Archive for August, 2018

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/

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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/

 

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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/

The ultra cult flag bearer of Chilean Black/death, Invocation Spells are back with their fourth collection of unholy hymns of hatred and filth, ‘Spread Cruelty in the Abyss’, which is out now through Hells Headbangers. Following their superb ‘The Flame of Hate’ record, released last year on HH too, this has a legacy to live up to.

‘Ruins of Cemetery’ begins with a cruel, chugging riff that has the most killer necro guitar tone, before speeding off towards Hades itself. Guttural bellows accompany riffs that start at early Kreator then vanish deep into the depths of earth. Molten Slayerisms spiral from the brutal ‘Victims of Doom’, while the speed metal energy of ‘Spread Cruelty’ is a sight of the evolution of Invocation Spells. No longer content to just be thrashy, blackened necro bastards, their song writing is becoming more nuanced and more memorable with every release.

The vocals are unhinged growls and screams that sound as if they are separated from you by a layer of murk; indistinct in lyric but clear in intention. These are two guys who aim to slash and maim with their instruments, with the serrated slice of ‘Old Rites’ and the rusting blade of ‘From the Graves’, they’re going to achieve that quite readily. Blasting forth in a mere 26 minutes, ‘Spread Cruelty in the Abyss’ is a record that is both a perfect length and over too soon. Invocation Spells are a standout of the Chilean scene, but their musical record speaks for itself and plants them firmly at the top. This is another killer weapon in their arsenal for upcoming tours and releases.

https://www.facebook.com/InvocationSpells/

https://invocationspells.bandcamp.com/album/spread-cruelty-in-the-abyss

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/

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The third and possibly most anticipated album from Finland’s Bonehunter is ‘Children of the Atom’, and the collision of classic Bathory, punk and death/thrash has never been more vibrant. Due out on Hells Headbangers in September, I was a big fan of their ‘Evil Triumphs Again’ debut so this looks to be another gem.

Wrapped in awesome Joe Pentagno artwork, thrashy opener ‘Demonic Nuclear Armament’ sets the stage perfectly with its raspy mix of early Sodom and Bathory, but shot through with some cool punkish guitar parts. This is an incredibly hooky record, with every song having some part of it being really catchy. A very primal form of deaththrash, ‘The Reek of Reaper’s Scythe’ is a manic stabbing of a track, while the title track gallops like a more vicious NWOBHM heyday track. In fact, the whole thing reminds me of a more polished version of one of my favourite bands of the last few years, Hellripper.

It’s nice to get a break from all hell for leather though, the slower doomy section of ‘Black Star Carcass’ is a nice change of pace, before the blastbeats return with a vengeance, and the cool solo in ‘Spider’s Grave’ also mixes it up a little. Sure, the bread and butter is blackened deathy thrash but Bonehunter show that you can dip in and out of other genres and speeds without sacrificing intensity. Still, ‘Children of the Atom’ is at its best when barrelling forward like a runaway train, and the Motorhead-like ‘Cybernetic Vampirism’ is a perfect example of that.

Scouring the best parts of old Sodom and Bathory, cranking up the intensity and then dropping melody nukes right on top of it, ‘Children of the Atom’ is an absolutely beast of a record; monstrous and ferocious and yet insanely catchy. Why can’t everything be like this?!

https://bonehunter-finland.bandcamp.com/album/children-of-the-atom

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/

https://www.facebook.com/bonehuntermetal/