Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Infected Dead - Archaic Malevolence

UK death metal upstarts Infected Dead’s debut record ‘Archaic Malevolence’ appeared late last year on Hostile Media, and was probably a bit lost in the shuffle of year end lists etc. But, since the Killchain doesn’t do year end lists, I have no excuse for missing it until the band emailed me. I’m glad they did, as this is rather good.

After a suitably mysterious and gurgling intro, first track proper and title track ‘Archaic Malevolence’ is a whirling cacophony of blastbeats, guttural roars and fiery fretwork. This is cutting death metal, cold and precise without the bloodied warmth of more old school acts. Sent to dazzle you with riffs and solos, Infected Dead blister you with pinpoint brutality and that sweeping, Black Dahlia Murder-esque knack for melody and infectious tunes. Imagine Rings of Saturn deleted the breakdowns and decided to do At the Gates covers, and you’re almost there.

Magnificently capturing the essence of modern death metal, Infected Dead’s offerings to the elder ones are exhilarating and dripping with venom. ‘Archaic Malevolence’ starts my 2018 with just the right kick of death metal, and the uneasy sway of ‘Invocation to Unspeakable Gods’ suggests there is even more nuance to come. This fucking slays.



Finnish doom lords Coughdust have released their follow up to their debut ‘A Means to An End’, and are taking their deathly stoner doom to new heights with ‘Worldwrench’, out last October via Suicide Records. ‘Worldwrench’ is a steamrolling record of death, doom and destruction.

Opener ‘Serpents of the Earth’ instantly feels like a more raging version of classic Electric Wizard fuzzy doom. Each massive groove is coated in fuzzing distortion, and cyclopean riffs cascade from your speakers. This is a primal song; taking you into the roots of all heavy music with huge guitar and bellowing roars. It is a pretty definitive opening salvo, and when ‘The Second Principle’ kicks in an almost Swedeath guitar tone and attitude it gives you shivers. It feels like the lost link where death and doom meet, where savagery meets the inexorable pushing force of THE RIFF. Beautiful stuff.

Wherever Coughdust takes you, be it the chugging Dismemberisms of the title track or the crumbling epitaph of ‘Blind’, ‘Worldwrench’ is a record that will instantly gratify your cravings for heaviness. Like the crushing pressures of the deep, Coughdust have dragged ancient doom to your door and left a corpse waiting for you. Are you ready for this? You had better be because ‘Worldwrench’ will consume those too weak to resist.

Melodic black metallers Rimfrost have one of my favourite underrated records in the glorious ‘A Frozen World Unknown’, and so their new single ‘A Clash Under the Northern Wind’ is something of a treat for me. I missed their self titled record last year, but look to find it now. This will be featured on their next record, and the single has been released by the excellent Non Serviam Records.

Starting with a rousing, Immortal-esque riff, ‘A Clash Under the Northern Wind’ instantly captures that irresistable melodious streak that Rimfrost possess. Melodeath riffs play out over a vast frozen forest, while howling blastbeats batter you like a frozen blizzard. The ghostly melodies are huge and continue to lurk within your mind long after the song is over. Immortal and Dissection are the major influences here, but there are little nods to Darkthrone and Marduk too.

Looks like the upcoming record is going to be ace, if ‘A Clash Under the Northern Wind’ is anything to go by. Building to a massive crescendo of epic, soaring black metal, Rimfrost have done it again. Magnificent.


The new record from Californian ‘space sludge’ band Archons is another trip into the unknown, powered by riff and wrought from psychedelica as much as doom. It was self released by the band in October of 2017, and if you enjoy a rumbling, doomy record full of hooks then ‘Lords of Light and Thunder’ is probably for you.

The burning, smoky groove of opener ‘Galaxians’ mixes the thick riffing of the likes of Kyuss or Crowbar but adds a little bit of White Zombie weirdness to it. Gruff vocals couple with the swaggering groove, and yet something otherworldly is in there as well. Strange bleepy samples appear, while the driving ‘Black Lotus’ interjects a little Baroness into the mix. ‘Lords of Light and Thunder’ is a record full of muscular riffing, throaty roars and psychedelic atmospheres; it is difficult not to enjoy the grinding warp of ‘Red Shift Demon’ or the grimy ‘Kid Nitro’ when each chunky riff slaps you across the face.

Not an easy genre to differentiate yourself in, but the spacey sludge effects of Archons helps. Their riffs are derivative but still great, and each track is at least recognisably different from the previous. Unfortunately there are a lot of bands peddling this kind of primal rage filled stoner doom/sludge and it’s going to be difficult for Archons to stand out. ‘Lord of Light and Thunder’ should not be missed though, as it is a fun album with plenty of great moments, particularly the monstrous ‘Mysterians’.

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Dreadful Fate’s ‘The Sin of Sodom’ debut was originally released this summer on a limited cassette run and sold out quickly. Edged Circle Productions are rereleasing it on 12″ vinyl, and you should get one quick, as I expect this little thrash gem to sell out just as quick.

Three ripping tracks of German style thrash with a cover of Kreator’s classic ‘Tormentor’ included? This should be the easiest ten minutes of my life. Opener ‘The Sin of Sodom’ will give you no doubts as to what Dreadful Fate are here to do. Galloping thrash riffs and a raw growl, spiralling solos and frenzied drumming are all here in force, paying perfect homage to the Teutonic greats. ‘Unholy Lust’ races past with chainsawing riffs and an infectious melody, and the faithful recreation of ‘Tormentor’ is awesome.

‘The Sin of Sodom’ is one of the fastest and most pleasurable distractions I’ve come across this year. It’s so quick and good that it has to be spun repeatedly in order to truly get that thrash fix itched. You’d be forgiven for believing these Swedes are actually a lost 80s German thrash band, such is the authenticity of their approach. ‘The Sin of Sodom’ fucking rips!

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Russian black/death annihilators Vhorthax formed in 2016 with only one thing in mind; providing us with the intonations of Satan through the medium of harsh, savage blackened death metal. ‘Nether Darkness’ is due to launch at the start of January 2018 on Iron Bonehead, and it is six tracks to start your new year with a bang.

Bookended by traditional intro and outros of morbid and evil intent, ‘Nether Darkness’ is mostly as you’d expect of a black/death release on Iron Bonehead; a cacophony of pure Devil worshipping demonic metal. ‘The Levitating Tomb’ is a thick, crawling track with a rusty guitar tone and a bile drenched vocal. You ever come across a track that feels slow even when you’re assaulted by blastbeats? This is it. The pace is dirging but the atmosphere is oily and dense. Vhorthax stand out from the legions of black/death bands due to the quality of the production (crisp and clear) and also their pace. Proving you can be just as effective at a trot as a gallop, ‘Nether Darkness’ is brutally efficient.

Of course, the thrashy ‘Thy Foul Graal’ shows that Vhorthax can do both equally well, but I prefer the slower and more intense stuff. The crowning of this EP is the excellent, maddening miasma of ‘The Vessel of the Trinity’, that is a track that will invade your mind and poison your soul. ‘Nether Darkness’ is a triumph, and I look forward to more to come from these Russians.

Grethor - Damnatio Memoriae

I reviewed Grethor’s ‘Cloaked in Decay’ EP a couple of years ago, and found that to be a scintillating and unusual approach to extremity. So when given the opportunity to tackle their new record, ‘Damnatio Memoriae’, it was something I could not miss out on. Due out at the end of January 2018, ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ is a step toward further acclaim for this north Virginian monster.

While marking their debut full length, Grethor have been around for almost a decade, and in that time they have honed their craft and experimented to find their sound. That sound is leaning more towards the melodies to dying planets, as opener ‘The Imminent Unknown’ will attest. Like a warped mixture of ‘Covenant’ era Morbid Angel and the mind bending guitar patterns of Gorguts, Grethor pull you in spasmodic directions. ‘The God of Eugenics’ gallops into the abyss, riddled with blastbeats and infectiously bleak melody. The grinding pressure of ‘Tongue of Argent’ begins to break apart, allowing for the development of breathing space in amongst the heaviness. The most rewarding part of this album is the discovery of new hidden nuances with each listen. The gloomy opening to the churning ‘Weaponized Madness’ is probably going to be underrated, as is the spiralling bombardment of ‘Manic Nostalgia’.

The varied patterns of carnage and obtuse melodic directions keeps ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ constantly surprising and interesting. This is a record designed to confound, to expand then obliterate consciousness. Obtuse, impossible to grasp on a first listen and desperately heavy, ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ is a challenge for both mind and body. But, unpick each convoluted thread and you’ll find a record that is both technically stunning and emotionally draining. Not often you get both in equal measure.