Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

scumripper - all veins cover.jpg

A band called Scumripper. On Hells Headbangers. With an album entitled ‘All Veins Blazing’. A happy romp through a land of wizards and unicorns is unlikely. This nasty, deathpunkcrust blast of violence is out now, and promises to be 20 minutes of nothing but hate.

Opener ‘Colonel Gator’ is just that, crusty black/death metal that sounds like a rabid animal chewing through your flesh. There’s an innate catchiness to it all, a rawkish call to arms to invade your local sewer and batter out some rancid tunes. Every song sounds like there’s been a hefty dose of venom secreted into the riffs, and the insertion of random samples adds to the menace. The grinding bass that opens ‘Eight Rapes a Week’ is fantastic, and it then spirals out into pure Discharge worship. My only gripe is that the songs do all sound very similar, and a little experimentation wouldn’t go amiss. Not too much though, because they don’t want to lose that tone.

‘All Veins Blazing’ doesn’t stick around for long, which means you need to slap that repeat button a few times to really scratch that itch, but the nasty punkish attack gives you plenty to think about. Scumripper need to work on their range a little bit, but they’ve totally nailed the sound.

https://www.facebook.com/scumripper/

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/

https://scumripper-finland.bandcamp.com/album/all-veins-blazing

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The re-release of atmospheric death metallers Jade’s debut demo through Pulverised Records is a reason to be joyful. Why? Because the wider world gets to hear the burgeoning talent lurking within last year’s digital and cassette only release. ‘Smoking Mirror’ is out in October, and promises to be something special.

Immediately, ‘Jade Emperor’ feels different from the rest of 2019’s death metal. Is it the soaring, almost black metal esque space behind it? The crush of modern death/doom powers along but there’s something very different about the atmospherics here. It is grandiose without resorting to orchestration; spacious without losing the intensity. ‘Dead Stone Mask’ has some almost post metal moments, with the lonely voice crying out in the background, while the ethereal tones lurking in the title track really create something fresh and new. A superbly unique take on death metal.

An excellent and absorbing debut release, and probably my favourite EP of the year. I could listen to this constantly, picking out each subtlety on repeated listens. Jade are a band that are going to become essential within a few more releases, and I’m glad I got in on the ground floor.

https://pulverised.bandcamp.com/album/smoking-mirror

https://www.facebook.com/jadestonemask/

Vordr - Vordr

Vordr (‘warden’ in Old Norse) are a band difficult to pin down. This is one of many, many releases to be self titled, so keeping a track is a little tough. This ‘Vordr’ is the full length just released this August by Terratur Possessions, and is a collection of riff heavy, minimalist Finnish black metal!

‘Erianoisiv’ opens us up with a meaty, tremolo riff that has a good gallop to it, and that is actually an apt descriptor for most of this record. It is a collection of great, black metal songs that feels like latter day Darkthrone but retaining a more traditional black metal atmosphere. The crusty rasp of ‘Goretusk’, the howling ‘Driftwood’ or the savage ‘Enchanting Fires of Pain’ all blend together into a wonderful, rampant whole of first wave darkness. Vordr have one gear, and that gear is fully engaged throughout.

The minimalist approach to black metal certainly works when executed like this, and while ‘Vordr’ isn’t overflowing with original ideas, it is a record of appealing simplicity; here is how Bathory made early black metal, now go and practice it until you can do it every time flawlessly. Nailed it.

https://terraturpossessions.bandcamp.com/album/vordr-vordr

0N0 - Cloaked Climax Concealed

This strange, hybrid of noisy industrial and crushing death/doom comes to us from the enigmatically named 0N0, and ‘Cloaked Climax Concealed’ is yet another release from Transcending Obscurity that looks to challenge your perceptions of ‘heavy’. It is out now.

Opener ‘The Crown Unknown’ builds to a clattering Godfleshian nightmare, where groaning guitars thunder into uncomfortable noise atmospherics beyond. There’s deep growls and also a haunting female vocal hidden in here too, and it becomes this mesmerising wall of sound. ‘Hidden in the Trees (Sail This Wrecked Ship)’ is possessed with a ravaging dissonance, and really the two tracks run together into one, gloriously hypnotic whole. The subtle moments of soaring melody behind the layers of sound also really adds a nice wrinkle to what seems like a brutal experience.

‘Cloaked Climax Concealed’ is a short release, but these two tracks will give you an idea of what 0N0 are all about, and what that is appears to be the slow inexorable slide into industrial armageddon. An essential listen.

https://www.facebook.com/0n0band

https://www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurityrecords

https://ono0110.bandcamp.com/

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Chiral - The Twilight Songs - part I

Chiral were a band I followed very closely for a number of years, until I fell off a little a few years ago. Their glorious, almost spiritual brand of atmospheric black metal was one of my favourite sounds for a long time, and I just discovered ‘The Twilight Songs (Part 1)’ lurking in my emails from a long time ago. It came out through Heathen Tribes around a year ago, and is one mammoth track.

‘Monumetal’ is thirty minutes of almost everything Chiral do well. The ghostly, haunting acoustics of prime Opeth, the epic sweep of Godspeed You Black Emperor, but lacking the thrilling Cascadian black metal of Wolves in the Throne Room, . We build with acoustic guitar, a touching and soulful rendition that really highlights what Chiral is becoming; a fragile emotional project that hits all the key points to make it genuinely affecting. Sure, there is a distinct lack of the epic, sweeping black metal that drew me in at first, but this is a beautiful, stirring release.

‘The Twilight Songs (Part 1)’ has yet to receive a ‘Part 2’, which I hope comes one day as I yearn to see where Chiral is taking this. A glorious showcase of acoustic emotion and songwriting, this is a project that never fails to impress or affect.

https://chiral27.bandcamp.com/album/the-twilight-songs-part-i

https://www.facebook.com/ChiralItaly

https://chiralitaly.wordpress.com/

Disentomb - The Decaying Light

It has been 10 years since Disentomb first appeared from the dangerous and violent Australian underground, and ‘The Decaying Light’ is their third record of tight, brutal death metal. It is out now on Unique Leader Records, which will assure its quality at least!

Opener ‘Collapsing Skies’ sets the tone with guttural roars, dense guitar and blastbeats galore. You know what’s coming. Thirteen tracks of masterful, endless brutality, where caving heads in is a guarantee. It isn’t always easy to review brutal death, as it is a genre that tends not to experiment a lot with the sound. But Disentomb do throw in some nice dissonant sections, along with a little more melody than you’d expect. But then you’ve got the chugging earthquake of ‘The Droning Monolith’ that does everything you need death metal to do. Other highlights include the visceral annihilation of ‘Centuries of Deluge’ and the crushing ‘Invocations in the Cathedral of Dust’.

This record is the guttural death rattle of the end of time. Violent, vast and an assault on the senses that even I was not ready for. Disentomb are devastating, and ‘The Decaying Light’ is a display of brutal death metal like no other. Superb.

https://www.facebook.com/disentomb

https://uniqueleader.com/

https://uniqueleaderrecords.bandcamp.com/

Members of Rudra have come together again to create The Wandering Ascetic, Singaporean black thrash without the Indian spiritual aesthetics of their other project. Their debut full length ‘Crimson’ is out now through Transcending Obscurity, and if their work in Rudra bleeds over into this, we could be in for something very interesting.

The instant crunch of the guitar in opener ‘Eva Braun’ immediately fills you with confidence that The Wandering Ascetic aren’t going to be your usual tinpot black thrashers. The riffing is convuluted, dissonant and the songwriting is complex while still retaining a certain memorableness, such as in ‘The Gods Bleed!’. It’s an interesting dichotomy; it lacks the speed of more traditional black thrash but the attitude and guitar work is there. There’s also a tasty snarl that fits very well with the likes of the growling ‘The Exorcism of Mrs Doe’ and the chugging glory of ‘Beast of Burden’.

‘Crimson’ is an incredibly mature record, where the obvious songwriting influences of the more labyrinthine Rudra seep into the songs. This gives the Wandering Ascetic a complexity and a sense of pace that a lot of black thrash bands lack. ‘Crimson’ is a thunderous chugging beast that exhibits more than a little experimentation while remaining heavy as fuck!

https://www.facebook.com/wanderingascetic

https://thewanderingascetic.bandcamp.com/

https://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/