Archive for October, 2018

Kobold - Death Parade

Serbian thrashers Kobold’s new record, ‘Death Parade’, has frankly terrible album art. But that’s a small criticism of a debut full length that has a potent energy and endless enthusiam that you wish would infect a lot of thrash bands these days. It is out now through the band’s Bandcamp page.

You get that feeling straight away with a short intro, and then the thrash kicks into gear with ‘Death Parade’. This is a record that immediately pulses with a sense of joyous excitement to be thrashing, without overly ponderous moments to kill the vibe. You are getting a hefty dose of Sacred Reich, Overkill and the like, while the speed of some of the riffing is nothing short of heroic. Thrash can become very boring without energy, and Kobold brings the energy hard. The chunky, modern Death Angel-esque ‘Fake’ is a banger, along with the savage ‘When the Eyes Turns Inward’ and the lightning fast soloing of ‘Headless Horseman’.

The only complaint really is that ‘Death Parade’ could maybe do with a little bit of judicious trimming to bring down that almost hour runtime. It feels a little long in points and could maybe lose a song or two later on. But as debut thrash records go, it is as old school as they come and that is to be applauded. Fists in the air and get fucking thrashed!

Haiduk - Exomancer

I reviewed (and subsequently got myself a copy) Haiduk’s ‘Demonicon’ record from 2015, available to read here, and found it to be well written if lacking a little in variety. Well their new record, ‘Exomancer’, does not fall into those same issues, and is out now self released.

Opener ‘Death Portent’ is a roiling, weaving black metal thrillride, with awesome riffing, evil melodies and it just sets up what is to come beautifully. ‘Exomancer’ is a record full of moments where the music makes you just feel right. The spidery riffs in the middle of ‘Doom Seer’, the creepy tonal changes of ‘Icevoid Nemesis’ and the blistering savagery of ‘Blood Ripple’ are all points where you just say ‘FUCK YES!’. It is always refreshing to get that in an album these days. The almost Eastern tones of ‘Unsummon’ reminds me of Melechesh, and those tones emerge at numerous points throughout. This is not an album that says a lot through vocals, but a lot comes through the songwriting.

‘Exomancer’ has banished the sameyness of Haiduk’s previous work to become the beast we all hoped it could be. Sinister, spiralling, atonal and dark, ‘Exomancer’ is going to be an underrated gem from 2018, but let’s hope that it gets more attention. Haiduk’s work is glorious, cosmic darkness.

British sludge doom band Kurokuma are dropping a new EP called ‘Dope Rider’, based on a 1970s strip called Dope Rider in High Times magazine. That, sadly meant nothing to me, but after listening to this, I’m definitely going to check it out. I reviewed their last EP, ‘Advorsus’ here, and this is a good follow up.

Part 1 is a rumbling slab of sludgey doom, with more than a touch of classic Godflesh nihilism. The vocals switch from a throaty roar to a raspy scream, while a massive Crowbar riff groans and grinds through the middle. It has the same dense, smothering feeling that ‘Advorsus’ had in spades, but there is an addition of an almost hypnotic, psychedelic drone to it as well. Relaying the tales of a skeletal stoner cowboy through the medium of hazy, riff powered doom is probably the most apt meeting of minds in history. Part 2 is based on one of the original tales, and is a great slab of sonic assault, lumbering through smoke filled canyons.

‘Dope Rider’ is a great two track EP, and while I’d love to see this expanded into a full concept record, Kurokuma continue to build their reputation on the live circuit and give us just a taste of what is to come through these shorter releases. Get this now!


Space age black metal is a new concept for me, but Imperialist take the galloping black/thrash greatness of Necrophobic and Dissection, and give it a shiny, cosmic coat of paint with the stunnign new album ‘Cipher’. Expect great things from yet another top end release from my friends at Transcending Obscurity, released today as of this review!

The pseudo grandiosity of intro ‘Continuum’ soon gives way to spiralling cyberpunk black thrash goodness in ‘The Singularity’. You’re faced with some absolutely superb Bay Area style thrash, drowning in a thick, black metal tar that coats everything with a dose of rawness. The gallop of ‘Advent Anathema’ keeps things at a high pace, and the more overtly black metal elements begin to come into play. Raspy but clear vocals are a highlight, as are the cascading variety in riffs. Parts of ‘Chronochasm’ give you that imperious (sorry) vibe that latter Marduk gives you at times, while the icy bleakness of ‘Umbra Tempest’ plays into the vast, heartless realms of space motiff Imperialist are going for.

The icy bleakness of black metal really works with the concept of the endless blackness of space, and Imperialist manage to convey this well. Their songwriting is tight and expansive, and ‘Cipher’ is a record of dizzying highs and impressive scale. Ambitious, sprawling black metal that isn’t blackgaze is hard to find, so grab Imperialist while you can.


A harrowing trip through the psyche of fellow Spaniards Wormed’s Phlegethon, Lifelost are releasing ‘Dialogues from Beyond’ through Transcending Obscurity at the end of October, and despite its short running time is a darkly psychedelic black metal trip that is both expansive and violent. Actually, the Xasthur-esque band logo should’ve given it away sooner…

Opener ‘Malign Emanatio’ is dense, travelling along atonal pathways towards a darkened centre. It follows the same kind of style as the likes of Portal, Deathspell, Blut Aus Nord, with that little something that makes you feel uneasy. The sickening ‘Sepuchral Vault’ roils with queasy tremolo riffing, while rasping groans ooze from slippery melodies. A more oppressive, unsettling record you would struggle to find this year, and while the opening tones of ‘Metanoia’ saw through your nerves, you are reminded how black metal is supposed to be uncomfortable and evocative.

At only 23 minutes, ‘Dialogues from Beyond’ is disappointingly short, as you feel that Lifelost is just getting into its stride when the end of ‘Incorporeal Gate’ comes crashing through. But that will not stop you putting the whole thing right back on again. Like a nasty pharmaceutical addiction, this is a record that feels like you’re being poisoned but yet you cannot stop listening. Essential stuff.


Take three guesses at what kind of record ‘Splatterphobia’ is? Did the murderer wearing the Mortician shirt on the cover give it away? Well, the newest release from Italian macabre mischief makers Corpsefucking Art is their latest collection of brutality and gore. ‘Splatterphobia’ is due out in November through Comatose Music.

As you’d expect, this is classic death metal, drawing heavily from the likes of Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation. If it was a movie, it’d be an Evil Dead film, with riffs that would easily maim and dissect unsuspecting victims. The chug of ‘Black Sheep Terror’ is infectious, in a horrible zombie-virus type way, while the savagery of ‘Nightmare City’ is something to behold. What I really appreciate about Corpsefucking Art is that their death metal is brutal but not in the simple breakdown/pig squeal/breakdown formula. They’ve crafted a record that resembles the classic brutal death albums we remember, with a very old school vibe that is welcome. There’s nothing forgiving or derivative about the swollen rage of ‘Beyond the Holy Grounds’, and their cover of Cannibal classic ‘Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead’ more than does the original proud.

‘Splatterphobia’ is a chugging, menacing beast of a record, where old school slam meets a rabid, thrashy death metal that really hits the spot. Short, sharp and to the point, bloodstained riffs paint gory masterpieces within cool samples and guttural roars. Corpsefucking Art pay a fine tribute to the masters, and are beginning to rise towards becoming one themselves. Awesome.

Apatheia - Konstelacja dziur

Polish black metallers Apatheia have a grand legacy to live up to in their native land, and while it is totally unfair to judge them based on other Polish black metal luminaries, it is sadly inevitable. I will try hard not to. ‘Konstelacja Dziur’ is out now through the excellent Godz of War Productions.

Opener ‘Odmętnia’ hits immediately with a midpaced riff, before blasting takes over. There is an inherent coldness to this song, not in the typical ‘black metal is winter’ type cold, but more of a detached, heartless way. Burning riffs swoop in and out of sight, as scowling vocals rasp over the top. Apatheia have carved themselves a great sound; not too tinpot and rattling nor dense and indistinct. The production lends a thickness to the songs, but there is a clarity that enhances the fury of ‘Raj’ and especially the dark, atonal miasma of ‘Złudzenie Życia’.

‘Konstelacja Dziur’ is an album that provides exactly what you’d expect from a Polish black metal band. There’s great songwriting, dark and bleak atmosphere and a blasphemy that ripples quietly within. Apatheia are a triumphant example of what keeps the black metal flame burning.

Belgian deathcore upstarts When Plagues Collide release their debut full length, ‘Tutor of the Dying’ on the 1st of November, and it is already generating a bit of buzz with its symphonic leanings. You may be sick of deathcore by now, but you’ve probably not heard it interpreted like this before…

Opener ‘Messengers of the Holy Falsehood’ brings some dramatic orchestral backgrounds to a chugging, behemoth of a track. Breakdowns and savage vocals are king, but it is all haunted by a lonely piano that adds something slighty creepy to it. Don’t get me wrong, the majority of this record is still massive riffs, massive breakdowns and massive brutality, but I love how When Plagues Collide are interjecting symphonic elements. It’s like Fleshgod Apocalypse, only with less flair and more BROOTALZ. ‘Dictating Violence’ has a killer dose of speed to it, when the heft of the title track is designed to push you slowly but surely into the earth. The band haven’t quite got to the grandiose majesty of those aforementioned Italian masters, but they are worthy disciples.

In an effort to revitalise a genre that is at risk of suffocating under its own breakdowns and dude-bro nonsense, When Plagues Collide have strode off on their own path, cutting swathes through the competition with unique songs and an adventurous spirit. ‘Tutor of the Dying’ is a record that explores unconventional ideas but ties them into an appealing, brutal package of riffs. Familiar, and yet oddly new, this is a great release.

Dark, noisy sludgelords Vor have dragged themselves from the swampy, Spanish underground to bring us ‘Depravador’, a two man journey of apocalypse through music. Abrasive and violent, we are brought this latest release by Third I Rex Records.

The opening track showcases immediately the potency of this drums and bass combo, with dizzying low end throbbing with filthy, fuzzy tone. Hatred fuelled shrieks leap from behind each horrifying riff but this isn’t merely directionless noise. The grinding grooves of ‘Black Goat’ bring a very EyeHateGod vibe, while the crusty ‘Cudgel’ could sit comfortably on a Black Flag record. Vor’s music is diverse and heavy as fuck, never falling into one trick pony territory. Sludge meets noise meets hardcore punk attitude and the collision is nuclear.

The merciless, face destroying groove that permeates the filth encrusted monolith ‘Daga’ is only rivalled by the shrieking brutality of closer ‘Dark Fraga’. ‘Depravador’ is a record that pulses with a miasmic, tortured soul. It isn’t easy to categorise what Vor do, but it isn’t difficult to describe it. They contort, they disturb, they smother, they fucking rule.

Mexican melodic death/doom lords Matalobos followed up their debut record ‘Arte Macabro’ with their newest EP, ‘Until TIme Has Lost All Meaning’, released late last year on Concreto Records. I’ve only just come across this release, but I did enjoy their debut, self-titled EP from 2015, and have read a number of good things about this.

Opener ‘Of Ghosts and Yearning’ entices you in with a Latin-flavoured acoustic guitar, then mournful riffs cascade upon you. Matalobos hit all the usual reference points (Thergothon, Swallow the Sun etc) but they execute it really well, and you’d be hard pushed to criticise the naked honesty pushed through each riff and melancholic roar. ‘In Flesh Engraved’ brings in prime Paradise Lost moments too, a grumbling gothic death metal gem. Closing with the soulful ‘La Luz Del Día Muere’, a new avenue for melody opens for the future.

The next step in the growth of Matalobos, ‘Until Time Has Lost All Meaning’ is a powerful yet introspective piece, that relies not just on raw power and heaviness but a measured dose of gloomy melody too. Check it out.