April 30, 2012

Alpthraum - Eyes of a Monument

Alpthraum's Eyes of a Monument is symphonic metal. Think Dimmu Borgir symphonic not Nightwish symphonic, despite it having nothing to do with black metal. The metal itself takes backseat to the well crafted orchestration. The riffs are almost too simple to stand on their own, but work very effectively when combined with the symphonies.

The word "Alptraum" (without the H) means nightmare in German, and Eyes of a Monument does work as a epic score to your dark dreams. Like a metalized version of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, not about conflict from outer space, but from the inner dreamworld. Here's the review from Don't Count on it Reviews.

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April 29, 2012

Trenchgrinder - Demo 2011

Trenchgrinder - Demo 2011 was featured in Kim Kelly's Top 10 Demos Of 2011 article for American Aftermath. The band features former members of Atakke and plays ripping metalpunk. On Demo 2011 you hear a lot of crust and thrash influences, but their main sound is grinding death metal. As Kim wrote:
"Bolt Thrower-worshipping riffs, breakneck d-beat machinegun blasts, punk as fuck speed, devilishly murky tones – it doesn't get much better than this."

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April 28, 2012

Bädr Vogu - Exitium

Album art by Eric Radey

Bädr Vogu. First let's get band name sorted, it's pronounced Bah-Dur Voh-Goo, and it's derived from Bass (BA) Drums (DR) Vocals (VO) Guitar (GU). Second, the album. Exitium is downtuned and very crusty sludge complete with rumbling bass, and vile growls. Fuzzy filth if you will. Despite tagging themselves as 'blues crust', I don't hear much of that, instead you get extended doom passsages and better than average use of sound clips. And awesome cover art too. Check out this review from The Metal Archives, and listen to Exitium below.

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Pelican - The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw

Pelican's The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw from 2005 is available on their Bandcamp, along with all their other early albums. This is post-metal, epic instrumental songs that alternates between dreamy soundscapes and crushing riffs. For me The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw is the album where Pelican perfected their blend of dark and light, heavy and melodic, loud and near-silent. It is also an album filled with many beautiful songs. Here are reviews from AllMusic and Metal Review.

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April 26, 2012

Greed & Rapacity - Loki Bound

Greed & Rapacity's Loki Bound has just been released on cassette label Milam Records Bandcamp. Cassettes are not a media for me, but there's nothing wrong with the music itself. Loki Bound is a single track, over half an hour long, album of engrossing black metal / funeral doom / black ambient. Pained growls and psychotic cackles, dissonant, droning, and heavy funeral doom riffing carried by a constant undercurrent of anxiety inducing ambient sounds. Read the review from Lurker's Path and check out Greed & Rapacity.

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The Great Old Ones - Al Azif

The Great Old Ones' new album Al Azif has just been released on their Bandcamp! This is french black metal heavily inspired by HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. The is also french black metal that conjures atmospheric visions of dread.

Artwork by Jeff Grimal

The Great Old Ones' new album Al Azif has just been released on their Bandcamp! This is french black metal heavily inspired by HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. The is also french black metal that conjures atmospheric visions of dread. Throughout six epic tracks you can hear a post-metal sensibility at work in the way they twist and turn, and mixes the dread with passages of stark beauty. A sentiment mirrored in this quote from the Lurker's Path review:
Equal parts aggressive and serene – The Great Old Ones manage to summon feelings of the sublime and majesty, terror and fear, as well as hate and belligerence.
For more info on The Great Old Ones, check their website.

April 25, 2012

Crucial Blast - Heresies: 2012

Crucial Blast has released a free sampler of current and upcoming titles for 2012 on their Bandcamp. Of all the labels Crucial Blast writes the best albums descriptions, so I will just let their words stand on their own. This is:
terrifying blackened industrial, withered cemetary folk, crude black metal, horror electronics, apocalyptic doom-laden dub mutations, jet-black ambience, majestic power electronics, putrid goresludge, corrosive black noise, vile death industrial, bizarre necro-electro experiments, avant-garde deathdoom, and twisted basement black psychedelia

More than two hours of aural horror, crepuscular beauty, and bone-rattling heaviness, carefully selected for your pleasure.

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April 24, 2012

Lvcifyre - The Calling Depths

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

Art & Design by Alexander L. Brown. 

London, UK-based black/death metal band Lvcifyre released only one other EP, Dying Light Ov God, in 2009, which contained just two tracks. The Callings Depths is their first full-length album ― with so little previous recorded material to go on, it’s striking how balanced their sound is, as is the strength of their chemistry. The duo are practiced and precise, with a wealth of wild, organic energy. Their sound is very much inspired by Immolation and older (by which I mean good) Morbid Angel. However, Lvcifyre emphasize weight rather than speed, which can be heard in the weight of the riffs and the punishing, snare-driven force of the drums. There is still some suppleness in the instrumentation, especially in the guitar solos, and the band are able to keep up a blistering pace, especially in the violent forward momentum of “The Faceless One.” But when Lvcifyre have to make the call, they err on the side of gravity and crushing force. The thick, ponderous tones and almost sludgy aesthetic are lightened with rasping guitars. Lvcifyre appear as an oil slick rainbow in the parking lot of blackened death metal, a welcome, ugly shimmer.

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April 23, 2012

7 Horns 7 Eyes - Throes Of Absolution

Throes Of Absolution the album by 7 Horns 7 Eyes has just been released on the Basick Records Bandcamp. This is atmospheric, modern death metal. Progressive and technical yes, but also melodic and brutal. The deep menacing growls are the perfect counterpoint to the spiraling melodies, similarly the guitar wizardry is fenced in by the pummeling drumming.

Two of the songs from their Convalescence EP are included here, one of them, Vindicator, is perhaps the best example of how seamless 7 Horns 7 Eyes alleviates brute force with proggresive mastery. Special mention goes to the production, it is modern, but not overly technical sounding. Despite the epicness of it all this is still the sound of a band playing. Here's a reviewfrom No Clean Singing.

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April 22, 2012

Crimson Shadows - Glory on the Battlefield

Crimson Shadows' Glory on the Battlefield combines melodic death metal and power metal to create something that is both relentlessly aggressive and ridiculously catchy. Guttural screams and blast beats join forces with huge sing-along choruses, galloping rhythms and epic guitar harmonies. The clean vocals are not overdone, thankfully the solos are, each song features several minutes of non-stop soloing displaying the speed, technicality and versatility of the guitarists. So yes, this is power-death and you should check it out.

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Living With Disfigurement - Thrill to the Terror of Death

Living With Disfigurement - Thrill to the Terror of Death is four tracks of gore obsessed death metal. Infectious grooves spiced up with just the right amount of twists and tempo changes. Varied vocals too, guttural grunts from the guitarist alternate with shrill cackles from the bassist. Each song even has a well crafted solo, both blistering and melodic. And the production: It matches the old-school atmosphere but it is not muddy, you can hear how the bass adds to the thick and crunching sound. Read a review from the Metal Archives and click play below.

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April 21, 2012

Dodecahedron - Dodecahedron

The self titled debut album from Dodecahedron is available on Bandcamp. The band is from Netherlands and they play black metal. But this is far from your typical black metal album. It has been described simply as atonal chamber metal, it is certainly
Cover art by M. Eikenaar.

The self titled debut album from Dodecahedron is available on Bandcamp. The band is from Netherlands and they play black metal. But this is far from your typical take on the genre. It has been described simply as atonal chamber metal, and it is certainly a progressive, technical, and extreme take on black metal.

Dodecahedron's musicianship is impressive and their songwriting is complex, but not too complex. As Dan Obstkrieg explains it in this review from Last Rites:
"each song has a primary riff or motif that is artfully introduced, developed, twisted, and reused, meaning that the songs never devolve into thoughtlessly cut-and-pasted riff-buckets"
Under the dissonance small melodic parts occasionally pop up, you even get a few quite headbangable passages. For me the album hits a sweet spot between cacaphony and harmony. As Jimmy Rowe puts it in the Heavy Blog is Heavy review:
"The band ultimately weaves almost atonal guitar melodies out of chaos into something strangely captivating and triumphant"

April 19, 2012

Alda - Tahoma

Thanks to Islander from No Clean Singing I got a heads up about the Replenish Records Bandcamp. Their newest release is Alda's Tahoma and Islander had this to say about the band
They are a black metal band cut from the same Cascadian cloth as Agalloch .. They have a similar nature-centric take on the music and a similar ritualistic approach to their live performances. Their songs are long and often hypnotic, with tribal percussion, and memorable, sweeping melodies. But they also know how to slash and burn.
I also hear some Panopticon, mainly in the way they seamlessly mix the black metal with dark neofolk-style acoustic passages. Alda also knows how to keep the listener enthralled during their longer songs, the standout track for me is the epic 14 minutes closer Wandering Spirit. Here's a review by Don't Count on it Reviews.

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April 18, 2012

Pigs - You Ruin Everything

You Ruin Everything, the debut album by Pigs has been released on the Solar Flare Records Bandcamp. Pigs feature current and former members of Unsane, Converge and Freshkill, and play a rocking combination of punk, sludge, noise, and hardcore. Pounding drums, angular guitar riffs and really heavy basslines. The production is an outstanding, organic sounding job. Each instrument is clearly defined in the mix, the sound is thick and tangible, and the bass tone is just beyond gnarly. Here's a review from Church of the Riff, and below you find a player to click on.

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Profanatica - Sickened By Holy Host

Profanatica's Sickened By Holy Host has been released on the Hells Headbangers Bandcamp. This is not the new album by the blasphemous black metal cult, but a new 39 minute mini-album featuring Paul Ledney on drums with His Emissary from Ipsissimus on guitars, plus the "The Grand Masters Session" that originally appeared on vinyl. Check out the Teufel's Tomb review for in-depth information on the release .

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You can also feast yourself on The Enemy Of Virtue, the 2007 collection of Profanatica's entire discography. As this review from The Metal Archives mentions Profanatica mixes murky death metal with the darkly melodic tremolo picked riffs of black metal. Ledney's disgusting, coughed screams are also one of the band's trademarks, as is his glued to the riffs drumming. And with lyrics like "Sodomy shall be brought upon the nun's rotting asshole." you know what you're in for.

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Atriarch - Forever the End

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

Portland, OR-based Atriarch have produced something extraordinary with their debut. There is a profound difference between music that merely pouts and music that strives for the ambience of truly dark, depressive doom. Atriarch have produced a brilliantly crafted example of genuine melancholy, intelligent, gothic doom combined with the smoky, mystical atmosphere of some of the best black metal. The album's thrumming bass tones are deep and somehow tremulous, possessing a crushing weight that's also profoundly vulnerable.

Atriarch have captured the sound of grieving on an album that drags itself along and tears itself open. Yet Forever the End is also reflective and critical, vacillating between the pure, towering experience of that grief and the careful dissection of it. In this, the album manages to be both overwhelming and precise. The songs are structured like chants and invocations, and the ambience Atriarch create is very much a ritual, especially the beginning of "Plague" and the end of "Downfall." This is a rite that comes, wails and rages, fills the listener completely with a seething ocean of emotion, then leaves the world a bit bleaker in its wake.

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April 16, 2012

Conan - Split with Slomatics

Artwork by Anthony Roberts.

In between their 2010 debut Horseback Battle Hammer and Monnos from 2012, Conan released a split with Slomatics. 3 tracks from each band, now available on each band's Bandcamp. Combined this is 37 minutes of mindbogglingly heavy and downtuned music, by two bands that compliment each other well.

Conan experiments a little, there's a short atmospheric track, and hypnotic analog synth driven passages. The production is perfectly clear, without sacrificing any of the heaviness. Conan would carry some of the experiments and the improved production with them on Monnos.

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Slomatics have more of a stoner vibe and their sound is sludgier. The vocalist sounds like he's having a bad trip way back in the room. But the songs have more hooks, there's less focus on repetition than on Conan's half. Slomatics are the stoned yin to Conan's yang.

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The awesome cover art is by Anthony Roberts, who has done all the artwork for Conan. Here's an interview Lurker's Path did with him, and here are reviews of the split from Cvlt Nation and The Obelisk.

April 15, 2012

General Surgery - A Collection of Depravation

Review by Dane Prokofiev.

Very little can be said about goregrind, and I mean that in a good way. It’s a straightforward sub-genre of extreme metal that sates mankind’s primal urge for violence in an entertaining manner, and the most entertaining goregrind is the kind that is filled with chunky grooves flowing down a putrid stream of incomprehensible noise that brings to mind a waterfall of stale blood littered with severed limbs and slimy, maroon innards. No poetic descriptions or Tolkien imagery necessary, just mindless, ruthless savagery.

Sweden’s General Surgery are a great testament to that hypothesis, and these gore fiends have unleashed a knife-twistingly tasty compilation of THIRTY rare and exclusive tracks that will corkscrew their way through one ear canal and out the other repeatedly for a little over an hour! Brains and skull fragments will splatter the walls, but that is the whole point, right?

While the tracks are technically not new at all, it’s great value for money to have so many of ‘em stacked together for the price of one record. Yes, non-vinyl owners and casual collectors, this compilation was released with you guys in mind (and Relapse’s excuse to earn a quick buck too of course). For optimal listening experience, skip your three daily meals before going under the sanguinary scalpel of this crash course in aural masochism.

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April 14, 2012

Atakke - Atakke

Atakke has released their self-titled debut album on their Bandcamp. Or rather, this was supposed to be their debut back when it was recorded in 2008, but the band split up before it was released. Atakke comes from somewhere in the wastelands between metal and punk. A filthy mix of galloping thrash and deathgrind riffing, covered with a thick layer of crust. In 2009 Invisible Oranges reviewed their EP Avalanche. This could also have been written about the full-length:
One minute a wah-fueled Motörhead solo arches over the smog, and the next all five instruments unite with a common enemy: you.
Ex members of Atakke now play in Mutant Supremacy and Trenchgrinder.

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Wadge - Total Volcano Exploding

Written by Atanamar Sunyata.

Artwork by Yuzuru Namiki

Wadge’s Grindcore Lu’au was the maiden excursion of J. Randall’s Grindcore Karaoke label. I encountered the album shortly after a trip to Hawaii, and I was struck immediately by its keen exegesis of Hawaiian folklore, stunning surf-grind genius and incredibly awful production. Despite its aural shortcomings, I managed to enjoy the album immensely. Wadge’s new album, Total Volcano Exploding, appeared unheeded from the Pacific depths this week, answering our unspoken island prayers. Lo and behold, the album was sanded and varnished with malignant perfection by Scott Hull.

Surf and grind can only mate in absurd effigy; Wadge ensure that the union is sufficiently ludicrous and entirely infectious. Total Volcano Exploding is a clinic in diverse and compelling riffage, whether surfing hard, grinding grotesquely or meting out majestic, traditional metal arcana. The vocals are deployed in a dissociative array of styles, from piratical growls to Xenomorphic screams to King Diamond style wailing. It all works perfectly.

Wadge wrap up their preposterous proposition with excellent songwriting and piercing lyrics. If I could pay for Total Volcano Exploding, it would be worth every cent. Alas, it is only available for free. If, however, you’ve got the balls, Wadge have got the beach party.

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April 13, 2012

Body Hammer - Jigoku

Body Hammer's Jigoku from 2009 has been added to The Path Less Traveled Records Bandcamp. This is cybergrind that runs the gamut from white hot blasts of grinding pain to longer, more ambient, and pretty unnerving tracks. The Invisible Oranges review had this to say:
For 35 minutes, nihilism and misanthropy clash with nature and technology. You might need to sit down for this.
Read another review, from Grind and Punishment, and give Jigoku a listen.

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April 12, 2012

Draugadróttinn - Where the Sea Gives Up Its Dead

Draugadróttinn - Where the Sea Gives Up Its Dead from 2009 has been added to the Broken Limbs Recordings Bandcamp. This is four songs of hypnotic and melancholic black metal and blackened post rock. Dreamy guitar leads on top of a fuzzy bottom end, distorted and cavernous vocals, and the occasional acoustic thrown in. The production is excellent, and all of this is the work of one man: The album is written, performed, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Scott Byrnes.

The name Draugadróttinn means "Lord of the undead" and is one of the many names for Odin in the Icelandic sagas. Half of the lyrics on Where the Sea Gives Up Its Dead are taken from Snorri Sturluson's The Prose Edda, the other half from William Falconer's poem The Shipwreck (thanks to Cordyceps Zombie Swarm for the info). Scott Byrnes has made the lyrics available on his website.

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April 11, 2012

Inverloch - Dusk | Subside

Review by Dane Prokofiev.

Australia’s funeral doom metal band diSEMBOWELMENT have not only reformed under this new cool-sounding name of Inverloch, but have made their return so heavy that you can literally feel walls of sound pressing down on your eardrums when you spin this disc.

As was their style when they were still diSEMBOWELMENT, the music heard in this three-track EP is generally a good balance between foreboding, plodding passages of doom metal and groovy, fast-hitting death metal assaults. While they stated in this interview that this is not supposed to be the case (“It is a totally new band and has no relevance to diSEMBOWELMENT other than having ex-members. New band, new members, new music and new logo.”), the sonic imprints of their diSEMBOWELMENT days can definitely be heard.

For example, that lengthy introduction that takes its time to build up to an audible sound level in opening track “Within Frozen Beauty” is such a funeral doom thing to do. But, the track doesn’t just HMMMMMM, RAAAHHHHHH and alternate between the two states of mind like the other two tracks (a trademark of the death/funeral doom movement pioneered by the band), there's a fast-paced guitar solo from 3:26 to 4:34 too!

Second track “The Menin Road” lumbers along at a typical funeral doom pace, stifling you with crushing riffs and tortured vocals, with Mazziotta providing sparse but atmospheric percussion support, crashing the cymbals to great effect every now and then. It serves as a apt bridge between it and album closer, “Shadows Of The Flame”, leading into the last song of the EP with a chilling silence.

“Shadows Of The Flame” is structurally quite similar to “Within Frozen Beauty”, and while it does surprise one with a sudden burst of death metal aggression right after the chilling silence, it degenerates into mere funeral doom plodding for quite a while before it starts up its engine again with a moderately-paced death metal passage. Keyboards make their haunting presence known, with James whispering in an anguished voice alongside it, matching the level of despondency built up throughout the song with an equally depressive but very human timbre.

As a collection of demo tracks, this short EP may be only slightly over 20 minutes long, but it provides a very tempting glimpse at what Inverloch possibly have to offer in their eventual debut full-length album. Regardless of the name change Inverloch still offer the same old, primitive and carnal breed of doom metal that made the name diSEMBOWELMENT legendary.

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Eternal Helcaraxe - To Whatever End

To Whatever End from Irish band Eternal Helcaraxe is epic black metal. Helcaraxe is a location from Tolkien's Silmarillion and is described as place of vast fogs, mists of deathly cold, and sea-streams filled with clashing hills of ice. But instead of sounding all bleak and bitter, To Whatever End has a more of a pagan vibe. It's an album of soaring black metal anthems, where subtle keyboards, acoustic guitars, and the occasional clean vocals create variety and elevates the mood. Here's a review from No Clean Singing.

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April 10, 2012

Ghoul - Transmission Zero

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

Oakland-based horror lovers Ghoul have returned with Transmission Zero, their first full-length album in five years. The members of Ghoul conceal their identities behind masks and maintain grotesque alter egos, with names like Cremator. Their music is brutal and abject, rooted in an aesthetic of disgust and revulsion. They are also extremely self-referential and revel in not taking themselves seriously. There's a sophisticated sense of humour mixed in with the splattering gore, but what does this sound like?

Ghoul produce a clotted, congealing guitar sound with jackhammer drumming. "Death in the Swamp" has a demented surf-rock quality that recalls classic horror films and the way they become appropriated as comedy as they age. Transmission Zero might be funny, but Ghoul also know how to churn up filth and write a good riff. The tongue-in-cheek smirk of the band shouldn't be mistaken for an excuse to dismiss them.

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The Great Sabatini - Matterhorn

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

Hardworking Canadian underground group and stalwart Hessian warriors the Great Sabatini consistently push the limits of their skills and aesthetic, as well as their sheer capacity for labour. Currently in the midst of another ambitious North American tour, the band are simultaneously releasing a duelling pair of recordings: Matterhorn (on No List) and free digital companion EP The Royal We, which was recorded with Topon Das of Canadian grindcore heroes Fuck the Facts.

The Great Sabatini are driven to create new music and release it, consistently relying on sheer determination to get their sounds out in the world. But there's far more to them than work ethic; they also produce some hard-edged, heavy and deceptively lovely music. Describing themselves as "swamp trench arithmetic," they favour slow, lurching tempos and towering riff structures, often accented by unusual sound clips and noise elements that give way to moments of beauty.

On Matterhorn, "Invisible Door" possesses a radiant, thrumming sweetness that's complicated by unsettling background sounds and the tuneless wail of a saxophone. This gentleness collapses in on itself and resolves into the deep, crawling grind of "Null and Void," which presses forward as inexorably as an icebreaker. On The Royal We, more claustrophobic and grimy textures leave the sound smeared with a thick film. This allows less light and fewer sublime moments to peek through, but encourages swollen, septic aggression. An impressive pair of releases from a band hell-bent on consistently pushing themselves to their limits.

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Read an interview with the Great Sabatini here.

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Bandcamp oldies from KEN Mode and Bloodshot Dawn

Recently KEN Mode won the Juno Award for Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year for Venerable. To celebrate they have put up two earlier albums, Reprisal from 2006 and Mennonite from 2008, as name your price downloads on their Bandcamp.

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Bloodshot added their 2007 EP Coalition of Terror to their Bandcamp and said: Check out the EP that really got the band going on the track to where we are now. Where they are now is off course their fantastic debut full-length from last year.

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April 9, 2012

Hivelords - Grand Cromlech

Written by Atanamar Sunyata.

Artwork by Tim Buckley

Philadelphia’s Hivelords swing a wicked scythe through black metal and doom, harvesting a unique and arresting sound. Grand Cromlech is a two-track, 15 minute EP produced by Woe's Chris Grigg. The band eviscerate nefarious arpeggios and impale tremolo picked arrangements with sure-handed craft, displaying an excellent ear for dynamics. The scathing vocals sometimes slide into Enslaved-style chant, further ensnaring the helpless listener. Chris Grigg’s spacious, lively production highlights Hivelords’ capacious sound. Grand Cromlech is certainly worth a listen, absolutely worth a few bucks, and undoubtedly a sign of greatness to come.

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April 8, 2012

Norska - Norska

Review by Aaron Sullivan.

Hailing from Oregon is a band called Norska which means "Norwegian" in Swedish and who's debut album is a fantastically Proggy Sludge/DOOM masterpiece. One that was on my 2011 best of year list.

As soon as I heard the first song on the album two bands immediately sprung to mind. YOB and Mastodon. YOB bassist Aaron Rieseberg, also playing bass for Norska, is not the only reason for the YOB feel though. They combine the angular riffs of Mastodon and the powerfully heavy drumming and guitar tone of YOB, while never feeling like a stale rehash of either. Varying between crushing DOOM passages and progressive Sludge noodling in the course of each song with great ease. Vocals vary also, with a good combination of yells and clean singing. The production is crisp. Allowing the listener to really hear what they are doing with the two guitars. The real triumph of the album is the 13:00 behemoth "They Mostly Come At Night". This is where the band really stretch their wings and lets the Progginess flow.

There are no bad tracks on this album. While each song is able to stand alone, it still feels like a cohesive album. If you enjoy Sludge with heavy riffs and dark atmospheres, this may be the album you are looking for.

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Update: The album has replaced by a pre-order for the same album... With a single track available for streaming. So nothing to see here (except for the new album art), you may move along

April 7, 2012

Avichi - The Devil's Fractal

Artwork by Benjamin Vierling

Avichi's The Devil's Fractal from 2011 has been added to the Profound Lore Records Bandcamp. Musically this is orthodox black metal. Mid-paced, it seldom enters blast-beat territory, but still fierce. Accessible, sometimes even melodic, and mesmerizing. Here's a review from Metal Review.

Lyrically the album is a collection of short dialogues between man and Satan. This review from Chronicles of Chaos calls the album menacing, but asks how serious Avichi is taking the themes of Satan and black magic. The answer can be found in this interesting interview from That's How Kids Die, and it is: Very serious.

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Slash Dementia - Wheels of Babylon

Slash Dementia - Wheels of Babylon is sharp, aggressive grindcore from Finland. Most of the songs blast away at maximum power, but a few slow down and have solos and shit. And there's not a drum machine in sight. As Islander from No Clean Singing put it:
Hair-on-fire vocals, gun-blast drums, and rancid, down-tuned guitar-grinders inflict the Slash Dementia musical violence in a nasty mix of punk and death-grind.

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April 6, 2012

Deafheaven - Roads to Judah

Deafheaven - Roads to Judah is difficult to categorize. The influences include shoegaze, black metal, screamo, post-rock - if you wanted, you could boil it all down to post-black metal. What's important is the way Deafheaven take all these seemingly disparate styles

Artwork by Rainbath Visual.

Deafheaven - Roads to Judah is difficult to categorize. The influences include shoegaze, black metal, screamo, post-rock - if you wanted, you could boil it all down to post-black metal. What's important is the way Deafheaven take all these seemingly disparate styles, and blend them into a cohesive and thoroughly enjoyable record.

The songwriting on Roads to Judah has enough good ideas to keep the four long songs from ever become boring. The production hits a sweet spot between black metal rawness and smoothness, fitting for music that alternates between brutality and beauty. Check out a nice review over at Isolation Grind.

April 5, 2012

Profetus - .​.​.​to Open the Passages in Dusk

Profetus - .​.​.​to Open the Passages in Dusk is funeral doom of the bleakest and most beautiful sort. Slow drums and riffs sounding like the guitarist slowly dragging his fingers across the strings. Gentle and whispered vocals mixed with death growls. The ever present ominous organ chords gives .​.​.​to Open the Passages in Dusk a ritualistic feel, like a pagan requiem mass. To quote the review from From the Dust Returned:
Where some past funeral doom recordings have felt like they seeped at your spirit from forsaken crypts or empty castle walls, ...To Open the Passages in Dusk seems to skirt the forest canopy at dusk, or sail across the lake waters on wings of precipitous regret.
Read another review, from Lurker's Path, and listen to the sorrowful elegies of Profetus.

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Destruktor - Nailed

Art by Mark Riddick

Nailed, Destruktor's debut full-length from 2009 was added to the Hells Headbangers Bandcamp. In this interview Glen Destruktor describes Nailed as "10 tracks of intense and aggressive metal, with a dose of black and thrash metal, and a bigger dose of death metal with a heavy- and dark-sounding production". And damn, that is pretty accurate. There's no shortage of blast beats, the songs are not too long, not too short, and they are catchy, fast, and evil. Here are reviews from Teeth of the Divine and Metal Flows In My Veins.

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April 4, 2012

Young Hunter - Children of a Hungry World

Young Hunter's Children of a Hungry World is like Mazzy Star or even Jefferson Airplane filtered through a black metal sensibility. Blast beat laden intros and huge wailing breakdowns gives way to psychedelic grooves, that would fit nicely in a David Lynch movie. Mr. Scab Casserole from Invisible Oranges adds:
this band’s sound has a heavy, drugged-out infectiousness that immediately makes me think of the desert. And maybe it’s a romanticized desert, a sexy, cinematic, rock-and-roll desert that doesn’t exist, but these songs immediately hit that chord and don’t let go. Creepy, catchy, melancholy, and entertaining, this EP blows through the hot night air, leaving a cloud of brown sand and red clay billowing out behind it.

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April 3, 2012

Drudkh - Eternal Turn of the Wheel

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

Eternal Turn of the Wheel is the ninth studio album from black-and-folk, Ukrainian metal band Drudkh. The band have always been deeply inspired by Ukrainian poetry, both in their lyrics and music, defined by a deep appreciation of the natural landscape and a tendency towards solemn introspection. Over the years, Drudkh have softened considerably from their rawer, more aggressive black metal roots, leaving some fans disappointed. 2010's Handful of Stars received a particularly lukewarm response, and the band announced they would return to their black metal origins, a darker and more abrasive space.

They have delivered on that promise, as upon first listen, the wispy, coiling tendrils of sound that defined Autumn Aurora are swept away by sour, cold, urgent black metal riffing. Drudkh have certainly stripped down their sound and produced something far more minimal and chilled. Rather than the lush subtleties of an autumn tree crowned with golden and red leaves, we have only the bare, ice-covered bark bunkering down for winter. Over repeated listens, however, Eternal Turn of the Wheel gradually starts to reveal its gentleness, like the green quick still pulsing through a seemingly dead winter branch. The bare, wintry sound, at first just cold and abrasive, eventually reveals small trills and embellishments, melodies built into the circular structure of the songs, lifting and falling, ebbing and flowing.

Drudkh have taken all of the sophistication they were applying to their softer, more tepid work and pushed those techniques to their barest and most basic incarnations, reinvigorating them with black metal aggression. This change in aesthetic may herald a season of glorious renewal.

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Biipiigwan - Nibaak

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

Based in Ottawa, ON, Biipiigwan's new EP, Nibaak, follows up their full-length, God's Hooks, released in March 2010. Nibaak was recorded, mixed and mastered by Topon Das, of Juno-nominated Canadian grindcore act Fuck The Facts, and is composed of three five-minute songs.

The EP serves as a kind of tapas menu for noisy Canadian metal: toothsome, flavourful dishes that are too spare to constitute a full meal, but make up for their brevity with powerful flavours and a heady kick of spice. Lots of words are tossed around to describe Biipiigwan, usually with the prefix "post" and suffix "core." They fall somewhere between nimble, thoughtful sludge and orderly noise, tempered by a good, deep buzz.

"Nibaak" means "they sleep" in Ojibway, but there's far too much of a racket here to be in any way restful. "Kingmaker" is a clamouring, clawing piece, bashing itself against the walls of its musical cage. "Rodentia" evokes the chittering misery of a rat chewing its leg free from a trap, where the titular "Nibaak" is the most agonized of all, wailing like a grizzly with its paw in a bear trap. Biipiigwan play with limitations and constraints, and the sonic agony inherent in cruelly imposed limits. Nibaak is a surprisingly neat and tidy exploration of pain.

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April 2, 2012

Septicflesh - The Great Mass

Renowned metal label Season of Mist have setup shop on Bandcamp! The bands have individual pages, each featuring their Season of Mist discography. Among the 44 bands available now, we find symphonic death metal giants Septicflesh from Greece, and their three albums from the Season of Mist catalog: Sumerian Daemons, Communion, and The Great Mass from 2011.

The Great Mass is a fully orchestrated death metal album, with the orchestral elements perfectly integrated into the metallic fabric. This is not a new or groundbreaking approach, but Septicflesh perfectly balances the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, a full choir, powerful death vocals, brooding clean singing, brutal riffing, and songs that switch from blazing speed to crawling slowness in an instant. Impressive. Here are reviews from Angry Metal Guy and From the Dust Returned.

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Early Graves - Goner

Early Graves' Goner is 10 tracks, 25 minutes, of relentlessly ferocious crusty sludge metal. The music is violent, the guitars sound thick and huge (the bass too) and the solos are perfectly sloppy. The heaviness is enhanced by the production, it is dense, raw and 100% analog (Goner was recorded to 2 inch tape). Catchy songs hide beneath the crunching, feedback-laden guitars and the raging hardcore roar. This is the sound of raw anger, at the world and at oneself, put to tape. Here are reviews from Metal Review, AllMusic and Invisible Oranges.

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