Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Azaghal - Nemesis [2012]

Azaghal are a band that have been around for a substantial amount of time, “Nemesis” being their ninth album to date. While admittedly I haven’t listened to anything else by this band, I found myself quite surprised when the first track came on and blasted decent waves of melodic black metal. While some traits of their music agree with and follow the common trend of black metal that usually gets released, lots of songs are dominated or at least contain a few melodic riffs that might remind listeners of bands like Sargeist and Dissection, yet not living up to what the latter accomplished.

Reiterating that “melodic” point once again, they have it quite prevalent throughout their music. However, that’s not to say that they play only melodic black metal. They usually switch up between more straightforward black metal riffs and melodic BM riffs, thus creating a steady pattern of solid musicianship and development of ideas. Most of the time the riffs are tremolo-picked, as to be expected, but here and there the listener will hear a slower riff being played, for example on the intro to “Ex Nihilo” or the more groove-influenced intro to “Black Legions of Satan,” or even the rolling thrashy riff on "The Pit of Shoggoths." Their production augments the quality of their music, generating a more cold effect on the songs and making the riffs sound that much better. It’s not exactly a good thing that they must depend on their production to make their riffs sound better than average, but there are some passages throughout that will pleasantly surprise the listener; yet not enough of them so to create a more lasting or impacting effect.

Monotony in melodic black metal is almost unheard of, yet unfortunately, while listening through the album, I felt like Azaghal didn’t have very much to offer and they just kept on playing the same things over and over again. Similar melodies, similar riffs, and the vocals are something that don’t change but at all throughout the entire album. No, vocals aren’t really made for having much variation, but the ones on here become slightly boring after a while. They’re clean and raspy at the same time, if that makes sense, and they’re what’s to be expected to derive from a melodic, or any black metal album at that. The drums play along a melodic black metal vein, i.e. blast beats here and there, good enough double bass work yet that isn’t put very much into play, and slower passages as the guitars slow down as well, following along with their rhythms. However, as with the guitars and pretty much everything else on the album, they rely heavily on the great and cold production and aren’t very original nor mind-blowing.

Bashings aside, “Nemesis” really isn’t a bad album per se. It does have its good merits laying there, hidden in the dust, with several particularly good melodies, yet not enough of them to be able to come off as a stellar album. They do show their appreciation for what the black metal genre became during the second wave, but they incorporate lots of melodies that were seen slightly less amongst bands of this genre, akin to the aforementioned ones like Dissection, Sargeist, Sacramentum, and so forth. It’s worth listening to and has some great riffs thrown in between more mediocre ones but it’s, unfortunately, nothing to go crazy over either.



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Centurion - Serve No One [2012]

Up and coming Polish death metal!

This band has successfully blended the two power houses of Poland into one magnificent band! And this album captures the sound without a doubt! What this album really resembles is Behemoth inspired vocals and some guitar riffs, but with the raw energy of Vader. The influences of old school European death and black metal are very clear here as well. The first thing that comes to mind when turning this bad mother on is an old school Behemoth and Vader.

So let's get this straight. There are plenty of people that dislike behemoth because of their blackened slower death sound mostly to due with the verse riffs and vocal patterns. Which is completely fine if that is not your thing. There isn't that here, what is presented is a much faster version of the two. The songs are very speedy through out the record with an average length of about 2:45. That really says a lot about their energy and speed. And speaking of speed, their drummer has got to be smoking some because he is CRAZY fast, and no afraid to maintain the blasts the whole way!

They begin by melting your mind with some odd guitar work in the very first song "Total Terror". It is almost as if the lead guitarist is bending two notes that are a minor second apart; creating incredible tension. The influences are clear in this track around 1:32, old school Vader right there. The solo in this song is outstanding as well! That was a great idea to lead into it with the dissonant tones from the beginning! Given a different mix this could have almost been a brutal death metal release, minus the slams and the vocals. Another riff that made me stop and throw some elbows was the monster riff at the end of "Cut the Throat". That is a serious upbeat moshing riff fits perfectly at the and of a incredibly fast song.

All the little fills and transitions really makes this album worth picking up. Just a slight bass fill or hard drum fill and then just BAM! The song keeps going! The intro to "Under the Black Banner" is a clear example of what I am talking about. It all happens so quickly but they are there; it is very impressive. Also in this track there is a very quick and eerie sample at 2:34 for a mere 3 seconds but just phenomenal. It is mind blowing to comprehend trying to write something like that. And the short after that bring in the next song very well; very cool fill on the bell coming into that track too!

If you are a fan of death metal from the mighty Poland then don't hesitate to check this one out! This release will really pave the way for their future. It is easy to picture them on tour with the likes of Hate, Behemoth, or jumping on a bunch of really big tours soon. There will be lots of chat on the net about these guys soon.


Favorite Tracks: Total Terror, Cut the Throat, No one to Serve

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pact - The Dragon Lineage of Satan [2012]

While lots of black metal bands these days seem to be either spawning as or evolving into a more shoegaze/DSBM/just a simpler and slower style of black metal, Pact are, amongst hordes of slower-styled black metal bands, releasing very abrasive and fast BM. They’re a three-piece straight from the US and definitely know how to create some extremely fast yet well-thought out music, incorporating not only the typical and somewhat trite facets of said genre, but also a distant, cold style that they formulate on their own, generating a more ominous atmosphere and separating themselves from some of the more generic bands of this style.

Right from the start you’ll be smacked in the head with a blow of hostile and vehement black metal, “Litany to Satan” inaugurating the album with a relatively awkward tone that’s been heard in more Orthodox-styled BM bands like Deathspell Omega, Dodecahedron, and so forth. This style is in fact seen quite often throughout the development of the album, and it definitely adds to their music what some other, more sub-par BM bands lack in theirs. In addition to this style, there’s also use of riffs a la Inquisition, distant and ominous, feeling like they’re in a million different places at a given time yet still very compact and, as previously stated, well thought-out. Most of the album continues in a very similar style to the already described sound that they have in their riffs. There isn’t very much variation riff-wise, but almost all of them achieve what other bands long to without much success: putting you into a trance, a hypnotized state from which you don’t want to break free as you take pleasure from the evil and anger inducted in “The Dragon Lineage of Satan.” Tempo-wise, there isn’t that much very variation either, but there are segments thrown in some places that go at a slower pace. This can be seen in the intro to “Ecstasy and Illumination,” before lapsing into more uncanny and dissonant riffing.

In the drums side of things, they generally continue on a fast, blast-beat heavy style, always fast and relentless and with a pounding double-bass that doesn’t let up. The vocals are a worthy mention, with most of the album containing cruel, high, rasping vocals that certainly conjure up an evil tone. However, “Dreamless Death” sees light to a slight nuance in the vocals; namely, they become more hoarse and growled, akin to vocals on bands like Portal that create so much effect with these alone. They generally stick to one style for a given song but may alternate every once in a while to collaborate with each other and uplift the quality of the music. However much quality they may carry, the main aspect and focus of the album is obviously the guitars, which don’t disappoint and succeed in pleasing the listener.

There isn’t much else to say about this album, and with the exception of some surprises that’ll come up scarcely, the album usually remains in one style, violent and abrasive in some songs, ominous and eerie in others. It’s a very solid album overall, with practically no use of melody and an onslaught of ferocious and interesting black metal. Worth getting.



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hemotoxin - Divinity in Torture Demo

Hemotoxin is a very promising young band!

Here is a promising young progressive deathrash outfit from Pittsburg, CA. They are most clearly influenced by Death, if you couldn't tell by the sub-genre title. This demo is their 3rd release and they get better with everyone. Having only heard this demo and the previous, "Biohazard", the band seems to get tighter with this release. Everyone catches a little heat for not having a billion dollar recording. Which is beyond idiotic, if the band releases a demo, don't expect a new Slayer album. It is actually preferable if it sounds worse. That way when they release a full length LP, they curb stomp the hell out of you!

Alas! The music sounds very much like their hero's, Death, and even throw a cover of "Lack of Comprehension" on there! Covers are another choice move on demos. It shows what sound you are going for. And that's what demos are all about. Concept. The guitar and drum work is complex and really drives the band . The vocals are going for the Chuck sound, but you could also say they are black as well.  The riffs are very cool here as well. The album does have a few samples that may be a little longer than needed. In the son "At the End of Eternity" you hear the music from the popular video game Halo! And if you don't know those are called Gregorian Chants.

Overall this Demo is pretty fucking boss! These guys have a bright Future ahead of them and we can surely expect to see them on more shows! Be sure to check them out on Facebook!


Favorite Tracks: Autophagy, A Journey Through Dreams

Deus Otiosus - Murderer [2010]

These guys have a real talent for mixing thrash and death!

Here is something that really caught me off guard! A band who really knows how to mix to sub-genres together and not fail completely. These guys slaughter Denmark with a sound that resembles that of Obituary and big three German thrash; with some Deicide vocals! Starting around 2005 it would appear that they have released a live album, a demo of course, a split and then finally in 2010 this magnificent bastard.

It is a interesting mix, and the vocals fit their sound better than more thrashy vocals or black vocals would. I say that because their music seems to move slightly slower than other deathrash would. Not that is it boring by any means, but it is more on the death metal side than of course the thrash. That is why the vocals seem more fitting here. Now if they had more Beneath the Remains or Epidemic of Violence riffs (and they should ;) ) the more thrashy vocals would be more fitting. Other than them working for him his vocal patterns and placement are pretty superior to many other bands.

What really ties the knot between death and thrash in this release is the drummer. People seem to drastically underestimate how much one simple drum movement could change the entire riff. Or in sub-sub-genres like this; it could easily change the entire genre of deathrash to just death. There are parts like at 1:52 of "Ye Pigs of Little Faith" and especially at 2:26 of "I Have Seen Him Slay" where the drums really bring out the thrash in the riffs! And then the guitars will come in with a sweet tremolo riff that screams death metal and the double kick will keep it death metal.

This is a very solid release. It is easy to be skeptical of newer deathrash bands, but this is a release that will surprise everyone with its talent! This band has a bright future ahead of them and the next releases will be even better.


Favorite Tracks: I Have Seen Him Slay, Ye Pigs of Little Faith, Ash World

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chasma - Declarations of the Grand Artificer [2011]

Chasma are among those bands that are really hit and miss for me, and probably for most other people as well. You go in expecting one thing and the end result is one which was not anticipated; this is what happens with Chasma. Their DSBM style makes use of the typical attributes of the genre, i.e. long, dragging songs in which not that much of note happens. The first band that comes to mind when listening to Chasma will probably almost always be Burzum, especially albums like "Filosofem" where repetition is key to its success; yet with Chasma, one could argue that it’s their biggest detriment.

As previously stated, Chasma’s fatal flaw is drawn-out and superfluous use of repetition and slow, somewhat droll passages that are intended to put the listener in a passive, wistful state, which they don‘t exactly succeed in doing. They don’t give off this particular vibe, however, right when the album starts, because it starts off on a relatively faster note, with blast beats in the background and faster riffing. Very soon after, though, they delve into what is to become the biggest aspect of the album, with a dissonant, eerie and slow riff; the drums also slow and combining tom hits with the ride to generate a more powerful yet calm effect. The harrowing, utterly maddened vocals (very akin to Burzum, again) immediately meet the listener and create a wave of sorrow and grief. The vocals are indeed quite depressing and they pull them off well, but they don’t fully make up for the monotony that Chasma put so much into play with their somber and repetitive riffing.

There are lots of segments throughout the album that leave the guitars to be playing cleaner passages, alone in the foreground, with tom hits going on in the drum section and usually whispered vocals. This can be seen at 3:37 in the first track, and this particularly depressing, melancholic riff is to be subsequently played for a ridiculous amount of time. While at first it may seem fresh and appealing, it greatly hurts their music to repeat riffs like these for so long. The rest of the album is dominated by alternations of these two styles, that of slower passages being far more prevalent. Tremolo-picking is a rarity, although it is seen scarcely throughout, and I wish they would’ve used more of it to uplift their usually boring riffing. Some of the riffs are somewhat interesting and will hook the listener for a decent amount of time, but where many other albums of a similar style succeed in putting the listener into a hypnotic trance, Chasma are just short of achieving this, and unfortunately they don’t pull it off.

Overall, it is not an absolutely horrible album but nor is it a great one. There are only three tracks in total, adding up to a sum of thirty minutes. There isn’t very much variation in these three tracks and their overlong repetition of certain riffs greatly hurts their music. Their style of black metal is one that has been seen before in bands like Burzum, but they don’t cast a very impacting effect and the listener is left feeling somewhat empty after the long, tiring journey of DSBM finally subsides. Definitely recommended for passionate fans of this style of black metal, but unfortunately, it is merely a decent album, just short of mediocre.



Urn - Soul Destroyers [2008]

Urn shows their fiery talent in this crushing black thrash release!

 If you are looking to jam some gnarly black thrash that give you that evil twinge deep in the blackness where your soul used to be; then look no further! These guys bring fire to the heavens with painfully awesome guitar tones, heart pounding drums, and crisp vocals! Of course it is only fitting that these human mediums of demonic noise belong to a country where Jesus never went.

The album starts with a haunting sample of distant screams and the sound of pigs. Then kicks right in with a very cool, and memorable blackened thrash riff. The sound of the hi hat almost clashes with the choice guitar tone; but like most black thrash the guitars are up front with the mix. This is not a bad thing by any means but it is mentioned to really help you hear what they sound like. The riffs are very reminiscent of Venom and Bathory. They have that heavy metal/speed metal accent and the hi hat is often doubled up. And with the OSBM on top, it really perfects the old school sound they are going for. Which is the key to this bands popularity as well as others; they are able to match a sound that is extremely hard to replicate without sounding recycled or a photocopy.

The third track on the album is the real seller here. The first riff sounds similar, still not a copy, of Rigor Mortis' song "Bodily Dismemberment". A perfect riff to vamp on for a while before kicking into the coolest riff of all time at the 2 minute mark. That riff paints a mental image of the strength of demons! Protector also seems to come to mind is this diabolical masterpiece. The intro riff in "In Darkness...In Fire" also screams Rigor Mortis. Aside from the speed metal riffage for one second, the intro to "Blood of the Desecrators" has a very unique guitar lead at the beginning that sounds much like heavy metal riff. And then when the pre-verse riff comes a long you get the same heavy metal vibe but the drums make it more thrash. That whole song is just arranged magnificently.

This band's strong point is really just how memorable they are. There is a lot of black thrash bands that just get boring when they play a riff for too long. Urn really seems to know what they are doing in the "keeping the interest" department. The highlight of this album is the amazingly evil guitar work. The way everything comes together is something else. Defiantly one to check out.


Favorite Tracks: Black Steel Worship, Blood of the Desecrators, Decibel Hellstorm 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Macabra - Blood-Nurtured Nature [2012]

Macabra are unlike other modern death metal bands for two reasons: one, both members reside in different places of the world, forming an international death metal collaboration; and two, they are completely old-school, and in opposition to the sudden onset of Swedeath-worshipping trendy bands flourishing and appealing greatly to the crowds, they don’t sound at all like that. These features allow them both to surpass most death metal that is currently being released and bring to mind a fantastic old-school death metal influence from when the genre was at its finest.

Practically a second after the album commences its journey full of old-school material, you are met with the relieving wave of a very raw production. This tips the odds in their favor greatly, and contrary to what many may now be thinking, the guitars are perfectly audible. The rough, gritty sound only adds to their music and allows them to widen the listener’s appeal to the already innate stellar riffing. Where the album definitely succeeds the most is in the guitars, and these consequentially succeeding in their sheer simplicity and overall catchy and appealing quality. There is an overt old-school death metal influence sprinkled--no, flung in, circa early Death and, even more present, early Autopsy. They have a brand of very simple yet effective riffing that will definitely remind the listener of these bands among many, many others that focused on a slightly more sloppy and raw style of death metal. The tempos are always kept at a steady, relatively slow, mid-paced speed, the riffs chugging along and the drums following behind somewhat hastily.

The riffs are usually very sludgy, droney, and often also doomy, all of which are characteristics that will, as previously stated, remind listeners of early Autopsy. Songs like “Hominal Peel Diggers (The Swarm of Necrobies)” and “Life is the Symptom (Thy Entrails Rot)” show this in their intros; the former soon lapsing into a very catchy death/thrash riff. The vocals alternate between both low growls and high gutturals. Typically use of low growls is more prominent, but the latter will sneak in on occasion. The drumming is similar to the guitars, i.e. also slow and humble; however, more intermittently, a blast beat will present itself (as will some decent double-bass work), such as at 1:16 in “Hominal Peel Diggers.” Alongside the drums in this particular part, the riff is that of a tremolo-picked one, also an uplifting quality on this album; yet these being less predominant throughout the length of the album. There is practically no use of melodies, which is definitely a good thing in this case. There is some use of eerie passages, yet not that much, and they are not the main focus nor the best trait of this record.

If you’re looking for some new old-school death metal (pardon the oxymoron), you need look no further than Macabra. With “Blood-Nurtured Nature,” they’ve successfully established themselves as one of the better death metal bands that are currently releasing new material. This album prevails from the fact that their music is so raw, so dirty, so undeniably old-school and incredibly simple yet magnificent that the listener will be greatly pleased and satisfied until the last song finally subsides; unfortunately ending the album and leaving one with a craving for more. 



Asphyx - Deathhammer [2012]

Asphyx shakes the Earth with this colossal album!

They could build monuments to how brutal this band is. This album is, in short, "Death...the Brutal Way" on steroids; well... more steroids per say. If you are not immediately familiar with these guys, they are from the Netherlands, and play doom death heavy enough to cause tidal waves in Asia and upset lunar activity.

The album kicks off with the best kind of Asphyx riff right from the first second. Those crushing almost crusty power chord riffs match up perfectly with the old school death metal vocals! Another thing is that the first track also comes in with vocals right away, which is usually a dangerous tactic, but matches up perfectly. That really gives the album a strong start from the get go. And right when your neck starts to get sore its is time to mosh it up! A little after the one minute mark there is a bass break that goes into some down beat moshing death. "Into the Timewaste" is such a good song to start the album with. 

The other the option would be to start with the title track "Deathhammer". They really keep up the speed in this song and keep it up although it is a short track. This song is obviously written to be the crowd pleaser. If that thought doesn't cross your mind when the chorus hits with the single vocal line; the thirty second mark in this song will. There is a guitar break and the vocalist says something that is completely not part of any verse and sounds like something that should only be done live, it sounds he is saying "This is true death metal ya bastards!". And by the third track is when the mighty DOOOOOM kicks in.

From this point in the album it goes back an forth between fast and doom; or reg OSDM an doom death. The way things go back and forth here is actually pretty key because it would have been pretty awkward if one half of the album was doomy and the other faster. That would lead people to skip part of the album depending on what kind of mood they are in. And on the subject of doom, there is a song entitled "We Doom You To Death" on here that seems a little comical for a song title, but could not be more appropriate. When you listen to it; it goes from doom to upbeat mid tempo doom thrash, then back to doom. That is just such incredible song writing on their part. 

There is a very good reason these guys have made it as far as they have. This album is a new release of amazing old school doom death. It is hard to believe that it is just February and every release this year has been just magnificent. Deathhammer has really been the icing on the cake so far this year!


Favorite Tracks: Deathhammer, Into the Timewaste, The Flood, We Doom You To Death

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nekromantheon - Rise, Vulcan Spectre [2012]

This album isn't far from perfect.. 

That first statement cannot be stressed enough! This album is fucking incredible and has been played at least once a day since its release. Allow me to tell you what yours truly was told just before hearing this, "It sounds like a mix between Sepultura's Beneath the Remains, and Slayer's Hell Awaits". How much more convincing would anyone need? Well let's try this, I also hear clear influences of Kreator's Pleasure to Kill album in this evil bastard as well. Be careful though, you may find yourself thinking about how worthless your life was after hearing this. 

No intro track, no samples it just starting right away with furious hits that are fast as hell and goes straight into high speed ripping thrash! Immediately you can hear the influences of Slayer and Kreator at the very first riff. And by the time you reach the chorus you will be thinking Beneath the Remains! The screamingly awesome guitar riffs is what really makes this album but the guitar work in general is just incredible here. There solos are all have you picking up the air guitar and rewinding the track! It is little things like the lead/solo in the beginning of track 7, "Twelve Depths of Hades" that just make laugh at how well they have perfected their art. Specifically the dive-bomb the guitar does there that is really impressive. It is little things like that, that are so key in to what makes an album go from awesome to FUCKING LEGEN -wait for it- DARY! The dives are everywhere too, not overused, but enough to make all the guitar players cry. Choice riffage in the intro and bridge of Coven of the Minotaur at 1:45.

There is also something just the tone of the album, and really the guitar and vocal tone that really brings things together. The drums are incredible and aren't afraid to throw in a little something extra to stand out. The drums hardly slow down on here; that guy must have some serious stamina. It really stands out to me how he doubles up a lot of the ride and hi hat hits instead of just going back and forth with the snare. Things like that really add to the speed; not the tempo but the speed if that makes sense. And the vocals are a bit difficult to compare similarities to another bigger band, but he sounds like Max Cavalerra only a bit higher. So in short, brutal and thrashy as all hell!

This CD is a must have for every thrasher of the sort. And would be highly recommended for any fan of extreme music. What more convincing should you need beyond knowing this is a BtR and HA sounding monster?


Favorite Tracks: Cast Down To The Void, Coven of the Minotaur, Twelve Depths of Hades

Immolith - Storm Dragon [2012]

Immolith are a four-piece band hailing from the United States that have been around since 2008 and have recently released their debut album, “Storm Dragon.” They play their black metal in a style that’s been widely prevalent, performed and performed again by bands since around the 90’s, when the second wave of black metal saw its inception and grew to accommodate both great and generic bands. It’s an album filled with, for the most part, pretty much only straightforward black metal in its purest form, with a clear production and certain standout traits thrown here and there that boost the album’s overall quality.

After a fifty-five second, slightly boring and unnecessary intro, the album blasts into full force with “Torch of Baphomet.” This is a track that, along with pretty much the rest of their album, will not surprise listeners as it lacks some originality and it’s been played previously by other bands. It’s comprised of the typical tremolo-picking that’s used in black metal, and the vocals don’t differentiate from other bands’ either, bringing about high-pitched shrieks that penetrate the atmosphere. The vocals are performed well and delivered as such, but that’s not their most appealing trait, even if it is quite decent. The main focal point of Immolith’s music, albeit not one that is mind-blowing either, is the riffing. It’s, as previously stated, tremolo picking with decently formulated combinations of notes flowing together, and there’s lots of changes seen throughout songs, which makes up for their lack of originality. At 2:50 in the aforementioned song, there is even a thrash riff that’s heard, carrying with it a headbangable quality before jumping right into their domineering black metal style. There’s some use of melodies throughout, bringing to mind monster bands like Dissection (“Rites of the Blood Moon”) and maybe even some Kvist, although it’s far less atmospheric than the latter’s.

The drums play, almost exclusively, blast beats throughout the length of the album, and at times they may come off as tedious for their repetition, but one need only focus on the guitars to not be affected by this. When they burst out a melody a la Dissection, the guitars tend to be doing different things, combining to result in a more effective riff. On top of the other traits that have already been mentioned, they make use of the occasional doomy passage as well, as seen in the intro to “The Ghost Tower of Inverness.” This is probably the best track on the album, as a result of its larger diversity. It contains, primarily, the tremolo-picked riffs that are heard on the whole album, but it also includes yet another thrashy riff that augments the status of their music. The vocals continue to spit out their raspy screeches, and soon after there’s a brief guitar solo as well.

I’ll put it to you this way: if you’ve heard black metal before, you’ve heard Immolith. That shouldn’t be a bad thing if you’re an avid fan, and they definitely exceed in some aspects of their music over other bands; primarily with their frequent change of pace, rather than the usual monotony that’s produced in black metal. In addition, it doesn’t have a raw production that is also often preferred; it has a crisp, clear sound. It’s an album that’s worth getting if you’re into the genre.



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Napalm Death - Utilitarian [2012]

Napalm Death never disappoints! They still got it!

This album is no recycled crap a lot of bands seem to be okay with releasing. This one really takes you back to the "good ole days". This is one of those moments where if Napalm Death were to release this with poor studio quality and just SAY they were unreleased tracks from back in the eighties; people would believe them. That is what makes Napalm so great; their consistency. The late eighties ND to a bit more specific.

The easiest way to describe this album is to compare it to an older one, and with the 80's being mentioned, it would seem to be most similar to ND's second work, "From Enslavement To Obliteration". The one thing that the earlier album had (besides the svper kvlt recording) that this one does not, is the short thirty second songs. Those would have made this album a landmark in history. To be fair though, the second to last track "Opposite Repellent" is a brief minute and five seconds long, with the actual music kicking in at the 10 second mark. It also has the classic feedback in the beginning. For anyone who is partial to saying ND doesn't have it anymore just needs to hear that track to have their faith in them restored.

The intro track in the very beginning of the CD has a very eerie vibe to it. That has been consistent compared to their other recent releases. If they were to actually perform that intro live it would be just devastating! Then the next track kicks you right in the teeth with the speed! The first thing that comes to everyone's mind when the name Napalm Death comes up is how stupid fucking fast they are! And then in the next track, they bring in the "noise" here in the chorus with a sound that is very hard to describe. Almost as if they were letting the air squeak out of a balloon! Most of all however, what really will hook you into this album is track 5, "The Wolf I Feed". It has the upbeat skanking riff that has almost a crossover sound for a second. Mitch Harris has such an incredible voice. When you have him and Barney trading vocals in a track it. But the guitar riff in the beginning of that track is what makes it!

How many lifetimes would you have to live to come up with as many riffs as these dudes do? The thought alone is just baffling. Every track on this record has a riff that will either make you want to mosh or throw your arms up in the air at the sound of sheer terror! Besides the fore mentioned track 5 there is some very choice riffage in "Nom de Guerre" (the whole song!) and in "Opposite Repellent" at around :42. Also in the preview track "Leper Colony" there is some monster riffage ( Those riffs alone will convince you to pic this gnarly bastard up!

These guys haven't turned their backs to the music they set out to create, and by now it is pretty obvious that these legends never will. Their previous recent releases were amazing, and this album is most definitely a step above them!


Favorite Track: The Wolf I Feed, Nom de Guerre, Opposite Repellent

They also put on one of the best live shows! Their energy is unstoppable!

For those of you that don't have a clue what Napalm Death is all about this tell you.

And this may seem a little unorthodox but IF ANYONE IN NAPALM OR THE LABELS READ THIS. This would be my dream tour!! And the crust and grind world can back me up on this! And if they came to the D.I.Y. venues they would sell out every show.

Napalm Death


Think about it!

Hellvetron - Death Scroll Of Seven Hells And Its Infernal Majesties [2012]

Hellvetron, a black metal band originating from the United States, have definitely surprised with their debut full-length entitled “Death Scroll Of Seven Hells And It's Infernal Majesties.” They’ve been around since 2004 and seemingly came out of nowhere, after having released only one demo in 2005, with this full-length, an album that isn’t quite what you’d expect from a black metal album. On top of everything, it has an incredibly evil, sluggish doom-laden sound, the ‘black metal’ part being merely an insignificant underlying theme.

A way to describe them would be if you put members from Teitanblood and Bethlehem together to create an album. This isn’t very accurate either, though, since it doesn’t feature the furious blasting that Teitanblood pull off, whereas it shares, primarily, only the ‘dark’ factor with Bethlehem. What these three bands do have in common, however, is an incredibly doomy ambiance (Teitanblood slightly less, they are similar mainly in production value and general evilness.). Hellvetron are far from being your stereotypical black metal band; rather, they generate some of the doomiest sounds every to have been emitted from an alleged black metal album. Their riffs are composed, usually, of long, foreboding and creepy notes that are allowed to resonate for a while; these chords having a very atmospheric effect, along with the strange chants that sneak in the background on occasion. The guitars are very low in the mix, their main focus being to turn up the demonic vocals and drown out everything else, resulting in a dark and ominous sound. There is little variation throughout the album, with the exception of the occasional tremolo passage that serves but only to produce a strange effect on the ear; a far off, distant echoing.

I can just imagine the two members in Hellvetron getting together and making a pact to never, ever speed up the tempo in their songs. There is practically no variation in regards to speed, causing the music to sound constantly downtrodden and droney. The production provokes the listener to imagine the recording process having been performed in a dark, empty chamber of sorts, with Lovecraftian creatures slithering about on the floor and candles lit on the walls surrounding the empty cavity. The album is monotonous both in its guitars and the drumming, of which the latter hardly plays a roll in the overall development of the music. The drums are always at an unbearably slow speed, causing little effect, merely serving to back up the guitars and the vocals. The vocals are growling snarls that almost never cease to howl what I can only imagine are some of the darkest lyrics ever to be scrolled down on paper.

“Death Scroll Of Seven Hells And It's Infernal Majesties” is certainly a peculiar, tormenting experience that will leave any listener feeling hopeless and forlorn, desperate to claw out of its merciless, sluggish hands that will pry you down to the ground; yet feeling strangely fulfilled and at the same time, empty. It is a hard album to tag a specific rating to, simply because of its vast strangeness, and it’ll leave people feeling uncertain of what to think of the album as a whole. All in all, a decent and worthy listen.



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Temple of Baal/Ritualization - The Vision Of Fading Mankind (Split) [2011]

Both Temple of Baal and Ritualization hail from France, a country that’s currently gleaming from a steady set of black metal bands rising in the likes of Deathspell Omega and such. Temple of Baal and Ritualization have come together and joined forces to produce a batch of both abrasive black metal and intense black/death, respectively.

Temple of Baal open up the split, sharing with the listener four tracks of brooding, abrasive black metal. Their riffing is hefty, filled with, for the most part, common black metal tremolo riffs. Along with this, they also play host to an almost dissonant tone that they put into play very effectively. There is a good amount of variety throughout the four tracks, most of which is played in a style that’s not unknown to black metal fans, yet it’s more heavy and vicious than some other bands. There’s “Slaves to the Beast,” a more groove-influenced black metal track that has some catchy riffs and pounding double bass work throughout it, and there’s “Heresy Forever Enthroned,” a whopping nine-minute track that plays along a slightly slower tempo, the riffs having an ominous sound to them, slightly different from the rest of their songs which play along a faster and more intense style. (It even has a guitar solo, which in fact is actually not half bad). The vocals spew dense growls that blend in perfectly with the music, sounding more like death metal vocals than anything else, and the drums are always pounding and unyielding; blasting furiously in the background.

Ritualization take up where Temple of Baal leave off in the latter half of the split. They present three songs, one of which is a great Mortem cover. The other two originals differentiate quite greatly from what Temple of Baal accomplished in their own side of the split, being noticeably more old-school death metal influenced than the former; namely, a style that blends both black metal with death metal in the vein of Deicide and other old-school death metal acts. The production is less tight and perfected than Temple of Baal’s, yet this is not a bad thing, as it suits their brand of metal nicely. The vocals are much lower in register, lower in the mix, and the guitars are angrier than that of Tempo of Baal’s. The drumming makes use of lots of blast beats and fast double bass work, akin to most American death metal. They don’t offer as much as Temple of Baal, but they give listeners three decent tracks to headbang to as you clench your jaw and put your angry face on. There’s not very much variety, but there’s not much room for it either; respectable tracks nonetheless.

Both bands contribute different styles of black and death metal that makes for an interesting end result, and a split that’s worth getting. Temple of Baal is probably better than Ritualization, if not simply because they have more variety in their four songs. Ritualization aren’t bad either, and they’ll show the listener that they are very much into black metal, yet they stick very true to their old-school death metal roots. A somewhat hasty yet still decent and entertaining achievement.



Saturnian Mist - Gnostikoi Ha-Shaitan [2011]

Saturnian Mist brings down the house!

Finland is the country that Christ never went too. Thus, screamingly evil music comes out of that triumphant northern bastard. These guys play heavy duty black metal with hints of thrash and will have you hooked with their face pounding riffs, evil chord progressions, and excellent guitar leads. These guys are no repeat of rip off band of any sort; just raw skill and love for black metal.

The first track catches your attention quickly with a crushing riff that makes you want to mosh it up. And if that wasn't enough, the guitar comes in with a lead that just makes the whole section that much cooler. And the whole reason the word thrash comes to mind at all is at 4:31 of the first song, "The Regicide" when the drums kick it in to a up beat mid tempo and unleash the head banging. Overall the guitar leads is what really makes this whole album. If they were to release an album that was just crushing black riffs with their awesome leads everyone would be happy as fuck.

The vocals are odd in some parts, especially in track numbero 5 "Sacrifices of Faces Unbroken". It is just like the vocalist is talking off time with everyone else; not the entire time but in a back in forth sort of motion. It almost gives it a cool twist but for the most part it is pretty distracting. On top of that, there is literally vocals over every riff in that song; now that's just silly. His growls have some serious balls to then though. When a war speech is given this is the voice that should be heard.

You don't have to be just a fan of blackened black metal with hints of black to enjoy the music these gents present. This is really appealing to a crusty audience as well, maybe not thrashers. If you could compare it to anyone it would have to be newer Darkthrone. Even though I am not a huge fan of black metal this one was truly worth the listen for the earth shaking riffs and most importantly the leads.


Favorite Tracks: The Regicide, Bythos in Quintessence, Aura Mystica

Deathhammer - Onward To The Pits [2012]

Deathhammer, alongside their fellow bastard countrymen in Nekromantheon, are yet another great thrash act that are being handed to us by Norway. This is a country that is ubiquitous with black metal acts, lots of them very generic, and conversely to what many may think, it is a country that is producing some of the best thrash metal around nowadays. Deathhammer don’t exactly bring anything new to the table, but when your music is this good, you really don’t have to.

The album kicks off with a typical thrash metal riff that will remind listeners of early Kreator and Sodom; hence the very old-school sound that they pull off. Along with the gritty guitars strumming their way along rapidly, the drums play a blast beat in the background. This is something that many may deem distasteful, especially ones with an aversion towards blast beats in thrash metal. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love it, but either way, have no fear; there aren’t many throughout. The guitars are easily the highlight on the album, and there’s little to no new-school riffing to be seen, it being dominated by old-school thrash; lot’s of them, however, are not one-hundred percent thrash. Heaps of the riffs on this record are actually very black/speed/thrash metal influenced, an obvious and undeniable Bathory sound being inducted as they gallop along and pleasantly surprise the listener.  Songs like “Fullmoon Sorcery,” especially in the intro, will remind the listener of the good ol’ days when Bathory played relentless black/speed metal, parallel to, mainly, their self-titled album.

Dissimilar to what Nekromantheon have done with their latest effort, Deathhammer are not as evil-sounding as them. They have a very old-school vibe to them, yes, but they are definitely not as evil nor sordid as the sound that Nekromantheon have introduced in their newest full-length. (Definitely more evil than retro-thrash in its entirety, though). This isn’t a bad thing either. Actually, it works for them in many ways. They pull off a more old-school sound, and at the same time they may even bring to mind the latest work that Midnight have accomplished; their riffing is very catchy, and that definitely works to augment the quality of their thrash. Aside from their pervasive black/speed metal sound, there are some riffs here and there that are more doomy; such as in the intro of “Emperor of Sin,” causing the listener to envisage the monster on the cover to be lurking along a graveyard, seeking out human flesh. The vocals are high-pitched, piercing shrieks, somewhat similar to Nekromantheon, more to early Kreator and Bathory, however. The drums always pummel along viciously, primarily making use of thrash beats; with d-beats thrown in occasionally, as well. The production is dirty and completely agrees with the style of old-school thrash that Deathhammer have pulled off.

All in all, “Onward To The Pits” is a very solid effort, and one most likely on its path to be regarded as one of the best thrash metal releases of 2012. It beats most other current thrash acts to the ground, cuts their faces to bloody pulps, parting shame to their ridiculously overrated, dull, uninspired sound. The guitars are always fast and voracious, lots of riffs very catchy, the vocals malevolent in their sheer intensity, the drums loud and furious. A thrash release that is sure to impress even the most elitist of metalheads; a statement shouting that they will not give in to the current quality of thrash releases, showing that they will, amongst endless crowds of boring bands, prove that thrash can be as great as ever; you just have to look in the right places. Look for some Deathhammer, now.



The Black Moriah - Demo [2012]

Thrashened Black Metal!

These guys make an interesting mix of upbeat black metal. So yes, it is black thrash, but on one hand the vocals to seem to be extra black, and the riffs are more speed metal at time but more black. Thus deserving a genre such as thrashened black instead of the vise versa. These long haired duders are very seasoned veterans of the metal art. Their guitarist played for Absu if that tells you much. The facebook bio will provide you everything you need to know, because it is seriously a SHIT load of former and present bands to list. Needless to say these black metal bastards have skill and are a very promising band out of Dallas Texas!

The demo kicks off with a fast paced riff on the guitar and some up beat drumming in the song Casket Prospects. That riff they begin with is also the verse riff; a classic speed metal tactic... Awesome! Then around the one minute mark they move into what can be assumed as the chorus, and the vocals get deeper. The riffage here really stands out.

The second track, "ChainedNConfined" starts out very black metal and then transitions into a bad ass upbeat circle pit riff that will have you head banging in front of your laptop. They really show off their knowledge of how to mix intervals and chords in this song and the next. The next song has a riff that sounds like the first song but is the sound they are going for. Then in the second half of Watch My Town Burn, things start to slow down and get to the TRVE black sound. That second half of the song is why they deserve a title of thrashened black. Then when the fast riff comes back in the guitars present some magnificent leads.

There isn't anything to dislike about this demo unless you just aren't a fan of svpertrve thrashy black metal speedy shizznit. These guys have a very bright future ahead of them and need to HURRY UP AND RECORD A FULL LENGTH!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Spawn of Possession - Incurso [2012]

Spawn of Possession - No one is worthy of their musical genius!

My hope is that Erlend reads this himself; I am such a big fan. You are truly my favorite bass player.

...Mother of God. This is one that the death metal world has been waiting for, for a LONG time! If one wants to talk tech death, one only needs to know Spawn of Possession. After listening to just one of their tracks, you may find yourself a little light headed, because it is hard for your brain to absorb all of this all at once. Not literally, but this is a band that the music nerds will trip out on a lot more than usual. Most of the members are from other incredible bands; Erlend is also in, Blood Red Throne, Incinerate, Vile, The Allseeing I, just to name a few. And the guitarist is made famous by Necrophagist, Obscura, and Defeated Sanity. The only member that isn't in a billion and a half bands in the guitarist, Jonas. Albums like these would be much easier to review if mastery of every instrument was showered upon thee.

The album begins with a quick 5 notes and then a short rest before, what sounds like synths, kick in. This short intro track is very ambient but somehow technical at the same time. Leave it to Spawn of Possession to write a technical atmospheric track.  The drums in the intro track are out of this world too. He manages to highlight notes and the progression, and when the double bass kicks in around :52 it almost sounds like a Immolation track. And, then right when things start to really pick up in the intro, the second track kicks in and will have you fall in love with this album at first listen. It is always hard to put in a new album from one of your favorite bands and then it turns out the album sucks. And its the greatest thing ever to hear 20 seconds of one song and fall in love. The guitar solo in the second track, "Where Angels Go Demons Follow", is beyond incredible at 3:08, and it is stellar how there is a bass and drum solo immediately after that.

The bass in this magnificent album is far beyond amazing. Erlend Caspersen would have to practice a lot LESS to be considered just a god. Every single riff, every fill, is astounding. Track 5 "Servitude of Souls" begins with a mosh worthy (you don't hear too many of those in tech death" riff bass fill thing that will have you swinging your elbows in your computer chair! And there is a bass fill at 1:17 of "Deus Avertat" that is hard to tell if he is trilling at lightning speed or he is tapping on the same note he is trilling on. Either way that is one monstrous bass fill. The leads this guy can play at 15 second into the seventh track is note worthy as well. It is very easy to ramble, so let's leave this at he is awesome and the bass doesn't let up for a second.

There is one minor imperfection in this beastly bastard however, in Deus Avertat, there is a breakdown at 3:12. Granted this is Spawn of Possession and they can do whatever the fuck they want. Leave core with the core bands. It is not a straight up boring breakdown though. I really admire the snare work pulled off by the drummer here. They are also incredibly easy to solo over as well. Which is awesome for the guitar player, and breakdowns are usually boring enough that when a solo comes in that ALL the attention can be focused on him with no distractions. The best guitar work is found on The Evangelist at around 7:40, face ripping solo there. And choice drumming in the last track right when it kicks in at :56 is gnarly as hell. This guy can kick as fast as Morbid Angel. After this you should check out the Stephen Hawking special on how time travel to the future is possible by moving at near light speed. It was really sweet of Steven to do a special on Henrik's feet.

An entire album full of winning. Everything in here is greatness, the review could have simply read, "Holy crap the new Spawn of Possession rules buy it now", and everyone would know exactly what I am trying to convey. But alas, normally tech death albums are a snooze-fest and INCREDIBLY OVERRATED, but the Spawn is most defiantly an exception. They possess some of the best musicians in the world.


Favorite Tracks: Where Angels Go Demons Follow, Servitude of Souls, The Evangelist

Bonus bass videos!

Casket - Casket (EP) [2011]

Casket are a little known band that are producing, straight from the US, death metal that has lots of thrash influence scattered throughout. What is great about these guys is that among incessant waves of generic and tremendously boring thrash metal bands, they decide on a style that combines different sounds to make for a pretty great end result. They mix thrash with d-beat death metal almost perfectly, and this is a band that definitely deserves more attention; attention that is currently being offered to some of the worst in said genres.

After a one-minute creepy intro, little time is spent on giving perfunctory and superfluous prelude to the listener, opening up with the title track, and giving you a pretty clear idea of what the rest of the record will sound like. The riffs that come through are overtly thrash-influenced, lots of these being very, very catchy. There’s a breakdown at 1:20 in which if you don’t find yourself banging your head along with the slow, captivating tempo, there must be something wrong. There’s mid-tempo to slow tempos seen relatively often throughout, making for, at times, a more sludgy and droney sound. There’s, as well, some fun and careless lead work that’s thrown in between different passages to distract the listener for a bit, coming back with nothing less than the catchy riffs that they so often produce. There are even some eerie passages and tremolo bursts seen throughout, adding to the quality of this EP. (“Hell Is At Hand” at 1:30).

“Grave Distaste” starts off with another short intro of a man talking, soon meeting the listener with a straight-up thrash riff, followed by a more punk-influenced one that’ll cause you to sway your head ferociously. This song introduces a new aspect of their music, one that’ll remind listeners of the mighty Ghoul. Along with the ever-present catchy riffs, they familiarize the listener with another vocalist; resulting in a vehement twin-vocal attack that uplifts the music significantly; however insignificant one might deem the importance of vocals. Another worthy mention is at 2:29 in “Grave Distaste,” where, after a catchy d-beat chorus that makes use of the twin-vocals, yet another breakdown causes the listener to effectively ruin his cognitive thinking skills; rattling up his skull, as it did with me. Breakdowns are a tricky thing. Typically I abhor them, yet Casket put them into play so effectively and so provocatively that I have no qualms with these; and there is no reason that one should, as they always have catchy riffs dominating them.

The worst part on this record is probably the drums, which are quite sloppy at times. Yet I find myself ignoring this, as the guitars are so crunchy and catchy that they easily redeem the messy drums. Do yourself a favor and listen to some Casket. Support these bastards!



Revel in Flesh - Deathevokation [2012]

Just as there has been a massive thrash revival movement in recent years, so has there been a death metal one, especially one that can be associated with Swedish or d-beat death metal. Some of these bands pay tribute, while others completely rip off the style that monsters like Dismember, Entombed, Grave, and so forth, are highly acclaimed for. Revel in Flesh show to be nothing more and nothing less than the same as the countless numbers of bands alongside them that are now playing in a very similar style. They named themselves after an Entombed song on the mighty “Left Hand Path.” That should tell you a number of things, including give you an almost spot-on idea of what they sound like--only far less monumental.

Scores of other bands in the past few years, including, but not limited to Morbus Chron, Massive Assault, Miasmal, Entrails, and so on, have been unashamedly practically ripping off Swedish death metal and the many merits that it carries. Some of these bands have proved to be far better than others, employing little originality but better and more substantial quality, while others, like Revel in Flesh, have little to nothing to offer us. Certainly their Swedish guitar tone and their inviting death metal songwriting is appealing, but I find myself losing focus after a few songs, due mainly to the fact that this style is so widespread at the moment that you really do have to stand out in some way. This is something that Revel in Flesh do not successfully achieve and while, admittedly, this album has caused my head to bob along more than several times, I have my doubts that about its longevity.

Their guitar sound is very akin to the Swedeath tone, and I’d be lying if I said that there was no variation on this record. It does have its interesting moments, and more importantly, it changes pace often enough so as to keep one’s attention for a good few minutes; but, unfortunately, soon lose it once again. There’s the typical tremolo bursts, the punk-influenced d-beat rhythms, the catchy choruses. What does slightly detach Revel in Flesh from other Swedeath-worshipping bands is that they lean to the more heavy side of things. In addition, there’s quite frequent use of melodies to add to the (what I struggle to call) eerie vibe of the album; something that isn’t always used with these bands. The drums successfully drive the music forward, but they aren’t anything special either. In any case, they’re still not bad. The vocals make use of low growls rather than barks, blood-thirsty and ready to pound on the listener.

Overall, it’s a decent album. It does have its fun and interesting moments, and it has sufficient variation to intrigue the listener and surprise him here and there, but unfortunately it doesn’t match up to some other bands that prove to be of greater magnitude. A decent album nonetheless, and in theory far from bad (having some memorable riffs strewn about); definitely recommended for fans of Swedish death metal.



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Obliveon - From This Day Forward - 1990

Obliveon! Underrated Techy Thrash!

The problem with Vektor is that they don't release a new album every weekend for the music nerds to worship. So, we have to reach into the all giving internet and find incredible underrated bands like Obliveon to become obsessed with! Montreal is the luckiest city on earth to have such good bands come from their area! Obliveon alone is enough to make anyone want to make a trek there, and tell these talented bastards to get back together and start jamming this album again! It mixes Sci-fi with technical elements while still maintaining a thrashy sound!

Diving straight in, these riffs will melt your mind and keep your interest all the way through the whole album! It starts out with a short clean intro in the first track, and title track, "From This Day Forward". And if that intro doesn't just scream Vektor at you, rewind it, and listen again! The riffs in this just don't let up! There is nothing worse than when a band gets overly techy and can't write a riff to save their life. There is none of that overrated wank in here. They can still keep the fast paced thrash riffs and kick it into moshing mode with the hard ass mid tempo's that will have you circle pitting in your living room! One of my favorites is at 1:52 of the second track, "Fiction of Veracity" turn that shit up! That track also starts out with a mind numbingly awesome guitar lead that will play in your head all day! Seriously, every single track is worth mentioning for the awesome riffs and drumming.

The bass and drums kill it on this CD. DAT FUGGIN' BASS! Right in the first track he dishes out some leads at around 2:05 and in the second he keeps up with the guitar at 3:50. And really he steps it up all over the album. Same with the drums, the way they bring in the second track is astounding. He really shows off his double kick work in every track. Not just in how long he is able to maintain it but the way he switches it up and really highlights every note and picking pattern in the riffs.

This is seriously an album that is worthy of a ten page, long, boring, track by track review. But to spare you the theatrics you should just listen to it on YouTube and kill yourself for not being worthy. Everything on this Album is amazing, the vox, guitar, bass, drums, you name it. Now stop reading this kiss ass review and LISTEN!!


Favorite Tracks: ALL OF THEM!! They all rule equally.

Disfear - A Brutal Sight of War - 1993

Disfear - Brings the Pain! 

This band serious rips me a new asshole. And that term is not used lightly. There has always been a soft spot for thuggish punk music deep in the blackness where my soul used to be.This was released in 1993 and had managed to get the band some attention. After listening to this beast anyone could fully understand why this album helped fund world tours and to give them the attention they deserve.  This crusty face ripper is one hell of an album. The energy is sky high here and doesn't let up for the entire CD. The thing that is odd is that the songs almost seem repetitive, but you have to expect it in some way whenever you're preparing to have your arsehole torn in two by some brutal crusty D-beat goodness.Repetitive might be too strong of a word. These songs are catchy.

The album kicks off with the title track, which is a ballsy move, and lets you know right away how hard they are about to bring it. With a monster crushing guitar sound and vocals so harsh that you can almost feel the sweat dripping and crowd going wild! The coolest part of this song is in 1:11 when the solo drops off into a lead that follows the riff and gives it a very "WAR" like sound. It follows that example in the second song as well only a bit different. The absolute best use of this technique is in the third track "Forced to Conform" at around :36 seconds into it.

There is something interesting that happens in the CD however around the 5th track "religion". You will notice that the mix of the album changed. As if they had to stop recording and come back a second time and record the rest of the tracks. It is not a big deal, it is just very odd. The guitars go from a sharper sound to a more thick sound that you may remember from Hellbastard's Ripper Crust CD. The vocals seem to change a lot too. The go from a lower "UGGHH" Napalm Death and Terrorizer sound to a slightly higher pitched and "almost OSDM" sound like on the first Pestilence album. The album still continues to kick copious amounts of ass.

If there is anything that kept this from getting in the high 95s would be that the first 4 songs are much more intense than the last 5. And you could say that they could have arranged the album different and would have gotten a better score, but there is a very specific reason that is beyond the change in the mix. Albums never get points taken off for having shitty "production". But, the first 4 songs has excellent guitar leads and solos in them and those are what really made the songs, besides the high energy and vocals. It's not that they dragged, they just carried parts of the songs between chorus' and verses. But the songs do continue to rape pretty hard anyway. It's not like anyone hearing those songs for the first time would hate the band or something.

This album is a definite must have for anyone remotely interested in the genre. This album is truly worth every penny and crushes right from the start!


Favorite Tracks: A Brutal Sight of War, Forced to Conform, Vietnam Idag

Friday, February 17, 2012

Funeral Whore - Step Into Damnation [2012]

Originating from the Netherlands, home of the death metal masters in Pestilence and Asphyx, Funeral Whore is a band that isn’t very well known (at least not yet), and after years of doing only demos, EP’s, and splits, they’ve finally released they’re debut album, dubbed “Step Into Damnation.” It doesn’t follow in the same tracks as Pestilence, it being far more straightforward--at times droney--and crushing death metal throughout the length of the album, and it definitely conjures up some pretty vile sounds that are bound to get recognition among the death metal hordes.

Upon hearing the first few seconds of the album, one might be mislead to thinking that it’s more dominated by doom/death. True, “Wasteland of Corpses” is of the more doomy tracks on the record, and there are riffs that follow in the same style appearing on occasion throughout the record, but other styles mix in to form the end result brought to you in “Step Into Damnation.” There’s many moments that show the band’s appreciation for heavier and more evil death metal acts, and there’s also straight-up Swedeath worship sprinkled throughout (although not that much of it, but it does serve its purpose); not to mention moments like at 1:06 in “Eternal Genocide” or 0:44 in “Pierce My Flesh” that absolutely pound the listener’s ears with groovy, thick mid-paced riffs; as well as the Autopsy-inspired "Threesome." There’s also a fair share of tremolo passages here and there, but nevertheless, the most prevalent style on this album is that of simple, heavy, non-wankery, old-school worshipping death metal goodness in all of its might. Lead work isn’t very present, the bands’ main ambition being to produce candid and cruel death metal, but when it does crop itself up, it’s usually to deliver an eerie and droney passage that adds to the bands’ few different styles that are put into play. Melodies are also scarce, the practice of heavy death metal being ever-present. 

The vocals are akin to those produced by death metal acts that lean towards a heavier approach in their sound, being very low in tune and relentless in delivery. They aid in making the music as a whole come off as more evil, and they serve as a back-up for the guitars that are always chugging along. There’s not very much to say about the drumming, simply that it’s there and it does its job. No song ever reaches a mind-numbingly fast speed, and use of blast beats is not as present as in lots of other death metal albums. There’s not very much use of double bass work either, it being typically used only to pummel along with palm-muted guitar strumming.

“Step Into Damnation” is an album that will ignite nostalgia in thousands of listeners that are avid fans of heavy old-school death metal acts, and it’s one that will be played repeatedly in many CD players throughout the world. It has droney, doomy riffs--as well as other surprises that’ll sneak up on you--stacked on top of the well-loved death metal style that is known and praised by fans of the genre worldwide. It’s well on its way to year-end lists of 2012.



Massive Assault - Death Strike [2012]

Massive Assault - Face crushing Death Metal!

Hoogeveen's own war death metal face rippers are not afraid to tear it up on this monster album! This mean bastard is mixed perfectly, and the only reason that the mix is worth mentioning is because it is so hard to capture that OSDM sound the way they did twenty years ago. The album art really paints a picture for how great the album is going to sound. Not to judge by its cover but the cover just screams Bolt Thrower and many other veterans from Sweden. But enough about the awesome quality of the CD.

It begins with a very short clip of two soldiers yelling at each other for about 2 seconds and then just unleashes the fury with heavy death metal hits and furious drumming! The interesting thing about their guitar work is that if this album were mix, or maybe the vocals being different, this could almost pass as a crusty war album. Especially if they decided on a different logo and album cover, this could easily sneak by as another genre. That really adds a interesting twist in this album, with just those punky crust riffs they dish out to keep the energy pumping.

Don't think for a second that this is just a crust album mixed like death. That is entirely not it. If you listen to the beginning of the song "Pride" it has some melodic elements that are very prevalent throughout the CD. Then it may move down to another Entombed sounding riff then maybe something crusty. The vocals on this are very death metal. He sounds very swede death. Like, the singer of Grave, or oddly enough, early Hypocrisy, which is odd be cause that band never makes it to my player. They do sound very similar though.

This is a very unique mix of music here and a very solid release. Any death metal fan would defiantly love this. It would be awesome to see these guys on the Obscene Extreme line up! They would fit perfectly. Next time they are in the states it would be well worth it to check them out!


Favorite Tracks: Driven Towards Death, Aggressive Depression, Operation Anthropoid 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dream Death - Journey Into Mystery [1987]


Doom thrash is kind of an oxymoron. Well not kind of, it is an oxymoron; like someone making racist rap. For someone who has never heard Dream Death before this could be very confusing, but at the same time it is very intriguing. How the hell do you play doom thrash!? These gnarly bastards figured it out! They are from Pittsburgh, PA but honestly if you think about it they may have gone much much further if they had relocated to Florida. Seeing as this came out in 1987, these guys and Obituary would have gotten along all too well!! We can all dream right? Pun intended.

But alas! My first thought when someone first mentioned doom thrash was, how the hell are they going to be able to transition from thrash to doom? It's like they will start on the doom and then and then move to what, in thrash, would be a down tempo moshing riff, then into a mid tempo kind of thing. Think Obituary's Cause of Death; that should paint a pretty good picture. Don't think this is a clear rip off of Obituary though. It's easy to Dream Death to them but the riffs are very different. I notice Dream Death's riffage doesn't follow a stand key signature or a half whole tone pattern what so ever. They just break all kinds of rules! The power chords just move all over the place. A very difficult concept to describe.

Another thing this band would just be nothing without is the mastermind behind the drum kit! If there were any different beats behind those riffs, it's hard to picture them working together. Sometimes the guitar riffs don't exactly transition, it is literally the drummer and the vocalist letting you know when things are about to change. This doesn't happen all the time, but maybe instead of a transition, sometimes it is just a mini riff thing they do to help it flow smoothly. Like in the riff right before the chorus at 1:33 of the first song, "Back from the Dead". The vocals are a little cheesy on this album too. It really does fit the music oddly enough. You could call it one of those, "So cheesy it's good" cliches. His vocals sound a little more low pitched than Tom Araya's, and more of a growl death metal, but still thrash.

This is totally worth checking out. You don't need to be a fan of doom to get into this, that is the beautiful thing about it! This is honestly something to listen too if you have any kind of writers block and need to exercise your brain with something interesting. The only thing that keeps this from being in the 90s is that the songs do get repetitive. It doesn't kill the album by any means, (if it did I wouldn't review it) because going back to the, its so cheesy its good thing, the whole repetitive thing actually works for these guys! This is some very well written stuff!


Favorite Tracks: Back from the Dead, Black Edifice, Dream Death

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nocturnal Torment - They Come at Night [2012]

Nocturnal Torment are a four-piece death metal band from the United States that follow suit to the recurring American death metal sound but, having previously been a thrash metal band named Termination, intersperse short bursts of a slight thrash influence throughout. That’s not to say that said thrash influence is very prevalent in this album either, because what dominates "They Come at Night" is an assault of finely formulated old-school death metal paying tribute and adding to what former death metal masters have done.

The vicious attack of heavy death metal that resides in “They Come at Night” is resulted primarily from the grating guitars that penetrate the overall sound, being low and threatening. Tremolo-picking a la Malevolent Creation is frequently heard throughout, and this often gives way to slower, heavier passages that are dominated by more rhythmic and lower guitar riffs. This album undergoes constant changes in regards to different riffs and patterns, and these will surprise you once they come around. An example of this is at 2:57 in “They Come at Night,” where the bass is left alone to give a prologue for the subsequent riff, which, in fact, is dangerously catchy and headbang-inducing. And, sure enough, another change of pace is seen soon after this riff ends. There is not much use of melody or guitar solos on this record, but this does in no way detract from the quality of the album, as there is not much need for them. Thrash riffs are used scarcely, but they are seen throughout, and are often accompanied by a thumping d-beat being played on the drums, adding to the intensity of the guitars. This can be seen at around the middle of the song “Bleeding,” where a crusty thrash riff is played.

While the guitars pummel on in the foreground, other aspects of this album are sure to impress and deserve to be praised as well. Firstly, the vocals. The vocals on "They Come at Night" are very akin to early Hypocrisy, ranging from low to high gutturals that pierce the air. In addition, they have a  tendency to utter out quick vocal segments. The drumming is neither remarkable nor trite, but it is noteworthy. It’s in no way boring, and along with the repeated use of thrash beats, a blast beat is seen now and then. The use of fills is also frequent, being hardly every the same, and they aid in transitioning into different phases of songs smoothly.

Definitely a must for fans of American death metal. Hell, for fans of any style of old-school death metal. They pull off an old-school sound while at the same time not completely ripping off their predecessors, and the songwriting, often resulting in long songs, will more than certainly keep listeners entertained as they are surprised by different riffs at every turn. Straightforward, pounding death metal that’s bound to be sought out by metalheads the world over once they are noticed in the scene; and rightly so.



Monday, February 13, 2012

Double Dose of Dallas Metal!

Toxifix! - Rise From The Ashes - Demo 2011

Here is some blackened thrash metal for you! These guys are up and coming very fast and put on a spectacular live performance. They really know how to mimic their recording when playing live. Every member of this outfit knows their instrument very well and is not afraid to get frisky with the technicalities. The term technical is quite often overused but these duders earned it. My favorite track would easily be "Blackened Thrashing Death", and don't worry, it is not a Witchaven rip off! It sounds a lot like Venom actually.

There are some very notable spots all over the album that highlights each instrument extremely well. The drums in The Burning of Olympus" is just out of this world, and a mad bass solo at 1:18, and closely after that the guitar solos just tear you a fucking new one! When these dudes record again, they should record it exactly the same way and just release it as an LP. Their sound is perfect on this demo.

Favorite Tracks: The Burning of Olumpys, Blackened Thrashing Death, Nuclear Attack


Steel Bearing Hand - Demo 

This band is full of win. Reason being is that it has something for every body in it. There are parts that sound very crusty, and then will melt your balls with some death metal riffage, and before they are done they bust out the thrash mid tempos! The song Savor the Torture has all of those. And any band that possesses the musical fortitude to deliver such virtuosity in such dissimilar genres deserves a notion astounding credibility. They even black metal it up in Eldritch Hate... hard. Which leads one to take notice on the excellent drumming this monster demo has! And the guitar lead in this song is incredible. It is literally better than most veteran black metal leads or any genre that uses leads! The choice of notes in that almost sound like a boss ass mixture of Amon Amarth and Wolves in the Throne Room.

And after all that musical ass rape-ery the CD comes to grinding halt.



Also as a bonus, these dudes totally let you download it FOR FREE!!

King - Forged By Satan's Doctrine [2012]

King Satanic Blackened Death Metal!

Make an appointment with you doctor after this listen to make sure there isn't any permanent damage to your butt hole; because these guys rape with no lube. Hailing from Colombia, these giants mix a monstrous form of blackened death together to give it a sound close to early Emperor mixed with Deicide. That is probably the easiest way to imagine their sound. A darker sounding Deicide on steroids... Or more steroids, if I may. They have many of the tremolo picking riffs topped with insane blast beats, to those slamming death metal power chord riffs that just crush your soul with the double kick. And they do all of that while keeping the old school sound and managing to NOT sound like recycled garbage.

 The album starts off with an intro track dubbed "Summon Shub-Niggurath Ye Black". Which can only be taken to mean this is some kind of sweet ass Satanic ritual. For a intro track it does move very quickly. Then right when the noise dies down the band kicks it in to maximum overdrive and rips your face off right away with the blast beats and fast paced riffage. It's very hard to believe this drummer is actually human. He doesn't let up for one moment the whole time. You seriously might wonder if they are using drum machine. When the guitar players are melting faces with the black metal tremolo riffs the drums are blasting away. And when you get to the slower chunky choruses, he doesn't let the tempo slide and keeps the energy up with double kicks that could compete with Morbid Angel. Yeah... Morbid Angel. That's how good he is.

There isn't one part of this album that slacks in the least bit. During some of what must be the chorus' in the songs, the guitars might play those crunchy power chord riffs that sound slower, or half or whole notes for the musically educated, and the bass will even come out and play a lead! And while that is going on, the lead the bass player is playing will be complementing what the guitar player is doing. Like a melody without sounding melodic if that makes sense. This is very present in 2:25 of When The Walls In Heaven Turn In Black and the first track. And with the vocals that match Glen Benton's highs really make for a hellishly awesome sound!

What makes this whole thing is the involvement of every member. The guitar riffs are crushing in every song and the leads are spectacular. It really stands out is the involvement of the bass player in a genre of music like this. And not to mention the drums that just rape souls. If there were any criticism in the world worth mentioning is that there needs to be more guitar solos. But then again, that may not exactly fit their sound well. This is an album not to be missed. Every aspect of this is just fucking killer.

I will personally recommend this to everyone I know in the NYDM, those guys will absolutely love this! 


Favorite Tracks: Emperor of Darkness, Macabre Satanas, When The Walls In Heaven Turn In Black