Hellripper - Coagulating Darkness

New Hellripper is front page news for me these days, and a brand new debut album is CAPITAL LETTERS news. This band have been kicking my ass for years now, and their debut is now upon us. More of the same catchy as hell blackened thrash chaos? Let’s hope so.

Opener ‘Bastard of Hades’ is that same, venomous Motorhead vibe that you’ve come to expect from Hellripper. Full throttle, energetic and raw but without losing any of that potent rock and roll base. ‘Annelise’ is more of the same, with lightning lead guitar lines flying from the frets while a propulsive drumming performance is frenetic. Rarely breaking a whipstrike speed, Hellripper tear through these eight tracks in no time, and the infectious melodies and awesome riffing demands you press repeat.

Be it the contagious ‘Black Invocation’ or the soloing frenzies of ‘Conduit Closing’, Hellripper have songs for the hardcore thrasher, the fan of the raw throat savagery and the hard rocker in us all. ‘Coagulating Darkness’ melts punkish attitude into Venom and Lemmy’s greatest riffs, then cranks the speed up 100% and lets fly. ‘From Hell’ alone is enough to sell this record to me, let alone the rest. This band forever embodies the sheer joy of heavy metal, and Hellripper deserve to get massive.

https://hellripper.bandcamp.com/

http://www.witchesbrewthrashes.eu/shop/

https://www.facebook.com/Hellripper1/

The delightfully dissonant ‘Pest’ was a highlight of 2015 in black metal, and Norse’s new full length has been a release I’ve been looking forward to for a while. ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun’ is due out at the end of May, and looks to continue the burgeoning reputation of these Australians in the bleak world of black metal.

Opener ‘Supreme Vertical Ascent’ throbs with otherworldly menace, with bursts of double bass meshing into atonal riffs and snarling vocals. Imagine the hurricane of sound that you get from Portal, but strip it down to a less distorted form, losing none of the fear instilled within. ‘Drowned by Hope’ flails wildly, and the crawling menace of ‘Telum Vitae’ is my personal highlight. You would be pushed to find another band on the planet that is taking black metal to such unique, twisted and dark places. ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun’ is some revolutionary stuff.

The storm of ‘Exitus’ tears through the labyrinthine darkness that Norse find themselves mired within. They are ugly, dissonant and thoroughly brutal, when atonal death metal riffs impose themselves throughout ‘Synapses Spun as Silk’. ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun’ looks to be one of this year’s most interesting and most challenging records. Norse have written something inhuman, suffocating and rabd here, and it is simply stunning.

https://norsemetal.bandcamp.com/album/the-divine-light-of-a-new-sun-dissonant-black-metal

https://www.facebook.com/norse.official/

http://tometal.com

Spanish death metallers Opposer have been dragging deathly riffs from the miasma since 1992, and ‘Darkest Path’ combines a true old school vibe with some vintage sounding death and thrash riffs for a trip back in time to when the genres were more intertwined. Morbid Shrine Productions have blessed us with their fellow countrymen here, and it is time to rewind the clock to 1992…

Opener ‘Straight to Hell’ sounds like early Possessed or Death; thick riffing coupled with some insatiable speedy solos and a rabid, scowling vocal that oozes early 90s menace. There’s a lot of Obituary coming through the sludgey ‘Osiris Land’, and the further you go down the ‘Darkest Path’, the closer you come to a portal back to when the likes Malevolent Creation and Sepultura ruled the roost. Simple, propulsive and powerful makes tracks like the dominating ‘Under My Skin’ sound fearsome in their protection of old school death metal values.

Many hints of prime Bolt Thrower exist in ‘Darkest Path’ too, as well as dark melodies in the likes of ‘Satanas – Abode of Crow’ that remind you of old Finnish death or even Paradise Lost. Morbidly elegiac in parts, Opposer can switch between resolutely old fashioned thrashy death and more measured, darkly melodic rumblings with ease. The mark of a truly great band is to change dynamics without drifting too far from your original sound, and Opposer do this with aplomb. Resolutely old school death metal that crushes that sweet spot with devastating grace.

https://morbidshrineproductions.bandcamp.com/album/opposer-darkest-path-cd-2017

https://www.facebook.com/JoseOpposer/

http://www.morbidshrineproductions.com/

‘Tormented by Faith’ is the debut album from Polish bruisers Uerberos, who follow in a grand tradition of fearsome Polish death metal bands. But can they follow the mighty Decapitated, Vader, Hate and Behemoth into brutal infamy or do they fall short at the first hurdle?

Opener proper ‘…And Finally, I Will Come’ chases the screaming, Satanic coming overtones of the intro away with fiery death metal fury; an immediacy of Deicide influences rise from whirling guitarwork and incessant blasting. There’s a distinctly Floridian vibe here, from the waspish Hate Eternalisms of ‘Destroy the Enemy’ to the complex, Morbid Angel-esque ‘Black Emissary’. Refreshingly different from taking that uber technical eastern European style, Uerberos clearly don’t intend on getting tarred with the ‘Decapitated clones’ brush.

Uerberos batter you with solid brutality, rumbling deathly riffs and subtle melodies that sneak in under the radar. Relentless power flows from dense, Massacre-esque guitars and ‘Tormented by Faith’ becomes almost a bloodstained love note to the old school US death metal scene. Injecting death metal with a fresh impetus, Uerberos are hard hitting, destructive and thoroughly enjoyable.

https://uerberos.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/uerberosband/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEtlfS56mf5yUm_QuRbWKlA

Nargaroth - Era of Threnody

If you don’t know Nargaroth, then your black metal knowledge is FALSE! The long running German black metal legend has returned with the first new full length since 2009, ‘Era of Threnody’, and it’s out on Inter Arma Productions on the 16th May. It is everything you can want from a Nargaroth record and more, channelling mainman Ash’s vision of black metal in its purest forms.

Opener ‘Dawn of Epiphany’ clambers from the mists with cold acoustic guitar before a snarling tremolo riff slices through the miasma and leads us onwards and hellbound. Ash’s cold snarl penetrates each bleak melody with savage intent, but the dynamics of this record are staggering. ‘Whither Goest Thou’ has a great mix of quieter, reflective moments and fiery black metal traditions. There are moments that soar on blackened wings where almost symphonic elements intrude, like the vast scope of ‘…As Orphans Drifting in a Desert Night’. There are also harrowing moments of black violence, like the scathing ‘Love is a Dog from Hell’ and the miserable gloom of ‘My Eternal Grief, Anguish Neverending’.

‘Era of Threnody’ is an album that encapsulates everything pure about the horrors of black metal; the cold bleakness, the snarling rage and the icy delicacies that play out upon heartless acoustic guitar. A thick production brings a warmth to the sound that previous releases have lacked, and it almost feels like ‘Era of Threnody’ has moved beyond mere lo-fi black metal hate into something a bit more rounded and sophisticated. ‘Era of Threnody’ is a triumph of black metal, and a re-establishment of Nargaroth as the underground force that they are.

https://www.facebook.com/officialnargaroth/

http://www.interarmaproductions.com/

Nightmarish death/doom titans Drug Honkey have been twisting the Godfleshian blueprint into darker and heavier forms for many years now, and their newest release, ‘Cloak of Skies’, is yet another progression into psychosis causing metal. Hallucinating carnage and despair is very much a byproduct, and Transcending Obscurity will be lucky to avoid the blame for a host of suicides or mental collapses based on this record!

If you want to hear the visceral rending of the earth, then that opening note of ‘Pool of Failure’ will do it. Apocalyptic, crushing monstrosities of death and doom collapsing stone and earth around you, while maddening growls rumble from the dark. ‘Sickening Wasteoid’ hums with static desolation, while the ugly stomp of ‘Outlet of Hatred’ is reassuringly heavy. Like a terrible psychedelic trip where instead of seeing happiness and joy, you’re confronted by the sheer horror of this world in the haunting ‘(Its Not) The Way’, while the mental weight of ‘Cloak of Skies’ is almost unbearable.

Harrowing, unrepentant and cataclysmic, Drug Honkey are like the back street junkie version of Godflesh. While JK Broadrick imbued his music with industrial heaviness there were often glimmers of hope. ‘Cloak of Skies’ is smothered by despair, drowning in sludge and crumbling under its own existence. Terrifyingly essential.

https://drughonkey.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/drughonkey

http://tometal.com/

Speedrush - Endless War

Greek thrashers Speedrush are old school speed metal thrashers, and despite going round the block for over a decade now, ‘Endless War’ is their debut full length. Available through their bandcamp, if you enjoy a thoroughly old school approach to riffs you’re going to love this.

Opening with howling sirens, gunfire and explosions, ‘Endless War’ instantly sets out its stall before exploding into galloping thrash riffs brimming with energy. The best thing about old school thrash is that it is almost totally derivative in the best way possible. You know what you are going to get; speedy fretwork fireworks, oodles of melody and snarling vocals. Speedrush’s music is all that, and more. The hyperactive riffing of ‘Malevolent Torture’ is glorious, whilst the waspish velocity of ‘Freaks of Nature’ brings to mind the rampant Municipal Waste.

Encompassing everything good about rabid, old school thrash like Sacred Reich and Suicidal Tendencies, Speedrush check every cliche in the book, and check it at a hundred miles an hour down thrash highway 101. You can’t help but love it, and ‘Endless War’ will delight and enthrall anyone who digs some great thrash songs played right. Energetic, overflowing with riffs and propelled by a youthful vigour, Speedrush are great.

https://speedrush.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/speedrushmetal/