Archive for July, 2016

Eteritus - Following the Ancient Path

Polish death metal eh? I’m in. I’m so in. Poland has such a reputation for high quality brutality that this has to be good surely! Probably best not to jump the gun so quickly, because Eteritus have a big national legacy to live up to. ‘Following the Ancient Path’ is out now on Godz of War Productions.

After a suitably melodic/brutal intro, first track proper ‘Biocentric’ appears with hellish certainty and earth rumbling power. Combining the tectonic groove of Bolt Thrower, the vocal ferocity of Obituary and the buzzing guitars of Grave, Eteritus provide something different from the primal strength of Vader or the surgical devastation of Decapitated. This is important, because it would be too easy for this to disappear into the ether without a different sound. ‘Hellish Imagery’ writhes in a Swedeath frenzy, while the fiery chug of ‘Eye of the Storm’ is a thing of grotesque beauty.

‘Following the Ancient Path’ is a record that could have crawled straight from the primordial death metal years; a filthy ragged tribute to the might of Dismember and Entombed, laced with Bolt Thrower heaviosity. From the scorching ‘End of Line’ to the mighty ‘Incinerator, Eteritus have kept the flame alive for Polish death metal for yet another record. A remarkable mature debut for a band who I can’t wait to hear more from!


Coedwig Machen - Wandering Eternal in a Dreamlike State

British black metal project Coedwig Machen (Welsh for Machen Forest, which provides inspiration for the music) are one of the most atmospheric bands I’ve come across in ages, and their glacial black metal is a breath of frosted air on a winter morning. I’d love to experience this, instead of the scorching, sweltering summer heat that we are receiving at the moment!

Opening with the tranquil title track, that builds with delicate melody before an icy black metal riff slices through the atmosphere and takes us up and outward from the snowy forest floor. Invoking wintry winds and that calm in between snowflakes, Coedwig Machen’s work is truly of primal beauty. It almost seems cliche for a black metal album this atmospheric to conjure up images of frozen wastelands, or the gently creaking forest boughs in winter, but it’s difficult to to imagine anything else when the graceful fury of ‘Hopelessness is All That is Laid Before Me’ snakes and soars its way through your ears.

Coedwig Machen are a band I keep coming back to, and this release is one of those that sums up everything superb about atmospheric black metal. Harsh but beautiful, ‘Wandering Eternal in a Dreamlike State’ is a triumph for British black metal.

The Shiva Hypothesis - Promo 2015

Dutch death metallers The Shiva Hypothesis dropped their demo recording last year, and have kindly sent me a copy for review. They market themselves as for fans of Behemoth, Gorgoroth, Death and Immortal; bands that I rate very highly so I’ve got a bit of anticipation for this.

Opener ‘Caduceus’ brings a very potent Behemoth vibe, with brutal death metal clashing with harsh black metal atmosphere. Big chunky riffs hit with a waspish intensity, while vocalist MvS gives a throat shredding performance. There’s some prime, almost imperial black metal sections that really slay as well, and you get a feel for the blackened majesty underneath. The eerie vocals that open ‘Praedormitium’ lead into the most interesting, sidewinding track on this demo; a piece that is almost as much about causing uncomfortableness as it is about riffs.

Closing epic ‘Maze of Delusion’ has more than a bit of ‘Ruun’-era Enslaved about it, with progressive sections blending seemlessly into the ferocious and hypnotic black/death. The Shiva Hypothesis have written some impressive material here, with songs that are rich in depth of musicianship and never get boring. Fearsome vocals mingle with interesting riff patterns, and that intangible something that makes me want to listen again. Superb

Fury Incarnate (Thrash/Crossover) cover art

Another day, another high quality band appearing from India. Mumbai thrashers Carnage Inc have exploded onto the scene, following the likes of Exalter and Armament in building a thrash scene that the subcontinent can be proud of. Their energetic crossover thrash is infectious, as displayed in their new EP ‘Fury Incarnate’.

Opener ‘Dawn’ comes out as almost a red herring, with delicate acoustic melodies spiralling into a building crescendo, ready for what will appear. Imagine the start of ‘One’, but without the politics. Next track ‘Defiled’ has some cool riffing, with dashes of Death Angel youthful vigor and some headbang-inducing moments. Carnage Inc have all the hallmarks of Bay Area thrash, despite their heritage, and this makes ‘Fury Incarnate’ a great listen.

The title track is a total beauty; jagged riffs tear at break neck speed and tempo changes abound. Solos scream from flaming fingertips, and there’s even a little bit of Suicidal Tendencies lurking in the furious ‘Day of Delirium’. Carnage Inc are another Indian band taking the blueprints of metal and re-injecting them with energy, vitality and fresh ideas. It’s great to see; almost as if as a country they’d only just discovered metal and are bringing it like 1986 all over again.

Closing with the rampant ‘Ungod’, Carnage Inc have really impressed me. Their riffs, their energy, their songwriting; it is a breath of fresh air in a genre that can get overcrowded with copycats too often. Love it!


Esoteric Swiss demons Dakhma thrilled me with their jarring blackened death upon their last EP, ‘Asiwhad-Zohr’ recently, and ‘Passageways to Daena’ is a reissue of their debut record out on Godz Ov War Productions, complete with two new tracks. This is more spiralling down the hellish rabbit hole, the hideous scraping of the endless void.

Opener ‘Barashnum (Defiled by Dead Flesh)’ is a black hole of Portal and Mitochrondrian madness; a space filled with blackness and insanity. Intensely dense in its execution, with but the barest of melody emerging through waves of hellish noise and murk. This is ugly and dissonant music, designed for a bloody, back alley brawl between Lovecraftian entities. The savage ‘Ascension’ and the esoteric ‘Ascension II’ is a one two hit that will melt into your mind and start dissolving synapses.

‘Passageways to Daena’ is an expression of pure nihilistic intent, sitting somewhere in between Blut Aus Nord’s grimy black weirdness and the howling wind tunnel of Portal. The ambient sections are equally unsettling, such as on ‘Chinvat’, which thrums with a malevolent power hidden deep within the earth. Dakhma may have strived for many things during this recording, but creating one of the most unsettling albums I’ve heard in ages must’ve been high on that list. ‘Passageways to Daena’ is a place you must fear to tread, but tread you must…

"Split / Blister The Maw" cover art

British post-hardcore/sludge titans Sonance have emerged with their latest release, bringing together their split with Torper and their ‘Blister the Maw’ tape, along with an extra track to entice those who may own both previous releases. This is monstrous, and breathes fetid life into the British scene, where sludge doesn’t normally rise to the top.

Opener ‘End Your Life’ opens with an almost Boris-esque hum before a crashing EHG influence swamps the melody. Primal howls skate alongside the squalling feedback and apocalyptic riffage. ‘Under and Under’ gleams with glacial menace, before crushing nihilistic rage collapses the earth and pulls you down. There’s a calming post metal influence on the almost Isis-like ‘Capes’, which is a stark reminder of just how beautiful this kind of metal can be.

Catharsis is often a driving factor in sludge, and there’s something strangely cathartic about the calm, glacial melodies that lurk amongst the walls of powerful riffs. The vast soundscapes of the second half are unsettling, particularly the thirteen minute ‘That’s What Its Like’. The gentle acoustics of ‘Cherry’, the jarring noise rock of ‘Oldest Harm’; Sonance combine a number of different elements into a well formed whole. Sonance are a guiding light for those who miss Iron Monkey and Isis, and for all of us their music is a gift we should appreciate.

The first new release out of India I’ve reviewed in a while, but Wired Anxiety’s four track gospel of brutality is an absolute doozy. Unsurprisingly it’s been pushed by Transcending Obscurity, where Kunal can be trusted to come up with the best music that the area has to offer. Wired Anxiety look to be the next in a long line of future stars.

Opener ‘Test Subject Human’ writhes with rage; a flailing beast of modern, cutting edge death metal. There’s hints of Hypocrisy, Origin, but sewn together with an old school brutality that brings to mind the more visceral Suffocation albums. There’s devastating double kicks, savage vocals and more than a dash of catchiness about the raging ‘Heavily Sedated’. ‘Severe Comorbidity’ is gutturally heavy, and the band are possessed with this undeniable energy for what they do.

‘Focus 22’ closes this mini album with a final slice of high quality brutality. If Wired Anxiety can follow this up with more precise, inventive and powerful death metal, then they have a very bright future. ‘The Delirium of Negation’ is excellent, and you should get yourself some!


Ryparian - Tides of Succession

American bruisers Ryparian have released their debut full length, ‘Tides of Succession’, a record that flexes many a riff-toral muscle in pursuit of plaudits. It’s available from their bandcamp site, and is a neck wrecker indeed.

Opening track proper ‘Oppression Under the Regime’ is a chugging, thick slab of death/thrash goodness, taking cues from the likes of Lamb of God, Exodus and even Gojira with some of the patterns. It is a killer, and a strong start that ‘Tides of Succession’ builds upon. This is a meaty, fearsome riff palace chock full of high end riffage. ‘Dying Mind’ raises the spirit of vintage The Haunted, while ‘Immolation’ is reminscient of when Trivium gave up on metalcore and became great thrash.

The fact that this is a mainly one man project also makes the achievement even more impressive. ‘Tides of Succession’ is a good, solid riff heavy modern metal record, with tracks like ‘Lurking’ leaning a bit further towards the death metal spectrum. That track is a particular favourite, but the whole record thrums with a barely contained intensity that is infectious. This is a great record for cracking a beer open and wrecking your neck to. Laaav it!

Malamorte - Devilish Illusions

Based in Rome, Italy, this is the second release from blackened heavy metaller Malamorte and the first full length album. Coming out on Satanath Records, another label with a reputation for high quality shit, this is also marked for fans of King Diamond and Mercyful Fate. I’m in so far…

The eerie ‘Maleficium I’ opens with buzzing ambience, before the blasting title track comes roaring in. If I’m honest, I’m not getting a lot of the Mercyful Fate or King Diamond link that the press release suggested, but there is definitely some weird occult noises appearing from behind solid black metal. There is a vintage heavy metal vibe lurking in there too, but this is a bit more Mayhem than the King etc.

That is in no way to come across as a bad thing. I’m in a bit of a black metal kick at the moment, and the icy riffs that spill out of tracks like the superb ‘Possession’ are excellent. The eponymous ‘Malamorte’ track is a looming, horror infected track with a killer underlying riff pattern. ‘Devilish Illusions’ is a solid black metal album, with a couple of heavy metal licks and a gloomy, occult atmosphere pervading each song. Enjoyable if not mind blowing, I look forward to hearing more!

Niðafjöll - Endir

Iceland is a country that I don’t really know any bands from, other than Solstafir and Sigur Ros, and that’s why Niðafjöll are such a pleasant surprise. Thier debut record, ‘Endir’, is a sweeping take on symphonic black metal, and replete with folk elements and blackened tales of Norse mythology.

Each song has a haunting quality, as if they were written facing the northern wind and the frozen fjords. The sweeping black grandeur of ‘Jörmungandr’, that twists and writhes like the World Serpent itself, is an early highlight, as slow sections emerge and keyboard elements begin to play more of a role. The gloomy ‘Vébönd Rofin’ is a personal favourite, but there are many good tracks to choose from.

Niðafjöll don’t skimp on the ferocity though, with some sections of white hot black metal that are not bastardized into symphonics, but the best parts are when the folky, pagan side truly emerges and you get pieces like the evocative piano led ‘Andvari’. It has strong, harsh moments as well, and those riffs are a bit ugly in places, as is the groaning ‘Sól Tér Sortnar’. ‘Endir’ is a great, varied record that has its quiet moments, but equally as many moments of molten, flowing black metal.

I’d recommend ‘Endir’ to anyone who likes atmospheric black metal, and appreciates music that doesn’t always stay pigeonholed. Glistening keyboard melodies sit amongst raw tremolo riffs, and it becomes harder and harder to fathom that this is a one man outfit. Superb.