Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Dark, noisy sludgelords Vor have dragged themselves from the swampy, Spanish underground to bring us ‘Depravador’, a two man journey of apocalypse through music. Abrasive and violent, we are brought this latest release by Third I Rex Records.

The opening track showcases immediately the potency of this drums and bass combo, with dizzying low end throbbing with filthy, fuzzy tone. Hatred fuelled shrieks leap from behind each horrifying riff but this isn’t merely directionless noise. The grinding grooves of ‘Black Goat’ bring a very EyeHateGod vibe, while the crusty ‘Cudgel’ could sit comfortably on a Black Flag record. Vor’s music is diverse and heavy as fuck, never falling into one trick pony territory. Sludge meets noise meets hardcore punk attitude and the collision is nuclear.

The merciless, face destroying groove that permeates the filth encrusted monolith ‘Daga’ is only rivalled by the shrieking brutality of closer ‘Dark Fraga’. ‘Depravador’ is a record that pulses with a miasmic, tortured soul. It isn’t easy to categorise what Vor do, but it isn’t difficult to describe it. They contort, they disturb, they smother, they fucking rule.


Mexican melodic death/doom lords Matalobos followed up their debut record ‘Arte Macabro’ with their newest EP, ‘Until TIme Has Lost All Meaning’, released late last year on Concreto Records. I’ve only just come across this release, but I did enjoy their debut, self-titled EP from 2015, and have read a number of good things about this.

Opener ‘Of Ghosts and Yearning’ entices you in with a Latin-flavoured acoustic guitar, then mournful riffs cascade upon you. Matalobos hit all the usual reference points (Thergothon, Swallow the Sun etc) but they execute it really well, and you’d be hard pushed to criticise the naked honesty pushed through each riff and melancholic roar. ‘In Flesh Engraved’ brings in prime Paradise Lost moments too, a grumbling gothic death metal gem. Closing with the soulful ‘La Luz Del Día Muere’, a new avenue for melody opens for the future.

The next step in the growth of Matalobos, ‘Until Time Has Lost All Meaning’ is a powerful yet introspective piece, that relies not just on raw power and heaviness but a measured dose of gloomy melody too. Check it out.


Curse upon a Prayer - The Three Woes

Finnish black metallers Curse Upon a Prayer dropped their hotly anticipated new EP ‘The Three Woes’ back in July on Saturnal Records, and it is a three prong assault of highly traditional black metal hatred from a band that draws attention due to its anti-Islamic themes. However that doesn’t really come across a huge amount in their lyrical content.

‘Let Thy Kingdom Come’ is a howling thrust of classic black metal coldness, where raspy shrieks haunt blastbeat laden riffs, and the second wave gods are appeased. The fiercely melodic and gloomy ‘Thou Shalt be Cursed’ is more reminiscient of the likes of Gorgoroth than their Finnish brethren, and it allows Curse Upon a Prayer to not just be another BM band squeezed from their home soil. Blasphemies reign supreme throughout the closing beast ‘Woe! Woe! Woe!’ as well, bringing us to a disappointingly early finish. It is a masterful piece of regal, melodic black metal that will be a definite mainstay in my best songs for 2018.

‘The Three Woes’ is a superb EP, full of fire and rage, bringing forth fearsome blasphemy that will scald and flay you. Hopefully there will only be a short wait until their next full length, becasue Curse Upon a Prayer are incredible.

The tortured groanings of the new Pissboiler record, ‘Att med kniv ta en kristens liv’, is a gruesome, funeral doom retelling of a real life murder in three parts. This EP also contains a 26 minute bonus track, so Third I Rex, Weird Truth Productions and Dying Sun Records are definitely giving you your money’s worth on this collaboration release.

The cold open of ‘En visa för elden’ plays with sinister yet gorgeous pastoral acoustics, before a rumbling and droning fuzz really raises the ominous level. The grinding misery of the title track definitely brings to life the dark and soulless act. It is strange to come across a funeral doom record that really hits you hard in such a short track length. Even the third ‘act’ (‘Pt II – ett avslut’) is only a mere 11 minutes. That 11 minutes is a roiling, torturous monolith however; full of sinister and unnerving moments. The howling vocals, clawing up from hell, drag you down.

The real beast here is the ‘bonus track’, ‘Monolith of Depression’ which at a titan 26 minutes takes up more than half of this EP. It is difficult to describe the journey this takes you on, so I’ll just use words that pop into my head during. Depression. Oppression. Weight. Crushing. Darkness. Finality. But also epic, sprawling and darkly beautiful. It is a perfect analogy for this record; evil, horrible but with a morbid delicacy that requires attention.

Piah Mater - The Wandering Daughter

‘The Wandering Daughter’ is the second full length fom Brazilian progressive death metallers Piah Mater, and it is a tortured, soul wrenching slab of progressive death metal and black metal. It is out now through Code666 Records, and looks to be a new standard in progressive extremity.

Opener ‘Hyster’ brings us delicate acoustics that make me reminisce about the awesome acoustic Opeth record, ‘Damnation’. From there, the comparisons to the iconic Swedes do continue, through the winding 12 minutes of ‘Solace of Oblivion’. Thick death metal riffing, shot through with a wistful black metal atmosphere and the opposing forces of brutality and fragility definitely conjure up images of mid period Opeth. But while those guys have moved away into ACTUAL prog rock, Piah Mater can take the genre into new places.

The chunky start to ‘Sprung from Weakness’ soon begins to spiral outwards, and the complexity begins to take form. The musicianship here is wonderful, and the contrasts between the heaviness and the glacially calm sections is never jarring. This is ambitious, sprawling, and can sometimes feel a little overbearing. But it lessens with every listen, and you begin to anticipate the changes and prepare. Opeth may loom heavily upon them, but Piah Mater aren’t afraid to use this as impetus to create something that could be just as good. ‘Earthbound Ruins’ would have fitted comfortably on ‘Ghost Reveries’, and that just speaks to the quality.

It is great to hear a Brazilian band that is pushing the boundaries and not just rehashing raw black/death or Sepultura. Piah Mater are a triumph of original thinking, and ‘The Wandering Daughter’ reminds me of progressive death metal giants in their prime. This is a great record, and should be recognised.

Zombiefication - Below the Grief

More Mexican death metal with the fourth full length from Scandinavian worshipping deathsters Zombiefication. Their debut record ‘Midnight Stench’ was more overtly Dismember-esque, but they’ve gradually moved away from that and into their own style. ‘Below the Grief’ is out now through Doomentia Records.

When you experience opener ‘Blood Falls’, there is a certain bloodsoaked euphoria. The drumming is powerful, the riffing is intense and the songwriting and structure is absolutely impenetrable. There’s more than a glimmer of black metal attitude to some of these tracks too; the clattering ‘Deliverance from the Astral Sea’ rampages with crusty aplomb, while the dissonant weight of ‘Hunger Undying’ really adds a new standpoint. Zombiefication have almost completely moved into their own realm, instead of relying on genre tropes that have been done to death. ‘Below the Grief’ is an album with a palpable sense of madness about it.

‘Below the Grief’ is a satisfying realisation of Zombiefication’s true potential. They’ve evolved their sound and embraced a new kind of darkness and evil along the way. Sure, there’s still more than enough death riffs here, but this is no mere old school death metal record. This is the sound of band becoming their destiny, and tearing us apart along the way.

Soul Dissolution - Nowhere

Belgian black metallers Soul Dissolution are dropping a new EP this autumn in cooperation with Russian label, GS Productions. This two track atmospheric black metal piece is a follow up to the stellar ‘Stardust’, released earlier in the year.

Opener ‘Road to Nowhere’ builds with delicate tones before erupting into grandiose, sweeping black metal ferocity. Soul Dissolution create this fantastic grasp of space, of vastness and bleak, lonely atmospheres. Gliding through night skies, searching for a conclusion to a tapestry of weeping coldness. Soulful lead guitar breaks through at points near the end, adding icy melodies to the piece. Second track ‘Fading Darkness’ pulls a little more from early Alcest, and there are traces of early Katatonia and Agalloch in there too; where a bit of melancholic heft is added.

As a follow up to ‘Stardust’, ‘Nowhere’ is a little more fragile and more drawn out, but nonetheless just as dark and beautiful. Soul Dissolution only arrived on my radar this year, but I am quite taken with them, adn I think you will be too.