Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’

Withered Fist is made up of former and current members of Irish sludge/doom band Two Tales of Woe, and have just released a debut EP entitled ‘This is My Mountain’ on New Year’s Day. A three track EP of slow and melodic heaviness awaits those who seek and find this band.

A gloomy, clean guitar leads us to the start of the journey, while a soulful vocal glides over some fuzzed out riffs. Sounding like some heavier, lost 70s prog gem, Withered Fist are captivating immediately with their unique voice. You’re not likely to hear anything like this in a lot of modern doom. There’s no nihilistic grinding misery, no galloping sword and sorcery. This feels like the earthy rumble of a simpler time, where a great vocal and an epic riff was enough. Withered Fist bring it all in the first track, let alone the insatiable groove of ‘The Dread’ or the sprawling closer ‘The Journey’. ‘This is My Mountain’ is the vessel for what could be a truly special musical output for the future.

My first truly great experience of 2019; a record that will haunt me all year with its simple purity of spirit and raw honesty that spills from every facet. Withered Fist had me invested from the first track, and I’m going to be listening to this all year long. It has been a long time since I came across a record that makes me want everyone I know to hear it. Just, yeah, beautiful!

Malthusian album cover.jpg

Due to come out at the end of September, the dark, dense death metal of Ireland’s Malthusian is something evil to behold. Their debut full length is ‘Across Deaths’, and this is the highly anticipated follow up to their stunning EP ‘Below the Hengiform’, and its release is coming through an Invictus Productions and Dark Descent joint effort

Huge, driving forces power the opening track ‘Remnant Fauna’, which hits immediately with hurricane force. A wall of punishing death metal, taking great swathes of Immolation-esque riffing and cranking up the layering to the max. Cavernous roars growl from the raging maelstrom, while atonal melodies flit into view. The band merge the relentlessness of black metal into ‘Across the Expanse of Nothing’ where torrents of riffs flow like a raging river of blood, while the doomy crush of ‘Primal Attunement – The Gloom Epoch’ sways and almost topples into obscure depths. The otherworldly instrumentation in this, coupled with harrowing shrieks, is particularly affecting.

‘Across Deaths’ is a record of unbelievable heaviness, and almost Portal like density. Not quite as labyrinthine as those Australians but Malthusian plow deep furrows to draw riffs from. Suffocatingly heavy, overflowing with complex riffing and drumming, and capped with an unholy vocal performance, ‘Across Deaths’ is one of the best death metal records this year.

Cover art

Irish death metallers Coscradh’s debut demo last year gained international acclaim (including me: and Invictus have brought us yet more of this devastation with their latest EP, ‘Of Death and Delirium’. This takes everything the band achieved on ‘Coscradh’ and cranks everything up. Prepare to be brutalised…

Opener ‘Disappeared’ is a horrifying, miasmic hurricane of sound; tar thick riffing splattering everywhere while inhuman vocals spew forth wretched bile and filth. It’s exactly what Coscradh needed to do, dive headfirst into improving everything from their previous work (which would be a challenge given the quality of their output) and this is surely an auspicious start. The scalding ‘Hangwoman’ is next, grinding riffs suffocating underneath oppression and hatred. Nothing matches the ambitious darkness of ‘Saor sa hAnbháis’ however; waves of ugly, dissonant death metal crash upon you while hands of dread claw at your, determined to drag you under. Torturous, gloom death metal of the highest order here at the end.

‘Of Death and Delirium’ is hellacious, murky death metal that continues to showcase the steps towards Hell that Coscradh are taking. Their music gets deeper in the abyss, and where they will go from here I don’t know. But I’m looking forward to finding out.

When I get personally recommended a record by Transcending Obscurity head honcho Kunal, then I perk up and listen. Ireland’s Soothsayer’s debut record was one I missed, but after absorbing the stuff on show here I need to look out for it. ‘At This Great Depth’ was released just before the new year, so I’m not too far behind!

Two monolithic tracks of atmospheric, sludgy doom are on hand to greet you as you unlock and open the door to Soothsayer’s warm layers of darkness. A gloomy melody peeks from the murk, while a shroud of heaviness slowly descends. This is the black majesty of ‘Umpire’; a collaboration of lurking heaviness just outwith reach and the ghostly, single guitar line that weaves within. Soothsayer’s canvas is a vast, desolate space populated with broken monoliths, a howling vocal wind and bleak loneliness.

‘Of Locust and Moths’ takes on the grinding mantle of ‘Umpire’s finale, and cranks up the uneasiness. The eldritch atmosphere is disturbed by a blasting savagery and unconventional songwriting moments. Accepting the sludgier, more visceral end of doom’s spectrum, ‘Of Locust and Moths’ adds tension, ferocity and variety to a record that shifts form like thick fog.

Emotive, powerful and miserable as hell, ‘At This Great Depth’ allows you brief flashes of hope, before sinking you back into the black, oily tide. Soothsayer hit a crescendo and never look back, and this record is almost too late to be one of last year’s great doom records. So I’m adding it to this year; first great doom record of 2017. Singularly affecting.

Coscradh - Coscradh

Coscradh, which is Gaelic for slaughter or massacre, are the latest snarling beast to come out of the vicious Irish underground, and this is another rabid animal being tamed and nurtured by Invictus Productions, who have brought us some fearsome entities in the past. This is their self titled debut, which is available on tape, and soon on CD and vinyl.

When that creaking, fetid riff erupts at the start of ‘Buried’, like an arm reaching from a crypt, you know that something is afoot here. Something nasty, wretched and frankly, awesome. A dense, murky atmopshere pervades this riff, possessing it and dragging it towards its doom. The frenzy begins; raw riffing slashing from right to left, searing, ripping, gouging at your flesh. You feel instantly that Coscradh aren’t your average underground black/death band.

‘Lynch’ echoes with the cacophony of throat shredding growls, while chaotic blastbeats rain upon a scorched earth. A crazed solo pierces the shower, while incantations to darker beings are made. ‘Drowned’ writhes in molten riffage, while closer ‘Coscartac’ is a lurching, venomous belch from the underworld. Coscradh are my new favourite band of 2016, and I cannot recommend this release enough. Support this fucking band!

Apokathilosis - Where Angels Fear to Tread

Irish/Brazilian black metal duo Apokathilosis (which means ‘denailing’ in Greek) are unleashing their debut record ‘Where Angels Fear to Tread’ (one of my favourite Dismember song titles) to spread the word about anti-religion through that classic method; scathing black metal. It looks to be an interesting melding of two polarising black metal methodologies.

Opener ‘Awaken Thee’ is much more of the 90s black metal style, like Satyricon rather than the vicious South American, nor the sublimely epic Primordial. Although atmospheric, it isn’t overly so, concentrating more on a thunderous battery and some open riff patterns that are simply awesome. Not content to simply clone the likes of Darkthrone, the crashing title track thrashes like Gorgoroth but with a warmer touch. Each instrument contributes equally, creating a rounded experience.

There’s still plenty of frost about their riffs, like the hypothermic assault of the Immortal-like ‘To Die a Thousand Deaths’, but it is released with an ear for great melody and well crafted atmosphere. Apokathilosis and their lyrics explores spirituality and philosophy, and this album feels like an exploration of forces greater than us. A glimpse of the forces behind the wall of frost and blackened snow. This is best shown in the graceful ‘Ashes’, or the atonal gloom that envelopes ‘The Untameable Human Spirit’.

I like what Apokathilosis bring to the table. They have a solid black metal foundation on which they have begun to layer their work with melody, atmosphere and lyrical interest. I look forward to see what else will be coming from them, as ‘Where Angels Fear to Tread’ is a great piece of black metal art.

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This is a very interesting proposition. Take two nasty Irish sludge/hardcore bands who shared a split back in 2011 (Drainland and Trenches), throw some of their members together in a new band and remove a couple of layers of nihilistic sludge and see what appears…

Lurch is the result of this collaboration, and it’s a very intriguing result indeed. Featuring little of what could be referred to as an ‘expected’ style, the opening track is reminiscent to ‘Bleach’-era Nirvana. They have much more in common with noise rock or early grunge than their previous bands. ‘Butcher’s Rainbow’ is a menacing, writhing beast of noise rock riffs, clean vocals and distorted roars. It is suitably terrifying and great at the same time.

The Removed’ kicks off almost more conventionally, a lurching (sorry) riff then drops into delicate picking without losing a sense of the dark, the disturbed. It is a twisting track, difficult to pin down. Elements of indie rock crash into dirge riffs and pained howls, punishing guitars and drumming thunder takes us home.

You’re Drunk’ is more urgent, off kilter and dissonant. Vocalist Jamie Grimes reminds me of someone who I can’t quite place; but it is a rich mix of early Kurt Cobain and Stephen Richards from Taproot. That’s a good thing by the way, he always had a pretty unique voice for being part of a very average nu metal band. ‘You’re Drunk’ is the most straight forward track on the EP; its hard and fast and catchy as hell. The monolithic closer ‘The Company You Keep’ rounds off this EP in style, building slowly with whispering and gentle notes into a crescendo of crashing cymbals and dissonant riffs. It then builds from the same, quiet section, jerking the listener from lulling respite into strict attention.

Lurch are a band who will appeal to those of us who hoped ‘Bleach’ would have been the blueprint for Nirvana from then on, or that noise rock heroes Harvey Milk would hurry up and make a new record. They aren’t for the easily pleased; this EP is a tangled, twisted entity that with perseverance unlocks its greatest moments for those who look for them.