Archive for March, 2017

Good, old fashioned punkish speed metal/rock and roll is the name of the game from Denver natives Poison Rites, whose self titled record is high energy and seriously catchy. If you like shit like Hellacopters or the Dead Boys, you’re gonna dig this a lot. A self released effort, but you can pick up LPs etc from Splattered Records too.

Opener ‘Everything I Love’ is kick ass rock and roll with a grimy coating. It’s Motorhead without the snarl, Dead Kennedys without the snotty attitude but all of the infectious melodies. Poison Rites seem to have tapped into an old school punk rock vibe that isn’t about politics, anarchy or controversy, but about getting in that van, travelling gig to gig and rocking out to sweaty crowds. ‘Soft Opening’ has a bit more spit and fire about it, and is a grinding, garage punk classic. The more I listen to this record, the more I like the one dimensional, bloody mindedness of the whole thing. Having the same vocalist as the sadly dead Speedwolf only increases the greatness for me.

Laden with killer hooks and no nonsense punk riffing, Poison Rites feel like they’re that lost band that didn’t make it when the Stooges and MC5 made it big, yet are as capable of writing great songs. Nostalgia punk and roll is what everyone needs sometimes, and the awesome ‘Darkest Darkness’ is the perfect example of how Poison Rites do it so right

https://poisonrites.bandcamp.com/album/s-t-lp

https://www.facebook.com/Poison-Rites-185851571761685

http://speedwolf.bigcartel.com/

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Ascended Dead - Abhorrent Manifestation

Ascended Dead prove that not all of the best metal comes from grim or frozen climates, hailing from the sunny city of San Diego in California. But the ugliness of their music belies that location with a vile and sickening death metal sound that goes somewhat back in time but remains relevant in today’s scene. Invictus are handling the European release of ‘Abhorrent Manifestation’, while Dark Descent are doing North America.

Opener ‘The Promised Land’ builds with an ominous guitar line; a dense rumbling is battered by a thundering percussive force while an unholy roar fills your ears. A maddening thrust slices through your consciousness, leaving Autopsy-esque carnage in ‘Perdition’s wake. The thick guitar tone is awesome, and the rabid ferocity that infuses Ascended Dead comes from the same dark places as Deicide and Morbid Angel. An avalanche of death metal cascades upon you, but it isn’t all heavy craziness.

The acoustic interlude in ‘Dormant Souls’ is a welcome respite, and the contrast with the more savage elements comes as a stark reminder that metal doesn’t need to strike hard at all times. Sometimes, where light and dark meet is where music can be truly effective. The ferocious ‘Subconscious Barbarity’ seems even more vicious after the acoustic parts, and it is probably my favourite track here.

‘Abhorrent Manifestation’ is a hellacious album of infected, rampant death metal that is simply stunning. Sickening riffs, mighty roars and drumming that’ll flatten you into mush. Ascended Dead have crawled from beyond the grave to punish us all for listening to death metal that isn’t as good as theirs. Which is most!

https://www.facebook.com/Ascended-Dead-365392833471969

https://invictusproductions.net/

https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/track/subconscious-barbarity

Cultes des Ghoules - Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love

Cultes Des Ghoules are one of those bands that come along but once in a lifetime, and these Polish black metallers have stepped up their game on their magnum opus ‘Coven’. A massive, double disc album running over an hour and a half of supreme evil and oddness, Cultes Des Ghoules are changing black metal as we know it, creating unsettling and ritualistic black magic that is hypnotising.

Massive opener ‘The Prophecy (Prologue) / Devell, the Devell He Is, I Swear God… (Scene I) ‘ (catchy!) runs a massive 22 minutes, and yet is NOT the longest track here. Yes folks, this is an endurance test but one made up of some fine black metal and occult teachings. It is carved into 5 ‘scenes’, like some macabre play with a cast of characters that exist in some hellish, otherworldly void of Sabbathian groove and shrieking black metal madness. Each scene is musically dynamic, shifting from blasting to more midpaced riffing and even some rumbling doomy parts. You get latter period Darkthrone, stifling Deathspell Omega moments and creepy, Ruins of Beverast style darkness, particularly the latter in ‘Strange Day, See the Clash of Heart and Reason… (Scene III)’.

An album like this cannot be taken lightly. It isn’t just a record that can be chucked on while you’re doing other things. It is a record that you need to sit down, ignore everything else and just indulge in the sheer creativeness. Cultes Des Ghoules have taken the concept album, turned it on its head and created a shapeshifting, emotionally distraught record of unsettling music. To be honest, it is almost too difficult to review each part, as the album flows together like one piece. All I would recommend you do is to get it and settle in for a true experience, because for once this is a band that sounds like no one else.

https://www.facebook.com/CultesDesGhoules/

https://cultesdesghoules.bandcamp.com/album/coven-or-evil-ways-instead-of-love

Assault are considered to be the hidden secret of Singaporean metal, with a potent deaththrash sound that mixes ferocity and killer melodies into some excellent songs. Their new record, ‘The Fallen Reich’, looks to capture the hearts and minds of those of us lucky enough to come across it, and will be another standard bearer for music from the region.

Opener ‘Enslavement to Torture’ is, simply put, fucking incredible. Visceral and savage, yet insidiously melodic, it hits me right in that part of you that FEELS how good a band are. So does the galloping/blasting ‘Genocidal Conspiracy’, where harsh almost black metal style vocals couple with some great thrash licks and some brutal double kicks to complete the holy trifecta in extremity. ‘Spawn of Rage’ is vicious in its attack, and in parts reminds me of latter day Hypocrisy which is cool.

The crushing ‘Ghettos’ is more like chunky death metal ala Asphyx in parts, which helps show the diversity of what Assault can bring to the table. Galloping thrash, blackened ferocity and death metal heft blending together to create an invigorating record that hits all the right spots. Brutal yet melodic, Assault are to be watched, and really should be shared far and wide as an awesome band with awesome songs!

https://www.facebook.com/AssaultSG/

https://assaultsg.bandcamp.com/

http://tometal.com/

Long running UK thrashers Solitary have just released their third full length record at the start of March, and ‘The Diseased Heart of Society’ is yet another step towards riffageddon in terms of pure, blistering thrash metal. Blessing us with this release is the excellent UK Extreme Metal Records, and a more potent record they may struggle to release this year!

Opener ‘Wait’ comes roaring out after the ‘Blackened Skies’ intro with galloping riffs and some cool as fuck chugging sections. Also, I’m totally distracted about how vocalist Richard Sherrington sounds so much like Lee Dorian of Cathedral, and am now imagining a psychedelic doom/thrash crossover band. Musically, the main leads come from old school Exodus and there’s also some cool rumbling riffage in the crushing ‘Trigger Point Atrocity’.

Highlights include the rampant ‘The Edge of Violence’ which could be a lost cut from ‘Tempo of the Damned’, and the killer title track that shoots lightning from its fretboards. Solitary have got what seems like an endless stream of superb riffs cultivated from almost 20 years of Bay Area thrash worship, from the Death Angel-esque ‘Unidentified’ to the more Megadeth like stomp of ‘Anthem of Regret’. Solitary are a band that are not to be trifled with, because carrying this much riff power around must be dangerous!

https://www.facebook.com/Official.Solitary/

http://www.ukemrecords.co.uk/product/solitary-the-diseased-heart-of-society/

http://www.ukemrecords.co.uk/

solitude-album-cover

Japanese trad metal heroes Solitude are representing TRUE METAL in all caps. ‘Reach for the Sky’ is now available further afield after a Japanese only release in 2015, and is bringing the riffs in spades. If you like the sound of NWOBHM brought into the 21st century via some Exodus and Tank, then I think Solitude are going to be right up your alley. Test Your Metal Records are handling the North American release, while you’ll find their older stuff on Spiritual Beast.

Opener ‘Venom’s Angels’ is full of killer riffing, awesome hooks and galloping melodies. You can feel how deep that classic Maiden influence runs, all the while being complimented by Bay Area thrashing sensibilities. ‘Blow’ is another kick ass track, prompting fist pumping and headbanging aplenty. You can tell instantly that Solitude would be a killer live act to go see. I love the intro to the title track, and there’s loads of moments on ‘Reach for the Sky’ where your love for heavy metal can be reignited.

The Bay Area thrash of ‘Don’t Need Mercy’ is classic, as well as the Saxon-esque ‘You Got My Mind’ and the elegiac ‘December’. ‘Reach for the Sky’ is an album steeped in tradition and, most importantly, enthusiasm and dare I say, joy. Joy in the simple happiness of heavy metal’s existence. Solitude’s record is a celebration of galloping guitars, massive hooks and killer solos. Something we all need to remember to celebrate now and again. Thoroughly recommended.

http://testyourmetalrecords.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/solitudejapan

Arkhitekt - Untitled

The collapsing nihilism of Arkhitekt must be deliberately. There’s no way that it is an accident that a band named for someone who creates buildings could be so rooted in the decay and collapse of them. Dedicated to the failure of man’s creations, Arkhitekt have a new record out this year, but this is their untitled debut EP, brought to us by Blackened Death Records.

Opener ‘And So We Destroyed Everything…’ is a looming monster; a force of darkness crawling across the landscape tearing everything down around it. All encompassing void follows it, with eldritch shrieks and growls howling from within. It is the voice of decay. ‘Blackened Bones’ feels like the boot, grinding existence into dust. Liek some kind of extra galactic beast coming to destroy us, Arkhitekt are uncomfortably dense and bleak.

Closing with the contemplative but equally menacing ‘Extinction’, Arkhitekt bring you to the edge of desolation, leaving you staring breathlessly at a destroyed world of decay. Then you are pushed over the edge and left to fall into nothingness. Awesomely nihilistic.

https://www.facebook.com/arkhitektdrone

https://blackeneddeath.bandcamp.com/album/untitled

http://www.blackeneddeath.com/