Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dark Castle - Surrender To All Life Beyond Form


Artwork by Stevie Floyd

Dark Castle's Surrender To All Life Beyond Form is a dense and atmospheric take on doom. There's also industrial elements, drone metal and unorthodox scales - all covered in a thick layer of crud and fuzz.

Here are reviews from Metal Review and The Obelisk. A common thread in the reviews is that the album is a challenge, but like AllMusic writes, after repeated listens it reveals itself to be an astonishingly varied and well-conceived song cycle.


Photos by Carmelo Española.

Listen to album below and visit their Bandcamp to view all the artwork for Surrender To All Life Beyond Form and more examples of Stevie Floyd's art.


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Friday, December 30, 2011

Bispora - The Cycle


Bispora's The Cycle is heavy progressive music with the perfect mix of ambience thrown in. Here are two mentions on 2001 year-end lists - this from Heavy Blog is Heavy and this from No Clean Singing that says
The Cycle is essentially one twenty-minute song that bounces between a couple of different genres as deftly as Between The Buried And Me do. The main motif of The Cycle is excellent. It is seriously one of the best melodies of the year.

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Metal Bandcamp Doom Favorites Of 2011


My take on a year-end list is up at No Clean Singing.
METAL BANDCAMP DOOM FAVORITES OF 2011
Thanks to NCS head honcho Islander for publishing it and for supporting Metal Bandcamp.

Xerath - II


Xerath - II is available on the Candlelight Records Bandcamp. Groovy Meshuggah-style riffs combined with huge symphonic parts. Storytelling metal. It is heavy, have some fluid solos and no clean singing! Check out a couple of reviews from Heavy Blog is Heavy and Don't Count on it Reviews.


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Returning We Hear the Larks - Proud England


Returning We Hear the Larks - Proud England is ambient djent/tech metal with vocals and a bit more straightforward songwriting than typical for the genre. The Deluxe Package includes an instrumental version of the original EP. Here are a few reviews from Heavy Blog Is Heavy and Don't Count on it Reviews.


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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fiends of Feast - Shadows of Extinction



I checked out Fiends of Feast - Shadows of Extinction after it got a "Best EP" mention in That's How Kid's Dies Top 10 Metal Albums of 2011. This is blackened death metal with passion, vitality and songs - it also has nice touches like a raw bass solo, acoustic guitar and even a haunting string section part. Read That's How Kids Dies review, he also did an interview with the band.


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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rye Wolves - Species battle in the Branches


Rye Wolves - Species battle in the Branches is psychedelic doom with angular noise riffing. The vocals are possessed, the guitars down-tuned and extremely distorted. The songwriting covers a lot of ground including a black metal passage in the closing epic workout Malnutrition Bends The Beak. Read the review from The Obelisk and check it out.


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No Made Sense - New Season​/​New Blues


No Made Sense's New Season​/​New Blues is progressive metal. Not Dream Theater progressive, more like Mastodon progressive. There's a great variety in the vocals, from crusty bellows to the really high wails on I've Not Been. The album got a great live feel and a rough production where clanging strings clamber over each other. Here's a review from The NewReview.


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Agoraphobic Nosebleed - A Joyful Noise


NEWSFLASH! Forget Justin Fucking Bieber and download Agoraphobic Nosebleed's A Joyful Noise from the Grindcore Karaoke Bandcamp. 11 songs, 2 minutes 12 seconds of pure seasonal noise. Grind some of that Christmas fat into dust!


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Obsequiae - Suspended in the Brume of Eos - Bindrune Recordings



Obsequiae's Suspended in the Brume of Eos is available on the Bindrune Recordings Bandcamp. This is black metal fused with a very medieval sound. The result is dense and chaotic as black metal and melodic and memorable as folk music. The bass has a great rumbling low-end feel and the guitars often use cycling, dual harmonies that are quite hypnotic.

Here are reviews from Don't Count on it Reviews and The Inarguable and here's an interesting and fun interview with the band from Invisible Oranges.


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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thrall - Vermin to the Earth



Thrall - Vermin to the Earth got a spot in this year end list from No Clean Singing. It is virulent black metal with tinges of avant-garde black metal and plenty of creepy melodies. It also has a standout production with huge drums, grinding guitars and pounding bass. Read the review from Metal Review who calls it orthodox fucking black metal or the one from Lurker's Path if you want to dig a little deeper.


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Quintessence - Le bourreau de Tiffauges - Ragnarok Records



French band Quintessence's new album Le bourreau de Tiffauges was added to the Ragnarok Records Bandcamp. They play melodic and progressive black metal. The raw production and angry/pained french vocals creates a dark and doomy atmosphere. Almost every song features beautiful lead work or a solo that creates a little breathing room. Read the review from Don't Count on it Reviews and check it out.


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Monday, December 26, 2011

Defeatist - Tyranny Of Decay


Photo by Carmelo Española.

Defeatist's Tyranny Of Decay is slightly more produced than their previous albums and has real variety in tempo and feel - but it is still raw as fuck grindcore! Defeatist disbanded recently, check out the coverage at American Aftermath.


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7 Horns 7 Eyes - Convalescence



7 Horns 7 Eyes's Convalescence EP is available on the Basick Records Bandcamp. This is progressive metal with terrific playing, mixing a lot of different genres. As Islander from No Clean Singing put it:
Every time we hear them, we adjust the description of their music, but we think we’ve just about got it down now: technical, somewhat blackened, melodic mathcore progressive death metal. Got that?

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Ulcerate - The Destroyers of All


The Destroyers of All is a worthy followup to Ulcerate's previous album Everything Is Fire. It's post-death metal with blistering drumming and remorseless growls submerged in a sea of creeping, dissonant guitar riffs. Here are two reviews from AllMusic and Teeth of the Divine.


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Maruta - Forward Into Regression



We're back. Let's start with grinding a couple of layers off the Christmas fat!

Maruta's Forward Into Regression is all that you need from a grindcore album. Besides som sludgy parts it doesn't add much new to the genre, but it is solid and really well played. Read the reviews from Metal Review and Don't Count on it Reviews.

Maruta split up after Forward Into Regression was released. Here is a memorial piece from That's How Kids Die, including two interviews with the band.


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Friday, December 23, 2011

HO Ho hoo



Metal Bandcamp takes a holiday break. See you after Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oskoreien - Oskoreien



Oskorien's self-titled album is one of my Bandcamp favorites. This post by Kim Kelly reminded me to add it to the blog. She writes that Oskoreien
creates epic, nature-inspired atmospheric black metal in the vein of Altar of Plagues, Panopticon, Falls of Rauros, Agalloch ... Gorgeous expanses of fragile post-rock mix gently with the harshness and purpose of the album’s more blackened passages
Lurker's Path also have kind words about the album calling it the solo black metal vehicle perfected.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Virvel Av Morkerhatet - Forsaken Hate Sickness - Forbidden Records



Forbidden Records is a small label specializing in dark black/death metal and Ukrainian band Virvel Av Morkerhatet fits that profile perfectly. Their debut Forsaken Hate Sickness is raw black metal with a dark, almost doomy bass tone and tight riffing. There's Immortal style croaks mixed with the occasional death growl and a fuller production than usual for this type of music.


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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sweet Cobra - Praise


Sweet Cobra's Praise from 2003 was added to the Seventh Rule Recordings Bandcamp. This is sludgy hardcore - raw, energetic and with an indie quality. Here's a review from A Handful of Dust


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Monday, December 19, 2011

Solothus - Ritual of the Horned Skull



I found out about Solothus through this review by the esteemed Full Metal Attorney. Ritual of the Horned Skull is old-school death/doom done right. Heavy and grooving riffs, interesting growls and a production with a raw, live energy. Check out another review from Don't Count on it Reviews.


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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Heart Of Barf - Look At These Teeth


Heart Of Barf - Look At These Teeth. This is lungcore. This is a human leg with a bear's foot. This is saxophone grind. This is fun.
I smell Ninja! The residue of swordplay and secrets mixed with sweat from the war-horses mane. I smell Ninja. I smell hunting dogs, but this ninja doesn't stink. When I'm in battle, I follow my heart. Watch out for my bear claw. I taped it to my foot. A human leg with a bear's foot. Yes!

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Defeatist – Sharp Blade Sinks Deep Into Dull Minds


Defeatist – Sharp Blade Sinks Deep Into Dull Minds from 2009 was added to the Willowtip Bandcamp. This is primal grindcore, fast, noisy, and gritty. Here are two reviews from Teeth of the Divine and AllMusic.


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Vyrion - Vyrion


Vyrion got a very positive review by Steel Druhm over at Angry Metal Guy Industries. This is an eclectic mix of traditional Scandinavian black metal mixed with death gurgles, gruff and clean singing and copious doom influences. They also mix the black metal with post-rock minimalism and even some goth-metal, but they make it all work very well. A solid debut.


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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Exemption - Public Cemetery Party


Exemption's Public Cemetery Party is "aggressive progressive" metal in the vein of Baroness and Mastodon. It is also very fun and catchy. Check out this enthusiastic review from The Sleeping Shaman.


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Seidr - For Winter Fire


A favorite from the Flenser Bandcamp, Seidr's For Winter Fire is blackened doom. Some of the heaviest shit you've heard (the guitar tone is simply crushing) coupled with passages that are just lovely. Including a full-on acoustic ballad. Check out the reviews from Metal Review, Invisible Oranges and Don' Count on it Reviews who calls it ritualistic doom metal, ... hypnotic, heavy, adventurous, and memorable.


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Friday, December 16, 2011

Exhumed - All Guts, No Glory


Photo by Carmelo Española.


The new Exhumed album All Guts, No Glory is available on the Relapse Records Bandcamp. This is raging goregrind. The album has been compared to Slayer's Reign In Blood in terms of blood-fury and sheer violence, it also has melody and finesse and a nice production. Read the reviews from AllMusic and Aversionline.


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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Of Spire & Throne - The Trial of Failure


Of Spire & Throne - The Trial of Failure is extremely heavy blackened doom. With a thick and sludgy guitar tone and bass playing that rattles your bones. Read the reviews from Doommantia and The Metal Archives and rattle them bones a little.


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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Odious - That Night a Forest Grew



The Odious - That Night a Forest Grew is progressive death metal filled with experimental bits: Jazzy passages, weird beats, technical gymnastics, clean sections, stoner/sludge sections and much more. Despite all the different parts it hangs together really well as an album, the experimentation doesn't feel forced. Here's a review from Heavy Blog is Heavy.


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Monday, December 12, 2011

Panopticon - Social Disservices


Social Disservices, the new album by Panopticon was released on the Flenser Records Bandcamp. Musically it is vicious black metal, often with melodic post-rock influenced climaxes. Lyrically it is an agressive and personal album as both the album title and the song titles (Resident, Client, Subject, Patient) suggests.

The last song Patient is a regular black metal symphony (not to be confused with symphonic black metal!) featuring some amazing drumming. Read more about the album in these reviews from Cvlt Nation and Don't Count on it Reviews.


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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Neptune Power Federation - Wizard Lovin'



The Neptune Power Generation Bandcamp tells us that the track Wizard Lovin' is the erotic secrets of the ancients transcribed and set to a bitchin' retro rock track. That's truth in advertising for ya.


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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Drowned - Viscera Terrae


Drowned's latest demo Viscera Terrae from 2006 got a mention in a No Clean Singing feature on underground metal. This is simple death metal, dark and heavy. Drowned has been active since the early 90s, they are not part of any current old school trends. Here's a very postive review from The Metal Archives.


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Hooded Menace - Abode of the Grotesque



Hooded Menace have a Bandcamp where you can download their half of the 7" split with Asphyx. The track, Abode of the Grotesque, is doomy goodness from the Never Cross the Dead sessions. Read the Doommantia review of the split here.


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Friday, December 9, 2011

From Exile - Monolith




One of my Bandcamp favorites is From Exile's Monolith from 2009. Progressive metal, mostly instrumental - basically a 32-minute lection in guitar metal with arena-rock riffs, sublimely beautiful meditations, heavy-as-shit headbanging chuggery, blistering solos, and soaring anthems as this excellent review from No Clean Singing puts it. Read another review from The Number of the Blog and check it out.


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Rwake - Rest


Rwake's Rest is post-sludge with long, brutal, heavy songs mixing progressiveness with punk-based aggression. A review from Doommantia and one from Heavy Blog is Heavy with these lines
it makes me want to get stoned and beat up some dragons with my bare fists, but I won’t enjoy it because I’m too pissed off and depressed because I’m going to die soon anyway. I mean that in a good way, mind you.
I get similar dragon killing urges when the albums centerpiece The Culling kicks into gear!


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Thrown to the Sun - Of Oceans and Raindrops


Turkish band Thrown To The Sun has released their promising debut album Of Oceans And Raindrops to their Bandcamp. As mentioned on No Clean Singing and The Number of the Blog this is progressive death metal with nice growl-to-clean vocal interplay and some Middle Eastern influences here and there.


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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fanapth - Untitled


Fanapth's untitled demo has been released on the Tagobella Bandcamp. It features one long track of harsh black metal with a doomy intro and noise/electronic parts. Their drummer kicks ass and keeps things energetic throughout the whole track.


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Netherbird - Shadows and Snow


Netherbird's Shadows and Snow is symphonic black metal. But the symphonics are not plastered everywhere, thankfully Netherbird understands that less is more. The playing is intricate and the vocals alternate between charmingly black cackles and guttural death croaks as Angry Metal Guy writes in his review.


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The Netherbird Bandcamp was created by me.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Worm Ouroboros - Worm Ouroboros



Profound Lore Records has added the Worm Ouroboros debut album from 2009 to their Bandcamp. This is atmospheric folk/doom. Enchanted singing, jazzy bass fills and clean psychedelic sounding guitars are interspersed with the occasional crunching passage. Here's a review from Don't Count on it Reviews and one from Sputnikmusic with the great summary woodland metal that doesn't demand your blood on the leafy ground?


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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Neuraxis - Truth | Imagery | Passage


Willowtip has added a compliation of Neuraxis albums Truth | Imagery | Passage to their Bandcamp. They don't oversell it, but simply quotes the AllMusic review. It states that it shouldn't be anyone's first Neuraxis purchase, because it is only on the last album of the compilation that Neuraxis truly begin to reconcile all their various impulses and become the tech-death kill squad of today.


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Monday, December 5, 2011

Barghest - Untitled


Gilead media has been updating their Bandcamp and made Barghest's debut album available for download. This is pure angry black metal, a throwback to the second wave of black metal. The production is appropriately lo-fi, but without sacrificing clarity - as Cvlt Nation said hate has never sounded so rad. Read another review from Invisible Oranges and listen to the album below.


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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hazzard's Cure - Hazzard's Cure


Cover art by Lukas Krieg

Hazzard's Cure has been on my to-do list for a while, this review by Monkey Defies Gravity prompted me to do something about it. Hazzard's Cure seldom sticks to one style in a song, Monkey Defies Gravity calls it seriously stoned metal. I agree, but like The Number of the Blog I think the many transitions are seamless and natural and it's all very fucking metal.


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Hellcrawler - Wastelands


I got a heads up about the Hellcrawler Bandcamp in a mail. Wastelands is metalpunk or death'n'roll like Entombed and Dismember. You know, heavy riffs, aggressive growling vocals and pounding bass. Here are two reviews, one positive from American Aftermath and one a little more neutral from Don't Count on it Reviews.


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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nami - Fragile Alignments - Year of the Sun Records



Nami - Fragile Alignments was featured in a "Things You Might Have Missed 2011" post by Angry Metal Guy. A few Google searches later and their label Year of the Sun Records Bandcamp was found. Andorran band Nami plays progressive and melodic death metal, mixing crushing polyrhythms with quieter sections featuring impressive smokey voice clean singing. The production is modern but not overly so, everything sounds clear and warm.


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Friday, December 2, 2011

Cara Neir - Stagnant Perceptions


Art by Sophie Penrose

While browsing the Sophie Penrose Flickr, I came across a mention of the Cara Neir Bandcamp. Their Stagnant Perceptions album is black metal mixed with bits of sludge and hardcore - and features some seriously tight musicianship. As this review from The Inarguable says: It alternates between melodic majesty and stomping rage.


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Ensorcelor - Crucifuge


Ensorcelor's Crucifuge was recommended after downloading Æsahættr, and I'm glad for that! Two long tracks of blackened doom with warped vocals and very hypnotic riffing. Here are two reviews from Don't Count on it Reviews and Lurker's Path, who calls the epic title track reinvigorating and never boring. Give it a listen below.


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At their Bandcamp you can also hear an excerpt from a new track Into Urartic Mistral.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tombs - Path of Totality


Mike Hill of Tombs. Photo by Carmelo Española.

Rounding up this series of Relapse Bandcamp favorites is Tombs - Path of Totality. This is an album you will see on many of the Best of 2011 lists proliferating now. It has been described as blackened sludge or atmospheric doom (and many other things). The Dan Obstkrieg review from Metal Review calls it mesmerizing gloom and says
while on its face the music seems simplistic, the band’s songs are impeccably constructed, and almost effortlessly flit through a number of tempo and stylistic changes before your reason ever catches up with your gut.
Here is another review from Don't Count on it Reviews.


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Horseback - The Invisible Mountain


Another favorite from the Relapse Records Bandcamp is Horseback's The Invisible Mountain from 2010. It combines ambient drone with stoner riffing and tops it with harsh black metal vocals. All in all, a great balance of metal and non-metal influences. Here are a couple of reviews from AllMusic and Doommantia.


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