Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Depravity are Australian, so sadly it isn’t the much awaited return of the ghostly Finnish legends BUT that is no bad thing, as these toxic Australians are bringing death metal to new realms of savagery, punishing us all with their debut full length ‘Evil Upheaval’. Due out at the end of April on Transcending Obscurity, this is another gem of a record unearthed from Down Under.

Is Australia so hot because it’s closer to Hell? Because this goddamn album comes roaring from the underworld with precision, insane riffing frenetics and some absolutely beastly vocals. Opening tracks ‘Manic Onslaught’ and particularly the crushing ‘Insanity Reality’ smash forth with unholy fire and murderous intent. Imagine if Morbid Angel had dropped ‘Altars of Madness’ today, and you’d be on the way to imagining the serpentine brutality of Depravity. Maddening solos stab outward from hurricanes of blastbeats, while swirling dark melodies wreathe dense growls in atmospheric glee. The malignant loom of ‘Repugnant’ is monstrous, while the chaotic sensibilities of ‘The Great Divide’ provides the merest hint that this record could descend further into madness if provoked. Depravity channel the greats of modern death metal like Hour of Penance while also conjuring the uneasy atmosphere of the likes of Immolation.

Not often can a death metal band capture both the essences of old school and modern death metal in one record. ‘Evil Upheaval’ is a new benchmark in soul destroying death metal this year. It is so heavy, so brutal and yet so accessible. Instantly gratifying and unrelenting, labyrinthine song structures begin to unfold with multiple listens, while it never loses any of its hard hitting impact. You’d struggle to top this for pure death metal fury this year.



Australian funeral doom legends (yeah, I said it, LEGENDS!) Mournful Congregation are here to present their latest full length record, almost 6 years since the staggering ‘Book of Kings’. ‘The Incubus of Karma’ is yet another pillar on their majestic palace of misery and crushing depression, and reasserts them as the kings of funereal doom and sadness. It is out on the 23rd March through Osmose Productions.

I’ve never really been sure what pushes Mournful Congregation out in front when it comes to this genre. Yeah of course they have the massive riffs, dirging melodies and throat destroying growls. They also can handle acoustic sombreness, as the title track to their new record attests. But they have this intangible something that makes them so special. Shivers will run through you during the cyclopean ‘Whispering Spiritscapes’, which oozes with classic My Dying Bride-isms, while the ‘oncoming storm’ feeling of the titanic ‘Scripture of Exaltation and Punishment’ is both exhilarating and terrifying. Mournful Congregation have perfected the art of truly massive music; each riff is glacial in its icy vastness, each roar is voidspeak, each song is a journey.

At an hour and twenty minutes, this is not a record that flits past quickly. This is monstrous, addictive and utterly spellbinding. Mournful Congregation continue to build upon a legacy of essential albums; a gloomy shadow that covers all bands who seek to follow. They will forever remain atop this mountain, for they are the deathless kings of funeral doom.


I’m not sure what Australia has done to black metal bands, but so many seem to have gone off the deep end when it comes to their interpretations of the genre. The latest in a long line of seriously good Australian black metal is Arkheth, and you can tell by the artwork to ’12 Winter Moons Comes the Witches Brew’ that this isn’t going to go the way you’d expect. Transcending Obscurity are dropping this in February.

Opener ‘Trismegistus’ immediately strikes you with dissonant weirdness, with atonal riffing shrieking through a warped cosmos of black metal. Based on the teachings of Hermeticism, you can feel the otherwordly forces at work here; each riff and impassioned rasp is informed with magicks and voices from beyond our realm. ‘Dark Energy Equilibrium’ oozes with a quiet menace; layers of Deathspell Omega-esque work cascade between calm yet dangerous moments. ‘Where Nameless Ghouls Weep’ is like a horrendous psychedelic trip gone wrong, with queasy guitar tones stabbing through the folds of reality. Imagine White Zombie crossed with Blut Aus Nord. Isn’t that wrong? Yes, but Arkheth makes it seem almost right.

This is Arkheth’s third record, but their journey feels like it can only just be beginning. This duo have found a way to cross into other dimensions with ’12 Winter Moons…’ and it feels like the sound they bring back is only the start. The kind of madness one can weave with this talent is tantalising, frightening and addictive all at once. Wildly experimental, yet somehow cohesive and enthralling, Arkheth are disappearing into their own universe, and dragging us with them.

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Australian black metallers Greytomb have completed work on their masterful new record, ‘Monumental Microcosm’, where they have begun to add new and more dissonant layers upon the already healthy and fire breathing Australian black metal scene. Sharing a drummer with label mates Somnium Nox and Norse certainly adds a sense of comradeship with those bands, who approach black metal a little differently from most. It is out on Transcending Obscurity in December.

Opener ‘Null’ is a mindbending journey through clanging dissonant notes, blizzarding blastbeats and snarling, groaning vocal emanations that bring to mind Atilla Csihar’s performance on ‘Ordo ad Chao’. Intense, twisted and eerie are probably the most apt descriptors to a record that seems to peer from beyond space time from a place of insanity incarnate. Like the dying scream of distant planets, Greytomb feel both terrifying fragile and yet mighty in their wrath.

‘Antimeta’ strides forth from these dark plains of existence wielding riffs of fire and a tortured howl; pausing briefly for toxic air before the storm of blasting returns. ‘Monumental Microcosm’ is an album of dizzying highs and terrifying lows, where unholy melody plays with unchecked brutality in a maddening theatre of cosmic destruction. As ‘Force Majeure’ brings us to a cloying, suffocating end we should be thankful for everything Greytomb showed us before our universe collapses around us.

Image result for mother slug electric dunes of titan

I feel like judging Mother Slug by their album title may be unfair, but if there isn’t some serious epic space doom lurking on this record somewhere I’ll be a little disappointed. These Australians are giving us their debut full length after some excellent EPs, and you can expect some awesome Kyuss worship to emanate from your stereos on ‘The Electric Dunes of Titan’…

God I was so right, as the titanic rumblings of the title track loom from the speakers and lonely melodies lurk within mountains of fuzz. Massive, tripped out doom is what these guys are all about, and the soulful ‘Downriver’ wields huge Josh Homme riffs amid psychedelic freakouts. There’s powerful Electric Wizard vibes on the brutal ‘Followers of the Sun’, while the howling, evocative desert rock guitar work is gloriously scorching throughout. Expect the earthy, dryness of Kyuss to merge with the slight oddness of Reverend Bizarre and the psychedelic potency of Cathedral to create something quite special.

Closing with the omnipotent gloom of ‘Cave of the Last God’, Motherslug have become as transcendent as the ghostly dunes of Titan; vast and lonely among the infinite deserts of space. This is a fantastic record, a place with riffs and spacetime can meet in an avalanche of glorious doom.

Australia’s Runespell are dropping their eagerly anticipated debut full length record ‘Unhallowed Blood Oath’ through Iron Bonehead Productions this year, and if you are looking for something that is deeply submerged in 90s black metal classicism then this is likely to be for you. A one man project, Runespell is the work of Nightwolf who also features in Eternum and Blood Stronghold, more profilic members of the fiery Australian black metal world.

‘Oblivion Winds’ builds into a crashing, blastbeat marathon with rasped vocals and murky production values that enhance the mystical connection between music and listener. While violent and abrasive, there is a certain black magic lurking within this slice of vintage black metal. Whether it is the cavernous ‘Heaven in Blood’, the pastoral acoustics of ‘And Wolves Guide Me Home’ or the spellbinding ‘All Thrones Perish’, Runespell really channel the feel of Norwegian black metal circa 1992.

When olden rituals are performed, spells cast and black magicks released, albums like ‘Unhallowed Blood Oath’ are the result. A gloriously dark record that pulses with a vintage menace, capturing not only the sound of old school black metal but the FEEL of it too. Runespell feel like a lost legend, resurfacing once more from depths unknown. The majestic ‘White Death’s Wings’ is a centrepiece of an album with no bad tracks. Get it!

What is it about Australia and black metal? It seems so strange that a place that seems the polar opposite of the traditional, northern icy home of the genre has become such a hotbed. But then, Australian black metal tends to be more aggressive and fiery so perhaps conditions in the dangerous and suffocating heat of the outback are perfect. Nocturnes Mist have been around for almost 20 years, yet ‘Diabolical Baptism’ marks only their third full length. It’s out on September 15th through Seance Records.

A raw, deeply traditional ode to the majesty of Satan himself, and inspired by the soundtrack to The Omen, ‘Diabolical Baptism’ is brutal in its simplicity. Opener ‘Hammers of Hatred’ is an unstoppable force of Marduk inspired bludgeoning, that invokes occult hails to the Dark Lord. Nocturnes Mist plough a pure, second wave worshipping furrow on this record, and while it may seem like just another black metal album, ‘Diabolical Baptism’ draws you in deeper with their orthodoxy and their execution. ‘Barbs of Sadism’ is a fire breather, while the more midpaced ‘Pale Face Cold Heart’ ramps up the atmosphere and even adds dashes of keyboard.

Like the esoteric Witches Sabbath drawings that grace the cover of ‘Diabolical Baptism’, this record is an embodiment of arcane ritual and Satanic fervour. Savage, relentless and dripping with menace, Nocturnes Mist are traditionalist but still stunningly relevant.