April 29, 2015

The Vomiting Dinosaurs - Worship the Porcelain God

By Matt Hinch. Now just hold on. Yes, a name like The Vomiting Dinosaurs does sound laughable, and at first I was thinking “Really?” That coupled with the cover art (the toilet from the last metal show you went to in an apocalyptic garbage heap)
By Matt Hinch.

Artwork by Gruesome Graphics

Now just hold on. Yes, a name like The Vomiting Dinosaurs does sound laughable, and at first I was thinking “Really?” That coupled with the cover art (the toilet from the last metal show you went to in an apocalyptic garbage heap) and most people would be likely to dismiss it outright. But since it came from the Grimoire Records camp I gave it a shot. And wow! Worship the Porcelain God is actually pretty good!

The Virginian trio put together a very Reign in Blood-like 28 minutes of seriously amped thrash, death and grind. Depending on the track and the angle you look at it from, Worship the Porcelain God can feel like any one of those genres, or all of them at once.

The vocals fall into two camps, black metallic and deathly growl (sort of like a vomiting dinosaur). Both quite well done. Except maybe the 30 second track tacked on called “Cat Slug”. It's just the vocalist(?) sounding like a slug coughing up a hairball. Kinda gross, definitely unnecessary but at least it's at the end. But in case you hadn't guessed already this isn't exactly a serious band.

They are serious about kickin' ass though. Crunchy, grinding guitars rip and slash through high-velocity thrashiness and grind-fueled madness. There's even a bit of a crossover feel.

It's not all speed though. Groovier, chugging riffs have their place too. Perhaps it's just where my mind/ears/eyes have been this weekend but The Vomiting Dinosaurs sort of recall the speed of Rigor Mortis, or the menacing blackened thrash of Blood Tsunami. Thrash weekend.

If you can relax a little, shake off that seriousness and give The Vomiting Dinosaurs a chance. You'll be rewarded with a concise blast of grinding death/thrash full of energy and ripping rhythms and riffs. And songs like “ChristianMingle.kill”, “Crypt Kegger” and “Speed Metal Hunks”. Keeping the majority of the 12 tracks under the three minute mark squeezes out the need for solos though. There's the grind for ya.

Grab some buds, some brews, vomit like dinosaurs and Worship the Porcelain God!


Tagged with 2015, death metal, Grimoire Records, grindcore, Matt Hinch, The Vomiting Dinosaurs

April 27, 2015

Sacral Rage - Illusions in Infinite Void

By Andy Osborn. Those fucking Greeks just don't quit. A few months after my Hellenic Darkness post there's already been enough blackened material from their country to warrant a new one just for Q1 2015. But it’s time for a break
By Andy Osborn.

Artwork by Matthias Frisk

Those fucking Greeks just don't quit. A few months after my Hellenic Darkness post there's already been enough blackened material from their country to warrant a new one just for Q1 2015. But it’s time for a break from all that death and destruction to focus on one of the more energetic and downright fun new acts from the Balkan peninsula.

The Fenriz approved quartet Sacral Rage explode out of the gate with their debut full-length, Illusions in Infinite Void. The amount of tasty, fist-pumping riffs just in the first two minutes of “El Cima Del Mar” is greater than even the best classic albums of yesteryear. Nodding heavily towards American scenes both new and old, they have more than a few obvious influences ranging from Vektor to Jag Panzer. They channel their heroes into a relentless attack that’s equal parts thrashy, proggy, and classically ripping, all laid on a supremely thick speed metal foundation.

And this neverending musical hunger are just a small part of what make Sacral Rage great, because this isn't just a barrage of killer riffs thrown at the wall to see what sticks. Everything has its place and the band executes their ideas with deadly precision. To see a young band with such a knack for songwriting is refreshing and impossibly impressive. No track overstays its welcome and there's a constant flow between rewarding predictability and unexpected surprises. The thought they put into their instrumental breaks and intros - see "A Tyrannous Revolt" - shows they know how to hold a listener's attention; so much music in this style relies too much on the vocals and lyrics to distract from the lack of fundamentals.



With that said, holy shit the vocals. Lead singer Dimitris K is bound for greatness after his performance here. His flawless pipes range from gnarly thrash maniac to a high end that gives the mighty King Diamond a run for his money. And like the music, he knows the exact right time to use each one without ever going overboard. He’s the perfect leader for this insatiable group of musicians, and it’s just what the band needs to go from damn impressive to world-conquering.

Easily one of the better debut full-lengths that 2015 will see, Illusions in Infinite Void is a near perfect metal record. Sacral Rage wear their influences on their sleeves but include enough of their own personality and unique flourishes to make it forward-thinking and fresh. It’s neither overindulgent nor predictable, but hits the right middle ground between the two. This thoroughly modern and unique take on genre norms proves that not only is speed metal alive and well, there’s still plenty of room for a new generation to grab the torch and run with it.


Tagged with 2015, Andy Osborn, Cruz Del Sur Music, heavy metal, Sacral Rage, speed metal

April 26, 2015

Throes - Disassoctation

By Kevin Page. This Bristol/Birmingham, England band got it's start in 2011, but were forced to disband. They have now reformed as a two piece and featuring A.C. handling all instrumental and musical writing duties, bring us their debut album, Disassociation.
By Kevin Page.


This Bristol/Birmingham, England band got it's start in 2011, but were forced to disband. They have now reformed as a two piece and featuring A.C. handling all instrumental and musical writing duties, bring us their debut album, Disassociation.

"Stay calm, stay calm", a voice tells us, right before the pummeling of the first track kicks in.

If you are familiar with any of A.C.'s past work in Purify the Horror, Theoktony, Towers of Flesh, Necrotize, The Solemn Curse or Binah (yeah, the guy likes to play in a lot of bands), you'll immediately recognize his signature drum sound. But what separates this album from anything else he has done is the unique approach to death metal. Infused with slight touches of industrial and electronic music, this gives it just enough of a twist to stand out from the sea of endless releases you'll encounter. Yet by no means do these elements detract from it essentially being a death metal album through and through. The vocals are harsh, dripping with catharsis and burning with anger. DG (also of Fever Sea) wrote the lyrics that deal with the broad spectrum of human emotions: death, fear, anger, paranoia, absolution, and detachment. These feelings are also reinforced in the sound clips used throughout. They are all from real people, expressing real feelings. No horror movie quotes or war cannons here.

Overall, I like the sound of everything on this album. The timing of the hooks are perfect. The machine gun drums, the crash of the cymbals, to that slight industrial tone of the guitar. The electronics are just enough to give you a taste without getting in the way or negating any of its viciousness. I can't say there's any one specific thing that is overly original, but the way it's combined adds up to something much greater than its respective parts. This is one of those releases I can easily see slipping under a lot of people's radars, but let's hope that's not the case.

Favorite track: "Nacroanalysis".


Tagged with 2015, black metal, death metal, Kevin Page, Naturmacht Productions, Throes

April 24, 2015

Pendulous - A Palpable Sense of Love & Loss

By Aaron Sullivan. Living in the Los Angeles area has it’s up and downs. Counted among the ups for me is the music scene. Los Angeles is certainly a stop that most bands make while touring. But the local scene is just as good. Pendulous is one
By Aaron Sullivan.


Living in the Los Angeles area has it’s up and downs. Counted among the ups for me is the music scene. Los Angeles is certainly a stop that most bands make while touring. But the local scene is just as good. Pendulous is one of the many great local bands L.A. has to offer, and with their second album, A Palpable Sense of Love & Loss they show why.

Their first album, Mirrored Confessions, was among my favorites of 2013. It’s emotionally driven Death/DOOM is the base from which this band works. With the new album they expend on it. This time around adding cello and a second guitarist, Nicholas R. (also in another great local band Deathkings).

A Palpable Sense opens much like the last album. It starts with a spoken word vocal over lightly picked echoey guitar lines. And much like the last one it sets the listener up nicely to what is in store for them and the themes vocalist E.R.M. touches on through out. What I love about them musically is their ability to create such a heavy mood without it being an overbearing distortion-fest. The music reeks of melancholy. It seeps from every note played. The weight of the music is not to crush, but to envelope the listener in it’s sorrowful beauty. Couple this with E.R.M.’s vocal ability (as mentioned in the last review), his clean style reminds me of only one man, Patrick Walker of Warning and 40 Watt Sun fame. Not that it’s a copy in sound. But rather it’s E.R.M.’s ability to convey sorrow that is both beautiful and haunting that makes them similar. He cut’s right to the core. And his death growls are deep and bathed in reverb.

If you have ever read any of my reviews you will know that I am heavy on atmosphere. I don’t care how well you can play, how many notes you can fit in your solo, or what you know about music theory. Can you move me? That is all I care about. Pendulous has moved me from the first time I heard them, and since they are a local band, I have had the opportunity to hear them many times. To see the band grow has been a treat. With this album they continue to move me, and for that I thank them.


Tagged with 2015, Aaron Sullivan, death metal, doom metal, free download, Pendulous

April 21, 2015

Gruesome - Savage Land

By Dave Schalek. Exhumed's Matt Harvey is no stranger to Death's classic material (well, yes, everything by Death is classic material), specifically Scream Bloody Gore, Leprosy, and Spiritual Healing. Having served time in the first incarnation of Death To All
By Dave Schalek.

Cover art by Ed Repka

Exhumed's Matt Harvey is no stranger to Death's classic material (well, yes, everything by Death is classic material), specifically Scream Bloody Gore, Leprosy, and Spiritual Healing. Having served time in the first incarnation of Death To All, the star studded tribute to Chuck Schuldiner and all things Death, Harvey obviously let the experience percolate, resulting in the formation of Gruesome, an homage to early Death.

Teaming up with members and former members of such acts as Malevolent Creation and Possessed, Harvey and company released a two-song demo last year, now properly followed up with Savage Land, the first full-length from Gruesome, released on Relapse Records. Both of those demo songs, by the way, appear on Savage Land.

From the opening riff and mid-paced gallop of the title track, it’s obvious that Gruesome have done their homework. Savage Land sounds EXACTLY like early Death, say, around the time of Leprosy or Spiritual Healing. Harvey’s vocals are the second coming of Schuldiner, only minor changes in chords are necessary for the songs on Savage Land to become cover songs, and even the sound of the snare drum, for crying out loud, is EXACTLY like that on Death’s early albums. You can practically see in your mind’s eye not only Schuldiner performing this material, but Rick Rozz, Terry Butler, and Bill Andrews, as well. This is not to say that Savage Land is just a rip off; the songs are well written, catchy, and just about everything else that we love about this particular style of early death metal. Savage Land is just pure fun.

I expect that Savage Land is going to make a big initial splash, and everyone will demand a tour of some sorts from Gruesome to show it all off. However, how long Gruesome actually lasts playing what is mostly just a really well done homage remains to be seen.


Tagged with 2015, Dave Schalek, death metal, Gruesome, Relapse Records

April 20, 2015

Label Spotlight: Blood Music

By Kevin Page. There's eclectic and then there's Blood Music in Finland. Since it's humble beginning in an attic in 2011, there seemingly hasn't been anything too experimental for them to get behind. Death, black, progressive metal, jazz, or avant garde
By Kevin Page.

There's eclectic and then there's Blood Music in Finland. Since it's humble beginning in an attic in 2011, there seemingly hasn't been anything too experimental for them to get behind. Death, black, progressive metal, jazz, or avant garde, most of their roster defies typical classification. Which brings us to 2015 and three bands that once again are fresh and unique.


Apparently synthwave is a "thing" and there is a burgeoning scene to go along with it. But what Gost seem to be doing differently is adding a horror element to its sound. Baalberith, the sole member of Gost, has a history of playing in metal bands, but was always an electronic music fan. So it comes as no small surprise that even though this isn't a metal album, Behemoth, speaks to me. It feels like a soundtrack to all those 80's horror movies I'd watch with friends at sleepovers in my youth. Throw in some evil album art and the package is complete.




I'm a fan of Gautier Serre and the thoroughly warped, Igorrr, so I anxiously awaited this side project of his, Corpo-Mente. Featuring the lush operatic vocals of Laure Le Prunenec (Öxxö Xööx, Rïcïnn), it's much more, shall we say, "normal", than Igorrr (then again, most bands are by comparison). It's a classical journey of baroque, trip hop & acoustique. But it's also beautifully haunting and mysterious, like some twisted noir. It's by no means aggressive or in your face, but that doesn't stop it from being one hell of a piece of art.



Artwork by Luca F. Carey

Yes, another synthwave band. Although Dan Terminus prefers the term cyberpunk or 'darksynth' (coined by Perturbator, another band of the genre who is also on Blood Music and you can check out here). While it firmly sits in the same genre as it's fellow labelmates, The Wrath of Code has a much more overall sci-fi feel. Think Blade Runner and an the endless amounts of old school video games. For the most part its an uptempo affair, but it does slow down to mix things up on occasion. Perfect cover art really encapsulates the sound and feel of this album.


Tagged with 2015, avant garde, Blood Music, Corpo​-​Mente, Dan Terminus, darksynth, free download, Gost, Kevin Page, synthwave, trip hop

Corrupt Leaders - Grindmother

By Ulla Roschat. Grindmother is without any doubt a very cool EP title and it becomes even cooler when you learn about its origin. The 66 year old mother of Corrupt Leaders’ vocalist is guesting on the EP, and this came about, because she wanted to try out grindcore screams
By Ulla Roschat.

Artwork by Varises Otak

Grindmother is without any doubt a very cool EP title and it becomes even cooler when you learn about its origin. The 66 year old mother of Corrupt Leaders’ vocalist is guesting on the EP, and this came about, because she wanted to try out grindcore screams just for fun and for the experience. It turned out that she did this pretty well! Fortunately her attempts have been recorded in a video which already went viral in the past several weeks, but in case you haven’t watched it yet, you can do so here below.

The best part of the story though is, of course, that the band included her vocals on the first track “Black Cloud” and named the EP Grindmother after her.



After hitting the play button this four song EP was over before I even realized what just had happened to me, but I was happy that it HAD happened to me. Certainly it didn't take too much time to listen to it several times in a row to find out that this is a perfectly delivered punch of grind and hardcore aggression.

The Canadian five piece band Corrupt Leaders pack a whole bunch of varying style elements into these four songs with a playing time of about three minutes all together. Besides the crusty punk and grindcore, there's a strong black metal flavor, especially in the vocals, and there are even some pinches of slow and heavy sludge. It almost feels as if the band carved a deep groove into another dimension to bring as much thick intensity to those three minutes of black grinding ferocity as possible. Filling them with great riffs, even something like atmosphere, and breathtaking dynamics and tempos; everything tight and right on point.

Corrupt Leaders are a pretty young band, they formed in 2013. After their self titled debut in 2014 and a split recording with Dogma in the same year, Grindmother is their third release and, despite all brevity, it truly marks a huge leap in their progress. The band are currently writing on their first full-length LP. I’m not sure about how Corrupt Leaders translate “full-length” in terms of the absolute number on the time line, I just hope for more of this impressive black/grind/punk onslaught.

The song "Mass Consumed" is featured on The Wicked Lady Show 84


Tagged with 2015, Corrupt Leaders, crust, free download, grindcore, Ulla Roschat

April 18, 2015

Just the Facts - April 2015

By Kevin Page. I was gonna call this the doom metal edition, but with the preponderance of doom these days, I'll probably end up doing at least 1 more of these before the end of the year. Anyways, enjoy :)
By Kevin Page.

I was gonna call this the doom metal edition, but with the preponderance of doom these days, I'll probably end up doing at least 1 more of these before the end of the year. Anyways, enjoy :)


Band:Endlesshade
Country:Ukraine
Label:Rain Without End Records
Genre:Atmospheric death/doom
Interesting fact:Natalia Androsova (vocalist) and Michael Chuga (guitarist) wrote the album before they found other musicians, so it took years before it was actually recorded.




Band:My Shameful
Country:Finland
Label:MFL Records
Genre:Funeral/death doom
Interesting fact:Even though the band has its origin in Finland, it is now considered an international band with members all across Europe




Band:The Slow Death
Country:Australia
Label:Chaos Records
Genre:death/doom
Interesting fact:Vocalist Gregg Williamson passed away at the age of 40 due to heart failure on December 2, 2014. This is his final release with the band.


Tagged with 2014, 2015, blackened doom metal, Chaos Records, death metal, doom metal, funeral doom metal, Kevin Page, MFL Records, My Shameful, Naturmacht Productions, The Slow Death

April 16, 2015

Dave’s Demo Roundup Vol. VI

By Dave Schalek. Here we go again; digging deep into the underground to find you the murkiest of the murk, brought to the light of day in the latest edition of Dave’s Demo Roundup. Today, the theme is black metal.
By Dave Schalek.

Here we go again; digging deep into the underground to find you the murkiest of the murk, brought to the light of day in the latest edition of Dave’s Demo Roundup. Today, the theme is black metal.


Originally finding limited release on cassette, Black Rust is the second album from raw Swedish black metal outfit Orcultus. Although not particularly original, Orcultus hark back to the glory days of low-fi black metal so prevalent in the ‘90s and early ‘00s. Atmospheric and varied in pace, the seven songs presented on Black Rust are quite good with a dreamy, low-fi vibe. Orcultus, however, are definitely at their best when the music has a tendency to drone on and on, such as on “Filled With Flies,” a standout track.




Bullet belts and spikes from Finland. Violent Hammer are just that; a crushing hammer of violence in your face. Think a dirtier version of Impaled Nazarene (if there is such a thing), and you’re in the neighborhood. Blackened war metal with a huge dose of loud, abrasive guitars and pounding percussion, More Victims - Demo 2014 is the third demo from Violent Hammer, but their first since 2007. Someone sign these guys quick!




Speaking of murky, Pneuma Hagion, a one man act, is a recent discovery of Nuclear War Now! Productions, but we get a dose of what’s to come on Bandcamp with the outfit’s first three song demo. Recorded just few months ago, Trinity I sits right alongside the best of the murky blackened death metal pantheon. Bands such as Teitanblood, early Vasaeleth and Diocletian definitely come to mind as Trinity I is crushingly heavy with a hugely cavernous, suffocating sound. Deep seated, growled vocals, gigantic riffs, pounding drums, and a pace that varies from an all out blast to a glacial dirge, Pneuma Hagion is definitely a project to watch. The production on this demo is excellent with a density that has to be heard to be believed.


Tagged with 2014, 2015, black metal, Dave Schalek, death metal, Forever Plagued Records, free download, Orcultus, Pneuma Hagion, Violent Hammer

April 15, 2015

Kylesa - Ultraviolet

By Natalie Zina Walschots. Ultraviolet light, despite being something that we know exists, even having an impact upon our physical bodies, is part of the spectrum of light we can't see unaided.
By Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

Artwork by Shaun Beaudry

Ultraviolet light, despite being something that we know exists, even having an impact upon our physical bodies, is part of the spectrum of light we can't see unaided. This idea — that of a form of light that is present but not always apparent — is at the core of Ultraviolet, the sixth studio album from respected sludge experimenters Kylesa. Based in Savannah, GA, Kylesa have drawn from influences as diverse as doom and psychedelia to sculpt their sound, which is driven by powerful, aggressive drumming (they've been known to record and perform live with two percussionists playing simultaneously) and a smoky, syrup-thick guitar tone.

Photos by Webzine Chuul.

What sets Ultraviolet apart is the emotional authenticity and vulnerability of the record. While the music has become denser and chillier, with vocalist/guitarist Phillip Cope also commanding the recording and production, introducing darker keys and other electronic elements into the mix, the subject matter has ventured inwards, becoming more difficult and personal. Laura Pleasants is now the primary vocalist, taking on a much larger singing role on this record, and her warm, plaintive vocals serve as an entry point in the densely knit and sometimes alienating musical landscape. Her voice drips loss and yearning in "Long Gone" and drawls almost playful in "Quicksand" as she describes her mouth filling with blood. Rich and vibrant musically while raw and emotive lyrically, Ultraviolet is Kylesa's highest achievement to date.


Tagged with 2013, Kylesa, Natalie Zina Walschots, progressive metal, psychedelic sludge metal, Season of Mist, Webzine Chuul

April 13, 2015

Teeth - Unremittance

By Ulla Roschat. Two adjectives jump almost immediately at me from my speakers after pressing the play button for Unremittance, and these words have settled down comfortably
Written by Ulla Roschat.


Two adjectives jump almost immediately at me from my speakers after pressing the play button for Unremittance, and these words have settled down comfortably in my head by the end of the album... 'unrelenting' and 'uncompromising'....

Unremittance is the debut album of the four piece band Teeth, based out of Los Angeles/CA. Its seven songs radiate an uncompromising self confidence, a self confidence that shows in every detail of the very distinct and individual way they mix elements.

This is basically sludgy, doomy death metal seasoned with some pinches of HC and post metal. The tight and well written songs are charged with hate and rage, misery and despair spit back into the world unrelentingly violent, heavy and dissonant, executed with precision and passion.

The vocals are often screamed and/or growled, but both rather guttural and low pitched, still there’s a definite HC vibe to them. “Djenty” chords and slightly post metal sounding ambient melodies, at times create spy movie soundtrack like dramatic tension and exciting tempo changes, … everything builds into a dynamic, terrifying, bleak atmosphere. The lyrics add even more uneasiness, to say the least.

Unremittance is an amazing debut album unrelenting, uncompromising and most of all already unmistakably Teeth.

The song "To Dream is to Suffer" is featured on The Wicked Lady Show 79


Tagged with 2014, death metal, doom metal, free download, Teeth, Ulla Roschat

April 11, 2015

Bosse-de-Nage - All Fours

By Justin C. Bosse-de-Nage is a band that quickly found and fully inhabited their own unusual brand of black metal. Their first, self-titled album is probably closest to a
By Justin C.


Bosse-de-Nage is a band that quickly found and fully inhabited their own unusual brand of black metal. Their first, self-titled album is probably closest to a "standard," raw U.S. black metal sound, if such a thing can easily be defined, but even then there was something special about them. It wasn't long before the vocals moved further to the front and became even more raw and pained, while at the same time they started mixing in a strong post-rock/alternative rock influence, particularly Slint. I noted as much when I reviewed their last album, III, for this very site.

Have they taken any huge deviations from that template with their newest album, All Fours? Not really, but don't mistake that for a lack of progress. When first listening to this album, I decided they'd dialed back the abrasiveness in favor of more melody. Then I went back and listened to iii and then All Fours back to back, and I decided that they had in fact dialed up the harshness. It's possible that I'm just losing my mind, but I think the reality is that Bosse-de-Nage's evolution on this album is a bit more subtle and takes many more listens to fully reveal itself.

Like the last album, All Fours features screams being pushed to the very edge of control, mixed with occasional spoken word interludes that carry as much ominous feeling as the screams unleash rage and pain. The guitars chime and resonate, sometimes as tremolos and sometimes as more angular riffing. And as with the last album, the drumming is absolutely top notch. As I said in that last review, I'm convinced that the unnamed drummer has some serious jazz chops, and there's even more to love here. Listen to "A Subtle Change" and prepare to have your jaw drop at what the drummer does here. It's furious, deft, and intricate all at the same time.

III featured lyrics that were fascinating, but also surreal and elliptic. All Fours continues that tradition, but now with a hefty dose of sex on the fringes. I think that fascination has always been there--after all, this is the band that had songs called "Marie in a Cage" and "Why Am I So Lovely? Because My Master Washes Me." But to my ears, there's a whole new level going on here. Album opener "At Night" describes a mash up of sadism, masochism, and pony play. Cigarette ash is dumped onto Marie's body, and the "ashes cling to the urine on her torn clothes." Her "violent dressage thrills" the narrator. The final sentence of the song, appropriately, says, "These acts are nauseating but necessary." The instrumental music at the beginning of "Washerwoman" would be a proud addition to any alternative rock catalogs, but that's before the band turns up the "MORE!" knob all the way up, and the song ends with a female party crasher "with her mouth full of lather" announcing, “I come from the City of Hair beyond the Wrinkled Mountain and I will not rest until I've washed every penis in this room.” It's a masterful mash up of melodic sweetness and a very strange swinger party.

In early press, there have been some comparisons to Deafheaven, which isn't surprising given that the bands did a split together and both bands are clearly interested in using alternative rock as an inspiration. I've also read the inevitable backlash about that comparison, which isn't surprising given how polarizing Sunbather was. I don't want to make too much of this, because the bands aren't sound-alikes by any means. All Fours can and should be judged by its own merits, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are fans that like this album much more than Deafheaven's output. For me, I feel the similarity coming from a deeper place--it has more to do with a feeling, the one you get when both music and vocals are dripping with emotion. This is serious heart-on-their-sleeves/punch-in-the-gut stuff, and on that level, All Fours resonates with me in the same way Sunbather did. And I'd be very happy if All Fours gets the same kind of attention that Sunbather did, because I think it's well deserved.


Tagged with 2015, black metal, Bosse-de-Nage, Justin C, Profound Lore Records

April 10, 2015

Foehammer - Foehammer

By Matt Hinch. First of all, look at that cover! The figure! The woods! The intricate detail! That’s the kind of cover people buy music for, even if it is digital.
Written by Matt Hinch.

Illustration by Luciana Nedelea

First of all, look at that cover! The figure! The woods! The intricate detail! That’s the kind of cover people buy music for, even if it is digital. Digging into the actual music of Foehammer’s self-titled one finds that it’s a tad deceiving. On one hand the general mood of the doom trio’s epic length tomes fits like a well-worn glove, whereas all that detail is completely mashed by disgusting tone and a funereal pace that obviously lacks any desire to rack up the note count.

But Foehammer is just as deep and rich as the cover illustrates. Just as the figure appears ancient and at peace with solitude, Foehammer is best enjoyed as a personal experience, unencumbered by the trappings of modern existence. Just darkness and gargantuan doom.

With just three tracks stretched over 34 minutes it’s no surprise these songs unfold slowly and deadly. The plodding pace feels like pure exhaustion dragged onwards by determination and revenge, every note dropping with the crushing might of an indeed foe-destroying hammer. Also as expected, the guitars are tuned down to drop-9th Circle of Hell where string tension seems like a ridiculous notion. Bowel-melting to say the least, Foehammer bring the heavy.

It’s pure crush, menacing without being depressing. Full of hate, not hurt. As slow as it is, it’s not necessarily droney, or slow just for the sake of it. They just let the notes come as they will. But that’s not to say they don’t let some of that amplitude resin-ate. Their hypnotic cadences may be ruinously repetitive and dangerously slow but their doom mastery ensnares the mind like a drug that refuses to let go.

There are some surprises along the way. The vocals, straight from the pit, lend a sub-humanity for the listener to connect to as they disconnect from the world. A tether to reality. Subtle, noodling guitar work pokes in randomly to keep things interesting. Moments of groove grab hold fleetingly and float away before you know it. A bluesy solo crops up in “Final Grail”. And the intuitive drum work throws in well-timed strikes and fills, giving the more physical listener something to air drum to.

The bottom line is this: Foehammer are righteously heavy, mercilessly slow and evil sounding to the core. Funeral doom can add another name to the list of bands that “get it”. There’s nuance and subtlety to raise the album from pure doom devastation into an entrancing and powerful experience. “Herbal assistance” isn't necessary but highly recommended. If you’re into that. If not, Foehammer itself should be enough to make you drop out of life.



Note: Grimoire Records handles the digital/CD/cassette versions of Foehammer. For vinyl go to Australopithecus Records

Tagged with 2015, doom metal, Foehammer, Grimoire Records, Matt Hinch, sludge metal

April 8, 2015

The Steve Jansson Experience

By Kevin Page. You may have heard his name before due to February's fabulous release from Crypt Sermon. But did you know he is part of 3 other bands, all of which predate Crypt Sermon?
By Kevin Page.

Photo by Dante Torrieri / Blow The Scene

Steve Jansson. You may have heard his name before due to February's fabulous release from Crypt Sermon. But did you know he is part of 3 other bands, all of which predate Crypt Sermon? I talked with him recently regarding each of these.

Artwork by Brooks Wilson from Trenchrot

Thanks for talking with me Mr. Jansson. Let's first discuss, Trenchrot and the Necronomic Warfare album.

Trenchrot is a project that was started purely for fun. Brooks Wilson and I had talked about doing a death metal project for a long time but it wasn't until we met Justin Bean that the ball got rolling. The goal was strictly to make death metal in the style of bands we have loved for years and grown up listening to. Progress or breaking ground isn't really in the agenda. It's strictly a studio band as of now for a variety of reasons.

To me it has a feel of a cross between both American & European styles without coming across as a total retro fest.

A lot of people have said that and I think that's very cool. Melding the two together came very naturally and I wouldn't say that it was a conscious effort on our end as much as we were just simply writing death metal that we liked and wanted to hear. Regarding the retro thing, there has definitely been a pretty big resurgence in this old school styled death metal. I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing for us but people seem to like the record and again, it's something all of us have wanted to do for a really long time.



Artwork by Brooks Wilson

Let's talk some Infiltrator. This is some speedy dirty thrash with maybe even a touch of blackness to it. Very much an 80's feel to this one and even more of a throwback then Trenchrot is.

Infiltrator initially started off as a solo project. I wanted to do really energetic and dirty speed metal with a shitload of ripping guitar solos since the band I was in at the time wasn't very fulfilling. Initially, I would have had an actual singer do vocals but I sort of got stuck doing them. I eventually got a band together and it became more than just a solo project. However, we lost the second guitarist and it put us out of commission for live shows and we never ended up finding anyone to fill the shoes.

Funny you mention that, as I saw a review, which loved the album, but felt it could use clean wailing vocals, to make it stand out ever more. Did that thought ever cross your mind or does it now?

The direction of the music now is a bit different then it was in the beginning. We have a lot of material written but are currently taking a bit of a break due to schedules, life events, etc. I really do wish I would have tried to find a vocalist or at least tried my hand at "singing". It is what it is, though.




Finally, let's talk some Unrest. With an album title of Grindcore, I think people know what to expect here.

Yeah, we certainly weren't trying to trick anyone. Unrest goes back to 2007/08, actually. Chris Grigg and I wanted to more or less do a Nasum styled band but in the end I don't think we sounded much like Nasum, haha.

Anyways, we recorded this album in 2011 or 2012. It seems like a lifetime ago at this point. but we finished the vocals for it this year. This album was something that we thought would be haunting us for the rest of our lives. It never got finished or released for a variety of reasons and the main one being that we just weren't happy with how the album sounded.

Chris moved to NYC and life just sort of got in the way for everyone, so the album got shelved and buried. However, Chris dug up the files and managed to fix everything we were having issues with at the beginning of 2014 and we finished the vocals in March. I think that I can speak for everyone and say that this record is very personal to all of us. For me, it was my first actual band and I learned so much about songwriting, recording, etc. This is also how we all became friends as well as developed working music relationships.

Needless to say, we are fucking stoked to finally see that this album will see the light of day. We are all very proud of it.


Tagged with 2013, 2014, 2015, death metal, grindcore, Infiltrator, Kevin Page, speed metal, thrash metal, Trenchrot, Unrest, Unspeakable Axe Records

April 3, 2015

Sarpanitum - Blessed Be My Brothers...

By Atanamar Sunyata. Genre mutation is a dime a dozen in death metal these days. Sarpanitum, however, are the real deal, an alpha mutant with killer instincts and skills to pay the bills.
By Atanamar Sunyata.


Genre mutation is a dime a dozen in death metal these days. Sarpanitum, however, are the real deal, an alpha mutant with killer instincts and skills to pay the bills. At its core, this music is a pitch-black, dense, swarming mass of death akin to Paroxsihzem, Phobocosm, or early Dragged into Sunlight. The stunning lead guitars, however, churn up that darkness, causing tendrils of victorious melody to ascend and embrace their triumphant ethos.

Riffs of the mightiest sort are locked in a battle with brutal dissonance, driven forward by a swirling, mechanized rhythmic assault. Despite its martial mindset, Blessed Be My Brothers... is endowed with immense dynamics. These diverse compositions engage and disengage, soar and slaughter, lull and lop off heads. Celestial, surgical, and fascinating lead guitars are always at the forefront of Sarpanitum’s arsenal. I assure you that this shit will hit the spot.

Sarpanitum have taken my favorite flavor of modern death and added impossibly compelling melody. Immolation done nasty has crossed back over into realms of victorious march. Blessed Be My Brothers... is as addictive as it is unique. Keep an ear on this one; I hear longevity.


Tagged with 2015, Atanamar Sunyata, death metal, Sarpanitum, Willowtip

April 1, 2015

Moro Moro Land - Through

By Sean Golyer. If doom ain't your thing and you need a bit more adrenaline (and a healthy dose of filth) in your life, then look no further than Moro Moro Land's latest EP Through.
By Sean Golyer.

Artwork by Kuba Sokolski

If doom ain't your thing and you need a bit more adrenaline (and a healthy dose of filth) in your life, then look no further than Moro Moro Land's latest EP Through. I’m still sitting here trying to process the glorious insanity that my ears have consumed 3 times in the last few hours.

One thing I know for sure: this is blackened hardcore/crust as it should be. Meaty, sludgey rhythms, blistering tremolos, breakneck blast-beats, all solidified behind a vocalist with far more range than he may initially lead on. Vicious, passionate, and unrelenting, but at times atmospheric and melancholic, Through is a 20-minute hellride of Russian angst. Not to mention an incredible rendition of Nirvana's "Something in the Way" to bring you to your knees and leave you wanting for more.

For fans of: Young and in the Way, Hierophant, The Secret.


Tagged with 2015, crust, hardcore, Moro Moro Land, Sean Golyer

Below the Sun - Envoy

By Sean Golyer. I get the impression that for a lot of people, Terra Tenebrosa gets stuck in the "too avant garde/too weird/only if I'm high" category. That even goes for me, and I've had a copy of The Reverses lurking on my iPhone for a while now.
By Sean Golyer.

Artwork by Ch. Duis

I believe it no coincidence that Below the Sun takes its namesake from Funeral Doom masters "Ahab". Though the vast and untamed oceans may have been their frontier of musical exploration, Below the Sun opens up a new one by setting its sights on the dark matter above. Envoy is a lonely, interstellar journey through space told from the eyes of NASA spacecraft Voyager 1.

"Outward the Sky" offers up a mighty intro and rightly sets the tone for the album. Huge, crunchy rhythm guitars plod along at a steady but unstoppable pace. Reverb and delay-heavy leads and ebows help create the perfect atmosphere to ponder the great infinite beyond our little blue dot. It’s the closest track to come across as victorious, if a bit foreboding.

However, it is the second track that really grabbed my attention. The intro is both memorable and highly evocative, as is much of the rest of this 8-minute journey. "Cries of Dying Stars" is completely instrumental but grips you from start to finish. If dying stars could indeed lament, this would surely be their final song.

The rest of the album continues on in this way, crushing you with the ever growing darkness and sorrow each step of the way, culminating with the 15-minute climax of "Drift in Deep Space". Our spacecraft’s systems are failing and unstable. Help is never coming and there is no turning back; all hope seems lost. All of this comes full circle with album closer "The Earth", ending with a rather bittersweet atmosphere. I find it interesting that this closing moment is among my favorites on the album.

Much of this album is instrumental and the vocal parts are sparse but superbly executed. There’s just as much doom to love here as there is post-metal. Is there anything in their sound that’s particularly new? Honestly no, but that fact pales in comparison to the near-perfect execution and production of Envoy and its overarching theme. The members of the band remain a mystery hidden behind various aliases, but if I were a betting man I would be unsurprised if these artists and songwriters had a few albums under their belts already. This debut is just too good to pass up and Below the Sun is a band worth watching.

For fans of: Ahab, Cult of Luna, Isis



Note: CDs are available from Temple of Torturous.

Tagged with 2015, Below the Sun, progressive doom metal, Sean Golyer