Posts Tagged ‘Review’

Pemphigoid are an old school death metal group from Nottinghamshire, UK, and their debut record ‘Where Compassion Comes to Die’ is the work of a hard touring band that takes its name from a rare autoimmune blistering skin disease. So you can kind of guess in what direction the lyrical content goes at least…

Very clearly influenced by early 90s death metal, particularly British luminaries Carcass, opener ‘Surgery’ gurgles with deadly intent immediately. Eschewing much of modern technicality, Pemphigoid instead go straight for a crunchy Obituary riff with a sickening vocal for devastating effect. The guitar tone is thick like clotting blood, and with various samples and creepy interludes ramping up the horror throughout, this does feel like a bloodied B-movie record. Reeking of fetid death, the groaning heft of ‘Bite Radius’ is a raw gem, as is the chugging misery of ‘Endophagia’.

‘Where Compassion Comes to Die’ is a solid reproduction of classic death metal values, and while the rough production hinders some of their songs from embracing their true greatness (the too murky ‘Necrolatry’ for example), Pemphigoid have definitely got something here to work on for future releases. Brutal, simple and utterly charming in its raw form, ‘Where Compassion Comes to Die’ is DIY death at its most viral.



Canada’s North Hammer are a one man project focusing on bringing us tales of mighty Vikings and northern battles through folk inspired melodic death metal. ‘Stormcaller’ is their debut record, and it is due out in just a few weeks on March 16th. If you like some epic, charging Amon Amarthisms, you’re going to have a field day with ‘Stormcaller’.

Opener ‘Avatar’ is exactly that; massive chugging riffs with killer melodies and throaty roars launch from their longboats, ready to cleanse the heathen lands in blood. North Hammer clearly know exactly which side their bread is buttered on, and make no apologies for the huge riffs that rain blows down upon us mere mortals. The anthemic ‘Magic Mead’ is reminiscient of Ensiferum at their most singalong, and the clattering swords of ‘Tip of the Spear’ makes for a fine battle hymn. The acoustic shades of the drizzly ‘Black Forest Rain’ is washed away by the glorious ‘Spellbinder’, weaving epic leads into a galloping brute of a track.

North Hammer hit all the right notes with ‘Stormcaller’, a strong and swift record full of great tracks and it leaves you invigorating and ready for anything. A record for axe swinging, mead swilling and blood spilling, ‘Stormcaller’ is one of the most fun and fist pumping records you’ll hear this year.

speedclaw - beast in the mist cover.png

Croatian heavy metallers Speedclaw are striking quickly after last year’s superlative debut, ‘Iron Speed’. ‘Beast from the East’ features more of the same, classic heavy metal licks with a sense of fun and conviction I haven’t come across since I discovered Night Demon two years ago! It’ll be out on Shadow Kingdom Reocrds in April!

An acoustic ‘Prelude’ almost lulls you into a false sense of security with its beautifully realised scales before the title track roars into gear, overflowing with classic NWOBHM moments. Siphoning the finest riffs from the likes of Angel Witch and Jaguar, with a dash or two of early Maiden, Speedclaw hit all the right marks immediately. ‘Faster than Hell’ is a galloping ode to the most melodic of early thrash, while the killer leads of ‘Rising of the Claw’ is a personal highlight. ‘Aggression Strikes’ hits you like a missing B-side from ‘Bonded by Blood’.

Basically, with Speedclaw you would struggle to find anything not to like about this release. Drinking deep from the well of classic heavy metal, Speedclaw realise this vision in glorious modern form. Solos spray wildly, choruses are really catchy and melodies will dig into your frontal lobe and refuse to leave. Speedclaw are fucking awesome, buy this goddamn record!

‘The Resistance’ is a 7″ accompaniment to Danish rockers Demon Head’s last record, ‘Thunder on the Fields’, and provides a fitting epilogue to that piece. An old fashioned, sinister rock two tracker due on on the 28th of April via The Sign Records, and is a haunting change to my usual heavy soundtrack.

The dusting off of old tape machines, instruments and themes provides opener ‘Rivers of Mars’ with a soulful, desert groove. Aching vocals croon over clean guitar that teases artful country and folk rock influences from a soft electric sound. Framed as a tale against tyranny, the cool factor of ‘The Resistance’ is almost overwhelming. You can imagine it playing over a smoky 60s movie, with motorcycles roaring down highways of endless sand. I’ve never come across these guys before, but these two tracks have spun repeatedly in my head since I first heard them.

Hunt out this two track piece, then find the album it finishes. Demon Head are ghostly, oozing with a quiet swagger and a fragile openness. When amidst all the headbanging and throatshredding comes this beautiful tour de force, it is more than welcome. Drift away amongst hazy smoke and grass blowing in the wind, and allow your resistance to leave you.


Greek black metallers Nigredo contain members of such genre luminaries as Embrace of Thorns and Ravencult, and they are taking the way we view black metal and turning it this way and that, trying to find a new angle. Their debut full length ‘Flesh Torn-Spirit Pierced’ squeezes elements of thrash and death into their black template, and it is due out in April on Transcending Obscurity.

Nigredo is an alchemical term for decomposition or putrefaction, the first step in creating the philospher’s stone. This is apt as Nigredo shape the black metal genre to create their holy grail, and the opener ‘Ten Repellant Antiforces’ is a surging, vibrant piece of fury. Rampant blastbeats thrust through blistering riffs, while a pervading eerie undertone slithers beneath. The fiery ‘Necrolatry’ thrashes like old school Marduk, while ‘Choronzon Possession’ begins the journey into the more swirling occultisms that become prevalent in the later half of this record.

The atonal melodies stabbing through the excellent ‘Mental Glimpses at Cosmic Horrors’ betrays the band’s influence by the likes of Blut Aus Nord or Deathspell Omega. ‘Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced’ is a perfect alchemy of the traditional meeting the avantgarde, where icy tremolo riffs collide with unusual arrangements. While not as out there as some black metal that heads in this direction, Nigredo keep the attention firmly locked upon what they are going to do next. The dissonant ‘Sons of Worthlessness’ is a perfect example of the revelry found within this sphere of discordance.

‘Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced’ is one of 2018’s more interesting records. Comfortably within the established black metal dominion, their steps outside of the pentagram are the most interesting moments, when the tones and the melodies take on that otherworldly nature. Beginning tethered to the frozen north, it gradually leads you beyond, to a maddening world beyond the icy safety of the forests. Fantastic.

De Profundis have slowly built a reputation within the UK and world underground for being a solid bet when it comes to creating a modern extreme metal album. Their fifth full length, ‘The Blinding Light of Faith’, is due for release in May on Transcending Obscurity and looks to solidify their status as one of the leading lights in the UK death metal scene.

Opener ‘Obsidian Spires’ comes tearing from the gate with guttural roars and flesh searing fretwork. They’ve moved away from the more long, winding songs of their back catalogue and focused on what can crush and kill most efficiently. That isn’t to say that this is a simplistic record; quite the opposite in fact. The anti-Abrahamic religions stance that the band thread throughout this album is well done, and for me totally agreeable! De Profundis wear their influences on their sleeve, and you can pick little parts of bands out on every track. The chugging power of Vader lurks beneath ‘War Be Upon Him’, while a nasty Swedeath tone runs through the savage ‘Bastard Sons of Abraham’. But De Profundis always sound like De Profundis, and that is a truetestament to the back catalogue they have put together.

After being mesmerised by the progressive swerves of ‘Opium of the Masses’ and the particularly crushing ‘Godforsaken’, I can safely say that there is some serious competition here for the best death metal you could hear this year. These UK guys have really kicked it up a gear, and ‘The Blinding Light of Faith’ is a evocative, harsh and truly brutal slab of effortless death metal glory.


A one man project from Portland, Oregon, Adzalaan are dropping their debut record ‘Into Vermilion Mirrors’ in April through a joint effort by Invictus Productions and Vrasubatlat. This is a record that weaves its way through the black/death genre, realising new progressive ideas within the core ideals while still keeping the atmospheric pressure on.

Opening track ‘Haven to Flesh (Intro)’ is a thrumming, eerie piece of music that hums with a dark intensity. When ‘Succumb and Vanquish’ kicks in, blastbeats torrent through the cavernous vocals and a gloriously traditional guitar tone. This is the blackest of the black, fierce and bleak. ‘False Cleansing’ is more of the chaotic, murky same; oily, thick deathly black metal that is relentless and venomous. The haunting ‘Wretched Oaths Fall from Wicked Tongues’ is my favourite however, a miasmic threatening blackness crawling from the abyss to take terrifying revenge on us all.

‘Into Vermilion Mirrors’ is a twisting, writhing serpent of a record. Black through and though, Adzalaan’s embrace of dark death metal passages really helps to enhance the evil intent possessed within each riff, in each ragged howl, and this gives us a record that is simply great. Never staying still, Adzalaan move within dark tides, and ‘Into Vermilion Mirrors’ is their anchor to this world.