May 31, 2012

The Sequence of Prime - Inter-

Guest review by That's How Kids Die.

Art by Brandon Duncan

I first experienced the one-man destructive force that is The Sequence of Prime via 2010’s Virion, an album that sounded like a man being assimilated by hostile machinery and forced to play cybernetic metal inside a black hole. Fast forward to 2012 and TSOP mastermind Brandon Duncan has finally unleashed a follow up in the form of Inter-, a record that sees the man crawling out of the bio- mechanical abyss and gaining control of those aforementioned death-machines, bending them to his will in order to create something even more violent and brutal.

Whereas Virion had a devastatingly mechanized feel, Inter- ups the ferocity by scaling back on the electronics, allowing Duncan’s fleet-fingered riff-mongering and vein-popping vocals to take center stage. The results are nothing short of stellar; in less than twenty-five minutes TSOP whips up more ferocity than most metal bands can muster in twice that amount of time with four times as many musicians. The music is mercilessly precise but possessed by a sense of total psychosis; think of it as Today is the Day meets T-1,000.

It’s worth noting that not only does Mr. Duncan handle all of the instruments, vocals, lyrics and programming for TSOP, he also records everything himself and is an accomplished graphic artist who designs all of his own album art and layouts. Even though Duncan gives his music away for free, he’s still dedicated to creating a complete experience for the listener that goes beyond music.

Overall, Inter- is one of the most flat-out ripping metal albums I’ve heard this year, which is saying a lot considering the amount of music I’m bombarded with on a weekly basis. Mr. Duncan’s singular vision has resulted in something totally unique, a razor-sharp assault on the senses that’s as cerebral as it is utterly neck-wrecking. Consider yourselves warned.

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May 30, 2012

Generation of Vipers - Howl and Filth

Review by Aaron Sullivan.

Cover art by Anthony Couri

Generation of Vipers’ Howl and Filth is in your face Sludgy/Hardcore, sounding like a mix of Neurosis and Godflesh. Viper is a fitting animal to name themselves after, as this album is full of venom. The bass buzzes over a huge guitar sound while the drums pound you into oblivion. Bits of samples enhances the atmosphere, and Kurt Ballou’s thick production adds the weight needed to propel the intensity of Generation of Vipers. This album is a freight train and you are tied firmly to the tracks from the word go. The Obelisk adds:
Generation of Vipers do well in establishing a personality separate from their influences and offsetting some of what might otherwise be familiar with a crushing approach. Ultimately, the album is dark in a metallic sense, but still forward thinking enough to be tagged progressive in its way, and greatly benefitted by Ballou’s production.
Howl and Filth is scheduled for release on June 5th via Translation Loss Records! The vinyl version will be released through Inherent Records on June 5th. For now you can get it here. You can only stream one track, but a mere $3 gets you the complete album with six tracks.

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May 29, 2012

Sandrider - Sandrider

Review by Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

Artwork by Jesse Roberts

This self-titled release may be a debut effort by Seattle, WA-based Sandrider, but that's not an indication of experience or lack of chemistry. Nat Damm (drums) and Jon Weisnewski (guitars and vocals) have been playing together in Akimbo for over a decade, and are joined by bassist Jesse Roberts (the Ruby Doe) to complete the line-up. Weisnewski founded Sandrider with Damm out of a desire to play guitar again. The group take their name from Frank Herbert's Dune series, a staple of heavy metal and hardcore inspiration for many. The term refers to someone capable of controlling a giant sand worm, or shai hulud. That idea infuses the music this record contains conceptually, as well as thematically.

Sandrider is characterized by a sense of restraint and control, a powerful sound that's carefully leashed. The tone is aggressive and muscular, but deployed very carefully, often pulled back or stripped down for effect. The thick, ropey guitar tone hints at sludge, but resists being weighed down. The riffs drive forward with a momentum that evokes a massive beast propelling itself through sand, forcing the desert to bend around it. Sandrider is vast, gripping the listener, and intellectual without over-thinking. This is an extremely promising debut from a powerful new project.

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Antigama - Stop The Chaos

Stop The Chaos, the new album by Poland's Antigama was released on the Selfmadegod Bandcamp. This is math grind, that manages to match hyper precise riffing with falling apart rhythms, often at the same time. Or as Monkey Defies Gravity puts it: run-you-over grind warfare, jazz squee, octopus drumming and proper hip-shaking riffage. And samples and electronics too. Read the review from Heavy Blog is Heavy and enjoy 15 minutes of intricate chaos.

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You can find two previous albums by Antigama on their Relapse Records Bandcamp page.

May 28, 2012

Botanist - III: Doom in Bloom / Allies

Botanist - Doom in Bloom / Allies has been released on the Verdant Realm Bandcamp. This is a followup to the Botanist debut The Suicide Tree / A Rose From the Dead, that caused quite a stir with its post-apocalyptic botanical black metal with croaky vocals, drums, and hammered dulcimer.

Art by M.S. Waldron

Botanist - Doom in Bloom / Allies has been released on the Verdant Realm Bandcamp. This is a followup to the Botanist debut The Suicide Tree / A Rose From the Dead, that caused quite a stir with its post-apocalyptic botanical black metal with croaky vocals, drums, and hammered dulcimer.

On Doom in Bloom keyboards are added to the palette, and the croaks are supplemented with eerie whispering. The tempo has dropped, and the songs are longer, more intricate, and have moved into a kind of blackened doom territory. The dulcimer suits this style of music perfectly. It's trebly hammering creates an intense almost horrific atmosphere, as we wait for the impending floral doom

Allies is the perfect companion disk to Doom in Bloom. When you're done dulcimering you'll appreciate these full-band songs made by friends of Botanist to drum tracks from the Doom in Bloom session. A kind of Botanist alternate universe if you will, read more about it in this interview from Meat Mead Metal. You can also listen to Allies above as it is included in the Doom in Bloom stream and Bandcamp download.

May 27, 2012

I Am The Trireme - Unholy Divination

I Am The Trireme - Unholy Divination from 2010 is available on the Born Of Chaos Records Bandcamp. This is symphonic brutal blackened death metal, which is silly off course, but still kinda true. Ferocious death metal is combined with melodic/symphonic black metal into something equally melodic and brutal. And what is a trireme? you might ask. An ancient Greek warship according to Wikipedia. Read a review from Death Metal Baboon and check it out.

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May 26, 2012

Infiltrator - Demo

Artwork by Alyssa Mocere

The Infiltrator demo is two tracks of ripping speed metal. Crunchy speed/trash riffs, intricate shredding solos, and catchy songs with enough complexity to keep the interest level high. Normally this sort of epicness would be paired with piercing power metal vocals but Infiltrator employs a harsh, not entirely un-Motörhead-like, rasp. And that works really well as a contrast. All in all, a very promising demo.

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May 25, 2012

Desolate Winds - In Times of Cold

Desolate Winds - In Times of Cold is available on the Fallen Empire Records Bandcamp. This is two long tracks of plodding atmospheric black metal, meant to represent the cold, harsh winters of Cumbria. The icy tremolo picking, the distant screams and the slow death march of the drums does conjure up images of solemn winter landscapes. This is not original, many bands does the atmospheric black metal thing, but Desolate Winds manages to create real atmosphere.

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May 24, 2012

Combat Astronomy - Barricades

Combat Astronomy - Barricades is an EP of "avant industrial space metal". The music has a free jazz sensibility, it also got programmed drums, and then there's James Hugget on his 5 string fretted and fretless basses. Industrial sounds, and female voices adds to the atmosphere on a few tracks. The occasional horns are buried in the mix. But really, this is about the overpowering distorted bass riffing by James. Which I think you should check out.

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May 23, 2012

Arcturus - Sideshow Symphonies

Arcturus - Sideshow Symphonies from 2005 has been added to the Season of Mist Bandcamp. You could call this cerebral metal. The atmosphere is airy and mournful. The music is progressive, avant garde even, with just the slightest hint of black metal. The whole album has the feel of a rock-opera.

The focus is on song structure and vocal hooks though. Combine those hooks with the beautiful operatic tenor of Simen Hestnæs and you get parts that sounds like a-ha playing metal (and that is a good thing). Fantastic stuff. Here's one review from Metal Review and here's eleven more from The Metal Archives.

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((Thorlock)) - S/T

Review by Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

This is the debut, self-titled album from ((Thorlock)), who hail from Cape Girardeau, MO. Another band that produced and released their record, ((Thorlock)) was then picked up by upstart indie label Handshake Inc. for a more comprehensive re-release and promo campaign. There's a little Weedeater influence heard in the spare, thumping drums and buzz-y, reverb-heavy guitar tone, especially in the circular structured "Mississippi Wheelwash." ((Thorlock)), however, are sharper than a lot of their tar-thick compatriots; they have created a Southern rock sludge monster with a skeleton of barbed wire. This is particularly clear on "Triceratops" ― there's sharpness to their vocal performance, the occasional bright whip-crack of a crash cymbal that keeps you on your toes and prevents the listener from falling into a La Brea Tar Pits sludge coma. This can't be classified as stoner rock because of this bright quality; ((Thorlock)) keep their wits honed to a sharp edge. If you're looking to swallow some doom with the occasional razor blade amidst the thick, congealing feedback, this album is a fine auditory meal.

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May 21, 2012

Rivers of Nihil - Temporality Unbound

Rivers of Nihil - Temporality Unbound. This is brutal technical death metal with impressive musicianship, and a few excellent solos. The occasional use of keyboards adds atmosphere, but then it's quickly back to being brutal again. Lots of progressive gymnastics, but without overdoing it. Also, the nice crunching guitar tone and the harsh, almost-hardcore-but-not-quite vocals keep everything grounded as No Clean Singing puts it. Check it out.

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May 20, 2012

Close The Hatch - Dual Volumes

Review by Aaron Sullivan.

The easiest way to describe Close The Hatch is by simply calling them Post-Metal. But that would be somewhat lazy. Yes they are influenced by Neurosis but they are by no means copying them. They add touches of Shoegaze and Ambient to help counter the harsh Sludge, and their melodies are unlike anything I have ever heard in bands of this type. Unlike many post-metal albums, the ebb and flow of Dual Volumes feels very natural and never forced.

The bands name is apt as the album is total immersion. You Close The Hatch, and take the ride.

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May 18, 2012

Bastard Priest - Ghouls of the Endless Night

Bastard Priest's Ghouls of the Endless Night is punked up old school Swedish death metal. Not original by any means, but when done this well, who cares? The vocals are hoarse growls and the riffs alternate between tremolo love letters to the late 80s and d-beat style chord patterns as this review from From the Dust Returned puts it. Fuzzy, filthy fun with an analog-demo style production that perfectly suits the music. Read the review from Teufel's Tomb, click the player and enjoy 36 minutes of thrashy perfection.

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May 17, 2012

Ethereal Riffian - Shaman's Visions (Remaster)

Review by Aaron Sullivan.

When one thinks of all the countries that have produced great Stoner/DOOM bands Ukraine don’t usually come to mind. With Shaman’s Visions, Ethereal Riffian is looking to change all that.

One of the immediate bands that come to mind at first listen is OM. While Ethereal Riffian employ two guitar players, they are still able to capture the OM vibe. This is spaced out, fuzzy Stoner/DOOM. You can’t help but find yourself swaying with each riff as if you were stuck in a trance. Vocals are not sung but rather chanted. While the album is divided into tracks they each build off the other, making it sound so cohesive that it feels like one track. Additions like flute, bongos, and female vocals only add to their hypnotic brand of Stoner/DOOM.

This album does what good Stoner/DOOM albums should. It takes you on a trip and makes you feel under the influence even if you are not. Doommantia adds
This is one of the most tripped-out albums released in recent years and you will feel like you are on a psychoactive drug while listening to 'Shaman's Visions' as the music really does alter your cognition and perception of everything around you.

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May 15, 2012

Wizard Rifle - Speak Loud Say Nothing

Review by Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

Photo by Justine Murphy at Photic Photographic

After two years of making strange sounds together, Portland, OR's Wizard Rifle have released their debut album, Speak Loud Say Nothing. An example of a successful hybrid that's much greater than the sum of its parts, the record combines nimble, noodling math rock guitar playing and songwriting with comfortably fuzzy, broken-in sludge tones.

Wizard Rifle utilize the best from both of these influences. The guitar playing is supple and sophisticated, falling over itself with the swooping, precise grace of a trapeze artist. The tone of the album is warm and woolly, preventing the more technical aspects from becoming too cold. The choral vocals are organic and effective, especially the shouted, cacophonous chanting of the chorus on "Tears Won't Soften Steel."

An album that both challenges and comforts, Speak Loud Say Nothing combines a warm, tuneful aesthetic with some seriously skilful instrumentation.

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May 13, 2012

Author & Punisher - Ursus Americanus

Review by Phro.

Imagine it's 2200 CE, and you've been nothing more than a digital being since birth. Your consciousness was uploaded to a global server--the last of the flesh-babies, if you will. Your thoughts are encoded on quantum dots, but self aware none-the-less. Your physical senses have been replaced with input devices you can use and discard at will.

Now, imagine a malfunction, trapping your immortal, sentient mind in a locked off section of the global network, with no input, no companions, and no escape. You're digital--you have no physical control, and you are essentially immortal.

Now, imagine decades and centuries of solitude wearing on your "mind," slowly driving you insane. Your nonexistent ears seem to manifest sounds that you know cannot be there. At first you fight it, realizing it is yet another symptom of your deepening madness. But then loneliness and desperation overpower your logical reluctance to give in. You find yourself enjoying the tortured beats, the low hum of what sounds like massive electromagnets being switched on. You can hear the rumble of an electrical storm in the distance. And then the static of feedback like a robot struggling to outrun rust and decay. A demonic, pulsating rhythm wraps its tendrils around your spasming brain and squeezes and squeezes and squeezes until you feel the spray of hot blood on your nonexistent face.

The music you had welcomed as a distraction from your boredom and loneliness, you now realize, is no music at all. It is the sound of your server shutting down. Whether the sun has finally gone cold and the power has run out or the Earth has been ravaged by a nuclear holocaust, electromagnetic blasts and radiation having torn asunder the very fabric of space and time, you do not know. But as bits and bytes of your remaining self flicker and disappear, you give thanks for the commutation of your seemingly eternal torture and dance wildly to the dry, marching rasp of death.

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(I’m not really sure why this album is named after the American black bear...)

May 12, 2012

Beyond Terror Beyond Grace - Nadir

The new album by Beyond Terror Beyond Grace has been released on the Willowtip Bandcamp. Nadir is an intriguing mix of several different styles. A short description could be atmospheric blackened death. Teufel's Tomb adds
They combine the accessible blackened atmospheric melodies of Krallice with the melodic technical ferocity of Ulcerate, with the familiar tempo and intensity changes of a good death doom album.
Rumbling wall of sound riffs, dynamic drumming and powerful throaty rasps and growls. Moody, intense, and often beautiful music. Here'a review from Metal Review and here's an interview from the wonderfully named The Fuck Whisperer.

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Walden - .​.​.​Isolation

Review by Aaron Sullivan.

...Isolation is an Atmospheric Black Metal album from the band Walden, hailing from Victoria British Columbia.

As the name would suggest, nature plays a big part thematically. The acoustic tracks give that sense of sitting in a wooded area with a fire burning to keep you warm. But the Black Metal tracks, full of tortured wails and tremolo picking, are anything but cozy; the fire is now out and you are frostbitten. This juxtaposition of styles is made even better by the production. With the acoustic passages being very well produced, with added outdoor sound effects to enhance the warm feeling. While the Black Metal tracks are raw, as if they were recorded in cave. This difference in sounds never effects the flow of the album, Actually adding to it with great effect.

If you're a fan of Atmospheric Black Metal, especially one that has acoustic passages, this is an album and artist worth checking out.

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May 10, 2012

Impiety - Ravage & Conquer

Written by Atanamar Sunyata.

Singapore’s Impiety have been slashing away at thrashing-black-death since 1990, leaving a trail of murderously fine albums in their wake. The band’s 8th full-length album stands out from the pack thanks to particularly potent guitar work and a focus on cogent, incisive songwriting. Ravage & Conquer sports a crushing cohesion borne of ineffable battery (courtesy of Dizazter), and is graced with a fittingly gritty and articulate production.

New guitarist Nizam Aziz brings a breakneck barrage of ripping riffage, cut from the trusty mold of Seven Churches by way of Kreator, Slayer and Altars of Madness. The songs are delivered with precipitous abandon and impossible precision, matching majestic riffs to rhythmic finesse. The solos are particularly awe-inspiring, displaying an incredible economy and a flair for memorable, malicious melody.

Photo by Carmelo Española.

Shyaithan reigns over his creation with diabolical iniquity, spewing abject blasphemy amidst fervent exhortations to war against the flock of God. His ragged, rasping vocals are unrepentantly savage, inciting a desire to do exactly what the album title commands.

Ravage & Conquerr is an immediate, ridiculously enjoyable rampage and one of the best albums of the year thus far. Break out the neck brace. “Death shall strike.”

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May 9, 2012

Horseback - Half Blood

Artwork by Denis Forkas

Half Blood, the new Horseback album, has just been released on their Relapse Records Bandcamp page. This is an album that takes you on a journey. Starting with americana black metal; twisted boogie grooves, repetitive twangy guitars, and harsh blackened vocals. Ending with full on krautrock droning; gorgeous layers of organ and guitar, and the gentle tick-tock of electronic drums. Here's a couple of reviews from AllMusic and The Inarguable, and here's an interview Invisible Oranges did wth Jenks Miller, the man behind Horseback.

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De Profundis - The Emptiness Within

Artwork by Costin Chioreanu

The new album by De Profoundis have just been released on their Bandcamp. The Emptiness Within mixes progressive and death metal with a strong sense of melody, a little like Opeth used to do it. De Profundis sounds more progressive, mainly due to the fretless bass playing from Arran McSporran. Some of the galloping, double bass driven riffs could be coming from the NWOBHM era; if you ignore the extreme blackened vocals and skip the delicate clean interludes. The two guitarists deliver intricate layered playing and beautiful melodic solos. All of this is wrapped in a warm and clear production, that allows you to enjoy every detail.

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May 8, 2012

Black Skies - On The Wings Of Time

Review by Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

Cover photo by Timothy Herzog

Black Skies have been active since 2005 and are based in Chapel Hill, NC. They're a hybrid band that are somewhat difficult to categorize. The music they play is a bit like metal and a bit punk-ish garage rock, in terms of their technique. The core of their sound though, the guiding principle in the songs' progression and structure, is a heavy, psychedelic take on the blues.

There's a sense of urgency in the rhythms, a relentless forward momentum that feels like falling, the gallop of uncontrolled emotions. Tim Herzog's drumming has a spontaneous quality that nonetheless projects a powerful, brooding quality. Bassist Michele Temple and guitarist Kevin Clark share vocal duties, almost duelling with their voices in shouting, aggressive counterpoint. Their sound can be surprisingly clean, with relatively light distortion for a group with sludgy influences.

Even at their most intense, On the Wings of Time shies away from that full-on buzz-saw tone, letting a little light in, like sun filtered through a broken green bottle. This is dark and hypnotic, torqued and tilted, but with just enough clarity to see through if you squint.

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May 7, 2012

Indian - Guiltless

Review by Aaron Sullivan.

Hailing from the great city of Chicago is the band Indian. Their brand of DOOM is brutal and no non-sense.

I first became aware of this band when they opened for High on Fire. I had no idea what they sounded like. But when they began to play it was immediate that they were not messing around. The riffs are crushingly heavy and at times droning. Drumming that is tribal and hypnotizing.

Photos by Carmelo Española.

With a Black Metal style vocal that sounds as though it is coming from a madman(and having seen them live believe me it is). At times they have a real Khanate/Burning Witch feel to them. The album is filled with elements of DOOM, Drone, and Sludge. The band has in it's ranks members of Lord Mantis and Nachtmystium.

Intense, brutal, harsh, crushing, heavy, torturous, ugly, and in your face. All these adjectives fit for this album.

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Hellige - Demo

Hellige from Argentine plays a mix of cavernous doom and murky black metal. The songs on the demo are constantly evolving, giving some parts an almost progressive feel, but without loosing any of the atmosphere. Dynamic and creative drumming often help drive the songs more than the guitars do. Very effective vocals ranging from extremely tortured screams to deep death metal bellows.
Overall, the vocals serve much in the way as the lead guitar, adding color and texture to the song rather than carrying the all of the melody as is seen in other bands.
The quote is from this great review from The Oak Conclave. Read the review and check out this interesting demo.

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If you want a CD copy of the demo you can buy one here.

May 6, 2012

Circles - The Compass

Another find from Invisble Oranges' 2011 In Review: The Year in Tech-Death, Circles - The Compass features beautiful singing over equally heavy riffing. With their emphasis on melody Circles carves their own niche somewhere in between groove metal and modern progressive metal. Melodic tech metal you could call it. Intelligent use of samples and keys, and wisdom enough to don't over do it. And as the IO article continues Really, I mean that: the singing is beautiful. Here are reviews from No Clean Singing, Heavy Blog is Heavy, and Don't Count on it Reviews.

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Exmortus - Beyond the Fall of Time

Exmortus plays an technical thrash/death metal hybrid. As the Invisble Oranges article 2011 In Review: The Year in Tech-Death states Beyond the Fall of Time features some of the finest soloing in all of metal, but marries it to riffs that would do any ’80s thrash band proud.

While two guitarists leaves no string unbent, you get a solid set of songs too, especially on the first half of the album. Also, the gruff barking vocals (and occasional falsetto screams) helps give the album some traditional heavy metal swagger. Check it out, this is metal that is badass and fun.

Earache has acquired Heavy Artillery Records (news item from Blabbermouth) and subsequently killed the Heavy Artillery Bandcamp.

May 5, 2012

Petrychor - Effigies and Epitaphs

Review by Zamaan Raza.

Effigies and Epitaphs is the debut album of Tad Piecka, aka Petrychor. It is progressive black metal that evokes images of the encroachment of human civilization on to the unspoiled primitive beauty of nature --- or perhaps the other way round, with mankind succumbing to the pressure of time and entropy. The tone is alternately earthy and ethereal, with virtuosic accoustic passages reminiscent of James Blackshaw or Six Organs of Admittance giving way to a relentless, almost euphoric vortex of noise.

When the blastbeats kick in, it’s overpowering stuff; simultaneously oppressive and trance-inducing. Machinegun percussion, Piecka’s impressive shredding and the vocal rasp can often barely be discerned over the chaos, which will suddenly segue into passages of astonishing delicacy (listen to the piano interlude in Beneath Highway and Street). There are few comparisons; the closest I can think of are The Angelic Process, or perhaps a black metal My Bloody Valentine. These songs are a force of nature: they do not bludgeon, they erode.

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May 4, 2012

Signo Rojo - Promo Album 2011

By Aaron Sullivan. Sweden has brought us it's share of great bands over the years. Signo Rojo is one add to the list. Guitar lines shift between crunching riffs and noodling proggy goodness.
By Aaron Sullivan.

Sweden has brought us it's share of great bands over the years. Signo Rojo is one add to the list.

Guitar lines shift between crunching riffs and noodling proggy goodness. The bass and drums work is solid and really does a great job of anchoring the songs. The vocals call Scott Kelly(Neurosis) to mind. All of these elements combine for a great listen.

As the 'Post-Metal' template that Neurosis and Isis set has been going for some time. It is getting harder and harder for bands playing that style to sound original. So the fact that this band accomplishes just that on a debut album is astounding.

Victimizer - Resurrected Abominations

Victimizer's EP Resurrected Abominations from 2009 was added to the Hells Headbangers Bandcamp. This is aggressive blackened thrash. The riffs are huge and chunky and the production really lets those riffs shine. In short: This is not very original, but well done and very headbangable. Read the reviews from Metal Review and From the Dust Returned and check it out.

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Victimizer's previous full-length The Final Assault is available here. It was released in 2007 and according to the reviews I read, it was their final album. So I don't really know what that makes Resurrected Abominations. Also, Deus Otiosus features former members of Victimizer.

May 3, 2012

Darkspace - Dark Space III

Darkspace - Dark Space III is ambient black metal, a musical journey through the void of outer space. Layered guitars create a massive wall of sound, occasionally huge chunky riffs escape from the wall. Tones and moods are set by the keyboards and the alien sounding vocals, deeply buried in the mix. Darkspace uses a drum machine to great effect, it enhances the distant feeling of their music:
As the drums blast away in the background and the guitars and keyboards envelop you with their majestic dark sounds, you truly feel as if you are hurtling through the deepest depths of space, overwhelmed with awe and fear at the same time
The quote is from this Last Rites review. Here are two more of them, one from Metal Storm, and one from Chronicles of Chaos.

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Enth / Amarok - Split

The new split between Enth and Amarok has been released on the Boue Records Bandcamp. Doom, especially funeral doom, often needs passion and patience before its nuances unfolds. This split is almost 40 minutes of massive and sluggish metal, but it is also an opportunity to see the genre from two different perspectives.

Enth plays crushing funeral doom, the kind that sounds like very slow old-school death metal. Death metal growls alternates with black metal style screams. The crushing is accentuated by bleak acoustic parts, a piano driven interlude in the middle and a cello outro that segues nicely into the next track.

Amarok plays drony sludge-doom with organ undercurrents and massive Sabbathian riffs. Great dual vocals with evil growls and tortured screams. A slightly faster section with a simple but effective solo rounds off the split. Read the review from Doommantia and enjoy your doom.

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May 1, 2012

Moloken - Rural

Review by Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

Moloken are a blackened doom metal act hailing from Northern Sweden. They've released one EP, We All Face The Dark Alone (2008), as well as their first full-length effort, Our Astral Circle (2009). Rural is their second LP, a moody, discontent and brooding work. The drums immediately set the tone, clamorous and fretful, creating a sense of disquiet and restlessness. The mix is deliberately imbalanced ― certain riffs and vocal passages are allowed to swell above others, temporarily overwhelming the sound, before settling down again, like the album's rattling the bars of its cage.

The atmosphere evoked by Rural is oppressive and rough, all overcast sky, sleet and gravel. These different shades of inhospitable grey are broken up by the occasional smouldering ember or lightning bolt. The vocals are caustic, smoothed out by the warped, rounder guitar sound. Where the vocals scour like acid, the relentless guitars mercilessly buffet the listener ― where one eats away aggressively, but unevenly, the other inexorable wears you smooth in time. This effective two-fold attack is both aggressive and cathartic, wringing out emotion. Rural is a great album to be miserable to.

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