Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Atmospheric black metallers Wiegedood return with the follow-up to their debut ‘De Doden Hebben het Goed’ with the cunningly titled ‘De Doden Hebben het Goed II’. These Belgians are crafting some of the most exciting black metal within the atmospheric lexicon, and ‘…II’ looks to continue that reputation. It is out already on Consouling Sounds.

Opener ‘Ontzielling’ tears from the speakers, with an intense fury that hides a deft melodic touch within. It soon opens up into a bleak, vast landscape, with the howling riffs a scything wind, cutting through the air. The haunting guitar work at the start of ‘Cataract’ begins what is my highlight of the entire album; a monstrous ghostly beast that builds from a shimmering height to blast down upon us like icy hail. The dynamic shifts are phenomenal, when gloomy tones are blown away by flames of black metal proper.

The winding, labyrinthine title track leads onto raging closer ‘Smeerkble’ that takes the album to it’s logical conclusion. Spacious, yet playing suitable tributes to the blackness of old, Wiegedood have hit upon a perfect formula for modern black metal. Savage, yet measured, bleak yet uplifting. Cold yet blazing with glory. ‘De Doden Hebben het Goed II’ is a triumph of black metal!

https://wiegedood.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/wiegedood

http://consouling.be/

Warcrab - Scars of Aeons

When death metal meets sludge, you’re probably going to be in for the heaviest of musical endeavours, and when you find Warcrab you’re in for a real treat. Their second full length, ‘Scars of Aeons’ is out very soon on Transcending Obscurity, and it could be one of the most devastating releases this year. Prepare to be flattened…

‘Conquest’ is one of the ugliest monoliths of extremity you’ll experience. Chilling murmurs begin to fade behind a dense, Crowbar-esque riff and an insistent drum line. Massive, deathly groove flows like a river, overwhelming you in a torrent of crushing riffs. That almost typical British death metal groove rolls out in full force, but the injection of Deep South sludge sensibilities looms large over the melodies that lurk within. The bulldozing start of ‘Destroyer of Worlds’ is a thing of mighty, brutal beauty.

The mournful ‘In the Shadow of Grief’ is bleak, rolling thunder upon a barren world, while the monolithic crush of the title track provides the final soundtrack to a burning, collaping planet. ‘Scars of Aeons’ finds Warcrab creating a sound that is beyond mere sludgy nihilism and deathly brutality, but a defining place beyond. Nasty, yet undeniably catchy in parts, Warcrab are heaviness incarnate and ‘Scars of Aeons’ is fucking great.

https://warcrabuk.bandcamp.com/album/scars-of-aeons-death-sludge-monstrosity

https://www.facebook.com/WarCrab666/

http://tometal.com/

Porta Daemonium - Serpent of Chaos

Chilean blackened death metallers Porta Daemonium have long been hidden away from us through self released digital recordings but no longer! Blood Harvest are bringing us their debut full length ‘Serpent of Chaos’ on vinyl, and what a fearsome slab of South American extremity it is…

Opener ‘Zazas Zazas Nasatanada Zazas’ (a phrase meant to open the gates of Hell) certainly does, with haunting growls lurking within hellish murk, before the howling frenzy of ‘Via Sinistra’ comes roaring behind. A molten beast of darkness and rage, Porta Daemonium have an impressive density to their music, and a threatening buzz to their guitar tone as well that reminds me of old Swedish death metal. Unstoppable percussive force powers the visceral ‘The Blood of the Dark Madness’, while ancient Immolation-isms weave their way through the brutal ‘To the Left of God’.

‘Serpent of Chaos’ is as cutting edge an old fashioned death metal record as you can get. The musicianship is amazing, the atmosphere is nasty and the authenticity is spot on. Ferocious in execution, yet barely derivative and packed with insane moments of brutality, Porta Daemonium may have become my new favourite death metal band of 2017, and ‘The Apep’s Chaotic Dreams’ takes heaviness to new lows. Worship the ancient ground this beast walks upon, for you are not worthy of their gifts.

https://www.facebook.com/portadaemonium666/

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/serpent-of-chaos-12lp

http://www.bloodharvest.se/

Gravetemple is a who’s who of extreme music creators, from experimentalist Oren Ambarchi, to black metal avant god Attila Csihar and drone icon Stephen O’Malley, and their ‘Impassable Fears’ bridges esoteric and spiritual worlds through unadulterated heaviness of sound. Svart Records will unleash this celebration of volume and density in June.

As ‘A Szarka’ begins to emanate from the speaker, a menace buils within fuzzy feedback and a ritual thudding. Polyrhythms rumble from underneath scowling feedback, while croaking vocals draw you into a hazy, mystic void between realms. Full of uncomfortable sounds, moments that sound like beasts of darkness and fear scratching on the walls of our world, ‘Impassable Fears’ is not only music, but an experience. Csihar describes it as a contemporary Shamanism, and with the ritualistic and mesmerising ‘World Out of Date’, you are sucked into a world that is not quite your own.

Haunting instrumental ‘Karma’s Claws’ provides a breather from the intensity, as does the creepy electronica of ‘Domino’ before the terrifying monolith of the title track drags you back into madness. By the time ‘Eternal Endless Void’ hums you to a disturbing sleep, you’ll be exhausted, drained and thoroughly ready for another go. These creative gods have brought us yet more wisdom us mortals cannot yet fatom. Gravetemple are mysteriously and inexplicable essential.

https://www.svartrecords.com/artist/gravetemple/

Contaminated - Final Man

The twisted, Lovecraftian nightmare that graces the cover of the debut record by sickening Australian death metallers Contaminated pretty much sums up the music to be found within. Contaminated have been a force on the Australian underground for a few years now, with some brutal demo tapes appearing but Blood Harvest have brought us the culmination of those early efforts, ‘Final Man’, out in June.
Opening with a wall of death metal fury that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Suffocation album, ‘Squalid Survival’ sets the stage nicely for the carnage to come. The guitar tone is dense, the riffs hard, sludgy and non technical and the vocals are the belchings of the void. ‘No Time to Rot’ channels the ancient, dying spirits of 90s Finland, and ‘Boneless Mass’ slays with ragged weaponry. Contaminated play to all the strengths of old school death metal, and avoid the pitfalls of repetitiveness. ‘Co-opted into Worthless Sludge’ is one of the nastiest, heaviest things I’ve heard all year.
It isn’t difficult to find bands that play this kind of death metal these days, but it is difficult to sort through the sludge to find the good ones. Contaminated are dynamic, vibrant in their execution and downright ugly in their tone. ‘Final Man’ is an energetic, riff filled monster that chews most bands up in its wake, standing high atop the mangled corpse to reign supreme.
Hellripper - Coagulating Darkness

New Hellripper is front page news for me these days, and a brand new debut album is CAPITAL LETTERS news. This band have been kicking my ass for years now, and their debut is now upon us. More of the same catchy as hell blackened thrash chaos? Let’s hope so.

Opener ‘Bastard of Hades’ is that same, venomous Motorhead vibe that you’ve come to expect from Hellripper. Full throttle, energetic and raw but without losing any of that potent rock and roll base. ‘Annelise’ is more of the same, with lightning lead guitar lines flying from the frets while a propulsive drumming performance is frenetic. Rarely breaking a whipstrike speed, Hellripper tear through these eight tracks in no time, and the infectious melodies and awesome riffing demands you press repeat.

Be it the contagious ‘Black Invocation’ or the soloing frenzies of ‘Conduit Closing’, Hellripper have songs for the hardcore thrasher, the fan of the raw throat savagery and the hard rocker in us all. ‘Coagulating Darkness’ melts punkish attitude into Venom and Lemmy’s greatest riffs, then cranks the speed up 100% and lets fly. ‘From Hell’ alone is enough to sell this record to me, let alone the rest. This band forever embodies the sheer joy of heavy metal, and Hellripper deserve to get massive.

https://hellripper.bandcamp.com/

http://www.witchesbrewthrashes.eu/shop/

https://www.facebook.com/Hellripper1/

The delightfully dissonant ‘Pest’ was a highlight of 2015 in black metal, and Norse’s new full length has been a release I’ve been looking forward to for a while. ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun’ is due out at the end of May, and looks to continue the burgeoning reputation of these Australians in the bleak world of black metal.

Opener ‘Supreme Vertical Ascent’ throbs with otherworldly menace, with bursts of double bass meshing into atonal riffs and snarling vocals. Imagine the hurricane of sound that you get from Portal, but strip it down to a less distorted form, losing none of the fear instilled within. ‘Drowned by Hope’ flails wildly, and the crawling menace of ‘Telum Vitae’ is my personal highlight. You would be pushed to find another band on the planet that is taking black metal to such unique, twisted and dark places. ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun’ is some revolutionary stuff.

The storm of ‘Exitus’ tears through the labyrinthine darkness that Norse find themselves mired within. They are ugly, dissonant and thoroughly brutal, when atonal death metal riffs impose themselves throughout ‘Synapses Spun as Silk’. ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun’ looks to be one of this year’s most interesting and most challenging records. Norse have written something inhuman, suffocating and rabd here, and it is simply stunning.

https://norsemetal.bandcamp.com/album/the-divine-light-of-a-new-sun-dissonant-black-metal

https://www.facebook.com/norse.official/

http://tometal.com