Archive for March, 2016

Insision - Terminal Reckoning

Swedish crushers Insision have unleashed ‘Terminal Reckoning’ on Sevared Records, marking new levels of brutality and crushing Scandinavian death metal. I first came upon Insision on their relentless ‘Ikon’ in 2007. I was a fan then, and hopefully ‘Terminal Reckoning’ can live up to that good memory.

Devastation starts immediately with ‘Among Us’, when thunderous blasts rain down upon your battered ears, brutal growls and sledgehammer riffs following in a cascade of heaviosity. It feels like classic Cannibal Corpse, particularly the first three records. ‘Ominous Spiral’ is more of the same, but there’s a slightly manic Suffocation vibe to it. Death metal is one of those genres where its more about the feel of the music, rather than execution of the style. Bands can easily become half-assed clones of the legends, but Insision pay tribute while also keeping their riffs fresh (well, freshly slaughtered) and their bass forward riffing patterns is very welcome.

The chugging yet almost proggy delights of ‘Infected’ and the particularly heavy, slowburn of ‘Old Ways’ is ear candy to me, with a thick old school brutal death vibe. Before it became pig squealing and massive breakdowns, brutal death was like this; concise, tenchical but mainly about smashing your brain into the pavement. ‘Shapeshifting’ has this cool intro that drops into a thick groove with machine gun double kicks, very reminscient of Suffocation’s ‘Blood Oath’ in its low end groove.

‘Terminal Reckoning’ is a smart brutal death record. Not satisfied with merely endless violence, Insision keep their songs varied in tempo, style and therefore it leads to a more engaging and rewarding album. Refreshingly straightforward, and headbangingly heavy, Insision have crafted here a high quality piece of death metal, full of great riffs, interesting song writing and an inherent tightness that shows what kind of professionals they are.

‘Seraphical Euphony’ is the debut record from Swedish extremists Hyperion, out now on Black Lion Productions. An album that gracefully mixes the extremity of death, the bleak ferocity of black metal and the underlying melodies that Swedish bands are famous for.

After the swelling intro ‘Remnants of the Fallen’, ‘Novus Ordo Seclorum’ explodes from the speakers like the ghostly spirit of Dissection reborn. Relentless double kicks power along this beast of a track, where black melody couples with baring teeth and a vicious snarl. Sections of acoustic guitar relieve the pressure slightly, but when you have lead guitar work liek this, you never want it to end! ‘Flagellum Dei’ is another scorcher, with rabid fretwork and a insidious set of melodies.

The huge title track is the centrepiece here; eight plus minutes of graceful black metal with a dense low end and wonderfully written sections. There’s bleak blackened blasting, some almost pagan metal melodies and a soft, piano part that is a brave step but ultimately confirms the band’s maturity. An album that claims to ‘bombard listeners with countless, various elements of musicianship’, could end up as a total clusterfuck, but the legacy of the likes of Dissection, Watain and even At the Gates looms large. ‘Moral Evasion’ is fucking killer too and is probably my favourite track on the record.

Ultimately, ‘Seraphical Euphony’ is an album full of excellent black/death metal, with spiralling fretwork frenzies, delicate acoustics and so many riffs. You’ll really feel the quality of tracks like ‘Zephyr of Grace’ when you’re humming the insatiable melodies for the next week. Sure its brutal, but the brutality is as equal a part to proceedings as the catchy parts are. Excellent stuff!


Gomorrah are a Canadian three piece that plays crushing deathcore/death metal, laden with strange tones and riffing. Taking cues from the oddness of fellow Canadians Gorguts and Ulcerate, Gomorrah’s ‘The Haruspex’ is an album full of alien melodies and devastating brutality.

Opener ‘Imperial’ builds with a threatening riff, before a huge collapse signals one of this year’s most brutal breakdowns. ‘Nine Kings of Sulphur’ opens with spiralling guitar before crushing brutality ensues. Gomorrah have this almost futuristic bent to their sledgehammer assault, with the stop start carnage of ‘Carcosa’ doused in a wailing, otherworldly siren of a solo. Eerie atonal melodies also haunt the thundering ‘Dismantling the Throne’.

The earth cracking ‘Sitra Achra’ is the first single from the record, and you can see why. It encapsualtes their sound perfectly; that HUGE breakdown, those eerie clean guitar melodies, the guttural roar and bug eyed intensity. The same can be said for the machine gun massacre of ‘Crowns of Flesh’ which recalls Ion Dissonance at their most potent. When this kind of brutality is executed well, like here, it can be so invigorating. Smashing anything in its way, ‘The Haruspex’ is a rippling beast of a record, full of muscular breakdowns that would destroy those who are unprepared.

From the power of ‘Venom and Rapture’ to the head cavingly heavy closer ‘The Mark of Veritas’, Gomorrah have crafted an album of heavy hitting, world destroying riffs and will crush you under their weight. Superb work, can’t wait for more!

Rituals of the Damned cover art

Bathyum are a one man black metal act from the UK, and their debut record ‘Rituals of the Damned’ is a black slab of classic, Satanic black metal that does nothing particularly new, but they do it so well you’d never care!

Opener ‘Transcending Beyond the Realms of Humanity’ is a vicious concoction of Immortal-like blizzards of icy riffs and bleak atmosphere, a hymn to northern darkness and the glory of the night sky. ‘Into the Black Sea of Trees’ has more of that gloomy, oppressive atmosphere. There’s an intense traditionalism to what Bathyum are doing here, but it is coupled with an acknowledgement of the quality of proper, atmospheric black metal. Therefore, a seepage of atmospherics into their second wave worship creates a very enjoyable listen.

There’s plenty of savagery around this record, from the frozen hatred of ‘Satanic Sodomy’ to the glacial blasphemies of ‘Godless Warrior’. Bathyum manage to stick to a winning formula while tinkering ever so slightly with melodies and background atmosphere. A pervasive gloom doesn’t stop ‘Rituals of the Damned’ from playing tribute to the likes of Gorgoroth with their focused and intense assault. What I do like about Bathyum is their insistence of not just blasting through this record at full speed, and also their full sound, benefitting from a good production and an audible bass.

‘Rituals of the Damned’ is a quality record that you would be mistaken to miss out on. A varied take on traditional black metal, with excellent songwriting and strong individual songs, as well as an overall quality. Definitely recommended as a new hidden gem in British black metal.

Chicago has brought us many great bands, and the newest features members of twisted sludge doom troupe Drug Honkey, but this time they are bringing the brutality in death /grinders Morgue Supplier. Raging, filthy grinding brutality is the operation here, and it is carried out with malicious intent.

Morgue Supplier go directly for the jugular here, bringing to mind the severity of bands like Brutal Truth or even the devilish Rotten Sound. Songs like ‘Mental Slum’ and the horror of ‘Cultic Rape’, create this scene of moral depravity and unhinged violence. Thunderous blastbeats fight with severe and scathing riffs, and there’s a brutally guttural vocal performance.

The more mid paced chug of ‘End of Self’ gives you a break between blasting to provide you with a good dose of headbanging. It has a particularly savage bent to it, and therefore could be my album highlight. The solo is even pretty melodic too. ‘Rotting in an Alley’ also has one of those bowel scrapingly heavy slow moments that is just brutal. The variety on show here is definitely approved of, and the sickening groove that appears every so often is killer.

With more carnage and deathly violence than you could shake a large, bloodstained stick at, Morgue Supplier’s second record is full of killer songs that either slash you fast and deep, or a thick groove that takes its time, teasing a slow inexorable death from you. Feel the rage of ‘Dead Room’, or the ferocity of the flailing ‘Graveyard Filler’ and that’ll assure them of their place in the upper echelons of new death metal! Fucking excellent record, and will be a highlight for the end of year lists!

Serenity Tranquility Peace cover art

ELI are an avantgarde/experimental entity from Dean Weindling, one of the brains behind South Cumbrian black metallers Ulfarr. ‘Serenity Tranquility Peace’ is a much calmer and more ambient prospect, but still pulses with an eerie, melancholic vibe.

Opener ‘Ego Death’ leads with lonely piano and picked guitar, while a hypnotic thrum sits in the background. It builds and builds, notes getting more frantic until it crescendos into a chaotic finale. The eerie ‘Melatonin’ has whispering vocal samples, and a strange, skipping noise that ramps up the unsettling feeling. Like the key scene from a weird horror movie, it creates a midpoint moment of intensity, before moving to the huge ‘A Conversation with the Divines’.

‘A Conversation With the Divines’ is a vast soundscape, with gloomy ethereal swells and flows. Like the ghostly sounds of clouds in the night sky, this feels like how we might communicate with those above. At twenty seven minutes long, the track could be seen as a bit of an endurance piece, but it comes together pretty well. What sounds like an old air raid siren breaks the gloom at 16 minutes, but fades again into the mysterious murk for another five minutes, then echoes out again.

‘Serenity Tranquility Peace’ is an album that, if you’re really into dark ambient and soundscapes, will tick every box for you. It’s eerie, almost unsettlingly sparse at points and has this hypnotic vibe that makes it seem like it goes by quicker. For me, it’s great for a late night listen when I need some peace and contemplation time, but traditional Killchain fans may not go for it.


A Ceremony in Darkness cover art

The second release from Glaramara, Cumbria’s newest black metal band, is their EP ‘A Ceremony in Darkness’. Like their last one, this is more harsh and traditional black metal, wreathed in the blackness of Darkthrone and Mayhem,

‘Gathering of the Legions of Hades’ opens with a ghostly keyboard and a building percussion; setting the scene of a gloomy forest clearing, with snow falling around darkened figures. Torrents of black magic writhe in the mists of ‘Psychopathic Afterlife’, and snarling vocal bile coats the frozen assault of ‘Transylvanian Moon’, a track that could be a lost Darkthrone classic.

The blackened punk vibe that is shot through the veins of the rapid fire ‘Destroying the Realm of Light’ is fucking excellent, and it’s a shame almost that it’s over so soon. But the gloriously creepy acoustics and ambient hum of ‘A Weak and Frozen Sunrise’ leads into the nightmarish thrashing chaos of ‘Eden of Despair’, and finally the icy title track, which revels in its second wave worship.

‘A Ceremony in Darkness’ is the better of the two releases from Glaramara, as it shows a bit more of what they can do. ‘Blackest Apostasy’ is great but it stops just as its getting started. ‘A Ceremony in Darkness’ builds upon that quality, adding the gloomy melodies and some nice interlude touches to create something more rounded, and more impressive! Download both immediately!