Forged in unholy fires ablaze in the Singaporean underground, and featuring members of Impiety, Infernal Execrator, Demisor and Deus Ex Machina, you know that Devouror’s pedigree in the arts of vicious blackened death is truly earned. Their EP, ‘Slay for Satan’ is out in January on Metal Zone Records.

Opener ‘The Decapitator’ is designed for maximum carnage, chunky riffage wrapped in barbed wire and infested with a heretical evil. The production on this is superb, giving everything a nice thick feeling, leaving aside the rattly tinpot ‘trveness’ to create something tangibly heavy and fearsome. ‘Ritualized Debauchery’ continues this superb sound, and while Devouror pull no surprises in their bestial assault, they also pull no punches either. The choice of Sarcofago cover (‘INRI’) is unsurprising, but Devouror make this kind of music sound better than even their peers.

Steeped in the sounds of Blasphemy, Sodom and Possessed, Devouror’s level of sonic purity is superior to most other black/death you’ve heard recently. This is birthed writhing in blackened energy, clawed and waiting for blood. Awesome stuff.

https://devouror.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/Devouror666/

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The stunning artwork that wraps around Sojourner’s ‘The Shadowed Road’ is what first drew me to it. You can feel that something beautiful lurks beneath this abandoned castle, something dark and fantastical. Sojourner cross swords from two continents and three countries, and ‘The Shadowed Road’ is out now through Avantgarde Music.

The gloroiusly epic piano and guitar intro to ‘Winter’s Slumber’ should prepare you for the grandiosity within. The interplay between the harsher, black metal moments and the ethereal, female vocal led parts is really well done, and doesn’t feel forced. The mesmerising soar of ‘Titan’ follows, with more of the same amazing melodies running throughout. Sojourner strike upon a delicate balance, where the icy cold rasp of frigid black metal meets a warm, folk music atmosphere and creates a whirlwind of evocative and fragile beauty. I love ‘An Oath Sworn in Sorrow’, the way neither the black metal or the haunting female folk parts take a back seat; both are equally important to Sojourner’s sound.

By the time the stunning ‘Where Lost Hope Lies’ leads through into the closing title track, you will be left sitting breathless and exhilirated. This is a blistering, inspiring and moving record that will blow your mind and deserves to be shown to the wide world, for only then will it receive the respect and plaudits it deserves.

https://avantgardemusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-shadowed-road

https://www.facebook.com/metalsojourner/

Saor - Forgotten Paths

The magnificent journey of Saor since its formation in 2013 has been one of graceful beauty and epic Celtic, atmospheric black metal. This one man project hails from the holy land (yeah, Scotland, the best country) and the new record ‘Forgotten Paths’ looks to continue the legacy. It’ll be released in February through Avantgarde Music.

The opening title track features Neige from Alcest, who couldn’t be a more perfect guest spot, and starts our epic journey. The song feels vast, spreading like a howling, furious wind over rich but desolate lands, where no one has tread foot for centuries. When the fury dies back to delicate piano, we reach a whole new plain of existence; ethereal keys build to a stunning Celtic soundscape powered by blastbeats but drowning in atmosphere. This pattern is recreated with timeless majestic in the evocative, soaring ‘Monadh’, while the Drudkh-esque ‘Bron’ reasserts the black metal credentials. ‘Forgotten Paths’ closes with ‘Exile’, a soothing piece that marks the end of an epic quest and a heartrending journey.

The greatest thing about Saor is that it makes you switch off from everything when you’re listening to it. You know, sometimes you listen to music while reading, while cleaning, while doing other things. Not ‘Forgotten Paths’. I sat absorbed in every little part and couldn’t do anything else. This is already probably my album of the year, and it will take another masterpiece to take it down. Jesus this is so good.

https://www.facebook.com/saorofficial/

http://www.avantgardemusic.com/

https://saor.bandcamp.com/

Jengloth - Jengloth

In preparation for their newest record, ‘News Fried Chicken’, I thought I’d check out Indonesian deathgrinders Jengloth’s self titled debut full length from 2015, released through Brute! Productions.

It will fail to surprise you that the band manage to cram 18 tracks into 28 minutes, and also that this is fucking nasty, brutal, super fast stuff. But it is liberally sprinkled with melody too, even in the first track, which thrashes hard but still spouts memorable riffs. ‘Hompimpa’ is a short violent stabbing of a track, while the ‘epic’ (read 4 minute) ‘Leak’ is some catchy , European style death metal awesomeness. Imagine the ferocity of Cephalic Carnage mixed with a venom laced needle of Rotten Sound or some Nasum in there too. The album cover suggests some tongue in cheek humour too but that is lost in translation to me.

‘Jengloth’ clatters and thrashes with all the energy and hatred that you’d imagine this sort of deathgrind to. The additional melody crammed in there really adds to this however, and doesn’t just make the record one dimensional and boring. This is one of the more varied grind albums I’ve heard this year, and with a bit more work this band will be great!

https://www.facebook.com/jenglothband/

https://jengloth.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/bruteprods/

Aborted Fetus - The Ancient Spirits of Decay

The gently and loving named Aborted Fetus delivered another full length of brOOtal death metal from the vile sewers of cold dark Russia. ‘The Ancient Spirits of Decay’ follows up the great ‘The Violent Art of Torture’, which I reviewed here in 2017. It’s out now on Comatose Music.

The opener ‘The Wind of Agonizing Spirits’ immediately lets you know that there’s a little more here than just chaotic brutality. The musicianship on display is varied, technical as well as chugging breakdowns, and it is almost reminiscient of latter Deicide with its lead flourishes. When the band wish to dazzle however, its with the innate heaviness that each of their releases possesses. Waves of massive riffs slam into you during the rampant ‘Nailed to the Cross’, while the crushing ‘Cradle of Revulsion’ squashes you under its boot.The vocals are brutal and guttural, but relatively understandable which is a plus, and the productions is thick and warm, giving body to each bloodstained chug.

‘The Ancient Spirits of Decay’ is a great, serpentine slab of twisting, writhing brutality that is not to be missed from 2018. Aborted Fetus write some of the most inventive and heavy music out there, and this deserves not to be lost in the shuffle.

http://www.comatosemusic.com/site/

https://www.facebook.com/Abortedfetusbrutality/

https://abortedfetus.bandcamp.com/

Osmed - Territory of Warfare

The full length debut of Indonesian death metallers Osmed is called ‘Territory of Warfare’, and it is an exercise in pure, unadulterated brutality through music. It is out now through Brute! Productions

The gallop of horses, the sound of blade into flesh, the screams of the dying; this is how Osmed start this record, crescendoing into a maelstorm of devastation and death metal fury. It is as one dimensional brutal death metal as you can imagine, with chunky slam and incomprehensible bile spewed as vocals. The record moves at a brisk pace, occasionally stopping for a mighty breakdown. The problem for me is that it’s difficult to tell the songs apart, as they all generally follow a similar generic brutal death blueprint. Don’t get me wrong, when great tracks like ‘Human Case Hatred’ or the raging ‘Bloodshed’ hit, they are excellent. It’s just a shame that the rest feels a little samey.

Well executed if prone to repetition. Osmed have carved a solid base for themselves in the genre, now they need to take the next step towards death metal glory. They’ve got the brutality level right, they just need to experiment a little with the songwriting.

https://www.facebook.com/osmed.bdm/

https://osmed.bandcamp.com/album/territory-of-warfare

https://www.facebook.com/bruteprods/