Archive for September, 2017

Polish black metallers Ohtar come from a world where black metal is a particularly fearsome beast, and genre standard bearers stride tall amongst the underground of the world. ‘Euthanasia of Existence’ is the fourth record from these guys, and it was released early last year on Deathrune Records. I’ve only recently come across it, and like a lot of these kind of records, I’m sad that I missed it first time round!

Opener ‘Cyanosis of Senility’ is a harrowing, monstrous creature, a gaping wound in reality where darkness is spilling through. Cold and bleak, Ohtar’s dense atmospheres seep through every track, dousing everything in a grey miasma. The misery of ‘Portrayal of Damage’ is enticing, while the gleaming ‘The End is Not Coming, Not Yet’ is a soaring black metal classic, icy and vast. Delicate keyboard moments in th ebackground create a ghostly echo, on which scowling vocals croak their deathly intonations.

Ohtar’s black metal is cold, heartless and full of the infinite darkness you’d hope to find in Polish black metal. ‘Euthanasia of Existence’ holds no hope for us, but once we are become dust and ash it will live on, an icy monument to what is left behind. A hidden gem from las year, and one worth seeking out.

https://deathrunerecords.bandcamp.com/album/ohtar-euthanasia-of-existence

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As you can tell by the album cover, Krossfyre’s ‘Burning Torches’ is a celebration of rabid, hyperspeed thrashy metal that is all about bullet belts, Satan and playing as fast as possible. Full of members of some of the Spanish underground’s most memorable bands (Graveyard, K├Ârgull the Exterminator, Morbid Flesh for example) ‘Burning Torches’ is a rampant debut from these Spaniards and thanks to Hells Headbangers we all get to hear it!

You’ve heard it all before but who gives a fuck, right? Metal is metal, and sometimes you just need that familiar boost of aggression and rage. When Krossfyre kick into ‘Fire Solution’, horns flail and heads bang with gusto. The grimy production helps to add an extra dose of nastiness into the tracks, while howling screams play over maddening solos. When a band draws back to classic Nifelheim and Bestial Mockery, you know that you’re going to be in for a treat, but Krossfyre have an undeniable METAL streak running through them, and that gives the melodies a little more pep. The infectious title track show exactly what I mean with its glorious solo.

Galloping thrash meets proto black metal aggression in an electric debut, full of energy and memorable hooks. Let Krossfyre into your life as this is a poison you’ll be glad to be infected by. Krossfyre are the black/thrash combo we’ve been looking for; a band that can actually inject melody without losing the fury within. ‘Burning Torches’ is fucking ace.

https://krossfyre-spain.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/krossfyre666/

http://krossfyre.bigcartel.com/

A malignant and serpentine debut, ‘Staring Through the Veil’ is the first record from Cryptic Fog, a two man project that twists and melds the grand tradition of death metal from both sides of the Atlantic into new and abhorrent forms. Blood Harvest is releasing this at the end of October, and it looks to stake a place amongst the most uncomfortable records of 2017.

Progressive, twisting black metal with hints of death metal’s low end come through strong on crushing opener ‘The Grand Berator Walks Amongst the Hall of Misery”; you can feel moments of technical wizardry like Atheist meeting the labyrinthine riffing of Morbid Angel, wrapped within dark realms of suffering. Vocals belch from dank pits, while the deadly riffing spirals in multiple directions, never leaving too many breadcrumbs to follow. There are some proper Dismember worship moments in the stunning ‘Cursed Oil Upon the Abhorrent Idols of Men’, the horrendous violence of ‘Eternal Internment of the Prolific Paradigm; Staring Through the Veil of Aberration’ and the crushing, eldritch finale of ‘Cleansed by the Black Flame of Absolution’ are all great.

The ironically simple pleasure in such a complex and technical record is how you never lose interest, that Cryptic Fog are consistently shifting form and keeping your attention. There’s blasting, chugging Swedeath riffs, wailing solos and grinding brutality, all sewn together into a cohesive, virulent mass of death metal. ‘Staring Through the Veil’ is the archetypal look beyond, into worlds where death metal will grow in new ways.

https://www.facebook.com/CrypticFog/

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/staring-through-the-veil-12lp-cd-tape

http://www.bloodharvest.se/

The work of two bona fide death metal icons, Ursinne brings together Dave Ingram (Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Hail of Bullets) and Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath, Henry Kane) to create ‘Swim With the Leviathan’, one of the densest and most brutal death metal records of 2017. Our favourite record label Transcending Obscurity, dropped this monster in August. Original material meshes with death metal covers of 80s classics in one of 2017’s best and most unique records.

The devastating opener ‘Devil May Care’ is undeniably brutal and straightforward, but it has some nice open spaces in the middles where melodies play around a chugging low end. ‘I, Serpentine’ has that Swedish rawness to its riffs, as well as a healthy dose of Gothenburg meldoy. It is a theme running through ‘Swin With the Leviathan’; brutality in riffs and vocals, but not lacking in memorable melody lines. ‘Bullet Bitten’ is inspired by Lemmy, including a great sample from the great man himself, and the driving bassline underneath is a fitting tribute.

While all the original material is excellent, (in particularly the swooning menace of ‘The Chimes at Midnight’) the real fun begins with the four covers songs. The death metal rendering of The Osmonds’ ‘Crazy Horses’ is pretty odd, but the crushing ‘Turning Japanese’ is killer and ‘Monsters in the Parasol’ features Massacre legend Kam Lee, turning the Queens of the Stone Age classic into something very brutal and menacing. You’ll struggle to find a more different, entertaining and downright heavy record in 2017. Ursinne is a great amalgamation of classic death metal and a sense of the absurd, leading to some genuine year highlights.

https://www.facebook.com/UrsinneBand/

https://ursinne.bandcamp.com/

https://tometal.com/

Kentucky trio Tombstalker are releasing a two track 7” in follow up to their devastating 2015 debut ‘Black Crusades’. The band has had a slew of splits and EPs since their inception in 2008, and ‘Chaotic Devotion’ drops two new tracks of molten, rabid blackened death metal into our laps. Due to be released on the 19th of September by Boris Records.

The first track, ‘Scared to Death’ has a killer opening riff with a nasty as fuck guitar tone. The fretwork is awesome, and there’s a definite Swedeath influence here. Urgent, vibrant and lacking any fucking about, Tombstalker are here to slay you with riffs. Grinding bass kicks off ‘Treads of War’, and the low end on this track is very prevalent. ‘Chaotic Devotion’ is two excellent tracks of chunky death metal with a savage, black edge to them. Short but ultimately very sweet.

https://borisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/chaotic-devotion-7

https://www.facebook.com/tombstalkerband

http://boris-records.com/

Australia’s Runespell are dropping their eagerly anticipated debut full length record ‘Unhallowed Blood Oath’ through Iron Bonehead Productions this year, and if you are looking for something that is deeply submerged in 90s black metal classicism then this is likely to be for you. A one man project, Runespell is the work of Nightwolf who also features in Eternum and Blood Stronghold, more profilic members of the fiery Australian black metal world.

‘Oblivion Winds’ builds into a crashing, blastbeat marathon with rasped vocals and murky production values that enhance the mystical connection between music and listener. While violent and abrasive, there is a certain black magic lurking within this slice of vintage black metal. Whether it is the cavernous ‘Heaven in Blood’, the pastoral acoustics of ‘And Wolves Guide Me Home’ or the spellbinding ‘All Thrones Perish’, Runespell really channel the feel of Norwegian black metal circa 1992.

When olden rituals are performed, spells cast and black magicks released, albums like ‘Unhallowed Blood Oath’ are the result. A gloriously dark record that pulses with a vintage menace, capturing not only the sound of old school black metal but the FEEL of it too. Runespell feel like a lost legend, resurfacing once more from depths unknown. The majestic ‘White Death’s Wings’ is a centrepiece of an album with no bad tracks. Get it!

http://www.ironbonehead.de/

Swedish death metallers Paganizer have been killing it for almost twenty years now and their newest release, ‘Land of Weeping Souls’, is proof that some bands just get better with age. It is out now on Transcending Obscurity, and is defiantly some of the best old school death metal you will hear this year.

If anything, Paganizer have got heavier and faster since I first came upon them on 2006’s ‘Carnage Junkie’. Opening with the rabid ‘Your Suffering Will Be Legendary’, chunky death metal riffs fly in all directions, while a propulsive drumming performance underpins the whole thing. The ever prolific Rogga Johansson’s vocals are the typically great deep growls, but he seems to have even more clarity than usual. Remember how good it was when Bloodbath returned with ‘The Fathomless Mastery’ in 2008 and it was like Swedish death metal was back? Well, turns out Paganizer have been at killer riff capacity and have been churning out tracks like the vicious ‘The Buried Undead’ and the old school class of ‘The Insanity Never Stops’ for years under the radar.

This record is a strong addition to the old school death metal revival that seems to have been going on recently, and in fact shows most of them how it’s done properly. ‘Land of Weeping Souls’ is flawlessly executed, faithful in its worship of iconic classics and somehow confirms that death metal isn’t always about decay and ‘the end’. Sometimes it is can be the most vital and ALIVE genre out there. I love it.

https://www.facebook.com/paganizersweden/

https://paganizer.bandcamp.com/

https://tometal.com/store/