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New Or Old .  Say it in 200 or less....Reviews

New or Old. Say it in 200 or less . Reviews 

 
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Lycopolis/ Of Two Lands split

 

Known as black metal from the city of Wolves. This split showcasing 2 artists emerging from the very troubled nation of Egypt where the simple act of enjoying heavy music can have serious repercussions. Lycopolis are a very prolific three piece and it is their 2 tracks ‘’Wherein is Woe’’ and ‘’Eater of Eternity “ that chart their growth from raw black metal to an atmospheric style of darkness that reflects their interest in the gods and draws inspiration from epic soundscapes. Whilst this is black metal there is much more to Lycopolis that is revealed on further listens. Of Two Lands provide the epic 9-minute Serpent Tongue.  Proof that extreme music knows no borders and will find like minded people who look for it.

https://lycopolis.bandcamp.com/

Second to sun

Leviathan

Second to Sun have a reputation for releasing excellent albums with 2 versions of each one available as instrumental or with vocals. The musicianship on Leviathan therefore is exemplary lead by the excellent guitar work of founder Vladimir Lehtinen.  The guitar riffs on Eerie, Leviathan and Shaitan are the drivers of the musical muscle. Tough and uncompromising without falling into senseless violence, each track is lean and devoid of any self-indulgence. The musical progress. High on melody and groove Second to Sun do not drop to the mainstream but provide memorable moments such as those found on The Emperor in Hell and November. Engaging with dynamics do not dismiss this as another black metal band but an album of depth, intention, and intensity.

https://secondtosun.bandcamp.com/

Cultus Profano

Accursed Possession. 

Debemur Morti Productions.

Intensely focused and driven by a dark energy Accursed Possession is   a progression in every sense over their debut record Sacramentum Obscurus.  Make no mistake this is still the bands blasphemous brand of black metal but now razor sharp in intent, execution, and delivery. Every track is a literal and figurative opus that’s conjures the black arts without being extravagant or over indulgent, ‘Cursed in Sin’ and ‘Crowned in Hellfire’  display their growth without excess  yet it is the mighty ‘Towards the temples of Darkened Fates’, a 7 minute slab of darkness with elemental guitars, raw percussion and vocals that scream pure  hellfire . The pure rhythmic energy of Cultus Profano transcend them to another level that is especially evident of ‘Upon a Tomb of Sacrilege’.

‘Accursed Possession’ True Black metal that deserves you undivided attention and praises to the dark arts…

Dreariness- Closer

Self release  Bandcamp  digital

On first listen the opener to Tide it could be a track  almost anything off Fragments  and then things take a turn! Recorded individually during their countries lockdown Italy’s Dreariness have evolved  from the DSBM  of Fragments to record their experiences during their isolation from each other. The result is as surprising as it is cohesive. Each track is as unique as the bands emotions themselves  but be warned this is no DSBM journey but a trip through the bands black heart via Synthwave and some elements of Dark Pop. Goodbye is as harrowing as it is accessible, Tenebra’s vocals take an ethereal turn but still contain her depth and intent and will leave you haunted. Genre Defying Dreariness have turned Black gaze  on its head  and is worthy of your attention for sheer originality and honesty .

Bulletbelt- Warlords

Impaler records.

 

Album number 4 from New Zealand’s Bulletbelt is there most cohesive strongest release yet. The easiest way to describe this record is – tough. It is a no holds barred assault on the senses . Impaler and Punishment of God rarely let up yet are not one dimensional attacks. There is a large groove factor  along with some subtle an some not so arrangements  that range between death and full blown Black Metal. Paul Roberts vocals really  shine here . forever evolving,  Bulletbelt  are not just a pummelling death/thrash outfit  as Destroyer of All and Boudicia attest to, but a band united and moving forward . Pure metal and proud to be so,  an album that demands to be played loud and to be witnessed live .

Severed Raw Nerve

What Fresh Hell is This …?

 

What Fresh Hell indeed! Raw death metal with a high grove factor, this is the long gestating project of Darren Goulding (ex-Misery, Till Rapture)and members of Sulkus  that has finally seen the light of day. Yes, That Voice is still intact and as legible as it is brutal, and he has now added guitar to his resume and some elements of punk.  ‘Fresh in Hell’ is a highlight with a hug Sabbath inspired riff and some excellent percussion courtesy of Rob Wolf. ‘They Ate All the Towns People’ and ‘Strange Melody That Infects the Flesh’ are more slabs of traditional well-constructed brutality that linger long after listening.  Uncompromising Severed Raw Nerve’s intent of “The dark has come to take the Light” and plunge you to the depths of  heaviness.

Aeonian Sorrow – A life Without

Self release

 

To call A Life without a continuation of the band from Into  The Eternity A Moment We are  is true but also a  disservice. What an E.P! Funeral Doom of the highest calibre. Gogo’s Vocals have grown and progressed along with her haunting lyrics that are poetic but never contrived. Hopeless Suicide is beautiful and yet brutal with is classical moments and Ville Rutanen’s growls are utterly inhuman with their despair . The Endless fall of Grief is another highlight of an Excellent release. Each track is well thought  out and executed with nothing but sincerity and emotion. The downside is that its only  four tracks . Beautiful yet humongous heavy , highly, highly recommended.

Carach Angren - Franckensteina Strataemontanus

Season Of Mist Records.

 

One listen to the incredibly bonkers Sewn for Solitude, Traditional folk violin  over blast beats lets you know that Carach Angren is back and they moving around in all musical directions! Another concept album based on the  life of 17th century alchemist Johann Conrad Dippel, the Dutch (  now duo ) have combined extreme metal with the symphonic along with great big odes to German industrial metal, Monster is a deadest errm Monster along with the brief Fredericks Experiments  examples of a evolving musical direction. Informative and with a definitive  beginning middle and end  to just label Carach Angren as Horror Metal is to not grasp the full concept of the band. Well thought out and  researched  this is part nightmare, part lesson, full genre bending assault !

Nidorous – Putrescent Serenity over Fragments of Heinous Copronecropsy.

Bloody Hell! You will need a lay down after listening to this 3-song promo/demo. Bludgeoning death metal that moves at a blistering pace. Nidorous  have not only given us the longest album title this year but a energetic  blast of  excellently executed death metal, that feature the always outstanding and undistilled fury of Mallika Sundaramurthy’s vocals ( Abnormality). Yes a bit of  brutal death metal super group with Rhino on guitar and bass, “ Maggots Writhing in Festering Entrails” is a pummelling  bloody monster of a track whilst  “Reeking Blistering Repugnant Drippage” Is 1:53 of pure fury.

If there is a downside its only 3 tracks  … and all the physical pre-order is sold!!  Find this on Bandcamp now  

Angel Grinder – Confessions of the Damned

This is pure old school death metal executed at a level of musicianship that gives the style a fresh dynamic approach. Trimmed of any excesses this is get in bludgeon, educate, and get out. It’s not all death metal, some of the riffing on “731” and “Exile” is for the thrash purists and there is a grove that lets some of the songs linger after listening.  Eden’s vocals are clear yet brutal with topics that put them at odds with their gore soaked contempories.  “Axe to Grind” and “Confessions of the Damned” are further proof that whilst created in the style of the pioneers this is no nostalgia trip but a raw 21st century approach that is US Death metal. Tough, uncompromising, and incredibly driven.

Behemoth – A Forest (Metal Blade)

Does this need reviewing? Chances are you already heard “A Forest” featuring Niklas Kvarfoth (Shining) and it is a cracker. I’m not an educated Cure enthusiast but I have it on good authority that this is a well done very faithful version, which makes it ultimately the most accessible release for both artists. For the EP you get “A Forest” again live , but the real interest lies in the 2 original tracks “Shadows Ove a cast Upon Golgotha” and “Evoe” that continue the bands progression from ”I Loved You at Your Darkest”. All the trademark Behemoth moments along with a developing ear for melody that makes their music more memorable, without sacrificing their experimentation or uncompromising approach. If they haven’t then this cements their place as the new kings of “mainstream” extreme metal.

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Dark Divinity – Messianic

Trench Records

Dark Divinity unleash their debut E.P and give further evidence to the idea that maybe the devil does have the best  tunes. Riff after monstrous riff are assaulting to the senses that is both uncompromising yet with a musical ear not too dissimilar from the original Gothenburg sound. The intensity of tracks Set in Stone and Vertigo are driven over the edge by the wailing banshee that is Jolene Tempest (ex Bulletbelt).   The super aggressive and diabolically heavy Night of the Witches further proof that Dark Divinity have most definitely arrived.

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Sojourner – Premonitions

Napalm Records

Grandiose, expansive , beautiful  and majestic are  just mere words when used in the context of trying to describe the musical journey that is Premonitions, a remarkable  album of such depth  and dynamics  that it could only be sourced from the countries of New Zealand , Sweden , Italy and Scotland. One listen to the trio of The Apocalyptic theatre, The Deluge and The Event Horizon deliver such scope and emotion from  Chloe Bray and Emilio Crespo’s  haunting vocals, to  the keyboards of Mike Lamb and the rhythm section of  Mike Wilson and Riccardo Florida . Comparisons are unfair but at times I was reminded of Theatre Of tragedy’s finest moments. A hauntingly dark album that is not without glimmers of hope and deserves repeat listening, A true musical adventure.

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Ulcerate - Stare Into Death And Be still

Debemur Morti Productions

No so much an album but a work of art. Stare Into Death and Be still is not just Bone crushingly heavy, but heart breaking in its intensity , complex in its arrangement’s  and proof of a band without fear. Much has been made already of the brilliant title track, but Inversion and Drawn into the Next Void are also peerless pieces that fully embrace extreme music in its myriad’s forms, its intensity and its brutal honesty.   The effort that has gone into the musical compositions is evident and is further proof of the vitality of extreme music. Stare into Death and be still is an album that resonates long after it has finished and demands to be played again………...

Slaughter Messiah - Cursed to the Pyre

Real metal meets old school thrash with lashings of death and blackened metal is Cursed to the Pyre.  A blasphemous eight track masterpiece that not only nods to the originators of the genre but is bought into the 21st century courtesy of some excellent musicianship. A huge progression from  Morbid re-Incarnation ; From the Tomb into the Void is a furious opener to the brooding malice of closer Fog of the Malevolent Sore , Cursed to the Pyre  is short sharp and direct, Pouring Chaos is proof  that if you’re not into Slaughter messiah  then you may not be into metal……

slaughtermessiah.bandcamp.com –

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Automb - Chaosophy. Witching Hour Productions.

Chaosophy is the blistering second album from Automb. It reflects a sound  more deeply rooted in Deathened Black Metal than its predecessor however  Danielle's voice pierces through the proceedings of a band more focused and in complete  control of their instruments . Tight, precise and focused tracks such as Hel and Path of Return are dynamic  and intense.  the death metal influence is there particularly in the the drumming of Morbid Angels Scott Fuller  yet is just a small part of their overall range. at a mere 9 tracks  this is short sharp and precise, High productions values allow you to hear some of the excellent musicianship on display an obvious example being the title track.  Chaosophy, mature, coherent and vicious in intent, Automb is fast becoming a leader in the resurgent US Black Metal landscape.

Sacrifizer   'La Mort Triomphante'

                                                                                       Dying Victim Productions

Crikey! what an album ! This is pure Teutonic thrash unadultered by time and trends. One listen to Massacrator sets the tone raw  powerfrul and straight to the point. Dipped in classical  Black metal and elements of power , the Ughs of Vocalist Sexumer harken back to the mighty Frost  and the production over multiple sessions varies in quality,  but the compositons and power of the songs shine through "The Grave of Nosferatu" being  a standout . Short sharp and to the point  this is frantic in its approach bristling with energy and taunts  you to proclaim the life by  "Fist Leather or Steel" .

Lucifer - Lucifer III

Century Media

Album number 3 further grows into the the lates 60's 70's sound of Lucifer. It is large, organic and dripped in the occult and and drenched in leather . The Comparisons to Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster cult are unfair,  but this sound harkens bark to the birth of  Heavy metal and hard rock , At times progressive and subtle as in Stay Astray or in your face ie Leather Demon and Lucifer. Johanna Platow Andersson Vocals a true highlight throughout and rises above the dark "clasic" sound . Nicke Andersson again provides a strong percussive platform for the music to swell and pull you into their ethos. An incredibly cool record .....

Death Non Analog 

 

-Relapse reocrds

Recorded in Montreal in June 1995 this is a Live recording  of a classic line-up featuring Gene Hoglan on Drums . This doesn't  need reviewing but this available to stream for free or is available on  or Download .  Untouched by time and studio overdubs much like the Live in LA disc  this is Chuck Schuldiner in all his glory. From Pull the Plug  To Symbolic and back to Spiritual Healing  this is a great cross section from one of the most influential bands of all time  . Their aren't  enough appropriate  metaphors for excellence.  Unless of course the nice people at Relapse release another one. Which they have . Live in Chicago January 1988 this is Scream Bloody Gore  at is finest and rawest!  recorded before a more intimate audience , Regurgitated Guts and the now Legendary Open Casket  are true Highlights .

Essential