Archive for November, 2015

Satyrasis - ...of the Dead

Wow, where the fuck has this record been all my year? Progressive death thrashers Satyrasis released ‘…of the Dead’ in January of 2015, and this is my first chance to hear it but holy shit is it a stunning ride through heavy metal’s greatest parts!?

Opener ‘A Foot in Each Grave’ comes blasting from an eerie, black metal style mist before jagged thrash riffs gallop past at high speed. It’s heavy and then an acoustic, almost Spanish influenced section appears from nowhere, then the riffs kick back in. It’s little things like this that make Satyrasis such an interesting prospect. Take the strange, 8 bit intro to ‘Excision’, or their thrashing take on Rush’s ‘Circumstances’. Satyrasis are not a band that do things as you’d expect.

But more straightforward thrashers are actually where the band’s main strengths lie. Each song is chock full of interesting riff patterns, and enough chug to set your head banging. ‘The Foreman’s Face’ is a rager, with great soloing and a selection of the album’s riffing highlights. But each song has it’s own charm, and if you can keep up with the myriad time changes, this is a winner. ‘The Imp of the Perverse’ thrashes like a beast, while the vast closer ‘In Ruins’ deftly mixes prog and death metal to stunning effect.

The simple fact that Satyrasis are offering this as a free download from their website makes this record a must. But even if it wasn’t, the sheer fucking METALNESS of it is more than enough. If you like your thrash with a dose of progressive death metal like Cynic, then Satyrasis could be the band for you. Or if you like shitloads of meaty riffs, they are definitely for you.

Desecresy - Stoic Death

Finnish death merchants Desecresy (man, that’s difficult to type first time) have released their fourth opus, ‘Stoic Death’ at the start of November this year, and I must admit I’m not familiar with them at all. But I am partial to a bit of Finnish death metal, due to the fact that they generally seem to drag up the most ancient evil from the Thousand Lakes, so I’m in!

Opener ‘Remedies from Wolf’s Bane’ has this grinding Scandinavian death groove about it, but there’s some atonal melodies that work their way in that draw your attention. This is dense but definitely shot through with a sense of Finnish gloom. ‘The Work of Anakites’ rumbles into existence, with its guttural vocal masking a surprisingly melodic song. Desecresy are definitely capable of writing material that has an innate sense of melody, despite the brutality on offer. This is still traditional death metal, but there are some interesting time changes and murky atmospherics that give that feeling of unexpectedness.

‘Stoic Death’ is an album that will surprise you repeatedly with its depth and musical aptitude. The spiralling guitars that open the doom-laden ‘Passage to Terminus’ betray a hint of progressive metal, while the more grinding traditional death metal assault of ‘Sanguine Visions’ is multilayered, not just mindless riffing. It’s almost hard to describe this feeling of magic that ‘Stoic Death’ brings. It’s a slight unease at what is coming next, but satisfaction at the execution. Desecresy are now a name I’m going to remember, as they’ve produced a stunning album of atypical death metal. It’s slow, its eerie and its damn fantastic.

Deiphago - Into the Eye of Satan

Filipino antichrists Deiphago have unleashed their newest collection of Satanic invocations on Hell’s Headbangers this year. ‘Into the Eye of Satan’ will no doubt carry on the cyclonic force of evil and darkness that their previous work has personified.

I wasn’t wrong in that assumption either. ‘Into the Eye of Satan’ is a howling, ragged piece of filthy, thrashing death metal, shot through with a grimy black metal streak. After the ‘Intro/Obliteration’ kick off, which builds from tense wind effects into a scream, ‘Evil and Adverse’ kicks off this primal barbarism with some harsh blackened thrash assault. The production is, at times, almost suffocatingly dense, and there is little chance to breathe between songs. Deiphago has definitely improved greatly from their ‘Filipino Antichrist’, which ticked the boxes for intensity, but not so much songwriting. ‘Into the Eye of Satan’ is chock full of killer, razor riffs.

You may not find anything particularly new or unusual in this record, but what you will find is a bug-eyed intensity, coupled with riffs like the Reaper’s rusty scythe, and some genuinely killer songs, like the raging ‘(6x6x6)/3’, or the chugging death doom of ‘Serpentine Anti-world’, before it thrashes off again. The drumming is top notch, and the fury is so genuine. South East Asia has spat out a lot of bands like this in the past two years, but this kind of ‘War metal’ is a favourite. Their music is also generally of a high standard too, even if it is primal, raw and vicious. If you want to know what the end of days, coming of Satan himself will sound like, get a hold of Deiphago and prepare yourself.


Via Ad Lucem cover art

Ambient black metallers Psalms hail from England, and their ‘Via Ad Lucem’ EP is 25 minutes of haunting ambience and black metal rawness. Released on Winterblast Halls, a place of excellent black metal, Psalms is a mysterious entity.

Opener ‘Kudzu’ and its haunting piano sets the stage for the misery and coldness to come. Acoustic guitar winds its way into the groaning ‘Tenebras’, which rasps from a place bleak and cold. Eerie acoustics settle in to ramp up the atmospherics, and it’s very effective. ‘Vivir’ has more delicate acoustic guitar that has more than a touch of ‘Damnation’ era Opeth about it, which is awesome in itself. It’s so very different from anything you’d normally hear from black metal bands, even those with a big ambient influence.

Closer  and title track ‘Via Ad Lucem’ is the longest track here, and it is a menacing slice of hypnotic black metal. The vocals are throat shredding, and the buzzing guitar tone is classic Darkthrone. But it builds to a stunning crescendo, where guitars, ghostly backing vocals and a howling solo merge into a moment of genuine glacial beauty. Psalms have created an almost perfect mix of ambient bliss and razor sharp black metal. The fact that you can find this one Bandcamp for free makes it a steal!

Exenemy - Overture

Bangladeshi power metallers Exenemy have got their new three track EP ‘Overture’ up for a free download at the moment,  and it is three tracks of some powerfully melodic symphonic goodness.

‘Victory Serenade’ has a feeling of achievement about it, with grand sweeping riffs and some excellent tapping solos sections. It’s almost like Dragonforce if they had concentrated on writing good songs and not just on speed. The vocals are clear and powerful without being over the top, the guitarwork is stellar and the melodies are serious earworms. ‘Twisted Souls’ is another exercise in soaring power metal riffing and awesome melodies. I think the killer ‘Rusty Wings’ is probably the best track here, but it’s close.

Exenemy go for a more traditional approach with their power metal, leaning more to the galloping classics of Helloween or Stratovarius. ‘Overture’ is a great taster of what is hopefully to come from these guys.  The songs are well crafted, very very memorable and unashamed in their worship of European power metal legends, while still forging their own identity. I think a little bit more variety between each song will help them, but they have a brilliant base on which to build. The musicianship is out of this world, and Exenemy look to be another hit from the Far but not Farthest East!


Album Cover - Adrenechrome - Tales From Adrenechrome - 2015

Billed as Canada’s answer to Baroness and Mastodon, Adrenechrome have some mighty shoes to fill. Their new record, ‘Tales from Adrenechrome’ has a cool comic book style cover, and is half an hour of pure Savannah sludge prog with a northern touch to it. It’s out next week.

Opening track ‘A Familiar Face’ has some stunning, Kylesa-esque riffing and spiralling melodies. ‘Lockstep’ is more urgent, like if ‘Remission’ era Mastodon had spent a little more time mellowing out with John Baizley and co. It’s got this great, self assured swagger to it that I really dig, especially when it breaks out this killer blues boogie near the end. An almost stoner doom groove is prevalent, with Clutch-esque croons mixing with a more barked vocal in the rocking ‘Black Brubeck’.

It’s strange to find this kind of sludgecore groove coming from a place like Canada, when the genre is so well identified with Georgia. But Adrenechrome add some interesting twists to the formula to set them aside. The almost black metal section of ‘God Sized Shadow’, that stoner rock vibe on ‘The Heart and the Feather’ that feels so uplifting and the groaning stomp of the excellent ‘Hideous Appetites’.

Closing with the shimmering Mastodon worship of ‘The Led Elephant’, Adrenechrome complete what is a very satisfying listen. Yeah, they ape Kylesa, Mastodon and particularly Baroness, but they do it in such an honest and enthusiastic way it is hard not to enjoy the ride. The musicianship is stellar, the grooves are huge and the riffs are heavy as fuck. This is a great record, despite its unoriginality. Who needs something new when you can make music this good!?

Insanity - Visions of Apocalypse

American death/thrash legends Insanity, one of SOOO many on Encyclopedia Metallum, are releasing their new album, twenty years after their debut ‘Death After Death’. They’ve split and reformed a few times, and this marks a thirty year anniversary in 2015. Since the untimely passing of drummer Bud Mills in 2007, the band has fought to get this album finished, and at last we are here

Opener ‘Sacrefixion’ is a rabid, hyper blasting slice of thrashy death metal. It’s very reminiscient of early US death metal, particularly bands like Massacre or very early Death. There’s a rather wonderful nostalgia about it, music played by veterans of a scene so influential. You can hear every 90s death metal band trope trotted out here, with spiralling solos and growling rage. ‘When’ is more of the same, rocking a savage Deicide vibe.

There’s some great lead work on ‘Visions of Apocalypse’, including the classic riffs that open ‘Sociopath’ with its almost Entombed feel. There’s dashes of early Swedeath mixed into the more USDM sounds, with the rasping ‘Disillusioned sounding almost like Immolation doing a Grave cover. It’s very obvious that Insanity have been around for a long time, as they have got that classic death metal sound. The songs on ‘Visions of Apocalypse’ are tight, well written and full of riff tastic brutality.

Whether Insanity’s new record will get them noticed a bit more, only time will tell. It’s a good record full of great songs, but there’s a lot of bands peddling ‘old school death metal’ these days. Hopefully their genuine longevity and experience will push them above the flotsam to be mentioned in the same breath as the legends.

Suppressive Fire - Bedlam

Suppressive Fire’s debut full length is due out in January, and if their debut demo was anything to go by, it’s like to be one of 2016’s hottest thrash releases. Suppressive Fire’s ball busting enthusiasm for classic thrash licks coated in a first wave black metal influence brings a smile to my face every time, and that apocalyptic album art is suitably metal!

Opener ‘Ceasefire’ is a classic example of what Suppressive Fire do so well. It showcases some flashy guitar work, some ripping solos and it is so good to hear some vintage thrash riffs. Suppressive Fire have taken a few tracks from their ‘Hellwraith’ demo to fill up their debut, and the music even at demo level was of such a high quality that those tracks slip on here without being noticed. Suppressive Fire show the kind of enthusiasm for thrash that Municipal Waste and the like did back when they all blew up in about 2006.

The superbly named ‘Nazi Face Melter’ is still an album highlight for me, and the other demo tracks more than hold their own against the newer challengers. There’s a lot of early Kreator and Sodom references, while ‘Thy Flesh Consumed’ squeezes in a little bit of frantic Bay Area worship. Suppressive Fire basically work with all classic thrash tenets, displaying time and time again their ability to write a catchy as hell riff or thirty. The battering of ‘Pyrophoric Blood’ has some great Exodus style riffs, while the percussive thunder of ‘Ironsights is enough to make anyone wanna head bang!

In an era when thrash legends are still capable of writing and releasing high quality records (Kreator, Testament etc), it is great to see a new young band snapping at their heels. Suppressive Fire have the chops to be the next big thing in thrash, if they can get the right exposure. I hope they can, because to lose an album like ‘Bedlam’ to the ocean of mediocre metal releases would be a disgrace. Riff hard, thrash harder!

Eshtadur - Oblivion

Columbian black/death metallers Eshtadur are releasing their new EP ‘Oblivion’ at the start of December via Rebelsigns. This is five tracks of melodic death metal wrapped in a blackened atmosphere that works just brilliantly.

Listen to that riff that opens ‘In a Trance With Darkness’. Its a beauty! Evolving into a hardened chug, with some ripping lead work that really highlights the excellent song writing. There are keyboard and choral enhancements, adding a great touch of grandeur to the proceedings. It’s almost what you could expect if Ihsahn had fronted a melodeath band instead of Emperor. Jagged riffs roar beneath a savage growl.

‘Last Day of the Condor’ has some great soaring leads, but doesn’t let up on the ferocity of the metal. The solo kills as well. ‘Heavens to the Ground’ has some more stop start riffing, while the galloping’The Currency of My Empire’ has some more fretwork fireworks. The apparent black metal influences are few and far between, limited mostly to some keyboard flourishes and atmospheric enhancements, but its the little touches that elevate this above just another musically impressive melodeath band.

Eshtadur close out ‘Oblivion’ with the impressive ‘The Rebellion’, which combines some melodic sections at the start with neck wrecking riffs and more of that devasating groove. The cold melodies and raspiong vocal parts bring dashes of black metal into the mix too. ‘Oblivion’ is a great release, containing everything you could want in a short release. The songs are great, the riffs are great and the keyboard parts add an additional layer of depth. Awesome!

Mortal Torment - Cleaver Redemption

Greek death squad Mortal Torment have unleashed their latest collection of bloodsoaked brutality a mere month ago, and it is already looking like a highlight of 2015’s brutal death metal lists. Savagery and razor sharp riffing abounds in this sophomore outting. Greek death metal is suddenly becoming very attractive…

‘Epiletic Defecation’ is a thunderous slab of slamming brutality and endless double kicks. ‘Tender Dismember’ has a sickening groove that runs through the middle, while brutal growls punctuate every riff. The breakdown is devastating when it hits, reminding you how effective this kind of death metal can be when it’s done right. The excellently titled ‘A Million Skulls to Bludgeon’ and the raging title track are examples of great modern death metal.

Mortal Torment aren’t as sludgy and indecipherable as some brutal death bands, and it does them credit. Their crisp production enhances their obvious musical talents, and at times they are reminiscient of Cannibal Corpse in their fretwork execution. In a little over half an hour, Mortal Torment skillfully blend different facets of death metal goodness to create a mature, well written and executed death metal record.

Be it the rusty knife assault of ‘Fucked in the Eye Socket’ or the savage beating of ‘Masturbating the Deranged’, Mortal Torment’s brand of ultra heavy death metal ticks all the boxes for me. Well, not really ticks, more like slashes and rips at your flesh. Support!