Posts Tagged ‘UK’


The culmination of a 35 year journey, Robespierre’s full length debut ‘Garden of Hell’ is the follow up to the re-release of their two 1983 demos as the ‘Die You Heathen, Die!’ compilation in 2011. These lost classics were never released originally, and Robespierre were one of those lost gems of the NWOBHM movement. Until now, and Shadow Kingdom Records have brought it for all to enjoy.

It doesn’t sound like 35 years have passed, such is the iconic NWOBHM sound coming from opener ‘Punish Oppressors’. This is instantly iconic, hooky as fuck and possessed of a killer set of riffs, and this is a common theme throughout ‘Garden of Hell’. If you spend most of your musical life listening to nothing after about 1985, then this is the stuff for you. ‘Mare of Steel’ and ‘Feed the Fire’ are galloping heavy metal for the masses, and Robespierre are never scared of adding a little doom to proceedings too, sprinkling a little dust over their timeless, ancient magic. This is no more apparent than in the gloomy ‘Dwelling in the Shadows’ or the gritty chug of ‘The Black Mirror’. This really makes this record stand out as not just another old band trying to make a name based on their old kudos, but as a band who are ready to stand separate and proud of a new heritage.

If Robespierre had been lucky enough to release this back in the early 80s, we might have been speaking of them in the same revered tones as Maiden, Diamond Head, Angel Witch and the like, such is the strong song writing and the awesome guitar work. I mean, you’d struggle to tell that the likes of ‘Welcome to the Cult’ wasn’t written 40 years ago. Excellent stuff.


GODTHRYMM Album Cover 300.jpg

The debut EP from a band containing current and former members of My Dying Bride, Anathema, Vallenfyre and Solstice? Epic doom from the UK? I am SO in on Godthrymm. Their debut ‘A Grand Reclamation’ is out now through Transcending Records and oozes with promise.

The title track opens with forlorn acoustic guitar, before an iconic ‘Yorkshire doom’ riff kicks in and the powerful vocals of Hamish Glencross drags you to the miserable moors. Ominous bass rumbles beneath these sermons of doom, and Godthrymm touch on all their influences but don’t sound like any of them. There’s no sorrowful violins (well ok, a little in ‘The Pantheon’ but it isn’t overbearing), there’s no morbid deathly crush, there’s no progressive bent. This is classic British doom that draws back to the lonely heaviness of Sabbath. The propulsive ‘Sacred Soil’ is at once a lumbering mythical beast and a mournful lament, carried once more by the strong vocals.

Closing with ‘Forevermore’, a soothing instrumental to bring you down after the heaving, roiling mass of ‘The Pantheon’, Godthrymm exceed the sum of their parts. They are looking to invigorate British doom through stalwart traditionalism, and not since the glory days of ‘Icon’, ‘Turn Loose the Swans’ and ‘The Silent Enigma’ has doom sounded so epic, so heavy, so BRITISH!


A project of two of the best and most prolific death metal stalwarts in the underground, Down Among the Dead Men is the brainchild of Dave Ingram and Rogga Johansson. Both recently starring on Transcending Obscurity with Ursinne and Paganizer respectively, Down Among the Dead Men is the next cog in this endless death metal machine. ‘…And You Will Obey Me’ is out in June on TO Records.

Opener ‘Destroy the Infinite’ immediately gives you the scope of this record. Which is, very narrow, savage and crusty death metal with scowling vocals and an almost d-beat attitude. A narrow scope is in no way a negative, as Down Among the Dead Men ravage our society with crushing riffs and memorable songs. Most tracks barely scratch three minutes, each a galloping exercise in thrashy death metal. Ingram provides his iconic throaty roar, while Johansson’s guitar tone is equally iconic in its Scandinavian rasp. The insidious ‘Omega’ is excellent, and the killer ‘The Age of Steel’ pulses with a classic Swedeath sound.

A major benefit of this record is that it is only half an hour long, which means that no songs overstay their welcome and you feel immediately inclined to start it all over again. These death metal legends have done it again, with ‘…And You Will Obey Me’ taking a firm place in death metal contenders for record of the year. Huge, nasty and thoroughly absorbing.

Ermerging from the ashes of respected Edinburgh black thrashers NNGNN, Valaraukar are a new two man band that draw mighty inspiration from the abyssal wells of gloriously savage black metal. Their two track demo, ‘Harnessing of Hostile Forces’ is available now through Rat King Records on Bandcamp.

Opener ‘Hostiles Forces’ flows with fearsome intent, moving smoothly like a giant black snake. Relentless double kicks provide a beefy engine for the rapid fire tremolo riffs to cascade across, and the song rampages bleakly onwards. ‘Conquering the Void’ continues this path, rife with cool riffing and an innate sense of the cold, the heartless and the bleak icy abysses. Valaraukar have put chains upon the dark beasts, and drawn them under their control.

‘Harnessing of Hostile Forces’ is a magnificent statement of intent, and while it still betrays their roots in NNGNN’s thrashy world, Valaraukar are vanishing deep into the morbid depths of icy black metal, and it is a joy to be a part of.

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.

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.

Infected Dead - Archaic Malevolence

UK death metal upstarts Infected Dead’s debut record ‘Archaic Malevolence’ appeared late last year on Hostile Media, and was probably a bit lost in the shuffle of year end lists etc. But, since the Killchain doesn’t do year end lists, I have no excuse for missing it until the band emailed me. I’m glad they did, as this is rather good.

After a suitably mysterious and gurgling intro, first track proper and title track ‘Archaic Malevolence’ is a whirling cacophony of blastbeats, guttural roars and fiery fretwork. This is cutting death metal, cold and precise without the bloodied warmth of more old school acts. Sent to dazzle you with riffs and solos, Infected Dead blister you with pinpoint brutality and that sweeping, Black Dahlia Murder-esque knack for melody and infectious tunes. Imagine Rings of Saturn deleted the breakdowns and decided to do At the Gates covers, and you’re almost there.

Magnificently capturing the essence of modern death metal, Infected Dead’s offerings to the elder ones are exhilarating and dripping with venom. ‘Archaic Malevolence’ starts my 2018 with just the right kick of death metal, and the uneasy sway of ‘Invocation to Unspeakable Gods’ suggests there is even more nuance to come. This fucking slays.