Archive for January, 2017

Hymn: Perish CD

Norwegian doom up and comers Hymn have been sharing the stage with some of the finest metal bands to tour the world recently, including Windhand, Enslaved and Eagle Twin. Now if that doesn’t give credence to their potential I don’t know what does. ‘Perish’ marks their debut full length record, and contains some of the heaviest stuff you might hear all year.

The ominous hum of ‘Ritual’ swells into the monstrous ‘Rise’, where hypnotic groove crashes into cathartic roars. A thick, fuzzy guitar tone smothers each track in a sludgey doom, but this is no one dimensional nihilistic trawl. There are wondrous shades of dark and light, from little quieter moments to cavernous echoes of purest, primal metal. The propulsive rumble of ‘Serpent’ is excellent, as is the punishing ‘Hollow’.

The grinding ‘Spectre’ leads us into the creepy, epic closer ‘Perish’, where the tectonic shifts are calmed and you can breathe freely once again. At times claustrophobic, ‘Perish’ is a record that also explores vast wildernesses of barren, bleak reality. Whether crawling along or flailing madly, Hymn create absorbing and mesmerising riffs to sink within. Awesome stuff.

https://www.facebook.com/HYMN-214614995268230/?fref=ts

http://svartrecords.com/shoppe/home/4069-hymn-perish-lp.html?search_query=hymn&results=17

 

Finnish black metal legends Goatmoon have been a mainstay of a thriving scene since the start of their prolific journey in 2002. Moving away from their more punkish roots, Goatmoon’s fifth full length ‘Stella Polaris’ is a rabid piece of epic black metal for us all to enjoy. It’s out in February through Werewolf and Hells Headbangers collaboratively.

After the moody acoustic intro, the rasping title track weaves a savage path through gloomy forests and icy lakes. The vocals are rough and raw, but there is more than a dash of the likes of Bal-Sagoth in the spoken word sections, and the melodies are insidiously memorable. The atmosphere isn’t as bleak as a lot of black metal, but the pervading cold infests each track. The beautiful solo that accentuates the title track is a surprise, while the melancholic ‘Kansojen Hävittäjä’ gives body to the vibrant yet snowy album art.

The deft mixture of scathing, blasting black metal and delicate acoustics really bring ‘Stella Polaris’ to life, from the mournful ‘Sonderkommando Nord’ to the dynamic ‘Overlord’. You can see why Goatmoon have been such a crucial element to Finnish black metal over the years, as their material possesses a feral majesty. ‘Stella Polaris’ looks to be a record that will be haunting your mind for the rest of the year. Cold, sad and utterly spellbinding.

https://werewolfrecords.bandcamp.com/album/stella-polaris

https://www.facebook.com/werewolf.rex

https://www.facebook.com/Goatmoon-140464269432330/

This is the debut record of Italian death metallers Ekpyrosis, and ‘Asphyxiating Devotion’ is a resolutely old school death metal album, channelling the glorious blasphemy of the likes of Incantation or Immolation. It is due out tomorrow through Memento Mori so you know its pedigree is going to be good.

Opening behemoth ‘Profound Death’ speaks volumes for their craft. A rumbling, savage monster of a track, it drips with classic death metal influences. Not just the feel of death but the inevitable, creeping decay that comes to that which dies. Chained to that morbidity is a deep aversion to religion, as the titles ‘God Grotesque’ and ‘Morticians of God’ may give away. It is a mix that has always worked well in death metal, and the Deicide-esque, waspish ‘Depths of Tribulation’ is testament to that fact.

The crawling ‘Obsessive Christendom’ is a evil favourite of mine here, flailing and scrambling across broken corpses. To be honest though, you’d be pushed to find a bad song on a record that shows a remarkable maturity for a debut. I’m saying that a lot recently, but Ekpyrosis have nailed a classic death metal sound without sounding too derivative. ‘Asphyxiating Devotion’ is brutal brilliance.

https://ekpyrosis.bandcamp.com/album/asphyxiating-devotion

http://www.memento-mori.es/

https://www.facebook.com/ekpyrosisband

German brutal death destroyers Acranius have returned with their third full length record, ‘Reign of Terror’, out at the end of January on Rising Nemesis Records. Having spent almost ten years honing their craft, Acranius are a savage, slamming death machine and their new record sets out to prove them to be unconquerable.

Opener ‘Born a King’crushes with heavy impact, chugging riffs laden with weight. Brutal slam can become rather tedious, rather quickly, but Acranius keep things interesting; mixing up tempos and ferocity to keep you hooked. ‘Kingmaker’ sounds like massive rocks crashing upon the earth, and Acranius are sure to keep things moving. There’s no monotonous slamming here, with savage death metal proper on ‘Return to Violence’ and deathcore beatdowns on ‘Warpath’. ‘Reign of Terror’ is a slam death record that never compromises on the brutality or the impact, yet doesn’t use that merely as a crutch.

Acranius are about aural disembowelment, and the juddering bludgeoning of ‘Outlaw’ will almost certainly finish you off for good. The vocals are dense growls, rather than the overused pig squeals which is a big plus for me. Too often, huge deathcore riffs that could be excellent are ruined by the ‘breeeeee’ so it is a relief to be in the presence of old school death metal vocals! If these German lords of death leave anything of you alive, be sure to get this record and allow yourself to be submerged in a boiling magma of riffs. You will not regret it.

http://risingnemesisrecords.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Acranius/

https://risingnemesisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/reign-of-terror

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You can kinda guess where a band called Steelballs is going. Especially with that cartoonish rendering of a Manowar cover idea. Argentina is home to these true metal warriors, who play metal the old fashioned way; speedy and catchy as all hell. Their debut EP is only four tracks but you’ll instantly fall in love with these guys, just like I did. It is being released on Witches Brew, and is another triumph for those guys there.

The opener takes the classic ‘song name is same as album and band’ approach, and this feels like a statement of intent. Musically, it’s pulling all those early metal bands together. I’m feeling Helloween, Blind Guardian, Agent Steel and the likes oozing from my speakers. Spiralling melodic solos, galloping riffs and awesome vocal harmonies bring us to a land where metal rules and Manowar are gods. Classic, speedy heavy metal is always good if executed well, and Steelballs nail every element of it.

‘Farewell’ and ‘Inquisitor of Faith’ are two more excellent slabs of speed metal greatness, and a bonus highlight for me is the stunning Helloween cover ‘Starlight’, which ties this together really well. Steelballs are fucking excellent, and alongside Night Demon, are my favourite HEAVY METAL discoveries of the past year. Metal never dies!

https://witchesbrewthrashes.bandcamp.com/album/steelballs

https://www.facebook.com/Steelballs-127991247347816

 

Hereza are a Croatian punkish death metal group that have their new full length ‘I Become Death’ coming out in February, on the excellent Godz of War Productions which is always a sign of good quality. A totally new band to me, Hereza are riffing up a storm on this record!

There’s a rabid, feral quality to the tracks here. That’ll be that punk vibe I guess, but opener ‘I Become Death’ rattles and creaks with a nasty, savage quality. This isn’t your uber tech death, nor your sludgy, slimy old school stuff. This is death metal with a Swedish riff tone and an crusty, energetic howl to it. Hurtling forward with breakneck speed and horrendous, rusted riffs that could slash you into a tetanus induced death, Hereza are a breath of foul air into the world of death metal.

‘Homo Homini Lupus Est’ has some fucking great groove heavy moments, while the shorter and more waspish tracks have a cool grinding feel to them. Basically, you’re looking at half an hour of death metal that’ll either bludgeon you or rip you to shreds. Best of all, you won’t know which it’ll be until it’s too late. ‘I Become Death’ is a fun rampage through death metal sans frills and bullshit.

https://godzovwarproductions.bandcamp.com/album/hereza-i-become-death

https://www.facebook.com/herezametalband/

https://hereza.bandcamp.com/releases

I reviewed Tomb Mold’s demo ‘The Bottomless Perdition’ last year, and it left me positively salivating for their upcoming debut full length on Blood Harvest Records. Their demo was an ancient, moss covered tribute to 90s Finnish death metal, and ‘Primordial Malignity’ takes this Canadian duo down deeper and darker paths towards to the eldritch core of a morbid earth.

From the gloomy hum of the intro to the first track, an earth rumbling roar of primitive death metal sends tremors along the faultlines of your brain. Cavernous vocals belch mighty roars intot he void, while the sickening guitar tone takes cues from Dismember, Demigod, Convulse and the likes. An ancient evil stalks the melody lines of these songs, like the eerie ‘Bereavement of Flesh’, scouring for victims. Like the inexorable crawl of death itself, Tomb Mold lurch towards you with claws outstretched, ready to tear you apart.

The title track is a foul frenzy of skull fracturing chaos, while the apocalytic crush of ‘Merciless Watcher’ takes my favourite track award. Tomb Mold’s death metal is at once both a tribute to the classic Scandinavian scenes and a modern ‘old school death metal’ classic. There’s nothing ‘bandwagon jumping’ about it. There’s nothing even remotely phoned in. ‘Primordial Malignity’ FEELS real, it FEELS like an ancient evil waiting to be unleashed. Tomb Mold have an authenticity about them that is addictive and horrifying. ‘Primordial Malignity’ is the future of death metal; heavy as fuck and dark as night…

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/primordial-malignity-12lp-cd

http://www.bloodharvest.se/