Archive for June, 2018

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The rerelease of Droid’s superlative debut ‘Terrestrial Mutations’ on LP by Shadow Kingdom Records should be an event shouted from the rooftops. Originally put out last year, this will hopefully bring Droid to a bigger fanbase, as their technical thrash is a sight to behold. It is due for release early in August.

Opener ‘Amorphous Forms (Shapeless Shadows)’ gives you a little taste immediately of the kind of technical wizardry these guys can pull off. Spiralling guitar melodies wrap around some very Voivodian tones and labyrinthine riffing threatens to derail your mind at any moment. But Droid always reel you back in from the edge of technical insanity with solid songwriting underneath. It’s all very good slapping loads of riffs and notes together but if you don’t have a coherent song structure, then who cares? Droid care, and that’s why you get the hooks of ‘Cosmic Debt’, the galloping pit fodder of ‘Abandon Celestial State’ and the stunning structural intricacies of ‘Mission Drift’. It all builds an image of a band that are more concerned with getting their talents in line with their songs than just dazzling with musicianship.

‘Terrestrial Mutations’ is gloriously complexy but still capable of igniting a pit or two with their adherence to the basics of thrash. An air guitarist’s wet dream, but with beautifully written songs, Droid are staggering and this record is the proof. I love it, and you should as well.

https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/terrestrial-mutation

https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DroidDroidDroid/

The onslaught of barbaric black metal that prolific Japanese band Abigail brings is probably best summed up by the title of their new EP, ‘Far East Black Metal Onslaught’. This latest burst of blasphemy is due out in August through Helldprod Records, and looks to do nothing more than reassert themselves as the kings of underground Satanic panic.

Opening with ‘Unholy Bestial Fire’, cacophonous madness sprays from the speakers like the aural equivalent of barbed wire. Blackened thrash riffs fight against ragged shrieks and growls for position, with neither losing. The rabid majesty of ‘Nuclear Hammer’ is, frankly, intense as fuck. Abigail are not here to let anyone in easily; no their modus operandi is to destroy everything in site using the nastiest, fastest riffing they can slam together.

Reading from the codex necro, Abigail’s material is about as raw and fast as you can go, and yet it never feels purely one dimensional. Their music always has little doses of melody, even if all it is a thrashing solo ripping through like Kerry King on speed. ‘Far East Black Metal Onsalught’ is self explanatory, but it is also fucking awesome.

https://helldprod.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ABIGAILBARBATOS-208365735859610/

Image result for disembowel plagues and ancient rites

Chilean black/death monsters Disembowel are a particularly nasty proposition, with their debut full length ‘Plagues and Ancient Rites’ steeped in the most gruesome and morbid of filth. Released in March through Iron Bonehead Productions, this Lovecraft inspired tome has summoned something rather ghoulish from eldritch depths.

After the haunting chants of ‘Innsmouth Evocation’, the ‘Lord of Shadows’ appears with grinding death metal riffing and brutal vocals. ‘Plagues and Ancient Rites’ is a record heavy with traditional death metal power, and it is suffocating under a miasmic fog of otherworldly dread. The driving Grave-isms of ‘IA! IA! Nyarlathotep!’ is particularly potent, but throughout there is a gnawing, scratching insanity permeating each song. You can feel it in the maddeningly heavy ‘Ancient Cult of Chthulu’, like there’s something scratching at the edge of your reality, begging to get inside and cause chaos.

When Disembowel strike your ears, you will be given a lesson in death metal greatness. There’s something breeding deep in the darkest areas of South America, and this is where Disembowel have crawled from. The songs are tight, brutal and shrouded with the kind of ancient mysteries that most bands dream about attaining. High quality stuff, and I look forward to more.

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/album/disembowel-plagues-and-ancient-rites

http://www.ironbonehead.de/

Witchfyre - Grimorium Verum 12x12cm.jpg

The debut album from Spanish true metallers Witchfyre is due out through Fighter Records in August, and ‘Grimorium Verum’ looks to follow the likes of Candle and Portrait in bringing a bit of theatrics and King Diamond back into heavy metal thunder. Fighter Records is a new division of Xtreem Records, and their roster is stacked with greatness so I expect a lot of this.

‘Devil’s Child’ sets out the stall rather quickly, with some classic heavy metal licks instantly providing some fist clenching joy. Joy is probably the most frequent feeling listening to this record, with gleeful NWOBHM riffs galloping through the fantastic ‘No Rest for the Witched’, while stupid grins will spread across faces during ‘Night Hunter’. Witchfyre have got this magic about them that just has this joyous, infectious greatness.

In this oversaturated, downturned eyes world of modern metal where everyone needs to be more kvlt or more real or more trve, it is refreshingly invigorating to experience a band like Witchfyre. There’s no fucks given, there’s just classic heavy metal work performed with enthusiasm, heart and passion. Try to keep your horns down with tracks like ‘The Guardian of the Dead’, and you will certainly fail.

https://www.facebook.com/WitchfyreMetal

http://www.fighter-records.com/

https://www.facebook.com/fighter.records

Wombbath - The Great Desolation

Swedish death metal is, and will forever be, a favourite genre of mine, So many of the seminal bands in my understanding and absorption of death metal have come these frozen shores, and Wombbath have reappeared after an almost 20 year hiatus to bring us their follow up to 2015’s Downfall Rising’. Their ‘Infernal Caustic Torments’ debut in 1993 is a lost gem of the scene, and Wombbath show no sign of letting us forget about them again. It is out now on Soulseller Records!

‘Embrace Death’ instantly forms gratifying memories of chainsawing riffs and howling roars. Everything you could find lurking inside a Swedeath album is here, from the buzzing riffs to the insidious grasp of both speed and melody. Wombbath craft hearty riffing around a powerful bass and drum performance, while the blood gargling roar of vocalist Jonny Petterson is hauntingly perfect for such displays of ferocity. The flailing rage of ‘Harvester of Sin’ is a personal highlight, as is the rampant assault of ‘Cold Steel Salvation’ and the soaring melody of ‘Born of Filth’ but you’d be hard pressed to find a track that isn’t banging.

Wombbath wield these songs like ancient weapons of war, losing none of their original fire while bringing a sense of authenticity to a scene that loves to steal from the icons without proper respect. ‘The Great Desolation’ is a record that fits amongst the greats, not graverobbing all their ideas. Totally recommended.

https://www.facebook.com/Wombbath

http://www.soulsellerrecords.com/

Extremity - Coffin Birth

Californian death metallers Extremity burst onto the scene with last year’s ‘Extremely Fucking Dead’ EP, and they’ve got a full length record out very soon on respected label 20 Buck Spin. ‘Coffin Birth’ looks to be another stellar 2018 death metal release, and we’re on for a year that’ll rival the great years of death metal in the past.

The ghostly organ notes opening the record is a little bit of a swerve, as when the brutality kicks in after a minute or so you are caught off guard. Then pummelled mercilessly for another 40 minutes as Extremity smash you with every old school death metal trope under the blood red sky. The chunky riffing of ‘Where Evil Dwells’ is excellent, and you find little influences from bands sneaking in, like the atonal melody of the Immolation-like ‘Grave Mistake’, and the grinding madness of ‘Occision’. Extremity don’t necessarily reinvent the wheel here, but their wheel is highly polished, covered in blood and spinning in the bloody carcasses of the recently deceased.

Piles of corpses litter the world that Extremity live in, where their death metal rages with tremendous force and venom. ‘Coffin Birth’ is a record that’ll appeal to all but the most soulless death metaller, as it is full of gore soaked riffs of dewath. And it is so damn fun!

https://www.facebook.com/extremedeath

https://www.20buckspin.com/

Beldam - Pasung

Sludge doom collective Beldam’s sophomore record, ‘Pasung’, is a statement regarding true nihilistic heaviness. Dropping in late January, Horror Pain Gore Death Productions have put this out and it truly is one of the nastiest things to be released this year. Join me on a dark journey through misery, filth and black abysses.

New vocalist Randall Guidry really elevates this record instantly with the tortured, rasping growls he lays down in opener ‘Vial of Silence’; a choking, roiling swamp of a track where massive riffs rumble with tectonic depth. Abyssal rage coughs from the suffocating ‘Sunken Sorceress’, who coils black magic tendrils about this sludgey menace. Absorbing the grinding doom from early Sabbath and filtering out some of the more abrasive moments from EyeHateGod, Beldam drags this genre into new and terrifying locales. ‘Shed the Coil’ has a brutal, almost Autopsy vibe to it in parts, while the driving groove of ‘Carrion Feast’ is righteous in its nihilistic grind.

‘Pasung’ is a record that I have overlooked in the past six months, but now hearing it for the first time realise that there have been few records that truly capture the feeling of hopelessness found in Beldam’s work. This is raw emotion, coated in thick blood and set to mighty riffs of doom. ‘Pasung’ is a record that should not be lost or ignored, but raised on a filth encrusted pedestal as a monument, and a warning, to those who follow.

https://www.facebook.com/BeldamOfficial/

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/pasung

http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/store/hpgd164.html

A one man, psychedelic progressive death metal project from the US, ISA is certainly an interesting and unique prospect in this overfilled world of extremity. A self released piece, ‘Chimera’ certainly lives up to its many headed, ferocious namesake.

The dreamy ‘[dusk]’ swells into the scatterbrained ‘Stage I: Descent’, which swings between nasty scowling deathroars and lush acoustics. The rest of the album follows this method, swaying wildly from heavy brutality and sweet melodic goodness. Not quite djenty but definitely aware of a good groove riff or two, the crush of ‘Stage VI: Lust’ is excellent. But it’s all the space in between the heaviness that appeals to me here. The dreamy rumblings of ‘Stage V: Reflections’ is beautiful, while the meandering ‘Stage VIII: Ocean’ is a perfect combination of everything we’ve come across already on this record.

At all times ethereal, ‘Chimera’ is an interesting blend of death metal and some truly psyched out melodic moments that give you all kinds of good feelings. Clearly a labour of love, ISA’s work here is a credit to him and his vision, as ‘Chimera’ is a sprawling, ambitious work of modern heaviness.

https://dcurhan.bandcamp.com/album/chimera

https://www.facebook.com/isadanband

altar of perversion - intra naos cover.jpg

This mammoth release of Italian black metallers Altar of Perversion is a collaboration between The Ajna Offensve and Norma Evangelium Diaboli, and is the second full length record after their iconic debut, 2001’s ‘From Dead Temples’. ‘Intra Naos’ is two CDs, 114 minutes of serpentine, scathing black metal vastness, and it is out now!

The opener ‘Adgnosco Veteris Vestigia Flammae’ is a twenty minute leviathan, crossing spaces between battering blasphemy, crawling menace and even soaring melody. Altar of Perversion may be raw in spirit, but their music has plenty of layers to it. The eerie acoustics that open ‘She Weaves Abyssal Riddles and Eorthean Gates’ are creepy and definitely work as part of the more atonal nature of this track. It is a truly impressive feat to create a black metal record that is so long and so faithful to the origins of the genre without becoming mindnumbingly boring. There’s dashes of Blut Aus Nord style tonality, sweeping atmospheric black metal sections and enough blastbeats to destroy any conceptions that this is ‘progressive nonsense’.

Be it through the swelling evil of ‘Cosmic Thule, Inner Temple’ or the labyrinthine twists of ‘Through Flickering Stars, They Seep’. Altar of Perversion have created a masterclass in black metal here. Almost two hours and not a moment is wasted, ‘Intra Naos’ is exactly how black metal should sound; different, raging and absorbing.

https://www.theajnaoffensive.com/

http://www.noevdia.com/