Archive for August, 2017

The physical release of the debut recording by California duo Draghkar is a monstrous slice of death metal with more than a dash of suffocating doom about it. Blood Harvest is bringing us this cassette, and despite there only being three tracks leaves you no doubt of what horrendous violence is yet to come. Miasmic, murky and magical, due to drop on the 6th of October.

Opener ‘Wings Over Malkier’ has a demonic, driving quality about it that revives ancient spirits of Autopsy and gurgling Finnish death metal and soaking it in one of the murkiest guitar tones I’ve ever heard. It is devastating, ugly greatness and instantly sets a high bar for the rest. The rest, of course, meets that expectation without issue, with the rabid savagery of ‘Cowering in the Town of Blinded Eyes’ piling bodies in its wake and the cavernous crush of the title track dragging us to our inexorable end.

God this tape is fucking astounding. No more than 10 minutes of some of the greatest, nastiest death metal you’ll hear this year. Keeping death metal ugly, underground and disgustingly brutal, Draghkar will become your new favourite band. As they fucking should.

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/world-unraveled-mc-2

https://www.facebook.com/DraghkarBand/

http://www.bloodharvest.se/

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Japan’s Coven are a classy piece of heavy metal that’ll hook you straight in with their new release ‘The Advent’, a set up four track EP in preparation for their upcoming full length debut next year. This duo takes obvious influence from the likes of Maiden and Mercyful Fate, and it creates something just a bit special. Heavy metal is fucking great sometimes.

Opener ‘Brave Warriors’ provides instant gratification to that heavy metal itch we all need scratched now and then, with beautiful guitar harmonies and infectious melodies immediately planting seeds in your mind. The production has given this a wonderful, ‘Killers’ style feel about it, and that NWOBHM feel continues through ‘The Advent’. ‘Karma’ is a little King Diamond-esque with some soaring theatrics, and a soulful solo making the invisible oranges almost mandatory. Closing with a great 80s style metal power ballad in ‘Scream for Tomorrow’, Coven find more and more ways to make you fall in love with them.

‘The Advent’ is a mere appetiser for what is to come, but I really don’t want to have to wait very long for more. This is a fucking killer EP, with songs that bring you back to that heady early 80s period when heavy metal was coming into its own. I can’t wait for the full length!

https://www.facebook.com/Coven.Japan/

https://www.svartrecords.com/artist/coven-japan/

https://coven.bandcamp.com/

One of the very first American black metal bands, Summon’s classic debut ‘Dark Descent of Fallen Souls’ is being released on vinyl for the first time by Werewolf Records in collaboration with Hells Headbangers. Originally released in 1997 into a world sodden in American death metal, Summon’s stride towards the blacker world was brave yet done with foresight. Due out at the start of September, it is time to be reacquainted with an old friend…

After the suitably medieval synth intro, the savagery and primal 90s feeling is immediately in place with the title track. You can feel the influence of the likes of Mayhem, Marduk and the like on the fuzzy, burning riffs and the manic rasping screams. ‘Eve of Anti-Creation’ is a beautifully blasphemous ode to the black metal of old, of the frozen North, and it feels like a welcoming embrace. An embrace of studded leather and inverted crosses, but you get my meaning. A feeling of cold familiarity smothers you during the harsh ‘Under the Midnight Shadows’, and the olden black magicks arise once more in the haunting ‘Beyond the Gates of Storm’.

Summon are a band I’ve been familiar with but never had a chance to fully embrace. The rerelease of this allows me, and more like me to really reconnect with a USBM legend, whose legacy should never be forgotten. ‘Dark Descent of Fallen Souls’ is a ghostly, traditional masterpiece of purest black fucking metal, and it is glorious to behold.

https://werewolfrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dark-descent-of-fallen-souls

https://www.facebook.com/SUMMON-115792518441039/

http://neuntoter.org/

Brazilian power trio Necromante feed from the same darkness that powered Mystifier, Sarcofago and Impurity, and their debut full length ‘The Magickal Presence of Occult Forces’ comes from a decade of honing their art through demos and live rituals. Iron Bonehead is bringing this one to us, and it is due to drop on the 6th of October this year.

The creepy, flute led intro piece is a jarring misdirection for what is to come, which is mainly first wave black metal but with a subtle heavy metal slant to it. ‘Secret Eye’ feels like early Venom, while there’s a gloomy majestic to the rabid ‘Neckrokosmick Pentagram’. Necromante know exactly how to inject a dose of early NWOBHM into their riffing, and it is a delight to hear some of the earworm riffs hiding under a blackened coating. They lack the chaotic savagery of many of their countrymen, but that is not to their detriment. In fact, it feels great to be listening to a band that appreciate the more subtle take on proto black metal.

Tracks like ‘Initiation’ and my favourite, ‘A’arab Zaraq’, show how an early take on black metal doesn’t need to be all howling ‘Bathory’ clones. Necromante have absorbed as much Venom and Bathory as they have Angel Witch and Diamond Head, and this blend is a refreshing gem of a record. ‘The Magickal Presence of Occult Forces’ is an absolute joy to listen to, and you should make sure it finds its way into your collection.

https://www.facebook.com/templodonecromante/

http://www.ironbonehead.de/

It would feel lazy to instantly compare Israeli black metallers Arallu to Middle Eastern legends Melechesh, but that’s not what I want to do here. What I want to do is really get across how fucking GOOD ‘Six’ is. An album built upon thrashy black metal and enhanced by traditional instrumentation, Arallu do what labelmates at Transcending Obscurity Rudra do, but with a different ethnic focus. The record is out on 22nd September.

After the mysterious intro, opening track proper ‘Only One Truth’ builds with a chugging menace, while layers of Behemoth-esque black metal grandeur builds throughout the majestic ‘Possessed by the Sleep’. Arallu’s record is not only interesting due to their use of ethnic instrumentation, but the shapeshifting nature of their black metal base. Potent and grand one minute, savage and visceral the next, ‘Six’ is exciting and different. The very Middle Eastern sounding ‘Subordinates of the Devil’ is more overt in its influence, while the howling title track (‘The Univers Secrets (Six)’) bleeds it in more subtly.

Arallu are a thrilling prospect, and I feel ashamed that on their sixth album they’ve only just found their way into my sphere of awareness. I’m going to go back and look into their back catalogue and experience the journey from the start. ‘Six’ is intriguing, drawing you in with mysterious Orient ways before gutting you with savage riffing and bloodcurdling screams. This is jumping up my albums of the year list with each listen.

https://www.facebook.com/ARALLU666/

https://arallu.bandcamp.com/

https://tometal.com/

 

Cosmic Void Ritual - The Excreted Remains of the Sabatier System

American death spouter Cosmic Void Ritual are here to drain you of your life energy with their new cassette ‘The Excreted Remains of the Sabatier System’. The work of one mysterious individual, Cosmic Void Ritual have got a very early 90s sound, combined with labyrinthine song structures and unusual timings, creating something dark and disturbing. It’s out 6th October via Blood Harvest Records.

The savage ‘Leaking Alien Sacrelige’ opens this tape with chainsawing riffs and an incomprehensible grunting roar. Death metal is heading more and more into this dark path, where odd atmospherics pervade the space behind riffs. Production values sound worse, but are actually better at conveying the nastiness in each song. A magma like flow of dissonant death riffs spill over through the relentless ‘The Fall…Relic Death Spells…’, and while the underpinning riffs bring to mind Autopsy, Dismember and the like, the strange notes lurking in the background are a little more Gorguts.

I’m not sure what the Sabatier System is, but if this tape is a record of a dying planetary system somewhere in the voids of the universe, then I can see that. Otherwordly, violent and manic, Cosmic Void Ritual sound cavernous, and their rituals are conjuring up something quite, quite mad. Excellent stuff, grab it when it comes out!

https://cosmicvoidritual.bandcamp.com/

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-excreted-remains-of-the-sabatier-system-mc

http://www.bloodharvest.se/

Don’t tell me Invictus Productions have found another stunning band lurking in the underground to unleash upon the world? I’ve enjoyed a lot from this label recently, and Antiversum’s cosmos destroying debut full length ‘Cosmos Comedenti’ looks to be another fine addition. You fancy some warped death metal that looms straight from the jaws of infinity? Come with me…

It almost makes sense that Antiversum are Swiss, as they come from a place where the works of the mighty Giger are possibly spawned, and the hellish riffworld of Tom G Warrior. Opener ‘Antinova’ is immense, vast, challenging you to observe its scale. A crushing monolith to death, infinite death, not just mere physical mortality. ‘Cosmos Comedenti’ is beyond what we can conceive as the end. Dissonant, disturbing, a shape shifting piece that suffocates under disjointed belchs of vocals, the almost ritualistic tribalism in the gloomy ‘Chao E Orta Est’ is terrifying.

Antiversum feel like they’re searching for a place in our space. In the same way bands like Portal or Mitochondrian are reaching beyond the ‘constraints’ of the genre into spaces unknown, Antiversum are reaching in from the outside, looking for death metal as an anchor to hold themselves steady in the currents of madness. The harrowing closer ‘Nihil Ad Probandum’ groans with black energy, writhing out into the empty void. ‘Cosmos Comedenti’ is a record that will drain you of everything inside. It’s worth every moment.

https://invictusproductions.net/shop/antiversum-cosmos-comedenti-cd-pre-order/

https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/album/cosmos-comedenti

https://www.facebook.com/antiversum