Archive for December, 2017

dreadful fate - cover.jpg

Dreadful Fate’s ‘The Sin of Sodom’ debut was originally released this summer on a limited cassette run and sold out quickly. Edged Circle Productions are rereleasing it on 12″ vinyl, and you should get one quick, as I expect this little thrash gem to sell out just as quick.

Three ripping tracks of German style thrash with a cover of Kreator’s classic ‘Tormentor’ included? This should be the easiest ten minutes of my life. Opener ‘The Sin of Sodom’ will give you no doubts as to what Dreadful Fate are here to do. Galloping thrash riffs and a raw growl, spiralling solos and frenzied drumming are all here in force, paying perfect homage to the Teutonic greats. ‘Unholy Lust’ races past with chainsawing riffs and an infectious melody, and the faithful recreation of ‘Tormentor’ is awesome.

‘The Sin of Sodom’ is one of the fastest and most pleasurable distractions I’ve come across this year. It’s so quick and good that it has to be spun repeatedly in order to truly get that thrash fix itched. You’d be forgiven for believing these Swedes are actually a lost 80s German thrash band, such is the authenticity of their approach. ‘The Sin of Sodom’ fucking rips!

https://www.facebook.com/DreadfulFate/

https://www.facebook.com/edgedcircleproductions

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Vhorthax Cover.jpg

Russian black/death annihilators Vhorthax formed in 2016 with only one thing in mind; providing us with the intonations of Satan through the medium of harsh, savage blackened death metal. ‘Nether Darkness’ is due to launch at the start of January 2018 on Iron Bonehead, and it is six tracks to start your new year with a bang.

Bookended by traditional intro and outros of morbid and evil intent, ‘Nether Darkness’ is mostly as you’d expect of a black/death release on Iron Bonehead; a cacophony of pure Devil worshipping demonic metal. ‘The Levitating Tomb’ is a thick, crawling track with a rusty guitar tone and a bile drenched vocal. You ever come across a track that feels slow even when you’re assaulted by blastbeats? This is it. The pace is dirging but the atmosphere is oily and dense. Vhorthax stand out from the legions of black/death bands due to the quality of the production (crisp and clear) and also their pace. Proving you can be just as effective at a trot as a gallop, ‘Nether Darkness’ is brutally efficient.

Of course, the thrashy ‘Thy Foul Graal’ shows that Vhorthax can do both equally well, but I prefer the slower and more intense stuff. The crowning of this EP is the excellent, maddening miasma of ‘The Vessel of the Trinity’, that is a track that will invade your mind and poison your soul. ‘Nether Darkness’ is a triumph, and I look forward to more to come from these Russians.

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/vhorthaxdarkness

Grethor - Damnatio Memoriae

I reviewed Grethor’s ‘Cloaked in Decay’ EP a couple of years ago, and found that to be a scintillating and unusual approach to extremity. So when given the opportunity to tackle their new record, ‘Damnatio Memoriae’, it was something I could not miss out on. Due out at the end of January 2018, ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ is a step toward further acclaim for this north Virginian monster.

While marking their debut full length, Grethor have been around for almost a decade, and in that time they have honed their craft and experimented to find their sound. That sound is leaning more towards the melodies to dying planets, as opener ‘The Imminent Unknown’ will attest. Like a warped mixture of ‘Covenant’ era Morbid Angel and the mind bending guitar patterns of Gorguts, Grethor pull you in spasmodic directions. ‘The God of Eugenics’ gallops into the abyss, riddled with blastbeats and infectiously bleak melody. The grinding pressure of ‘Tongue of Argent’ begins to break apart, allowing for the development of breathing space in amongst the heaviness. The most rewarding part of this album is the discovery of new hidden nuances with each listen. The gloomy opening to the churning ‘Weaponized Madness’ is probably going to be underrated, as is the spiralling bombardment of ‘Manic Nostalgia’.

The varied patterns of carnage and obtuse melodic directions keeps ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ constantly surprising and interesting. This is a record designed to confound, to expand then obliterate consciousness. Obtuse, impossible to grasp on a first listen and desperately heavy, ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ is a challenge for both mind and body. But, unpick each convoluted thread and you’ll find a record that is both technically stunning and emotionally draining. Not often you get both in equal measure.

https://www.facebook.com/grethorofficial/

https://grethor.bandcamp.com/album/damnatio-memoriae

 

Abhordium - Omega Prayer

Finnish blackened death metallers Abhordium have released their sophomore record, ‘Omega Prayer’, follow up to their 2011 debut  ‘When Depravity Incarnates’, and it is another dark and devastating tour de force through twisting and winding death metal, coating in black metal atmospherics.

Opener ‘The Chronology of Decadence’ is a thunderous, churning beast of a track; featuring a Belphegor-esque intensity and a roaring, pitiless vocal performance that doubles the power of the blastbeat riddled riffing. This is an album of strength, of rumbling density and savage ferocity. Each song brings this directly to you with little fanfare or distraction. The brutal vastness of ‘Asebeia’, the focused ‘From the Depths I Slithered’ or the cold horrors of ‘Perpetual Desertification’ each assault your ears with surgical riffing and a nasty, black metal throatiness that really suits these tales of woe, death and hatred. Many blackened death metal bands either get lost within the overly technical aspects of the death, or the esoteric atmospherics of the black and become somewhat aimless. Not Abhordium.

‘Omega Prayer’ is a refreshingly simple yet all enveloping album. Brutality smashes you into the ground, destroying your earthly shell while the bleak, hopeless black melodies pick at your rotting corpse like crows. Graceful yet carrion. Beautiful yet ugly. Abhordium wield genres like threads, weaving maniacal tapestries of violence and hatred, but each song is a masterwork. Get this record, immediately.

https://abhordium.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Abhordium

http://abhordium.com/

Electric Wizard are one of my favourite bands. Ever. Their unfuckwithable ethos of weed, tits and Satan had me following since ‘Dopethrone’, and each new release they refine and perfect their particular brand of classic doom. ‘Wizard Bloody Wizard’ is a little different however, and we may be seeing a new monster stride from the smoky darkness of the Wizard’s lair.

I suppose the hardest thing for Jus Osborn and crew is how to improve on their classic records. In the case of ‘Wizard Bloody Wizard’, the band start to come out of the haze a little more. The howling leads, groaning Sabbathian riffs and hypotising wail are all still as iconic as ever, but in the likes of opener ‘See You in Hell’ and the grinding ‘Wicked Caresses’ seems to have less fuzz, and more clarity. The infectious groove of ‘Necromania’ has a very 70s psychedelic rock feel, and the whole album has a very, dare I say, upbeat feeling about it. Gone is the aching, crawling doom of ‘Let Us Prey’ or my own personal favourite, the occult fuzzing ‘Witchcult Today’.

In its place, ‘Wizard Bloody Wizard’ has found Electric Wizard in almost evolutionary mode; having defined almost every part of what a doom record should be in the modern era, they’ve decided to embrace their love of Sabbath and psychedelica even more openly. The mesmerising, cyclical ‘Hear the Sirens Scream’ draws you in, and by the time the rumbling closer ‘Mourning of the Magicians comes to a crashing end, you’ll be left satisfied and ready for more. Sure it’ll never be ‘Dopethrone’, but who wants to repeat past glories when new horizons offer tantalising new magicks?

https://www.facebook.com/electricwizarddorsetdoom/

http://www.spinefarmrecords.com/

Image result for acceptable level of misery

American sludge doom lords DeathCrawl have lumbered from the fetid misery of Cleveland, Ohio (full disclosure: I’ve never been to Cleveland, and I’m sure it is a lovely city but if these guys are anything to go by it sounds like a post apocalyptic wasteland) to deliver us their third full length, ‘Acceptable Level of Misery’. The band are self releasing it and it is out now!

The crumbling, nihilistic belch of noise that opens the brutal ‘False Oracle’ is somewhat typical how this record is going to go. Sludge is this amazing genre where true aural fucking hatred and disgust is personified perfectly. Death metal doesn’t manage it as well, neither does black. If gangrenous wounds could play music, it would sound like this. ‘Universally Diminished’ is a monstrous, lurching beast with that ugly, bluesy groove that most sludge bands slide under the radar. Another thing about sludge; it can be almost primally catchy in parts. The swaying, Mastodonian ‘Corrupted Earth’ is a standout for me.

DeathCrawl may stick mostly to the sludge/doom blueprint, but their work is visceral, intense and enveloping. An album that you can put on anytime and be sucked into, ‘Acceptable Level of Misery’ is a more than acceptable level of awesome.

https://deathcrawl.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/deathcrawl/

Moonlight Prophecy - Vanquished

A multinational group, Moonlight Prophecy is the evolution of founder guitarist Lawrence Wallace’s instrumental shred project ‘Lawrence’s Creation’, and now their debut record ‘Vanquished’ is out with ten tracks of thrashy power metal full of classical guitar licks and progressive riffing.

The first band that springs to mind as an influence is Nevermore, particularly on the first real track ‘Escape the Ruins’, and that seems particularly pertinent due to Warrel Dane’s passing this past week. The riffing throughout is solid, winding and intricate while never losing itself in self indulgence. The soloing is top notch, and the songs are pretty hooky, even when the instrumental moments return. ‘Vanquished’ is a solid power metal record that is a bit chunkier and a bit more progressive than most. Each track is easily digestable, and most make you wanna just go air guitar crazy.

Musically you can’t really fault the execution of these songs, but there’s a sprinkle of magic missing. I feel bad saying that, because Moonlight Prophecy hit it out of the park in the likes of the chugging ‘Eternal Oblivion’ and the fret pyrotechnics of ‘Witch Hunt’, but I’m looking forward to where the band go from here rather than eager for a repeat listen. There’s no doubt that the potential exists here, it is whether Moonlight Prophecy can grasp it.

https://www.facebook.com/Lawrencescreation1/

http://moonlightprophecy.weebly.com/

https://moonlightprophecy.bandcamp.com/