Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

HeadsForTheDead-web.jpg

I love Transcending Obscurity. Just in the past year, they’ve culled together a slew of magnificent releases, and particulkarly in the death metal camp. Heads for the Dead’s ‘Serpent’s Curse’ is yet another fine wine stacked in the cellar of death metal, ready to be uncorked. It is due for release on the 24th of September, and is much to look forward to.

Categorising music sometimes feels more important than the music itself. But this is pure, crushing, death metal in a pure form. Formed from members of Ursinne, Henry Kane and Revel in Flesh, the whole album throbs with chainsaw riffing and terrifying vocals. Drawing inspiration from old horror movies, ‘Serpent’s Curse’ howls with morbid rage, while raw riffage gouges through. You can almost feel the dead eyes of the album cover staring through your soul as your ears are battered by the magnificent ‘Gate Creeper’, and your breath is drained by the savage melancholy of ‘Deep Below’. Sure, there’s a little dash of Sweden, a bit of Finland, a helping of Florida and even a little South American ferocity in here too, but Heads for the Dead are their own beast. A mighty, snarling beast of fire, doom and death.

The 35 minutes fly in, and by the time the killer Wolfbrigade cover of ‘In Darkness I Feel No Regrets’ comes to a bloody end, you’ll be clawing for the repeat button. Heads for the Dead are breathing new, fetid life into this death metal genre. Too long it has choked on Autopsy and Entombed clones; finally we have something to build upon! ‘Serpent’s Curse’ is a real contender for my favourite death metal album this year.

https://www.facebook.com/headsforthedead

https://tometal.com/

https://headsforthedead.bandcamp.com/

Advertisements

Italians Demetra Sine Die have been around since 2003 but this is my first opportunity to hear them. Their new record, ‘Post Glacial Rebound’, is a mesmerising cocktail of sludge, doom, psychedelica, krautrock amongst other things, and it is out now through Third I Rex.

Opener ‘Stanislaw Lem’ builds with almost ritualistic riff and drum combos, while the crooning vocal of Tom Stearn from Kettle of Kites intones hypnotic lyrical poetry. ‘Birds Are Falling’ has a driving power behind it, layered with sinister melodies and post metal roars. This isn’t like many albums you’ll have come across this year; quite experimental and almost art-rock in its execution of a sludge and post metal palette. A churning low end meets with fuzzy riffing, mysterious tales are told, and glorious musical heights are reached, like the gloom of ‘Lament’ or the cosmic madness of ‘Gravity’.

Equal parts miasmic sludge, dirging post metal, psychedelic weirdness and progressive art rock sensibilities, ‘Post Glacial Rebound’ is a record that is very hard to categorise, probably by design. Demetra Sine Die do not aim to fit into genre pigeonholing, aiming instead to create a collection of music that weaves within genres in order to create their vision. Weird but definitively engrossing, this needs to be on your radar if you like things done a little differently.

https://demetrasinedie.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Demetra-Sine-Die-151334924955608/

https://3rdirex.bandcamp.com/

Malthusian album cover.jpg

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/

British one woman atmospheric black metaller YYLVA’s debut full length, ‘The Wood Beyond the World’ is due to drop in September, and is the brainchild of Clare Webster, best known for her work with gothic doom gems Edenfall. Evocative, windswept and epic on every scale, follow YYLVA back to a time of mysteries and mist.

Hiding beneath that glorious, ethereal artwork is a record that oozes atmospheric grace. Key to this poised and haunting record is the mastery of the harp, first draping itself across the ghostly ‘A Foreshadowing’, and wielded like a gossamer rapier throughout. It infuses the music with a misty, ancient Celtic vibe that fits well with the aesthetics. ‘A Sidhe in Throes’ drifts like forgotten voices in bleak forests; soaring vocals weave within blastbeats and harsh riffing. Tarja-era Nightwish is clearly a strong influence here, as is the howl of ethereal black metal like Saor or Panopticon.

‘Nepenthe’ has an excellent gothic doom heft about it, bleeding over from Edenfall, while ‘Aurorae’ is the piece de resistance in a record that never fails to affect you deeply. Again the gentle harp in ‘Waterwings’ is mesmerising, and provides a gentle escape from the more lengthy tracks. Nothing here feels overwrought however; no song is long for the sake of being long. In fact, with two tracks over 11 minutes and two that are almost nine, ‘The Wood Beyond the World’ flies in. I scarcely believed it was over when the tinkling close of ‘Niënor’ came.

‘The Wood Beyond the World’ is a record balanced on the edge of fragility; a delicate and beautiful collection of songs hovering above a churning abyss of black metal. Never quite descending to complete blackness, but never too light and airy, YYLVA conjures views of olden forests, snow drifting through ancient clearings, and a slowing blackening sky.

https://yylvaofficial.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.yylva-official.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/yylvaofficial

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/

Bodies on Everest - A National Day of Mourning

British noise/sludge/drone enthusiasts Bodies on Everest have released this… this monstrous beast called ‘A National Day of Mourning. An abrasive mix of noise, drone and miserable sludge all compacted into one, it plows a new furrow in the search for extreme music’s farthest reaches. It is out now through Third I Rex Records.

Opener ‘Unreleaseddeathvideo.flac’ hums ominously, building towards a crumbling, cacophonous conclusion. Imagine what the opening of Hell might sound like, and you’re close. Apocalyptic samples float amongst the crackling feedback, while a clutching hand reaches fpr a thread of your psyche, ready to unravel it as the oppressive ‘Tally of Sevens’ crawls on. Imagine the blackened drone of Sunn0)))) melting into the most choking of Godflesh’s works and you’d be close. Imagine the rumble of Conan but filtered through tar and a black hole. Imagine Killing Joke and Iron Monkey make a record together, and you’d get the insistent nihilism of ‘Suspicious Canoe’.

Keep imagining, but you’ll never quite get close enough to really classify this aural miasma. The awesome crush of ‘Tally of Sevens’, the sinister storytelling of the monolith ‘Gold Fangs in Enemy Territory’, the ‘man in a robot insane asylum’ creeps of ‘Shotgun or Sidearm’; this is a record like nothing you’ve ever experienced. By the end of the mind crippling closer ‘Who Killed Yale Gracey’, you’ll never be the same. You will, however, be reaching for the play button just one… more… time…

https://3rdirex.bandcamp.com/album/a-national-day-of-mourning

https://www.facebook.com/bodiesoneverestband/