Posts Tagged ‘Plague Rider’

Plague Rider - Rhizome

Newcastle’s Plague Rider have been a consistent force of excellent death metal vomiting forth from the North East of England, and their new EP follows up 2015’s killer ‘Paroxysm’ EP, which I reviewed here. ‘Rhizome’ is the latest burst of ungodly greatness from these fine lads, and it is out now through Panurus Productions.

‘Rhizome’ basically takes you down a similar path as ‘Paroxysm’, as in it is four tracks of death metal that is constantly straining against the boundaries of the genre. Opener ‘Challenger’s Lecture’ brings forth massive Immolation style heaviness, with the kind of unusual, dynamic song structures as Portal or Mitochrondrian. It never quite delves totally off the grid like those guys, but stabbing riffs sprout from strange, labyrinthine sections. Imagine that inhuman bend in ‘God of Emptiness’, taken to its endless, darkest conclusion and you’ll be on the way. Gargling, roaring madness follows in the vocals, and the whole piece starts to sound torturously insane.

Fuck it’s refreshing to be faced with a band that aren’t just being old fashioned DEATH or bestial black death at the moment. ‘Stagnation Cult’ writhes and thrashes as if stricken with painful poisons. ‘Toil’ serves as the delightfully brutal starter to crushing main course ‘Without Organs’, a twisting and otherworldly tour de force. It has strange, atonal melodies, grindcore crazyness, death/doom crush and guttural belches. If this isn’t the best and most unique death metal record I hear this year, then I’ve got a doozy coming. These guys need to be huge now.

https://www.facebook.com/PlagueRiderUK/

https://plaguerider.bandcamp.com/

https://panurusproductions.bandcamp.com/album/rhizome

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Early releases in a band’s career can really show you where they are going, and sometimes can show you just how good they are going to be. Here’s my favourites from this year, and why a demo is still as important as ever.

10. Funerary Bell – Graveyard Seance: in a year where black metal didn’t strike me as often as I’d like, Funerary Bell’s EP gave me hope that the genre still has a lot of merit. Injected with menace, and a ghostly shriek pushes them onto my list.

9. Gaijin – Gaijin: Technical death metal carnage from a band who will be very interesting to keep an eye on.

8. Heathen Beast – The Carnage of Godhra: What would become the last third of ‘Trident’, ‘The Carnage at Godhra’ is a brutal piece of quality, chunky black metal that benefits from dashes of ethnic instrumentation and socio-political lyrics.

7. Exenemy – Overture: One of the finer bits of traditional and power metal I’ve come across this year, Exenemy rip some high quality riffs with oodles of melody. Killer stuff.

6. Heaven Abhorred – Opening the Gate: Raw, malevolent black metal goodness. Channeling second wave black metal legends, Heaven Abhorred are another to keep an eye on.

5. Severe Lacerations – Incantation of Sorrow: Killer North West death metal with a ruthless streak a mile long, this will be a band to keep an eye on. Brutality plain and simple.

4. Mist – Inan: What a beautiful piece of doom this is. Reminding me of my favourite record from last year, Mount Salem’s ‘Endless’, Mist have perfected this kind of Sabbathian groove. I love it

3. Hellripper – The Manifestation of Evil: Oh my fucking christ this slays. It slays so hard I bought the tape, and I don’t have a tape player! ‘Total Mayhem’ could be my favourite song of the year, although it has some stiff competition.

2. Runemaster-  Futhark Dawning: This is prime heavy metal. This is metal at it’s beating, stone heavy heart. Each anthem is catchy, each riff is killer, and the simple fact that it channels such a primal feeling of joy means that its a favourite.

1. Plague Rider – Paroxysm: This is one of the weirdest death metal mindfucks I’ve heard in ages, and that simple fact puts it to number one. Plague Rider are in no way afraid to do anything they need to create something truly special. ‘Paroxysm’ is my number one for its fearless invention and its brutality.

I did a full genre by genre breakdown last year, and while I’ll try to put that together in the next few days, I thought I ‘d start with my overall favourites. I spent 2015 listening to a shitload of independent, underground stuff, and a lot of older stuff. My favourite non-2015 record of the year was ‘British Steel’, closely followed by Accept’s superlative ‘Balls to the Wall’. It was clearly a classic metal year.I’ve also not heard anywhere near as many of the records I wanted to. So there’s probably been a few good ones you’re wondering why are missing. Tell me, so I can find them!

I’m adding a late disclaimer to this; at point of writing I haven’t heard the new Baroness record. It’d probably be in here, but its not fair to these other great records to stick it in just because I’m guessing how good it is.

10. Zgard – Totem: A Ukrainian windswept masterpiece of folky black metal. ‘Totem’ proved that while fellow countryman Drudkh has perfected the style, there are still bands that can challenge the supremacy. Majestic.

9. Paradise Lost – The Plague Within: What can be said? Yorkshire doom lords return with one of this year’s finest pieces of gothic misery. Proof that you can always rely on the old guard to bring it.

8. Plague Rider – Paroxysm: Only EP to make this list, English tech death stars Plague Rider makes this kind of mind bending death metal look easy. I cannot wait to hear what is coming next.

7. Islay – The Angels Share: German melodeath underground heroes Islay have written one of 2015’s most impressive records. ‘The Angels Share’ is an odyssey, owing debts to At the Gates and Amon Amarth, but always remaining their own.

6. Heathen Beast – Trident: One of India’s brightest hopes, and one of their most talented acts, Heathen Beast bring to you scathing, black metal with enough unique ethnic touches to make them stand out and be instantly recognisable.

5. Chiral – Night Sky: In a year where Sivjr Yar pushed him close, Chiral brought out my favourite black metal of the year. Epic in scope, majestic in execution, and truly heart-wrenching at points, ‘Night Sky’ is how atmospheric black metal should be done.

4. Undersmile – Anhedonia: A scorching, dynamic slab of proper British doom. Melancholy and bleak, but always vital and alive. ‘Atacama Sunrise’ is one of my favourite songs of this year, and it is my top doom record of 2015.

3. Shrapnel Storm – Mother War: In a year of epic death metal, Shrapnel Storm’s album kept getting played. Maybe it’s satisfying my craving for more Bolt Thrower, I don’t know, but maybe its just because it is a crushing machine of riffs and death. Love it.

2. Necrocosm – Damnation Doctrine: In any year where there WASN’T a new Nile record, this would have been my top record. I love the complexity, the unhinged savagery but also the supreme melodic flair with which these guys kill. ‘Damnation Doctrine’ needs to be the death metal record you hear this year

NUMBER ONE: Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed: I love Nile. I love everything they do. I loved this album before I heard it. But then I did. I heard how Karl Sanders and co had brought their signature sound to yet more intricate, punishing and most importantly GREAT death metal. Writing songs for themselves should be what they do more often, we are all just lucky to hear it.

Did I miss anything essential? Please let me know and I hope you seek out and support all the artists here.

 

Paroxysm cover art

Everybody’s favourite North East England death merchants Plague Rider, (or at least they should be everybody’s favourite) have returned with their latest slab of high quality heaviosity in the form of new four track EP, ‘Paroxysm’. I like what they’ve done with the startlingly bright cover art, which will always make it stand out in my music library, at least once I get myself a physical copy. It’s up for pay what you will on their Bandcamp page.

After wrecking my neck to their self titled debut, I’ve been looking forward to hearing more from these guys, and ‘Paroxysm’ doesn’t disappoint those who need that raw technical death metal fix in their life. From the crushing start of ‘Retrovirus’ with its retching, void emanation vocals through technical but never shiny riffing. The guitar play is intricate but never overly so, and the bass is satisfying high in the mix. Imagine the technical savvy of Atheist mixed with the raw intensity of early Cannibal Corpse, and you’d be on the right lines.

‘Occidite’ is probably my favourite track, with its bowel rattling riffs and that unhinged savagery that’s showcased in full. Time signatures chop and change in a jarring, disjointed maelstorm of almost grindcore intensity, and it’ll knock you off your feet. ‘Hydrophobe’ opens with this slower, creeping crawl that brings to mind Hooded Menace or Coffins, with almost a sludgy darkness to it, before the pace quickens. Each song is bursting with a bug eyed intensity that threatens to jump out of your speakers and strangle you with some piano wire, particularly in the spine buckling ‘Prion’.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Plague Rider are a shining light in the underground death metal scene in this country. Their sound is uniquely brutal and technical, while raw enough to appeal to people who go for old school stuff. ‘Paroxysm’ should see them go far hopefully. If not, then some label somewhere has already dropped the ball. Buy this and wreck your fucking neck

https://plaguerider.bandcamp.com/album/paroxysm

https://www.facebook.com/PlagueRiderUK?fref=ts

This is turning out to be a good time to be searching out new music. I’ve come across some very excellent new bands, and some others that aren’t so new but I have never been aware of them. We’re turning the spotlight onto the UK for this edition, having looked to corners far and wide of the world in recent posts.

First is Evil Blood, a Croatian speed metal band who relocated to London, and since then Scotland and have played under a number of different names (Lord of Darkness and Djinn). They’ve been round a staggering 32 years, and are still gigging around the UK. They are a thrashier Venom, a rawer Motorhead, and have some killer tunes such as ‘Kill With Napalm’ and ‘Malevolent Warrior’. Scour their Facebook profile page for live videos, and check out their full set from Brofest in Newcastle particularly.

Next are Newcastle’s Live Burial. Currently working on a new release, their 2013 demo is available for free from their Bandcamp site. It is three tracks of killer, sludgy old school death metal that reminds me of Autopsy or Coffins. Downloading this is considerably worth your time, and hopefully if they have any physical releases available I will get my hands on one.

Staying in Newcastle area is Plague Rider, whose self titled album from last October is a totally brilliant of fast paced technical death metal that brings to mind latter period Death or a rawer Atheist. The music is memorable, the riffs are great, the musicianship is impressive without being overindulgent and importantly the songs feel like seperate entities. I’m glad I caught up with this eventually, as the neck wrecking intro to their eponymous song is fucking brilliant.

Penultimately is Southampton’s Desolator, who are the kind of lurid, hyper thrash outfit that fans of Muncipal Waste or Gama Bomb will enjoy. Their debut full length ‘TOTAL ATTACK’ is a ripping, high energy thrash record with a thousand riffs and a snotty, punk attitude. Not the most intellectual of releases, but when you riff this hard, who needs it? Their message is simple: ‘Thrash or Fuck Off’.

Finally, I’m picking some quality Scottish metal, thrashers Blackened Ritual. They play a thicker, heavier style of thrash than Desolator, channeling more the spirit of latter Destruction or Warbringer. They also don’t go at it hammer and tongs all the way through, showing some cool heavier and slower dynamics. It’s ace. Download their demo here and bang your fucking head.