Black Mass Pervertor - Sodomiittien seura

Review by Sandre the Giant

If there was ever a band I needed to hear after a long day, it is Black Mass Pervertor. I first came across these black metal punks on their 2018 release ‘Life Beyond These Walls of Flesh’, and they’ve been a band I’ve returned to for a raucous blast of punkish black metal time and time again. Their new record, ‘Sodomiittien seura’ is out near the end of March, released independently.

After ‘Call to Worship’ built you up on pounding drumming and nasty guitar tones, ‘Clean Your Master’s Boot’ knocks you right over with a filthy riff or six. There’s many of the obvious influences here, from latter Darkthrone to Sodom and Bathory, and also a dash of Casey Chaos’s SCUM project too. The production values are necro as fuck, and enhances the DIY vibe. ‘Silent Observer’ gives you a little more midpaced black metal, while the scampering ‘A Statement’ punks up the speed considerably. ‘Sodomiittien seura’ doesn’t play the two styles against each other, instead going for a synergy that provides a lot of energy and nihilism in the same place. ‘Possessed by Satan and Evil’ is pure Bathory worship, while ‘Towards the Higher Plane of Existence’ plays around with some grander ideas before ‘Anointment’ brings us crashing to the earth with a necrotic dancehall thud.

Only 23 minutes long, but ‘Sodomiittien seura’ doesn’t try to overdo things. It is here to hit you with some Satanic necro punk and get the fuck out of here. It does that very well, and is even a little more melodic than I had expected. Black Mass Pervertor are great fun in a kind of rusty knifefight kind of way, and this EP just confirms that to me. Grand stuff!

Crypts of Despair - All Light Swallowed

Review by Sandre the Giant

Shockingly enough to no one at all, Transcending Obscurity have gone and found themselves another death metal band who are getting rave reviews all around. Lithuanians Crypts of Despair are dropping their second full length, ‘All Light Swallowed’, in April in multiple formats and I’m diving in to see if the hype is real and if the band can hang with a talent roster already bloated with exceptional death metal…

Opener ‘Being – Erased’ is a pummelling affair, laced with odd melody throughout, lurching into old school death and a more modern serrated style too. The production is thick, giving you a bit of a swampy feel but not drowning anything out. There is plenty of dissonance woven into the fabric of this record, and while it doesn’t ever descend to a Gorguts level of weirdness, the rampaging riffs of ‘Anguished Exhale’ and ‘Condemned to Life’ still feel unsettlingly dense at times. There is of course ‘Choked by the Void’, which could be the best track here for unsettling yourself.

The bulldozing riff that crushes you at the start of ‘The Great End’ is stunning, and that soon explodes into nerve shredding aural shrapnel as you are battered into submission. The atonal melody lines continue to drift in the background, but the real star is the wall of brutality coming at you full tilt. The songwriting variety is excellent, as even though you feel violently oppressed by it at times, ‘All Light Swallowed’ have a multitude of tricks to ensure your demise is interesting. ‘Disgust’ sways back and forth from Immolation style tonnage to visceral Swedeath, while the more orthodox ‘Excruciating Weight’ is supremely heavy.

Unsurprisingly, Crypts of Despair fit in on TO perfectly, as ‘All Light Swallowed’ is another stunning record of death metal superiority. Every band on the label seems to have their thing, and Crypts of Despair are cornering the ‘death metal from the heaviest depths’ part of the market. ‘All Light Swallowed’ is a record that everyone needs to get onto as soon as they can. I love it.

Review by Sandre the Giant

Originally published here:

A two man bass and drums doom set up from the Pacific North West and it isn’t Big Business? Colour me interested! Oregon’s Breath bring the psychedelica on their debut full length, ‘Primeval Transmissions’, and they’ve been journeying in some dark and mysterious woods (both metaphorically and physically) in order to draw out some of the most strangely relaxing doom you’ll hear this year. It is out now through Desert Records.

If I had to sum up this record in a couple of words, it’d be meditative doom. But apparently there’s word counts and writing integrity and such so there will be more. Opener ‘Evocation’ has a lovely wandering bass that provides a soothing low end for you to slip into a stupor during. It’s remarkably relaxing, and even when the vocals hove into view it does nothing to lift the trance. If you prefer your stoner doom to be a bit more raucous, this may be the wrong place for you to start, although that heavily distorted solo does deserve a mention. ‘Dwarka’ is hypnotising in its repetition for the first while, before another rumbling solo comes in and takes over.

‘Observer’ throbs with bass power, and when the psych guitar lines slide in around the three mark it gets very trippy. That psychedelic edge runs deep in the mammoth ‘Battle for Harmonic Balance/Halls of Amenti’; a journey through shamanistic groove and ritualistic fuzz. It definitely feels spiritual but not in a way that we’d understand, more in an ancient earthen way that is beyond living memory. We end with a reprise of the opening ‘Evocation’, which if anything is now the comedown from the places we’ve visited on this record. ‘Primeval Transmissions’ will appeal directly to fans of Yob and Sleep, but to be honest anyone who likes their music heavy but oddly relaxing should give this a go. Breath’s work is mesmerising, and it feels like a vision quest through hazy deserts and sleepy skies to a place of ultimate psychedelic revelation. Tune in, drop out and float away.

Incarceration - Empiricism

Review by Sandre the Giant

Brazilian/German death metal bruisers Incarceration are releasing their new EP, ‘Empiricism’, this April on CD, vinyl and cassette through Dawnbreed Records, Lycanthropic Chants and Misanthropic Records in a variety of locations!. Link underneath. This is four tracks of old school 80s death metal brutality.

Opener ‘Chthonic Pulse’ builds with uneasy clean guitar notes before crushing us all with a brutally thick and raw death metal torrent. The vocals scream from beneath waves of filthy riffs, cloaked in choking atmosphere and madness. The moment where it all slows down to a doomy crawl is prime Autopsy worship, but with a little more atonal melody lurking behind the shades of murk. ‘Psychic Totality’ has more of that air of madness about it, rampaging with gleeful abandon across the corpses of its enemies, while ‘Beneath the Chains of Existence’ is loaded with all those glorious cliches from late 80s deaththrash demo bands that are sadly lost to time.

Closing with the devastating, flailing ‘Chasms of Metalflesh’, Incarceration are the real deal. ‘Empiricism’ is a glorious slice of old school death worship, where the lines between death metal and thrash were blurry and the passionw as more important than the production. The only difference is that Incarceration’s songwriting skills are far superior, and for that ‘Empiricism’ is all the better. Tremendous stuff!

Torfrom - Culto al terror

Review by Geary of War

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw that ‘Culto al terror’ is the first full length recording from Chilean death metallers Torfrom. Torfrom, active in some way since 1992, has not wasted those years. ‘Culto al terror’ is at its heart a death metal record but to label it as only that does a disservice to the influences peppered throughout the, near as make no difference, 40 mins it takes to soak this in. It is out through Australis Records.

‘Confessor’ opens with some lyrics I do not understand at all but completely get the tone implied. Blasting, speed riffs and a bass bounding and popping in the back of the mix set out a marker early. Where the previously mentioned experience comes in is the patience in the delivery, moments of stomping, free feeling solos and a sense of direction with the song’s destination. ‘Legion Del Mal’ has a death thrash feel to it, with the thrash coming right out of the 80s which is amazing. A slower brooding moment before a simply marvellous solo takes us back to full death metal aggression. The opening of ‘Psicopata Asesino’ is 100% designed to get some heads banging in a live setting. Drums hammering along, air thick with the riffing, it’s a sterling warm up for the rest of the song. There are more breaks, more hooks on show before back to the neck breaker riff reappears and the song continues its journey. Eerie is how best to describe the opening of ‘Luto eterno’ feeling more like a death/doom track. A great change of pace, which slowly builds into more of that old school feel, a rousing solo brings a feeling of hope to the story that I feel is being woven in the vocals before we are reminded this is death metal and nothing truly ends well.

We see a return to the familiar with ‘Putrefaccion’ riffing, smashing and growling its way along, double kicks being deployed with fury and control, all fleshing out the sound of evil. ‘Depravacion’ contines on this same trend, displaying more of that crossover with elements of thrash making themselves known. ‘Bastardos’ is one I did not need Google translate to figure out. There is almost a military-like stomp rhythm at the start which soon gives way to an almost ebb and flow between slamming riffs and drums and then a free flowing style of play. The icing on the skull here is the solo which shows the earlier standouts were not flukes. No Google translate on the next track either ‘I Am Lucifer’, which starts off at a fast pace and only gets more intense from there. ‘Culto al terror” sees the band flex its more progressive side again and further enhances this album; a brooding opening gives way to a death’n’roll section which in turns leads up to more straight up death metal and all the way back. I am sitting here, writing away and my head is nodding, my feet are tapping and I am smiling from ear to ear. Oh and more great solo work, it really is a joy. I know there are more technical players out there, but it is not about skill, it is about feel and the playing is spot on. Bringing us home is ‘Estrella negra’. It is heavy, proper heavy. This is about swagger, pace and sending the listener home knowing they had witnessed something special.

You know what you are getting here now, smashing drums, sawing guitars, snarling vocals and all with an intensity to keep you on edge. This track, more than any other, left me really wanting to go to a gig. The brilliant album cover with all the classic death metal aspects of skulls, eyes and visions of death also has a modern feel to the style it was created in, look closer and you are rewarded with hidden features and in a way that’s what listening to ‘Culto al terror’ is like. Old school in a modern way. At the start you see a death metal album, but spend some time listening and you can hear all the other influences present in the band’s lives which are brought together here and it is that blend, the evolution of death metal, that makes this album great.

Review by Sandre the Giant

Croatian noise rockers Nokti have just released their debut record ‘Cockschmerzen’, which at only 14 minutes long is going to be a nice easy listen compared with some of the stuff I get sent! Three members of Nokti also play in Hesperian Death Horse, who I’ve reviewed before on the Killchain, so I’m intrigued to see what else they have come up. Each track ‘Cockschmerzen’ is out now through HauRuck and Crass Lips Records.

Mesmerising noise rock is the order of the day here, as ‘Pjan od krvi’ opens us up with an off kilter collaboration of fuzzed up bass and jazzy drumming, while strange vocals caterwaul in the distance. ‘Delta kvadrant’ has an insistent guitar line that leads us off, and that plays throughout while a jazzy saxophone breaks in through a haunting vocal section. This will not be the last time we hear these saxophone breaks, and I am not complaining. ‘Cockschmerzen’ is definitely not doing anything easy to listen to here. ‘Zlatna beba’ has an almost black metal intro that doesn’t quite take off as I expect, and we get a much more impassioned and repetitive vocal here. I’m never quite sure what to make of noise rock, It isn’t exactly my speciality but Nokti do keep it quite interesting.

‘Gestatten Sie’ is probably my favourite piece here, bringing to mind a bit of No Age, albeit a little more unhinged sounding. It feels like the most complete song here, although closer ‘Picini voda’ does have an excellent range of weirdness that almost surpasses it. ‘Cockschmerzen’ won’t be for everyone, I’m not even sure if it is for me but there is plenty of cool little moments you won’t expect and your attention will never wander which is good enough for me!

Review by Sandre the Giant

Dopelord’s ‘The Sign of the Devil’ was an absolute highlight for me last year, in fact it found its way to number 10 on my End of the Year list. It was in exalted company as well, for 2020 was definitely a year of doom. Their new EP, ‘Reality Dagger’ was something I immediately jumped on when I found out about it. It is out now through Green Plague Records

‘Dark Coils’ comes swaggering out with the same magic that ‘The Sign of the Devil’ had instantly; a self confident bluesy groove hewn from granite and Electric Wizard records. Bewitching vocals and a deep understanding of the entrancing nature of traditional doom are the most important parts here, and ‘Your Blood’ continues this vibe with a driving rumble and haunting vocals. The soulful solo cuts through the fuzzy riffing, and it’s yet another example of how these Polish lads are absolutely nailing their sound.

The closing title track is the best track here, ten minutes plus of the most righteous doom thunder you can find mixed with some psychedelic notions and a harsher edge at times. All the greats can be heard here, from Sabbath and Pentagram to the Wizard and even a bit of Cathedral. Couple that with a band who just know how to write songs that ooze charisma and you’ve got the recipe for greatness. ‘Reality Dagger’ is another fine entry in the canon of Dopelord, and of 2021 too. Hail to the masters of reality.

Deiquisitor - Humanoid

Review by Geary of War

The Danes have given the world many wonderful things and added to that list is the punishing band of Deiquisitor. ‘Humanoid’ is the latest EP from these death metal stalwarts. It is punishing and technical yet holds a hint of the organic feel which says the band are pushing the boundaries of what they can do which adds a lot to the listen. It is out now on CD through Dark Descent, and on vinyl through Extremely Rotten Productions and Night Shroud.

‘World in Flames’ has beatdowns, chainsaw guitars, deep guttural vocals and drumming so intensely demanding it should be a sport. ‘Autonomous Warfare’ offers no breaks as it smashes its way into your ears. Some amazing head banging riffing here which when added to drumming which is as close to a landslide as I think I have ever heard on a record. ‘Below the Frozen Tundra’ does the bleak and harsh nature of tundra proud. Grim and relentless, this track is lifted by an excellent solo just shy of half way through. ‘Empyrean Lifeform’ has a grand opening and goes back to the familiar blasting and aggression which have been staples of the listen so far. The solo through here is amazing, it is the calm in the chaos of all the blasting and speed. The track name offers a magnificent chant. Fantastic fun. ‘Dictate the Believers’ is the penultimate track that continues the blasting and aggression with an excellent break in the middle offering a moment of chance to gather your senses.

‘Blinded by Wisdom’ brings the EP home. Immediately this tracks drapes you in unease. Now on the backfoot, you are battered left and right as Deiquisitor make their mark upon you. Deiquisitor have created an excellent slab of death metal with ‘Humanoid’. Everything from the cover, which is a blend of bleak cyber punk and restorative nature shows what they are about. Merging the technical brutality of death metal with the both sides of being in a forest, the light and beauty of the day as well as the oppressive fear of the dark and the creak of the trees. Nothing sits still and I fully endorse any death metal fan to take the 25 mins and 28 seconds this EP runs.

Ilsa - Preyer

Review by Sandre the Giant

Originally published here:

Recorded by just as 2020 began to close in on itself, the new record from Washington DC’s ILSA, ‘Preyer’, is clearly inspired by the isolation, death and chaos that the world finds itself descending into. This is death/doom for a doomed world, following in part the tale of Sean Sellers, a notorious killer who committed his crimes in a self described demonic possession. ‘Preyer’ isn’t a concept album, but themes of depression, mental illness and death definitely linger within that tale and this. It is out now through the mighty Relapse Records.

The opening note of this record, rumbling under a sample of someone talking about human sacrifice and murder, makes ‘Epigraph’ a very potent ‘intro’ of sorts to what ILSA is about to unleash. The cursed devastation of ‘Poor Devil’ gives you chills as the dense doom riffing lumbers forward, given a real sense of power by a bit of death metal ferocity. The band use power as a theme; how it corrupts and destroys, be it through religion or greed or illness. ‘Moonflower’ thunders along with an evil purpose, slowing to a monolithic crawl at one point while the tortured howl of vocalist Orion rasps in the night. ILSA have a dose of sludge about their sound too, more apparent on their faster work such as ‘Shibboleth’ or ‘Widdershins’.

This may paint itself as death/doom at times, but the band have a bit of a crusty d-beat thrust about them at times too, which meshes well with an old school sense of death metal. Coupling that with some torturously slow doom crush, like in the mammoth ‘Mother of God’ makes ‘Preyer’ an album that is right up my street. ILSA capture a mood of raging helplessly at the ills of the work while stuck unable to deal with them, something we’re all feeling a bit right now. The title track sounds like someone pounding on a wall, desperate to get out of their own mind. This record can feel at times almost oppressive in its relatability, which is vaguely terrifying in and of itself. As ‘The Square Coliseum’ brings us to a thunderous close, the crunch and weight is unmistakably brilliant.

ILSA are guilty of possibly attempting to merge too many styles and run the risk of losing them all at times, but they never do. Displaying a deft hand at using all their weapons and never letting one jam, ‘Preyer’ sees them firing on all cylinders. The result is a record that can be punishingly heavy at many tempos, and unflinchingly raw at times too. Excellent.

The Sombre - Into the Beckoning Wilderness

Review by Geary of War

Dutch doom metaller Maurice de Jong aka The Sombre released his swathing slab of menace and weight upon the world in a limited run in 2019. However! Mere mortals!! We have been treated to another chance to lay our hands upon this gem. ‘Into the Beckoning Wilderness will be out March 22nd through Chaos Records as well as available via Bandcamp.

Opener ‘Death in Black Cathedrals’ gently leads us forward with soft strings before a meaty bit of bass follows along and starts the build to the inevitable crash of outright heaviness. De Jong has a very clear feel for how doom should flow and here you have all the brooding and heaviness you want and need from a doom record. ‘A Storm of Black Poetry’ has loads of drive and purpose to it. At points it feels like its soaring above the clouds in a moment of calm then it’s back in the wind and storm. During some of the heaviest parts of this song when the riffing and weight feels like it’s meant to sonically tear down a house; there is a marvellous harmony in the background which lifts this track to the next level and ends on a gothic spoken word grand crescendo. The self titled ‘Into the Beckoning Wilderness’, feeling like it’s an anthem for all the winter dog walkers out there, opens with a very black metal bent before more of the quality bleak doom which has been the signature of this album. Bringing in elements of the lighter melodic side, heavy riffing, death metal barks and cleaner vocals this track is the showpiece for sure.

Leaning once again on that gothic doom feel ‘The Mother of Sin and Ruin’ is not slacking off on the evil side here at all. Darkness, thundering drums and a cavernous sense of dread are soon added to the layers of unease. The lighter moments feel more like breaks in the mist than they do a shift in tone. There are moments where you can get a small head nod on the go which is always welcome. Despite what you might think ‘The Pallbearer’s Hymn’ does not move at a respectful pace, quite the opposite, this track shifts and moves with a laser like focus. Bringing the listen to a close is the foreboding ‘Until the Withered Return from the Dark’ . Accurately conveying the sense of fear and wonder of the title, will they make it, do we want them too?

Any hopes that might be brought forward can be felt to be dashed with more sober and weighty tones. ‘Into the Beckoning Wilderness’ has some truly wonderful artwork for the cover, it sets the listener up with what they are about to hear, a broad and ranging album full of dread, fear and heaviness. Yet within there are moments of stark beauty. For a solo project this feels much larger that you would expect and a superb addition to any doom collection.