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/

The Lords of the Land festival in Glasgow has some serious issues to contend with this year. First of all, how was the lineup ever going to match last year’s Carcass/Obituary/Napalm Death/Voivod magic? And secondly the small matter of the Heavy Scotland event in Edinburgh on the same weekend, featuring Grave, Arch Enemy and Behemoth, as well as others. Well, the lineup proved to be as competitive, if not superior, as you could want. I mean, black metal and death metal legends colliding with thrash and even a bit of grind and doom. FUCK YEAH! The old Barrowland ballroom played host once again.

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Opening at the unbearable 12:30pm slot, Rotten Sound were fucking ace. The half hour slot is designed for grindcore bands, and Rotten Sound played to an impressively full Barrowlands considering the time of day. They were sharp, visceral and, best of all, allowed me the opportunity to get a hold of an HM-2 pedal tribute shirt. Killer start to the day, that only improved with the advent of Memoriam. Coming from a guy who named his blog and inspiration after a Bolt Thrower song,  I can honestly say that Memoriam are more than worthy successors to the crown. Karl Willets was in fine form, and massive riffs cascaded upon us lucky few. Willets remarked that this was a celebration of life through death metal, and nothing is more true.

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Next up was the hilarious vitality of Acid Reign, old school British thrash that felt so alive and vital it made me smile. So did the stage banter, with ‘Hello Edinburgh’ getting a particular chuckle. They were high energy, frontman H racing around the stage, encouraging all kinds of crowd participation and almost shitting himself when caught stagediving and taken to the back of the room before being ran forward and chucked back onto the stage. Mental. Mental is also how you would describe the aural waves of terrifying brutality emanating from Dragged into Sunlight, who took the stage behind clouds of smoke and a ghostly, huge candelabra. Their blackened sludgey noise was fearsome, and the fact that the band spent the whole show with their backs to us added to the esoteric mystery surroundng them.

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I took a break from the action during Venom Inc, so I couldn’t pass comment on them but I got back just in time for Marduk’s ‘Heaven Shall Burn’ set which, like every Marduk show, was full throttle black metal of war and darkness. Yet again I had the pleasure of getting ‘Accuser/Opposer’ with Nemtheanga live, and they closed with ‘Panzer Division Marduk’! Speaking of Primordial, they have become a band that have transcended beyond what we would consider simply ‘pagan black metal’, becoming the embodiment of what Bathory strode towards. Nemtheanga’s vocals command immediate attention, like a monstrous and apocalyptic preacher. The stunning ‘Babel’s Tower’ and the enthralling ‘The Coffin Ships’ were particular highlights in a flawless set of blackened doom grandeur.

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Image may contain: one or more people

The stage darkens, smoke billows from under the drumkit and deep, blue lights shroud the oncoming storm of black metal perfection that is Mayhem, and ‘De Mysteriis de Satanas’ complete. Worth the price of admission alone, the howling ‘Freezing Moon’ and savage ‘Pagan Fears’ remind you about how all black metal owes so much debt to this record. Atilla Csihar’s vocals sound like the voice of Satan himself, and draped in a black cloak and then as a demonic priest, he embodies the dark magic infusing each frozen riff. Hw can anyone follow this?

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Well, Autopsy with every vintage death metal riff ever just about managed. You don’t realise just how much they’ve influenced the genre, until you think about how every ‘old school’ death metal band basically stole everything fom them. Rabid fury crashes into sludgey, evil riffs while vomitous vocals spill from behind Chris Reifert’s drumkit. Despite the fact that we are approaching 11 hours into the day, I think that this was the best moment of the night. Tiredness overwheming us, the first time these legends have graced Scottish shores in 27 years mean that we were reinvigorated enough to show them our appreciation.What a fucking triumph.

Italy seems to be a place where metal in all its myriad genres seems to thrive. But atmospheric, miserable black metal seems to be a particular strong point, and add Enisum to that list. ‘Seasons of Desolation is the follow up to their much praised ‘Arpitanian Lands’ from 2015, and it is out at the end of April on Avantgarde Music. Almost an hour of miserable black metal awaits.

Opener ‘Autumn of Melancholy’ is a monolith of gloomy despair, where raspy shrieks soar within icy riffs and a weeping atmosphere. A masterfully cold and misty forest of an album, ‘Seasons of Desolation’ keep going back to the well with dark, dense riffing and insidiously glorious melody underneath. Songs fight against the darkness, aching to break through the clouds of hopelessness but can’t ever quite make it. Infernal streams of molten black metal pour from ‘…of Desolation’, while a cloying rain soaks the depressing ‘Nameless Sadness’.

The crushingly brutal ‘Obscure Depths’ is my favourite track here, taking a slightly heavier approach. Enisum are perfect for that rainy spring day, when the odd crack of sunshine appears through torrential rain. Built and crafted for misery but plagued with moments of hope, ‘Seasons of Desolation’ is a tour de force of black metal excellence, steeped in depressive moods. Well worth finding.

https://avantgardemusic.bandcamp.com/album/seasons-of-desolation

https://www.facebook.com/enisum/

http://www.avantgardemusic.com/