Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Harassor - Harassor

Cover artwork by Martin De Pedro

Harassor's self-titled full length is a mix of raw hardcore punk and harsh black metal. The production is lo-fi with clanky percussion and distorted vocals. It is very primal sounding music, about as far away from a glossy studio production as you can get. Here are reviews from Cvlt Nation and Deaf Sparrow Zine, who also did an interview with the band.

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Plague Widow - Plague Widow EP

Plague Widow has just released their debut EP on Bandcamp. This is brutal death grind with flashes of technicality and the occasional sense of bombast, epic grind you could call it. Guttural low vocals alternates with black metal screeches, and the drumming is fast and aggressive, powerful and pulverizing, as this review from American Aftermath has it. Here's another review from The Metal Archives.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Disembowelment - Disembowelment

Doomsday comes to an end with Relapse Records 2005 release of the entire Disembowelment discography. It contains the Dusk EP from 1992, Disembowelment's only full-length Transcendence into the Peripheral from 1993 and a number of rarities and demo tracks.

Considered one of the albums that helped spawn the funeral doom genre, Transcendence into the Peripheral is one part brutal, blast beat ridden death metal and one part down-tuned, dirge like doom. Dissonant distorted rhythms, maddening tempo shifts and the deepest possible death growls.

Here are reviews of Transcendence into the Peripheral from Sputnikmusic and Metal Archives. And a review of the compilation, also from Metal Archives. Half of Disembowelment have reformed as Inverloch. In this interview, conducted by Dane Prokofiev for Metal Injection, they discuss the legacy of these classic recordings.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hesper Payne - Unclean Rituals

Art by Olli Hihnala

Doomsday continues with UK band Hesper Payne's Unclean Rituals from 2010. This is death doom metal, dirty, slow, and brutal. Epic songs, thick with atmosphere, are delivered using a vast array of doom styles with death metal creeping in and out. Dissonant keyboards and weird angular riffing create an uneasy mood fitting for the Lovecraftian lyrics. The songs are storytelling metal, like the fate of the evil mariner in The Maiden And The Mariner:
I knew that when I saw her
I would make her mine
take my fill of her pretty flesh
and gift her corpes to the inky brine

then I knew how it was to be the prey
her tendrils caught my limbs before I could escape
she slid her teeth into me gentle as a lover
as she dragged me to the sea I knew my life was over
Here are reviews from Doommantia and Don't Count on it Reviews, who also conducted an interesting interview with Hesper Payne founder and songwriter Brooke Johnson.

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Mal - Eonian Quiescence

The end is near! Again it is doomsday at Metal Bandcamp. Eonian Quiescence is the debut album from French band Mal. The core of this is massive doom riffs with blackened vocals and buzzing guitars, but the songs on Eonian Quiescence are pretty far from the melodies of traditional or funeral doom. The understated keyboards, the sudden outbursts of chaos, and the excellently programmed drums all create a feeling of a horrific mechanical ceremony. Read the review from Metal Storm and give the album a listen.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Dishammer - Vintage Addiction

Dishammer's Vintage Addiction from 2009 was added to the Hells Headbangers Bandcamp. Off course this is Discharge / Hellhammer worship - lo-fi crust, d-beat, and heads-down 80s thrash with blackend metal-style screaming and gargling. Check out the reviews from Monkey Defies Gravity and Teeth of the Divine, who also did an interview with Dishammer.

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Illogicist - The Unconsciousness of Living

Artwork by Travis Smith

Illogicist's The Unconsciousness of Living was added to the Willowtip Bandcamp. This is fluid and tight modern technical death metal influenced by the later albums from Chuck Schuldiner and Death. Illogicist's songs don't try to out-tech you all the time, they also feature melodic parts, simpler straight death metal riffs and surprisingly few solos. Here are a couple of reviews from Metal Review and Don't Count on it Reviews.

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Wildernessking - The Writing of Gods in the Sand

Artwork for the CD version by Reuben Sawyer / Rainbath Visual.

Wildernessking have just released their new full-length The Writing of Gods in the Sand on their Bandcamp. At base this is black metal with towering riffs and shrieking vocals full of spite and agony, but you also find post-metal parts like chiming guitars, rock beats and proggy drum progressions incorporated in the songs. And like the No Clean Singing review says
many passages where the sonic blast falls away and a subdued, entrancing melody emerges through isolated instruments to haunt the listener’s memory.
The rawness in the music is also balanced by a clean and full production. Even the name Wildernessking is part of the balancing effort, as Angry Metal Guy says:
it reflects an image of the natural world: balanced between the harsh realities of life and death and the stark beauties and the dangers that lurk inside of them.
The first incarnation of Wildernessking was as Heathens and they were one of my first Bandcamp discoveries. It's been exciting to follow their rapid progress up to The Writing of Gods in the Sand. Check out the Heathens Bandcamp here.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cultura Tres - El Mal del Bien

Cultura Tres is a Venezuelan band that play "Doom del Tercero Mundo" (Third World doom), heavy sludge / doom mixed with a grunge sense of melody and the occasional outburst of thrashy riffing. The songs on El Mal del Bien are full of ideas, but never threaten to fall apart at the seems. There's great guitar interplay, wailing solos and Alice in Chains-like vocal melodies. Read the reviews from The Sleeping Shaman and Doommantia, and check it out.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Prostitute - Vaginal Hell Demos

Prostitute - Vaginal Hell Demos. This is a straight steal from No Clean Singing, so might as well let the commentators from that fine blog review the album:
It’s dirty thrash, full of hell, booze, blood, and snot. It’s moshing, head-butting music that doesn’t give a rat’s ass — but damn it’s a kick in the tender parts to hear

It’s like a hundred volts of electricity straight to your nipples. I’m fuckin’ awake now.

it sounds like the band’s in the basement, and the vocalist is in the old well in the backyard

The sound is deliciously, unpretentiously fucked up. I bet there are corpses in the old well, too.

I didn’t stop headbanging all throughout “Bathed in Blood.” My neck hurts now. I regret nothing.
Check it out. Like now.

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Orange Goblin - A Eulogy For The Damned

Artwork by JimBob Isaac

A Eulogy For The Damned, the new Orange Goblin album, was released on the Candlelight Records Bandcamp. This is high-octane stoner metal, with a southern rock vibe. Raucous, straight ahead, hard rocking music. As Natalie Zed puts it in the review: "The energy is spot on, like a fight that ends with combatants buying each other a round, all bloody grins and missing teeth". Here's another review by Dan Obstkrieg from Metal Review.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Morbus Chron - Sleepers in the Rift

Art by Raul Gonzales

Morbus Chron - Sleepers In The Rift is available on the Pulverised Records Bandcamp. With album art like that, what more needs to be said really? This is fuzzed-out and groovy old school death metal, channeling both the early Swedish and Floridian scenes. It is also a genuine, fun to listen to piece of aggressive death metal from Swedish youngsters as this review from Lurker's Path puts its. In this Angry Metal Guy review Sleepers In The Rift is summed up thusly:
it’s wonderfully repellant, low-fi, non-techy and makes you feel like you need to be disinfected and vaccinated. It’s underproduced, muddy, discordant and vile all the way but somehow manages to be catchy.
I believe the appropriate response to that description is a heartfelt "Ugh!".

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Spire - Metamorph

Spire - Metamorph is atmospheric black metal and dense drone. The drumming is excellent and Spire has a sense of epic riffing not usually heard in this type of music. Angry guttural vocals and haunted shrieks adds to the bleak atmosphere. The last song Mort, starts off as dissonant, chaotic metal, but ends with one of the best droning outros I've heard - it sounds so bleak and haunted, it is almost uplifting. Here are reviews from Don't Count on it Reviews and Lurker's Path.

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You can get both white and black tshirts adorned with that badass Spire logo here.

Graveyard - The Altar Of Sculpted Skulls

The new EP by Spanish band Graveyard, The Altar Of Sculpted Skulls, has been released on the Pulverised Records Bandcamp. This is old school Death Metal in the vein of seminal Swedish bands such as Carnage, Dismember, and Entombed. Vicious, filthy, and raw. Yes, it isn't very original, but Graveyard do a brilliant job of capturing that Stockholm sound and feel. And the songs are killer, black diamonds in the rough as this review from No Clean Singing calls them. Here's another review from The Metal Archives.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hot Graves - Knights In White Phosphorus

Cover art by Charles Rouse.

Hot Graves - Knights In White Phosphorus is crusty blackened thrash. Breakneck paced songs, screaming solos and d-monic death-grunts. This is blistering extreme metal, and it also so fucking FUN! As this Cvlt Nation review says: Hot Graves songs will get you so hyped, you would be down to give the Pope an uppercut to the gut.

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Pink cover art is for the online version ONLY, it says on their Bandcamp. Well thank you Hot Graves, it certainly is.. striking.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chimp Spanner - All Roads Lead Here

All Roads Lead Here, The new EP by Chimp Spanner, was released on the Basick Records Bandcamp. This is down-tuned progressive metal. Polyrhythmic grooves and the characteristic djenty sound, mixed with Allan Holdsworth influenced fusion and ambient soundscapes.

Here's a review from Don't Count on it Reviews. This one from No Clean Singing talks about Paul Ortiz, the Chimp Spanner mastermind / guitarist / bass-player: He has a lyrical sense in his playing, on top of the top-notch cohesion achieved through the encasing of his guitar acrobatics by the songs as a whole.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

King Giant - Dismal Hollow

King Giant has released the new album Dismal Hollow on their Bandcamp. This is no-holds barred riffy stoner metal with one wicked, writhing solo after the other. But as Joeseph Schafer writes in this No Clean Singing review, King Giant also
infuses their brand of stoner metal with the past, and the experience of being a small-town American in a part of the union that lost the American Civil War. In other words, this is not merely heavy metal, it is haunted metal.
Musically, the doomier songs sound like they could have come from a deep southern version of Black Sabbath. Heavy riffs, wah-wah solos and all. Read another review, by Atanamar Sunyata from Metal Injection, and enjoy the album.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Desiderium - An Image of Solitude

Cover photo by Ileana Le

Desiderium - An Image of Solitude is post-black metal / atmospheric black metal. It is also very progressive sounding, in fact the intricate guitar playing and the stylistic shifts in every song reminds me of early Genesis or Yes. In a good way. The competent harsh vocals pulls us back into black metal land, the last two songs also feature clean vocals.

The production is excellent, clear and balanced without sounding overproduced. Here are reviews from The Metal Archives and Don't Count on it Reviews. Note: If you're not a fan of lengthy synth intros you might want to skip the first track.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Midnight - Satanic Royalty

Midnight's Satanic Royalty is available on the Hells Headbangers Bandcamp! This is an album that ended up on quite a few best-of-2011 lists. This is "Lemmy-loving thrashers with fuzzy riffs, grating barks, and a nicely mixed drum sound that doesn’t overwhelm the guitars". This is "a thousand miles away from rocket science or brain surgery". This is "no politics, no scenes, just metal, beer, and fucking—the way it should be". And these are the reviews I stole those lines from: Invisible Oranges, Last Rites and Cvlt Nation.

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Plug-In - Hijack

Artwork by Sam Shearon

French band Plug-In's album Hijack is instrumental metal featuring stunning and varied guitar playing on top of beautiful melodies, just check out the soaring melody of the first track Danthägl. Natural sounding guitar tones, no djent or tech here, and a big fat production that allows the drums and bass to shine through.

Basically Hijack expands on the framework established by Joe Satriani by adding just the right amount of progressive touches, especially by the rhythm section. The only time they fall a little flat is their attempt at a bluesy cruncher, Meeting Steeve, the rest is the good shred.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Acid Witch - Stoned

Acid Witch - Stoned from 2010 is available on the Hells Headbangers Bandcamp. This is psychedelic doom with plenty of melody and groove. Heavy riffing, wailing solos and low, raw death metal vocals. Atmosphere is created by the spooky organ licks and movie samples. As Josh Haun from That's How Kids Die writes:
Stoned is a Satanic/psychedelic journey into the rotten bowels of doom, drenched in blood, guts and graveyard stench; the ultimate soundtrack to a night of horror VHS tapes, vintage EC comics, cheap booze and copious amounts of the devil’s weed.
Here's another review from Metal Review, and one from Teeth of the Divine that really captures the sense of horrific fun on this album.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Biipiigwan - God's Hooks

Biipigwan - God's Hooks from 2010 was added to the Handshake Inc. Bandcamp. This Canadian band plays a riff heavy and hardcore-esque brand of sludge and doom metal. The album has a nice chunky-but-roomy production by Topan Das of Fuck The Facts fame. No reviews but fans of Neurosis, Yob, and Unsane might want to check it out.

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A little confusingly God's Hooks is also available on the Grindcore Karaoke Bandcamp and on Biipiigwan's own Bandcamp. I don't know what to say about that, instead enjoy this blog entry about Biipiigwan's exciting rock star life on the road:
Shows are good. Interesting things happen at them sometimes. People are awesome. Sometimes we don't shower for a while, then we shower and it's good. We drive places and sometimes it's far and sometimes it's not and sometimes interesting things happen at these times too.

Krallice - Diotima

Artwork by Max Hooper Schneider, Nick McMaster and Karlynn Holland

Krallice's Diotima was added to the Profound Lore Bandcamp. Progressive black metal may be an oxymoron, but Krallice pulls it off so very nicely. Serpentine, intertwining melodies with hyper fast tremolo picking coupled with massive death metal growls The production is natural, and heavy sounding, it captures the feel of a band making music together. Here are two great reviews by Joseph Schafer from No Clean Singing and Adrien Begrand from PopMatters.

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Krallice also have their own Bandcamp. Here you can find a free download of Orphan of Sickness, a new EP of Orphan covers. This is also the place to go if you're interested in physical copies of Diotima. CD and vinyl is available, cassette should be forthcoming.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nunslaughter - Hell's Unholy Fire

Nunslaughter's debut from 2000, Hell's Unholy Fire, have been re-issued on the Hells Headbangers Bandcamp. This is death. Nothing more needs to be said really, but what about: Brutal destructive death metal with a perfect raw production, great husky growls and extremely headbangable and thrashy riffing. Ugh.

Photo by Carmelo Española.
Here are two good reviews of Hell's Unholy Fire from The Metal Archives. And let's give a warm welcome to the Hells Headbangers record label on Bandcamp! I will feature a few more more of their releases in the coming days.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lake of Blood - The Burial Grounds Sessions

Lake Of Blood - The Burial Grounds Sessions was recorded in the basement of the infamous Burial Grounds in Salem, Oregon. Live in one take, for a raw and filthy but also roomier and doomier production, than on their last EP As Tide and Time Erodes Stone. This is relentless black metal, both epic and melodic. Read the review from Cvlt Nation and like American Aftermath, enjoy the atmosphere, rawness, misanthropy and pure fucking adrenaline. Yes, sir.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Altar of Plagues - Mammal

Altar of Plagues - Mammal was added to the Profound Lore Records Bandcamp. A worthy successor to their previous full-length White Tomb, Mammal is dense and powerful black metal with a beefy drums-to-the-front production. Altar of Plagues mixes the blast beats with melodic passages carried by an intense hypnotic pulse, moving them almost into post-metal territory.

Here are reviews from Invisible Oranges, Metal Review and PopMatters. Also, this (from All Life Converges To Some Center):
I was young and you promised that we would live forever.
Now the road is too clear, and seeing makes me choke.
The brother, the sister and the son. All of them are gone.
Who will conduct the ending scene, now that my love is extinct?

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Satyros - Riven

Riven from German band Satyros is an album of intricate melodic black metal, sometimes crossing into melodic death metal. The production is clear but not squeaky clean and the material is varied, this is is not an album where every song sounds the same. Check out the review from No Clean Singing and give it a spin.

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A pdf booklet with lyrics, liner notes and artwork is included with the download. That's how to do it.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Loss - Despond

Loss - Despond is funeral doom. Dark depressive moods and melody, lots of beautiful melody. A great sense of dynamics, there are quiet parts with almost jazzy playing. Sublime guitar interplay and growling from deep down the bowels.

Here are reviews from three of my favorite metal writers. Steel Druhm from Angry Metal Guy, the esteemed Full Metal Attorney and Josh Haun from That's How Kids Die, who writes:
Music this depressing shouldn’t be catchy, but somehow those sluggish melodies worm their way not just into your skull but into your fucking psyche, haunting you for days on end like a restless spirit.

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Mare Cognitum - The Sea Which Has Become Known

Mare Cognitum - The Sea Which Has Become Known, is the name of a lunar mare (a large, dark, basaltic plain) located near the Apollo 14 landing site. The atmospheric and melodic progressive black metal on the album does invoke the cold emptiness of space more than the depths of a forest. The chilling soundscapes are accompanied by a effective black metal rasp. Check it out and read the review by Don't Count on it Reviews.

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

SubRosa - No Help For The Mighty Ones

No Help For The Mighty Ones by SubRosa was added to the Profound Lore Bandcamp. SubRosa takes the basic doom/sludge formula and turns it upside down. The band uses multiple clean vocalists and features two violinists as lead instrumentalists alongside the usual guitar, bass, and drums. All this gives them a very different sound than the howls and growls of a typical violin-deficient doom band, but like the best of doom it is hypnotic and haunting. Read the reviews from Full Metal Attorney and AllMusic, and this one by Adrien Begrand from PopMatters.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Obolus - Lament

Art by Bryan Proteau.

Obolus - Lament has been released as a free download on the Flenser Records Bandcamp. Free because the Flenser want more people to know about Obolus and giving away the bands new release seemed like the best way to accomplish this.

This is a 20 minutes atmospheric black metal journey. Haunting shrieks buried by screaming guitars and blasting drums, interspersed with slower depressive interludes. Lament delivers on the promises Obolus made with their Demo, which was reviewed by Cvlt Nation and Don't Count on it Reviews.

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Brian Proteau also did the fantastic artwork for both the original and the remastered version of Lycus - Demo 2011.

Update: The Obolus Demo has just been released on cassette, available for pre-order here and also featuring artwork by Brian Proteau.

Cyclamen - Haunted Shores Split EP

Cyclaman have added their tracks from the 2009 split with Haunted Shores to their Bandcamp. This is the same intriguing mix of progressive hardcore/metal and dreamy j-pop as their full-length Senjyu. I found a review of the split from Heavy Blog is Heavy.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Liberteer - Better To Die on Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees

Better To Die on Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees, the new album by Liberteer was released on the Relapse records Bandcamp. This is fast and furious anarcho-grind. The use of horns and banjo parts creates an Civil War atmosphere, turning the songs into glorious grind anthems.

Here's the Angry Metal Guy review which says that Ben Widener, the mastermind behind Liberteer, has both tremendous musical abilities and strong political convictions, and the combination is devastating.

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Mutilation Rites - Demo 2011

Mutilation Rites Demo 2011 is intense and trashy black metal with hints of death metal, ugly vocals and all wrapped in a nice thick production. Here are a few Mutilation Rites mentions: On Kim Kelly's Top 10 Demos Of 2011 list for American Aftermath and in this live review from The Inarguable.

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