Posts Tagged ‘USA’

Funereal Presence - Achatius

The forever changing and labyrinthine world of black metal is a wondrous locale to spend time. Wallowing in the strictest of genre staples or left adrift above worlds of experimentation, sometimes you don’t know what you’ll get when you start a record. Such is ‘Achatius’, the follow up to Funereal Presence’s 2014 debut, ‘The Archer Takes Aim’. This is a record that plows its own furrow, and it is out February 15th through Sepulchral Voice Records and The Ajna Offensive.

As opener ‘Wherein Achatius is Awakened and Called Upon’ builds glacially, you start to feel something is different here. Ok, torrents of fiery black metal do proceed to cascade from your speakers after a bit, but there is an underlying almost psychedelic nature to it. Traditional black metal tropes wrestle with a sound that you just don’t hear anymore. Imagine Funereal Presence’s riffing to be like a solar flare, burning unfathomably hot in its core but grasping outwards into realms unknown before being sucked back. ‘Wherein a Messenger of the Devil Appears’ is full of these moments, and in fact ‘Achatius’ feels like a record not afraid to put in anything deemed essential to create the right sound. Hell there’s even a goddamn cowbell!

I love this record for its unorthodox style, the exhilarating freedom it has to do anything, yet the dedication to grounding it in a traditional black metal form. Intense, full of variety and moments that’ll blow your mind, Funereal Presence have created probably the most unique record you’ll come across this year in the genre. Stunning.



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.

Wurm Flesh - Excoriation Evisceration

Sacramento, USA is the home of brutal death metallers Wurm Flesh, whose debut record ‘Excoriation Evisceration’ is out now through Comatose Music. A visceral and savage beating through death and devasation awaits those who enter the lair of the Wurms…

After the obligatory intro, the chugging Suffocation-esque low end thunder of ‘Deceased and Festering’ sets the tone immediately. This is dark and horrendous brutality, not overly concerned with slams and pig squealing but more with a guttural, bowel scraping heaviness. ‘Enshrined in Rot’ has a sickening groove to it that struggles to stay afloat under a swampy bass and relentless blasting. Wurm Flesh don’t mess around here; they are in and out in 25 minutes. Each song has its purpose, doesn’t overstay its welcome, and most importantly slays with the most brutal of intentions. In fact, the longest track here is probably the best, ‘House of Flesh’, and it shows that if Wurm Flesh wants to, the song lengths can increase without losing quality. The short sharp assault approach works perfectly in a debut however.

Ferocious riffing, inhuman vocals and a thick, saturated production that really enhances the low end engine powering this vehicle of murderous death and cruel sadism along, ‘Excoriation Evisceration’ pretty much nails everything a fan of brutal death needs, and it does it so quickly you’ll be reaching for the repeat almost immediately. Killer stuff.

Druj - Chants to Irkalla

The debut full length from Anchorage, Alaska’s Druj is probably as dark and as miserable as you would expect from a band surrounded by the cold, ice and snow. ‘Chants to Irkalla’ is out now through Godz ov War Productions.

‘Ziggurats Ablaze’ is a monstrous opener, churning along with gloomy intent. This record sticks mainly to its death/doom style but there is a shimmering touch of black metal about it; the way the cold, lonely moments of tranquillity creep through the massive riffs is straight out of atmospheric black metal records. The grinding, unholy evil of ‘He Who Drinks of Nammu’ is thunderous, mesmerising doom with a real nasty edge to it, while the title track drags some ancient Autopsy riffs out of the abyss, particularly that crazed solo. The atonal bends of ‘Consort of Sin’ are unnatural, and really add to a lumbering behemoth of a track that delves deeper into a morass of darkness.

‘Chants to Irkalla’ is a record that envelopes you in its damp, heartless embrace. Bleak, crushing and undeniably morose, Druj have created an suffocatingly bleak and oppressive record that oozes with a certain dark charisma. Prepare your mind, and delve into a work of blackened doom art.



Twisted and experimental black/death metal outfit Veilburner have returned from beyond this world to bring us the superbly titled ‘A Sire to the Ghouls of Lunacy’, due out at the end of December through Transcending Obscurity. This is some dark and mysterious stuff.

The first thing you’ll notice about this record is the intense complexity of each song. Riffs stab off in multiple directions, the drums clatter, blast and roll into almost jazz like patterns at points, and the vocals contort and twist around this maelstrom. The maddening ‘Introvetrovoid’ is only the first example of how Veilburner collapse black, death, math and even some soulful soloing into one writhing whole. The solos are a handhold to grab onto while being swept away in the storms of tech death and black metal, a stability gloriously realised in ‘Panoramic Phantoms’. Also unique is the use of some super melodic moments, and some clean singing even in parts of ‘Upstream and Parallel’.

This is not an album that slows down intensity wise, even with the haunting midpaced ‘Abbatoir Noir’ curling around you with misty tendrils. It fills your mind with moments of fear, of exhiliration, of sheer anticipation of what is coming next. The howling, electronicy gloom of ‘Glory Glory Grotesque’ and the mind rending riffs of the title track live only to serve a greater master. A master of mysterious ichor and madness, that lives beyond this world. Veilburner raise this album as an offering, and with such quality he will surely take it. Fucking superb.

A two man brutal death and slam machine, Foaming at the Mouth bring their merciless debut album, ‘Writhing’, straight from upstate New York, and this is 30 minutes of crushing death metal. It is out now through their Bandcamp.

‘Reanimation of a Corpse’ is a relatively straight forward opener to bring you straight into the world of ‘Writhing’; coupling big chunky riffs with guttural roars is par for the course, but at least there’s a little holding off on the uber slam to start with. Slam death is great and everything, but sometimes it can be overdone and Foaming at the Mouth don’t make that mistake. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of it peppered across the album as a whole, but it isn’t all that the band brings to the table. The title track has some awesome technical riffing coursing through its veins, while ‘The Siren’ bounces around chugging and technical riffing like it’s going out of fashion. The variety shown here is a welcome change from the usual ‘slam, weedle, scree, repeat’ monotony that you sometimes have to deal with.

‘Writhing’ doesn’t overstay its welcome, blasting through a half hour of violence briskly and keeps everything well paced and interesting. The music is well written, musically tight and totally brutal. Foaming at the Mouth are worth keeping an eye on.

zealotry cover.jpg

Progressive death metallers Zealotry are back with their new full length record, ‘At the Nexus of All Stillborn Worlds’, their first with new label Unspeakable Axe Records. It follows up their great second record, ‘The Last Witness’, and it’s due out at the start of December. This record is a journey through disorientating darkness.

The fearsome title track opens the record with a bang, battering you with blastbeats, crushing riffs and raging growls, while the maddeningly complex bass riffs in the middle are mind boggling. Zealotry clearly have a great love of Gorguts, Atheist and the like, matching mesmerising guitar work with sickening brutality, and the moments when almost orchestral grandness rears its head are even better. The spiralling ‘Primus Venatoris’ is wonderful, while the head caving weight of ‘Universal Deceit’ reminds you that this is progressive DEATH METAL, not just prog. Zealotry assault your senses with talent that is otherworldly, and nowhere is that clearer than the epic tour de force of prog death that is closer ‘Irredeemable’.

‘At the Nexus of All Stillborn Worlds’ is an album that will dazzle, confound and awaken you to the possibilities of what musical instruments can actually achieve. Then it’ll smash your fucking face in while you’re too busy being perplexed. Zealotry have absolutely nailed it here, and you need to find this if wormhole inducing death metal is your thing.