Archive for June, 2017

Contra - Deny Everything

A formerly instrumental stoner sludge outfit, Contra (classic video game reference has sold me already) have dropped their debut record ‘Deny Everything’ on Robustfellow Productions/Shifty Records, and despite the relatively uninspired album cover is a badass record full of heavy blues and cathartic sludge roars that will delight even the most jaded of metal fans.

Squalls of feedback lead into a groovy slab of stoner metal, where ‘Human Buzzsaw’ takes the wheel for a trip down some sickeningly catchy groovy roads. The slamming ‘Altered Beast’ feels like Clutch jamming some old Kyuss riffs, while ‘The Gorgon’ hits hard before the spacious ‘Humanoid Therapy’ adds a little bit of slow, desert rock doom in there. Contra don’t stick to a simple template, they throw in little bits of everything within the stoner/sludge/doom sphere and come out with something that rocks hard and seeps into your mind.

The rumbling intro to ‘One Hundred Hand Slap’ could be my favourite moment here; stinking of NOLA blues and soul. ‘Deny Everything’ may not be the most original slab of hard rocking stoner sludge, but when you have riffs like these who cares?! Contra are a new guilty pleasure I keep coming back to, and ‘Deny Everything’ is built for jamming.

https://contracleveland.bandcamp.com/album/deny-everything

https://www.facebook.com/ContraCle/

 

Переплут - В стародавние года...

Pagan metallers Pereplut hail from Russia, where some of the finest European pagan and folk metal around is hailing from these days. Their new record, ‘At the Ancient TRimes’, is a beautifully constructed collection of songs that yearn for simpler times, that ache of a certain traditionalist je ne sais quoi that is both heart pumping and heartrending in equal measure. It is out now through Stygian Crypt.

After the melancholic and folky intro track, we begin to delve into ancient Slavic forests, hunting for spirits and places where the touch of modernity has not reached. Pereplut have more than a little Korpiklaani about them, but without the drunken piss taking. Imagine the windswept majesty of Metsatoll but with a little more forest magic. ‘At the Ancient Times’ isn’t all whimsy, flutes and ‘plastic pagan’ moments though; there is a defiant metal heart beating in here that mixes some almost Bay Area thrash moments (‘Тропою волколака’) and some melodeath crunch.

By the time the pastoral shades of the last track fades out, you’ve experienced a journey through lost cultures and folk magic. Pereplut may never become the most famous of this genre, but to miss out on an album of this quality would be a crime. Pereplut deserve your attention, so go support them!

https://www.facebook.com/pereplutband/

http://www.stygiancrypt.com/

https://pereplut.bandcamp.com/

Downcast Twilight - Under the Wings of the Aquila

British metallers Downcast Twilight draw their cover aesthetic from classic black metal yet ply a death/folk blend with a distinct Roman theme on ‘Under the Wings of the Aquila’, their 2016 full length on Stygian Crypt Productions. Their debut record takes us back to the greatest civilisation of all, and is a potent mix of folk instrumentation and death metal heaviness.

An almost infectious melodicism pervades each song on ‘…the Aquila’, inserting a healthy dose of catchiness into tracks like the vibrant ‘Soldier of Pompeii’ or the gloomy ‘The Tyrant and the Sage’. A chunky selection of riffs bring to mind some early Lamb of God, as does the vocals in parts, but the folky elements of ‘The Witches of Anglesey’ are more subtle and hidden beneath layers of crunchy, galloping riffs. Ghostly flute lingers behind the superlative ”The Ides of March’, which has more than a dash of Amon Amarth about it. In fact, the pagan fury of the Swedish giants looms large over Downcast Twilight throughout their debut.

‘Death in Alexandria’ might be my favourite track here, or maybe the brutal kick of ‘The Ironclad Legion’, a little bit harsher than some of the others and that really works for me. ‘Under the Wings of the Aquila’ is a record that shows much promise, and Downcast Twilight have got something a little unique and special about them. Symphonic but not overly so, blending folk and death metals together gently into a solid start that builds with each listen. Awesome.

https://www.facebook.com/downcasttwilight/

http://www.stygiancrypt.com/rel_en.php

A world of misery and gloom awaits you inside the new Ever Circling Wolves record, ‘Of Woe’. Shades of black metal scattered over a dense and foreboding death/doom template. I first discovered them on their stunning 2009 record ‘The Silence from Your Room’, but their new record takes them to even greater plains. It is out now on Cimmerian Shade Recordings.

The haunting ‘Coeur’ is an immediate standout, where crushing doom riffs meet death metal ferocity, but it is layered with a lot of haunting melodies, as is the gloomy power of ‘Haunted’. This is a record that plays between its main strengths of massive riffs that feel like cliffs are falling on you, and a more post metal sensibility where melodies, clean vocals and a deft grasp of how space can create excellent music. With a runtime that exceeds an hour, these nuances are very important to ensure that you don’t lose interest.

But it would be difficult to lose interest in an album that is constantly shifting your expectations. At no point are you wondering when it’ll finish, more ‘how much more of this can I get!?’. The glacial opening riffs to ‘Challenger Deep’,  the quirky savagery of ‘Lenore’, the drawn out exhaustion of epic closer ‘These Are Ashes, These are Roots’; all lead you to an inexorable collapse where you gasp for air and beg for more. ‘Of Woe’ is an album that towers above most, enschewing the obvious for a path less travelled, and getting it totally right on the journey.

https://cimmerianshaderecordings.bandcamp.com/album/of-woe-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-gloom

https://www.facebook.com/ecwdoom/

Gnarly doom trio Tood are one of those bands that, when you first hear them, you wonder how they haven’t exploded already. Their debut self titled EP has all the fuzzed out rumbling groove that any self respecting Sabbath worshipper could want. If you are lucky enough to grab one of the cassette copies that Carvetii Productions have got, it adds to the gloriously old school vibe oozing from your speakers.

Opener ‘Gaffer Tape’ is like the soundtrack to some ancient, murky horror movie. The fuzzed guitar tone takes you into dark occult territories while a touch of early Cathedral in the vocals and psychedelic vibes loom throughout. ‘Discordant Method’ drives us onward towards the endtimes, aching riffs soak you in darkness and a mysterious bloodlust rises. The twisting, enchanting ‘The Bastard’ provides the most graceful of psychedelic freakouts before the churning ‘Schweinhacker’ brings us to a close.

If Tood were around when the first evolutionary steps of heavy metal were taken, they would be revered as legends by now. Their sound is vintage, enthralling and insistent. ‘Tood’ is a new favourite of mine; a deceptively heavy, simple journey to the dark mystical heart of heavy metal. Lead us to our doom, for doom this is

http://carvetiiproductions.bigcartel.com/product/carvetii-productions-cassette-releases

https://www.facebook.com/toodmusic/

Hailing from sunny Portugal’s renowned raw black metal scene, Cripta Oculta have unleashed their fourth dose of ravenous, blackened medicine for us to gorge ourselves upon. Out now on Signal Rex, prepare yourselves for ‘Lost Memories’, and the evil which is to come!

The haunting organ that leads ‘Mistérios do Sangue’ out from its blackened altar gives it a more authentic feeling of eldritch occultness than anything else could’ve. It builds the anticipation for what is to come, which is a blazing flow of fearsome rawness and lo-fi hatred. ‘Uma Noite de Trevas’ is harsh, abrasive but bleak and mournful in parts. It isn’t just raw musically; like an emotional wound reopening, ‘Lost Memories’ drags you into an oppressive mire of depression and heartlessness. The hopeless shriek of ‘A Dança do Fado Negro’ personifies everything you can take from this ode to darkness, cold and endless death.

Drawing deep from pagan wells of raw pain and suffering, Cripta Oculta’s black metal is a lonely, feral beast that snarls from abysses unknown. Signal Rex have brought Cripta Oculta to the surface of the shifting, murky underground and allowed their particular sound to be heard. Cold, harsh and utterly enthralling.

https://signalrex.bandcamp.com/album/s-t

http://www.signalrex.com/

Displaying GRAVEWARDS-Subconscious Lobotomy.jpg

Greek death metallers Gravewards have dropped their debut EP ‘Subconscious Lobotomy’ on cassette tape, and it is four tracks of brutality conjuring the spirits of Morbid Angel, Obituary and even little dashes of Scandinavian nastiness too. If rabid darkness is your thing, then you’ll find a lot to enjoy here.

‘Casket Entrapment’ opens with a gloriously old school riff before a pained roar shattered the air guitaring calm. The chugging riffs are particularly good, but the real highlights are the mounrful melodies tucked behind the ferocity. There’s something a little dark, a little sad looming behind the towering ‘Crawling Chaos’, while the scathing title track draws inspiration from the void of Floridian death strongly. Vocally there’s a lot going on, with more standard growls interchanging with gurgling belches in places.

By the time the frantic ‘Deathwomb Incubation’ brings us to a juddering halt, it is clear that Gravewards are going to be a fun prospect for the future. Their brand of death metal has all kinds of nuances to look for but most importantly it is heavy as fuck, and will leave you broken but demanding more!

https://www.facebook.com/Gravewards/