Archive for August, 2018

Malthusian album cover.jpg

Due to come out at the end of September, the dark, dense death metal of Ireland’s Malthusian is something evil to behold. Their debut full length is ‘Across Deaths’, and this is the highly anticipated follow up to their stunning EP ‘Below the Hengiform’, and its release is coming through an Invictus Productions and Dark Descent joint effort

Huge, driving forces power the opening track ‘Remnant Fauna’, which hits immediately with hurricane force. A wall of punishing death metal, taking great swathes of Immolation-esque riffing and cranking up the layering to the max. Cavernous roars growl from the raging maelstrom, while atonal melodies flit into view. The band merge the relentlessness of black metal into ‘Across the Expanse of Nothing’ where torrents of riffs flow like a raging river of blood, while the doomy crush of ‘Primal Attunement – The Gloom Epoch’ sways and almost topples into obscure depths. The otherworldly instrumentation in this, coupled with harrowing shrieks, is particularly affecting.

‘Across Deaths’ is a record of unbelievable heaviness, and almost Portal like density. Not quite as labyrinthine as those Australians but Malthusian plow deep furrows to draw riffs from. Suffocatingly heavy, overflowing with complex riffing and drumming, and capped with an unholy vocal performance, ‘Across Deaths’ is one of the best death metal records this year.

https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/album/across-deaths

https://www.facebook.com/malthusianDM

https://invictusproductions.net/

http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/

Austrian black metallers Sanguinary Trance have just recently released ‘Wine, Song and Sacrifice’, a three track EP that has been about four years in the making. A journey back to the depths of the 90s is on the cards here, a heyday that the genre has struggled to compete with even to this day.

The droning, buzzing title track builds slowly, bringing to mind early Burzum with the incessant hum. It then explodes into relentless blasting, with a mesmerising atmosphere beset by shrieking fury. There is an epic scale of course, but the really interesting parts come within the labyrinthine melodies that play out within the frozen blizzarding riffing. There is a lot of early Darkthrone stuff in there too, and it feels like a lost second wave record come to light. ‘Carvings’ has a more measured, denser tone to it that brings a little Deathspell Omega to the table, while the closing ‘The Dionysis Whip’ has lots of weird atonal melody lines screaming through it. Almost psychedelic in nature, waves of these melodies overwhelm your senses.

‘Wine, Song and Sacrifice’ is a bloodstained love letter to the most iconic of black metal times, but with an unmistakably unique viewpoint on it. With some unforgettable moments that set your teeth on edge and make your hair stand on end, Sanguinary Trance are indeed trance invoking and the feelings it conjures are black magickal.

https://sanguinarytrance.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/winesongsacrifice/

British one woman atmospheric black metaller YYLVA’s debut full length, ‘The Wood Beyond the World’ is due to drop in September, and is the brainchild of Clare Webster, best known for her work with gothic doom gems Edenfall. Evocative, windswept and epic on every scale, follow YYLVA back to a time of mysteries and mist.

Hiding beneath that glorious, ethereal artwork is a record that oozes atmospheric grace. Key to this poised and haunting record is the mastery of the harp, first draping itself across the ghostly ‘A Foreshadowing’, and wielded like a gossamer rapier throughout. It infuses the music with a misty, ancient Celtic vibe that fits well with the aesthetics. ‘A Sidhe in Throes’ drifts like forgotten voices in bleak forests; soaring vocals weave within blastbeats and harsh riffing. Tarja-era Nightwish is clearly a strong influence here, as is the howl of ethereal black metal like Saor or Panopticon.

‘Nepenthe’ has an excellent gothic doom heft about it, bleeding over from Edenfall, while ‘Aurorae’ is the piece de resistance in a record that never fails to affect you deeply. Again the gentle harp in ‘Waterwings’ is mesmerising, and provides a gentle escape from the more lengthy tracks. Nothing here feels overwrought however; no song is long for the sake of being long. In fact, with two tracks over 11 minutes and two that are almost nine, ‘The Wood Beyond the World’ flies in. I scarcely believed it was over when the tinkling close of ‘Niënor’ came.

‘The Wood Beyond the World’ is a record balanced on the edge of fragility; a delicate and beautiful collection of songs hovering above a churning abyss of black metal. Never quite descending to complete blackness, but never too light and airy, YYLVA conjures views of olden forests, snow drifting through ancient clearings, and a slowing blackening sky.

https://yylvaofficial.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.yylva-official.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/yylvaofficial

Raw Decimating Brutality - Era Matarruana

Portuguese grinders Raw Decimating Brutality’s new record, ‘Era Matarruara’ is fifteen tracks of unhinged brutality designed purely to smash your face in. It is out now through Vomit Your Shirt Records and is a fine 28 minute exercise in extremity.

Possessed of the same spirit as the likes of Wormrot or Rotten Sound, ‘Era Matarruana’ attacks with a maddening fury, each track burning with blastbeats, ravaged by deathly riffs and beset by vicious growls and screams. Basically like every good quality grindcore record you can think of. ‘Roda em Chamas’ is catchy, in the same way a tropical disease is, while ‘Sob a Égide do Deus Cornudo’ has a killer, Dismember-like guitar tone to it. In fact, Raw Decimating Brutality are clearly influenced by death metal strongly, considering the amount of chunky riffing and admittedly catchy melodies seeping through all the brutal blasting.

‘Era Matarruana’ zips past with razorblade aplomb, kicking ass and slitting throats as it goes. Like all great grindcore records, it minimises the fucking about and maximises the savagery. Incorporating a chunky death metal riff sound helps immensely, and there is no track that lets you down. Raw Decimating Brutality live up to their name indeed.

https://rdbgrindmusic.bandcamp.com/album/era-matarruana

https://www.vomityourshirt.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RDBgrind/

Bodies on Everest - A National Day of Mourning

British noise/sludge/drone enthusiasts Bodies on Everest have released this… this monstrous beast called ‘A National Day of Mourning. An abrasive mix of noise, drone and miserable sludge all compacted into one, it plows a new furrow in the search for extreme music’s farthest reaches. It is out now through Third I Rex Records.

Opener ‘Unreleaseddeathvideo.flac’ hums ominously, building towards a crumbling, cacophonous conclusion. Imagine what the opening of Hell might sound like, and you’re close. Apocalyptic samples float amongst the crackling feedback, while a clutching hand reaches fpr a thread of your psyche, ready to unravel it as the oppressive ‘Tally of Sevens’ crawls on. Imagine the blackened drone of Sunn0)))) melting into the most choking of Godflesh’s works and you’d be close. Imagine the rumble of Conan but filtered through tar and a black hole. Imagine Killing Joke and Iron Monkey make a record together, and you’d get the insistent nihilism of ‘Suspicious Canoe’.

Keep imagining, but you’ll never quite get close enough to really classify this aural miasma. The awesome crush of ‘Tally of Sevens’, the sinister storytelling of the monolith ‘Gold Fangs in Enemy Territory’, the ‘man in a robot insane asylum’ creeps of ‘Shotgun or Sidearm’; this is a record like nothing you’ve ever experienced. By the end of the mind crippling closer ‘Who Killed Yale Gracey’, you’ll never be the same. You will, however, be reaching for the play button just one… more… time…

https://3rdirex.bandcamp.com/album/a-national-day-of-mourning

https://www.facebook.com/bodiesoneverestband/

Eye of Solitude - Slaves to Solitude

The fifth full length from London’s Eye of Solitude continues their dark and miserable journey into the darkest parts of funeral doom. ‘Slaves to Solitude’ is only five tracks, but stretches to almost an hour, so you know that there is some epic misery coming your way. This is out now

The monstrous, dirging ‘The Blind Earth’ draws us from our earthly homes and takes us by the hand into the gloom. Titan riffs crash through the murk, while powerful growls roar like a fell wind through your mind. It is so vast, so dense it is almost unbearably heavy upon your shoulders. ‘Still Descending’ is, somehow, even more morose and bleak. Occasionally piano notes and the clean vocals add melancholy and an air of the fragile. Cracks within a mighty wall, where the merest hints of the sadness underneath can show through.

Carving riffs from cyclopean cliffs, and drawing vocals from the deepest and most foul abysses, Eye of Solitude have created something magnificent here. ‘Slaves to Solitude’ is huge, depressing and an unbearable weight upon your psyche. Nothing should be this heavy, but somehow it is. The sound of mountains crumbling, tectonic plates rending, the voice of death itself. Stunning.

http://eyeofsolitude.com/

https://www.facebook.com/eyeofsolitudeband/

Sodomic Baptism - Black Fire Pandemonium

Belarussian death metallers Sodomic Baptism’s debut full length ‘Black Fire Pandemonium’ came out late last year through underground Mexican label Iron, Blood and Death Corporation, and this is a label that seems to find some excellent music from obscure depths. Prepare to face blasphemous rituals unknown…

The opening title track ripples wth dark energies; devastating riffs play out under powerful roars, while the whole beast is propelled by a potent drumming performance. Demonic influences play across the crushing ‘Angel of Death’, while the organ led ‘Conception of Beast’ is a perfect example of where subtle keyboard moments really help to ramp up the Satanic and occult references. Sinister menace haunts the rumbling ‘Rex Stachus’, whilst blasphemous fury coats the storming ‘Legion Noctis’ in fire and brimstone.

While you may not find anything particualrly new or cutting edge here, Sodomic Baptism’s fire, energy and ferocious assault is a welcome distraction from the hells of modern life. Not all extremity needs to be new, and the nuances of ‘Black Fire Pandemonium’ reveal themselves with each listen. Fearsome, powerful and heavy, it’s everything you need.

https://www.facebook.com/SodomicBaptism/

https://sodomicbaptism.bandcamp.com/

https://ironbloodanddeath.bandcamp.com/

Valyria - Into the Dying of Time

Canadian ‘more death than power’ metallers Valyria return to us with their first full length album after a strong EP debut. ‘Into the Dying of Time’ came out around May time with an independent release, and it really adds a bite of melodeath to their progressive, power metal moments.

After a dramatic, keyboard led intro piece (‘Final Empire’), first track proper ‘Steel Inquisition’ brings a strong comparison to the likes of Wintersun and Kiuas with the galloping guitar melodies, punishing double kicks and a soaring melodic power that matches the intensity. Based upon the ‘Mistborn’ saga of Brandon Sanderson, one of my favourite fantasy series, I must admit a little pre-bias on this, but this is an absolute stormer of a track. The guitar work is often technical and epic, while the massive choruses in the likes of ‘Floating World’ and ‘Tome of Shattered Vessels’ especially are instantly memorable and fist pumping. The grandiose scale is met well and truly equally by a heaviness that is often lacking in power metal pomposity.

I cannot help but be a sucker for well done, heavy power metal and Valyria hit the spot for me perfectly. There’s a fine blend of heavy riffing and epic, sweeping scale, where it isn’t over the top or ridiculous. Valyria haven’t succumbed entirely to the operatic/falsetto realms of power metal, and with the extra bite provided in here, that is to be applauded. ‘Into the Dying of Time’ is a stellar slab of modern, technical and epic metal.

https://www.facebook.com/ValyrianSteelCanada

https://valyriansteelcanada.bandcamp.com/

Skullcrush - Visions of the Firestorm Eclipse

The debut EP from Arizona’s Skullcrush, ‘Visions of the Firestorm Eclipse’, immediately strikes you with the monochrome cover, which is unusual in today’s death metal landscape, but yet totally fits their primeval roar. This dropped in July through Camo Pants Records, and is a hefty four tracks of death.

The second most striking part of this EP is the nasty guitar tone, that runs through opener ‘Spectacle of Suffering’ like a rusting chainsaw, while a cavernous roar howls like a fell wind from above. Primal and manic, Skullcrush immediately strike for the fences with a strong opening. ‘Mists of Blood’ stalks like a death-like predator, lumbering upon victims and clawing limbs to shreds. If you like your death metal in the form of Bolt Thrower crossed with the evil atmospheres of Immolation, then Skullcrush is the stuff for you.

‘Entrails Ablaze’ is great too, but the closer ‘Hellwater’ is where Skullcrush shine brightest. A monstrous, churning miasma of death, Skullcrush really nail their sound here. Definitely worth tracking down this EP, and hopefully some more stuff will appear in the near future, as ‘Visions of the Firestorm Eclipse’ is a brutal opening salvo!

https://camopantsrecords.bandcamp.com/

 

cover-promo.jpg

A young Norwegian death metal group that is taking a journey back through the eldritch mists of ancient riffs, Sepulcher’s new release ‘Panoptic Horror’ is due out on the 14th of September through Edged Circle Productions, and is a worthy follow up to their stellar ‘Mausoleum Tapestry’ debut.

The howling clatter of opener ‘Corporeal Vessels’ is a delightful introduction to this band for me. There is a reek of olden death about the guitar tone, while necrotic fingers fly through maddening solos and rabid vocals hurl blasphemous legends across. There is a satisfying crunch to the rumble of ‘Towards an Earthly Rapture’, and a crusty, dirging venom that seeps through ‘Corrupting the Cosmos’ which is totally awesome. ‘Ethereal Doom’ is a frenzied thrashing beast, showing that perhaps the ‘D’ in d-beat stands for death. Capturing the oft-forgotten roots of death metal from thrash, the likes of ‘Scourge of Emptiness’ move with an intensity and a pace that is refreshingly different from the Autopsy worship of their peers.

Sepulcher aren’t just playing ‘OLD SKOOL’ death metal, they are visiting the roots of heavy music itself, and bringing new levels of rage to the surface. Sounds that have been hiding for a long while. ‘Panoptic Horror’ is a vista of this new abyss; where sounds of evil and frenzy are carved anew from the cliffs of time. A superb piece of work.

https://www.facebook.com/sepulcherband

https://www.edgedcircleproductions.com/