Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Contaminated - Final Man

The twisted, Lovecraftian nightmare that graces the cover of the debut record by sickening Australian death metallers Contaminated pretty much sums up the music to be found within. Contaminated have been a force on the Australian underground for a few years now, with some brutal demo tapes appearing but Blood Harvest have brought us the culmination of those early efforts, ‘Final Man’, out in June.
Opening with a wall of death metal fury that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Suffocation album, ‘Squalid Survival’ sets the stage nicely for the carnage to come. The guitar tone is dense, the riffs hard, sludgy and non technical and the vocals are the belchings of the void. ‘No Time to Rot’ channels the ancient, dying spirits of 90s Finland, and ‘Boneless Mass’ slays with ragged weaponry. Contaminated play to all the strengths of old school death metal, and avoid the pitfalls of repetitiveness. ‘Co-opted into Worthless Sludge’ is one of the nastiest, heaviest things I’ve heard all year.
It isn’t difficult to find bands that play this kind of death metal these days, but it is difficult to sort through the sludge to find the good ones. Contaminated are dynamic, vibrant in their execution and downright ugly in their tone. ‘Final Man’ is an energetic, riff filled monster that chews most bands up in its wake, standing high atop the mangled corpse to reign supreme.

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

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The debut EP of Consummation is something of great note, as these Australian destroyers have crafted a uniquely twisting and serpentine form of black/death that sucks in all light like the gaping jaws of infinity. Thanks to Invictus Productions, we all now have the chance to experience pure, unadulterated madness in musical form.

Opener ‘The Weightless Grip of Fire’ is fearsome in its scope; blending ferocious black metal and an off-kilter sense of rhythm that enhances that otherworldly feeling. You feel uneasy, uncomfortable and cowed with fear as howling madness sweeps through your bones. They don’t quite reach the same levels of nausea created by fellow Aussies Portal, but there’s a definitive ‘wrongness’ about some of the melody lines here. With two ten minute plus songs, Consummation somehow manage to go past too quickly to comprehend, and invite more and more listens to unlock this dark magic.

‘Blighted Ovum’ is more of the same, labyrinthine extremity that we started with. Savage howls, a dense production that really helps the heft of this record come through, and an alien atmosphere that builds the tension to breaking point. ‘Ritual Severance’ is grandiose, malignant and bubbling with cancerous hatred. Consummation are an outfit that have struck upon something new and intensely evil.

https://www.facebook.com/Consummation-467538346610266/

https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/album/ritual-severance

Ghostly Australian black metallers Somnium Nox have summoned their debut full length ‘Terra Inanis’ for Transcending Obscurity India, a sub label of my good friend Kunal’s main label. An invigorating half hour of dense black metal, that pulses with gloomy life and eternal darkness. It’ll be out in May, and its something you should earmark instantly.

Opening with the calming melancholy of ‘Soliloquy of Lament’, the band build their sound with layering acoustics and the ominous humming of didgeridoos before powerful riffs crash in amongst them and whispered shrieks slip from the darkness. Taking clues from the likes of Chiral and Panopticon, clean guitar lines weave melodies within the harsher moments, sending subliminal chills through your body.

Each dynamic shift adds new moments of maturity. When the clean acoustics appear, the return to jarring black metal is almost more unexpected. Glimmering clean guitar gives way to menacing shrieking and hollow, lost voices in the vibrant blackness of ‘Transcendental Dysphoria’. ‘Terra Inanis’ is an album hewn from ancient parts of this earth, hidden below lost parts of the Outback. Grim, lonely but thoroughly ALIVE in its desolation, Somnium Nox have found a wellspring of primal emotions from where to bring this, this art to life.

https://www.facebook.com/SomniumNox/

https://somniumnox.bandcamp.com/album/terra-inanis-atmospheric-black-metal

http://tometal.com/

Australian death/doom lords Illimitable Dolor have risen from the reamaining members of  legendary icons The Slow Death, paying tribute to their deceased former vocalist Gregg WIlliamson with this self titled record, full of heart wrenching death/doom songs. It is due to be released in March by Transcending Obscurity, and raises a miserable glass to the memory of their lost friend.

Opener ‘Rail of Moon, a Stone’ is monolithic, painful and haunting. Vast riffs crush melancholic melodies, while a powerful roar intones ragged emotion. Illimitable Dolor show the strength brought by very real grief and pain, and how it can lead to music of fragile beauty. It seems strange to call these kind of massive, weatherbeaten monsters of songs fragile, but the feeling of loss is palpable. ‘Comet Shines or Dies’ leads with weeping guitars and ghostly keys that brings to mind early My Dying Bride, or Mournful Congregation.

The dark majesty of ‘Salt of Brazen Seas’ is enhanced by potent organ melodies at the start, and the mourning growls mix well. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve heard organ used this well since Asva’s ‘What You Don’t Know is Frontier’. That’s one of my favourite funeral doom/drone records ever so that’s a huge compliment. ‘Illimitable Dolor’ is frontrunner now as my favourite doom record this year; a heady mix of the heaviest of riffs and the most fragile of emotions coming together to form a majestic whole. Just listen to the sobbing ‘Abandoned Cuts of River’ and try not to be totally absorbed. I dare you.

https://illimitabledolor.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/IllimitableDolor/

http://tometal.com/

https://www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurityrecords/

Image of BASTARDIZER - 'Enforcers of Evil'. (Australian Blackened Thrash Cassette)

I just got a hold of the rerelease of Australian blackened thrashers Bastardizer’s ‘Enforcers of Evil’ from Carvetii Productions, on a brand new shiny cassette no less! It seems that, outside South America, Australia seem to do the whole Bathory/Venom/Celtic Frost axis worship a great deal of credit, and Bastardizer are no exception.

This is a truly raging slab of blackened thrash metal, with the ethos summed up pretty accurately in the killer opener ‘Bastard, Bullets, Bitches and Beer’. Almost entirely forgetting anything was invented after about 1983, taking the Venom blueprint and dragging it south of Heaven,c ranking up the intensity and increasing the rawness tenfold. The savagely catchy ‘Bathory and Lust’, the rampant title track and the rough and ready ‘WWIII’ are all tremendous tracks and pay tribute to the vibrancy of the Australian scene.

The awesome, early Sodom riffs that populate ‘Eureka’ crop up many times, with a grim Teutonic flair shredding through ‘Pentagram of Pleasure’. Bastardizer strap Motorhead to Sarcofago and see what happens. Turns out what happens is infectious, rabid thrashing black metal that doesn’t rely on gimmicks, controversy or fashion. There’s a shit ton of bands like this out there, but none come close to the filthy fun that you get on this record. I fucking love it, and so should you!

https://www.facebook.com/bastardizer666/

http://carvetiiproductions.bigcartel.com/product/bastardizer-enforcers-of-evil-australian-blackened-thrash-cassette

https://bastardizer.bandcamp.com/album/enforcers-of-evil

Australian underground legend Peter Hobbs returns with his eponymous band, Hobbs Angel of Death, for his first new release in a long long time. Over twenty years to be precise, and a full 28 since his classic self titled debut. But, Hobbs Angel of Death are not back as a mere nostalgia kick. If ‘Heaven Bled’ is anything to go by, the underground king has come to regain his thrashing crown.

Opener ‘Il Monstro di Firenze’ is a fearsome slab of Slayer worship that pulls no punches. It’s fast, there’s murderous riff after murderous riff and a killer solo. Despite all the potential for a modernisation of the blackened thrash style that Hobbs pioneered, this still kicks like it’s the late eighties and nothing has changed. It’s all the better for it; the vintage rage of the vibrantly melodic ‘Walk My Path’ is ludicrously infectious, while the early Sodom-induced battery of ‘Sadistic Domination’ is sure to keep every pit monster happy.

The thing I like most about this record is its unapologetic nature. Hobbs plays like early Slayer never went out of fashion, and to be fair I don’t think it did, but it’s welded to a beautiful production job that makes every chainsaw riffed moment very clear and crisp. It’s the most polished bit of raw riffage you’ll see this year. The moody ‘T.F.M.F’ spasms from gloomy slow paced sections to rapid fire thrashing goodness without a moment’s notice. Little moments like that are what really get you into this record, and the lack of fucks given about any kind of modernisation is frankly refreshing. Get yourself a copy and get yourself fucking thrashed!

https://hobbsangelofdeath.bandcamp.com/album/heaven-bled

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/