Archive for December, 2016

Morbid Messiah - In the Name of True Death Metal

Guess what this EP sounds like? That’s right, ticking almost every box in the ‘death metal rulebook’, from song titles to album cover to that frankly brilliant EP title. Morbid Messiah hail from Mexico and are probably the most death metal thing you’ll hear in what’s left of 2016. This is out through Godz of War Productions now!

From the guttural ‘Intro’, you get an immediate idea of what to expect. This is relentless punishment, a schooling in proper brutality. The manic ‘I Am Your Lord’ with its sickening, frantic bloodletting, the rampant ‘Putrid Voices’; when Morbid Messiah get going, they are loathe to stop even for breath. You’ve got 22 minutes to survive a band that sound like the rampage of the undead. Their Bandcamp bio proudly states no ‘boring gore, trendy Swedeath worship or tired Tampa tropes’ and that’s really what you’re getting here. No scene following, no trends, just rabid, filthy death metal of a primal persuasion.

Sure, there is dashes of Entombed in their guitar work, and the likes of ‘From Human to Fiend’ does smell a little like first record Deicide, but Morbid Messiah don’t copy anyone. They play no frills, no bullshit death metal for those of us that still look out for that kind of thing. The riffs are like rusted scythes, swinging for victims left and right. The unholy guttural vocals are poison to your ears, and their energy is virulent. Feel the ancient, lumbering power behind the excellent ‘Condemned to Hell Sores’ and be ready. Morbid Messiah are here to slay all in their wake. Which means you’ll never be disappointed by these guys. True Death Metal indeed!

Infinite Earths - Into The Void

Mind bending prog death metallers Infinite Earths have followed up their 2014 debut ‘Spiral from Spacetime’ with their latest EP, ‘Into the Void’. It’s based on a comic book written by vocalist Josh Mazorra, and is filled with tales of supernatural horror and spacey madness.

Opener ‘Act 1: Into the Void’ appears with pastoral acoustics before spiralling guitar lines streak in from outer space, while mind boggling melody lines and howling roars invade your consciousness. There’s plenty of Atheist and Cynic lurking in here, but Infinite Earths have created something that can almost claim to be unique. There’s a lot of wandering bass lines, deathly riffage and savage vocals in the awesome ‘Act 2: Amalgam of Madness’, and the jagged ‘Act 3: Chaotic Good’ is cosmic death prog magic. ‘Act 4: The Whirling Doorway’ adds some delightfully deranged acoustic moments before the titanic ‘Act 5: Grave New World’ brings us to a juddering, conscious altering end.

Infinite Earths just sound so refreshingly DIFFERENT from everyone else, and I think that’s why I really dig this record. They deftly mix brutality with dizzying technicality and aren’t afraid to do what comes naturally to them. ‘Into the Void’ feels like being lost in a multicoloured galaxy far away, with the omnipresent threat of spiralling madness just a breath away. Great stuff.

Another piece of fine black metal being released by Tridroid Records erly next year is the self titled debut from Uprising. The press release states there is no bio and none will be given, to ensure that the band is judged purely on their musical output. So, I can’t give you any further information.

What I can tell you however, is that Uprising have a satisfying thick sound, with opener proper ‘Uprise’ provided a dense wall of black metal for you to be crushed by. Oppressive, dirging in parts, Uprising loom from murky depths, hurling themselves like a monstrous beast against your mind. Blasting carnage embraces ‘Gather the Dark Spirits’, a writhing, roiling behemoth of a track. Ironically, it is the shortest track here, but it has the most visceral impact.

However, Uprising can hit with atmospherics as well as pure rage. The gloomy ‘Ravens in Dark Skies’ is sodden with pagan mystery, while the regal blackness of ‘Nihilistic Chants’ channels early Satyricon. But it is closer ‘Behold the Eternity of Stars’ that truly brings us to the end of our journey; a urgent, chameleonic piece of black metal that encompasses everthing that Uprising do well. Mysterous they may be, but their music is certainly enough to justify searching them out. This is great.

In collaboration with Hells Headbangers, Werewolf Records are putting out the debut record from Finnish black metal upstarts White Death. Their self titled debut is somewhat like the Finnish sniper that shared the same name; coming at you from silent, icy places and bringing the terror then sweet release of death. It’s going to be out in February 2017, so keep an eye out.

Suffocating opener ‘Born from the Unholy Fire’ is like a blizzard of blackened riffage and a raging torrent of blasting drums and snarling vocals. A burning ferocity pervades everything within this album, and there is a defiant acceptance and promotion of the traditions of the second wave. In fact, their conjuring of classic black metal alchemies is so spot on, you’d imagine this was a lost album from those heady times. ‘Immortal Hunter of the Moon’ is eeriely melodic in parts, while the negativity in the cold ‘Goat Emperor’ is bleak and enveloping.

The insistent ‘Warpath’ is probably my favourite piece here, although it is rivalled by the subtly entitled ‘Cunt’. Both capture the shrieking rasp, the hypothermic riffing and the gloomy atmospherics that makes ‘White Death’ an album that will rule my black metal horizons next year. Savage yet majestic, these Finns have ensnared the spirit of ‘proper’ black metal and given it a shot in the arm. This is magnificent.

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Old school death metallers Repulsive Vision hail from my local spot, Cumbria, and ‘Look Past the Gore and See the Art’ is their debut full length. The album title feels like a statement of intent; imploring you to embrace the music before the aesthetics; remarkably important yet overlooked sentiments these days. They’ve been gigging hard around the UK for years, so it is at last we get to hear how they’ve honed their output.

After the obligatory, sample laden intro (Introplosion), first song proper ‘Repulsive Vision’ hits you with fearsome Floridian death metal straight away. It’s delightfully old school in its grinding riffs and that thrashy sensibility. ‘Premature Burial’ is equally intense, with vocalist Dan McEwen’s Blythe-esque rasp particularly on point. ‘Look Past the Gore…’ has energy in abundance, bringing frantic brutality to the fore in every song. There’s dashes of Obituary, of first record Death, of classic Massacre, and it’s all good stuff, especially in the virulently infectious ‘Corpse Decay’.

There’s not a lot here over the three and a half minute mark, which tells you something about the way Repulsive Vision operate. It’s old school as fuck; there’s nothing flashy and technical, nor overly progressive or winding. What you’re experiencing is straight for the jugular simplicity that is missing in a lot of modern death metal. It also pulses with LIFE, an organic breathing beast of flaming riffs like the flailing ‘Fragmentary’. It isn’t soulless, but imbued with a reality, an alive-ness.

If this is what we can expect from Repulsive Vision for years to come, then sign me up. A freshly rotting corpse of vintage death metal, strung up for all to worship. Awesome stuff.

Tyrants Blood - Into the Kingdom of Graves

Canadian black/death/thrash metallers Tyrants Blood have been going for over a decade now, and their crictically acclaimed third full length ‘Into the Kingdom of Graves’ is getting the rerelease treatment from Tridroid Records. This time it’ll be available on vinyl, after a CD release from the band themselves the first time round. What an untamed beast of a record this one is…

Opener ‘Spiral Sea’ explodes with furious blasting, a chaotic maelstrom of early Possessed and Death clashing with the fury of violent black metal aesthetics. Think Anaal Nathrakh without all the vast, epic clean sections, and you’re getting there. A howling tornado of blackened rage sweeps across the Midwest of your mind, destroying everything in its path with poisoned riffs and an unstoppable blasting battery. Unbridled ferocity is the name of the game here, and Tyrants Blood bring it.

At points, there’s some technical riffing, at times there’s galloping guitarwork that would make the finest of black metal bands take notice. But it always seems to return to their nationality. Canadian Metal (which thanks to Fenriz is totally a genre) is full of bands that take well-trod paths and yet pull out stunning replications of the style. Tyrants Blood are another example, with the pinnacle of extremity being the juddering behemoth of ‘Decree of the Dead’. But you could try any moment here, from ‘Conjure the Watcher’ to ‘Within Outer Scars’, and you would never be let down for brutality. Awesome.

French underground death metallers Ritualization have deigned us worthy to receive their debut record in early February next year, courtesy of the good folks over at Iron Bonehead. They’ve been honing their skills for a decade now, so let us open the crypt and see what crawls out!

After the threatening ‘Conjuring of the Howling Depths’, the crunching brutality of ‘Last Rites to the Damned’ strikes with lethal force, drawing influence from the flailing chaos of Angelcorpse, or the fiery rumble of Immolation. ‘Sacraments…’ is a relentless, savage beating, with an almost blackened tone to parts of it. Blasphemous riffs cut ‘The Graveyard Coven’ to pieces like a rusty machete, with a ferocity and single minded intent that I particularly enjoy. If you like what Belphegor have done with death metal, you’re gonna really dig this record.

The menacing assault of ‘The Herald of Betrayal’ is my own highlight, with a kind of Asphyx groove meeting a rampant Deicide battering. Ritualization’s death metal is utterly unstoppable, and they aren’t afraid to throw in some tech death fretwork wizardry. The frenetic pace and constant barrage of riffing is, at times, overwhelming, and you’ll need to get a mop after listening to ‘Morbid Magick Stigmata’, becuase your brain will melt out your ears.

This is, simply put, an excellent record. Ritualization barely let up for the full forty plus minutes, and when they do it is merely to let you catch your breath before this death metal juggernaut kicks in again. Brutally heavy and punishingly fast, ‘Sacraments for the Sons of the Abyss’ is a mighty statement of intent.