Posts Tagged ‘Self Released’

Northern Crown - Northern Crown

The thunderous doom and smoky atmospheres of Northern Crown’s debut record has returned on their newest, self titled record. ‘Northern Crown’ is out now through their Bandcamp, and it oozes with the early Deep Purple and Black Sabbath influences that pervaded their first record, but engages you on a more visceral level.

Opener ‘I Am Your Slave’ reeks of classic Candlemass; vast thrusting riffs laden with organ and a commanding vocal performance. Vocalist Frank Serafine has a similar voice to Rob Lowe of Solitude Aeternus, and there is a subtle power and magic to it that gives this album a feeling of grandeur. The stomping ‘Merciless, They Let You Suffer’ is a killer track, ripe for any ‘hit songs of 2018’ playlist, with a galloping nature that reminds you of classic rockers like Rainbow. But Northern Crown approach all facets of heavy music with the same magnanimity, paying tributes to prog (‘The Desert and the Wind’), as well as miserable Yorkshire doom (the My Dying Bride cover ‘Your River’) and gloomy, occult and organ laden proto doom (‘Forged from Nothing’)

‘Northern Crown’ is a statement. Northern Crown are a band that are almost chameleonic in their worship and execution of classic doom, when the differences between that, classic rock and classic heavy metal were blurred. Sometimes an album comes along where you struggle to pick the best song. Few albums this year have achieved this so well, and Northern Crown’s journey has only just begun.

https://music.northerncrownband.com/album/northern-crown

https://www.facebook.com/NorthernCrownDoom/

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British black metallers Aklash approach their craft with a grandiose spirit and a lack of respect for the classic black and white aesthetic of the genre. Look at that album art, it’s a wonderful cavalcade of colour, that rather suits their broad palette of musical talent. ‘Where the Ocean Meets the Sky’ is out now through their Bandcamp.

‘Cascading Darkness’ pours from the speakers like a rush of icy water, riffs flowing between blastbeating rocks and overlaid with a misted haze of at once clean and then raw vocals. The deft switches between cleaner vocals and the more savage ones is well done, and feels natural. It gives the record a natural tinge of folk metal to it as well as black. There is a vast scope to the epic ‘All Noble Deeds Are Touched With Melancholy’, casting an ethereal mist upon a mid paced black metal odyssey that continues throughout the three part title track. There’s more than a dash of the psychedelic nature of The Meads of Asphodel in places that helps them stand out from the crowd too. That part three of the title track by the way; a defining take on the term tour de force.

‘Where the Ocean Meets the Sky’ is a wonderful record that has a really expansive take on black metal, and allows all facets of raw, atmospheric and sometimes a little weird come out to play. Harsh and uncompromising at times, delicate and introspective at others, Aklash are a complete package.

https://aklash.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/aklashmusic

http://infernum.co.uk/shop

One man Ukrainian outfit Haissem’s new record ‘Demonotone’ is coming out soon, and it follows this year’s ‘Panacea for an Cursed Race’. The Ukrainian and Russian scenes seem to provide some of the best black metal out there today, so it is always a pleasure to get into that part of the underground where possible.

This is a much more brutal black metal album than I was expected, with chugging death metal riffing slathered in a horribly dark atmosphere. The production is suitably raw as well, never losing the weight of the riffing but definitely adding a nasty edge to the likes of ‘Internal Void’ and the primal hatred of ‘The Shadowhunt’. Manic rasps clash with the guttural growling, while the injection of some nice soloing is another string to this bloodied bow. Haissem seem to draw more from the South American scene, (where basically everything is black/death and primitive) than their local one but it makes a nice change.

Defying my expectations of just another Drudkh clone, Haissem keep it deathly in a record that often sounds almost as death metal as it does black. A healthy dose of brutality helps to keep things interesting and fresh, and some of the songwriting is really good. Definitely worth looking out for.

https://www.facebook.com/haissemband

https://haissem.bandcamp.com/

https://vk.com/haissem_band

Technical Damage Artwork.jpg

Canadian progressive death metallers Technical Damage have just recently released their debut full length, ‘The Introspect’, and with it they look to stake a claim in the crowded but normally pretty good genre. It is out now through their Bandcamp.

Travelling along well trodden paths, Technical Damage’s music is full of the kind of spiralling, glacial clean moments that you find in the likes of Tesseract but it also has a good bite to it when the chugging heaviness begins. Juddering riffs crash upon you in the sleek ‘Reshape’, while you’ll take well needed breathers in the more tranquil parts of ‘II: Awakenings’. The snaking solo of ‘Crystal Angels’ is a highlight, as is the thunderous death rampaging through the same song. Closing with the labyrinthine ‘The Introspect’, this is a record that doesn’t really do a huge amount new (although I’ve never heard anything quite like parts of ‘Eviscerate’) but what it does is excellent.

‘The Introspect’ is a promising debut that leans a little too heavily on the tried and tested styles of the genre, and I’d like to see Technical Damage branch out a little further. The musical talent is exemplary, so they have the chops to do it. I’ll be following these guys closer in the future, because if they can build on what they have here, it should be pretty damn good.

https://technicaldamage.bandcamp.com/album/the-introspect

https://www.facebook.com/technicaldamageofficial/

Gutted Souls - The Illusion of Freedom

Brazilian technical/brutal death metallers Gutted Souls have released their debut full length, ‘The Illusion of Freedom’, the follow up to 2012’s devastating ‘Unconscious Automaton’ EP. It came out last year, but I’ve just got my hands on a copy and man, is it a whirlwind of tech death brutality like you’ve never seen!

Opener ‘Being Human’ is dense as fuck, rampaging through some sickeningly heavy riffing but not shirking from some nice melodic work too. Gutted Souls have got a cool, Vader vibe in places, like the chugging ‘Snakes in Suits’ or the snarling, slavering ‘The Undying Stars’. Powering through a tight, technically impressive and guttural yet crisp collection of songs, Gutted Souls are full of good songwriting and rumbling intensity. There’s no sections that feel set up to impress guitar nerds, but the riffs are serpentine and everchanging in order to capture that perfect moment of destruction. ‘Psychopathic Ruler’ has one of the coolest solos in death metal today, and winding it round an absolute beast of a track helps it to stand out.

‘The Illusion of Freedom’ is a tight, solid and perfectly executed slab of brutal death that avoids the slam-and-squeal approach of many of their contemporaries in order to concentrate on a sense of weight and heft, despite being capable of fretboard fireworks at times. Gutted Souls are a band that deserve your time if you’re a fan of Vader, Cannibal Corpse or basically good death metal!

https://www.facebook.com/GuttedSouls/

https://guttedsouls.bandcamp.com/

Kobold - Death Parade

Serbian thrashers Kobold’s new record, ‘Death Parade’, has frankly terrible album art. But that’s a small criticism of a debut full length that has a potent energy and endless enthusiam that you wish would infect a lot of thrash bands these days. It is out now through the band’s Bandcamp page.

You get that feeling straight away with a short intro, and then the thrash kicks into gear with ‘Death Parade’. This is a record that immediately pulses with a sense of joyous excitement to be thrashing, without overly ponderous moments to kill the vibe. You are getting a hefty dose of Sacred Reich, Overkill and the like, while the speed of some of the riffing is nothing short of heroic. Thrash can become very boring without energy, and Kobold brings the energy hard. The chunky, modern Death Angel-esque ‘Fake’ is a banger, along with the savage ‘When the Eyes Turns Inward’ and the lightning fast soloing of ‘Headless Horseman’.

The only complaint really is that ‘Death Parade’ could maybe do with a little bit of judicious trimming to bring down that almost hour runtime. It feels a little long in points and could maybe lose a song or two later on. But as debut thrash records go, it is as old school as they come and that is to be applauded. Fists in the air and get fucking thrashed!

https://www.facebook.com/KoboldCrew/

https://koboldthrash.bandcamp.com/music