29 Feb 2016

Digging Your Tomb: "Demo(lition)"

It ain't easy listening, but it's rewarding brutality in ample amounts
Digging Your Tomb goes into detail with every aspect of slamming brutal death metal, while also exhibiting the vast reach of the style. The Spanish trio's fourth offering, the demo titled "Demo(lition)", is in many ways a culmination of efforts, portraying a band whos internal dynamic is by now well-establish and thorough in their approach.

27 Feb 2016

Cosmo Cocktail: "Cosmotronic Racing"

Oversaturated neon-nostalgia
Cosmo Cocktail's album comes courtesy of 30th Floor Records, a label dedicated to the synthwave genre. Though not a veteran per se, they were definitely one of the early movers within the scene to organize and release synthwave albums from independent artists. Cosmo Cocktail, based in Italy, prides himself on his use of hardware synths, sequencers and drum machines, and with good reason. With a morass of new artists emerging from the scene every day there's more than a few who rely solely on standardized VSTs and digital sequencer software, often resulting in an amateurish feel to otherwise groovy synths in a rude and entitled celebration of the fact that nowadays "anyone can make music".

26 Feb 2016

Greenleaf: "Rise Above the Meadow"

Relevant, ballsy in attitude and free of trend
The Swedish band Greenleaf has had a lineup in near constant turmoil since their debut in 2000. Yet they've always managed to channel that change into a positiv thing, utilising it to mix things up with their sound. Though originally combining stoner rock and alternative rock elements like Queens of the Stone Age and similar bands they've since become more modern and as a direct result come more into their own.

25 Feb 2016

Encephalopathy: "Promo EP 2011"

Slow-moving death metal slugathon with heart and guts
Whenever a genre or style has a surge in popularity, the mediocre newly started bands start pouring forth like rednecks to a hoedown. But every wave has its own stars and shining gems as well, and Encephalopathy is one such gem.

24 Feb 2016

Sapanakith: "Promo/Demo 2011"

Small band with something to prove
In recent times south eastern Asia has become a new haven for brutal death metal and slam bands. Indonesia, as an example, has 1271 metal bands according to Metal Archives. 280, or about 22 percent, of those are some variation of brutal death metal. Wedged between Vietnam, Thailand and others lies Laos, a small country of about 7 million in population. Laos, however, isn't exactly overpopulated by metal bands. Again according to Metal Archives, the small country has had only 4 metal bands. One of those bands is the three-piece known as Sapanakith.

23 Feb 2016

Dissolution: "Plague of Violence"

Gushing with distorted might
Everyone knows that first impressions are important, in music as in anything else. There's always someone out there with whom you have to compete for attention. And now here is a band that has this down to an exact science, even if New Zealand - their home country - isn't exactly crawling with metal bands.

22 Feb 2016

Rise of Malice: "Coronation of Liar" & "Rise of Malice"

The band that stays true to their roots while progressing as both musicians and songwriters
The following is a double bill review, examining the band's two demos back to back. The first light dawned over the Greek group Rise of Malice in 2009, back then featuring guitarist Satwe, bassist Størfeth and vocalist Nørlåndær. Not long after their creation did they have their debut demo, "Coronation of Liar", ready. It features four original tracks of pure Scandinavian-styled black metal, along with a Darkthrone cover song. "Coronation", given the band's lack of a drummer, was recorded with a drummachine. The machine, however, was replaced by drummer NecroAcherontas in 2011, before the release of their second demo, the eponymous "Rise of Malice", in 2012.

21 Feb 2016

Postscrypt: "Foreplay to Auralgasm"

Gothic mardi gras, lacking in personality and character
Upon listening you will find Postscrypt lurking in their own dark fantasies in some obscure part of the mind. In this ungodly place the band experiments with a variety of elements, ranging from blast beats, deep baritone vocals, symphonic instrumentation, throaty screams and sections of a somewhat gothic nature. No one element is particularly dominant, making "Foreplay to Auralgasm" a release hard to pinpoint exactly. The frequent gusts of prominent melody and the darkly romantic lyrical concepts that lie at the core of Postscrypt's musical universe tends to pull them toward an 80s gothic vibe, put they never fully submerge in those waters.

20 Feb 2016

Durvasag: "Pure Fucking Thrash!"

Tempers run high in the garage it seems
Thrash and black metal have gone hand in hand more or less since the beginning with Venom's "Black Metal" and Hellhammer's thrashy proto-black metal style. The Canadian band Durvasag follow up on this early trend with their first release, the 2011 demo "Pure Fucking Thrash!".

19 Feb 2016

Bixiga 70 @ Atlas, Aarhus DK 18.02.2016

Colourful and seductive South American-styled Afrobeat that leaves you powerless to the rhythm
All over the world Brazilian ensemble Bixiga 70, named after the area in São Paulo from which they hail, have been saluted as one of Brazil's finest new bands. Their third album, "III" from 2015, brought them before new audiences, both in new listeners and a worldwide tour now in its conclusive stages ending in Copenhagen, Denmark, the 19th of February before a sold out venue.

18 Feb 2016

Various Artists: "8-Way for Destroy the Music"

Living life on the edge of music
In many ways music has become progressively more aggressive over time. There will always be individuals who seek to push the boundaries, and others asking if we have finally hit rock bottom. With genres like powerviolence and grindcore is it even possible for music to be more extreme without seizing to be music? The bands featured on this split are certainly pushing the limit with their individual mixes of grindcore, noise and droning industrial. They call it noisecore, and the term says it all for this 8-band split album.

17 Feb 2016

Hellsing: "The Sun Will Never Rise"

Closing in on an elusive go-to formula
Melodic death metal has gotten a reputation as "entry level" music. It is usually a bit easier on the ears to newcomers than the fathering genre, and bands like Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth and In Flames are easily accessible. Though many early efforts from the 90s are still lauded today, those albums represent a time when the term "melodic death metal" was more literal. Mexican melo-death band Hellsing belong to the segment that vehemently hold on to the old school of the style, where the influence from death metal is still rampant and flourishing.

16 Feb 2016

Escarnium: "Rex Verminorum"

Shining bright in the depths of Hell
Two of the earliest movers in death metal, and subsequently two of the most influential regional scenes, were the scenes in Florida and Sweden, each cutting to the bone with newfound extremity and their own unique sound. Escarnium from Brazil take after several tendencies, however, combining the evil grooves of Florida, the dirty grit of Sweden, and South American extreme thrash. 

15 Feb 2016

Pantheon of Blood: "Consociatio Solis et Lunae"

Abundant craftsmanship capable of great things
Some bands are so offendingly run of the mill that there's just not anything to be excited about. But some bands, while not as such adding any innovative elements, are just plain good at their craft. Finland's Pantheon of Blood belongs to the latter grouping, delving into the depths of black metal songstructure and creating music that may be straight forward, but enjoyable nonetheless.

14 Feb 2016

Eero Koivistoinen Quartet: "Hati Hati"

Well-crafted jazz opus that speaks in colourful volumes of a great musical journey
Originally a student of music at both Sibelius Academy in Finland and Berklee College of Music in Boston, Eero Koivistoinen has remained a fixture in the Finnish jazz scene since the sixties, his first release being with the rock group Blues Section's first album of the same name in 1967. Since then the saxophonist has played with and composed for many musicians and band itterations. Already in 1972 did he enjoy international acclaim with his solo album "Wahoo!", but already as early as 1969 did his band at the time win the band competition at the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival. His extensive discography, over thirty albums at the time of writing, explores several different genres and subgenres, although jazz has always been his mainstay.

13 Feb 2016

Sammal: "Myrskyvaroitus"

Standing out with howling praise
A part of the struggle of participating in trends is standing out from the lot, and those that achieve this are ironically often those that give the trend the most unusual twist. The vast majority will suffer from being unimaginative and ordinary, which when done well may be a strength on its own. Often the boundary between blindly following a trend and expanding into new territory becomes blurred; At which point exactly does music go from simply paying tribute and drawing inspiration from something to discovering new areas to colonize? The Finnish band Sammal, who are with the release of Myrskyvaroitus now three releases into their journey, seem to be an example of this question.

12 Feb 2016

Anna von Hausswolff: "The Miraculous"

Apocalyptic, gothic beauty
Anna Michaela Ebba Electra von Hausswolff, shortened to Anna von Hausswolff with good reason, has achieved quite the following with her music. The Swedish singer and songwriter has far exceeded her heritage as daughter of noted sound artist Carl Michael von Hausswolff, and her outings have seen her tour with acts like Lykke Li, Tindersticks and earned her well deserved comparisons to legends such as Kate Bush.

11 Feb 2016

Hard Action: "Sinister Vibes"

Leather-rocking biker music with everything that entails
Everything about this band screams "we're one of those seventies hard n' heavy clones from Sweden that land somewhere in the midst of a circlejerk consisting of early Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy and Girlschool". The promo shots features sunglasses, denim, beards and a bandana. The cover presents wrecked guitar equipment and a stylish seventies design. Songtitles like Watch Me Burn, Cut to the Bone and Dead Dogs really does the trick. It's a sure thing, right? Well, no, not really.

10 Feb 2016

Death Hawks: "Sun Future Moon"

Consistently ambitious and well-crafted nature-rock
The Finnish folk and rock scene has many gems hidden to the rest of the Western world. If you're not acquainted with the progressive grooves of Sammal, the ecclectic ramblings of Paavoharju or the laid back finesse of Riitaoja, all I've got to say is get going! One of the many surprising acts that the land of a thousand lakes has to offer is Death Hawks, a group which has been consistently releasing albums and touring Europe since 2010.

9 Feb 2016

Gouge: "Beyond Death"

Dirty, roughed up death metal by the numbers and then some
Kolbotn, Norway, is perhaps best known for fathering Darkthrone. With Gouge, there's really no semblance to those legends, turning more towards an American style of thrashing, grinding, old schooling death metal in the dirtiest style imaginable.

8 Feb 2016

Symphony X: "Underworld"

The gods of power-prog return with full force
Introducing Symphony X should almost be unnecessary. Symphony X have been a mainstay in both the progressive and the power metal scene for many years now, each album reaping heaps of great reviews and praise from critics and listeners alike. Their reach is far and wide, spanning neo-classical, progressive and groovy compositions. Fronted as always by the immensely talented Russell Allen, Underworld is an album that needs only a few listens to convince.

7 Feb 2016

E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr: "Spiralo"

A journey to 70s Germany with a group of Finns as tour-guides
Some claim that the German music style known af Krautrock (and to an extent the various subgenres the Kraut movement spawned) never quite went out of style. Though Tangerine Dream's mastermind Edgar Froese passed away not too long ago, the group was active right until his death. Others like Klaus Schulze (of Ash Ra Tempel) and the band Faust are still going strong, as if they've forgotten about the passage of time. In addition newer groups are crawling forth from various scenes all over the world, inspired in some degree by the landmark German movement.

6 Feb 2016

Fire on Fire: "The Orchard"

Melancholic festivities honouring musical diversity
With an ensemble such as Fire On Fire discerning their origins - musically as well as nationally - can be a tough task indeed. Their whimsical instrumentation and strange vocal melodies calls forth a wide array of European folk tendencies, but at the same time it carries the same moonshine flavour that the Scottish/Irish-derived folktunes of the Appalachia mountains do. It is however the northeastern state of Maine that this dynamic quintet calls home, from where they arose from the groups Big Blood and Cerberus Shoal.

5 Feb 2016

Electric Moon: "Theory of Mind"

A psychedelic, ever-transforming Rorschach-test
For those unfamiliar with Electric Moon, they're a German trio founded in 2009 by bassist and painter Komet Lulu, prominent Sulatron label boss, guitarist and acid-kraut practitioner Sula Bassana and drummer Pablo Carneval. Carneval was later replaced by Marcus Schnitzler. Though Sula has had a lengthy career in various psych bands, Electric Moon is the newest outlet for his ramblings. Electric Moon forms a unified front of modern and underground psychedelic bands together with the likes of Ufomammut, Yuri Gagarin, Øresund Space Collective and Baby Woodrose.

4 Feb 2016

Deviator: "Way of Warriors - Hymn to Immortals"

Illustrations of mediocrity
Compilations can various purpouses. Some are merely a collection of a band's best efforts, while others yet portray a group's evolution, tracking their progression through styles or as songwriters. While most ambient black metal isn't normally associated with change and transformation bands within the genre obviously aren't immune to progression and stylistic change.

3 Feb 2016

Moloch: "Illusionen Eines Verlorenen Lebens"

No delusions, only ambience and black metal
Black metal is in many ways about the mindset. You can rasp your vocals and shred your fingers to pieces with a thin guitar tone all you want, but if you haven't got "it" you haven't got anything. The Ukranian one-man band Moloch is a busy one. In 2008, as an example, the band's driving force Sergiy Fjordsson release over 20 splits, albums and demos total. Obviously quantity rarely equals quality, and the quality of a band's material usually worsens with frequency of release.

2 Feb 2016

Amputation Spree: "Inferno"

Experimentation that doesn't add to integrity or advantage
As far as slamming brutal death metal goes Amputation Spree, solo project of one Spencer van Dyk of North Carolina, is an edge seeker. Challenging the notion that the genre is straight down the road and simple, he brands his music a style of "thinking man's slam". There's not all too much history to really rebel against, but nevertheless there is boldness and sincerity to be found on "Inferno".

1 Feb 2016

Otis Reaper: "Otis Reaper"

Tempting riffs with attitude
"Sludge" has always felt like a very appropriate description as a genre. Sludge means a semi-solid residual mass, and it really captures the essence of the genre: A slowly-running residue of various elements of hardcore punk, doom metal, stoner rock and more. Tennessee sludgebangers Otis Reaper play prime-example sludge metal with all the classic elements of the genre.