yet was not surprised to hear the band lost their keyboardist some years back. They carried on as trio and went in a more grim black metal and gothy sympho label Napalm Records promptly wanted nothing more to do with them. They said fuck it and went onward to record their 3rd album on their own during 2002 and 2003 but never found a record label to release it until now. Enter Soulseller records, a fine label in my opinion. That opinion was only further enhanced when I realized the man sending me the promo was my old friend Daan from Damnation records (RIP, check out their old interview I did for issue 4 of the print zine), who is helping out with promotion - hails! Also of note for some I do suppose is the 2 founders of this band Istar and Forn also played in Mactatus and Nocturno Culto of Darkthrone penned the lyrics and sang on the song "Intensjon: Krig!". The music itself delivers as promised. Grim black metal with a pure dark heart and while speed is something held in high regard they are not afraid to counter point it with some slower doomy and heavy parts that almost have an old Celtic Frost feel to them. I must say I rather like what I hear. As for the vaunted Nocturno song it has more of a meandering pace with an epic vibe and heavy interludes. The vocals by Nocturno here are really strange and cool, something you would expect to come out of the Grim Reaper's decaying throat if you should be (un)lucky enough to receive his visit. If you liked stripped down black metal in the old way then receive my council well and order yourself a copy. – Dale





“Ex Inferi” 2010 CD

(Soulseller Records)


We have some Norwegian black metal on the block. It is always a pleasure to get a bm band from ground that was so fertile and important in the second wave of black metal in the early to mid ‘90s. After a bombastic build up intro, we get hit with some harsh and straight forward bm that possesses that cold feel mixed with a lot of energy and a little keyboards. I never tire of this sound and you can definitely hear some influence from early albums of Darkthrone, Immortal, Marduk, Horna, Graveland type sound. I guess you could say the guitars have a hint of a more heavy metal tone than some of those bands. The vocals have that harsh classic bm rasp but I would say Svartahrid’s singer annunciates his words a little more slowly and clearly and you can plainly make out most of the lyrics. It is quite an excellent job on vocalist Finn Tore’s part. The recording is good it rides the line between having a touch of that old raw sound and the newer era clarity, without going too far that way. It is good to see some Norwegian bands keeping the old flame burning bright, despite the freezing winds.  – Dale

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




"Drifting Through The Void” 2010 CD

(ATMF Records)


I will give them this much, this is different than the usual fair that comes across my plate. There are some black metal style elements or sections here, though sparsely used much of the time. The main body of the Svarti Loghin sound is emotive flowing indie rock (some might even cite british shoegaze influence). A style which is not something I generally care to listen to or enjoy. Yet I can at least admit they do what they do well. Svarti do have a poignant dreamy feel or atmosphere that draws you in. There are times this mix works well and others where it comes off awkward, and they seem to be trying too hard to mix the vastly differing styles. The vocals on the title track I found annoying and it sounded like they were trying extremely hard to be Pearl Jam. In fact that whole title track, you could throw out the window and the album would be all the better off for the subtraction. That song is just all over the place and even feels a little country in some spots. I mean how, do you have softened Burzum like sections on the same album as that? It just should not work and it does not work. The “Spirit Caravan”, Black Sabbath cover, they use to end the album was a nice touch and a fitting way to end. On the one hand I want to recommend this for the originality and atmosphere. But on the other hand, I expect most reading this will find the annoying elements too hard to overcome. It is a mixed bag for sure.  – Dale

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




"Requiem" 2020 CD & LP

(Carnal Records)


You know, it seems like most if not all Scadinavian black metal bands that have been around since the early days of the second wave of black metal (early ‘90s onward), seem have a strong cult following and are held in very high regard around the UG scene. Then you have a rare bm band like the Swedish Svartsyn, whom I became a devotee of in the mid ‘90s, which has been around even longer than that as Chalice (1991-1993 releasing a demo & a killer split Demo EP w/Illska) before changing their name to Svartsyn in 1994 and releasing their first demo tape under that moniker. That is why I am a little perplexed that Svartsyn is not uttered in the same breath as Darkthrone, Burzum, Immortal, Dark Funeral, Emperor, Graveland, Root, Ulver, Horna, Impaled Nazerene, Satyricon, Enslaved, Marduk etc… etc… I mean this band have never went away and have been releasing great second wave Scandinavian black metal all these years! They have released 9 demos, EPs & splits over those years, in addition to no less than 10 full-length albums!! Yeah I don’t get it honestly, they are surely criminally underrated in my view. But enough of that, how are they sounding these days, nearly 30 years after they arrived in the UG scene? Well, I will tell you with “Requiem” they (well Ornias for many years has essentially has run Svartsyn as a one man band with long time session drummer Ignace "Hammerman" Verstrate) are staying absolutely true to their roots! Svartsyn still conjures and performs potent black metal that is freezing cold and emanates an evil aura at all times. Their form of wintry black metal features flowing riffs dripping with hate, darkness and sinister malevolence. The drumming on here is extremely powerful and commanding. The traditional (yet unique in their own fashion) black rasps that emanate from Ornias’ tortured throat and spirit are among some of the best in the history of black metal in my opinion. Svartsyn unlike some of these black metal bands that have been around since the early days, have always stayed true to their black metal (and it’s) roots. Possibly another reason they have always stayed on smaller cult record labels to stay true to their path, Ornias has utter respect from me. This comes highly recommended from me. Support these Swedish UG legends!  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/svartsyn666    http://www.carnalrecords.com/         




"Shame Is Just A Word” 2020 CD

(Soulseller Records)


Norway’s Svarttjern return with, is it already their 5th album?! The band was originally formed by brothers HaaN and Hansfyrste, including HaaN there is now 3 members of Carpathian Forest in this band. Interesting album title aside, Svarttjern play what is these days a razor sharpened, battle tested style of hateful and vigorous thrashing black metal that can get you headbanging pretty hard. They keep their audio damnation at a high energy level, that does not always mean at maximum speed though as they often slow things down to a mid to semi-fast pacing, where they let their wicked riffing run free at times. It was not listed as such in any of my promo material or promo track listing, but I realized pretty quickly towards the end of the album there is even a “Bonded By Blood” Exodus cover, which has them showing their appreciation for their thrash roots in a literal sense. The band construct songs that are solid, but also straight forward in a formula that follows very much along the lines of song structuring from late ‘80s / early ‘90s cleaner, highly produced thrash metal bands. If you took a few of the musical touches and the black metal rasping vocals (and general imagery) away, replacing them with cleaner, gruff traditional thrash metal vocals then this really would be a straight up thrash metal record. But those black metal style elements are there; those bm rasps are there and are good with a pretty nimble delivery to keep up with the somewhat stylistically divergent music they are overlaid upon. I have to confess, I went into this looking forward to and expecting a full on black metal record, yet somewhere along the way I found blacked up thrash metal album, but it is a pretty good one so alls well that ends well with my listening experience.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/svarttjern    http://www.soulsellerrecords.com/          




"Doctor Veritas” 2012 CD

(Svarga Music)


It is a really is a treat for me to get some very quality looking releases from a Ukranian label like Svarga music. I think this is the first time I recall getting anything from a label in that country and it is clear looking at everything, that they are a serious label that puts a lot of attention into promoting their bands. Wow this album is all over the fucking place and more often than not that can be annoying and clunky. But Svyatogor seem to pull off this patch work quilt spanning many genres off with aplomb. I suppose you could call the base of their sound black/death metal, but the progressive heavy metal, saxophone jazz elements and folk stylings are strong and also fight for their place on center stage. Before you imagine that this is super technical math metal or something, it is not, the elements are intricate but the palate they paint is actually uncluttered and not technical. I mean I think that is one of the things that makes me like this release, when there is a progressive metal bit they go for that, yet they always come back the brutal and heavy backbone, as mentioned that is the thread that holds Doctor Veritas together and prevents it from unraveling. I know when you read this you will probably think how is the that so with the jazz elements and folk elements, but they are not done in a wimpy or fruity way and as I say aggression and the weight of the metal is not forgotten or swept under the rug for long periods. Another thing I must mention is the vocalist Master Alafern (who is also in Thunderkraft), who sings mainly in a raspy, mean and cold black metal vocal gives a great emotionally harsh performance and puts the whole album over the top. This comes recommended from me.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/svyatogorband  http://www.svarga.eu/    




"Auscultating Astral Monuments” 2021 CD & LP

(Bloody Mountain Records)


Sxuperion is a one man band (who is also a member of Valdur, Weverin, Oreamnos & Garden Of Hesperides) from California. That one man has produced some really dark shadowy black death metal that has an evil aura to it at all times has a hypnotic tremolo picked rhythmic quality, yet always stays brutal as well. That obscured fog of an atmosphere is omnipresent, but is quite often accented in both subtle and not so subtle ways by a plethora of sound effects alternating haunting and creepy, or in other instances have a cosmic space effects like the sound of lasers, klaxon siren and the like. When I write that I read it back and say that does not sound like a good combination, but somehow Sxuperion make it work and make it sound natural and at times even mildly unique. Speaking of obscure earlier, that term also applies nicely to the various sinister voices and growling vocals employed on here, they are all very murky and ethereal sounding like they are coming from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. I am not sure if this will be everyone’s cup of tea, but it definitely is taking an old great style and doing it well, staying true to it’s roots and still making something different and distinctive sounding.  - Dale

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




"The Pulse Of Awakening" 2009 CD

(Listenable Records)


I have had no prior contact with the Swiss Sybreed. I must confess coming from a long-standing traditionally extreme label like Listenable records. It was a surprise to hear them release a record this commercial and mainstream sounding. There are (nu)metal like rudiments from time to time. That is about as heavy as “The Pulse Of Awakening” gets I’m afraid. But mainly it is pop-ish, modern sounding rock with some industrial sensibilities. There are minor and sparsely used slight growls and filter effect vocals. But the main ones are very radio poppy with the exception that they are quite annoyingly and heavily nasal sounding. It is distracting in its awfulness. I mean do not record an album when you have a severe head cold mate. Think of the more commercial clean material from Fear Factory mixed with radio rock bands, the kind that fall all over each to suck up to MTV. Then, you will start getting a picture of what Sybreed are all about. Personally if I never hear this album again it will sit just fine with me.  – Dale

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




"Wrath" 2021 CD & LP

(Putrid Cult)


This secretive Polish band apparently take their musical witchcraft seriously, not to even mention their pagan roots, and the roots of the great early days of black metal terror that spawned in their country in the early 1990s. There were some great bands in those days that I can say I was actually into back then, such as the earlier works of countrymen Graveland, Veles, Infernum, Behemoth (no not the later days of the band, the early days were different, I ordered their “The Return of the Northern Moon” demo cassette from Pagan Records in 1993, it is to this day still one of my most cherished bm releases). Szary Wilk play harsh second wave bm and mix in heavy doses of flowing epic riffing that glide across the darkness like a silky and sinister spirit. Actually, considering how harsh and evil some of the nucleus elements of their music is, there is a higher level of memorable melody than you might expect. I could actually go for the freezing callous side to their music to take on an even more prominent grip on things, but that is just my personal tastes. Having said that, there is enough there for me to enjoy and the more melodic side is well done and enjoyable in it’s own right. They certainly do create an atmosphere that is interesting. I still think the hatred and cold rawness could be turned up a notch or two on this album. But if you like that old black metal severity mixed with some free flowing melodic melodies and moody epic style then you will probably get into this album even more than I did.  - Dale

https://putridcultproductions.bandcamp.com/    https://www.putridcult.pl/