Posts Tagged ‘Self Titled’

Found amongst a pile of mp3s gathering dust in a folder on a hard drive, this self titled record from Norwegian hardcore punks NAG is absolutely fucking great, and needs to be spoken of highly, even two years after its initial release. Hopefully I can prompt some retroactive love for these fine folks!

A rampant slab of blackened hardcore punk songs, ‘Mute’ and ‘Fray’ are instantly vibrant and ready to go. There’s a fire and an energy here that is infectious, and the rabidity of the songs is fearsome. It isn’t merely just hell for leather all the time, as the jarring slow parts in the awesome ‘Master’ and ‘What is Punk?’ showcase as well. Most of the record speeds past in a blur of Discharge/Amebix riffing and visceral screams, and with 13 songs clocking in at a snappy 26 minutes, NAG leave no time for messing about.

Atonal slower sections collide with racing, feral punk/crust in a hailstorm of greatness. I can’t believe I missed this the first time round, and now I’m just glad that I got to it eventually. Seek this out for a thrill ride of intensity and speed.

https://www.facebook.com/nagnorway/

https://naghardcore.bandcamp.com/releases

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The reissue of seminal Cleveland metallers Black Death’s lone full length from 1984 is cause for much celebration. For one thing, Hells Headbangers has introduced me to this band, that I had never heard of, and their fascinating story about being the first ‘all-black’ metal band. Most importantly, it is to be celebrated that this record gets a new audience, because it is totally killer. You couldn’t ask for a better encapsulation of pre-thrash 1980s heavy metal than this.

I’m not going to reference the members’ skin colour again, because frankly it really doesn’t contribute anything to the review of their music, but if anything it shows that heavy metal can inject itself into the soul of any race, religion or person. ‘Black Death’ opens with the galloping ‘Night of the Living Death’, that breathes with a fiery ‘Killers’-era Iron Maiden vibe, and proceeds to travel through a whole range of styles. You want a soulful, bluesy ballad? Try ‘When Tears Runs Red’ on for size, as frontman Siki Spacek croons over a Sabbathian groove. You want doomy heavy metal thunder? Try the King Diamond-esque ‘Fear No Evil’. You want classic heavy metal turned up to ELEVEN? Try the whole goddamn album. ‘Scream of the Iron Messiah’ is probably the best track here, possessed by the spirits of Diamond Head, Iron Maiden and Angel Witch.

Black Death are still out there, as Black Death Resurrected, and Iron Fist Magazine did a great article on them in issue 20 if you want to learn more. All you need to know about this record is that it is an absolute old school heavy metal gem. I got myself one immediately after the first listen, and you all should too.

https://www.facebook.com/BlackDeathResurrected/

https://black-death.bandcamp.com/

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/

With a name like High Reeper (God that spelling is going to annoy me through this review) and an album cover like their self titled debut, it’s pretty obvious that within this disc is going to be some stoner related music. But their press blurb says they’re going the Saint Vitus, Orchid and Sabbath way, rather than the Kyuss clones I’m getting tired of. That already is a good thing. ‘High Reeper’ is out on the 3rd of November.

‘Die Slow’ opens this record with a simply jamming groove that, when coupled with the lonesome, Ozzy like vocals, makes this an instant hit. High Reeper tread that line between blatant Sabbath worship and healthy doses of modern rock and roll, and the results are infectious and soulful. The energetic Clutchisms of ‘Chrome Hammer’, the soulful blues of ‘Soul Taker’ and the grinding title track provide a three track salvo of pure doom blues for anyone to get into. At this point, I’m sold. it’d have to go well downhill from here to suck overall.

But it doesn’t! The heavy rumbling open of ‘Reeper Deadly Reeper’ is a lost howl from doom’s murky past, and the second half of the record builds more into classic doom territory, with the sprawling ‘Weed and Speed’ and the insistent ‘Double Down and Let It Ride’ drawing from Wino’s playbook. Nothing however is finer than the monstrous doom rock of closer ‘Friend of Death’, which somehow combines everything good they’ve done all record and cranks it to 11.

If you’re looking for an album that’ll give you that warm feeling the old Sabbath records did, but still cuts a massive modern groove, then ‘High Reeper’ is for you. The hooks are massive, the groove is brilliant and the atmosphere is pure chill. Light up, spread out and get ready to meet the Reeper…

https://www.facebook.com/HIGHREEPER/

A new band from an old hand, Affliktor is the work of Toby Knapp whose guitar work you’ll have heard spread across classic records like Onward’s ‘Evermoving’ or ‘Reawaken’. Affliktor is all about the old school blackened thrash riffs, and the simple fact that ‘Affliktor’ is the work of only one man is even more mindblowing. Transcending Obscurity are due to release this on the 20th of October.

The matching of a neoclassical guitar player and the traditionally one dimensional blackened thrash genre feels, at first, like it’ll never work. But Knapp’s fretwork is nothing short of mindblowing, and in fact imbues this record and style with a new impetus to be fresh and exciting. The blasting ‘Storm of Demogorgon’ is a defining moment for the record, and the following songs strive for the same excellence every time. Parts of the croaking ‘Born to the Breeder’ remind me very much of early Immortal, while the chunky ‘Burn the Earth’ is prime Sodom riffs coupled with an early Bathory attitude. The most exciting part of the whole record is how the essence of blackened thrash is captured within songs that are easily identifiable from each other.

This record is a blasting half hour of joyous, nasty as fuck thrash metal. Galloping like classic Exodus or Kreator, but delivered with a Venom sneer and scowl, ‘Affliktor’ is a record that is not to be trifled with. The snarling rage of ‘Planet Rogue’ is the highlight of a record full of high points; riffs galore and glorious thrashing sections are what Affliktor is all about!

https://affliktor.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Affliktor/

https://tometal.com/

A collaborative effort between elite members of the Indian metal scene, ‘supergroup’ The Minerva Conduct are breaking genre boundaries across the sub continent. Featuring alumni of Demonic Resurrection, Albatross, Gutslit and a former Animals as Leaders drummer, ‘The Minerva Conduct’ is a record that is scintillating, brave and mind bogglingly technical in parts. It is out 15th September.

Instantly precocious, proggy and thunderous, opener ‘Vile’ snaps into juddering Meshuggah-esque territory with some dazzling fretwork. Open spaces begin to appear within the chugging riffs, and this is where the Minerva Conduct begin to realise the potential of their collaboration. Soaring atmospheres meet heavy djent riffing; propulsive drumming coalesces with twanging bass riffs into a driving engine under stabbing guitar riffs. And this is only the first track! This is an album that effortlessly jumps from electronic, almost ambient soundscapes into brutal death/djent riffing without losing a step. I was six tracks in before I realised there were no vocals, a fact that does no harm to the evocative nature of the music.

‘The Minerva Conduct’ is a shape shifting beast; with progressive metal a vague catch-all genre title that never does the music enough credit, the band manage to construct an organic piece where songs are constantly evolving. The ethereal moments of calm in ‘Desertion’, the Gojira-esque closing to ‘Metanoia’, the electronic highlighting in ‘Appetence’: these are all high spots in a record that never fails to surprise, invigorate or impress. Hopefully The Minerva Conduct are just getting started, because I could listen to this stuff all day.

https://theminervaconductband.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/theminervaconduct/

https://tometal.com/

Gnarly doom trio Tood are one of those bands that, when you first hear them, you wonder how they haven’t exploded already. Their debut self titled EP has all the fuzzed out rumbling groove that any self respecting Sabbath worshipper could want. If you are lucky enough to grab one of the cassette copies that Carvetii Productions have got, it adds to the gloriously old school vibe oozing from your speakers.

Opener ‘Gaffer Tape’ is like the soundtrack to some ancient, murky horror movie. The fuzzed guitar tone takes you into dark occult territories while a touch of early Cathedral in the vocals and psychedelic vibes loom throughout. ‘Discordant Method’ drives us onward towards the endtimes, aching riffs soak you in darkness and a mysterious bloodlust rises. The twisting, enchanting ‘The Bastard’ provides the most graceful of psychedelic freakouts before the churning ‘Schweinhacker’ brings us to a close.

If Tood were around when the first evolutionary steps of heavy metal were taken, they would be revered as legends by now. Their sound is vintage, enthralling and insistent. ‘Tood’ is a new favourite of mine; a deceptively heavy, simple journey to the dark mystical heart of heavy metal. Lead us to our doom, for doom this is

http://carvetiiproductions.bigcartel.com/product/carvetii-productions-cassette-releases

https://www.facebook.com/toodmusic/

Cold. Bleak. Depressing as fuck. Probably the three most important elements of the self titled debut of None, hailing from the miserable Pacific Northwest. This three track EP is full of gloriously bleak moments, and Hypnotic Dirge is releasing it in April, when hopefully the wintry feelings that this invokes will be gone.

Opener ‘Cold’ is exactly that. Numb keyboard melodies lurk within a dense buzzing soundscape of snow and ice, while howling screams loom from the darkness. Take out the vocals, and it could be a soundtrack to a helicopter ride over forested tundras. It is seriously atmospheric; the aural equivalent of snow falling on a lonely forest. ‘Wither’ has a tremendous intro, with building piano and acoustic guitar that hits this huge glacier of tremolo riff that hums menacingly just out of reach.

None have come from nowhere to unleash this masterpiece of depressive and atmospheric black metal upon the world. The heartwrenching piano that closes ‘Suffer’ is one of the most delicate and lonely moments in music, and it gives an aching closure to the EP as a whole. None are incredible; ghostly and haunting to the extreme, this EP will shake your beliefs in black metal savagery to the core. I remember when Emperor’s ‘Into the Infinity of Thoughts’ redefined my impressions of black metal, and this has done the same.

http://www.hypnoticdirgerecords.com/hypnotic-dirge-webstore.php

https://hypnoticdirgerecords.bandcamp.com/album/selftitled