Archive for the ‘ALERT: Awesome new music’ Category

Ashen Epitaph - The Formed Filth Enigma

Serbian death metallers Ashen Epitaph have taken their name from a Benediction song, so you can expect some similarly brutal death metal coming from within ‘The Formed Filth Enigma’. This is their third full length, and is just out on Grom Records now. Think Amon Amarth without the Vikings and adding more death metal, and you’ve got a good idea of where Ashen Epitaph are coming from.

A gloomy intro leads into the snarling ‘Fog, Mud, Loneliness’, a galloping riff laden beast with a ragged, poisonous guitar tone and a firm grasp of memorable riffs. There’s plenty of moments that remind you of Sweden’s greatest melodeath bands, from Amon Amarth to Arch Enemy to further back early Dark Tranquility or In Flames. ‘The Mirrorgallery’ has this feeling in spades, where thrashing death metal crunches through open melodic territory, dragging bloodied corpses behind.

For me though, the overriding joy of this record is how, despite the obvious melodic tendencies, the purity of brutal death metal riffing, growling and blasting drums is never lost. The devastating ‘The Wounds’, the chugging ‘Destroy All False Faiths’ or the brutal smash of ‘One More Nail’ keeps this record fully grounded in filthy, rampaging death metal. Ashen Epitaph have created a record to be proud of here; visceral, relentless and thoroughly enjoyable.

https://www.facebook.com/ashenepitaph/

http://www.gromrecords.net/

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Prostitution - Egyptian Blue

By looking at the cover, you’d expect Prostitution’s ‘Egyptian Blue’ to be a prog rock opus of epic proportions. But no, these New Yorkers are some vicious black metallers and this is their latest EP, coming on the heels of 2013’s ‘Listless’. Their sound spreads from Darkthrone to Pink Floyd, and their psychedelic aesthetic jars with standard black metal themes, but damn it if it doesn’t work out pretty well.

Opening track ‘Hypergiant’ is a sprawling, raging monster of a track; all shrieking tremolo and bloodcurdling screams at the start before it begins to evolve, slowly and deliberately into something grander. While always retaining their metal heart (blastbeats reign supreme over much of this EP), the expansive nature of their riffing brings to mind latter period Enslaved, particularly ‘Ruun’, and the soaring ‘The Boat’ melds spiralling fretwork into spacious waves of black metal fury.

Closing with the tour de force of ‘Elevated Droves’, where blastbeats disappear into dense voids of chugging riffing, and atonal melodies haunt plains of progressive metal, ‘Egyptian Blue’ is a thrilling and adventurous piece of extreme metal. Black metal is the core, but like bands like Ihsahn or Ved Buens Ende it isn’t the cage. Prostitution are a stunning proposition.

https://www.facebook.com/Prostitution666/

https://prostitution.bandcamp.com/

Normally I don’t review splits very often, as their juxtaposition of bands can sometimes be a bit jarring for someone that mostly listens to complete records, but I’ve come to enjoy the Chilean contribution to South America’s metal scene recently, and ‘Wrath of Darkness’ is a split between two forces in this underground mecca, Wrathprayer and Force of Darkness. Both draw from a black metal wellspring, but in different yet collaborative ways. This split is coming out on Nuclear War Now! Productions in a mere 2 weeks!

This split is an entirely collaborative effort, from artwork to musical direction and so has a lot more cohesion than a lot of splits do. Wrathprayer take first stab with the creepy intro and the suffocating, oppressive ‘Tria Serpentis’. Howling roars from deepest abyssal plains, belching horrors untold as chasms are torn asunder by dense, rippling riffs of the darkest, deathly black metal. ‘De Profundis’ is even bleaker, led in by tortured screaming and howling winds of blackened death. They leave a huge challenge for Force of Darkness to meet on their part.

Fortunately ‘Wall of Fire’ proves to be more than up to the challenge, with fire breathing ferocity powering us along at breakneck speed. A surprisingly melodic solo punctuates a song that is more waspish, traditional black metal than Wrathprayer’s contributions. ‘Nunc Scio Tenebris Lux’ is another scorcher that, despite its fuzzy guitar tone and screaming vocal, does nothing to stop being the most memorable song here. The powerful ‘The Order’ finishes their contribution as Force of Darkness sail off on black waters through their outro.

‘Wrath of Darkness’ is an excellent release that really showcases two starring lights in the Chilean extreme metal scene. Wrathprayer keeps everything dense and dark, while Force of Darkness has a bit more melody and some furiously catchy songs. Make a note of its release folks!

https://nuclearwarnowproductions.bandcamp.com/album/wrath-of-darkness

http://www.nwnprod.com/

https://www.facebook.com/WRATHPRAYER-184968604887127/

With a name like High Reeper (God that spelling is going to annoy me through this review) and an album cover like their self titled debut, it’s pretty obvious that within this disc is going to be some stoner related music. But their press blurb says they’re going the Saint Vitus, Orchid and Sabbath way, rather than the Kyuss clones I’m getting tired of. That already is a good thing. ‘High Reeper’ is out on the 3rd of November.

‘Die Slow’ opens this record with a simply jamming groove that, when coupled with the lonesome, Ozzy like vocals, makes this an instant hit. High Reeper tread that line between blatant Sabbath worship and healthy doses of modern rock and roll, and the results are infectious and soulful. The energetic Clutchisms of ‘Chrome Hammer’, the soulful blues of ‘Soul Taker’ and the grinding title track provide a three track salvo of pure doom blues for anyone to get into. At this point, I’m sold. it’d have to go well downhill from here to suck overall.

But it doesn’t! The heavy rumbling open of ‘Reeper Deadly Reeper’ is a lost howl from doom’s murky past, and the second half of the record builds more into classic doom territory, with the sprawling ‘Weed and Speed’ and the insistent ‘Double Down and Let It Ride’ drawing from Wino’s playbook. Nothing however is finer than the monstrous doom rock of closer ‘Friend of Death’, which somehow combines everything good they’ve done all record and cranks it to 11.

If you’re looking for an album that’ll give you that warm feeling the old Sabbath records did, but still cuts a massive modern groove, then ‘High Reeper’ is for you. The hooks are massive, the groove is brilliant and the atmosphere is pure chill. Light up, spread out and get ready to meet the Reeper…

https://www.facebook.com/HIGHREEPER/

This striking French black metal debut from Infernal Blast isĀ  a torrent of violent, dark war metal. ‘Wolves Elitism Speech’ has no agenda other than to tear you apart from the ears down, and is another example of how far one man bands have come from badly produced bedroom acts. The cassette is out on 17th November through War Arts Productions.

Opener ‘Destruction Process’ is a vicious, barrelling nightmare of a track, with an eruption of blastbeats peppering a murky and dense guitar attack. This style continues undaunted throughout, from the carnage of the short ‘No Redemption No Remorse’ to the unremitted barbarism of ‘Wolf Hunting’. There isn’t a lot of room for variation but in a seventeen minute release you don’t need it. The creepy samples provide respite enough between the kind of metal that personifies how life is going; bleak, barbaric and dehumanising. ‘Wolves Elitism Speech’ has no care for you, it merely provides a dirty window into our future.

Infernal Blast have a bright future. Well, bright like a nuclear holocaust bright, as their music is apocalyptic, visceral and comes from the primal instincts of man for violence and savagery. ‘Wolves Elitism Speech’ claws and slavers at you, and it is ready to be unleashed on the wider world.

http://war-arts-productions.com/

https://war-arts-productions.bandcamp.com/album/infernal-blast-wolves-elitism-speech

https://www.facebook.com/Infernal-Blast-1719640488330494/

The work of two bona fide death metal icons, Ursinne brings together Dave Ingram (Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Hail of Bullets) and Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath, Henry Kane) to create ‘Swim With the Leviathan’, one of the densest and most brutal death metal records of 2017. Our favourite record label Transcending Obscurity, dropped this monster in August. Original material meshes with death metal covers of 80s classics in one of 2017’s best and most unique records.

The devastating opener ‘Devil May Care’ is undeniably brutal and straightforward, but it has some nice open spaces in the middles where melodies play around a chugging low end. ‘I, Serpentine’ has that Swedish rawness to its riffs, as well as a healthy dose of Gothenburg meldoy. It is a theme running through ‘Swin With the Leviathan’; brutality in riffs and vocals, but not lacking in memorable melody lines. ‘Bullet Bitten’ is inspired by Lemmy, including a great sample from the great man himself, and the driving bassline underneath is a fitting tribute.

While all the original material is excellent, (in particularly the swooning menace of ‘The Chimes at Midnight’) the real fun begins with the four covers songs. The death metal rendering of The Osmonds’ ‘Crazy Horses’ is pretty odd, but the crushing ‘Turning Japanese’ is killer and ‘Monsters in the Parasol’ features Massacre legend Kam Lee, turning the Queens of the Stone Age classic into something very brutal and menacing. You’ll struggle to find a more different, entertaining and downright heavy record in 2017. Ursinne is a great amalgamation of classic death metal and a sense of the absurd, leading to some genuine year highlights.

https://www.facebook.com/UrsinneBand/

https://ursinne.bandcamp.com/

https://tometal.com/

Australia’s Runespell are dropping their eagerly anticipated debut full length record ‘Unhallowed Blood Oath’ through Iron Bonehead Productions this year, and if you are looking for something that is deeply submerged in 90s black metal classicism then this is likely to be for you. A one man project, Runespell is the work of Nightwolf who also features in Eternum and Blood Stronghold, more profilic members of the fiery Australian black metal world.

‘Oblivion Winds’ builds into a crashing, blastbeat marathon with rasped vocals and murky production values that enhance the mystical connection between music and listener. While violent and abrasive, there is a certain black magic lurking within this slice of vintage black metal. Whether it is the cavernous ‘Heaven in Blood’, the pastoral acoustics of ‘And Wolves Guide Me Home’ or the spellbinding ‘All Thrones Perish’, Runespell really channel the feel of Norwegian black metal circa 1992.

When olden rituals are performed, spells cast and black magicks released, albums like ‘Unhallowed Blood Oath’ are the result. A gloriously dark record that pulses with a vintage menace, capturing not only the sound of old school black metal but the FEEL of it too. Runespell feel like a lost legend, resurfacing once more from depths unknown. The majestic ‘White Death’s Wings’ is a centrepiece of an album with no bad tracks. Get it!

http://www.ironbonehead.de/