Archive for September, 2016

Plying that long deepened furrow of classic Swedish melodic death metal, Portuguese warriors Karnak Seti have returned with their first record in five years, ‘The Distance That Made Us Cold’. Their previous record ‘In Harmonic Entropy’ was well received, and the band have clearly been polishing their Dark Tranquillity and In Flames records in that five year period to create 11 razor sharp tracks of thoroughly modern metal. Particularly ‘Come Clarity’ if that album art is anything to go by…

Opener ‘The Bliss of Living’ is a chugging behemoth that owes as much to Soilwork as it does to modern American beasts like Unearth. The riffs are thick, powerful and dynamic in their execution. Instantly you are drawn to headbanging, as waves of brutality smash against you. Melodic death metal is a genre that was abused a lot in the past few years, with every band out there coming acorss as mere clones of the greats. But Karnak Seti have an energy about them that empowers tracks like ‘Desolation of Soul and Flesh’ with an innate sense of melody and catchiness. And when a band has energy and enthusiam for their chosen genre, even the stalest can become must-hear.

The Haunted is another major influence here too, with Karnak Seti coming across as a band that is more concerned about heaviness than speed. That they achieve with aplomb, with each track full of great ideas. My only criticism really is that there’s no short, sharp thrashers, with almost all tracks well into four mins. That being said, when you have a band that can blend deft touches of the light and the heavy together effortlessly, who gives a fuck how long the songs are? Karnak Seti are now Killchain approved! Riff til death!

http://www.karnakseti.net/

http://karnakseti.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/KarnakSetiOfficial

The rerelease of Númenor’s ‘Sword and Sorcery’ on Stygian Crypt Productions is a hidden gem of Serbian power metal, and EPIC power metal at that. Drawing influence from the classics by Tolkien, Lovecraft and Howard, Númenor has added a bonus mini CD with 5 extra tracks as part of the package.

After the swelling drama of the intro track ‘Prelude’, ‘Dragonheart’ burns immediately with glorious strings and fretboard fireworks. You can sense straight away the kindred spirit this shares with both Wintersun and Rhapsody (or Rhapsody of Fire, or whatever they’re called now). It’s an excellent statement of intent, and this kind of swelling, fist raising power metal fills the rest of album with excellent songs and music. The harsher vocal/clean vocal duality gives them something a little bit different from a lot of modern power metal. The solo work in ‘The Arcanist’ is cool, and the little interlude moments add that bit of extra drama.

You can feel a bit of northern European influence in here too, with both German power metal elements and Scandinavian folk metal elements coming into force during some of the later tracks, like the Helloween-esque ‘Prince in the Scarlet Robe’ or the gleaming Gothenburg melodies that streak through the potent ‘Dragon of Erebor’. Incidentally, ‘Dragon of Erebor’ is probably up there with my favourite power metal songs this year.

I’m a bit of a sucker for a good fist-waving, overly dramatic power metal album every so often, but ‘Sword and Sorcery’ gives you all those traditional tropes but wrapped up with a bit of an edge, a bit of bite to it. That makes them stand out, and it definitely helps tracks like ‘Bane of Durin’ feel fresh and appealing. Excellent stuff!

http://www.stygiancrypt.com/

https://numenorkingdom.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/N%C3%BAmenor-130231620372144/

Underworld of Khorrendus cover art

Mohraang is a one man Russian funeral doom set up, with a new record out at the start of September. It’s a self released effort, and like a lot of Russian metal at the moment, shows some potential to be as miserable as you would hope…

Divided into six parts, you can feel ‘Underworld of Khorrendus’ build slowly over that time, from the rumbling ominous ‘Part 1’ straight into the waves of oppressive misery of ‘Part 2’. Gloomy clean notes appear and fade again into the shroud that lurks upon this album. Dripping water is a sound that returns again and again, enhancing a feeling of damp, of mist and gloom. The morbid growl is infinite in its depth, the brutality of the tone is great. The churning crawl of ‘Part 3’ lurches into the gloom of ‘Part 4’, and then the titanic mourning ritual of ‘Part 5’ destroys any chance of light breaking through.

‘Underworld of Khorrendus’ is a monolithic slab of murky misery; a black coating of decay oozes over each crawling riff and each abyssal roar. When you’re burying any hopes you had of a good day under miserable weather or anything else in your pathetic lives, this darkness will be the soundtrack. Awe-inspiringly miserable stuff!

https://shadows-of-mohraang.bandcamp.com/album/underworld-of-khorrendus

Starspawn cover art

Apparently Blood Incantation come from this planet. Colorado in fact. It’s weird really, considering the rumbling noise that emanates from their latest release, ‘Starspawn’. They certainly sound like they are birthed from the darkest parts of our cosmos, sent here to pass on unholy messages and portents of our doom from the outer reaches. Like Morbid Angel wrote music about Lovecraft and nothing else, Blood Incantation crush.

Opener ‘Vitirification of Blood (Part 1)’ is a titan slab of muddy, atmospheric death metal where the lumbering, flailing decrepit riffs are slain with atonal solo notes that shriek from spaces unknown. The album art draws up those dark comparisons to cyclopean wastes with natural powers too vast to comprehend, where the ground cracks and steams with the fury of these riffs. ‘Chaoplasm’ is the kind of death metal that reinforces that feeling of dread and unknown brutality that you felt the first time you ever heard the genre. It is oppressive and mercilessly heavy.

Sometimes it is difficult to pin down exactly what it is about an album that you like. This has everything in a record that I enjoy, from the cavernous ‘voice from beyond’ vocals, to the murky riffing and interesting songwriting style. But there’s an intangible that takes this beyond simply enjoying. Perhaps it is the ancient Suffocation worship of ‘Hidden Species (Vitrification of Blood Part 2)’, or the spiralling black hole of ‘Meticulous Soul Devourment’, but Blood Incantation have created something here that is greater than just the sum of its parts. Dark Descent Records have unearthed yet another gem…

http://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/starspawn

Stench Price (Grind Supergroup) cover art

When you get the pleasure of reviewing a release from what is an honest to Satan grind SUPERGROUP like Stench Price, it kinda gives you faith in life and music again. I review lots of shit I love, hear bands that seem totally underground and unknown and I hope to give them a bit of extra publicity from it. This one however, this I’m doing simply because it is AWESOME! Involving members of Brutal Truth, Necrophagist, Cynic and Hail of Bullets, this barely needs any press release bullshit, the pedigree speaks for itself. It’s going to be out on Transcending Obscurity for all to enjoy.

Opener ‘Living Fumes’ is a massacre of the senses; with raging grinding riffs coupled with a blood gargling vocal, thrashing drums and some weird samples to throw everything just a little off kilter. The marimba (yes marimba) sections are gloriously off the wall, and help to accentuate the savagery of what follows. ‘Furnaces Burn’, featuring the legendary Rogga from more bands than you can name, has this excellent chugging death style with maddening solos that is just too short and sweet for one listen. Yet more smooth, jazzy interludes stab into the metal throughout, jarring your perceptions.

The guttural ‘Pressure’, lunging from blastbeats to freaky moments of calm and back into bludgeoning grind, is a challenge to take in at once, while the more straightforward, almost Obituary-esque rage of ‘4.27.15’ is a pleasant change. The chugging power of ‘The Genocide Machine’ is my own personal highlight here, since I’m more of a death metal fan than a grind fan, but the vareity and quality of the material here is enough to keep a fan of any genre persuasion interested.

Closing with ‘the bossanovagrinddoom’ (NEW GENRE ALERT!) of ‘The Vitality Slip’, Stench Price make a devastating impact straight away, and you can only look forward to what else will come spewing from this project in the future. Hail grind and supergroups, because this is a great example of both.

http://stenchpricegrind.bandcamp.com/album/stench-price-grind-supergroup

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Adaestuo are one of those odd, otherworldly black metal bands that summon true darkness, true uncomfortableness. It seems, with the plethora of balck metal out there, that its easy to take the frozen second wave approach and smash away for 40 mins, barely changing tempo or chord. Adaestuo are different, and thank fuck for that. Their debut mini album ‘Tacent Semitae’ is out 11th November on WTC Productions.

Channelling vintage tremolo riffing through a murky, industrial tunnel of strange effects and smothering it with a foggy production, opener ‘The Abyss (Otchlan)’ is defiantly one of the weirdest bits of extremity you’ll come across. The ghostly dramatics of the clean vocals, meshed with the jagged rasp of a more obvious black metal style, makes for quite the uneasy listen. Speaking of uneasy, the terrifying dark ambient/industrial emanation of ‘Cicatrices Plexae (Scar-Braids)’ is ultra creepy, and each twist of the black metal blueprint takes you deeper and deeper into Adaestuo’s dark maelstrom.

The ravage of ‘Destroyer of Constellations (Niszczycielem Gwiazdozbiorow)’ (man that’s a mouthful) is explosive in its blasting at the start, then slowly begins to evolve into a crawling, oily monster that slips from the deepest places amongst the stars, enveloping light and hope. Closing with the title track, that emerges from mourning whispers into a gloomy and hellish soundscape where ghostly solo vocals lift from this earth into places unknown, Adaestuo break apart and reform the bonds of black metal in new and exciting ways.

I recommend this to everyone who wants something a bit different from their standard black metal. ‘Tacent Semitae’ is oppressive, otherworldly and thoroughly absorbing, and one of the most interesting black metal releases I’ve heard in years

http://www.w-t-c.org/

Brutally Deceased - Satanic Corpse

I had to double check these guys were definitely from the Czech Republic, because their handling of the classic Swedeath sound is masterful. Brutally Deceased are unleashing their third record, the subtly titled ‘Satanic Corpse’, on Doomentia Records and this is half an hour of death fucking metal in all its HM-2 glory.

The initial battering that you receive upon the explosive ‘The Art of Dying’ is frankly unstoppable, and the rusted chainsaw guitar tone is music to bloodstained ears. It’s like these guys forgot anything happened after ‘Left Hand Path’, because this era of Swedish death metal is where Brutally Deceased worship. I mean, naming themself after a classic Grave cut should’ve been clue enough, but their pinpoint recreation of one of extreme metal’s finest moments is a joy to behold.

The bestial power of ‘The Disclosure’, the thrashing madness of ‘Withstanding the Funeral’ or the guttural ferocity of ‘Epoch of Self Denial’ all sum up what Brutally Deceased do perfectly, but the glorious ‘Hostile Earth’ is where the emotional connection comes. Where that bygone era is dragged screaming into the 21st century with style. Brutally Deceased play by an old rule book, but they have enough panache about their songwriting that they rise above mere tribute act. Brutally Deceased are a blessing to those of us that prefer our death metal direct, old school and thoroughly absorbing. Superb shit!

https://brutallydeceased.bandcamp.com/

http://www.doomentia.com/