Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mongrel's Cross - The Sins Of Aquarius

Mongrel's Cross's debut album ''The Sins Of Aquarius'' is nothing new to me. In fact, I was awaiting the explosion of the album with wide eyes when suddenly, I found the album right at my fingertips. Australia's is damn well know for its soldiers of bestial black and death metal, so black/thrash goodness wouldn't really surprise many. It's actually good that Aussie's offering so much quality black/thrash/death, because the current scene is plagued with scores of bands inferior to their masters in all ways, and now a retro-thrash trend seems to be rising, wherein pathetic thrash metal bands flourish their mediocrity with boring, blatant black metal aspects, such as raspy vocals and a few tremolos here and there, and then they tend to call themselves black/thrash. Mongrel's Cross are no where near these befouling imitators, and see through their well composed debut album if you don't believe me. With this, the fine line between retro black/thrash doppelgangers and true, old school black/thrashers are drawn vividly, bringing the dim, challenging and dynamically driven flavor of black/thrash back on the table.

It's obvious that Mongrel's Cross has driven black/thrash towards the extremity of death metal, thus renewing the genre's sharpness, but influences are still pretty clear, so don't expect to find any ground braking music here. Monstrous it is, but Mongrel's Cross is fueled by a constant source of punk and crushing death metal brutality, a crucial crutch in the formation of the separate links that would later be attached to each other. The band's to the atmosphere of the riffs and encompassing nihilism is also notable, thriving the disdainful riffs. The production, I must admit, is more muffled than I expected, and a raw edge surrounds the music as you delve into it. The music is still accessible yes, but dispersed arrays of black metal distortion fly through the air as if vaporized, and so a rich atmosphere is born from almost nothing, though still failing to commit to complete ambiance throughout. The comings and goings of the production may irritate some, but in no way is it tedious or agitating, and actually pretty exciting considering the diffusing resonance that it adds. While for the most part this straight, crushing and actually one dimensional black/thrash, there are moments where the black metal influence crops itself to make room for the huge death metal influence to take the spot and interact with the brutal, capacious thrash chugs, thus omitting the black metal aspect and forming a slightly different texture for the album to place itself.

Even the vocals are somehow connected to death metal as the they sound like black metal rasps and death metal growls coexisting. I'd say the death metal tone is more prominent, though with such volatile maneuvers, its admittedly hard to follow their path, evolving, evaporating into different tones with each song and maybe even each riff. While you spend half your time trying to catch up with previous riff, another one clutches you by the neck and drives a poison laden blade through your spine. Painful. Even though I love these sorts of robust incursions of brutal thrash and bestial black hybrids, it may sometimes fail to grab the whole of you with derivative riffing constantly pursuing you, but some cantankerous and maybe somber additions to the album's aggressive arsenal of riffs makes the experience worth the investment. Take ''When The Dragon Gives Birth'' for example. There are many elements which make it more unique than one dimensional black/thrash/death barrages like ''Rabid Inception'' or the title track, though don't get me wrong, raw and blunt aggression is the main attraction of the album. I hear the classic waves of Gospel Of The Horns, Vomitor, Nocturnal Graves and Destroyer 666 to be repeated during the first sequences, but towards the end, the track matures from almost abrasive black metal bestiality into a somber, grim piece of tremulous black metal, laden with melody and dotted with smatterings of a more atmospheric side of black metal. Mongrel's Cross keep you eagerly hunting for their brand of Australian blackened death/thrash, and while the whole exhibit was nothing too original or even intricate for that manner, it certainly does replenish the old school sound, sending copious amounts of retro-thrash groups running to their masters.

The Sins Of Aquarius
When The Dragon Gives Birth
Indulge The Temple

Rating: 87,5%

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Embrional - Absolutely Anti-Human Behaviors

Never once have I omitted the wonderful Polish death metal of the 90's and secluded them from all the other wonderful scenes which flowered at that time, and admittedly, it's hard to forget with such bands like Vader, Magnus, Schismatic and Danger Drive, thus the scene today seems to be dotted with bands exploiting relatively diverse and differing styles of their own. Perhaps it's still not as dominant a tyrant than the Swedish or American scene, but whether it's the atmospheric swaggers of Pandemonium, the crushing momentum of Centurion or rather straightforward approach of Embrional, the scene houses a number of quality bands, readying themselves to squirt and explosive barrage of death metal. Embrional may be closer to straightforward death metal territory compared to the other acts I've mentioned, though the sporadic attachment of queer melodies and intricate deliveries of sharp, piercing notes garnish their Floridian sound much more. Embrional's sophomore is an onset that will strike you, break you and dazzle you before you can even raise your shield to guard yourself.

While the cover art may teem with filthy maggots of crude death metal, their style actually stands as a polished aspect of the music, disabling any raw quality that you had hoped to hear before you were just glimpsing at the album art. However, there's still a satisfying face of this sudden change in events. The ceremonial art of decapitating ghouls and digging grotesque graves may be gone, but I can't agree that this fully polished, either, and especially for a band who can muster so many outbursts of vigorous combustion with little depression or oppression hidden under the riffs, a frigid aura of old school brilliance is a huge bonus for the band, even though the listener may only be able to taste glimpses of it. Embrional have been inspired from Floridian acts like Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation and Deicide, adding a fair amount of thrash crust to the blasting barrage of half-technical riffs, enhanced by the amount of intensity and brutality. The drums are almost always of double-bass mode, never ceasing to slam in with the right beat and the guitars slide on a slimy trail of ooze, grinding, chopping, trimming with razor sharp tremolo bursts and diminished chord sequences. Maintaining the level of speed and intensity should be the least of your worries, because with such eerie passages of strident riffs controlling the direction of the album, you'll gladly headbang until your neck can literally take no more.

Tracks like ''Bestial Torture'' and ''Possessed By Evil'' are absolutely monstrous tracks, crypt fiends that waste no time lingering around and just get on with the ruthless decapitation process, evil and sordid as it can be. And what about the groove-laden thumps of ''Maniacal Madness''? The song's a beast on its own, but the classic drum/guitar cooperation is now sprinkled with tiny segments of palm muted notes, like a scorpion crawling and escalating towards your skull, and slowly tearing off a dot of flesh with its mechanic pincers. The whole album is an absolute manifestation of hateful riffs like these and each riff is diminished in length, lasting for a second, them passing the honor to its brother, which fades away a second later. The riffs are so mechanic and so intricate that it may hard to focus on them at times, and the great thing about Embrional is that they can keep that level of intensity and velocity canned (though not lacking liveliness) so that the music doesn't even border to brutal technical death metal, all thanks to the carnal explosions of old school goodness. So many bands are rehashing their masters yet they almost always end up inferior too the beast they were copying, but Embrional's sophomore is inventive, strict, malicious and it never lacks fuel for the fire. A mighty fine effort that exceedingly solid, but still outrageously vigorous. At first you hesitate, but you learn to like it.

Bestial Torture
Last Step Into Nothing
Possessed By Evil

Rating: 85,5%

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Upcoming Release Worth Bragging #1

Yeah, so I figured if I can't review some of the awesome stuff that's about to come out, I could at least promote them a bit. Here are a few releases that I'm soaked about:

Mongrel's Cross - The Sins Of Aquarius 
Australia delivers quality black metal oriented metal every time. This is some blasphemous black/thrash the way you'd want it to be. Fans of Ketzer, Vomitor, Gospel Of The Horns, Blasphemy gonna like. Crushingly sick.
Available through Hell's Headbangers Records.

Deiphago - Satan Alpha Omega
Again, Hell's Headbangers do not fail to deliver. This is some pretty satanic war metal, in the vein of Blasphemy, Conqueror, Desaster, Bestial Warlust etc. Diggin' this much more than I would have expected.

Puteraeon - Cult Cthulhu
Swedish death metal is pretty popular these days as you may know, and I find it hard to choose bands that are really good at it, but these guys should definitely break a healthy amount of necks. Just crunchy good. Swedeath from Sweden. What more can you want? Old school with some nuances, but generally sticking to the typical chainsaw formula. Should be one of the best death metal releases of the year.
Available through Cyclone Empire.

Engulfed - Through Eternal Damnation Ep
Old school death from my home country Turkey. I'm actually pretty excited about this because not only is Turkey lacks numbers when it comes metal, but this four-track Ep seems quite worth my time. Some Incantation worshiping done right for sure. Engulfed consists of ex member of Deggial and Decaying Purity, bands that I'm not really into, but overall, the quality of the riffs seem pretty good. Plus, these guys are signed to Hellthrasher Productions so I'll be getting a promo of this real soon (Hopefully).

A new Necrovation album is also coming out on the 26th of June via Agonia records, though I couldn't find a song anywhere. Still, old school and from Sweden. Should be on par with ''Cult Cthulhu''.

Redmist Destruction - Nobility In Death

Although I was more than content with the amount of old school death metal releases that came out this year, the only thrash that impressed me so far is Nekromatheon, Deathhammer and few other black/thrash acts like Desaster, Ketzer and Aura Noir, so over the last week I've been searching restlessly to find some considerably good thrash. After passing through waves of mediocrity, I finally come across this little gem called Redmist Destruction, and now, I can safely pause my brain-harassing search for good new thrash bands. This is just the sort of thrash I was looking for, fast, dynamic, old school but with touches of melody and punk. These guys aren't necessarily a crossover act, but they embrace their punk and hardcore roots rather strongly, resulting in short, cunning songs that do not fail to deliver some spiking thrash with that good ol' punk spirit dotted here and there. Bu just glimpsing at the cover and the logo font you can very well understand that Redmist aren't bringing a different flavor to the table, but this is so much better than the hordes of mediocre thrash/punk hybrids that I had to deal with before.

Although straightforward thrashing and robust outbursts of spiking crossover energy seem to be the main things that make up the anatomy of ''Nobility In Death'', there is a fair enough usage of melody sprinkled around the riffs and bridges randomly to provide even more vivacity and contrast. Some songs resemble more complicated thrash songs with intricate song structures, pending for about three to four minutes, but tracks which are abridged to a mere minute or two are almost direct SOD/MOD/DRI throwbacks, consisting of a chord or two with punk fueled lethal energy guiding the chorus. Typical thrash traits like group shouts or ridiculously crusty palm muted gallops are highly present but one main thing that enhances the originality of quality of the riffs is the occasional usage of catchy melodic patterns which flow with viscosity along the break-neck thrash attacks. ''Eternally Deprived'' has to be the best track on the album, abundant in riffs and melody, fairly intricate and not lacking length. A nice thrash tune that should go well with pretty much any mood that has to do with anger.

I found ''The Coroner'' to be just as efficient as ''Eternally Deprived'' and maybe even more vicious and sordid. The riffs are obviously the best part of the music here as Redmist Destruction has snatched the pleasuring solidity and sordidness from typical acts like Exodus or early Metallica and perhaps even some Slayer during the peak of heinousness, but as I stated before, punk diversity is also a common aspect in the music. The harmonious melodic riffing patterns on ''Hell Capitan'' are nice addition to the growing flavor of melody, plus that certain mute-note sequence could almost bring Swedish melodic death metal bands to mind, and since the influence is so distant, it won't cause any harm to the band's old school sound. ''Strive To Belong'' and ''Terrorist?'' have to be the more crossover-oriented duo, with predictable verse-chorus structures and chord driven, rocket like explosions of punk and hardcore engulfing most of the direct thrash influence. The vocals and drums are elements that really weight a lot when setting the balance right for the album, totally embracing that static, pissed off punk spirit of the early 80's. Even the drums are worthy of some praise. They mainly tend to fit the music well with nice, simple beats, but a blast beats are also randomly scattered throughout. Redmist Destruction did impress me with debut, and they've pointed out that thrash has always been linked to its earliest influences, punk and hardcore, just in case anyone wonders off in search of something different without remembering his/her roots. Pure lethal energy.

Only Human
Eternally Deprived
The Coroner

Rating: 85%

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Muknal - Muknal

Deep and murky, under a subterranean mass of cavernous evil and undeniable monstrosity, lies a cosmic ruin that has no been evoked for centuries, decrepit from time yet still prevailing with its sense of chaotic evil and most intricate delicacy. Beneath the crimson lights and stalking stalactites, the once dominant evil of cosmic horror starts to replenish itself to gradually rise from the stagnant, archaic walls that held it for over centuries. Sputters grow into explosions and the true face of this primordial evil grows less furtive with each blast, ultimately shattering the dormant cave the engulfs it, and thus bursting out with invidious hate, attempting to exterminate everything that lived above it your years and years. Muknal's debut Ep is not an archaic form of this indecipherable atrocity, but its a very vivid image of what it would be if it was ever provoked. A mere wave of this blasphemous obelisk is enough to solidify your blood, and its foul stench of resonant abyss makes it only worse.

The description above carries vivid semblance to Muknal's self titled Ep, and man, what a monster of a three track mini album this is. Muknal play bestial black/death, a style that is becoming a popular game in the metal underground, though it would be an unfair judgement to dub these guys as just blackened death metal, as their music is soaked in dense atmosphere and drowsy resonance, making it a much more twisted listen than usual. The atmosphere is thick and brooding, and there is a cosmic feeling in the music, constructed perfectly, forming a dense plate of resonance on top of the complex music to come from the very start. With ambiance issues done from the very beginning the chaotic riffs and other dazzling aspects fit in with ease and without hesitation. Basic influences must be pointed out, though, as this Ep doesn't show any spectacular level of originality during the writing process. Delicately arranged yes, but blatant tricks that flourish the Ep are an indicator of how its been influences by well known acts. I hear lots of bestial black metal, no different than master like Blasphemy, Proclamation or Archgoat and thick Incantation-esque tremolo patterns also seem to rule the crude openings of the Ep.

Once you put those influences aside, you'll still be left with pockets of intricate riffing and complex structures, linked together by the dismal force of astral atmosphere. Seriously, what war metal fan wouldn't fall for those vocals? Tormenting rasps of pure bestiality than merges with the music just seconds after its impact. Or the riffs? The terrific, droney blackened death/doom chugs or the blasphemous tremolo pickings that ignite, and burn as quickly as paper are obvious implications of the band's focus on the elaborately forged riffs. They're not multifarious or exceedingly technical, with with so much cosmic horror chasing you for seventeen minutes, who cares? Three tracks that provide ferocity, atmosphere and breath taking reverb is pretty much something that very few bands achieve these days. Each track is drenched in the same kind of foul resonance, but each is a different color, and with the occasional usage of synthesizers and other electronic devices thrusting into the music everything is already set up for you, all you have to do is to grab those headphones and listen. Seventeen minutes have scarce been this pleasing and horror laden. I dare you to get this, and if you're a war metal fan that you certainly will, but I can't promise whether you pants will stay dry or not.

Rotten Genesis

Rating: 88%

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cardiac Arrest - Vortex Of Violence

Chicago's Cardiac Arrest have been releasing robust, blood soaked grindy death metal for over eight years and  in the last six years they've managed to produce four full-length albums, this being the fourth. Despite being quite fertile and releasing new material with little respite in between each release, Cardiac Arrest are still a fairly unknown band, and I can't really blame them since pretty much nay band with traits that doesn't stand out from the vortex of death metal bands easily gets lost in the turbulent stream of bands. Despite not bringing anything new to the table, these guys need some recognition for spewing forth some crusty, crunchy old school death metal with blatant death/grind influences borrowed from masters like Repulsion, Impetigo, Napalm Death or Terrorizer. There is a nice churning of these two elements while omitting other, popular influences like the traditional Swedish death metal sound or Incantation-esque dense tremolo pickings.

Cardiac Arrest are definitely heavy and fast throughout, maintaining velocity at a high level for the whole of the album and keeping the riffs pulverizing and hefty. With the obvious grindcore influence lingering near every aspect of the music naturally becomes hardcore-oriented and most of the riffs that are presented are somewhat one-dimensional chord progressions and chugs that follow similar patterns with little distinction, but I couldn't help but appreciate the eerie density that engulfs the riffs themselves, drawing them slightly away from flurried aggression and pulling them more towards deep, atmospheric incursions. I guarantee you that you will have sublime appreciation for the first array of diverse riffing, and you will bob your head for a short while, but within a minute or so the energy will fade that premier impact will loose its efficiency. Of course there are tracks that conjure up that vile old school death/grind while soaking the music in sheer aggression like the title track or ''Conjured Beings''. Tracks like these may not prove to be anything special overall, but their addition to the albums spiraling vortex of storming riffs adds some contrast to the music.

Usually, simplistic riffs like the ones here are fit better into shorter songs, but tracks pending for as long six and a half minutes do bore you, especially when they're basically the same riffs and chugs being repeated over and over. The pile of monotonous cadavers that topple upon ''Depths Of Despair'' provides with an arsenal of thrash laden mid paced stompers with a tiny hint of groove, if not anything. Most of the tracks were rather unimpressive but I suppose some stomping grooves and corpulent old school death metal tones make up for some spaciousness of the music. Just because this is old school doesn't mean that it will please fans of ancient, rotting death metal that so many other acts seem to adore these days. The overall delivery of the music sums up to something that solid as rock, and almost just as stable, and while the riffs are all sordid they can't bend too much, so I was left with a rather dry piece of death/grind. Even so, the album possesses a compelling force that should pull some hardcore and grindcore fans towards the magnet. It's crazed, but one-dimensional, so more than a few songs will probably prove ineffective.

Portal Of The Damned
Conjured Beings
Vortex Of Violence

Rating: 76%

Holodomor - Témoignages De La Gnose Terrestre

England's Holodomor have been around for no more than just three years, and this is their debut Ep, a raw piece of black/thrash. Many bands actually tend to just toy with obvious influences while bringing little contrast to the music they adore, but Holodomor have already found their own unique sound even though their material is still not sufficient enough to create something truly distinguishable. Holodomor actually explore through many different regions of extreme metal, and amid a compelling force of primal thrash metal and raw black metal, you'll no doubt notice queer influences spawning from here and there, adding color and contrast to the Ep during its short lifespan. I'm still not sure if these guys have settled their sound sound yet, as if still sounds unpolished and there are numerous details that need to be worked out, but despite all of these small flaws churning the Ep, an add, almost experimental sound rules the music, and many who search for variation will be drawn onto this Ep like a magnet gathering metal needles around itself.

Many different influences are spread around the album, making it a queer listen right from the start. Black/thrash is what this is dubbed as, but the music is so diverse that the riffs have already dislodged from their traditional black/thrash stance, so don't expect to hear something like Ketzer, Flame or Urn. Instead, the chaotic flurry that was created by masters like Bestial Warlust, Blasphemy and Angelcorpse is a dominant element in here, right on top of the crazed onset of bestial thrash metal, resembling early Sodom or Kreator circa ''Pleasure To Kill''. Of course once you exit the array of influences that shape half of the album, you're left with many other sounds, all adorning the Ep in an urge to twist it into something very peculiar. For the most part, I can say that the experimentation has ended with success. ''Témoignages De La Gnose Terrestre'' never lingers too long in a certain area, it explores while vomiting out all the things that it covers, never sticking to a strict formula. Basically thing of a face, twisting into numerous emotions and grimacing for the most part. That's what this is, stubborn black/thrash fueled with hate, having a penchant to try something different every minute.

The influences that shape the album are not very bountiful when they are projected in the same manner, but by adding swift turns, sharp maneuvers and by having savvy flexibility, the riffs here are sprayed furiously upon the listener, spiking suddenly and then drawing back, simply introducing standard influences in a most spiking way. The riffs are totally flashy and sudden, and before you can have a moment's respite after a gnawing incursion of bestial black/thrash, another onset is at your door, and it strikes before you can have a moment to breathe. The really great factor about the Ep is that fact that these guys have definitely worked hard while writing the riffs and arranging the songs in structure. Many might hear basic tremolo passages and typical diminished black metal chord strums, but deep within the turbulent assault of riffs, you'll notice there are technical details added, and Holodomor actually present this in the most accessible way possible. A great trait.

The first two tracks show much of the Ep's relentless ferocity in its ways of blistering hate and agile curves, making it an intriguing experience. The music doesn't flow progressively, because it stroke has its own accent, so basically the music is mostly a raw mix of colliding black/thrash riffs. ''Tribulation Stigmata'' follows a relatively different road then the previous and upcoming songs, starting off with invidious velocity but then gradually slowing down and introducing some very queer black metal chord strums. The vocals here are absolutely chaotic, like a twisted madman screaming while inserting a knife in a lifeless body. The drums are have also been noticed despite the crazed riffs surrounding the album. They play blast beats occasionally, since that's the best fit for this sort of fast music. Overall, the general sound of the Ep is impressive and it drew me nearer than I would have imagined. Holodomor are yet to stabilize their style, but this Ep will always remain as a crushing piece of complex black/thrash.

The Iconoclast
Fall Into Time

Rating: 84%

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Infiltrator - Demo

I knew it. I just knew it. I knew that after getting to know Gatekrashör I would gradually escalate and discover more and more bands, each slightly better in quality. Philadelphia's newest act Infiltrator brings a much needed amount of speed, aggression and thrashing energy that current scene seems to lack so badly. The band is basically a one man army, but everything is composed and mixed so elaborately that the only thing this demo is missing are more songs, and that's a huge step up from the beginning considering many bands fail to deliver both quality music with well-mixed production and numerous songs at their demo stage. Not only does Infiltrator produce some lethal, vicious speed metal, but an additional boast of intricacy is always attached to the frantic riffing, increasing the sheer complexity of the songs will still enabling them to feel as casual as ever, the way classic speed/thrash is supposed to be.

Within just first thirty seconds of the opening track ''Crush The False'' you can understand that this is not just simple, straightforward speed metal, because the songs are written with caution and care, and every aspect has been arranged in the best way that they could be, thus the sound is always plain and comprehensible, and by the first minute of the galloping onset, many will probably be pursuing for more. With two tracks, you might think that Infiltrator haven't quite found their sound yet because there're only two songs in this demo, but with two tracks at over twelve minutes and fairly intricate compositions, I think Infiltrator's sound is established firmly. ''Crush The False'' kicks off with the boisterous laugh of a harmonious guitar melody, and a classic stomp n' chomp gallop follows, eventually leading to an ultra fast speed metal onslaught. The real notable element of Infiltrator's music shows itself during the verse. The vocals. Oh yes, many speed metal bands are quite fond of shrieking, ear shattering vocals, but the vocals on here are muffled chokes and guttural rasps, a bit like Midnight, but Midnight were highly influenced by black metal, so they were sort of drawn into doing so. This, however, is a totally original addition to the music that wasn't even necessary, but I'm just glad the vocals are the way the way they are.

The speed metal scene is about to be shaken by the volatile assault of Infiltrator, so many bands should really start to get better at their game, because it looks like Infiltrator are heading towards the throne. It's amazing how one guy can muster so much good material and attach them to each other in such a robust way. This demo's got it all, storming speed/thrash riffs, excellent, thumping drums battering against your ears, original vocals and shredding solos that flow so fluently that you might as well loose your grip on them. Two tracks, yet so much to offer, this demo will please a great amount of people once they hear of it, and Infiltrator are definitely heading the right way. I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of a debut Ep or full-length.

Hell Ripper
Crush The False

Rating: 86,5%

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

RAM - Death

RAM are actually growing more and more popular with each release, and they could actually be dubbed as one of the leaders in the sudden blast of Swedish heavy metal bands. Their sound is quite similar to the sound of their fellow countrymen Portrait, In Solitude and Trial. Their growing popularity is probably one thing that renews and replenishes their quality, and now that they're signed to Metal Blade Records, you'd expect them to act with more caution and produce even better material then before, maintaining the solidity of their music. I can't really say this whether this is a step back or an improvement compared to the previous album, but I couldn't really feel the whole of RAM's potential bursting out of its veins. They've definitely cultivated the might and power of their riffs and they've found perfect old school traditional heavy metal spot to land their music to, but other than those aspects, this album isn't flawless.

For a start, many tracks can't really attain a distinguished sound, but I suppose the sharp delivery of the vocals and shrewd drumming makes up for those minor gaps. Yes, if you're into pure energy and power then for the most part, ''Death'' may be a good fit for you, but for listeners who delicately investigate every single detail and aspect, then the album may not be that near to excellence. Tracks like ''Defiant'' or ''Release'' me are your one way tickets to a time ride going back to the late 70's and early to mid 80's, having a certain accent and some Judas Priest worshiping done right. Once the groovy riffs are nailed right they sound absolutely great, chunky, catchy chugs and gallops accompanied with thumping drum beats from behind and maybe an occasional melody lingering about, boasting the velocity and energy of the riffs. RAM have definitely captured that old school heavy metal sound, but when it comes to projecting it perfectly on every aspect and keeping the whole balance of the album even, the band does have a few gaps here and there that eventually start to eat through the good bits of the album. Some highlights are left gnawed and slightly eroded due to the big flaw when linking together two separate sections in songs, but fortunately the gnawing and biting scarcely effects the overall performance of the album.

There are some truly stellar stand out tracks on the album like ''Defiant'' or ''Flame Of The Tyrants'' that are tracks which definitely should capture a good number of traditional heavy metal dorks right away, and I'm not even omitting the thrash laden intro assault on ''...Comes From The Mouth Beyond'', but I feel the biggest gap on this album is the number of unnecessary riffing and sequences that bind other riffs together. ''Frozen'' speaks for itself, its monotonous chugging and desolate clean arpeggio sections lead by an array of classy mini solos should almost be reminiscent of the 80's doom metal sound, with a tinge of classic heavy metal, obviously. The musicianship doesn't make me gape, but the nice combination multiple, simple aspects can bind together at times to form something that's fairly intricate. The vocals are strong and ear shattering all the same, and their presence is always noted, never agitating, so it covers a large portion on the negative qualities that the album possesses. Had more songs like ''Release Me'' or ''Defiant'' been made, then the album could have surely risen to larger heights, but right now, what it already present is very good, and still leaves many modern heavy metal bands running for their money.

Release Me
Flame Of The Tyrants

Rating: 83,5%

Monday, May 21, 2012

Interview With Jamie Knox Of Horrendous

Horrendous's debut masterpiece has churned the current metal scene and has eliminated many, many opponents. Their brand of doomy old school death metal is absolutely beautiful, and achieves to do what many fail to do. I reviewed ''The Chills'' a few months ago, and I love just as much as any fan of the album. And now, I've managed to do an interview with the band for fans who'd like further information.

LMZ-At the start of the band, did you have a good idea of what you would play, or how you would play your music?

We didn’t have anything in mind the first time we played together - we just wanted to see what happened. We were all fans of metal and Damian particularly liked death metal. During our first jam session, Damian made up the main riff in our song The Mystic and the rest was pretty much history. We wrote the entire demo within the next month and recorded it a few months after that. So I would say we didn’t exactly set out to start a death metal band but that is what happened.

LMZ-What bands infleunces you the most while developing you sound?

We are clearly big fans of early Swedish and American death metal bands like Dismember, Gorement, Death, Autopsy, etc. In the demo I think we focused a lot more on just playing death metal in this vein. During our writing for The Chills, we were much more open-minded in terms of incorporating influences and exploring less traditional territory. Matt in particular is a huge fan of thrash metal and I think that really comes through in our music. We also take influence from things like traditional metal, black metal, and punk. Basically, we write music that we like to hear and don’t worry about traditional death metal restraints. As we progress as a band over time, I think this will become even more evident.

LMZ-Your debut album, ''The Chills'' has been much praised. What are your thoughts on this?

We are very happy with the responses we have received from The Chills. People seem to really like it, which is an awesome feeling. Hopefully as more and more people hear the album we will continue to get a lot of positive feedback.

LMZ-Were you pleased by the results of the album? Did you think it needed some improvements?

We are incredibly proud of the product because we spent a shitload of time writing, perfecting, and recording it. So long that we drove Dark Descent a bit crazy I think haha. But the album turned out just the way we wanted it to. I don’t think any of us would change anything about the album. We are really happy with it.

LMZ-What do you pay importance to while writing a song?

When writing a song, we do our best to analyze every aspect of it. This is particularly true of songs on The Chills. We pay attention to structure, placement of leads and vocals, interplay between the two guitars and bass, the overall atmosphere of the song and the feelings it induces, the way each song fits in with the others, etc. We want to be proud of all of our songs and don’t want to release anything that we feel is of a lower quality.

LMZ-What do you think describes your style the best?

Our style could be described as thrashy, rotten death metal peppered with hints of melody and doom. Its funny to read different reviews and hear the various ways in which people describe our sound. If you put the different descriptions next to each other it will often sound like two drastically different bands are being described haha.

LMZ-What are your thought on the current death metal scene?

The current scene is interesting. There is clearly a resurgence of old-school type stuff, some of which is cool as hell and some of which is boring as shit. It has become a bit of a trend, but as long as the bands doing it are writing good songs, we support them. We are all fans of old metal and think the feeling one gets when listening to old school metal is something really special. Many death metal bands from the 90s and early 2000's are still going strong. And clearly there are still a ton of technical/brutal bands as well and so the scene is incredibly varied. 

LMZ-Are you planning to enter the studio anytime soon?

I imagine we will probably start recording at some point later this year. But since we are spread out along the East Coast, the amount of time between beginning and finishing recording can be huge. As of now, we have been writing some material but it has been each person on his own. We have not gotten together to write as a band and have not yet planned when that will happen. It will likely be soon though.

LMZ-You have been quite busy with tours and shows. How does this feel?

Haha, well that isn’t true, we played a show a few months ago in Columbia, SC and we recently opened the Decibel Tour Charlotte date but these are the only shows we have had since 2010. We hope to tour more in the near future since we will likely live in much closer proximity to one another. We would also like to make it to Europe for a tour at some point. We were offered a spot on a European tour this summer which we will not be able to play, but hopefully we will get another opportunity soon.

LMZ-Any last words for your fans before we finish this interview?

Thanks so much for all the support!!! It means the world to us and keeps us going. Keep death alive.

For those who're interested (and how could you be not) in purchasing ''The Chills'', the album is available via Dark Descent Records. 
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sepulcral - Anthropophagy Of Doom

It's nice to see some different worship done every once in a while when it comes to playing old school death metal, because the current scene is a swelling tumor of Autopsy/Incantation worshipers or groove laden, hardcore tinged Entombed/Dismember doppelgangers and bands with nuances will be certainly be appreciated if not adored as long as they keep true to their ancient styling. Razorback Recordings is a cool label who continuously signs death/doom bands, and they have all my support on that. Italy's Sepulcral is a fine addition to their growing list of old school death/doom bands, and the real thing that pulled me towards their album ''Anthropophagy Of Doom'' is the influences that they took rather then their overall sound. This album is not necessarily a departure from the classic death metal sound trends that are prominent today, but it's not a direct copy either.

''Anthropophagy Of Doom'' has a burden packed with only a small amount of various styles, but these influences are sufficient to build up and album with a strong base structure. The doom laden death metal reminds me of Derketa, Mythic, Goatlord, early Death rather than Incantation or Autopsy, thus, the influences are dotted with rotting parchments of thrash to bring the raw sound to the front row. Due to production issues, the band didn't actually manage to sound extremely filthy or raw, plus I feel the thrash influence lingers upon the heavy doom riffs a little too long, but nonetheless that old school death/doom sound is brought alive once again, even though some of its most crucial elements are not bestowed upon the music properly. The main thing that separates bands like Derketa or Mythic from other like Rottrevore, Cianide or Autopsy, is that the tempos are always moving and no matter the loss in speed the music stays constant and fluent, while all the other filthy death/doomers have a clear line between fast, and slow, scarcely having a middle ground. The riffs on this album are razor sharp and crunchy all the same, but the riffs may tend to sound a little too mechanic at times which may cost the band a few points.

For example, ''Sepulcral'' starts off with a stomping, doomy thrash chomp, but as the band fails to deliver any contrast to go along with that riff, the riffs soon loses its efficiency and fades away. You never feel like rambling around the album and exploring its unexplored, mainly because you can't find anything new. That's a large flaw that definitely detracts some points, and that flaw will need some healing. On the other hand, you can definitely enjoy the simplicity of the crushing, spacious riffs as they're totally open to headbanging . Songs like ''Infanticide'' are very straightforward, thrashy tracks that work along with doomy death metal formula easily, and even some of the more technically oriented tremolo bursts and groovy chord progressions capture the interest of a listener even though I doubt someone will be utterly immersed by these riffs. I did enjoy a healthy measure of this album's monotonous chomps and robust, thrash oriented chord attacks, yet I believe that band could have done better with this release. A very solid album, and it still keeps its distance from mediocrity, and I hope the next release will be an improvement.

Drastic Visions
Cemeteries Reaper

Rating: 77%

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Interview With Afonso Veiga Of Nuklear Infektion

A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed Nuklear Infektion's crushing debut Ep, ''Weapons Of Massive Genocide''. It managed to annihilate any simple, boring retro thrash band out there, showing that these Portuguese monsters can conjure up seriously killer thrash. Yes, I'm aware that it's an impossible task to be able to keep up with the current thrash scene, but you better get off your lazy ass and grab this Ep, because it's definitely some mighty thrash done right. After my review, I managed to catch up with guitarist Afonso Veiga and did an interview. 

LMZ-How did you form the band?

We formed in the beginning of 2011, when me (Afonso) met André at a Destruction gig in the end of 2010, and he told me that he was looking for people to start a thrash metal band. He already had found a singer (Tio) and he had some friends to join in at both bass (Rúben) and drums (Tiago).
Later we had to find a new bass player, because Ruben wasn't a big fan of old school Thrash. Diogo joined in.
Before he joined we recorded a demo track of our first song WE'RE ON COMMAND, with programmed drums and me on the bass.
Some months after we played our first gig and after that Tiago had to leave, because he already had a band, and Hugo joined in, to play drums.
After that we played some local shows and began the recording process of our debut EP.

LMZ-What were your primary influences while developing your sound?
Basically Old School Thrash Metal, like Slayer, Exodus, Vio-Lence, Demolition Hammer, old Sepultura, etc...
And some other bands like Obituary, Motörhead, etc...

LMZ-What were the reactions like to your debut EP, ''Weapons Of Massive Genocide''?
We had some pretty good reviews, better than I expected, actually.
The fans liked it a lot too, and the reactions live were pretty good too.
Too bad local bands are more interested in talking crap than supporting, haha.

LMZ-Do you think you have improved sound-wise when we compare your EP to your your previous demo?
Our first track, WE'RE ON COMMAND, was too over-the-place.
For the EP, we wanted to improve the songs structures as well has to give a certain identity to each track.

LMZ-What are your thoughts on the Portuguese metal scene?
Though there aren't a lot of Thrash Metal bands, there are some pretty good bands.
Unfortunately, as I said before, most of the bands are always backstabbing the others and talking crap. Atleast there are some pretty cool bands too, with awesome people.

LMZ-Are any plans for a full-lenght album in sight?
We're focusing now on promoting our EP, but I'm already writing some new riffs, and we have already some new ideas. Maybe during the summer we'll start working more on new songs, but now we just want to thrash every possible venue.
LMZ-Now that you're done with the EP, I suppose you'll focus on doing shows for a while. Do you plan on touring?
Yeah, as I said we want to promote our release. We got some pretty good gigs. We are playing a fest with HAVOK in June, and some other venues and fests.

LMZ-Any final words before we conclude this interview?
Thank you for the interest.
For any promoter interested in us or if you wanna buy a physical copy of our debut EP, hit us up at
Stay tuned for more info at our facebook page:

Gatekrashör - Fear Of Attack

Ever get bored of the oppressive heft of atmospheric bands, or the devastating hammers that keep crushing your skull? Ever want something a little different? If you're up for something dynamic, fresh and extremely catchy, then I've got your answer right on my fingertips. Gatekrashör's new Ep ''Fear Of Attack'' is some 80's speed/thrash metal worship done right. As the current scene is being plagued by numerous bands that repeat the same style over and over, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find something that's actually original or enjoyable and easy to listen to. Bands are putting so much effort on the sheer intricacy of their music that they immediately forget that producing catchy, light and simple material is also crucial while writing compositions. Fortunately, bands like Gate Krashör, Infiltrator and Witchtrap are eager to bring pain to our necks by offering some top notch speed metal, the old school way.

Gate Krashör's frenzied incursion of lightweight speed/thrash is no stranger to the old school sound, and you probably aren't such a stranger to their sound, but by adding some lucid twists and sharp turns, they manage to bend their brand of metal for the perfect measure, rendering themselves to sound very comprehensible, yet ridiculously pleasuring and original. All The typical traits of speed metal are here, with a hint of that old school thrash metal evil put in.The first track ''Blastwave'' stands back for its first minute or two, right before exploding into a frantic speed metal assault, with bluesy chords and gallops, swiping the listener away into an undeniable headbang fest right away. The riffs may actually seem slightly muffled and cracked, but that's their charm as the production also offers the same shattered quality in order to boast the whole ''old school'' effect, which works perfectly.

I'm surprisingly content with the vocal delivery, because the vocalist doesn't tend to scream his lungs out, but he actually keeps his voice low with a few evil rasps coming and going with little frequency. The drums usually don't display anything worth bragging about, but I especially liked the beats on this Ep. They're clear, almost as audible as the guitars, and the drummer can really manage to create to amazing fills and attacks that work with ease alongside the galloping, groovy riffs. The riffs are usually all that you'd expect, straightforward tremolo pickings and galloping chugs, but they never cease to entertain me, and they're even flourished with sporadic technical fragments. Gatekrashör are for any kind of people, people who envy the 80's speed/thrash sound, people who love their speed metal, or people who're basically looking for something dynamic and spiking. If you too are on a quest to achieve similar goals, then Gatekrashör's ''Fear Of Attack'' Ep should be your premier destination.

Speed Metal Hammer

Rating: 84,5%

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Resurgency - False Enlightenment

Yes, I know that Greece isn't really the first place you think of when I say death metal, and in fact Greece would scarce come to my mind since their metal scene is completely dominated by black metal usurpers and fiends, no that I'm complaining or anything. If I had just listened to the devastating music found of Resurgency's ''False Enlightenment'', then I would have easily taken this as an American or perhaps an Australian band, but Resurgency didn't even allow me to ponder the question as I was struck with an immediate bolt of lightening that took me far away from my thoughts within an instant. Perplexed and dazzled, I didn't know what to do at first, but a second incursion brought me to my feet and this time I was able to embrace it, and appreciate its monstrous manner of delightfully brutalizing old school death metal that took me with absolute shock an amazement.

For the likes of you and me, ''False Enlightenment'' is a thick, horrendous manacle that fits on your brain and your ears, chafing against it furiously as if intending to erase it. This is my second taste of death metal from the already fantastic record label Hellthrasher Productions for this month, and it's the better one, too. The sheer amount of brutality and heft found on this album is enough to outshine any brutal death metal album easily, yet segments of rotting, decrepit old school bowels and shattered bones that link the riffs together restrain the music, making slipping into the much despised form of death metal a very, very hard task. As the colossal manacles slowly crunch and batter into your head, you'll find it even more pleasuring to listen to this sturdy monolith, thus it will become increasingly difficult for you to dislike it.

While most of the riffs may seem somewhat bleak to many people, they're actually extremely enjoyable, and Resurgency is always sticking to a formula where similar riffs are played with queer elements spread out sporadically, and even though there is not much of an indicator to set riffs apart, they're all exceedingly robust and enjoyable throughout. Also, this album is probably another ''In your face'' to those who believe brutality holds no atmosphere. ''False Enlightenment'' is crude and dark as it's face pummeling, and the whole abysmal aura of the music is altered by swiftly shifting tremolo bursts that descend slowly, with ease and finally come to a certain perspective where they can change the position of the battlefield with one single stroke. The opener ''Craniums Of Slain Disciples'' is the first taste of horror and densely populated chaos for the listener with both its music and title, and the album gradually escalates in a crazed, yet patient manner, altering the direction only slightly with each track. ''Ending The Beginning'' starts where the previous opening track left, with dual guitars playing brooding tremolo pickings with nuances and pummeling grooves. The vocals are just as frantic and energy laden as the riffs, and monstrous barks and growls never seem to be far from sight.

For the first few tracks, the listener will enjoy a very good measure of blasting old school death metal, and on the fourth track ''Dark Revival'', things will start to differ. ''Dark Revival'' is just another crazed, chaotic slab of disorganized tremolo pickings jumping onto each other and the title track is the oddest side of the album yet. Title tracks are usually meant to be special, maybe not always good, but somehow different than other tracks with their own unique twist. The title track on here is both good and diverse as it shapes into numerous shapes during its four and a half minutes, channeling between mid paced Bolt Thrower grooves and morbid dirges adorned with melodic melodies that will no doubt call fans of Autopsy and Incantation to the banners. This album is dark, chaotic, and absolutely mind numbing. Not only does this record stand out as one of the best death metal releases of 2012 alongside ''The Chills'', ''Netherwards'', ''Excruciating Existence'' and ''Contragenesis'', but it also expands Hellthrasher's wings even further, enabling them to grab hold of quality bands with ease. A magnificent dedication to the eternal gods that shaped the genre of old school death metal as we know it.

Hideous Premonition
False Enlightenment
Where Despair Dominates

Rating: 90%

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Ectovoid - Fractured In The Timeless Abyss

There are moments where I really question myself about why I dislike the whole metal scene today, and why I can't enjoy them to the fullest. Old school bands come in malicious hordes and decimate everything in their path, but there are also old school bands that love their atmosphere, and can incorporate the perfect measure of hard-hitting riffs into their atmospheric tendencies. I really didn't see Ectovoid coming. Hellthrasher productions are signing better and better bands every month, and I would have had no doubts about this band's quality had I known they were releasing an album. Ectovoid really has a short discography, consisting of just one demo and their full-length ''Fractured In The Timeless Abyss'', a subterranean obelisk of cavernous brutality. Yes, that's what these guys are all about. They bring so much nostalgia to the listener that it just strikes like a bolt of lighting, thunderous and effective.

At first, I questioned the Metal Archives for dubbing this as black/death metal, because all I heard was dense, doomy, even Incantation influenced death metal, swaying along a crude path with a substantial amount of groove. But as I listened with more care, I tiny details that adorn the blasphemous death metal power that the album already possessed. These tiny details I'm talking about are buried beneath a ton of hefty music going on above, and sometimes their dispersion isn't not spread out equivalently, but the main point is that these guys actually have a small amount of black metal influence around them, and that can only mean good news. The atmosphere is right there, and a dense current of ambiance is always supporting the riffs from the back, enabling them to go atmospheric as well. The album delves a lot into death/doom territory as well, a fine line of decrepit, sludgy riffs maintaining the the balance of the music. Black metal tremolo passages are incredibly common, but they're rather a resultant of Incantation and black metal riffs combined, exploding with a thick sound and some queer twists that happen to occur during the execution of the riffs. The vocals are also a shadowed mass, grisly guttural lows that fit into the music perfectly.

The leads on this album are almost none, but I do like the cavernous tinge of brooding melodies found on ''Locked In Dismal Gaze''. Most of the riffs are actually robust combinations of simple, mid paced chord progressions and Incantation-esque tremolo bursts. The most apparent aspect of ''Fractured Into The Timeless Abyss'' is its fair share of atmosphere and brutality and groove, thriving passion and moods more prominently than crushing sections which are usually sections that are commonly used in death metal. Sure, this may not be as cavernous or aura laden as say ''Netherwards'' or the maniacal demo by Hellige, but it does exclude an amount of sharp, piercing riffs in order to increase the dominance of the thick fog of timeless abyss surrounding it. Many typical headbangers may find the lack of crunchy, headbang friendly riffs as a big flaw though people who give more importance to musical quality will admire, if not enjoy the classy riffs and aspects created on this album. I now salute you towards your journey into the timeless abyss.

Shapeshifting Mass
Splintered Phantasm
Locked In Dismal Gaze

Rating: 88%

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mutant Supremacy - Rotting Season

There have been numerous death metal combos that adopt an thrashy, rather straightforward death sound into their old school basis, and as most of them were a deal of ''hit or miss'' for me, I focused more on bands who actually reflect passion and hate with their music with queer, tormenting formulas. Mutant Supremacy is just another typical crude death metal bands to evolve from the front rears of the grave and act as a very standard piece of death metal infantry. Bands like Writhing, Ad Patres or Ominous Crucifix are some bands that come to mind when I am to describe their brand of simplistic, yet still pulverizing death. Perhaps Mutant Supremacy does slightly differ from these bands as they tend to be more passionate and slightly more concentrated while writing their primal compositions. I heard this many times before, and I do mean many, yet for some odd reason, these guys are turning out to be more attractive then I would have imagined.

Perhaps people who've tasted their debut album ''Infinite Suffering'' may have had a better idea when they needed expect what was coming, but I was left almost completely clueless against what was about to hit me. The cover art and logo font usually tell a lot, and judging from decrepit skull infested with rotting maggots, I could tell that this was some crude, unpolished death metal, the way I liked it. I was actually correct with my answer, though only up to one point. While this reeked of old school stench, it's hooks and grapples didn't sink on me the way I had expected them to. There is almost a typical USDM sound in the riffs, and most riffs are just simplistic chugs and crushing breakdowns and stomps. A fairly enjoyable listen, but sadly not very bountiful when it comes to the originality department. ''Rotting Season'' offers the the same kind of grinding death metal chops with similar crunches all the way, but the intensity of the music is ineviable especially during ''Kill Without Question'' which is only a two minute impulse of furious riffs, or the title track, a frantic slaughterhouse, altered by the hellish screams of the vocalist.

With the whole Ep lasting no more than eleven minutes, you'll definitely be parting with the riffs sooner than you think. Obviously, 'Rotting Season'' lacks the efficiency of other great OSDM albums that are being released as we speak, just as they lack that morbid death metal feeling that should be a mandatory element for all. ''Memento Mori'' has its certain nuances, with a slower tempo and somewhat darker riffing guiding the music. Yes, its a decent track and it does help the Ep gain some variation, but that's all. This a solid release, but only because its lack of length kept the listener interested and the music fresh. Mutant Supremacy are probably aiming for a second full-length, they have to something about the quality of their music NOW. As far as the Ep goes, though, I had little complaints, and I actually enjoyed this raunchy monolith in its way of reflecting simple, catchy death metal with little loss in vivacity.

Rotting Season
Memento Mori

Rating: 75%

Shroud Of The Heretic - Boiled To Death

The blasphemous cover art should already reflect much of SOTH's music if you're a complete stranger to the band. An angry mob of crazed heretics wickedly boiling an innocent human being, and hate, dread and blasphemy altering the night. What ''Boiled To Death'' is, is actually something that offers some contrast and diversity to the listener instead of just robust worshiping of popular sounds which is also never a bad thing. SOTH have Incantation at the base of their music, but the inner depths of their music is far more complex. You'll notice a huge amount of atmosphere and ambiance swarming and encircling the album, and much of the evil feeling of the riffs come from the great deal of Portal and Blasphemy worshiping. The riffs are confusing and even dazzlingly chaotic, plus these guys can incorporate a good amount of groove into their music, coming from the chainsaw driven incursions of old school Swedish death metal guitars. An exceedingly tasty, yet forlorn feast.

Yes, the riffs are laden with crawling and ghastly hooks that are no doubt very chaotic and distorted, but the main thing that drives the black/war metal influence towards excellence is the incredibly low, dispersing delivery of the guttural vocals. I hear some Pillard in there, but mostly they're pure, rotting war metal vocals that could have easily fitted bands like Blasphemy, Archgoat or Revenge. The riffs really do shows a ton of variation and contrast during the Ep's thirty-five minute lifespan, which is by the way unusually long considering there are only six tracks on the Ep, each clocking near or more that six minutes. For people who aren't used to the grisly, raw nature of death metal, this may be quite a tormenting experience, but for people like me, this things is an eternal riff fest, laden with deliciously evil riffing all around. As I stated, the Incantation influence lingers on pretty much every track, showing prominence with thick, down tuned tremolo chugs an ponderous drum-guitar chokes, but there are songs where the other influences have their moment of glory and outshine the others.

''Frigid Waters'' is as evil as it can be, and what's more is that it's garnished (or should I say distorted) with infectious Swedeath grooves and particularly faster riffs, with lots of sharp turns and decisive blows, it stands  as a stellar track. And even if tracks show variation, I can't really be picky with them and choose several highlights as the whole Ep acts like a whole. If I had to choose stand out tracks, however, I would, but it would be no easy task. The accessibility that you can attain even through that thick, shadowy atmosphere is amazing, and SOTH can do something that many have failed to achieve, thus, even though this may seem eternally numbing and very futile in the energy department, the sharp delivery of the riffs capture the listener's attention right away, and won't let go of it without a fight. This is a very good mixture of black and death metal, and the correct way to dub it would be to call it blackened death metal, as it leans more of the death side. For fans of revolting and blasphemous death metal that's chaotic and doomy as it's cryptic, then this should be damn near an essential considering the current metal scene.

Frigid Waters
Womb Of Darkness

Rating: 86%

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Inverloch - Dusk|Subside

During the early 90's, hordes of Australian black and death metal bands spread chaos and fear all across Australia. Even now, their presence is feared, but on one side there was a band called dISEMBOWELMENT, who really changed the way funeral doom was heading. Many filthy Fins and New Yorkers were working with similar tricks, but the mighty ''d'' was the first band to create such depressing doom metal, heavy, gloomy and brooding, additional strong death metal overtones. Almost twenty years after the release of the drowning release that changed doom metal, ex two members of dISEMBOWELMENT reform along with a fresh crew of three, and together, they urge to re-create the monstrosity that was created before them. Inverloch play in the exact vein of ''d'', and thus they enable the restoration of disemboweling funeral death/doom once more. Welcome.

Obviously, all the tracks are gloomy and sludgy beyond belief, and too keep the listener sucked in, brooding melodies vaguely appear and disappear, while the meat grinding heavy rhythms infinitely flow and crush anything in their path. The music is atmospheric and very, very desolate, just as it's meant to be. Since this is an Ep, Inverloch offer no more than three songs, and although they have great length, they are just not long enough to build up for a brain-drilling experience. The first song ''Within Frozen Beauty'' is a crushing dirge of unpolished, suffocating death metal, its fantastic array of drum beats and its tremendous arsenal of riffs is a devastating bonus for the Ep from the start. The following track, ''The Menin Road'' slows things down even more, and generally focuses on atmospheric sequences guided by sinister melodies, all played an a turtle's pace. I'd say the main weakness of this track is that it doesn't have sufficient material and adequate density to keep the listener interested throughout, and there too many spacious sections where the only sound you'll hear is a faint glow, slowly dwindling and dying.

Yes, this funeral doom and you need to keep the speed at a turtle's pace for the most part, but unless you gave something to fill those spacious gaps, then the listener would be bored, rather than immersed. ''Shadows Of The Flame'' is also a fine track, sounding like a combination of the previous tracks. The starting sequences are the perfect funeral death/doom riffs with that classic brooding melody swaggering on top, the middle section is just a flurry of crushing down tuned death metal tremolo madness, just like the first track, and the concluding segments end a bit like like the previous track, faintly, with little emotion and even less energy. I love how Inverloch easily slip into doomy riffs from crunchy chops, and the breakdowns are also quite excellent. Although their glow may not be very strong at the moment, Inverloch can surely grip on to that ancient sound that dISEMBOWELMENT, and pull themselves further above. For fans of fatiguing funeral doom metal with sharp death metal influences, this a very nice find indeed.

Within Frozen Beauty
Shadows Of The Flame

Rating: 84,5%

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hellige - Demo

There are just so many demos popping out that I just can't keep up with their speed, and even though most of these demos are mostly pretty mediocre, and stand as just terribly standard, there are a few finds that you'll discover that will cheer you up and give you strength to continue your conquest. Hellige's so called ''DEMO'' is to be taken seriously and with great precaution, for the monstrosities that this demo possesses can be eternally numbing. Among tens and thousands of mediocre thrash and death metal demos I finally come across this mega demo, an oppressive monolith of haunting decrepitude, a cavernous monolith that represents all things abhorrent and all things depressive, sending tremulous waves of shattering evil and oppression through its spiral vortex of subterranean power. No, this is not a death metal demo. Nor is it a thrash metal demo, or black metal demo. What Hellige created on their misery laden effort is something that you just do not come across easily, and the execution is stunning, shunning all others who have tried yet failed miserably at this task.

Hellige combine black and doom metal, the most extreme genres of extreme metal in my opinion, and it holds such strength and such insanity within itself that it's an absolutely troubling task for me to explain with words, let alone explain it by writing. This is transcendental black/doom. Hellige have perfectly bestirred the darkest, most abysmal aspects of both genres and they have eagerly pursued the music until it reached its uttermost peak in evil, oppression and heft. This demo's burden consists of two essences for the main part; the atmospheric, haunting feel of black metal, a looming lament of despair, obviously borrowed by acts like Darkthrone, or Burzum and even recent groups like Vattnet Viskar or Obolus, and the crushing, most depressing force of doom metal soaked in a deep, dense liquid that intensifies everything that is possesses. I've heard a very similar drowning aspect on Helvetron's latest album, and the mighty obelisk ''Netherwards'', produced by the death/doom act Anhedonist, but even if we consider these mutants were both excellent in every way possible, the eternal, fathomless crater opened by Hellige manage to surpass these records.

And just like the records I mentioned previously, Hellige drown the listener within a chaotic hole, while sludgy black metal chords slowly inundate, then grind and gnaw. The expression on your face after you experience this album is priceless, and I doubt face expressions will be the only thing that will change after you hear the demo. Demo. What an unnecessary way to call this an album, while it obviously is, consisting of  forty minutes of sheer brain crushing black metal devastation, with a fine yet murky production quality engulfing it. The guitar tone is as twisted and cavernous as it can get, incredibly hefty and blunted, and the vocals are similar to what you would hear on a typical black metal record, eerie rasps that echo and then slowly become one with the hollow monolith. Thus with that eerie, raw touch they have, their importance in the demo's efficiency is no doubt crucial.

Just cause I dubbed this as black/doom doesn't mean that its exactly the mixture of traditional doom and black metal. The doom influence is a drowning mixture that you scarcely hear on traditional doom albums, and perhaps a bit like the hefty impacts on Paul Bearer's most recent album, and the black metal sound is swarming array of splintering arrows, callous and diverse. I also mean to brag about the excellent usage of clean guitars swaggering drowsily upon the distorted black metal chord sequences as their execution is perfect an they're used in pretty much all the riffs, drowning slowly into the dense mixture, much like the vocals. ''The Rotten Waste'' has to be my personal favorite among the other three tracks that encircle it. It's beginning is not dissimilar to the other tracks, but the vocals have interesting guttural death metal twist to them that garnishes the riffs, and towards the ending sequences thousands of power laden riffs start ignite around the inundating riffs and slowly take over the song--until a blood chilling acoustic interlude enters the cavernous aura, only to be ceased by the atmospheric assault of the black metal tremolo pickings and planting an entirely different mood into the music within mere seconds. The last two tracks lean more towards the doomier side of things, disposing of the rare increase in speed that was present in the first two tracks.

I'll follow any band which follows pieces that Hellige carves out, and I'l follow them to the death. This tops everything that has been released so far and crushes so much more, opening new gateways to metal and also showing that small things can achieve huge things. Although I loved this four track masterpiece, I must admit that I won't be listening to frequently. This a drowning vortex that can suck me whole before it's even concluded, and even if I had the strength to bear the its crushing calamity for a few spins, I'll suffer terribly afterwards. Therefore, I offer this to people who have built up their stamina for such cavernous releases, inhuman releases almost as they swallow what is in front of them whole with no hesitation and this will be ranked as both the most tormenting and the most sorrowful release of the year. This mournful manifestation of heft and darkness is not to be missed, for the ones who can bear it, of course.

Degraded To Mortals
Rotten Waste

Rating: 95%

Free download of the demo:

Goatwhore - Blood For The Master

Goatwhore have been carving out monstrous black/since they emerged, and their latest offerings lean towards a more accessible thrash metal sound. Goatwhore really started as a pretty blasphemous war metal band, perfectly playing in the vein of Blasphemy, Bestial Warlust, Conqueror and Archgoat who have also been following a very similar path alongside Goatwhore, but their previous album and this build up total adrenaline undeniable power, enabling the music much heavier, and much more accessible. It's almost as if the uncontrolled brand of war metal has been fit into thrashy apertures that were carved out and with each release this crater grows and grows, thus effecting the path of the music even more. While for people who consider the bestial black/death sound this may not be very fitting, but in general the crushing thrash influence is one huge step up for Goatwhore as it adds additional chaotic elements to the music, emphasizing the diversity and straightforward force of the record.

Goatwhore have obviously parted from their original sound on this record, and it shows with every single aspect of the music, even the production has now turned into a spacious area that supports extremely robust riffing and decisive strokes of black/thrashing atrocity. As I said, this departure can only bring new and fresh faces to the music, though Goatwhore suffices with only a small dose of various twists. These guys have been dubbed as black/death, can hear that easily on their earlier recordings, but on ''Blood For The Master'', I'd say the death metal influence acts like a link, a chain that binds the elements together and gathers them up under one roof. While normally you'd hear outrageous tremolo pickings and absurd death/doom sections, Goatwhore sprinkles healthy doses of death metal upon the black and thrash metal influences that the album has a wide rage of. So, ultimately, the death metal attributes end up scattered around pretty much every aspect of the music but as an aura rather than a solid material that you could feel with your hands. In other words, there is no death metal riffing on the album, but the guttural growls and straight up, raw, carnivorous attitude of the album explains everything.

Otherwise, the album is dominated by riffs that come near to what we would dub as black/thrash. I hear lots of Desaster here and maybe some Destroyer 666, especially during the flurried, chaotic incursions of the likes of ''Collapse In Eternal Worth'' and ''Parasitic Scripture Of The Sacred  Word''. The thrash influence is so prominent that you may even get a Sodom vibe from the music, and most of that comes from the intense croaky rasps that sound a lot like Tom Angelripper. Some songs and some riffs tend to take a black metal color as they are generally rich in depressing and melodic black metal chord and tremolo sequences. ''Beyond The Spell Of Discontent'' is such a track, it adopts that straightforward black metal sound in a much more strong way than other examples, but all songs emblazon with an intense punk attitude, savage, wild and brutal beyond belief. Each track holds a compelling force that could even fend off a charging rhino if need be. Although these blasphemers don't bring anything extremely fresh on the table, the spiking feel that listener experiences with each track is one way trip to ''Break-a-neck'' land, and the constant fuel of contempt and hate seems almost infinite. Goatwhore surpass any black/thrash (well almost a black/thrash album) record that I've heard this year, and now,since they've proved themselves for the fifth time, they can safely install themselves upon the throne of darkness, blasphemy and atrocity. The master is thirsty, and ''Blood For The Master'' puts an end to its voracious thirst.

Death To The Architects Of Heaven
In Deathless Tradition
Parasitic Scripture Of The Scared Word

Rating: 90%

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Steelwing - Zone Of Alienation

I suppose many of you are already aware of the expanding mass of Swedish traditional heavy metal bands, aside from the turbulent assault of Swedeath monsters. The scene never seems to dwindle and with every new band it grows stronger, even more robust then before, and this overgrowing tumor of bands also boasts the quality of older bands, thus giving birth to an abundance of quality bands. Steelwing made a strong enough appearance with the release of their debut ''Lord Of The Wasteland'', and while their sophomore may not be able to surpass the mark that the debut had set for itself, the sophomore still manages to come close. For people who have little idea of what Steelwing sound like, allow me to briefly explain. Steelwing have the obvious traits of heavy metal, and obvious influences that should bring Maiden and Priest to the mind of many. While they sound a lot like the acknowledged masters, Steelwing still bring a fair amount of melody and their own differing twists and turns into the music, creating something that's still relatively diverse yet succinct and comprehensible by pretty much any listener.

''Zone Of Alienation'' doesn't explore many various elements, and perhaps keeping the music a little too concise may have been a mistake, but in during the collision of harmonious melodies and catchy riffs, one scarcely notices the lack of creativity. Plus, you have to admit, this is music that just sounds better when its plain and not very complex, so I can't really deduct points from the band for sounding simple. I'll still persist on my opinion time to time, but all the positive factors of this album would easily cover up my theories. ''Zone Of Alienation'' is lyrically driven towards themes associated with space and all things alien, while the music is simply a soothing gust of wind that's flurried in a soft way, but at the same time slightly assorted in its own terms, repeatedly shifting between various tempos and styles that are all riffs that could be easily found on classic heavy metal releases, only offering a few peculiar attributes. Most tracks have the typical verse-bridge-chorus structures, plain but very enjoyable and memorable nonetheless, and chorus sequences are usually boasted with that epic power/heavy touch with long duration power chords flying around the high pitched vocals soaring over everything -- a beautiful sight.

The good thing about the album is that it's relaxed and never too serious so that it can have the same sort of effect on the listener, chilling his/her mind, and there's no desperate foraging or search for a crucial sound, so the band doesn't fail miserably while trying to attain something utterly different and complex. I love how spate, harmonious guitars linger around shortly along with the soft, chord driven passages. Steelwing is not a group that's up for violent, forceful music, and you should just let the gentle music ooze viscously and effortlessly, with no display of showing great force. Certain sections of ''The Running Man'' and ''Tokkotai (Wind Of Fury)'' are relatively rapid and spiky, while ''Full Speed Ahead'' is a song that's one with its name, showing some serious speed/heavy badassery and incredibly dynamic riffs, both strong and melodic, and the ten minute mega-chain ''Lunacy Rising'' links together everything that has already been offered on the album with almost unnoticeable, brief passages.

Steelwing did a bloody decent job with their sophomore effort, damn near to their astonishing debut. I hope that the waves of bands that come after this are just as good as Steelwing, for if they are the blossoming heavy metal scene in Sweden will suddenly turn into a bountiful treasure of bands. Steelwing are very good at what they do bringing all the common aspects of heavy metal then offering them in the best way possible, but the good thing is, there are scores of bands that play their metal very similar to Steelwing, and unless you didn't like this, you would torturing yourself by not listening to these other groups such as Katana, Portrait, In Solitude, Trial and many more. I'm almost ascertain that that these bands will continue to go ''Full Speed Ahead'', exhaling the enamoured sound of the 80's with ease.

Zone Of Alienation
Lunacy Rising
Full Speed Ahead

Rating: 87%