Resonance - Novichoke- Smorodina Reka - Hegeroth - Karmanjaka -Hell Machine-As The World Dies
Novichoke – Wounds 9.5/10
Forewarned is forearmed and Novichoke epitomizes its namesake with a crushing three track ep that is savage, barbaric, and utterly brutal. Taking the traditional elements of Death and Black metal to create a sonic noise piece of work that is marching in war like quality. Descendant is torturous with its huge relentless march and experimental sonic battery, Rite of suicide is inherently violent with a great riff that swirls and attacks, and Wounds is the literal scars that the music leaves on the senses.
A Russian project with all proceeds going to Gulagu.net an organization against torture Novicjhoke is authentic, earthen, ugly incredibly real. Twelve minutes later it is all done. The horrors are real, and Wounds is a monumental statement of deadly intent. Essential
Smorodina Reka 9.5/10
‘Predvestie’ translates to foreshadowing and Smorodina Reka are an act lead and created by the powerful Alexandra Sidorova and her amazing vocals. The music is a combination of traditional Russain and Scandinavian folk music that takes the listener on an epic journey. Current musical styles are transformed and traditional elevated and modernized.
Вечер is beautiful haunting and yet its percussion powerful and rousing, its many layered vocal patterns transportive and wonderfully emotive, its power lying in the authenticity and loving craftmanship of the music. ‘Predvestie’ also features an excellent cover of Wardruna’s Völuspá, but the original compositions shine brightly alongside it, Стень is another beautiful piece that combines both the traditional with modern touches. The song writing talent is obvious and to merely label this folk music is a mistake. It is epic and atmospheric lovingly crated with honesty and overwhelming passion, the timbres, and textures genuine haunting and indelibly beautiful. ‘Predvestie’ sounds modern and innovative using current structures and dynamics to create some excellent songs, Древо is another highlight of an excellent record!
Hegeroth – Sacra Doctrina 9/10
Polands Hergeroth take the traditional sounds of Black metal and elevate them to new levels of heaviness and tonnes , literally tonnes of energy . this is an album that you will be compelled to enjoy repeatedly as it takes things you think you know and transforms them into that tough no holds barred Polish sensibility that is also bone crushingly heavy.
The riffs are heavy catchy and at times bonkers in their assault , the rhythm section tight and powerful, the music assisted by some intense feral vocals never stops moving . Sacra Doctrina is dynamic and enthusiastic, able to change time and tempo effortlessly never letting the music become self-indulgent or distracted. It is not just Melodic Black/Death metal but also a fantastic metal record that induces spontaneous physical reactions. In Torment parts I and II, With Adoration and With Devotion are some of the highlights of the band’s intelligent theological musings and blistering metal attack.
Sacra Doctrinais an excellent takes no prisoners record that sets the bar exceptionally high for Black Metal and Metal releases this year!
Karmanjaka – Gates of Muspel 9/10
Emerging from the subterranean caverns where dragons dwell from the novel Bröderna Lejonhjärta (The Brothers Lionheart) the prolific Swedish Karmanjaka release their third full-length the earthen Gates of Muspel.
Taking their inspiration from both fiction and ancient Norse texts Karmanjakas music is more tangible than first impressions appear, it is tough, warm, authentic, and uncompromising. Gates of Muspel is loyal to the Scandinavian black metal style and contains lots of massive riffs that are at times comparable to Immortals’ inimitable style.
Sorcerer King, Sculpting the Heavens and the mighty Fenrir pay homage to the gods in true pagan fashion, it is not a one-dimensional assault however as some of the atmospheric parts and dynamics add strength to the songs whilst the clean vocals make a great counterpoint to the storytelling and the anguished wails and growls of vocalist Skallagrim.
Unafraid to add pagan metal and some progressive touches to their assault Karmanjaka have developed their sound that begins in 90s black metal and incorporates traditional horns and some very cool tribal-like percussion, the quieter guitar parts are also a highlight as are the solos from both Orm and Tengil.
Taking aggression and mixing its melody Gates of Mosel is an excellent entry into the growing canon of extreme yet diverse pagan/folk Black Metal. It is an epic journey that surprises with its textures and musical dynamics. Karmanjaka is unafraid to mix the complex with the traditional and sacrifice none of their heaviness.
Hell Machine – Relentless Aggression 9/10
As Dave Hellrazor declares ‘’Everyone Shall Suffer’’ on the crushing “Hammer of Hate “, Hell Machine hailing from the isolation of Alice springs unleash their second offering to the Metal gods, full of fury lust, and metal!
Relentless Aggression has the sort of stomping sections that command you to move your head with their brand of Blackened thrash metal. And this is true thrash metal with strong elements of Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction along with being quite groovy at times aka “Burn in Hell” throw-in touches of Hell Hammer and the first wave of Black metal and you’ve got a great record!
Maybe it’s the heat, maybe the isolation and Aggression, tracks like “Possession” roar with the purity of real metal without any fancy ‘’post’’ tags or “experimentation”. “Gates of Hell” takes you right to its doorstep, its catchy, its insanely fast, filled with hatred and destruction capturing the spirit of the ’80s and takes it further. Drummer Mal Machine has got some massive chops and adds some real fury to the tunes.
“Lowlife” is more head-stomping glory whilst ‘’She Demon” gallops at pace. No Need for flashy solos or prolonged intros Relentless Aggression is real metal in all its fast thrashy blackened glory, that roars rips, and shreds.
As The World Dies – Agonist (Album Review) 9/10
Agonist is not just another fantastic debut death metal record. It is probably the ultimate death metal record paying homage to fellow UK countrymen Bolt Thrower and the first original wave of utter heaviness that placed pummelling over speed. As The World Dies might be a new band but its members from both Memorian and Pemphigold have delivered a world-class record that’s pedigree is so strong its guests include Karl Willets (Bolt Thrower) Kam Lee (Massacre) and David Ingram (Benediction).
The tempo and time changes are natural, the riffs gloriously heavy and excellently recorded. Whilst it may stay in the mid-tempo range, As the World Des Music is dynamic, pure, and forceful. ‘’As The World Dies’’, ‘’ Desolate’’ and the “The Tempest” are mere highlights of a record that is so musically strong across the board, you will revel in its unapologetic brutality. This is infectious, groove-laden first wave death metal. Masterfully heavy, the atmosphere shines throughout, there is no compromise As The World Dies is direct and commands attention.
Agonist is the death metal perfection, excellently executed, pure undiluted music that is both savage and memorable, it takes the traditional elements and refreshes them, making them heavier, compelling, and irresistible in getting a physical reaction.