February 28, 2015

Misþyrming - Söngvar elds og óreiðu

By Calen Henry. Misþyrming (Misthyrming) was apparently a one-man black metal project in Iceland for a few years before mustering members and releasing a full length album.
By Calen Henry.


Misþyrming (Misthyrming) was apparently a one-man black metal project in Iceland for a few years before mustering members and releasing a full length album. That album, Söngvar elds og óreiðu suddenly appeared as the most popular album under “black metal” on Bandcamp with little buzz surrounding it and it’s an early album of the year contender.

The band mixes a core of swirling frostbitten black metal with almost every other conceivable style of black metal in a remarkably cohesive “kitchen sink” approach. Misthyrming swirl their way through icy blasts, slow thrashy riffs, weird Imperial Triumphant style bent riffs, ambient passages, jangly Polish style riffs reminiscent of Mgla and Nocel, and even a few dirge-like passages of blackened doom.

The skill with which they weave these styles into a cohesive whole is breathtaking. Almost every song shows a different style (sometimes two or three) but the result sounds like an album, not a collection of songs, or an assortment of (killer) riffs. Even with the stylistic acrobatics they've crafted an album that showcases the essence of great black metal. It’s adventurous without meandering, chaotic without being out of control. The result is a sound and feeling that early pioneers’ work can’t evoke for those of us who've grown accustomed to clarity and studio production quality.

There are a couple of points that hold the album back from pure brilliance. One or two of the riffs sound like “black metal chord voicings 101”, and the dynamically compressed mix sounds a bit claustrophobic. That may be intentional but a more open mix would have showcased the shapeshifting black metal assault and otherwise excellent production.

None of that really takes away from the overall quality of the album. There is no other band quite like Misthyrming; Söngvar elds og óreiðu is an extremely impressive debut that is especially worth checking out given that it’s Pay What You Want.


Tagged with 2015, black metal, Calen Henry, Fallen Empire Records, free download, Misþyrming

February 25, 2015

Ladder Devils - Clean Hands

By Matt Hinch. Trying to find a starting point to talk about Clean Hands, the first proper full length from Philly's Ladder Devils is not an easy thing. Because it's just so damn fun to listen to.
By Matt Hinch.


Trying to find a starting point to talk about Clean Hands, the first proper full length from Philly's Ladder Devils is not an easy thing. Because it's just so damn fun to listen to. And try as I might there's a similarity to a band I just can't put my finger on despite the list of names I'll drop later and it's gnawing at me.

The easiest place to start I suppose would be that these boys make a lot of noise. Taking a template of post-hardcore and noise rock, they inject a fierce energy and enthusiasm. This is most apparent in how there is rarely just one voice doing the singing. Similar to early Kylesa but that's still not the reference I feel.

On tracks like “Nameless, Faceless” you can get a feel like you'd get from Cancer Bats. A spitting vengeance over cascading noisy melodies and gnarly low end with guitar-swinging hardcore recklessness. That moves into “Feeling is Natural” which showcases their grungier influences, in particular Local H, at least vocally (also on “Eyes of the Mundane”). It also contains some of their nastier downstroke power.

Throughout, Ladder Devils move with a punk swagger and bounce married up tightly with infectious riffs, vocals and energy. That game plan makes the sad carnivalesque “Land of Beauty” stand out with its slower cadence and piano touches.

That they've done splits with Kowloon Walled City and Fight Amp makes perfect sense as they too bring a thunderous low end and gnarly tone to the dissonance, noise and sweaty attitude.

The sonic vistas of guitar melody on “Remember the Tooth”, the incredibly upbeat “Midnight Eyes” and its loud indie rock vibe, and the KEN Mode-styled sludge quality of “The Combine” only add to the melting pot of sounds to be found on Clean Hands. Despite the diversity, or perhaps because of it, it still all sounds like Ladder Devils. The band cites Nirvana and The Pixies as influences as well, and one can hear the rubbery hardcore of Norma Jean or the Chariot in there too.

I still haven't nailed down that one familiarity that eludes me but maybe there isn't one. Maybe Ladder Devils combine a wide range of sounds so effortlessly that everything comes together so invitingly that the mind is tricked. It doesn't really matter though as Clean Hands is an incredibly fun and fantastic experience.

I'm not sure what a ladder devil is though.



Note: If you want to support the band directly, you can get Clean Hands for a slightly higher price at the Ladder Devils own Bandcamp.

Tagged with 2014, Brutal Panda Records, Ladder Devils, Matt Hinch, noise, post-hardcore, rock

February 23, 2015

Crypt Sermon - Out of the Garden

By Kevin Page. Solitude Aeturnus haven't released a new album since 2006. Candlemass released their final studio album in 2012. So if you're a fan of that brand of doom, what do you do?
By Kevin Page.

Cover art by Brooks Wilson

Solitude Aeturnus haven't released a new album since 2006. Candlemass released their final studio album in 2012. So if you're a fan of that brand of doom, what do you do? The only answer is, besides lamenting this sad fact, start your own band! Hailing from Philadelphia, PA and featuring members of Trenchrot, Grass, Ashencult, Infiltrator and Hivelords, these five guys have swung for the fences and hit a proverbial grand slam (Holy tired cliché alert Batman).

Right from the opening riff you'll get an 80's flashback, but not in a "hey, let's mimic the past" but a genuine warm and fuzzy feeling of metal that you may have heard when growing up (assuming you're an old fart like myself - hey, yet another unoriginal idiom). It doesn't stay a retro fest either like many acts these days. You can hear the musicians own individual flair interwoven throughout, which helps give the band their own identity.

Let's talk about vocalist, Brooks Wilson. This is his first attempt at these type of soaring clean vocals. Listen and try and wrap your head around that for a minute. How was he not doing this many years ago? Did he suddenly wake up one day and say, "let's try this"? I dunno, I'm just glad he decided to and we get to go along for the ride. Now mind you, he doesn't sound like Messiah Marcolin (who does?) nor Rob Lowe either, He fits the mold of what you want for this type of music but with some added bite. I know that's hardly a profound description but he is his own man and defies drawing a specific comparison to anyone in his field. Original while being traditional enough.

I like the fact that this isn't one dimensional doom either. Sure they have the heavy drawn out majestic parts, but this is also balanced with your uptempo kick you in the nuts, punch you in the face sections. The solos rip, the cymbals crash, the riffs gallop. You can tell this isn't a bunch of rookies trying their hand at what they think is a flavor of the month.

Yes, the current trend with doom bands are the 60-70 minute albums and that's a barrier for some people. But what we have here are 7 songs spaced out over 43 minutes, ranging from 5 to 8 minutes in length, its actually a fairly easy entry point. It also strikes a near perfect balance between giving traditional doom fans what they want (songs that build tension and then erupt) without wasting any needless time. Therein lies what very well may be the true genius of this album.

Frankly I can't recommend this album enough. I'm genuinely excited about what this band can ultimately become, as they will only get better with more time together and the ability to further put their own stamp on this brand of doom.


Tagged with 2015, Crypt Sermon, Dark Descent Records, doom metal, Kevin Page

February 22, 2015

Amenaza - Demo MMXV

By Justin C. I usually like to live with an album for a little while before I write about it. I like to ruminate, even on music that immediately grabs me, but after discovering Amenaza's demo
By Justin C.


I usually like to live with an album for a little while before I write about it. I like to ruminate, even on music that immediately grabs me, but after discovering Amenaza's demo on the all-around-excellent site Tape Wyrm, I felt compelled to write about the band's demo almost immediately.

Amenaza (Spanish for "threat") mixes up hardcore, doom, and sludge with a hefty dose of disaffection. I immediately liked the music--songs like "Cancerous Infrastructure" mash up crawling doom with faster bits of fury--but the lyrical content really dragged me in. It's no secret that the U.S. has long-standing issues with race relations and an increasingly militarized police force post-9/11, and those problems have only been highlighted recently with some very notable instances of police brutality. Anyone with a soul can't help but be troubled by what's happening, but Amenaza happen to be from Lawrence, Kansas, which is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Ferguson, Missouri, so perhaps it's no surprise that they'd unleash some fiery indignation about recent events. The band makes no attempt to obscure their feelings in the lyrics of songs like "Cancerous Infrastructure," with gut-punch lines like,
A shield used to protect
All the power obsessed
Treating colored flesh with disdain
Piece of shit in blue
They cover similar ground in "No Oversight" with lines like,
Broken judgement for any crime
Makes a god with a badge to hide behind.
Added to that, there are some sound samplings of police "incidents" that rival the screaming children in Panopticon's Social Disservices for hair-raising potential, and like another Panopticon album, Kentucky, Aemenaza aren't afraid to put out some righteous protest music.

The lyrical content isn't solely focused on police misconduct--"No Praise for the Mutilated World" sees the band taking on honey bee colony collapse, of all things. But beyond the impassioned lyrics, the high quality of the instrumental music is what made this album a one-two punch for me. The vocals are turned up to 11 for catharsis, the guitar riffs often ring out in a very satisfying way, and the smooth transitions from slow doom to a faster churn, like in "Each Footstep a Lesion," pull me right along. Even if you don't have a visceral reaction to the lyrics, this is quite a slab of doomy hardcore, and it's a hell of a first outing.


Tagged with 2015, Amenaza, doom metal, free download, hardcore, Justin C, sludge metal

February 20, 2015

Brutal is as brutal does

By Kevin Page. Have you ever wondered what death metal sounds like to your non death metal friends? Now you can with Legion of Andromeda's first full length album, Iron Scorn. This 2 piece from Tokyo, Japan gets right to the point with the opening note
By Kevin Page.

Artwork by Tony Roberts

Have you ever wondered what death metal sounds like to your non death metal friends? Now you can with Legion of Andromeda's first full length album, Iron Scorn. This 2 piece from Tokyo, Japan gets right to the point with the opening note. What can only be described as sounding like a rabid dog barking over a steel worker repeatedly smashing his sledgehammer, it drones on and on for 43 minutes. Admittedly you will have to be in a certain mood or mindset to digest this, but I'd be remiss if I didn't say it has a certain undefinable charm. And in case your synapses are slow to fire, it's not an actual dog.




Hailing from the United Kingdom, Austerymn have been around in one form or another since 1990, but never had any material until their 2007 demo and now this EP, In Death...We Speak. I see 3 separate bandcamp pages with release dates ranging from February 2013 through November 2014. Metal Archives lists it as 2013, so I'm going with that. This is one of those bands I never knew existed until last week when they appeared in my Facebook newsfeed. As much as one can easily say this is old school death metal, this is really old school Entombed/Dismember worship, maybe even more than Entrails does (hard to imagine, right?). While its not going to set the world on fire for originality, (for some reason an English band doing this intrigues me) it's convincing enough to put on my radar to check out their debut album, which is due this April.



Cover art by Marco Hasmann

Cut from a somewhat similar musical cloth (punishing death metal) as fellow countrymen and labelmates, Destroying Divinity, Czech Republic's Heaving Earth unleash their sophomore full length album via Lavadome Productions. While they are not going to win any originality awards with an album title like Denouncing the Holy Throne, they will surely score points with those wishing for a return of Morbid Angel style death metal (ala the Steve Tucker era). They even have a good amount of Immolation style off tempos thrown into mix on the later half of the record as well. Wearing your influences on your sleeve, when it's done well and convincing, ain't a bad thing at all.


Tagged with 2013, 2015, Austerymn, death metal, free download, Heaving Earth, industrial metal, Kevin Page, Lavadome productions, Legion of Andromeda

February 18, 2015

Nasheim - Solens vemod

By Steven Leslie. After peaking underground atmospheric black metal fans interest with a couple of well-received demos in 2003 and 2004, Nasheim finally released their debut full length in 2014.
By Steven Leslie.

Cover art by R. Jonsson

After peaking underground atmospheric black metal fans interest with a couple of well-received demos in 2003 and 2004, Nasheim finally released their debut full length in 2014. Solens Vemod, or "the sun’s sadness" for us English speakers, is a perfect title for the Swedes’ first album, as beautiful yet melancholic guitar lines break through the darkness like fleeting rays of sunlight at dusk. While Nasheim’s take on atmospheric black metal is not ground breaking, their ability to create captivating and haunting songs help to set them apart from the thousands of bands playing this type of music.

The opening track, “En nyckel till drömmars grind,” sets the tone for the rest of the album. Kicking off with a haunting, mournful riff that slowly sucks the listener into Nasheim’s gloomy world. The band employs a very delicate touch to their songwriting as the music drifts along like a gentle mist propelled by the wind. Wonderfully crafted bass lines float in and out of the fairly traditional arpeggios and tremolo riffs, adding texture and intrigue to the music. The programmed drums, while nothing spectacular, work well to help create the engrossing atmosphere that albums like this live and die by.

While the songwriting is beautiful and expertly crafted, the real star here is the magnificent vocal performance put forth by Erik Grahn. It is the vocals that really drive the music forward and give it power and emotion. Erik uses an exquisite variety of grim yet captivating screams and despondent cleans. It is extremely rare to hear a vocalist so adept at blending these two disparate techniques. Not once do either style sound out of place or forced in any way. All of the vocal melodies combine so naturally with the music that it creates a wonderfully meditative listening experience that is easy to get lost in. Parallels can be drawn to Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth in both the overall delivery and raw emotional power.

The remaining three songs on the album continue on this path with a few added textures and nuances. For instance, the use of acoustic guitars lines layered over the repetitive, distorted tremolo riffs in “Jag fyller min bägare med tomhet” adds a captivating counterpoint melody. Little flourishes of speed and some heavier riffs also help to add character and keep the long songs, which average about 12 minutes, from ever becoming monotonous or overwrought. The song structures are fairly straightforward, which make the album easily accessible from the first listen, but still manage engage on repeated listens. Anyone with even a fleeting interest in atmospheric black metal will find Solens Vemod a worthy addition to his or her collection.


Tagged with 2014, black metal, Nasheim, Steven Leslie

February 16, 2015

Dave’s Demo Roundup Vol. V

By Dave Schalek. Too much time has passed since I've been able to give a look at various demos and EPs appearing on Metal Bandcamp, so let’s waste no more and dive right in to a diverse range of releases for this incarnation of Dave’s Demo Roundup
By Dave Schalek.

Too much time has passed since I've been able to give a look at various demos and EPs appearing on Metal Bandcamp, so let’s waste no more and dive right in to a diverse range of releases for this incarnation of Dave’s Demo Roundup.


Not to be confused with the U.K.’s Cold Fell, a blackened doom metal band that I had given a look to awhile back (or with the band Black Breath, for that matter), New Jersey’s Coldfells play a melancholic form of traditional doom metal that seems to be making a comeback these days. Immediately, fans should take note that Black Breath, a two-song EP, is being released by Bindrune Recordings and Coldfells appears to be another project from vocalist Nechochwen.

Falling somewhere within the same niche of doom metal occupied by classic bands such as My Dying Bride, Katatonia, and so on, Coldfells mix up their doom with nods to melodies with mild keyboards, a generally slow pace that actually will go so far as to pick up to a blastbeat, and vocal styles ranging from low growls to a soaring, yet muted, clean style that is quite pleasing. Black Breath clocks in at about seventeen minutes and hints at possible greatness to come from Coldfells.




Here is a reissue from Svart Records of a classic demo from 1993 from Finland’s Rippikuolu. An obscure band, diehard fans of heavy doom/ death will probably already be familiar with Rippikuolu; for the rest of you, here’s the perfect opportunity to get acquainted.

Insanely heavy with guttural vocals and a crushing percussion, Musta Seremonia is chock full of gigantic riffs and a pace that varies from a glacial dirge to a mid-paced gallop to the occasional, very primitive sounding, blastbeat. Given that this is a demo from the days before Pro Tools and what have you, expect a very messy sound with hollow sounding drums, but the devastatingly heavy (I’m running out of adjectives) down tuned guitars and bass more than make up for such modern niceties that fans of the genre couldn’t care less about anyway



Artwork by Derek Setzer

A three song EP from Quebec’s Fuck the Facts, Abandoned is a short, all out blast of chaotic grindcore. Expertly played, Abandoned features Fuck The Facts’ penchant for bizarrely angular guitar leads, riffs, and wicked time changes. Fuck the Facts also nicely separate themselves from other grindcore bands by injecting an odd moment or two of quiet, almost soft, melody that serves as a pause before going for the throat once again. At times, the listener never quite knows what to expect next. The duo of frontwoman Mel Mongeon and bassist Marc Bourgon expertly delivers their gut wrenching vocals with power.

Fuck The Facts have a habit of releasing numerous short EPs in between albums; Abandoned is the latest such release in a string since the last proper full-length, Die Miserable from 2011. Here’s hoping that a new full-length is on the horizon.


Tagged with 2014, Coldfells, Dave Schalek, death metal, doom metal, free download, Fuck the Facts, grindcore, Rippikoulu, Svart Records

February 13, 2015

Mastery - Valis

By Justin C. Mastery's first full-length, Valis, doesn't offer an easy entry point. The very first track, "V.A.L.I.S.V.E.S.S.E.L.," opens with what sounds like the soundtrack to a malfunctioning, hellish carnival ride
By Justin C.


Mastery's first full-length, Valis, doesn't offer an easy entry point. The very first track, "V.A.L.I.S.V.E.S.S.E.L.," opens with what sounds like the soundtrack to a malfunctioning, hellish carnival ride, and after that follows over 17 minutes of delightfully batty, black metal madness. That's not 17 minutes for the whole album, mind you--that's 17 minutes for the first track alone. The lone artist behind Mastery, Ephemeral Domignostika, crams more riffs into this track than most bands have in their entire back catalog. It's breathtakingly weird, but perhaps the weirdest part is that it works.

The promo materials describe Valis as "free jazz black metal twisted and complex," and that's pretty apt. The full album takes you on a journey that appears to be at least in part improvisational. No verses and choruses here, just unrelenting riffage, accompanied by Domignostika's raspy croak. Lucky for us, the riffs themselves are just so damn good. The promo also mentions "unique fingerstyle playing." As a guitarist, I can think of a few things that might mean, technique-wise, but whatever Domignostika is doing, the end result is a fiery playing style that remains remarkably clean sounding in execution.

I think a lot of people, at first listen, will find this music to be off-putting and hard to follow, but I honestly think there's an underlying narrative and structure here that pulls the listener along, even if I'd be hard pressed to articulate it. I do know that, even during the 17 minutes of brutality of that first track, I never once thought, "Where is this going?" Somehow the journey makes sense, even though there's very little in the way of conventional song structure to hang your hat on. Even when the first track abruptly breaks into a lovely acoustic jam at the six-minute mark, accompanied by quiet drumming that sounds like a far-off locomotive--with nothing really like it appearing again on the album--it somehow fits in.

The second and fourth tracks are much shorter than the others, and they mostly feature quiet ambient and electronic sounds. Never have two interludes been so well planned and placed. Breathing room is a must on this album, as the third and fifth tracks of the album are just as perplexing and unrelenting as the first. Interestingly, they both share the first track's density while having their own subtle, interesting character. The third track, "L.O.R.E.S.E.E.K.E.R.," has roughly the same density of restless riffing as the first, but the riffs are less crunchy and growling than the first track. They're generally higher in pitch and a bit more gossamer, if using the word "gossamer" even makes sense for an album as brutal as this. This is a simplistic differentiation, at best, but I think attentive listeners will hear the subtle difference in texture. Domignostika manages the same feat with the album closer, "S.T.A.R.S.E.E.K.E.R.," where the riffs are at their most jagged and twisty. There's even an occasional staccato passage, letting a little air into the wall of sound that's permeated the album so far.

It's possible I was personally more susceptible to this album's charms because of my love of avant garde and free jazz, but I think there's a lot for adventurous metal listeners to dig here. I once heard a quote about how some music teaches you how to listen to it. I kept coming back to that idea with Valis. I'm not sure if the music taught me how to listen to it, of if it just dragged my brain into a dark alley and made me follow along by knife point, but either way, this is a striking piece of art. Iggy Pop once described jazz legend John Coltrane's sound as one that was "hard to get close to." That definitely applies here, but like Coltrane, I think it's worth the effort to get close to Mastery.


Tagged with 2015, black metal, Flenser Records, Justin C, Mastery

Rhin - Bastard

By Matt Hinch. My seven year old daughter saw the cover of Rhin's Bastard and asked me “Why does that guy have a horn on his head?” I told her I didn't know. It didn't immediately dawn on my that
By Matt Hinch.

Illustration by Renzo Velez

My seven year old daughter saw the cover of Rhin's Bastard and asked me “Why does that guy have a horn on his head?” I told her I didn't know. It didn't immediately dawn on my that it could have something to do with Rhin being an “o” short of “rhino” but then again it was the crack of dawn and I wasn't all with it yet. After some listening an explanation could also be because he's horny for riffs and charges hard. Or the rhino thing.

But I'm more stoked about the riffs. The non-stop, heart-racing riffs raining down like a monsoon. Right from the get-go Rhin are all ahead full with the kind of energy that gets you going more effectively than the strongest cup of joe. And with bassist/vocalist Dominic Gianninato screaming his coarse fool head off, it's the sort of thing you just can't ignore.

I've seen their sound referred to as hardcore sludge and I suppose that's true but I'm more likely to describe it as hard rock for the adrenaline junky. “I Want More” fills that hardcore slot with razor-sharp riffing cramming speed down your throat but that's also where you can hear a touch of the Melvins. Follow-up “Man is Bastard” utilizes the same elements.

“Shovel” really brings the sludge heaviness and bruising mentality. Speaking of bruising, drummer Ben Proudman terrorizes his kit. If the skins still had working blood vessels, his would be every shade of black and blue. Not only does he hit VERY hard but he's got groove, man. No where is this more evident than on “Consumed”. It's a slow burner and at over twice the length of any other track it's like the cool down at the end of the workout.

The other band they can be compared to at times is Helmet. “Gravy” and “Bull Doze” are fine examples of that influence with the latter flashing similarly styled riffs and guitarist Tucker Riggleman digging into his inner Page Hamilton for those solos. That's some AA shit right there. As in, Always Approved.

I'm not sure what kind of moonshine they're brewing out in “Ted's Shed” (they are from West Virginia after all) but it's potent enough to cause blindness and is infused with an addicting essence. This may be a bastard but it'll get you up in the morning and keep you going through the night. Rhin are for sure a band to keep an eye on. Brow-beating and slick as silk, Bastard will run you over and back over your shattered bones. And watch out for that horn.


Tagged with 2014, Grimoire Records, hardcore, Matt Hinch, Rhin, sludge metal

February 12, 2015

Vyrju - Black

By Ulla Roschat. Vyrju started off as a one man black metal project founded 2006 by Jan F. Lindsø (Gjenferdsel) from Norway, who provides guitars, bass, synth and vocals. However for his debut EP Black
By Ulla Roschat.


Vyrju started off as a one man black metal project founded 2006 by Jan F. Lindsø (Gjenferdsel) from Norway, who provides guitars, bass, synth and vocals. However for his debut EP Black that was released 2014 he was joined by Tim Yatras (Germ, Austere, ex-Nazxul, ex-Woods of Desolation etc.) to contribute the drums and, on two of the four tracks, the clean vocals.

There must be a special magic formula working in this album. From the very first listen it caught me, sucked me in and didn't let me go even beyond the last sound’s fading. Black is melodic doom/black metal, atmospheric and dark. The atmospheres move between a soft sadness and harsh bleakness, they feel somehow unreal and dreamlike. Still there’s a solid earthiness to them that makes you virtually smell the soil and the dark woods.

Doomy hypnotizing rhythms and the powerful, uncomplicated melodies enhanced by the mesmerizing clean vocals don’t simply alternate with the piercing shrieks, tremolo and double-bass, they seem to entwine each other, as if the damp misty woods themselves invoke their own vicious demons. Everything seems to emerge from and complement each other, at the same time contrasting and create momentum without effort, like the natural consequence of the way all is put together.

The short instrumental "Gone" with its beautiful open melody is of a somewhat lighter mood than the other tracks, an interlude and a break from the demonic grip, still of a bittersweet melancholic darkness. The EP’s title Black totally reflects the depressive core of the music’s atmosphere which dresses in moods of aggression, distress, despair and melancholy.

Only four tracks and just 21:24 minutes are enough for this potent magic formula to cast its spell on me. I don’t dare imagine what a full length album would be capable of, but I’d like to find out.

The song "The Constant Void" is featured on The Wicked Lady Show 76


Tagged with 2014, black metal, melodic doom metal, Ulla Roschat, Vyrju

February 10, 2015

Grind your f#$%in' head in

By Kevin Page. Yeah, yeah, yeah I lifted this title from Phobia's 2003 EP of the same name. It's the first thing that came to mind when I needed a catchy title. And it got you to click, right?
By Kevin Page.

Yeah, yeah, yeah I lifted this title from Phobia's 2003 EP of the same name. It's the first thing that came to mind when I needed a catchy title. And it got you to click, right? Hey, at least I'm honest, as I'm guessing most people would never had noticed. Anyways, let's get to it.

Artwork by Pierre

The Australian trio, The Kill, has released what seems to be an endless supply of splits and EP's over their now 15 year career. Admittedly, the last thing that interests me is 1 or 2 grindcore songs from a band, so I usually skip over those type of releases. But if you give me an album to digest I'm all over it like stink on a monkey. So here we have their second full length album, Kill Them...All and boy is it a doozey. I'd venture a guess that this is some of the fastest grindcore I've ever heard. Yeah all grind is fast, but this seems to be ratchet up a few notches than most. 19 songs, 27 minutes and cover of Anthrax's "Metal Thrashing Mad", that I wouldn't have even recognized if I didn't read the press release. Not for the meek.




I remember having a Putrid Offal demo tape and 7" from way back (pre internet) during the tape trading days of the early 90's. This French band, formed in 1991, basically worships at the throne of Carcass (circa Reek of Putrefaction/Symphonies of Sickness). It's taken 24 years but they are finally releasing their first full length album, Mature Necropsy. Featuring all their 1990's material rewritten, recorded, it's 29 minutes of old school gore grind. Now before you get your panties in a bind, they are also offering as a separate release, Premature Necropsy, which is all their original material, remastered (but otherwise untouched), for your elitist pleasure.




Mindful of Pripyat, from Milan, Italy are a new band, having formed in 2014. They've wasted little time by already giving us an EP, ...and Deeper, I Drown in Doom..., featuring 16 songs over 21 minutes (Unseen Terror & Defecation cover songs included). Why is a grind album that's 27 minutes considered a full length but one that's 21 minutes is an EP, I'm not quite sure, but the band is calling this an EP. For being around such a short period of time, its quite stunning how professional and tight their sound is. Think Terrorizer and early Carcass with absolute razor precision backed by a solid production. This trio also has all members sharing vocal duties. One of the better albums I've heard this year.


Tagged with 2015, Blastasfuk Grindcore, death metal, grindcore, Kaotoxin Records, Kevin Page, Mindful of Pripyat, Putrid Offal, The Kill

February 8, 2015

And So The Battle Begins

By Andy Osborn. The year is still in its infancy and the Bandcamp gems are already pouring in. Three releases, each three tracks long and each from a different part of the country
By Andy Osborn.

The year is still in its infancy and the Bandcamp gems are already pouring in. Three releases, each three tracks long and each from a different part of the country, showcase some of the best up-and-coming metal in the underground US. They all have a perfect mix of old-school homage and forward-thinking nuance that's undoubtedly going to continue to be at the forefront of metal in 2015.


One of Cascadia’s best kept secrets, Addaura have been hometown heroes of mine since their full-length debut Burning For The Ancient came out three years ago. Dripping with atmosphere and passion, the quartet cares more about interesting chord progressions and melodies than hypnotizing their listeners into a comatose state. Catchy guitars are something rarely associated with atmospheric black metal, but Addaura make it their defining quality.

...And The Lamps Expire is filled with surprises: cello sounds created by playing a 12-string guitar with a bow, an organ, and thick, varied percussion adds a level of intensity and beauty that makes Addaura's sound impossible to comprehend after even a couple playthroughs. And the sense of urgency and emotion in Ryan Patterson’s vocals is gut wrenching. Hints of shoegaze may draw parallels with a certain pink-hued duo, but Addaura have been perfecting this sound longer (and more skillfully).



Art by View From The Coffin

Much like their regional brethren False, Astral Blood put a special USBM spin on the classic second-wave Scandinavian sound. Ethereal synths build over melodic tremolos, creating a soundscape that has hints of varying styles of black metal. This new trio doesn't hesitate or waver, they have complete confidence in rocketing to the stars and beyond. Two six-minute tracks surround an intriguing interlude which highlights a fascinating spoken word piece that proves Astral Blood is a band who’s going to do things their own way.

Andrew Rasmussen of Noble Beast fame handles vocal duties, proving he’s as adept a shrieking banshee as he is a skinsman. Varied, enchanting, and slightly evil, Astral Blood show the sound that Emperor invented is alive and well, and it can still be tinkered with without growing stale.

Tridroid Records will be releasing a physical version on February 24th, but you can get the digital copy directly from the band now.




"Imagine a tank crushing a human skull — forever."

Trenchgrinder’s own description of their name is an absolutely perfect way to present their brand of filthy, war-obsessed death metal. Taking more cues from crust and d-beat than they do from the so-called war metal movement, the Brooklyn warmongers destroy everything in their path. Bursting onto the scene with a 2011 demo, the band wasn't heard from again until they contributed 2 track to a split with Skullshitter last year and now they’re back with their second batch of battle hymns.

The extremely high production value and the fact it costs money makes this really more of an EP, but it’s still a fantastic achievement for a band that has fewer than 10 tracks under their spent bullet belts. Owen Rundquist’s vocals vomit through what sounds like lungs filled with blood as razor wire guitars drive the battle ever forward. Let’s just hope Trenchgrinder’s next war comes a bit sooner.


Tagged with 2014, 2015, Addaura, Andy Osborn, Astral Blood, black metal, crust, death metal, symphonic black metal, trash metal, Trenchgrinder

February 6, 2015

Heaving Earth - Denouncing the Holy Throne

By Atanamar Sunyata. Myriad are the mannerisms that make death metal. Many of the methods employed by Heaving Earth are readily apparent, their roots reaching straight back to Immolation and Nile and
By Atanamar Sunyata.

Cover art by Marco Hasmann

Myriad are the mannerisms that make death metal. Many of the methods employed by Heaving Earth are readily apparent, their roots reaching straight back to Immolation and Nile and Ulcerate and more Immolation. While it’s good fun to trace the lineage of a band’s sound, it’s important to remember that synthesizing the infernal methods into a quality recording is no mean feat. Denouncing the Holy Throne is a masterful articulation of morbid chaos; keep your talk of clones at home.

These tracks unravel repeated paradox. Engaging riffs undulate wildly and also snap with staccato precision. Heaving Earth opt for a discrete separation of the stereo field, with distinctive dual-guitar work writhing spasmodically in each ear. At times extraordinary, the leads on Denouncing the Holy Throne magnify its majestic mien and indicate an attention to twisted detail. The percussion serves the album's divergent oeuvre well, with finesse and speed represented in equal measure. Memorable vocal patterns compliment the carefully crafted rhythmic intensity.

Denouncing the Holy Throne is nothing less than wall to wall riffs, crackling with electrostatic discharge. You'll find a strange burst of clean guitars nestled deep in the album's folds, sounding like early Pelican-made-murderous. While brief, the passage is indicative of a deep well of creativity; I hope we'll see more of this obtuse intricacy from the band in the future.

You’d think a person would tire of death in life, but Heaving Earth prove that to be untrue; I’m quite addicted to Denouncing the Holy Throne. I expect this beast to be in my playlist for the rest of the long cold darkness.


Tagged with 2015, Atanamar Sunyata, death metal, Heaving Earth

February 4, 2015

Fistula - Vermin Prolificus

By Matt Hinch. Few bands can make you feel like you're wallowing in a vat of pig shit and be loving every minute of it the way Fistula can. Vermin Prolificus is their latest foray into a world of absolute filth and drug use. Vermin is as sludgy as they come. Rotting, fetid tone pulls the listener deep into the gutter, leaving a stink that lingers like death
By Matt Hinch.


Few bands can make you feel like you're wallowing in a vat of pig shit and be loving every minute of it the way Fistula can. Vermin Prolificus is their latest foray into a world of absolute filth and drug use.

Vermin is as sludgy as they come. Rotting, fetid tone pulls the listener deep into the gutter, leaving a stink that lingers like death. Fuzzed-out and overdriven to the point of a shattered psyche, Fistula's sound is basically a polar opposite to the mental state they extol the virtues of. Music played low for getting high.

But it's not all slow though. Sure, they can glue our ass to the couch with a stoned-out riff but on the shorter tracks and the later half of “Pig Funeral” they absolutely destroy by taking that amplitory violence and busting out of the corner looking to take someone's head off. And no matter what speed, vocalist Dan Harrington's delivery is merciless.

Opener “Smoke Cat Hair and Toenails” defines sludge. It's not overachieving. It's honest. It strives for nothing more than to make the listener feel unclean beyond saving. Samples come into play throughout the album and it's here we first hear the oft-repeated “the drugs are more important than you” sample from the 1980 flick Don't Answer the Phone. It really sets the tone for the rest of the ride.

The shortest track, and the most acute trip is “Sobriety”. At 51 seconds Corey Bing (guitar), Sean Linehan (bass) and Nate Linehan (drums) lay down a visceral carpet bomb of aggression over which Harrington shreds his chords, including the killer line of “I wanna get fucked up today!”

By the time the album hits the title track we're subject to the continual pulse of a heaving riff shoving downward amid an abundance of samples. It's hypnotic and disorienting all at once. But that's the point.

Vermin is all about punishment and turning heads to mush. Dial up the volume and tone and just wait for their cabinets and your speakers to explode. Corrosive and addicting, Vermin plays it thick and sick. Whether getting low with doomy sludge or tweakin' hard with dirtcore rage, Fistula fill you full of an intoxicating essence for which the unrestrained portions of your mind will steal, swindle and kill for.

Get fucked up.


Tagged with 2014, doom metal, Fistula, Matt Hinch, Patac Records, sludge metal

February 2, 2015

Gojira - From Mars to Sirius

An Autothrall Classic. For their third act, the French mod metal squad Gojira aspired to make a mountain out of a molehill. From Mars to Sirius goes beyond aspiration to accomplishment
An Autothrall Classic. Originally published here.


For their third act, the French mod metal squad Gojira aspired to make a mountain out of a molehill. From Mars to Sirius goes beyond aspiration to accomplishment, quashing their previous efforts like a landslide, so hard that rubble continues to pour onto The Link's face long past the original, explosive tremors. This is a dense and effective offering which transformed a band that was a mere curiosity into a massive, touring force and one that many journalists and hipsters acclaim to be 'the future of metal'. We've heard this expression before and it almost always peters out in the end, but one cannot deny the increasing success experienced by this band.

Gojira 2013. Photo by Metal Chris

And it's just impossible to deny. By the end of the first track, "Ocean Planet", the band has already crushed all of their prior songwriting. Bold, accessible and yet dusted in flecks of industrial rust and grime, the track functions off an alternating discordant groove akin to something Voivod might have crafted on their Negatron album (in particular the breakdown at 2:00), but blocky, mechanical and uniquely graceful. It's like a chunk of factory gaining sentience and operating itself, yet adorned in the bands pseudo-universal 'life peace love Earth' sentimentality. "Backbone" constructs an appropriate chug which reminded me of the rhythm to Primus' "Toys Go Winding Down", albeit glazed in industrial rock and Joe Duplantier's carnal multi-faceted throating. The song experiences a beautiful shift towards sombering melodic death metal at its own 2:00 mark, immediately an album favorite. "From the Sky" continues this trend with a barrage of fundamental grooving death metal and chugging fortitude, both barrels rolling forward towards a beautiful climax. "Unicorn" is another of the band's frequent interludes, this one's shining harmonics and tranquil beat winning out over the namesake.

Gojira 2013. Photo by Metal Chris

This flight into deceptive fantasy continues with "Where Dragons Dwell", a winding passage of bass floes and chugging excess at the end of its cavernous melodies. The ambient break is very cool, transforming into another huge bottom end riff, which leads the track through its final pacing before "The Heaviest Matter of the Universe" explodes like a galactic genesis, which a flattening groove which will have you either twitching and banging your head like a goddamn automaton or throwing your hat in about how horrible this band must be for its ability to create such a convincing, simplistic slaughter. "Flying Whales" features whale song samples and melancholic clean guitars that slowly propel into another stompfest, and you can almost close your eyes to imagine the travails of such a figurative beast as it navigates the phlogiston between worlds and realities. "In the Wilderness" follows with more desolate crunching barbarity, as if the 'wilderness' of the title were in fact a post-apocalyptic scene, retired metal hulls stretching the horizon as we celebrate the waste of our passing.
Trees so strong, that they never can fall
Four suns alight, in silver grey sky
Wild river flows, with rage alive
Lions of fire approach me
Such stark and baleful imagery translates entirely too well into the plodding, slugging murder fest of the bands rhythmic guts, ever rising forth from the primordial elixir with a strong melodic surge that balances them back to the more accessible, impatient ear. From here, the crawling cosmic blues of "World to Come", and the brief, distant, half-titled prog piece "From Mars", which feels like a bit of Floyd-ian paving across the band's crushing path, offering a respite before the melee that is "To Sirius", a sequence of colossal grooves against the black border of interspace. "Global Warming" returns the band to its love for the guitar tapped rhythm, a slight sliver of foreshadowing towards the album that would follow this. The track is lovely, even as it digresses into another of the bands lumbering juggernaut riffs, and a gentle end.

Gojira 2013. Photo by Metal Chris

From Mars to Sirius is one of those albums with the transient ability to 'grow'. As easily accessed as it was upon release, I have found the years nothing but kind to its wiles, and I rank this now far higher than I ever would have in 2005. A beautiful, winged thing has emerged from its larval stage within the creative cortex of these four Frenchmen, and we are all the richer for its presence, trailing stardust and inspiration upon the potential found in the cauled corners of our beloved medium. Like the massive waves swelling across Tokyo Bay, Gojira has finally arrived.


Tagged with 2005, Autothrall, death metal, groove metal, Listenable Records, Metal Chris, progressive metal