Posts Tagged ‘UK’

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.

Electric Wizard are one of my favourite bands. Ever. Their unfuckwithable ethos of weed, tits and Satan had me following since ‘Dopethrone’, and each new release they refine and perfect their particular brand of classic doom. ‘Wizard Bloody Wizard’ is a little different however, and we may be seeing a new monster stride from the smoky darkness of the Wizard’s lair.

I suppose the hardest thing for Jus Osborn and crew is how to improve on their classic records. In the case of ‘Wizard Bloody Wizard’, the band start to come out of the haze a little more. The howling leads, groaning Sabbathian riffs and hypotising wail are all still as iconic as ever, but in the likes of opener ‘See You in Hell’ and the grinding ‘Wicked Caresses’ seems to have less fuzz, and more clarity. The infectious groove of ‘Necromania’ has a very 70s psychedelic rock feel, and the whole album has a very, dare I say, upbeat feeling about it. Gone is the aching, crawling doom of ‘Let Us Prey’ or my own personal favourite, the occult fuzzing ‘Witchcult Today’.

In its place, ‘Wizard Bloody Wizard’ has found Electric Wizard in almost evolutionary mode; having defined almost every part of what a doom record should be in the modern era, they’ve decided to embrace their love of Sabbath and psychedelica even more openly. The mesmerising, cyclical ‘Hear the Sirens Scream’ draws you in, and by the time the rumbling closer ‘Mourning of the Magicians comes to a crashing end, you’ll be left satisfied and ready for more. Sure it’ll never be ‘Dopethrone’, but who wants to repeat past glories when new horizons offer tantalising new magicks?

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Uk doom upstarts King Goat have been touted as the next big thing in riff world, with their last record ‘Conduit’ getting rave reviews all across the board. Taking the sturdy Sabbathian blueprint and moving into progressive and psychedelic territories is just the beginning of where King Goat will take you. Italian label Aural Music is rereleasing this with some bonus tracks from their previous EP in time for their new record, due next year.

‘Flight of the Deviants’ is instantly grandiose, theatric and yet grounded in the simplest of heavy music. Smoky occultisms play across potent, Grand Magus riffs while powerful vocals provide gravitas and depth. ‘Feral King’ has a little more Candlemass about it, while the title track builds superbly with some almost eastern melodies. Even so early in the record, there’s a majestic roughness about the band. The cold heart of ‘Revenants’ swells with a brooding menace, and this is the track where vocalist Trim really stands out. The grasp of melodic and powerful dynamics really takes a hold here, and never lets you go.

‘Conduit’ is a real listening pleasure. In a world where albums feel too long if it is more than 40 minutes, King Goat stride beyond an hour easily without losing any part of their magic. This is doom incarnate; with Sabbathian groove, Candlemass scale epics and even a hazy Electric Wizard darkness about them, King Goat take one proud step toward reclaiming doom for their homeland.

The work of two bona fide death metal icons, Ursinne brings together Dave Ingram (Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Hail of Bullets) and Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath, Henry Kane) to create ‘Swim With the Leviathan’, one of the densest and most brutal death metal records of 2017. Our favourite record label Transcending Obscurity, dropped this monster in August. Original material meshes with death metal covers of 80s classics in one of 2017’s best and most unique records.

The devastating opener ‘Devil May Care’ is undeniably brutal and straightforward, but it has some nice open spaces in the middles where melodies play around a chugging low end. ‘I, Serpentine’ has that Swedish rawness to its riffs, as well as a healthy dose of Gothenburg meldoy. It is a theme running through ‘Swin With the Leviathan’; brutality in riffs and vocals, but not lacking in memorable melody lines. ‘Bullet Bitten’ is inspired by Lemmy, including a great sample from the great man himself, and the driving bassline underneath is a fitting tribute.

While all the original material is excellent, (in particularly the swooning menace of ‘The Chimes at Midnight’) the real fun begins with the four covers songs. The death metal rendering of The Osmonds’ ‘Crazy Horses’ is pretty odd, but the crushing ‘Turning Japanese’ is killer and ‘Monsters in the Parasol’ features Massacre legend Kam Lee, turning the Queens of the Stone Age classic into something very brutal and menacing. You’ll struggle to find a more different, entertaining and downright heavy record in 2017. Ursinne is a great amalgamation of classic death metal and a sense of the absurd, leading to some genuine year highlights.

It feels like since the demise of the mighty Bolt Thrower that death metal has picked up the mantle and attempted to replace them with many similar sounding bands. UK death metallers Subservience are cut from that cloth, but throw bloodied chunks of Entombed and Deicide in there too to dispel any copycat ideas. Their new record, ‘Forest of the Impaled’ is out now on Black Bow Records.

The waspish, Floridian influence is immediately apparent on opener ‘In Depravity They Dwell’, while huge chunky riffs underpin the rumbling ‘Entity of Indifference’. Subservience have honed their assault into a carpet bombing machine of massive riffs and brutality, where an emphasis on heaviness but also memorable songs is key. The crushing ‘Beneath the Earth’ is an early highlight, but the raging ‘The Consummation’ and deathly majesty of ‘Descend into Despair’ maintain the quality of this release through until the end.

‘Forest of the Impaled’ is mesmerising in its execution of brutality. Subservience are a potential successor to the mantle of UK death metal, and this is a debut full length they can be proud of. Varied, crushing and cavernously heavy at times, I’d struggle to recommend it more.