Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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The debut EP from a band containing current and former members of My Dying Bride, Anathema, Vallenfyre and Solstice? Epic doom from the UK? I am SO in on Godthrymm. Their debut ‘A Grand Reclamation’ is out now through Transcending Records and oozes with promise.

The title track opens with forlorn acoustic guitar, before an iconic ‘Yorkshire doom’ riff kicks in and the powerful vocals of Hamish Glencross drags you to the miserable moors. Ominous bass rumbles beneath these sermons of doom, and Godthrymm touch on all their influences but don’t sound like any of them. There’s no sorrowful violins (well ok, a little in ‘The Pantheon’ but it isn’t overbearing), there’s no morbid deathly crush, there’s no progressive bent. This is classic British doom that draws back to the lonely heaviness of Sabbath. The propulsive ‘Sacred Soil’ is at once a lumbering mythical beast and a mournful lament, carried once more by the strong vocals.

Closing with ‘Forevermore’, a soothing instrumental to bring you down after the heaving, roiling mass of ‘The Pantheon’, Godthrymm exceed the sum of their parts. They are looking to invigorate British doom through stalwart traditionalism, and not since the glory days of ‘Icon’, ‘Turn Loose the Swans’ and ‘The Silent Enigma’ has doom sounded so epic, so heavy, so BRITISH!



Texas death metal newcomers Abolishment of Flesh have certainly struck out at this world with fury and vengeance, with their debut full length ‘The Inhuman Condition’ due out in April on Unholy Anarchy Records. This is a record for fans of The Black Dahlia Murder and the like.

A cacophonous blasting monster emerges immediately, as ‘Inhuman Anatomy’ harnesses the savage energy of Suffocation and Dying Fetus to devastating effect. There’s no slam here though, it is all just hurricane force death metal with moments of immense groove thrown in too. ‘Reborn Abomination’ is more of the same, though you get a more Black Dahlia Murder vibe in this one. This is where Abolishment of Flesh begin to flex their more melodic muscle, with some excellent riffing coming through the blasting madness. The likes of ‘Weeping for the Decayed’ and the brutal ‘Mass Execution’ show how even the overwrought ‘modern death metal’ sound can be twisted into interesting new forms.

Surely Abolishment of Flesh will break through the sea of modern death metal bands and get recognition for what is a stunning debut full length. ‘The Inhuman Condition’ is chock full of killer riffs, and more great songs than some bands manage in a career. If they can get themselves to enough ears, you could be looking at the next big thing. Breaking through will be the challenge, but this is a record to impress.

Khazaddum - Plagues upon Arda

Dwarven death metal eh? Well, being a massive Tolkien fan you could say that Khazaddum was always going to appeal to me but their latest release, ‘Plagues Upon Arda’ really strikes many of the chords I look for in a great death metal release. Out last year through self release, this is almost 40 minutes of axe swinging, orc shredding brutality.

After the grand opening ‘The Halls of Khazad-Dum’, ‘The Deathless Crown’ is ferociously single minded, barrelling forward with bloodstained intent. Combining the grinding low level heaviness of old school death metal with a firm grasp of the kind of speed and hyperactivity that makes Hypocrisy or Deicide so much fun, Khazaddum blast through these nine tracks with power and savagery. The addition of orchestral flourishes really helps to bring that Tolkien atmosphere to life. The books and films are basically beautiful symphonies of violence and majesty, and Khazaddum capture that perfectly when angelic voices soar in the background of the stunning ‘Lord of Isengard’.

From the fiery raging ‘The Fell Rider’s Scourge’ to the grandiose violence of ‘Shelob the Great’, ‘Plagues Upon Arda’ is a savage tribute to the beauty and brutality of Tolkien’s realm. Never boring and always devastating, Khazaddum are once again standing proud upon broken corpses, defending their dwarven kingdoms. Hail, kings under the mountain!

‘In Absence’ is the fourth full length record from Italian death metallers Coram Lethe, and it continues their path towards the pantheon of Pestilence, Emperor, Death and Dissection. Their insistence on not resting on their musical laurels is admirable, and Buil2Kill Records released this back in February. Look at that cool as fuck artwork by Paolo Girardi by the way, magic stuff!

Gloriously dramatic piano leads us through ‘Esoteric’ before the title track kicks in with a very ‘IX: Equilibrium’ style riff and the blasting commences. Jagged progressive riffing stabs inward while coherent roars spray outward. ‘Food for Nothingness’ has a dash of soaring atmospheric black metal about it, despite being a chunky death metal thrasher. There’s a refreshing epicness to ‘In Absence’ that a lot of death metal records cannot provide; a space of progressive wilderness that most do not travel to. Coram Lethe have loads of that, in the spacious ‘Not Been Born’ and the epic ‘To Rise Again’. This mixes well with the chugging prog death-isms of the likes of ‘Cognitive Separation’ and ‘Antimateria’.

Coram Lethe have got an intangible factor that allows them to arise above the competition and ‘In Absence’ is a massive and ambitious work that spreads their progressive death metal wings far and wide. Losing none of their heaviness while rumbling between jagged riffing and intricate guitar work keeps them constantly intriguing, constantly evolving. A great example of how progressive death metal doesn’t need to be confusing or overly technical to be good, sometimes it just needs to have a bit of feeling!


A project of two of the best and most prolific death metal stalwarts in the underground, Down Among the Dead Men is the brainchild of Dave Ingram and Rogga Johansson. Both recently starring on Transcending Obscurity with Ursinne and Paganizer respectively, Down Among the Dead Men is the next cog in this endless death metal machine. ‘…And You Will Obey Me’ is out in June on TO Records.

Opener ‘Destroy the Infinite’ immediately gives you the scope of this record. Which is, very narrow, savage and crusty death metal with scowling vocals and an almost d-beat attitude. A narrow scope is in no way a negative, as Down Among the Dead Men ravage our society with crushing riffs and memorable songs. Most tracks barely scratch three minutes, each a galloping exercise in thrashy death metal. Ingram provides his iconic throaty roar, while Johansson’s guitar tone is equally iconic in its Scandinavian rasp. The insidious ‘Omega’ is excellent, and the killer ‘The Age of Steel’ pulses with a classic Swedeath sound.

A major benefit of this record is that it is only half an hour long, which means that no songs overstay their welcome and you feel immediately inclined to start it all over again. These death metal legends have done it again, with ‘…And You Will Obey Me’ taking a firm place in death metal contenders for record of the year. Huge, nasty and thoroughly absorbing.

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‘Perversión’ is the third in a horrendous trilogy of filthy black/thrash from Swedish/Chilean ragers Corpsehammer, and as you’d expect with a name like that, this four track EP bludgeons past you at such a force, you’ll need to play it a few times to grasp its true greatness. It will be out on the 13th April through Morbid Skull Records.

Opener ‘Reino – Sangro Del’ throbs with this menacing atmosphere, as spoken word descends into howling madness and the barrelling necrosis of the riffs appears. There is definitely an old school Scandinavian vibe here, meshing with an almost Discharge-like d-beat intensity. ‘Rito _ Magia’ is more of the tortuous, blackened death carnage, where cavernous vocals roar beyond ancient and terrible metal. ‘Perversion’ feels like if you touched its rusted, bloodied edge you’d be guaranteed to get tetanus. Or something worse.

This is a excellent completion to the trilogy, and continues to encapsulate a murky, raw sound that Corpsehammer have nailed. An ode to Darkthrone, Hellhammer and the like, Corpsehammer revive the old days and make it feel fun again. Short but ultimately satisfying, ‘Perversion’ is simple, nasty music for nasty people. Superb.

Ermerging from the ashes of respected Edinburgh black thrashers NNGNN, Valaraukar are a new two man band that draw mighty inspiration from the abyssal wells of gloriously savage black metal. Their two track demo, ‘Harnessing of Hostile Forces’ is available now through Rat King Records on Bandcamp.

Opener ‘Hostiles Forces’ flows with fearsome intent, moving smoothly like a giant black snake. Relentless double kicks provide a beefy engine for the rapid fire tremolo riffs to cascade across, and the song rampages bleakly onwards. ‘Conquering the Void’ continues this path, rife with cool riffing and an innate sense of the cold, the heartless and the bleak icy abysses. Valaraukar have put chains upon the dark beasts, and drawn them under their control.

‘Harnessing of Hostile Forces’ is a magnificent statement of intent, and while it still betrays their roots in NNGNN’s thrashy world, Valaraukar are vanishing deep into the morbid depths of icy black metal, and it is a joy to be a part of.