Archive for the ‘ALERT: Awesome new music’ Category

Monsterworks - Scale and Probability

Monsterworks are a group of incredibly proficient New Zealanders, dropping no less than 15 full length records since their debut record in 2000, and ‘Scale and Probability’ is yet another thrashy progressive metal journey. It was released independently in May.

Opener ‘The Great Silence’ contains many different elements throughout its 8 minute run time. There’s some latter-period Tool-esque polyrhythms underpinning some cool soulful leads, while a dose of heavy, deaththrash moments keeps your head nodding. ‘Weight of Emptiness’ rumbles onward with a little bit of sludge heaviness in amongst the proggy bits. ‘Scale and Probability’ is a conceptually challenging record, exploring the mysteries of finding extraterrestrial life and how it’ll probably never happen, but despite this complex narrative, the music keeps you entertained. ‘The Reveal’ is an earworm, before the meandering ‘Ockham’s Razor’ leads us to our finish. That’s the thing about ‘Scale and Probability’; it’s a really good record, it’s just not a great one.

Having no previous experience with the band, I don’t know how their sound has progressed over the myriad releases but their judicious use of death/thrash elements within a progressive framework is interesting, and the labyrinthine song structures never leave you feeling cold and lost. ‘Scale and Probability’ may have a lofty concept, but Monsterworks keep it grounded in a record you’ll enjoy but maybe not rush back to.

https://monsterworks.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/monsterworks/

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Vanhelga - Fredagsmys

Swedish black metallers Vanhelga released their fifth and most rounded record this June, ‘Fredagsmys’, through Osmose Productions, and it really is a culmination of everything they have built upon since their formation. Vanhelga translates as ‘profane’, and this record explores the darker side of human nature.

Opener ‘Sömnparalys’ is bleak and cold, but is also rife with the kind of Swedish black metal riffs that made Dissection so beloved. There is no shortage of ferocity and black metal tremolo waves, but there is plenty of epic melodies galloping throughout as well. The melancholic ‘Psykotisk Självinsikt’ is a wonderfully evocative piece, oozing with an almost gothic feel. The emotive ‘Ensam Mot Alla’ is a mere drop in a pool of melancholic grandeur, where black metal interplays sadly with gloomy atmospheres. The howling loneliness of ‘Keep the Window Closed’ accentuates the almost My Dying Bride level of misery.

‘Fredagsmys’ is a record that exudes fragility through its ferocity. Fearsome and strong, yet tremblingly weak in places, Vanhelga blends weeping gloom with bleak black metal fury to create a masterpiece. ‘Fredagsmys’ may not be the most ‘pure black metal’ record you’ll here this year, but it could be the most ‘pure’ black metal record. Nothing touches the bleak emotions felt here.

https://music.vanhelga.com/

https://www.facebook.com/officialvanhelga

http://osmoseproductions-label.com/bands/vanhelga/

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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/

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/

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/

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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/