Archive for September, 2015

Into Darkness - Sinister Demise

German death metallers Into Darkness have been going for 20 years now, and even though I’ve never heard of them, they have been flying the traditional death metal flag for two decades now. But ‘Sinister Demise’ is only their third full length, and their first in thirteen years, so its been a long time coming.

First off, their cover art is a stunning painting by Joe Petagno, who has also done stuff for Vader and Autopsy. After the obligatory intro, you’re hit full on by ‘Left Behind’, a rabid death metal frenzy that brings to mind the likes of Monstrosity or the savage roar of early Immolation. The riffs run the gauntlet of thrashing speed to an uneasy, swaying crawl. ‘Manifesto’ chugs with an off kilter groove, while ‘Throne of a Thousand Miseries’ is a total beast. There’s definitely hints of some Immolation or Gorguts in the atonal melodies that seep through the evil darkness.

The title track is a relentless beating of a song, and like so many of the others, is possessed by excellent song writing. There’s no overdoing each element of Into Darkness’ sound; the drums nor the vocals dominate over the riffs, but neither are lost. ‘Suspended Insanity’ is skull rattlingly heavy, and is a great example of how the band’s vocals are brutal yet still decipherable. Closing with the one two combo of devastation, ‘Spiritual Remains’ and ‘Suffering a Reality’, Into Darkness have crafted a death metal album to be proud of. It riffs like a motherfucker, and sends weaker bands running for come. Into darkness we go!

2014 - Quinquaginta cover art

Mexico’s Evilheart is getting their 2014 debut record ‘Quinquaginta’ reissued through Test Your Metal Records this year, and the press release says for fans of Krisiun, Morbid Angel and Vader etc. Something tells me I might like this a lot…

How nice to hear an opening track that goes instantly for the throat, without acoustic intros, samples or even a fade in. ‘Perfection Collapsed’ is a raging first track, and showcases the band’s formidable arsenal of riffs and atmosphere. The raging flow of ‘Selective Extermination’ is music to the ears of those who want something faster and more brutal. The rest of the album interweaves blasting, raw brutality and a blackened technicality, like Dissection fighting with Decapitated. Songs like ‘Supremacy and Holocaust’ are a perfect example of how Evilheart work. They hit hard and often.

From the uber melodic leads in ‘Postmortal Corruption’ to the industrial tinges to ‘Genetics of Betrayal’, and onto epic finale ‘Quinquaginta’ itself, Evilheart’s record is both stunningly technical and yet still possessed of a murky, thick atmosphere coating it. The musicianship and song writing is top notch, and while each song rages like a barely contained beast, ‘Quinquaginta’ has plenty of variety, and some fantastic guitar work. In a world where death metal bands really need to step up and be something special to stand out, Evilheart have got a chance. ‘Quinquaginta’ has enough character to match with the best this year.

German death metal legends Profanity have been going for 22 years, and late last year they released their ‘Hatred Hell Within’ EP, their first proper release since 2000’s ‘Slaughtering Thoughts’. Three tracks of vintage death metal awaits you…

Opener ‘Melting’ explodes into a roaring, early 90s Floridian death metal chug that crushes all in its wake. A rabid vocal delivery and a impressive drumming performance are highlights. The squealing leads in ‘I Am Your Soul’ are very Gorguts, and while the songs are at their base, standard death metal, there are all kinds of strange progressive parts that add some classy uniqueness to proceedings. Profanity feel like the spiritual successors to Atheist, with bass forward in the mix, and odd time signatures. The guitar work is particularly stellar, and even with two long songs, it doesn’t feel too much.

Imagine if early Cannibal Corpse did a record with Gorguts and you’re approaching Profanity’s sound. Brutal yet diverse and always intersting, ‘Hatred Hell Within’ is the kind of death metal that will hopefully get more important in the years to come. Raw power meets a progressive streak with great results, and I look forward to the next full length!


German doomsters Abandoned Dreams have unleashed their newest EP, ‘Home’, following up from 2013’s ‘Isolation and Solitude’. Twenty five minutes of crush and heft await you when you spin this record, and it’s pretty good.

Opening with ‘Home’, you are led along this melancholic journey through shimmering riffs and an innate sense of melody. Somewhat gloomy, yet not unbearably miserably, ‘Home’ is an introspective opener that has more in common with atmospheric black metal almost than traditional doom. ‘Keep the Lights Burning’ is decidedly heavier, but with some classy quieter moments that add a grace that a lot of metal sorely lacks these days. The vocals are harsh in parts, and ghostly and clean in others, again adding a nice variety. Abandoned Dreams have supported bands like Agalloch and Fen, and you can see where their influence has rubbed off, ‘Home’ becomes this joyous ode to gloom.

Closing with the brooding ‘Embrace’, this is a deceptive record, required multiple listens to truly unlock each track’s potential, but invest the effort and you will be greatly rewarded. A thoroughly absorbing, intelligent and downright excellent record

I recently reviewed Fully Consumed’s awesome new record ‘Incendium’, to which I was then lucky enough to receive an email from a few of the members informing me about their other band, TON. TON started way back in the early 90s, but have been silent for almost 16 years until now, where they have unleashed their new record, ‘Bow Down to Extinction’ to an unsuspecting world.

‘Bow Down to Extinction’ is 90s death metal to a tee. Every song contains iconic tropes of the genre, and you can feel the genuine passion for this kind of music. You’ve got dense guitar riffs that have no trace of over technical wank, drums that thunder but don’t blast incessantly, and a deathly roar that is still perfectly coherent. Whether its in the rumbling carnage of ‘Propaganda Machine’ or the brutal ‘Severed’, TON come down upon you like the proverbial measurement of bricks.

‘Bow Down to Extinction’ is admittedly an old fashioned sort of death metal album. Playing neither the super technical breakdown laden, nor the putrid raw filth, TON inhabit a middle ground that trades each of the genre’s best parts without getting dragged down either alley. There’s a rabidity to songs like ‘Self Indulgence’ that is refreshing, and while ‘Bow Down to Extinction’ may not win any originality awards, it is certainly a contender for my great records this year list. Catchy, brutal and well written, TON’s return from the dead has been a fruitful one

Буревій - Concealed Beyond the Space

Lots of albums open with a sample. Be it a movie line, thunder and lightning, or various screams from horror movies. Ukrainian pagan black metallers Bureviy open with crows cawing and tweeting birds, which feels kind of right with their elemental, mystic black metal assault that fades in after acoustic strums shy away. This is ancient Slavic nature worship, filtered through the harshest of biting, black metal winds.

First track ‘Time’ is where the most striking element of Bureviy comes into play, with the shrieking madness of White Fury. Her unhinged utterings mix well with the dark atmospheres that Bureviy put together. This is black metal in the line of fellow countrymen Drudkh, with gentile acoustics and rich clean vocal parts providing an abundance of variety, of which ‘In Bonds of Waves’ is a good example. Heathenism is the focus of ‘Concealing Beyond the Space’, and while their album art reveals a forest snowstorm, there is little of the more experimental instruments you sometime find lurking with pagan black metal. There aren’t violins, nor flutes or anything like that. This is bleak and full of despair, like a frozen shroud has descended.

The songs are a little shorter than you expect to find with this style of black metal, with only really the opener stretching to any kind of serious length. The rest don’t stray too far over the five minute mark, which for those of you who think Drudkh stretch it a bit much is probably about right. Bureviy offer more manageable lengths, and this might draw new listeners who could be put off by 17 minute epics. ‘Concealed Beyond the Space’ is a strong debut full length, and while the banshee shrieks and clean vocal interplay may not be to everyone’s taste, they set Bureviy apart from the rest of the pack.

Nox Aeternum - Incipiunt Oblivionem

Pittsburgh native Nox Aeternum follow up their debut full length ‘In Girum Imus Nocte Et Comsumimur Igni’ with new EP, ‘Incipiunt Oblivionem’. Equally obtuse names, but their ghostly melodic black metal does wonders for the ears. I first came across Nox Aeternum after I heard one of their tracks on the first Sixsixsix Music compilation, ‘Helvete Confederacy of Hatred’.

After an opening intro that throbs with menace while gentle synth plays the melody, we are thrust directly into ‘Drawn Through the Lungs of Aeons’, which explodes into a burning cacophony of blastbeats and thrashing black metal riffage. The inferno of riffs is broken by some delicate acoustic moments, and Nox Aeternum appear to understood the concept of the shades of grey, rather than ‘black and white’. ‘Drawn Through the Lungs of Aeons’ showcases Nox Aeternum that it isn’t always about one dimensionally thrashing on without any direction, especially considering the nice guitar leads that lead us through the final few minutes.

‘Elevate My Haze of Damnation’ is the multifaceted, ten minute closer, that opens with soft clean guitar before the distortion appears. This is a lot more atmospheric and has some incredibly evocative lead guitar. It is haunting, and shows how emotional black metal can be, invigorating and energising. Nox Aeternum are a hell of an underground secret, but with material as strong as this, they won’t be a secret for long.

Turkish brutality merchants Inhuman Depravity formed in late 2013, and ‘Nocturnal Carnage by the Unholy Desecrator’ marks their debut full length, which has totally badass cover artwork. Inside the artwork, is a throbbing, barely contained death metal beast ready to lunge out and destroy.

Opening track ‘Exhuming the Creator for Own Expediency’, which has a brilliant American Psycho sample, rages like the bastard offspring of Suffocation and Incantation. It has that same suffocating brutality, while ‘Dismembered and Buried Instincts’ rages like a fiery inferno. There’s blasting and technical guitar wizardry ala Origin, but Inhuman Depravity still make time for that brutal chug that enhances every death metal record.

‘Condemned to Monotheistics’ is a relentless barrage of death metal, with the jarring Immolation-esque ‘Rise of Vengeance by Bloody Torment’ right behind. Vocally you’re looking at guttural, inhuman growls and grunts, and thankfully the band restrain themselves from pig squealing  which is, frankly, getting a bit tiresome. Like the hellish monsters that adorn the cover, Inhuman Depravity have got some evil intentions. It’s neck snappingly good.

‘Nocturnal Carnage by the Unholy Desecrator’ is a solid if slightly repetitive death metal record. Don’t get me worng, the riffing is spot on, the songs are devastatingly heavy and brutal, but they are all a little bit samey. Nothing wrong with that on a debut, but if Inhuman Depravity could beef up on the variety, they could be something brilliant.

YES! FUCKING YES! This is what I’m talking about. Thy Demise are a Cumbrian death metal band that riff like the reanimated corpse of every death metal band that never made it. Their new three track debut is out now on their Bandcamp for name your price, and it’s frankly amazing that music this good can be free!

Opener ‘Head on a Spike’ has this bulldozing Bolt Thrower riff that just annihilates everything it comes across. This unstoppable force is broken only by a wailing solo, and the guttural growls enhance the sheer brutality. ‘Own’ is more of the same, dense rumble that causes buildings to shake and the earth to rupture. In the past few days since the untimely death of Martin Kearns of Bolt Thrower, I’ve been listening to them a lot. Thy Demise are cut from the same cloth. Their brand of death metal is all about the density, the heaviness, the crushing brutality of it all. There is little care for breakneck speed, breakdowns or melodic savagery. ‘Prepare for Despair’ quite simply is here to destroy with a slow but crushing inevitability.

Closing with the exquisite thunder of ‘Eviscerated Female Form’, Thy Demise build on the excellent demo from last year and have crafted three death metal songs that are almost exemplary in their heaviness. This is how death metal should be, and its a fitting tribute to the nation’s greats. Maybe the cannons haven’t faded after all…

Totalitarian Leader cover art

NEX are Polish and play death metal. Now, they have some pretty big competition in that genre from their countrymen in Vader, Hate, Decapitated etc. So their three track EP ‘Totalitarian Leader’ will have to be pretty impressive immediately to keep them in the game.

Thankfully it is. Opener ‘Nex’ is a raging cocktail of blastbeats, savage growls and ripping riffs. It isn’t overly technical, neither is it ‘old school’. It just slays with whirlwind blasting and heavy as fuck riffs. ‘Ten Tables of Faith’ is a bit more like Decapitated, but with a primal power that is accentuated by the insane, machine gun blasting. NEX also use some cool, almost melodic clean guitar in parts to mix things up a bit.

‘Slaves in the Name of Law’ closes the EP out with some jagged, precise riffing and another relentless drumming performance. It truly is devastating, Poland must be nirvana for brutal drummers. The band even manages to sneak in some more clean guitar melodies in here too, adding some respite. It’s a very impressive start for NEX, and hopefully what is yet to come is even better.