Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

Hellripper - Coagulating Darkness

New Hellripper is front page news for me these days, and a brand new debut album is CAPITAL LETTERS news. This band have been kicking my ass for years now, and their debut is now upon us. More of the same catchy as hell blackened thrash chaos? Let’s hope so.

Opener ‘Bastard of Hades’ is that same, venomous Motorhead vibe that you’ve come to expect from Hellripper. Full throttle, energetic and raw but without losing any of that potent rock and roll base. ‘Annelise’ is more of the same, with lightning lead guitar lines flying from the frets while a propulsive drumming performance is frenetic. Rarely breaking a whipstrike speed, Hellripper tear through these eight tracks in no time, and the infectious melodies and awesome riffing demands you press repeat.

Be it the contagious ‘Black Invocation’ or the soloing frenzies of ‘Conduit Closing’, Hellripper have songs for the hardcore thrasher, the fan of the raw throat savagery and the hard rocker in us all. ‘Coagulating Darkness’ melts punkish attitude into Venom and Lemmy’s greatest riffs, then cranks the speed up 100% and lets fly. ‘From Hell’ alone is enough to sell this record to me, let alone the rest. This band forever embodies the sheer joy of heavy metal, and Hellripper deserve to get massive.

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Lock Howl, from the grey north of Scotland, come to me described as a post punk band drenched in reverb, with touches of black metal in there too. Now, as a reviewer who salivates at the idea of something out of the norm, ‘Pareidolia’ sounds like a very interesting prospect indeed…

‘The Seventh Room’ opens the record with an eerie incantation before the gloomy, post punk vibes take over. Like a black metal version of Type O Negative, there’s definite savagery hidden amongst the reverb loaded riffs. A pervasive melody lurks within ‘Nephilim’, while the dark influences of the likes of Joy Division comes through on the gloomy ‘Into the Darkness. Into the Unknown’. It is a sound that, when pierced by a savage black metal moment, works really well.

There also seems to be a great resemblance to In Solitude; while removing the King Diamond-esque worship, the miserable heavy metal riffs stay, and you get a similar vibe here. I really like the propulsive ‘Graveless’, which builds gracefully with an infectious melody line that burns its way into your mind. ‘And She Was Found by the Lake’ is a melancholic beauty; a powerful piece of emotional turmoil. ‘Pareidolia’ is a rewarding album with plenty of  awesome little moment, you’ll have to listen to it twice.

NNGNN - Forceful Blasphemy

NNGNN used to be called Nolti Nan Gana Nan Nolta, which was a bit of a mouthful to be honest, and so with their second EP release we’ve got the abbreviated version which, quite frankly, as a blogger I very much appreciate. I reviewed their last demo, the superbly entitled ‘Death by the Venomhammer’, and found it to be excellent, so the new material is hotly anticipated!

Opener and title track ‘Forceful Blasphemy’ instantly kicks us off with a scything riff that severs blood vessels with its single minded savagery. There feels like a channeling of classic Venom here; alongside a more traditional black metal assault there is definitely dashes of early Celtic Frost too. The riffs are sharp, relentless blasting provides the underpinning battery for the thrashy ‘Destruction of Ingrained Illusion’ which gallops like prime 80s thrash coated in black metal evilness. Closer ‘Abhorrent Foundations’ has some great dark thrash chugging riffs, and is a perfect example of the great guitarwork on display throughout all three tracks

NNGNN have evolved since their last release, and not just in name. There’s a bit more assurance about them now; a maturing swagger that allows them to straddle thrash, black and heavy metal easily without constricting themselves to one in particular. The EP benefits greatly from that, and steps away from going down the identikit blackened-thrash band road, instead turning them towards genuine, blackened heavy metal Valhalla. An excellent end of year present!



Being asked to review a new Hellripper release is like Christmas come early. Except Santa is covered in spikes, a Venom t-shirt and is thrashing his head against his sleigh, blood spraying everywhere. ‘Complete and Total Fucking Mayhem’ is a collection of all of Hellripper’s releases so far, splits and EPs etc, onto one excellent disc. Sit back and prepared to be thrashed.

‘Flesh Ripper’ does exactly that, with razor edged riffing tearing at you while a raging vocal spouts fear and death. ‘Total Mayhem’ is one of my favourite songs of last year, with its raw as fuck speed metal sensibilities scything through all competitors. Hellripper take all the raw potential of early Bathory and inject the kind of melody that Quorthon didn’t manage until much later. It’s harsh, uncompromising but still catchy as all hell, like the wonderfully ravaging RAWK of ‘Hell’s Rock and Roll’.

I had actually missed their split with Fetid Zombie earlier this year (shame upon me), so the last four tracks here were totally new to me. Of these, the standouts are the fiery fretwork moments of ‘Mephistophelian Dreams’ and the Sodom worship of the speedy ‘Blood on the Cross’. The uncanny melding of savage blackened thrash riffs and insidious melodies is what draws me back to Hellripper time after time. Insane air guitaring and headbanging ensues when you crank this up, so make sure it’s at 11.

Runemaster - Wisdom & Darkness

For those who remember, I was absolutely enthralled by the last Runemaster release, ‘Futhark Dawning’, for its righteous trad metal thunder and epic riffery. Well, Runemaster have dropped another three track beast, and this and ‘Futhark Dawning’ is now available together on CD through Greek label Alone Records. As a fellow Scot, I feel obliged to inform you that this is awesome.

Opener ‘Path of the Serpent’ lacks the same killer hook that ‘Into the Hall’ had, but the riffs are no less epic, and the primordial power of heavy metal is tapped into directly. Runemaster have that same swagger that Grand Magus have, but on a more gritty and base level. They have an almost fuzzy, occult feel to them, where each song is like a Conan the Barbarian-style warrior ritual. Music to triumph over your enemies to!

‘God Has Himself to Blame’ has a righteous solo, and each riff smacks of vintage Pentagram, Candlemass and Solitude Aeternus. The simple groove induces the most vigorous of head banging, and the epic closer ‘Pillars in the Abyss’ is probably one of the most pure and excellent heavy metal songs you’ll hear ever. Keeping the spirit of Manowar and Dawnbringer alive, Runemaster prove once again to be one of the most vital flagbearers out there. Another stone cold classic!

Spoiler alert: this is my new favourite band. So you can expect this review to be positive straight off the bat, but this is a band I only discovered only two days ago and I am smitten by their riff prowess and emotive power. King Witch are a four piece that hail from Edinburgh and play a soulful, grooving style of heavy doom. Their new EP, ‘Shoulders of Giants’ is out now, and should be an essential purchase.

When the opening title track kicks in, after delicate notes emerge from the gloomy intro part, you know you’re in for a bit of a treat. The guitar work is reminiscient of the air guitar doomlord Matt Pike, and there are a number of High on Fire-isms spread out amongst these 3 songs. But the highlight is the powerful and versatile vocal talents of frontwoman Laura Donnelly. Her siren-like voice channels the best and most potent of trad metal and doom singers, from JB Christoffersen and Dio to Emily Kopplin. The catchy refrain here is a highlight too, and the beguiling voice is one I could spend the rest of my days listening to without complaint.

The more dynamic ‘Full Moon King’, which is possessed of a mighty gallop as well as a more melancholic clean section that show more vocal range, leads into the potent epic doom of ‘Lucid’, where molten riffs of mighty doom crash against a gloomy siren on a rock. This is a tour de force, and closes the EP as brilliantly as it opened. King Witch are my new Mount Salem, and for long time readers you’ll know how much that praise means. I cannot wait for more from these guys!

II: Birth & Slaughter cover art

I reviewed the debut tape EP from Necrocracy, cunningly titled ‘I’, recently and was so impressed I jumped straight out to get a copy of their second tape, entitled ‘II: Birth and Slaughter’. This is a band who are really growing on me as a unit, with their particular brand of savage black/death metal mixing the best parts of both genres.

Take opener ‘Ignorant’ for example. It has the propulsive low end of death metal, with a visceral black metal shriek gurgling over the top and a gloomy atmosphere that seeps into every decaying riff and icy passage. Hints of melodies peek through cracks in the murk, teasing respite from the cold, merciless assault. You’re battered relentlessly by the blackened fury of ‘The Broken Limbs of Hope’, until a righteous Bolt Thrower chug appears in the middle and crushes all in its wake.

There’s a more classic black metal influence on ‘II’ than on ‘I’, as if the guys have been spinning some Gorgoroth or Marduk while writing. This is mostly evident on ‘The Lie Within the Truth’, which has some excellent second wave riffs and a bleak, nasty atmosphere about it. The glacial thrash riffs of ‘Reject Them’ leads to the killer closer ‘The Fairground of Birth and Slaughter’, a malevolent tour de force that spins frosty riffs out into a spiralling web of raging Mayhem worship.

Necrocracy make more use of their black metal influences here, and ‘II: Birth and Slaughter’ matches their first demo for quality and surpasses it in songwriting. The last track is particularly good, and I cannot recommend getting a hold of these two releases enough. Necrocracy look to be a band that will be worth keeping a close eye on in the future, and you heard it here first!