Greek deathlords Necrovorous have been rather quiet recently, but this three man wrecking crew have drawn fetid breath once more to release the frankly terrifying ‘Plains of Decay.’ It is due out 29th September on Dark Descent Records, and is a record groaning with riffs and morbid brutality.

Opener ‘The Sun Has Risen in a Land I No Longer See’ crushes together the rabid, rusted chainsaw riffing style of classic Swedeath with a rumbling, Bolt Thrower-esque thunder. Setting out your stall early with a song like this is great, because as a reviewer you’re instantly drawn in. ‘Cherish the Sepulture’ is a more crawling, monstrous entity, as is the closing stretch of the hellacious ”Eternal Soulmates’. Necrovorous have this dark, dense magic that flows from each crusted riff, each bile dripping roar, and it inserts itself within your skin like an infectious disease.

‘Plains of Decay’ is bursting at the seams with killer death metal; their evolution away from their gore soaked beginnings into a band whose music is more potent, more rounded, dare I say more sophisticated. Their assault is more surgically precise; lacking a particular chaos but gaining a more concentrated fury. Like chambers of a death metal howitzer being emptied, songs like ‘Psychedelic Tribe of Doom’ and the malicious ‘Lost in a Burning Charnel Ground’ manage to shred you with shrapnel and bury your mangled corpse in acres of riff. Welcome back guys, your broken, eldritch throne of death awaits…

https://www.facebook.com/necrovorous/

https://necrovorous.bandcamp.com/

http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/

The joyous Bay Area thrash of Psython has been an underappreciated part of my music collection for the past few years. Their last piece of work, ‘Outputs’ was an infectious, Death Angel worshipping joy, and their new release ‘Hatred’ looks to continue that path. It’s going to be out in September, self released, so keep an eye out!

Immediately the riff machine is engaged into high gear with the thrashy ‘Jörmungandr’, and from there the thrash never stops. The catchy as hell ‘Teeth’ has got some cool melodies built in, while the soloing work on each track is classic heavy metal. Inspiration clearly runs from bands outside the Big Four like Exodus, Sacred Reich or Death Angel, as the savage ‘Ten Pounds’ demonstrates a rawer attitude than the Big Four influences that sneaks into other tracks, but still manages to get a dose of the epic. Basically almost every Californian thrash band seems to bleed into ‘Hatred’ somewhere, and the overall result is a thrash gem!

I really like what Psython do. Their thrash is at once both derivative and energisingly fresh. It puts a boot straight up the arse of classic thrash, and while doing so comes across as unique enough that you’ll never get bored. Let a little ‘Hatred’ into your life…

https://www.facebook.com/psythonofficial/

https://psython.bandcamp.com/

 

UK black metallers Pale Mist have come from out of nowhere for me, but their new release on cassette, ‘Spreading My Wings into the Abyss that Calls’, is a proud new member of my collection thanks to the good folks at Heidenwut Productions. This is an archetypal black metal release, but one that balances the atmospheric requirements with an almost lunatic delivery at times. Atmospheric as fuck, Pale Mist deliver.

The aching tremolo of ‘Through the Thick Fog of Misery and Woe’ drifts from your speaker, leaving a trail of frost behind it. Pale Mist are definitively bleak and ghostly. Building anticipation for inevitable blizzard conditions is something that black metal thrives upon, and Pale Mist have nailed it as the torrent of blackened majesty that is ‘Spreading My Wings into the Abyss that Calls’ begins. Maddening shrieks spill from icy riffs and gloomy walls of sound.

But the centrepiece is the epic caldera of ‘Embraced by the Pale Mist’, that spews volcanic riffage upon us all before the wistful gaze of ‘Gazing, Opening the Barriers’ provides a welcome calm spot, laced with melancholic clean guitar. Closing with the bleak ‘The Welcoming Glow of the Moon’ that spirals into the wilderness, Pale Mist are seriously impressive, and this release is an opening into a world of ice and darkness.

https://palemist.bandcamp.com/album/spreading-my-wings-into-the-abyss-that-calls

https://www.facebook.com/palemistofficial/

https://www.facebook.com/heidenwutproductions/

If there was ever a band that can truly speak to the foul corruptions of government, it is India’s Heathen Beast. Their new release, ‘$cam’, is a scathing indictment of the Indian government and their practices, wrapped within a barbed wire petrol bomb of a release. ‘$cam’ is 21 minutes of some of the fiercest political grindcore you’ll find, laced with a black edge. It is out now on Transcending Obscurity.

The inspiration behind ‘$cam’ is the mass demonetisation of the sub continent’s currency, leaving 90% of banknotes worthless. This has seemingly left the poor so much worse off than the rich, tax avoiders it was designed to take down. Heathen Beast tackles the issue with visceral intent, including such potent song titles as ‘It’s Only a Minor Inconvenience’ and the disturbing ‘If You Disagree You Are Anti-National, Go to Pakistan’. You get the idea of how the government seem to approach the issue. Musically the musical is a ravaging mix of Rotten Sound, Napalm Death and Impaled Nazarene, where nasty riffs meet shrieking rage and whirling drums.

When matched with soundbites echoing the real life effects of this scheme, ‘$cam’ takes on a whole new urgency. In a place where this kind of outward criticism could lead to serious consequences, Heathen Beast are even more vital and pertinent. The odd flourish of traditional instrumentation keeps you in the moment, and the intensity feels real. Get a hold of this before they go, and learn about something outside your comfort zone.

https://heathenbeastindia.bandcamp.com/album/cam-blackened-grindcore

https://www.facebook.com/HeathenBeast/

https://tometal.com/

 

Shrine of the Serpent first lurked upon my radar with their awesome self titled EP in 2015. They’ve returned with a new split cassette with Black Urn, a band I have had no prior knowledge of but will definitely be tracking after this. The split is over 30 minutes of harrowing death/doom, with each band contributing two tracks each. It is available now through Bandcamp.

Opening with Shrine of the Serpent’s ‘Desecrated Tomb’, which is brutally heavy and slow. Like the heaving of tectonic plates, Shrine of the Serpent immediately reintroduce themselves as one of the heaviest outfits on the planet. Guttural roars compliment dragging riffs, all suffocating under a leaden atmosphere. ‘Catacombs of Flesh’ is just about as unbearably heavy, pushing down upon you with terrible, devastating darkness.

Black Urn’s side of the split crushes with the morbid crawl of ‘My Strength Lies on Heavenless Plains’, which builds from murky depths into a black metal influenced tremolo roar. Thunderous, molten riffs pour from aching speakers while tortured screams yearn for freedom. It is staggeringly heavy, and sets a new watermark for the music here. They close us down with the AIC Cover, ‘Junkhead’, which injects an entirely new menace into the grunge classic.

Probably one of the best splits I’ve come across in recent memory, both Shrine of the Serpent and Black Urn have really hit it out of the park on this one. Find a copy of it soon before they all disappear!

https://shrineoftheserpent.bandcamp.com/album/shrine-of-the-serpent-black-urn-split

https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/split-2

https://www.facebook.com/blackurn/

https://www.facebook.com/ShrineoftheSerpent/

Contra - Deny Everything

A formerly instrumental stoner sludge outfit, Contra (classic video game reference has sold me already) have dropped their debut record ‘Deny Everything’ on Robustfellow Productions/Shifty Records, and despite the relatively uninspired album cover is a badass record full of heavy blues and cathartic sludge roars that will delight even the most jaded of metal fans.

Squalls of feedback lead into a groovy slab of stoner metal, where ‘Human Buzzsaw’ takes the wheel for a trip down some sickeningly catchy groovy roads. The slamming ‘Altered Beast’ feels like Clutch jamming some old Kyuss riffs, while ‘The Gorgon’ hits hard before the spacious ‘Humanoid Therapy’ adds a little bit of slow, desert rock doom in there. Contra don’t stick to a simple template, they throw in little bits of everything within the stoner/sludge/doom sphere and come out with something that rocks hard and seeps into your mind.

The rumbling intro to ‘One Hundred Hand Slap’ could be my favourite moment here; stinking of NOLA blues and soul. ‘Deny Everything’ may not be the most original slab of hard rocking stoner sludge, but when you have riffs like these who cares?! Contra are a new guilty pleasure I keep coming back to, and ‘Deny Everything’ is built for jamming.

https://contracleveland.bandcamp.com/album/deny-everything

https://www.facebook.com/ContraCle/

 

Переплут - В стародавние года...

Pagan metallers Pereplut hail from Russia, where some of the finest European pagan and folk metal around is hailing from these days. Their new record, ‘At the Ancient TRimes’, is a beautifully constructed collection of songs that yearn for simpler times, that ache of a certain traditionalist je ne sais quoi that is both heart pumping and heartrending in equal measure. It is out now through Stygian Crypt.

After the melancholic and folky intro track, we begin to delve into ancient Slavic forests, hunting for spirits and places where the touch of modernity has not reached. Pereplut have more than a little Korpiklaani about them, but without the drunken piss taking. Imagine the windswept majesty of Metsatoll but with a little more forest magic. ‘At the Ancient Times’ isn’t all whimsy, flutes and ‘plastic pagan’ moments though; there is a defiant metal heart beating in here that mixes some almost Bay Area thrash moments (‘Тропою волколака’) and some melodeath crunch.

By the time the pastoral shades of the last track fades out, you’ve experienced a journey through lost cultures and folk magic. Pereplut may never become the most famous of this genre, but to miss out on an album of this quality would be a crime. Pereplut deserve your attention, so go support them!

https://www.facebook.com/pereplutband/

http://www.stygiancrypt.com/

https://pereplut.bandcamp.com/