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“Violution” 2007 CD

(Vendlus Records)


I see V Twenty-eight are described as an “Industrial death metal” band. Which is certainly fair but I might put the words death metal first in that description. As it is definitely their base sound "Violution" is built upon and directional choice. These Norwegians like to mix up some heavy middle pace driving sections and moody / brooding sort of slow sections with the odd lightning speed attacks sprinkled around. The vocals are a mixed bag of growling, black metal rasps, clean vocal bits and some obscure shadowy whispering. There are some guest appearances on this record from Garm (Ulver) as well as members from G.G.F.H. and MZ.412. As far as this style goes, this is not ground-breaking, or destined to be a future classic in the genre. Yet there is enough diversity and overall quality to make this recording enjoyable and worth some repeated listening. If you are a devout death metal and industrial fan, then, this is a worthy pick up. If you are instead an occasional or cream of the crop collector you can get by without this.  – Dale

www.vendlus.com   www.v28.com




"Temple of the Abyss" 2017 CD

(Profound Lore Records)


Old school death metal is a subgenre that sometimes can be limited by its own title. Simply tagging on the words “old school” evokes a sense of being stuck in the past. Vacivus remains unconfined, though, rather bringing this style into a modern setting that utilizes production quality (not spotless, but translucent) to its advantage. They also don’t secure themselves to singularly death metal tropes, but rather employ lessons learned from post-first wave black metal and plodding doom to their advantage. Temple of the Abyss grounds these influences in an adamantine OSDM foundation. The album commences with “Premonitions”, which conjures an atmosphere populated with creepy sighs, gasps, and faint instrumentation entering your ears intermittently. It feels like blinking wearily, waking up after being knocked out and dragged into a hidden site of some demonic oracles’ séance. This track sets an eerie tone for the rest of the album, which occasionally plays on this worshipful theme by inserting chanting vocals into such tracks as “Black Flame Serpent” and “Temple of the Abyss”. In terms of the elements more often heard in this album, Vacivus presents a well-executed traditional guttural vocal approach that is accented by relatively higher-pitched shrieks, which can be heard in tandem (and in my humble opinion, at their most awesome) in the fifth track, “Cosmological Necroticism”. These vocals front instrumentation that keeps the listener on their toes—taking them through passages that use spacing to their advantage and sometimes appear straightforward, but have abyssal depth. For example, “Filii Inferos” sticks with an initially super-charged pace before the two-and-a-half minute mark where a plodding section occurs, emblematic of their doom influence. Then, the track progressively quickens, building up to a moment of mania that guides the listener out of the track and into the final stage of the album. If you enjoy hearing such dynamism and exploration within roots-based metal subgenres, definitely give this album a listen.  – Aaron

https://vacivus.bandcamp.com/    http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/         




"Austrian Dukes Of Derangement” 2020 CD EP

(Xenokorp Records)


Well now that is one hell of a band name, no?! Haha. These Austrian audio serial killers bring the fucking heat and the depravity to their brand of ultra intense goregrind. The music is just total death grind, but fully drenched in gore with brutal head caving killer riffing, order from chaos whirling dervish drumming that sounds like machine gun fire. There are crazy background underlying synth music sample music that can only be heard now and then when the punishing musical violence lets up or pauses, which is not very freaking often. VxPxOxAxAxWxAxMxCx possess a true arsenal of verbal emanations, conjured up from the pits of hell might be a more apt description, rather than just calling them vocals. Some of the sounds presumably produced by human beings, such as the variety of totally indecipherable (are there even lyrics half the time?!) broiling & gurgling toilet growls, an insectoid alien from Doctor Who in it’s purely menacing, disturbing form, in addition to those I expect would be the sounds of an axe wielding backwoods killer to make as he is running down a shrieking victim with a hatchet, plus more!! Yes, the battery of wonderfully maniacal voices ejaculating is worth the price alone on this motherfucking EP!  I don’t listen to total goregrind a lot, though I do love it, but when I am in that mood for some, this EP will be among my elite collection of releases in this sub-genre for sure. I think fans of bands like Cock And Ball Torture, Dead, Gut, Squash Bowels, Dead Infection, Gore Beyond Necropsy and the like then you will dig the hell out of this release I am pretty certain.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/VxPxOxAxAxWxAxMxCx/    https://www.xenokorp.com/  




"Two Carrion Talismans” 2018 CD & LP

(Blood Harvest Records)


Valdrin are a band who come out of the legendary blackened death metal scene. Two Carrion Talismans is the bands second full length release featuring eight songs of majestic black metal with a healthy dose of death metal influence as well. The guitarist can write and perform both mid paced passages and some extremely fast patterns very adeptly, even adding some solos into a few of the songs. The drumming is done with both slower, mid paced tempos drum beats and elevating to a faster, more furious drum style. The vocals are a mix of raw black metal screams and some deep death metal growls used in a few of the songs. If you are looking for a new band that mixes a unique blend of blackened death metal with some other elements, then do yourself a favor and make sure you pick up this release once it is out.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/valdrinausadjur    https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com       




"Effigy Of Nightmares" 2020 CD, LP & MC

(Blood Harvest Records)


Ohio's Valdrin (previously known as Dawn Of Wolves from 2006-2010) return with their third full-length release, once again working with the dedicated Blood Harvest label. ‘Effigy Of Nightmares’ contains six songs of majestic, well crafted black metal music that seems to be rooted in the more melodic side of the black metal style. The guitars are played with a high level of skill with the bands experience showing through the mainly mid paced range music. But, it does speed up to a faster guitar pace throughout some of the songs. The drums are played at a high level of skill with mature drumming patterns that are done with some slow drum passages, but do speed up to a faster pacing in a few of the songs. 'Effigy Of Nightmares' for me is a masterpiece of well impressively composed black metal that is both flowing and fluid as well as majestic.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/valdrinausadjur    http://www.bloodharvest.se/         




"The Antagonist Fire” 2013 CD

(W.T.C Productions)


Sweden's Valkyrja have released their third release “The Antagonist Fire”, seven songs of violent straight forward black metal. The band takes no prisoners, with their musical approach; their guitars roll by with fast riffs, some solos and mid tempo changes. Their drummer is godly on this release going from ultra fast blast beats to the more controlled mid paced style. The vocals are sick, demented blackened shrieks. I think fans of violent Swedish black metal will love this release.  - Patrick

http://www.reverbnation.com/valkyrja   http://www.w-t-c.org/        




“Morning Will Come No More” Full-length Cassette

(Nihilistic Holocaust Records)


I must confess I do not know a whole about this Italian band, besides hearing their name from time to time over the years, and yes, there has been years passed indeed. As despite this being a re-release of this bands debut album, originally released in 2012 on CD, they had started way back in 1996 and had no less than 4 demos out on tape and that disc at that point in time. I am not sure what happened in the ten years between their last demo and this debut full-length. But there is an intro, followed by two decent but quite standard deathrash songs, which again were okay yet quite standard and forgettable quite honestly. Then the third track post intro, entitled “Dark Dressed Shepard” kicks in and suddenly the sound on the guitars is more brutal, more straight up good death metal. The riffs and song structuring suddenly possess more dynamic quality, variation and even feature some cool, brief guitar solos that really spice things up. What a turn around from those first couple songs, which left me a bit listless as a listener and wondering how this band was around for 16 years already at that point, then suddenly before I can write anything down the quality in nearly every aspect goes up a level. That was a pleasant surprise! Maybe the band thought let’s keep expectations low to start and then turn it up and hit them hard and don’t look back? Maybe they just put every song they wrote during that decade and just suddenly got way better? The growled vocals are solid, deep and decipherable and pretty classic sounding. I would say both the vocals are music remind me a lot to early to mid ‘90s Floridian death metal (excluding those couple early songs) that is catchy, heavy and features some really nice individual and collective performances in the playing and construction of these tracks. I don’t know what the two albums and ep released after “Morning Will Come…” sound like, but it feels like the band were starting to really find their sound and identity on this enjoyable release. I will have to check out some of their later works one day, but until then check out this unearthed hour long diamond in the rough.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/valgrindband    https://nihilistic-webzine-distro.fr/   




"Beastificate" 2010 CD

(Hammer Of Hate)


Interesting album title, and strangely it is hard to find much information about this band online. The bio mentions that some of the members “have a long history of performing the music of the black arts”. Well talk about teasing you to wonder who these members might be and what bands they were in previously or currently. I guess it is meant to be kept as a sinister secret? The music on Beastificate has good musicianship and is extremely slick melodic tinged black death metal, played most often at breakneck speeds. You can definitely hear the melodo metal Scandinavian roots of this Finnish band. It has been a while since I heard them, but a meaner, slightly heavier version of earlier Children of Bodom is the first band comparison that springs to mind for some reason. Valoton tend to play it safe and once you get beyond the first song, each subsequent hymn is unlikely to surprise or intrigue you with anything adventurous or off the beaten path. It is a heavy, fast and quite professional album that honestly to my ear is so slickly produced that it is over produced for my tastes and helps hide any own  unique qualities of Valoton.  – Dale





"Zorn Und Hass" MCD & 12" MLP

(Purity Through Fire)


Coming out of the German black metal scene is Vampyric Tyrant who plays a 90's style of raw vampyric black metal. ‘Zorn Und Hass’ is the bands latest release which is comprised of four tracks of cold and well executed black metal music. "Vereinsamung" starts off the release with a cold mid paced guitar and drum patterns, which is performed with some nice skillful songwriting. The vocals are raw black metal screams and a few traditional hollering lines are used. The title track “Zorn Und Hass" is up next and is a much faster and aggressive track that goes for the throat. The guitars and drum patterns are played with a faster more intense pace in their wicked delivery. "Ein Traum" is a instrumental track that is very well played with a mid pacing and produces some atmospheric elements on this song. The final track "Totschlag" is a good song that is played with a mix of fast and mid paced passages to give the song it's own identity. On this track the vocals are more of a gruff screaming style and growling mixture that is done with intensity and power. This is my first encounter with Vampyric Tyrant, but the band does a great job of creating memorable traditional cold black metal. If you are a fan of this style then I highly recommend you picking up a copy of this strong release.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/vampyrictyrant    https://shop.purity-through-fire.com/en/          




"Damnation” 2020 CD, LP & Cassette

(Purity Through Fire Records)


Sweden's melodic black death metal band Vananidr return with their third full length release. “Damnation” contains seven well composed and crafted tracks, which mix raging fast black metal with a more controlled melodic style. The guitarist knows how to write and arrange some skilled, extremely fast and furious guitars, but also utilizes more of a restrained melodic guitar tone and style. This is my first time hearing Vananidr, so I can’t compare this to previous releases, but if you are someone who enjoys both fast, chaotic black metal with a healthy dose of melodic guitars and drums then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of “Damnation” as soon as possible.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/vananidr    www.purity-through-fire.com         




“The Lament Of The Gods” 1998 MCD

(Pagan Records)


The mighty legends Varathron return! This new stuff is a bit different than the old material. It is a simpler and stripped down but still in very dark. The new vocal style is a rolling growl/whisper and reminds pleasently of a raspier version of the vocals Mortuary Drape used on their superb ’92 MCD “Into The Drape”. The keys are used as an accent and don’t bother me, which is nice. The Mercyful Fate cover of “Nuns Have No Fun” is a surprising but welcome addition as Varathron slap their stamp all over it with good results. I don’t enjoy this direction (a sort of atmospheric blackened heavy metal) as heavily as the old stuff. But, after this release I can safely still call myself a fan.  – Dale

Varathron, c/o Necroabyssious, P.O. Box 1265, 451 10, Ioannina, GREECE





"Throne of The Forgotten" 2005 CD

(Undercover Records)


Welcome back Germany! Highly influenced by Darkthrone’s early BM offerings, one could also say Mayhem 1993 to the early days of Bathory and Celtic Frost. Vargsang is truly in a world all of his own. Vargsang has a dark side unto himself that you can hear and feel, like he’s stalking you, a one band of perfection and I’m waiting to be found. This is slow yet energetic blackened death metal, Satanic sorrow and induced death. As the earlier-mid ‘90s were, every song is memorable, beautiful darkness in it’s pain and devotion. He’s deeper than many BM gutturals, this man’s a demon, his musical talent is as good if not better than most remembered bands today. It is sad for me to announce that by being disgusted by the development of the so called scene TOTF is Vargsang’s final release, he is calling it quits. Come back V., we need you to again show scene what true black metal is all about! You need this album. No contact or interviews are welcome. Undertakers report that human bodies do not deteriorate as quickly as they once did because of the many preservatives in the modern diet, thus Vargsang shall return soon enough.  - Clayton





"Hellish Presence" 2011 CD

(Naturmacht Productions)


Austria has always had a very strong, but at the same time an underrated scene to me. Whether it is a more atmospheric gothic, dark metal band or more straight forward blackened death band the bands have always been at least good. Well Varulv can definitely be put in the genre of violent, straight forward black/death. The band uses and shows a lot of musical talent and potential with the song-writing on Hellish Presence. Filled with semi brutal black/death metal guitars and thunderous pounding drums roll through like a tank rolling its way into battle. The vocals are equally as powerful and evil sounding with a deeper, gruff death metal growl and harsh black metal shrieks. The overall sound is violent and angry but the band does add some melody in some of the guitar structures to give Hellish Presence that exact feel and sound. With the brutal. violent black/death mixed with some melody it creates a very dark and eerie piece of metal art. Varluv are a band you will be hearing a lot about in the future. If you’re a fan of blackened death metal with a dark atmosphere then definitely Varulv are a band you will want to hear and own today!!  - Patrick

http://www.myspace.com/oldwainds  http://negative-existence.com/  




"To The Death" 2020 DLP, CD & Tape

(Iron Bonehead Records)


This is this New Zealand bands third album; there has been a three year gap since their last record. But make no mistake they have not been resting on their laurels, as their efforts have produced this double album that clocks in at just over 65 minutes of music. You know, I would not call Vassafor a doom band, but rather black death metal band even though their mainstay pacing is slow-ish to middle pacing (with the odd short sped up bursts now and again). This combined with long songs ala the opener “To The Death” (12:03), “Eyrie” (10:35) & “The Burning íthyr” (9:17) and that relatively ambling pace give off a similar ominous, suffocating aura that a lot of doom metal tends to conjure up in the listener. Something that really shines through for me is the cold blackened darkness that permeates everything with a rhythmic, ritualistic atmosphere that almost puts me in a hypnotic state. This element of their begrimed sound reminds me somewhat to the great early ‘90s Greek black death style, mixed with hints of early Beherit and Blasphemy. The vocals on here are collection of obscure sounding yells, screams, hissing whispers and all manner of tortured spirit voices, all undoubtedly chanting evil incantations that weave into the tapestry like an air bound poison. The music and especially the production is more than clear enough for me personally, but I could see some thinking it is too raw and murky for their usual plastic pro tool’d to death sensibilities. This is a satisfying old school black metal album that while sticking to the genre’s roots has twisted and turned those classic sounds into something feels like an own sound, which is something that is not easy to do and be able to stand out in this day and age. This is recommended.  - Dale

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




"Death Is Proof Of Satan’s Power" 2017 CD

(Hells Headbangers)


If you looked at this bands imagery, song titles, logo and so forth, you would immediately think it has to be a black death metal band, you would wrong. I mean sure, there are some elements of influence from those two sub-genres, but this is purely evil and satanic heavy fucking metal! Let’s start off the with the vocals, they are handled by the duo of Esteban Walpurgis & Alucarda Bellows (aka Vanessa Nocera of Wooden Stake, Razorback Records) give a real tour de force vocal performance on the mic here. All of the various styles of vocal in the extreme metal pantheon are employed here, encompassing almost everything from deep garbled growling, decipherable growling, slower spoken word kind of growls (ala Impetigo), higher and lower high pitched nasal growling & screams etc… It would be cool to hear / see those two doing this during a live gig. The music draws inspiration from classic metal bands like Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Iron Maiden and some other bands I can I know I hear, but I can not quite put my finger on them. The difference here is, it is heavy metal music, but it is constructed in a way that is not traditional heavy metal all the time, more like heavy metal composed in a black death metal style, if that makes sense. The result is pretty cool, rather frantic giving a different energy and aura to conventional heavy metal, taking the old sounds and creating something new sounding and different, but in a good way. There are keyboards used as more of an accent and underlying atmosphere, again here it feels very black metal influenced in style and deployment. I applaud this approach by the band; they stay true to the roots of all of their various influences, yet blend them in an interesting and somewhat unique way. Which I do not have to tell anyone, the term unique does not often apply in the metal scene, where it feels like everything has been done a thousand times over. This is set to be released on Halloween, it seems very fitting for this fine lethal cauldron mixture of sinister heavy metal, to be unleashing it’s evil on the day of the dead.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/vaultwraith/    https://shop-hellsheadbangers.com/        




"Lurkers In The Capsule Of Skull” 2021 Digipak CD & Double LP

(Transcending Obscurity Records)


This US band has been around for a while, releasing a number of albums. I have heard the name around yet I have not had the pleasure of listening to their music until now. Veilburner I guess you would call them progressive or even avantgarde black death metal that manages to stay both dark and brutal at the same time. There is some really off-kilter, seemingly wonky, deformed and unconventional rhythms, riffs and eccentric song writing that can be a roller coaster ride at times. I am generally not a fan of roller coasters both literally and figuratively in the musical sense, but this one I can dig. The band takes their extensive old school death metal roots and influences, throws them in a blender while mixing in all sorts of unusual outside influences like Laibach and other intense shit. So many so-called progressive metal bands, in my view, go so far down the progressive path that they become lost and forget where they started from. I mean before long you can hardly even call them heavy or extreme any longer, but I can tell you this band keep a rope anchored to their brutal death metal nucleus at all times. Which in turn, makes me trust them, and is why a purist leaning old goat like me can buckle up and go along for the wild ride. Veilburner take the weirdness and adventurousness of old bands like Pungent Stench, Disharmonic Orchestra, Pan.Thy.Monium, Sigh, Dodheimsgard, later Deathspell Omega and put their own spin on it. Possibly an argument can even be made that they take it all a step further on this album. It is impressive that somehow Veilburner has managed to musically stick a square peg into a round hole, and in doing so created a fascinating audio journey along the way. I find myself endlessly amazed at the amount of promotion and sheer volume of merchandise (discs, vinyl & special vinyl versions, shirts, hoodies, patches, badges, coasters, cards, box sets and extensive packaging) that Transcending Obscurity put into every band and every release! It must cost a fortune, but they clearly believe in the bands and the music they create. Veilburner is yet another example of the many quality bands they support; this is well worth your time.  - Dale

https://veilburnerband.bandcamp.com/    https://www.youtube.com/TO    https://tometal.com/          




"Monomanía del Inexorable Vacío” 2021 2021 Digipak CD & LP

(Lunar Apparitions & Altare Productions)


A scene that I do not give much attention or generally think of as a thriving one is the UG metal scene in Spain. Which is where this band rises out of, and which I am finding out has more quality than I thought. Velo Misere features members with ties to bands like Aversio Humanitatis, Eohl, Eterna Penumbra and Primigenium (man I remember fucking loving their ’94 demo tape when that thing came out back in the day). They build their sound on a foundation of epic black metal, despite that epic flowing nature; they manage to concentrate their song compositions and pacing on a heavily moody and creepy aura. It is kind of strange you could almost swear the songs are extremely long, but that is not the case, apparently they just fit seamlessly together from one to the next, as the song lengths only range from less than five minutes to a little over six minutes. It is interesting even though it is epic black metal heavily filtered through an ambient fabric, somehow I can still feel that trademark old school freezing cold hatred rear it’s dark head at times. The vocals are well done and haunting bm rasps and obscured screams that fit well with the evil yet gloomy nature of the underlying music. As you can tell from my description (hopefully haha) Velo Misere while always staying extreme and on task with their core sound, they also have some range to their music. Which touches many facets of the black metal sound and the sinister emotions and atmospheres this musical movement richly and vividly creates.  - Dale

https://velomisere.bandcamp    https://www.nebularcarcoma.com/    https://lunarapps.bandcamp         




"Deviant Castigation Liturgy" 2017 CD

(Osmose Productions)


Originally Venereal Baptism started out as a one man band, but over time there were more members added, to create a great blackened death metal band. They are coming out of the Texas UG metal scene, bringing us their debut album, featuring eight songs of devastating and violent music. The vocals are a mix of gruff screams and heavier death metal growls that really fit this bands style well. The drums are chaotic blasting drum patterns. With “Deviant Castigation”, Venereal Baptism, have unleashed a truly barbaric and vicious black death metal masterpiece.  - Patrick

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




Split” 2012 Cassette Album

(No Visible Scars)


It's great to see labels in this day and time of digital labels, cd's etc.. That still release cassette tapes! It gives me a little more hope for the real d.i.y underground. Up first on the split is Vestal Claret the best way I can describe their music is a mix of 70's "classic" rock with traditional heavy doom riffs. The vocals are sung in a really well done clean voice which goes good with the music. This is not really my style of metal/rock that I listen to on a regular basis so I will end by saying if you enjoy classic rock and early doom, then give Vestal Claret a shot you might enjoy them. Up next is a band that you should be aware of if you have been a black metal fan for a few years now. Germany's Ungod are masters of raw, primitive black metal. Four songs of filthy, grim black metal with thin guitars, fast drums that do slow down from time to time. The vocalist unleashes harsh black metal shrieks that spew the lyrics out. These four songs just prove why Ungod are still a force within the black metal underground. This is a good release with two very different bands but both are obviously old-school influenced and have a lot of talent and show it their ability in their songs. Old-school maniacs and tape collectors (just to interject the packaging NVS comes out with always very unique / different for tapes, always awesome and super collectable ~ Dale) show your support for the smaller cassette labels and buy this gem of metal.  - Patrick

http://www.myspace.com/ungodstomb  http://nvslabel.blogspot.com/     




"The Cult Of Vestal Claret” 2014 CD

(Cruz Del Sur Records)


Cruz Del Sur Records, for me at least, has really been hitting it out of the park lately with the quality of the bands they are signing and releasing. I am pleased to report, Vestal Claret are no exception as they keep the labels hot streak going. Clearly, the label covets high end musicians and furnishes them, with all the resources they need to record and produce their records, because their releases always sound fantastic. Not just in that plastic and cheap, pro tools way either, no they have the sound only a real professional studio helmed by people that know how to make music, which breathes and retain its own identity. My first introduction to Vestal Claret, came a couple years back on the split cassette (with the mighty Ungod), released through NoVisible Scars records. Vestal Claret play a form of classic 70s heavy metal and doom mix, which readers will know that this are styles I worship, this nearly hour long album provides me a new alter to kneel before. The music on here is extremely introspective and emotive; it takes one on a mental journey and hypnotizes me into hitting the play button again and again. An extremely well crafted album; they just seem to instinctively know when to sit on a groove and when to move along, triggering the right sentiment that drips off of every hook and rhythm. During some of those pensive sections, now and then, the band drop in a great guitar noodle, slow guitar fill that will make your heart skip a beat. Phil Swanson’s vocals are perfect for this music, they convey a lot of melancholy, they are sort of a mix of Bobby Liebling of Pentagram and a young Ozzy from Black Sabbath (both bands are heavy musical influences as well), a quality mixing of those two vocal influences. Yeah I just love those fucking vocals man! Near the end of the record, the band do a very unique and cool sounding, cover of Black Sabbath’s “Who Are You”. Which is the perfect time period, for their Black Sabbath influence, this album definitely gives me a vibe of the Sabs during mid 70s period, with records like “Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath” & “Sabotage”. I am not sure, how I will muster the strength, to hit the stop button on this album. I simply can not get enough. Support this band and support Cruz Del Sur, who are quickly becoming a benchmark for quality, in the metal scene.  - Dale

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




"Riders of the Wasteland” 2020 CD & LP

(Hells Headbangers Records)


Finland's Violent Hammer play a vicious and violent form of old-school death metal with some aggressive thrash metal thrown into the musical mixed. After releasing three demo's in 2006, 2008 and the final demo in 2014 entitled “More Victims”. ‘Riders Of The Wasteland’ is the bands debut full-length album being released through Hells Headbangers on both cd and Lp. The drums are played with in a whirlwind of aggressive and unrelenting fast blast beats. Even though the drums are played mainly with blasting beats, the drummer does write some well executed and performed drum passages that mixes things up. The vocals are old school gruff death metal growls and some gruff thrash screams are used in a few of the tracks. The vocals really fit Violent Hammer's music perfectly. The guitars are played at an extremely fast whirlwind pace that is features chaotic and well executed arrangements. The guitarists do write some more controlled guitar passages that are done with skill and their experience shines through. If you are looking for a band that plays unrelenting and destructive old school metal, then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of ‘Riders Of The Wasteland’ today.  - Patrick

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




"Utopia/Dystopia” 2017 CD

(Horror Pain Death Gore Records)


What do you get when you mix grindcore, (frequently technical) death metal, hardcore, and just a sprinkle of jazz? You get Utopia/Dystopia from the Californian band by the name of Violent Opposition. No punch line, and no pulled punches--just a lot of really fast, brutal shit here. Utopia/Dystopia begins at a breakneck speed that seldom pulls back on the reigns, despite occasional efforts by the drums that last only for a short period of time, such as in the first track “Controlled Opposition”. At first listen, this track does not feel controlled at all, with Garna’s hyper-technical bass skills being a leading factor in that, but the drums take it down a notch or two for the listener only momentarily before returning to the speedway. Violent Opposition digresses on this path far from the commonly assumed hierarchy between guitar as melody and bass and drums as solely rhythm by giving these instruments near-equal representation in the fields of melody and rhythm. The guitar can often be found playing rhythmic riffs while the bass is exploring other territories, which frequently includes noodling around, but in a way that serves a purpose unlike some bands in technical subgenres of metal. Instead of being irritating, the relatively unorthodox bass playing actually takes charge of the quick pacing of the album, ensuring that no track is lacking in severity or urgency. This supercharged pacing makes the 36-ish minutes of runtime on this album fly by quicker than you can say nosebleed. Brace yourselves—this one accelerates to attack speed.  – Aaron

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/utopia-dystopia    http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com        




"The Cursed Travails Of The Demeter” 2016 MCD

(Dark Descent Records)


Coming out of Ireland’s blackened death metal scene is Vircolac with their newest four song MCD. The music is played mainly in a mid paced style, with some well written and played and played faster arrangements used throughout the songs. The guitars are performed with middle tempo patterns and chords, with a few faster parts. The guitarist does seem more comfortable playing the heavier mid tempo guitars, but does speed to a faster pace in a few of the songs, with some well written and performed guitar solos and patterns. The drums are played with a nice variety and skill, going from mid pace beats to faster drum patterns. The vocals are raw, grim screams with some deeper death growls mixed in. If you are a fan of this band or you enjoy well written and executed blackened death metal then be sure to pick this disc out as soon as possible.  - Patrick

https://vircolac.bandcamp.com/   http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/       




"Ethera" 2013 CD

(Napalm Records)


I have to be honest and say that Visions of Atlantis never really appealed to me but that changed with their 2011 Maria Magdalena Mcd, which had some good music/songs on it. So I was kinda interested in hearing what Ethera had to offer and I'm happy I did. Ethera shows the band progressing with much better song writing more memorable songs that are both symphonic and memorable but also have some heavy metal heaviness to them. So there is a little of everything to keep the listeners attention. Beautiful keyboards and melodic guitar structure intertwined with two of the best singers of this genre Mario Plank and front lady Maxi Nil who work extremely well together. Their vocals blend extremely well together and with the rest of the music to add another layer of beauty and atmosphere. This is definitely a must have for all fans of atmospheric, epic metal.  - Patrick

http://www.myspace.com/visionsofatlantisofficial  http://www.napalmrecords.com/     




“Blood Revelations” 2009 MCD

(Debemur Morti Productions)


It is good to receive some US black metal. I have not heard much in recent days coming from this territory. Vetus Obscurum is a new band made up of three members who have been in the past or are currently in a whole host of bands such Abazagorath, Drawn & Quartered, Infester, Krohm etc… Apparently mainman Numinas of Krohm felt this material did not fit with Krohm so the “Blood Revelations” release was born. Vetus play some excellent black metal in the early 90s Scandinavian tradition (Darkthrone is one of many that come to mind) and carry on the tradition left by a great American band like Judas Iscariot. Anyone who reads Canadian Assault regularly knows I am a hopeless slave to this style, no matter how many times I hear it, as long as it is well done, I appreciate the hell out of it. Vetus Obscurum is no different and this cold blast of cryptic black metal done in the traditional way gets my seal of approval. I guess the only real drawback here is the release is only about 23 minutes. So hopefully the price reflects that. But this is well worth your time if you are disciple of this style, as I am.  – Dale

www.debemur-morti.com   www.myspace.com/vetusobscurum   




“The New Age of Chaos” 2005 CD

(Unique Leader Records)


Let me just preface this review with the following statement: “The New Age of Chaos” is the best brutal death metal album I have heard this year, possibly longer than that. I mean it is fan-fucking-tastic yet experiencing something this devastating may be hazardous to your health, robbing you of your reproduction abilities. The planet is too over populated anyway right? There were two things that stood out and struck me and that was how atmospheric this album is for it’s brutish nature and again keeping in mind how punishing Vile are, there playing bleeds a lot of emotion on through. I do not want to harp on these points, however it cannot be glossed over that it takes a hell of a lot of talent and vision to truly give this level of emotional and ambiance to music that is this fast, this vile (hehe) and blistering. “The New Age…” is also a record that grows on you, the more you play the more you will appreciate some of the guitar intricacies (see the smoking solo in the title track, around the 3 minute mark for proof positive) and counter points swirling through the compositions with ease and with style. There is even a whisper of black metal in some of the darker guitar melodies on here. The vocals are classic death metal growls but even here I would class them as top shelf, very deep, flowing and forceful reminiscent of some of my fave growlers such as Dave Ingram, David Vincent etc… with a just detectable King Diamond during his gruff deeper vocals (too many levels to that mans voice to explain further, but KD die hards know what I mean!). Great job with the recording it reminds me much more of the early / mid 90s before Pro Tools turned everyone into a robot, despite talent level. Colour me impressed and this is coming from someone who previously was not really much a Vile fan. – Dale 

Unique Leader, Box 6544, Los Osos, CA. 93412, USA www.uniqueleader.com  info@uniqueleader.com 




“Landschaftsmalerische…” CD

(Parasile Records)


Now I do not know much about Parasile records, they are likely not a black metal label but Vinterriket never cease to amaze me. They manage to get their stuff released by black metal record labels, time and again, when their music has more in common with Danny Elfman and Nature sound cds you see at your local bookstore for $4.99. I mean really truly some of the ‘music’ on here sounds like the sound tracks to a montage in a chick flick of the guy and girl falling in love, going out to dinner, walking hand in hand and kissing at the outdoor skating rink. I mean what the fuck is this shit?! What it is is a boring pot luck meal of the most dainty ingredients, in other words fruity sound samples, nature noises and loops on top of some really boring synth music which is neither well timed nor variety rich and not allowed to flow in a proper manner, it becomes increasingly obvious that this is merely a bunch of parts sewn together like a patch work quilt with plenty of thread bits sticking up out of the stitching and way too many powder blue and barbie pink squares in the color scheme. You would think flow and musical vision would at the very least be a pre-requisite when playing a form of the music (i.e. – atmospheric synth), that takes little to no talent. What do I know? I had an old tape trader of mine who made a bunch of this kind of garbage up over a weekend once and sent me a few tapes of it, I told him it sucked but somehow he managed to get some damn Italian label to release 2 albums full of that junk! I am not a fan of this kind of…er…material but I would think those that are would at least want to spend money on something of value that was interesting, had musical vision and was actually executed with a level skill? Maybe I ask too much, at very least this drivel should be in the chick flick soundtrack or New Age fruit loop section of the record store and not equated with  metal or even black metal music. Oh did I mention this is some sort of collection from 1996-2002, I am hoping that it was not meant to be a best of and actually refers to the stuff Vinter previously thought was too lousy to release but now that maturity has kicked in and they have bills to pay, they said what fuck let’s release it, these morons will buy anything with our name on it. This is very un-recommended and you die if you buy!  – Dale

www.vinterriket.com   www.parasilerecords.com 




“Sielunmessu” 2010 CD

(Hammer Of Hate)


I must admit Hammer of Hate do a really professional job with the packaging on their releases and presentation of their bands. Not to even mention that I am finding their releases reviewed far and wide in the UG scene, good news for the bands on their roster. It is always interesting though from one release to the next the difference at times. I am talking about the recording here, the last Hammer band I reviewed Sacrilegious Impalement had an almost sickeningly slick glossy production. Then we have Sielunmessu from Vitsaus and it goes in the other direction with an extremely raw, low-fi old school early 90s black metal production. This might be far at the opposite end of the scale of some people interpretation of a quality recording. But I prefer the sound on this album to the pro tools lacquer spread across many releases in recent years. You know in so many reviews when I say well if you can not get enough of this style then get this. That applies with Vitsaus, who throw at us a freezing flame of creepy Nordic black metal in the early 1990s tradition. I can not help but think of bands like Horna, Graveland, Darkthrone, early Emperor, Judas Iscariot and the like. I am sure some will find this derivative and over done. As for me I never tire of the cold and sick black atmosphere created by this style. Just give me more and more until death. It is funny I mentioned Horna as I have just discovered Horna’s drummer plays drums and guitar in this band. Hail Finnish black metal!  – Dale

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




"The Late Hours" 2011 CD

(Hells Headbangers)


Well now, this is something different than what I have been getting to review lately. Not to mention something a little different for Hells Headbangers to release. We have before a horror themed punk rock band. You will immediately have to think of The Misfits, Samhain and Danzig (to a lesser extent) when you hear this. Now this might be partly due to my shallow knowledge of the genre that I am not summoning up more influences to list. But those influences are prominent and I do not think the band could or would deny them. I mean the vocalist even sounds an awful lot like early Glenn Danzig. The song titles and lyrics draw me in right away being a huge horror movie hound. I mean there is even a horror movie name as one of their song titles with “City of The Living Dead”. You have got to love it or at least I do, at any rate. Everything is done in a pretty serious sounding way though and they try to capture the frightening terror of the genre as opposed to just doing a spoof on it like some bands, not taking it seriously. The Late Hours is a pretty rocking album, they keep the pace quick, with some nice guitar fills to keep things a little fuller, so to speak and not so thin like some punk bands tend to be. The lyrics and choruses are pretty memorable and you can sing along with them. Not sure what else to say, they are not a total clone or anything, but again if you like The Misfits and Samhain then I am sure you will dig this, just remember to bring a shovel and headstone with you.  – Dale

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




“Triumphant Usurper Beast” 2005 CD

(Time Before Time Records)


Polish label, Australian band. Yet easily from your local madhouse, morbid passion a-plenty into psychedelic maliciousness; all the shit that makes me whole! Vociferian is an uncontrolled instrument of audio apocalyptic masochism, chaos and regression once called Lord Genocide. Check out “Babel Tower” and catch my drift with demented Satanic hymns as beautiful in aural blasphemy as it comes for sick minds like my own. A better vocal delivery in production would kill this release dead, and that’s smart on their part. This vocalist is so infectious and scornful, he sounds like he is ripping faces off. The lead guitars and electrics guitars are fuckin “A” and “Possessed Worshippers Ov Doom” highlights this band at their best. They sure don’t make them like this anymore! They never let up and persist to bleed your ears for ages, this vocal insanity is for real UG demons only. “Scardance In Damnation” is like Abruptum on coke as “Mary’s Kunt Ripping” is straight jacket style black metal. The “It’s supposed to hurt!” was taken from Exorcist 3 and explains everything about this band for you. Yes, I believe in murder, I believe in pain…in cruelty and infidelity. I believe in slime and stink, and in every crawling putrid thing, every possible ugliness and corruption you son-of-a-bitch – I believe in you!” – George C. Scott 1990. In Nomine Satanas, the noise, the filth and the fury. – Clayton Shaver





"On The Blackest Of Nights” 2012 CD

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


The Swedes as a collective, just keep pumping out music and bands like few other countries, it is impressive especially when their population is taken into account. Void Moon play a form of epic heavy metal, maybe you could even call them a classic heavy metal doom band? I think there is some influence in there from their mighty countrymen Candlemass. But Void Moon is a little more melodic heavy metal influenced than that classic band. I think you can hear some New Wave of British Heavy Metal inspirations helping to shape the music on On The Blackest Of Nights. The vocalist Peter Svensson, has a different and perhaps even slightly original sounding voice and conveys an interesting pedestrian-like, subdued yet still classic vibe and pacing to his vocals. Yeah I like the vocals quite a bit. The music overall though, while good, does not really pack much power, it is not very memorable, nor does it contain large doses of the usual with style, it is hypnotic, melancholic (outside the vocals) or atmospheric really. Usually for me my classic doom bands that I enjoy in my collection, have to hit on at least one or two cylinders of the elements I just mentioned and Void Moon do not. However, this is their debut album, I am interested to see how this young band progresses. There is something there, they just need to cultivate it a little more, if they do they could turn this into something special. Until then I would only recommend this one for clean and classic heavy metal doom completist’s.  - Dale

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




"Horror Vacui" 2021 CD EP

(Plague Demon Records / Blasphemous Creations Of Hell Records)


Void Of Apep is a solo project coming out of Portugal's UG black metal scene. ‘Horror Vacui’ is the debut release featuring four tracks of mid paced black metal. “Tenbris in Lux” starts off the release and is played with mid paced guitars with strong drum passages that are done with skillful writing. The vocals are harsh black metal screams. “Ex Imperato Averno” is up next and starts off at a bit faster pace that is done with some very well played guitars and drums. The vocals are grim black metal screams that really seems to work well with this band. “Lapsit Exillis” is a heavier and darker song that has a variety of faster and mid paced melodies that create eerie melodies. This EP finishes off the debut and is done with a sinister guitar style that is mainly played with mid paced guitars. Void Of Apep plays a style of occult black metal that is rooted in the 90's. But is not a clone by any means and creates a dark and haunting masterpiece. This has me for one looking forward to hearing more this band.  - Patrick

voidofapep.bandcamp.com    plaguedemonrecords.storenvy.com    bchrecords.storenvy.com         




"Coordinated Mutilation” 2011 CD

(United Guttural Records)


Volturyon hit us up with their sophomore record and my first listening of this Swedish group. Maybe you are expecting some old Swedish death metal or perhaps the newer melodic Scandinavian sounds? You would be wrong on both counts. What Coordinated Mutilation is all about is brutality and I am talking about brutality of the American kind. I think it would be fair to say Cannibal Corpse is a big influence on these guys and a template for their music. Sure it is derivative, but it is also executed quite well and Volturyon hit you with a barrage of barbwire wrapped riffs, some excellent drum work, the odd guitar soloing and caged bear adrenalized vocals. I enjoyed it. But let’s be honest this is really only for diehard fans of vicious American death metal made popular in the 90s. Then again if you are shopping the United Guttural catalog then you already worship this style of violent storm.  – Dale

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




"Confessions Of A Necrophiliac Priest” 2015 Cassette EP

(NoVisible Scars Records)


Vomit Breath is a two man crew, which features members from fellow NoVisible Scars band, Elders Of The Apocalypse, as well the band Your Kid’s On Fire. There are 16 short and nasty songs on here clocking in around 25 minutes. The band play straight ahead, no frills, no slam moshing, no bullshit death grind insanity. It is just non-stop, no movie clips all over the place grinding, with ripping riffs, and wall to wall blasting with cool vomitous growls and the nasal screaming of a raving lunatic. It is an exception to the rule, generally, but every now and then they sit down on a death metal riff and ride it, before diving headlong back into the unrelenting fury. This shit just fucking steamrolls you man! I think fans of bands like Autopsy, with early Grave elements, mixed heavily with stuff like Agathocles, S.O.B., early Napalm Death, Repulsion, Defecation, Plutocracy, Mortician, Gore Beyond Necropsy, Phobia etc… when listening to this. So fans of the above mentioned should really like this one.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/Barthwell1978   http://novisiblescars.bandcamp.com/      




“Devil's Poison” 2010 CD

(Hells Headbangers)


This Australian old school thrash/death band has been around for years. Several demo releases along with an EP, a full length, and a live album. This is their second full length released on Hell's Headbangers (US). I'm a guitar player. I can appreciate the old fucking metal tone Death Dealer (vocals/guitar) got on this recording. His playing style is on the sloppier side of things but that's okie - it fits the band nicely. This ain't a progressive metal band! Overall, a decent effort although the vocals get weaker and weaker upon listening. I would rather hear Death Dealer scream it out then talk/whisper with effects.  \m/ \m/ \m/   - Mark Sugiyama

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




“The Escalation” 2012 CD

(Hells Headbangers)


I have been into this Australian band since they sent me their Roar Of War demo tape in 1999, then followed that up by sending over their follow up demo Neutron Hammer. I was immediately drawn into their thrashing metal storm of violence and old school attitude. So here we sit nearly a decade and a half later (fuck I am old and time flies), with the bands third full length album, having joined forces with the almighty Hells Headbangers in recent years. A perfect match, if there ever was one. This album is patches on a denim vest, spiked fist pounding the air, headbanging metal all the way and proud of it. Vomitor hit you with a stripped down, no frills, no bullshit speed / thrash metal assault with old school violent and awesome riffing interspersed with little bursts of roaring insanity and controlled chaos. You even get some spastic guitar leads / fills clearly played by a demented barbarian looking to wreck your head. The drums just pound right along to the monster “thermonuclear” riffing and remind me to classic Sodom and Celtic Frost shit, just awe inspiring. The vocals are cool whispery blackened yells with that cultish hissing underbelly that many old South American bands and the like employed to such perfection. I know I say old school too much but old school maniacs of thrash played the way it was meant to be back in the mid to late 80s need to own this fucking album, pure and simply put, it is everything you love about that time and music!  - Dale

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




"Open The Otherness” 2020 MCD, LP & MC

(Shadow Records / Regain Records)


Sweden’s Voodus (formerly known as Jormundgand for nearly a decade) have composed an interesting and well rounded mini-album here. They play black metal, some might even call it black death metal, but they combine those sub-genres quite smoothly with sweeping, emotive guitar passages. Those sections feel more like something from a progressive heavy metal band ala something you might hear from (again guitar wise in the more somber sections) Fates Warning, early Queensryche, Rush, Dream Theater, Savatage etc… It is a surprising combination and while the heavier, colder bm elements have an underlying melody, these two styles tend not to overlap yet the transitions (back and forth), as I alluded to above are smooth and relatively natural sounding in the flow of the song. When they are on the black metal sections they are quite cold, employing that old second wave early ‘90s black metal with a vocal that melds the bm rasp and a sinuous dark death metal growling undercurrent. I feel like when reading this back and thinking things over, this really should not work, but Voodus find a way to make it work and feel pretty natural. Despite this I can certainly see those with purist leanings (like myself) having a problem with that and being turned off. I feel this way to some extent myself, yet the music on here is strongly enough composed and constructed that it managed to win me over on this release.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/voodus666/    https://www.shadowrecords.se/         




"Gravehammer" 2011 CD

(Self Released)


This was quite a surprise as I remember hearing, buying this bands debut demo "Dead Kings Eyes" back in 1997. So it was great to hear the band still going strong. This is Vore's fourth release. Gravehammer is simply amazing and flawless death metal. I would say the first thing that caught my attention was the bands sheer heavy guitar sound and pounding drums. The musicians never stray away from the mid-paced range, but Vore only prove you don't have to play a million miles an hour to be heavy and intense death metal. I am not sure why the band is still unsigned but this is another thing I wanted to mention as this is a quality band that plays what they love and want to, not what’s popular. Vore are a band that will please all fans of heavy, pure death metal.  - Patrick

http://www.youtube.com/vorefare  http://www.reverbnation.com/vore    




"Tales From The Black Book" 2004 CD

(I Hate Records)


Well what can one say about Vulcano. They are a legendary band among the extreme underground and they are from the well respected Brazilian scene. This is the come back album for Vulcano. I believe it was first released back in 2004, but only in South America. So this is the first time it has seen the light of day and the dark of night worldwide. So cheers to I Hate Records for making this possible. Well 14 years of inactivity is quite the feat to attempt to over come. Yet Vulcano have appeared to do just that with “Tales From The Black Book”. With this album they have left some of the old chaos and mud behind. That might disturb some but I am quite satisfied with this refined sound. But the old spirit is alive and well and this album is a truly dark piece of work. It ensconces you with a suffocating atmosphere of middle pace music propelled by dark brooding riffs and decipherable maniacal vocals that give you that wonderful dirty South American feeling that many of us worship. The all important head bang factor is present on this album and I could see it ruining some necks in a live setting. It may not be as good as their early classics but all things considered and the time that has passed this is a damn fine come back album. Now it has been 4 years so when do we get to hear the follow up record?  – Dale

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




"Bloody Vengeance" 2015 CD

(Greyhaze Records)


Greyhaze continue on with their great line of re-releases of the early hallowed bands of the Brazilian metal scene. As with Impurity and Mystifier, all of these albums were released, many moons ago by the cult Brazil label Cogumelo Records. “Bloody Vengeance” was originally released in 1986, with this new version you get a re-master of the original recording, but even despite this, the bands rough intensity still shines through with their raw thrashy / speed metal assault, even a little bit of a black metal sound and feel to it. The guitarist knows how to play extremely fast and chaotic riffs intertwined through murderous musical whole. The drumming is great, fast blasting beats played with utmost aggression and ferocity. Anyone into early thrash / speed metal with hints of the first wave of black metal will definitely want to get their grubby mitts on a copy of this classic as soon as possible.  - Patrick

https://www.reverbnation.com/vulcano/   http://greyhazerecords.com/      




"Visões do Fim" 2020 Compilation Cassette

(Murder Records)


As you can see from the title above, this release is a full-length compilation of all of the bands releases so far, which consists of their 2018 demo cd, 2019 demo tape and a 2019 7” EP. This is a really cool and eclectic mixing of influences from this Brazilian band. The bio really nails it on their influences and sound when they say it is a mix of Motorhead and Venom with a myriad of old school punk and hardcore influences. The result is a very enjoyable and fun listen that is a ballsy, fast and raunchy ripping blend of ripping hard rock and dirty metal punk. I found the music to be very infectious, catchy and full adrenaline from start to finish. The vocals are a similar mix like Lemmy mixed with a thrashy gruff style and tinge of crazy ala The Accüsed maniacal vocals. It all works well together with a sound that induces headbanging fury in the listener. There is some really killer guitar work and fills in here too that flesh things out. The only tiny complaint from me is the sound / production, while clear enough is not heavy and as in your face as it needs to be in my opinion. Having said that, honestly as things go on in their discography that area gets better seemingly with each release and by the last handful of songs the production improves. I definitely would recommend this for old school Venom & Motorhead fans that also dig aggressive hardcore and punk bands from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.  - Dale

https://vultor.bandcamp.com/    http://www.murder-records.com/         




"Where The Time Dwelt In” 2016 CD EP

(Gates Of Hell Records)


This Italian power metal band seems to have been born, out of the ashes of death thrash band Necromancer, with three of the four members having been in that band. Yes, my friends this is 1980s heavy metal incarnate, you will want to take note in particular if you are a die hard of the genre, as this band digs deep into some of the more obscure cult roots from past. I listen to this 27 minute ep, and hear influences from bands like Maltese Falcon, Rage, Oz, and the early works of bands like Liege Lord, Omen, TT Quick, Agent Steel. I would say, maybe even some influence, from the first couple albums of the legends Iron Maiden. The recording honestly sounds like it was recorded 30 years ago and it sounds great to my ears. The music on here overall is on the simple side, but it is very effective, catchy and pretty memorable which is a rarity all by itself these days. They write some good infectious ripping riffs and the there is some really great smoking emotive guitar fills and leads. You can definitely headbang hard to this; these boys really captured that triumphant spiked fist in the air ‘80s power metal feel. The vocalist spews hellfire passion out of vocal chords, superbly matching the bombastic music. He even hits those old school heavy metal ranges, with the high siren vocals every now and then, at one point at the end of a couple crazy screams it sounds like an eagle’s screech! The vocals are killer. I liked that the band made sure to make it clear there is no damn synth on the record haha. This is just a great throwback record that fans of early to late 1980s power metal need to own!  - Dale

https://vulturesvengeance.bandcamp.com/    http://www.gatesofhellrecords.com/     


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“Self-Titled” 2011 CD

(Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions)


Well the name for this Finnish metal band certainly is interesting as it stands for Wisdom Through Agony into Illumination and Lunacy. They have an interesting sound, it is sort of like one long doom riff slowly played over and over with moody obscure but clean vocals and minimalist drumming as a backdrop. There are black death vocals as well and at times it sounds slightly black metal mixed with their extremely dark doom metal constant. The vocals are in the old Swedish tradition and remind me to Grave or something along those lines. There are some more upbeat, heavy metal-ish sounding doom moments in the latter portion of the album and that sounds good as well. But the plodding, gloomy atmosphere is the bands forte. I have noticed this album getting some so-so reviews but to honest I think it is fantastic. They sound like a lot of bands you have heard in the past, but manage to morph it into something of their own with their shrouded style / sound and feeling. Take a look into this sickness, it will change you.  – Dale





“When Mountains Roar” 2010 CD

(Psychedoomelic/Nail Records)


Hungary's Wall of Sleep return with their fourth full length of doom laden metal.  The first thing that stood out to me was the production - clean, punchy, yet a little retro - a good balance for a doom metal band. As for the music, it's good.  The vocal delivery doesn't gel with the music to these ears.  It's not bad at all but it's missing something to really take the band to the next level.  Almost like the music is first and the vocals are second which should rarely, if ever, be the case. I smell a bit of cheese in the lyrics but that's easy to over look.  Overall, a fairly solid release from beginning to end.  - Mark

http://www.myspace.com/wallofsleepdoommusic  http://www.psychedoomelic.com/     




"Altar Of The Goat Baphomet” 2020 MCD. MLP & MC

(Helter Skelter / Regain Records)


This is actually this Greek bands first release, in fact, it is essentially their demo that impressed Helter Skelter Records enough to want to pick up and release it on all three of the prevailing physical formats. They are a brand new band as you would expect from my preamble above, but the members are certainly not new to the UG scene as all three have previously done time in and/or are currently in a plethora of bands like Kawir, Nergal, Cult Of Eibon, Black Blood Invocation, Caedes Cruenta, Nargothrond, Funeral Chant and more! The 22 minutes of music is permeated with a sinister suffocating aura, and a sound that celebrates the great early ‘90s tradition of Greek black death metal with nocuous evil influences from the old South American war metal style. The music is the opposite of intricate, instead keeping things stripped down in the old tradition with emphasis on the overall malevolent atmosphere. It is dark and odious old fashioned warring black death with a perfectly matching raw, but still clear enough production on this recording that suits it. I am sure UG fans that worship elaborate (possibly convoluted depending on your tastes?), over produced modern style black death metal may well not like this, but I certainly do and I think diehards of the glorious early days of the scene will too.  - Dale

https://walpurgia666.bandcamp.com/    https://helterskelterproductions.bandcamp.com/       




Night of the Desecration” 2022 CD & LP

(Iron Bonehead Records)


The black metal scene from Greece has always been a quality one with a lot of history. It was for me on the same level in the early 90s through the mid ‘90s, alongside Scandinavia as the best and more important in the underground…period. That rich history of the Greek scene is brought to life and carried on in grand tradition by some select newer bands from that country, and for me it is safe to say you can place Wampyrinacht in that collective. The traditional Greek sound has never been about lightning speed or explosive bombast, no it owes it’s roots more to the first wave of black metal than the second wave of their aforementioned counterparts. This sound generally ranges pace wise from slow and brooding, to middle paced with speedy flourishes to add contrast and keep things that much more interesting. This old style is chiefly in service of the song and the atmosphere first and foremost. There is and often was underlying background use of keyboards and piano, but it is not what you are probably thinking, it is not pretty or melodic shit, it is horror soundtrack style stuff again a staple of the old Greek bands tradition. Now when I mention this movement of bands and sound, who are some of the bands I speak of? That would be the earlier works of bands like Rotting Christ, Necromantia, Kawir, Nergal, Thou Art Lord, Zemial, Varathron and a few others. I am always tempted to throw in the non-Greek legend band Mortuary Drape from Italy as part of this movement, as they came along around the same time and share so many traits with those ancient bands from Greece. Certainly Wampyrinacht (who surprisingly to me put out their debut recording a demo in way back in 1996, followed by an EP and then lay dormant for 20 years!) fits right in with those bands and does a fine job carrying all of that forward here on their second full-length release. So, in case you have not figured it out by now, this should be of expressed interest to any fellow diehards of the mighty Greek black metal scene of old, and to any who want to get a taste of what it was about.  - Dale

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




Enjoy The Filth” 2013 CD

(Carnal Records)


With a release title like "Enjoy The Filth" you pretty much know what your getting and with Sweden's Wan you will not be disappointed. It is filthy, raw grimy black metal. This album is the follow up to 2010's Wolves Of The North. The music on this album sis hateful, raging raw black metal the way it should be played. The drumming is fast, it is both extremely fast and precise with it's attack and truly played to perfection. The guitars are mainly played with intense speed and chaotic riffs but there are some slower, heavier mid-paced riffs before the band picks up the insane assault again. The vocals are harsh black metal screams with a raspy/whispery voice used on a few of the tracks. “Enjoy The Filth” is one of best Swedish black metal bands I've heard in a while and definitely recommended if you are a fan of the early nineties you should definitely check this release out as soon as possible you won't be disappointed.  - Patrick

http://www.last.fm/music/WAN   https://www.facebook.com/Carnalrecords.sweden     




"The Grey Eminence” 2016 CD

(Greyhaze Records)


This is the American Warfather, who are getting ready to release, their second album “The Grey Eminence”. This record features some masterful guitar playing, courtesy of Steve Tucker (ex-Morbid Angel vocalist/bassist), this is my first time hearing Warfather, but the band knows how to write, and perform, some really solid death metal. There are nine songs power, and heavy death metal, similar to the mid to late nineties death scene. The guitars are played with both mid tempo sections, and some faster, chaotic guitar speed patterns. The drums are performed with flawless playing, staying in tone with the guitars, ranging from a middle paced tempo to a heavier semi-fast drum pacing. If you are a fan of Warfathers first album, or if you are just a fan of well performed solid death metal, then be sure to pick this up when it is released.  - Patrick

https://www.reverbnation.com/warfather    http://greyhazerecords.com/       




"The Strength To Dream” 2000 CD

(Miskatonic Foundation)


This is some rather good classic styled doom metal. Musically, I like Warning a lot. The vocalist though largely decent could use a bit of work on his delivery vocal patterns. The real let down for me though is the lyrics. They are very poor and badly worded, so maybe he is handcuffed a bit. If you can over look all that, underneath there is some mighty doom to be had.  - Dale

Send $16 US World to: Miskatonic Foundation, P.O. Box 107, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, WF 13 3YS, UK    




"Feast Your Eyes” 2019 CD & LP

(Svart Records)


Warsenal burst out of the Quebec, Canada scene like a caged beast, finally set free as they rip ‘n tear through some killer high velocity thrash metal possessing rabid energy and zest. There is wall to wall vicious riffs bouncing at you in every song at light speed with some killer rhythmic force that, if you are like me, will force you to headbang like a maniac! I can really pick out some influences, and they have chosen to be inspired by some like truly classic releases from bands like the early works of Kreator, Whiplash, Razor, Destruction and especially old Voivod and Possessed. I feel like I even hear a hint of the criminally underrated Canadian band Disciples of Power here and there. The whole band kills it, the drummer is a real force, but the guitar work on here is technical and superb with the band showcasing it through some really tasty playing and infectious songwriting. There are some really speedy and impressive guitar solos worked into the musical maelstrom that will wreck your mind. I think the band did a decent job of keeping up the speed and aggression throughout the album, but they have crafted the songs with just enough definition to each song to inject a touch of it’s own stand alone character, which is impressive. This album is a slam dunk excellent release for me. I think it will be the same for any thrash metal die hard to want to make sure this is added to their collection.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/WarsenalOfficial    https://svartrecords.com/       




"Desecrated Internal Journey" 2009 CD

(Debemur Morti Productions)


I have always found the French scene to be a pretty diverse and interesting one. It is not really a scene that you can pin down either and say has a sound that represents many of the bands. Way to End, enjoy employing a lot of diverse and quirky melodies and rhythms that almost sound mental, but brilliant at the same time. In some spots it reminds me of another very old quirky band named Disharmonic Orchestra and possibly even a dash of early Pan-Thy-Monium. Though with WTE, they tend to keep things darker, more atmospheric and introspective as well. The vocals are a combination of growling and rasps, but they are buried into the mix and kind of melt into the whole musical tapestry. Which is likely for the best and possibly the only way vocals could be employed on this record and work well, in my opinion. If you had them contrasting and playing above or alongside the music it would effectively kill the wonderful atmosphere they worked hard to create. I think it is fair to label the band as black death metal. Yet, as you can see from my description above there is a lot more than just that going on here. I am really liking what I am hearing here and find myself going into a cerebral trance under its apocryphal, discordant and enchanting guidance. You must be prepared for a depressive and almost emotionally confusing ride with “Desecrated Internal Journey”, yet it is one that you will be compelled to take and if your mind can handle it you will be better off for it. In more simple terms this album is a depressing, draining, dark and desperate psychological mindfuck that you will want to take again and again.  – Dale

www.debemur-morti.com   www.myspace.com/waytoendmetal  




"Thoughtscanning” 2014 CD

(Kaotoxin Records)


I have read a lot of reviews absolutely fawning over this record. I mean I can see hear some of the reason they are so impressed with it. There is certainly some talent and vision going on with song writing and the band impressively transition between somber atmospheric moments to metallic blitzkrieg. They also incorporate a fairly wide variety of influences and instruments and melt them into their somewhat doomy, sort gothic, yet metal sound. All the parts are there to build something really good, they have the talent to get it there. Yet somehow at the end of the day, each time I listen to this (which is half a dozen times now) I come not being all that impressed with the musical whole and find the material ultimately forgettable. I could seem people throwing this band in the realms of something like Opeth and they would not be too far off. I have most of Opeth’s output and they do remind me of that band, at times Opeth can be forgettable as well, all the same Opeth is a definite cut above WADL. Well done, production is nice, playing is good, variety is there in spades (maybe too much is part of the problem?), but despite all of that “Thoughtscanning” does very little for me.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/wealldielaughing   http://www.kaotoxin.com/         




"From The Devil’s Tomb" 2010 CD

(Agonia Records / Ajna Offensive)


Always good to get releases from my hallowed homeland of Canada. This is even more special I suppose since this band is from the same area I grew up in and where I cut my teeth in metal and the underground. I found it interesting to read the founder of this band had moved to Bangledesh and recorded this bands initial demo and ep, then moved back to Canada, picked up more members and we are now on album two. Weapon, are a marriage of old dark death metal and olden black metal and it is superbly combined. The bands citing of the early works of Morbid Angel and Mayhem are a good ones when naming some influences. Speed and angry fury play big parts in their sound, but they know the value of a good riff as well. The drums are a great pounding barrage, as to be expected when you have my old acquaintance Paulus (Sacramentary Abolishment, Rites Of Thy Degringolade, Warmach etc…) lighting up the kit like a military bunker that has been targeted from all sides. The vocals of founder Vetis Monarch are a frightening blend of muffled growl and obscure gruff hiss and fit the sinister and oppressive atmosphere the music wraps around you superbly. An impressive release and band, I only wish now I was back home so I might be able to witness this in a live setting.  – Dale

http://www.weaponchakra.com/  http://www.agoniarecords.com/  http://www.theajnaoffensive.com/ 




"Origins” 2010 Double CD

(Souseller Records)


This is some dark acoustic folk music recorded between 2002 - 2006, with some unreleased material from 2009 - 2010. Acoustic guitar and vocals. Being a musician, I can appreciate the chord patterns at times within these tunes. Very folk oriented. But, the vocals though? They stink. Goodness. At least Erik E is in tune but when you have such stripped down instrumentation, the voice has to carry the tunes. Period. The melodies, delivery, and emotion are just not there in my opinion. Most of the songs start with a chord pattern that sets up the vocals. Then he starts singing and the tunes just fall apart. If an outside producer was involved, he should be reprimanded in the worst way. It's his job to red flag weakness in an artist and help mask those areas of need. It's hard to take such music seriously if you're going to use such bad vocal lines. I think, as a folk album, this could of been decent as an instrumental album - but, please, Erik, develop your vocals if you decide to pursue more of this genre. I would also suggest add a little more percussion on future releases. There are some tracks where the percussion adds to the soundscape. Explore this further and the tunes will improve - sound wise. Thankfully the last tune just played. Now I can listen to some quality music - which isn't Weh.  - Mark Sugiyama





“Fable of Unholy War” 2008 CD

(Armour Get Dawn Productions)


This time I’ve one Russian band which is into black metal war. I have not heard this band before so I don’t know if WELTKRIEG is an old band or not? But from the musical side they are good! WELTKRIEG plays obscure true black metal. The music based on such fast yet devastating riffs, but here’s one fault – the band does not have a live drummer (it’s a drum machine). The main band’s ideology is extermination of human race (with this fact I agree?), and this aspect is great shown in the musical structure, because the music is really sick and aggressive, from time to time with some atmospheric means. I like also all of those rhythm-changes and down tempos which are here and there on this album. As a whole there is an intro, outro and 8 songs on about 48 minutes of destruction. What is yet to add to the statement that here’s an old-school true black metal, based on rawness and gloom, with such great necro touches in the main structure and is devastating, full of hatred guitar riffs with screams. I think this is enough for those fans, who are into true black metal rawness! Worthy stuff, but with no live drummer.  - Aleksandr Maksymov





"Shitslime" 2021 CD EP

(Personal Records)


The Floridian band Wharflurch is new to me having formed in 2019, they previously released a demo and an EP prior to this four songs, fifteen minute ‘Shitslime’ EP picked up by Personal Records. The music is very rooted in the old school UG metal tradition yet they also have this quirky edge (but not in a goofy or trying to just be progressive way) with hard to describe little touches and accents that give off that vibe. I am talking about things like tossing in a super catchy headbang riff, a dramatic guitar fill (ala start of the song “Intergalatic Death Spectrum Vortex”), a catchy sped up short section of a song seemingly out of nowhere or just a strange sound effect or sample, which is kept brief yet impactful. I can tell the band is very careful that these elements do not distract from their core sound, which is very much extremely heavy, sewer level guttural death metal with a suffocating slowed aura wrapped around it all. Their base nucleus sound to my ear is a mix of doom death metal, ala Bolt Thrower and especially early Autopsy mixed with just ultra brutal riffing and pummeling drums, but when things speed up it reminds me a lot of early to middle ‘90s Floridian death metal. It is all done so well though. My first couple listens this did not grab me that hard, but with successive listen afterwards their infectious grip tightened around me until I could no longer resist and submitted to it’s suffocating embrace.  - Dale

https://www.facebook.com/wharflurch    https://personal-records.bandcamp.com/         




“Final Detonation” 2005 CD

(Undercover Records)


Blazing a path through the German scene and no stranger to the pages of Canadian Assault (see interview in issue 7), Witchburner are thrash and speed metal in the grand tradition. They are a prolific band as well, releasing albums regularly (this is their 4th album + numerous ep’s & splits for those keeping score at home) and they tend to clock in at close to or above 50 minutes. I must guilty admit that though they are a killer band, there are small stretches where they kind of drag a bit, that is only bad thing I could possibly say. Otherwise, Witchburner are just fantastic thrash with serious head bang qualities and pitch a whirlwind storm of top notch riffs, beer drenched speed picking back stopped with wild 80 screams and screeches that many bands and fans would consider cheesy but it is literally music to my ears and missed by myself in the league these days. The incinerators of the evil hags definitely will get inside your head with their catchy lyrics and music and you will have a hard time getting them out. In the immortal words of Ian Gillian of the supreme Deep Purple “I am a Speed King”, hear Witchburner sing it! – Dale

Undercover Records, Stockhauserstr. 3a, 35638 Leun, GERMANY alex@undercover-records.de  www.undercover-records.de




“Fit For Fight” 2012 CD

(Hells Headbangers)


Fit For Fucking Fight huh?! This is a blast from the past for me. I have been listening to this album for many a moon, for those that do not know about this fantastic metal album, it was originally released back in 1984 on Roadrunner Records. This album is so highly regarded that I believe Hells Headbangers is no less than the 4th record label to release this fucking thing! As you might guess this is classic mid 80s heavy metal, Witch Cross are from Denmark and you can imagine them fitting in that scene right next Mercyful Fate and Maltese Falcon – can you imagine a gig with all three of those bands? My head would explode! The music on here is marvelous and just chugs along with speedy ripping music that commands you like an evil old witches spell to headbang and play air guitar. I mean seriously listen to the songs Fight The Fire & Light Of A Torch and tell me you were able resist rocking out those amazing tunes. Just some fantastic guitar work on here with some smoking solos. The vocals may be an acquired taste for some, they are very early to mid 80s dated vocals, quite high pitched with not a lot of range, some might even mistake them for chick vocals, but they are great and work with the killer music. Seriously if you have not heard this by now you better get it or you do not even like classic heavy metal and why are you still reading this review? This is a must own for 80s metal fans, get your grip on this intense fire ball of metal now.  - Dale

http://witchcross.dk/index.html  http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/ 




“Mocking Jehovah” 2006 CD

(Bestial Onslaught)


What is this I see crawling out of Boston’s armpit? No it is not lice or crabs. It is Witch Tomb who play black metal that is extremely raw, loose like a hooker and evil. It did not take me very long to pinpoint their influences on “Mocking Jehovah” as being the great, late old crusty purveyors of filth and darkness – Profanatica. In fact it would not even surprise me if that was Paul Ledney himself using the name Drath and playing drums for Witch Tomb. Seriously, it is that uncanny. I am not entirely sure what else to say, except, if you think you would like a slightly more atmospheric version of Profanatica? Then by all means, pick this up. If not, then just put on some of the real shit instead, and start weeping in heaven. – Dale





“Alchemist” 2007 CD

(Rise Above Records)


I must say as a big Witchcraft fan (starting with their debut seven inch). I am a little offended at a statement in their bio, accompanying this album. It states that this album shows Witchcraft “…moving away from their generic doom rock…”. It is a shame to belittle an already wonderful legacy built up by the band. While I admit “Alchemist” is a bit of a departure from the past work of these Swedes. It is not exactly a far trip in distancing itself from their rocking doom roots and wonderful Pentagram worship. That organic 70s vibe and atmosphere, I love so much, have not gone away. Another quote from the bio that is, ahem, music to my ears – “Recorded 100% pro-tools and digital free”. It sounds fantastic too and kudos to the band for sticking to their guns. The band does seem very comfortable in their skin with this record. Their flow is smooth and their playing is really relaxed, like a needle gliding down the groove of a record. Yes, this is still 70s rock but it has that floating sort of psychedelic atmosphere that made the classic works of Led Zeppelin so special. Vocalist Magnus Pelander still owes a debt to Bobby Liebling but you can hear other influences creeping into his style such as the front man of the aforementioned band (i.e. - Robert Plant). The counter point and interplay between the more rocking heavy moments and the soul grabbing, stream of consciousness psychadelia, is wonderfully composed and executed. “Alchemist” was not what I was hoping for or expecting. But I jumped on the ride anyway with an open mind packed in my pocket. The end result is a fascinating journey that sees the band morph their style somewhat but continues to produce another wonderful record which will see their legacy carried forth. Just give it a chance to put its spell on you. I am now so curious to see where they will go next?! – Dale





"Witching Metal Ritual" 2013 CD

(Heaven And Hell Records)


The first song, entitled “Bringers Of Heavy Metal Death” sets the tone, a raunchy old Destruction vibe anthem and attitude. But after we get that out of the way the band settles down into a little more subdued but still ripping power metal vibe of the old school variety. I also hear some tidbits of speed and thrash metal in there as well. Once you are past that first song, which is different from the rest of the record. I hear a number of influences like old Metal Church, Manowar, Omen, Grim Reaper and the old cool underrated Canadian band Deaf Dealer. The vocalist of Robb Bockman are great, a total throwback clean yet sometimes deep, sometimes squealing siren screams mixed in, all with solid range. Well in fact, let’s be honest this whole album is a throwback, it really is, I would say if you read this far and you are not an ‘80s power metal fan then stop reading now. But if you are a fan this wonderfully dated style (why the fuck do people always use the word dated always with negative connotations?!), then honestly you need this fucking album in your collection. Did I mention there are guest spot appearances on here from Ross “The Boss” of Manowar, Jack Starr (Virgin Steele, Burning Starr) among others. “Witching Metal Ritual” is an emotional, powerful rocking record that I loved!  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/witchesmark   http://www.heavenandhellrecords.com      




"No Closure” 2011 CD

(Mortal Music)


I read a review online of this album. I could not agree more with the opening of that review. It is stated that melodic death/black metal bands from Scandinavia and Europe in general are a dime a dozen. The difference here is Withering Soul hail from the States and they do have a touch of an American sound. But for the most part they sound like every other boring band from overseas. I guess I am just not and never really have been the biggest melodic death fan. I like a few of the excellent original bands. But after that I really lost interest in the scene and it all sounds so interchangeable to mine ears. Something that makes it even worse for me is Withering Soul like to absolutely drown this sound / style in heavy keyboards, only compounding my apathy towards No Closure. I think my (only) favourite part of this album is the killer guitar solo / fill on the song “Possession of Deception”. A little sad if that is the highlight of the album. Suffice it to say I will not be listening to this one again.  – Dale

http://www.myspace.com/mortalmusic  http://www.myspace.com/witheringsoul     




“The Nude Ballet” 1999 CD

(Euphonious Records/V.O.W.)


This is a very talented Danish band who know what they want and execute it with confidence. Too bad I didn’t get into it too much. W.S. play a melodic death metal, with  heavy metal (Iron Maiden) and black metal spice ups. I could have enjoyed this a bit more without the soft female vocals, goth touches and heavy keys, which dominate too much. I didn’t like this but fans into the Gothenburg styled harmonic death should dig this. Stunning packaging.  – Dale  




"Subterranean Exile” 2020 CD & LP

(Cruz Del Sur Music)


These Australian Sorcerers keep the old flames burning bright with their brand of mixing old school NWOBHM with ‘70s and early ‘80s traditional doom metal. This is my first dance with these Occult metallers, even though this is the bands fourth full-length album. The vocals of Ol’ Rusty are really interesting and fairly unique sounding at times, they could well be an acquired taste for some, but I found I enjoyed them more and more with each successive listen. These guys write some really cool riffs and smooth harmonies that sucked me in and kept me engaged. The guitar work in general is so classic and quality, dripping with strong emotive virtues, and even feature the odd tasty guitar solo thrown into the mix. There is an array of excellent bands general sounds and music swimming in my head as listen to this, such as Witchfynde, Satan, Pagan Altar, Witchfinder General, Solitude Aeturnus, Warlord, The Sword, In Solitude etc… As usual Cruz Del Sur finds high quality bands that almost always satisfy my musical tastes, now you can add The Wizar’d to that list of bands. Check it out.  - Dale

https://hcrthewizard.bandcamp.com/    https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/         




“Pure Filth” 2011 CD

(PsycheDOOMelic Records)


This was not what I was expecting just based upon the bands name and the label that released it. I had imagined beforehand that Wizard’s Beard would be a cleaner, classic old doom heavy metal band. I was instead immediately taken aback by the sheer anger and hate that drips from this album. This level of adrenalized vitriol is usually reserved extreme thrash, death metal or grindcore played at break neck speeds. I mean every now and then there are short sections of a moderate level of quickness. But for the most part it just amazes me they can give off such harsh and destructive energy playing such slow, plodding doomy pace. The vocals on here are just as scathing and raging, sure to will peel paint from your wall. The song writing on Filth is a rather simple formula, but it is executed with such feeling and preciseness that the end result really delivers the goods. I would not even really know who to compare this band with? Maybe Cavity and Iron Monkey mixed with Disembowelment, and a dose of the quirky off-kilter rhythms you get from something like old Pungent Stench. I liked on the opening track “Paint The Skies” where the bassist drops out of lock step with the rest of the instruments to do his own thing laying down some killer bottom end chug. Definitely recommended for fans that like both death / doom and sludge metal.  – Dale

http://www.wizardsbeard.co.uk/  http://www.psychedoomelic.com/ 




"From The Depths Of Flesh” 2018 CD

(Redefining Darkness Records)


I need to be up front, a little bit here, I am an absolute diehard fanatic for early to mid ‘90s Swedish death metal with that great archetypical production style. With that out of the way, what we have here is a young Russian death metal band on their debut album, where they express much the same affinity I have for that scene. They do the style very well here, a lot of Swede bands come to mind, but probably the two that come to mind the most are chiefly Dismember and also Entombed. Which is a-fucking-okay by me! Something that strikes me about the band, besides some killer riffs, is the high energy they play with energizes me as I listen. There is one thing the classic bands from Sweden all possessed, and that was dm vocalists that were very strong growlers with an ability to sing extremely powerfully. Not only that, but also an ability to convey a level of emotion and range (I know range with growling sounds strange to some, but a discerning long time fan knows that is a thing and knows what I mean), while still keeping the growl deep and brutal. So, with that in mind, the vocalist on here is good he and surely gets the job done, at the same time for me he does not quite put them over the top like their inspirations did. It is a bit of nitpick, but there you have it. Something related to that, which seemed a little out of left field was the song “Godless Slaughter (In The Name Of Doom)”, which feels a bit more Floridian death metal and the vocalist suddenly, just for this song does his best John Tardy impression and it is a very good one! Another thing that should not go unnoticed is the bands ability to inject some emotional dynamics into their structuring, which keeps things interesting and shows some depth to their sound. There is also some tasty guitar fills, which may go unnoticed by some, but not me. I realize some reading this might be more discerning and picky with style of dm, only wanting to hear the original classics or some new mind blowing new twist, I can understand that. Because I am that way with melodic death, where I only like the very best of the best and the rest I can usually live without. But, as I mentioned, I just can not get enough of this style of old school Swedish death metal!! Fellow fanatics check this shit out; it is pretty killer to me, to hear this from a Russian band. A final parting note, for buyers of the cd, you will be getting three (two unreleased previously) good bonus tracks not on the other version of this release overseas.  - Dale

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




“The Shadow Over Atlantis” 2010 CD

(I Hate Records)


I love the cover artwork, it fits very well with a classic doom metal record. I think that would look good on a vinyl LP cover size. I mentioned doom metal, which to those who do not know much about The Wounded Kings, is exactly what you will find lurking within The Shadow Over Atlantis. The bio included explains the meaning behind their moniker: “The Wounded King, also known as the Fisher King, is a figure in Arthurian legend and guardian of the Holy Grail whose kingdom suffers as he does”. Good to know for those of us that have not brushed up on the legend. Their music and imagery also reminds me of what a soundtrack, to many of HP Lovecraft’s classic novels, might just sound like. Musically TWK for me, fall into the realms of old great bands such as Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Count Raven and maybe even a little hint of something like Spirit Caravan (I was lucky enough to be at their final show and it was fucking great! Yeah a useless bit of information for you…). This is a very hypnotic, sort of reflective cerebral album and you get lost in it quite easily. I like it when an album can do that to me. It almost feels ritualistic as much as just a journey inducing music. These songs are pretty epic sounding with some clocking in over the ten minute mark. Though there are a couple of short mood setting kind of songs, but the rest are no shorter than eight minutes in length. The vocals are also hypnotic as well, they really have no range most of the time, no excited high shrieks or dynamic changes, rather they drone along like the music, they are quite spellbinding for me and fit the music nicely. I suppose some might find this drone a bit monotonous or repetitive, but I find that is one of its strengths here and the flow of the songs keep it moving in the right way. I think this album is one that is really for doom fanatics like me rather than those that just dabble here and there. I can recommend this wholeheartedly to fellow doom mongers for sure. This is my first experience with The Wounded Kings, it was a good one and I hope not the last time we cross paths.  – Dale

http://www.ihate.se   http://www.myspace/thewoundedkings2  




"Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes” 2013 CD

(Glorious North Productions)


Now here is something I do not hear every day. What is that, you say? I am talking about British black metal, the UK does not seem like a prolific place for black metal. I am good with one man bands so long as they do not sound like a one man band if you know what I mean. Thankfully that one man Leviathan plays all the instruments, so no drum machine crap and he pulls it all together quite well. This is old school black metal with maybe slightly more modern touches and production and more of a pure metal sound than most bands in this style. I like that the bass guitar actually sounds good and every now and then stands out slightly, a rare thing for this genre. Yeah this is some really quality stuff bringing to mind bands like Horna, Judas Iscariot etc.. but with a more epic flair at times than those aforementioned bands. There are some cool guitar fills on here as well. It sounds and feels like a lot of thought went into this album, it is a well constructed album and Leviathan has a talent for writing both catchy almost head bang riffs with a cryptic feel and also some nice sweeping grand guitar runs. I think about the only thing I would change if I could, would be the vocals, they are actually quite good and quality, but I think they could use a little less of the growling undertone and employ more of the traditional black rasp to fit the music a little better. But that is a very minor complaint on an otherwise fantastic album that is very worthy of your attention.  - Dale

http://www.reverbnation.com/writtenintorment  http://www.gloriousnorth.co.uk/      


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“Liber Diabolus: 1991-1996” 2004 CD

(Kampf Records)


I am sorry I missed out on this band the first time around. Xantotol were one of the first Polish black metal bands in existence and featured two members, including a sick female named Mala on guitars and vocals. Yes this was a special band. This you can probably guess from the title is a compilation of the bands releases. The first seven tracks are from the “Thus Spake Zaratustra” demo excreted in 1995, eight to twelve are from the '93 demo “Cult Of The Black Pentagram”, and finally tracks thirteen to eighteen are off of the “Glory For Centuries” demo tape from 1992. The worst thing about this promo disc I have hear is that it only has a cross section of songs from each of the above releases. Curse you Kampf! haha After a lengthy and none too interesting intro, we are treated to some shadowy, obscure and compelling riffing. Which border on doom metal but managing always to still sound evil and black metal, they lead you into the dark wilderness and abandon you for dead. The vocals are just as mysterious and undefined but really help to set the atmosphere of gloom. Returning to the intros. There is an intro / interlude in between each song ala Acheron on their classic debut “Rites of The Black Mass”… Only Xantotol write lyrics based around the philosophy works of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. I could see fans of the first Samael record, old Varathron and other quality old school black metal bands like this. Cheers to Kampf Records for digging this gem up! – Dale

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




“Necrophilia Mon Amour” 2005 CD

(Under Her Black Wings)


Well, well…this is interesting, the debut release of Under Her Black Wings records which interestingly enough is the new sub-label of stoner rock label Freebird records. I would say this is quite a departure for them. Replacing T-birds, denim, 8 tracks and mondo sweet leaf smoking comes blood dripped skulls, growls, dark musty mold encrusted stone chambers and the inhalation of burning flesh. I must say I was a bit dismayed with the first 2 songs as they are very one dimensional, monotonous and stale. These 1st two songs (“Insidie Teradome” & “Neon Black Stronghold”) really lowered my expectations with repetitive unimaginative drumming, thin sounding growls and very simplistic non-quality riffing. I wonder if they put these two snorers up front to lull you into a lowered hope for the potential of “Necrophilia…”, because from that point onward winding through the proceeding 8 tracks, it is like they have spawned from a different band entirely. The one trick pony of the start of the album is ‘morphed (hehe) into a roller coaster ride of rich point and counter point brutal but brooding and moody death metal, which knows when not to over sell the brutality and speed. Instead working in some somber and thoughtful soundscapes and slower sections, which in fact give the lightning speed and howling barbarism so much more punch, intensity and effectiveness. The vocals after the opening volley also spread their wings with added depth in the growl, hightened highs and lows with the main growl adding a sort of oven heated gurgle and boil onto the back end of sustained bellows. The production is very good and there has been care taken not to let the digital age completely squash all of the organic heaviness of the guitars and pounding torture of the drums, though the high-hat and cymbals are a little too much typewriter for my liking. Worth some investigation on your part. – Dale

U.H.B.W Records, Box 464, 5600 Al Eindhoven, The Netherlands www.freebird-records.com 



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"Nihaihayat” 2013 CD

(Merdumgiriz Records)


I guess I expected more from this Turkish one man band when I read the main musician behind the band Emir Torgrul is a composer, instrumentalist etc.. The music on Nihahayat sounds like rehashed early Burzum songs or early noisy Norse black metal with some atmosphere intertwined in the chaotic noise. I supposed Emir shows a few moments of good guitar playing but honestly not that much. This is a pass for me as if I ever need a Burzum fix I'll just find my Burzum cd's.  - Patrick

http://yayla.bandcamp.com/  http://merdumgiriz.org/     




"Disgust" 2012 CD

(Orchestrated Misery Recordings)


Yellowtooth hails out of Indiana, but when you listen to the music I automatically figured they were from the south as they have that southern nuance to their sound. This band features Peter Clemens as some in the scene will surely remember him from bands like Shades of Grey, Sea of Tranquility, Invasion (interviewed in CA back in the day) and Skullview, while the other two members came from Chronic Disorder. Yellowtooth play a rocking type of sludge metal, but maybe not as heavy on the feedback as many sludge bands like Eyehategod, Iron Monkey, Cavity and the like. But Disgust is rocking, the riffage is really heavy and crushing yet always quite catchy, seemingly keeping at bay the doom tag. By my ear you can hear the members death metal roots in the guitar tuning / playing and also the vocals are pretty deep death metal growling, but kept clear enough that you make out most of what is sung. This is just some good rockin’ simplistic sludge with some balls and nice groove riffs, but not over done or cheesy like that mallcore shit or whatever they call it these days. This is record is nothing spectacularly groundbreaking or mind numbingly great by any means, but it is a solid and even good album, a fine debut, but with a couple demos under their belt and countless years experience that should be expected. It is worth a listen.  - Dale

http://www.myspace.com/yellowtoothmc  https://www.facebook.com/orchestrated.recordings      


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"Oracles” 2014 CD

(I Hate Records)


I Hate Records just continue to find quality doom band after quality doom band! This time, it is a band from my homeland of Canada, as well as being my first time listening to them. They sign not just quality doom bands, but as is the case with Zaum, also very unique sounding doom bands. This band is very different, in that they use unusual instrumentation, such as the liberally used sitar, as well as also relying fairly heavy of synthesizer, along side some bass guitar and that is the only guitar to be found on this record. They take the foundation of heavy, plodding guitar riffs, as the foundation and throw it out the window, for the large part. It is pretty amazing the doomish, melancholy sounds they manage to create at times, with mainly instrument soundscapes, emanating from the Sitar and some Alphorn / Alpine Horn (you know like in the Ricola commercials) like sound, which are both very heavily employed as a main instrument on “Oracles”. I find it pretty striking they were able to pull that sort of sound out of those instrument sounds. You can get lost in them, going on a mental carpet ride, through the deserts and mirages of the Middle East, where Zaum clearly draw a lot of their inspiration from. During the songs or sections of songs, when they mix those sounds in with a lot of rumbling doom bass guitar, it is magic Zaum create. I will confess, on the flip side of that, when they put the bass away for too long and push those soundscapes (if you listen to this album you will understand why I keep using that term), to the forefront, for long periods of time, for me it comes across as a little too stripped down and thin and the song suffers for it. Those sections are wonderful in their own way, but would be better served as shorter interludes, briefer support sections, than being employed as the heart of a song. But when they bring it all together and use the right mix and length, bringing the bass guitar more to the forefront, the result is just fantastic. I would love to see the band concentrate a little more into this area, as it could take their unique, even original approach to doom to a whole other level. I realize in all of this, I have failed to mention the vocals. They are sparsely used, clean but very sort of echo-y, dreamy spoken / sung vocals, that are hard to pin down, sort of like trying to catch smoke with your bare hands. They are more of a sound, which blends into the music, rather vocals that are any kind of a real central of musical whole. Anyway, for those searching for something different and good, in the doom genre, you can not go wrong with picking up this album.  - Dale

http://zaum.bandcamp.com/   http://www.ihate.se/  




"Spiritual Sickness” 2018 CD, LP & Tape

(Blood Harvest Records)


‘Spiritual Sickness’ is the bands debut full length album featuring eight songs that are well crafted and performed death metal insanity. The band does a great job of crafting their own brand of death metal, with some influences from the excellent mid ‘90s time period of this genre. The guitar work on this debut is filled with extremely fast guitar riffing though the guitarist does slow down to a slower and guitar style at times. The vocalist does a good job of mixing both gruff old school growls and some deeper death growls that Zealot Cult’s style perfectly. The vocalist kind of reminds me of early John Tardy and Chuck Schuldiner, but they are not a complete rip off by any means. If you are looking for a band that pays homage to early US death metal, without copying anything, then be sure to pick up a copy ‘Spiritual Sickness’ when it is released.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/zealotcultDM/    http://www.bloodharvest.se/       




"Kingdom Of Nothingness" 2017 CD

(Duplicate Records)


Zifir are a two man band who comes to us out of the Turkish black metal scene. They start things off with a short intro and the music kicks by hitting the ground running at a speedy pace. I noticed the guitarist right away, as he does a good job of crafting some well written sequences, which feature an all out assault of fierce, fast riffing. But the guitarist does slow things down to more of a mid tempo style at times; he even adds some atmospheric elements to the music. The vocals are gruff and raw screams with some raspy talking vocals. To wrap things up, I would say Zifir plays a very unique and creative style of black metal worth your time.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/zifirband    http://www.duplicate-records.com      




"Ritual Miasma” 2017 CD EP

(Blood Harvest Records)


Ziggurat come out of Israel’s slowly, but surely growing black death metal scene, bringing their debut “Ritual Miasma”. This EP features five tracks of vicious blackened death metal music. Mork handles the vocal duties on this release, he does a great job of mixing both death growls and raspy screams. Both of these vocal styles fit the bands music very well. Tohu handles the bass and guitar duties, combining both furious fast guitars, but also can change it up and play a slower mid paced style. Zigguarat play a very solid and interesting blackened death metal style, if you are a fan of mid ‘90s black death, then you should definitely give this band a chance and buy this release today.  - Patrick

https://www.facebook.com/zigguratband666    https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com        




"Zlosultni Horizont - Donosilac Prokletstva, Ocaja I Smrti” 2013 CD

(Dark Chants Productions)


Serbia's black metal masters return after a couple of Mcd's and singles the band has their debut full-length (clocks in at 27 minutes - Dale). The founding member Hunter {vocals, guitars, bass} and Lord Gryma {drums} have written and released Zloslut's most mature and best release to date. Musically Zloslut's style is primitive, raw, mid-paced black metal. While the guitars are raw and sometimes harsh sounding they are well-played and have some good sections of excellent musicianship. Hunter's vocals approach is raw violent screams and vicious shrieks. Lord Gryma's drumming is really keeping pace with Hunter's guitars and vocal patterns which range from mid-to fast range. If you enjoy raw, mid paced black metal that mixes in their own ideas should definitely check out Zloslut soon!  - Patrick

https://myspace.com/zloslutserbia666   http://zloslutserbia.webs.com/darkchantsproductions.htm        




"Below The Grief” 2018 CD

(Doomentia Records)


I first encountered this Mexican death squad several years ago, and they didn't make a huge impression on me for whatever reason. That has changed. Zombiefication belched forth quite the album with this new release, and it's solidly crafted and well-written death metal of the highest order. Stylistically it reminds me of a cross-pollination of mid-period Entombed (think To Ride Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth or Uprising) and old Desultory, and perhaps faster Asphyx material. There's a looseness to this that makes it sound so much more human than a lot of modern death metal, a violent swagger that not too many bands can own. The vocals are quite different, being more of a yell than a growl, which is refreshing. There is a little musical experimentation here, but the morbidity never lets up, and the twists and turns the album takes simply enhance the experience. The track order is paced perfectly, and the frenetic style they present adds even more character to the flow. Zombiefication has matured with this release, and I look forward to the next record. This is going to stay in my rotation for some time, and I dare say this is one of the best releases of 2018.  – Andrew Parrish

https://www.facebook.com/zombieficationofficial/    https://doomentiarecords.bandcamp.com/         




"Haatstorm" 2010 CD / Cassette

(Heidens Hart)


This Dutch band plays straight ahead black metal. After the keyboard intro, the band tear into it. The four piece have that rawness to their sound, particularly the guitar player, that brings back memories of the old 90's BM bands. "Haatstorm" is their only full length from 2010, after releasing several demos. This release actually reminds me more of the French BM scene than anything - which ain't a bad thing. I'm liking it. Personally, I would of dumped the intro and outro and just came out of the gates blasting. If you're in the mood for no frills black metal from yesteryear, this one will do the trick.  - Mark Sugiyama

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