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Resonance - Ofnus - Dying Phoenix - Sapremia - Energetic Krusher

Ofnus– Time Me Held Me Grey And Dying 9/10

Time Held Me Grey and Dying is such a complete, cohesive work it is hard to believe it is the Debut Album from Ofnus, a UK atmospheric black metal act that only began in 2021!

Their raw old-school sound is equally impressive as their melody, layered vocals, and perpetually moving rhythms. From the Opening track ‘’Burned by the Soul of The Moon’’ the die is cast; each track is a lengthy exploration of the darkness and cold embrace surrounding Ofnus. The atmosphere is created through the textures and riffs. Each moment is carefully thought out yet at times abandoned, isolated, resigned to accepting the environs around them, such as in the haunting ‘’Grains Of Sand”’ that aches for something more, longing in its intent. The vocals of William Philpot are the conduit for pain and grief, revealing the balance between the intimate and the intense.

The clarity of the chaos that is ‘’Echoes’’ is countered by the massiveness of ‘’A Thousand Lifetimes” and its glorious riff upon riff, building to an epic, raw, emotive crescendo. “The Endless Grey’’ is monstrously heavy, its torments and beauty measured in equal parts. The slower sections allow the riffs to scale new heights to create a milestone in their tapestry of emotion and raw, unbridled fury. ‘’Burned by the Soul of the Moon” will leave you speechless with its grandeur.

Part Denouement, part rousing call to action ‘’Time Held Me Grey and Dying’’ is a vast, supremely heavy record that reveals itself upon repeated listening. The soundscapes are vast end evocative, effortlessly being able to be true to the ideology of raw black metal yet extending its boundaries. Fearless and without compromise, it is a record that conjures the pain of remembrance and regrets and rewards you with depth and unbridled power. Unmissable.

Dying Phoenix- Winter Is Coming 8.5/10

Heavily influenced by George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”, Germany’s Dying Phoenix has, after more than ten years of activity, delivered their debut album. This epic symphonic metal journey is ‘’ Winter Is Coming’’.

From the majesty and grandeur of the introduction of ‘’Valar Morghulis’’ you will notice how complete Winter Is Coming is. Nothing is out of place, and the tracks delivered are the highest evolutions of themselves. Featuring no less than three vocalists Pat St. James, and Erica Bianca, with Moran Magal, the result is a textured, layered conceptual offering where vocals reflect the emotive characters and story within. It is an album imbued with a true sense of romanticism. It is sometimes mesmerizing and constantly surprising with the highest level of musicianship.

‘’Attack the Wall’’ is pure heavy metal with great dual vocals, the male earthly and the female soprano ethereal. The result is a driven track that is elevated into the heavens, Whilst ‘’Deep Down Below’’ has a huge riff and keyboard section that epitomises the power and glory that is Symphonic Metal. ‘’Who Owns the North’’ is magic with its keys and triple vocals where everybody shines in glory, and no one is overlooked. It ebbs and flows with cinematic glory epic in its scope and delivery. Some of the riffs are pure Teutonic metal whilst the keyboards are classic beauty as on ‘’ “Dead Faces Blue”, culminating into the glory of‘’ Saturnine Days’’.

‘’Winter Is Coming’’ combines elegance with the power of metal. It is an intriguing journey that becomes more addictive upon repeated listening. Experimental yet eminently recognizable, it finally ushers in Dying Phoenix as true innovators and contenders within a genre that is without limits.

SAPREMIA – Subconscious Existence 8/10

New Jersey-based death metal act Sapremia burst into the underground with their debut demo ‘’ Subconscious Rot (1992), and then followed it up with the aptly titled “Existence of Torture” in 1994. However, they split up before they recorded their debut album. Remastered in 2006 as a compilation Awakening Records has now made ‘’ Subconscious Existence’’ available again, giving it the lavish treatment it deserves.

Strong on substance and thick, dense moments to terrorize the subconscious. Sapremia is pure American Death metal, as exemplified on ‘’ Plague of Minds’’ the throat of Lou Ferrara and his bass provide a lurking, menacing presence that allows the guitars to pile on rhythm after rhythm and has those solos that escape the structure and pierce the ears with their utter contempt for the notion of ‘’normal’’ music.

Combining both demos, “Subconscious Rot” and “Existence of Torture”, into one release allows it to be the album Sapremia never had. Whilst the songs from “Existence..’’ are stronger and faster, they do not stray from the essence that is Sapremia ‘’ Fragmented Remains’’ captures that Obituary infused sound that is utterly uncompromising and with the punishing ‘’Existence of Torture’’ and unholy’’ Spawn of Desolation’’ they revel in their underground aesthetic celebrating the unnameable and being utterly brutal. The respite to ‘’Dead Eternal’’ is brief, whilst its chaos is without end.

The die was cast. Sapremia provided pure death metal that celebrates the ugly carrying all the hallmarks of the genre, both in terms of speed and slow demise. With substantial atmospheric sections and slow tortuous bridges, Sapremia created death metal that induces pain and creates nightmares.

ENERGETIC KRUSHER – Path to Oblivion 8/10

wakening Records (China) is the label when it comes to resurrecting bands and albums from the golden era of the late eighties and nineties when tape trading ruled and bands spread by word of mouth with their attitude and their music. Specialising in the underground of Death and thrash metal, they leave no stone unturned. UK act Energetic Krusher is the latest to receive the Awakening records treatment. Not only do you get the 1989 Path to Oblivion, but everything they have ever recorded, including new sources of demo material, liner notes written by original drummer Hairy, and a booklet that contains photos, flyers, everything.

Short sharp, and furious, Energetic Krushers skills lay in creating maximum impact in their music without unnecessary baggage. The experimental intro to ‘’War Path’’ is brief and allows them to get down to the business of thrash-infused death Metal. “Path to Oblivion” was originally released on vinyl in 1989 and was sadly overlooked as it captures the energy of thrash and hardcore punk, especially n tracks ‘’ S.K.I.V.E.E.’’ and ‘’Battle Cry” yet also has the lurking predatory sound of original death metal as the burgeoning movement that became a tsunami within the underground. The rough, typically English punk attitude allows Energetic Krusher to infuse their music with that edge of violence other bands simply do not have. The guitars buzz like angry mechanical weapons of destruction, sometimes overpowering a raw, primal rhythm section. Some of the production is suitably abysmal. The first version of “Cold Blooded Killers’’ sounds like it was recorded on a standard tape player, whilst’’ Locust ‘’ is all tremolo and top end.’’ “Back From The Dead” slows it down just a touch to drive its message home.

The sound is thick and dense and aptly unapologetic. Energetic Krushers music consumes you with its uncompromising energy and fierce, angry spirit. It has that pure metal energy, along with excellent guitar and bass leads, combined with some melody and experimental musical moments. Path to Oblivion doesn’t deserve a relisten, it demands it!

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