Archive for January, 2018

Pestilence are so fucking underrated as a death metal band. Their early work, particularly ‘Testimony of the Ancients’ and the divisive ‘Spheres’, is so influential but you don’t hear their name mentioned as much as many of the other ‘bigger’ bands from the era. Well, their live show in Glasgow last night was fucking killer, focusing on their first four records, the two mentioned before and ‘Consuming Impulse’ and ‘Malleus Maleficarum’. Once again, I was in Audio, probably the smallest gig venue in Glasgow but also my personal favourite.

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage, concert and night

I arrived just after Brazillian destroyers Rebaelliun had taken the stage, and I was instantly blown away by their brutal, Krisiun-esque sound. Their guitar works was tight as fuck, and the likes of ‘Anarchy’ were totally devastating. I’d never come across the band before but was very impressed, looking forward to getting some of their stuff!

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage, night, concert and indoorImage may contain: one or more people, people on stage, people playing musical instruments, night and concert








Pestilence were absolutely stunning live. For anybodu who hasn’t had the chance to experience this band live, you are missing out. From the old school thrashy ‘Parasite’ to the uneasy groove of ‘Prophetic Revelations’, these Dutch guys absolutely slayed. When you read these things about ‘OLD SCHOOL’ death metal, they often mean Autopsy  or Bolt Thrower clones. But for me, early Pestilence is what it’s all about, that area where death and thrash were still intertwining. The stunning ‘Mind Reflections’, the crushing ‘Out of the Body’ and my own personal favourite ‘Echoes of Death’ were highlights in a night where properly old school death metal was at its absolute best.


Belgian grinders Marginal have focused their particular brand of grindcore on the crustier end of the spectrum, enschewing much of the overly gory stuff to have come out recently. That doesn’t mean to say this sounds any less sickening, and ‘Total Destruction’ is a record that takes their rage very seriously. This is out on Transcending Obscurity now!

‘Barbarian’ showcases this take perfectly, coming across as a modernisation of classic Napalm Death or Discharge songs. Driving, with a nasty guitar tone and a throaty roar, the nasty ‘Delirium Tremens’ is next and from there there is very little let up in the pace. While not ultra full throttle like Nasum or Bezerker, Marginal inject a pretty decent turn of pace and their socio-political lyrics fit very well within this framework. The barrelling ‘Impaled’ is a personal favourite, but you would struggle to find a bad track here.

Rampant, grinding and raw, ‘Total Destruction’ is a non stop ride through a world of industrial misery, corruption and greed where everything is fucked. Except the music. The music is very good. Marginal are bringing you the apocalypse, and it is a bloody and brutal ending.

‘Restus Corpus’ is the debut EP from Brazilian death metallers Blaspherion, and it is a short sharp kick in the gut. Lasting not even ten minutes, these South Americans lay waste with primal death metal carnage, and they self released back in April last year.

After the eerie, uneasy intro of ‘Transmutação das Almas’, immediately the tearing and skin shreding ravages of ‘Causa Mortis’ come to the fore. This is old school, with a raw and filthy production that renders the band gurgling and fetid. Thrashy riffs power the rabid ‘Restos Corpus’, and a dense growling vocal performance suits the simplicity of the execution. It is the kind of debut that bands want to make; setting out their agenda immediately with great skill and strength.

Blaspherion have made death metal here that is both primal, gurgling and yet chug heavy in its riffing too. Memorable and ancient sounding, ‘Restus Corpus’ is almost too short to appreciate immediately. Repeated spins unlocks all the raw, ugly death you could want.


I’m not sure what Australia has done to black metal bands, but so many seem to have gone off the deep end when it comes to their interpretations of the genre. The latest in a long line of seriously good Australian black metal is Arkheth, and you can tell by the artwork to ’12 Winter Moons Comes the Witches Brew’ that this isn’t going to go the way you’d expect. Transcending Obscurity are dropping this in February.

Opener ‘Trismegistus’ immediately strikes you with dissonant weirdness, with atonal riffing shrieking through a warped cosmos of black metal. Based on the teachings of Hermeticism, you can feel the otherwordly forces at work here; each riff and impassioned rasp is informed with magicks and voices from beyond our realm. ‘Dark Energy Equilibrium’ oozes with a quiet menace; layers of Deathspell Omega-esque work cascade between calm yet dangerous moments. ‘Where Nameless Ghouls Weep’ is like a horrendous psychedelic trip gone wrong, with queasy guitar tones stabbing through the folds of reality. Imagine White Zombie crossed with Blut Aus Nord. Isn’t that wrong? Yes, but Arkheth makes it seem almost right.

This is Arkheth’s third record, but their journey feels like it can only just be beginning. This duo have found a way to cross into other dimensions with ’12 Winter Moons…’ and it feels like the sound they bring back is only the start. The kind of madness one can weave with this talent is tantalising, frightening and addictive all at once. Wildly experimental, yet somehow cohesive and enthralling, Arkheth are disappearing into their own universe, and dragging us with them.

FS Projekt is a one man fantasy metal project from Moscow, Russia and he has kindly sent me a number of his EPs and singles to review. A revolving door of musicians assist Efes in realising his ideas and vision, and by following the discography through, it is interesting to see how the project evolves over time and over each release.

His first release, ‘The Birth of a Magus’ is a simplistic yet enthralling slab of power metal with some memorable choruses and nice riffing. You can feel a definitive influence from the likes of Gamma Ray or Helloween, which gradually evolves throughout his current discography. Early on there is a tendency to rely upon a more simple framework of early German power metal, and it later builds towards a more grandiose vision. The single ‘Za Khladny Gory…’ sees that build, adding more keyboard layers into the sound.

‘The Elven March’ is where the fantasy elements start to really build, and FS Projekt begins to progress towards a more Rhapsody style execution. Uber melodic, with a massive sense of scale and huge hooks are the order of the day, while the over-the-top feeling that some symphonic power metal can be is beginning to show. ‘The Harpy’ EP is where the true potential of FS Projekt becomes apparent. Balancing the desires to fully release the symphonics with a galloping sense of melody and traditional heavy metal aesthetics, you begin to realise the potential.

The discography can be found on Bandcamp, and I recommend ‘Crimson Sails’ from ‘The Harpy, ‘Fingolfin’ from their debut and the newest single, ‘Thy Creed’ as the best songs to check out. But if you’re into this kind of thing, you won’t be disappointed with any of it!


Spanish death metallers Come Back from the Dead’s new EP ‘Caro Data Vermibus’ is probably the quintessential example of what bands aim for when we come to old school death metal. Featuring members of Nashgul and Bokluk, Transcending Obscurity have brought us yet another gem and Kunal rarely misses on these things. It’s out now!

‘Vomits of a Demonic Infestation’ is very aptly titled, sounding like a bloodied, crusted mix of Autopsy and some nasty Swedish stuff like Dismember. Wild soloing punctures the riffs like a violent stab wound, while manic growls roar over the din. It’s all very simple, brutal and thoroughly effective. The production is swampy but there’s no issue with the clarity. Madness stirs in the churning title track, possessed by a malevolent main riff. The horrifying artwork speaks volumes for the music within, as each track is delivered with a keening insanity, whether it is the relentless Endless Bloodshed’ or the miasma of ‘Carnivorous Craving From Beyond’.

Coated in that strangely alluring Iberian darkness, Come Back from the Dead have dredged up some ancient Scandinavian/Floridian death and brought it forth with a gleeful, bloodied smile. Cacophonous, vibrant and desperately filthy, ‘Caro Data Vermibus’ has no filler and will leave you with a taste for more.

Ectoplasma cover 1000 x 1000.jpg

Greek death metallers Ectoplasma have found a home at Memento Mori to release their second full length record and, fittingly for Memento Mori, this is a properly old school death metal record, reeking of the most ancient birthplaces of the genre. ‘Cavern of Foul Unbeings’ is out on the 22nd January.

What fetid corruption writhes across the frets of the guitars conjuring the death metal within this record. It is harsh, ugly; thick with menace and accompanied by monstrous roars. Dragging early Death, Autopsy and the likes from their graves, sending invigorating shocks into the genre with a really heavy low end barrelling through. Guttural roars pair with a matted wall of death metal riffing, like a morbid vine patch entwining your fate. You cannot escape, and with the likes of the groaning ‘Seized in Cimmerian Darkness’ or the unearthly crush of ‘Mortified and Despised’, you probably wouldn’t want to.

The only minor complaint you might have is, at 52 minutes, it is a little long for an album of this style. I can manage it fine, some may not. Ectoplasma are excellent, and ‘Cavern of Foul Unbeings’ is a record that dredges those dank swamps for the primest of old school death metal. Brutal.


The fourth record from Sweden proto heavy metallers Oblivious embraces the awesome power of the riff to create an album that will resonate with you long after it finishes. ‘När Isarna Sjunger’ is out on the 9th of February through Swedish label Gaphals, and is already primed for many repeat spins this year. This is modern classic rock at its finest.

Opener ‘Det brinner i fjärran’ is a killer, with a chorus that’ll ring within your brain for days. Imbibing from the cauldrons of early Sabbath, but with a much more soulful and upbeat vibe, Oblivious are anthemic and, despite singing in their native tongue, instantly singalongable. I feel like I wanna learn Swedish just so I can belt these songs out properly. There are traces of Zeppelin and Deep Purple in here, as well as more modern influences like Graveyard but Oblivious are more than just a sum of parts. The soulful croon of the title track is a thing of subtle beauty, while the stomping ‘Fler än vad ni tror’ is due to be a classic.

Oblivious are injecting a new vitality into hard rock, and these Swedes are striding tall with ‘När Isarna Sjunger’. An album full of hooks, riffs and melodies a mile wide, by the time the glorious pastoral shades of ‘Hitta hem’ comes to a close, the realisation hits you that ‘När Isarna Sjunger’ is simply awesome.

Russian djent/math metal band SamadhiSitaram’s new record ‘Kaliyuga Babalon’ is crashing down upon us, courtesy of Sliptrick Records. This massive sounding album came out last summer, but I’ve only just got around to finding it hidden in amongst my emails. This proves there’s always a reason to go searching back in old mail sometimes!

After a dramatic, string loaded intro piece, the band kick it into thunderous djent territory with the spiralling death torrent of ‘Kali-Yuga’. Huge riffs, packed with unimaginable groove and off kilter timing, cascade upon you while a Nergal-like vocal performance adds similar heft. The monstrous chug of ‘The Death of a Stone’ is devastating, stabbing outward with solo leads. Electronic, almost 8bit sounds bleep across juddering machine-like riffing, and you can feel an underlying Fear Factory influence creeping into the Meshuggahisms. ‘Kaliyuga Babalon’ is designed as if a soulless machine that has perfected the churning maelstrom of death.

Chunky, dense and ruthless, SamadhiSitaram apply a cold and ruthless streak to the often ethereal and open genre of djent. This is death metal laced with unfeeling technical knowhow. It feels claustrophobic, crushing and during the mammoth ‘Orgy (Ritual Babalon), ritualistic in its single mindedness. Rare moments of space and melody appear, but this is a constricting, serpentine display of sheer brute force.

Scaphism - Unutterable Horrors

Released in the last few days, the second record from Boston’s Scaphism is titled ‘Unutterable Horrors’, and it looks to improve on their debut ‘Festering Human Remains’, out in 2012. Horror Pain Gore Death Productions is handling this one, and it looks like they have found another low key gem in the American underground.

Opening with the excellently titled ‘Gruesome Unmentionables and Unutterable Horrors’, Scaphism immediately strike you as a band influenced by the early, rough and raw death metal bands. They lack the razor sharp finesse of modern death metal, coming across much more as disciples of early Death, Massacre or Malevolent Creation, and this suits thems well. Clattering drums assault the landscape while twisting guitar riffs layer labyrinthine walkways for us to travel upon. ‘Vaults of Pestilence’ has a cool, crawling chaos vibe that reminds me of Immolation’s earlier works, while the rumbling, rusted melodies of ‘Trepanate the Undesired’ is an unconscious earworm.

Simple but deathly effective, ‘Unutterable Horrors’ is a record designed purely to bring the thrashy roots of death metal back to the fore, and meld that into a modern sense of ugly and miasmic death metal. Scaphism’s work here is solid and utterly charming in its execution, reminding us all about how death metal used to sound before Pro-Tools and shiny artwork took over.