31 Mar 2016

Silent Carrion: "Andras"

Droning trips through industrial-religious rituals
The sunny slopes of Italy is what Scaia, the sole member of Silent Carrion, calls home. However, the feeling of a baking afternoon sun, the view over olive groves and terracotta rooftops and the scent of dry grass and red wine is far from what Silent Carrion invokes or calls upon for inspiration.

30 Mar 2016

Grenouer: "Computer Crime"

Is it rock or is it metal?
With the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has become a bigger and bigger part of the international music scene. In heavy metal, Russia has fathered several prominent slamming brutal death metal bands like Abominable Putridity, Katalepsy and Abnormity, but the band in question - Grenouer - doesn't quite fall under that classification.

29 Mar 2016

Slasher Dave: "Exorcisms"

In the name of John Carpenter and Fabio Frizzi, repent!
It is no secret that Slasher Dave, known to some as one of the founding members of Detroit psychedelic death and doom metal outfit Acid Witch, is a connoisseur of old school horror films and sleaze flicks. Other than his terror-inducing escapades with Acid Witch, Horrific and more, he's been releasing his inner darkness through his solo project for a while now. Just from looking at the immensely evocative artwork and the title in dripping blood red lettering. Guess which film inspired this album.

28 Mar 2016

Auspicium: "For the World That Was and That Is to Come"

A man of many talents whose primary export is lost in limbo
Patrick A. Hasson, a resident of the state of Maine in the US, is a busy man indeed. Between his label First Church of the Left-Hand Path and his black metal promotion blog "Attila the Hun" he finds time to dabble in a variety of genres, like the raw black metal incarnation Avulse, his funeralesque death-doom project Black Chalice, an ambient neo-folk enterprise called Field of Spears, and finally his atmospheric black metal solo project Auspicium.

27 Mar 2016

Terminate: "Thirst for the Obscene"

The Sunlight shines upon four young death metalheads from Illinois
Who would have guessed that the name Terminate wasn't already used by dozens of bands. From their sound alone, one might mistake this band as being from Sweden, but in reality they hail from Illinois in the US. Formed in 2010, Thirst for the Obscene is their first formal EP, though their demo debut came in 2011. Despite their origins they sound nothing like your standard run of the mill American death metal band, but instead - as hinted earlier - take cues from the Swedish Sunlight Studio sound with loads of Boss HM2 distortion, d-beats and solos that are absolutely rotten to the core.

26 Mar 2016

Extrakt: "Stuck in the Trash"

Sufficiently idolizing Teutonic titans in the cold North
Invoking the sacred names of Destruction, Sodom and Kreator, Extrakt approach from Sweden's small northern university town Umeå, armed to the teeth with thrash clichés and riffs to match the outfit. Their first incarnation, the 2012 demo Stuck in the Trash, is a short and straight to the point bastard creation in the vein of Teutonic thrash legends. Boasting simple titles like Bitch, Extraktified and Stuck in the Trash, you get the picture well before you've even put on the demo.

25 Mar 2016

Blaak Heat: "Shifting Mirrors"

Ever-changing, tumultuous psychedelic prog aiming at the stars
Blaak Heat - Formerly known as Blaak Heat Shujaa - has been through a lot of changes in the short span of their career. Originally starting out in 2008, lead singer and guitarist Thomas Bellier is now the only remaining original member, the original bassist Antoine Morel-Vulliez and original drummer Timothée Gacon being replaced in 2014 and 2012 respectively. In a way the shortening of the band name reflects these changes, and ushers in a new era of blackened heat from the French-American trio.

24 Mar 2016

Outliar: "Provoked to Anger"

Convincing and embracing groove metal
While Lamb of God, DevilDriver, Machine Head and the like still carry the groove metal torch today, it all originated back in the 90s when thrash metal had supposedly "outlived" its purpose. Marching side by side with these commercially succesful titans, albeit a bit further back in the ranks, we find Outliar from North Carolina, a quartet hellbent on bringing forward the heaviest and grooviest aspects of modern metal.

23 Mar 2016

Seeds of Iblis: "Jihad Against Islam"

Moderately good black metal with radical lyrics
It goes without saying that Islam, its believers and the Middle East and Arabic world are touchy subjects. Nevertheless the band Seeds of Iblis, supposedly hailing from Iraq, touches upon subjects that are highly blasphemic and Islam-critical. The band is surrounded with a great deal of mystery, with next to nothing about their history and members being completely certain.

22 Mar 2016

The Blame: "Born"

Groove-laden and hard-hitting collection of compelling metal
The Blame is a Turkish metal band formed in 2006. They're about as straight forward as that introduction, and for a band that has only released a short demo prior to this album they've really got a hold of songwriting. Born from 2011 is by any definition a heavy and groove-laden album soaked in powerful electrical currents that come together in one big explosion of varied and compelling metal.

21 Mar 2016

Dark Entropy: "Demo"

The winds of change are blowing, but in the opposite direction of Dark Entropy
You can usually liken revivalist bands to a few bands that they're definitely taking inspiration from. Suicidal Angels, as an example, sounds a lot like Slayer, while Trench Hell is more akin to early Celtic Frost. But with Dark Entropy there aren't any obvious inspirations, and as such their sound is more modern in tone, distancing themselves from the wave of retro-thrash that has been going on for a while.

20 Mar 2016

Denial of God: "Death and the Beyond"

Striking compositions, outside-the-box thinking metal
Superficially the black metal genre has long been affiliated with anti-christian, anti-religious, satanic and blasphemic themes, concepts and iconography. While undoubtedly symbolic of the artists' disgust with society, it's an element that has had a tight grip on the scene for many years, and pentagrams and inverted crosses continue to embellish album covers to this day. Other than their name and blasphemic logo, Denial of God from Denmark have successfully distanced themselves from this trend, dealing instead with subjects like the spirituality in death.

19 Mar 2016

Total Desaster: "Warfare Noise"

For when you need your own musical confidence bolstered
When Desaster aren't gruesome enough, there's always Colombia's trio Total Desaster to fulfill your needs. Presumably they took their name from the song by Teutonic thrash titans Destruction, but that's where the similarities end. The Colombian band point to an old kinship between thrash and black metal, a combination that was highly popular in the 80s in South America, for inspiration.

18 Mar 2016

Den Sorte Skole: "Indians & Cowboys"

Den Sorte Skole stand out through the complete dedication to their craft - This is REAL DJ'ing!
Every so often an act pops up that is so tenacious, different and well-crafted that you can do nothing more than stare in awe at what you've come across. Den Sorte Skole from Denmark are one such act, and though they've only been around in this incarnation since 2004, their legacy is already mindblowing. They started out as pioneers of Danish mash-up DJ'ing, captivating audiences with unlikely combinations, but ultimately evolved into the form we see before us today: The duo that sample their way through the history of music.

17 Mar 2016

Centurion: "Serve No One"

Individuality takes a backseat for pure ferociousness
Centurion from Poland's capitol Warsaw, not to be confused with the brutal death metal band of the same name hailing from Kalisz, are all about speed. They take inspiration from a great variety of bands, resulting in a feel similar to, but not identical to, many well-known acts in a fear-inducing frankenstein-esque musical patchwork.

16 Mar 2016

Embrional: "Absolutely Anti-Human Behaviors"

Getting up close and personal, sparring against the best of black- and death metal
A physical manifestation of chaos, the soundtrack to psychosis, could well be the soundwaves produced by Polish death metal outfit Embrional's debut album Absolutely Anti-Human Behaviors. A band four man strong, their music touches on various escatonic subjects and styles encompassing impressive range, covering both death and black metal influences over strong progressive tendencies.

15 Mar 2016

Deus Otiosus: "Murderer"

Their capable hands show the true potential of death metal in a modern setting
In the Danish metal scene death metal has long been a powerful force with most of the highly popular bands belonging to that genre. With bands like Iniquity, Illdisposed, Dominus, Konkhra, Exmortem, Panzerchrist, Corpus Mortale and more, there's a rich history of varied groups to be explored. Deus Otiosus is a veritable supergroup of Danish talent ready to pick up the mantle with their 2010 debut Murderer.

14 Mar 2016

Skjaersild: "Skjaersild" & "Damned Roots"

Unfulfilling and incoherent idolatry
Black metal is mostly inherently abrasive in nature, and to most outsiders most bands sound alike. And true, some (read: most) bands don't exactly contribute with anything worthwhile. Skjaersild from Spain are one of those groups that in their quest to sound as much like their Scandinavian idols - their Norwegian name gives them away - as possible they become entirely bland, contributing instead to the wrongful notion that all black metal bands do, in fact, sound the same.

13 Mar 2016

Brutus: "Murwgebeukt"

The pay-off that came six years late
Murwgebeukt, Dutch for 'battered", is an album that has been in the music equivalent of development hell for quite some time. Originally is was supposed to have come out in 2010, following their performance at Wacken Open Air. Many people had pre-ordered the album, only to find that after the performance the band went silent.

12 Mar 2016

Snaegr: "The Hordes of Chaos"

Never above or below decent
Swedish death metal is arguably one of the most iconic branches of extreme metal with its buzzing chainsaw guitar sound, churning riffs, menacing atmosphere and filthy production. You can usually tell if a death metal band is Swedish miles away, and Snaegr are no different with their third demo The Hordes of Chaos.

11 Mar 2016

Stillborn: "Los Asesinos del Sur"

Hitting a homerun but falling short on the long track
Poland isn't as poor in metal bands as one would think. Apart from the obvious bands like Behemoth and Vader, the eastern European country is also host to a healthy scene of lesser known death metal bands of a genuinely high quality. Stillborn borrows several elements from black metal, leaning heavily towards an early South American sound, albeit a variant more under control.

10 Mar 2016

Pandemonium: "Misanthropy"

Unadventurous Polish death metal with twists of blackening fire
As of 2016 blackened death metal has received an immense resurgence. The success of Behemoth has completely blown up, and labels like Dark Descent Records, Nuclear War Now! Productions, Hell's Headbangers Records and Iron Bonehead Productions are barely releasing anything else. It's about time for this deadly combo to get wider spread recognition.

9 Mar 2016

Empatic: "Gods of Thousand Souls"

Fun to listen to but lacking in essence
Thrashy semi-melodic death metal is more or less the official national metal genre of my own home country Denmark, so listening to the Polish band Empatic's 2010 album, Gods of Thousand Souls, was almost like listening to bands from home like Hatesphere or Aphyxion.

8 Mar 2016

Sphere: "Homo Hereticus"

Talent is their tool of trade, brutality their instrument
You can never judge a band - or an album for that matter - from just one track. Especially not an album opener. However great the excitement conveyed by the opening track "Forever Sworn to Blasphemy" may be, and no matter how much enthusiasm that same track induces in the listener, Sphere from Poland could, until we examine the rest of "Homo Hereticus", for all we know be but a one-trick pony.

7 Mar 2016

Countess: "On Wings of Defiance"

Anti-cultural assault of epic proportions
There are bands that, no matter what you do, just don't sit right with you. Then there are bands so obnoxiously awful that you have no idea why they've continued for so long or why, in fact, they even have fans. I may not be the biggest fan of The Beatles, but I can see why most find their easy-going style appealing. What I can't see is why anyone gives a hoot about Countess, a Dutch black metal band that has at the point of release of "On Wings of Defiance" steadily been releasing albums for almost twenty years.

6 Mar 2016

Neftaraka: "Morts"

Calling to Malaysian Black Mass
I'm willing to bet most people wouldn't expect Malaysia to be home to a kick ass black metal band, but this is indeed the case with Neftaraka. The genre has really come far from its continental European roots, reaching far across the globe and finding audiences all over drawn to the jagged guitars, sinister melodies and rasping vocals.

5 Mar 2016

Vielikan: "A Trapped Way of Wisdom"

Progressive songwriting with a core of death
Compared to the more technical variety, death metal that is actually progressive is a rare sight. Some would claim the two are interchangable, but I would highly disagree. Some bands sacrifice listenability in favor of progressiveness and as such becomes much less accessible in order to get stranger. The Tunisian death metal band Vielikan goes in another direction, throwing those notions to the wind. While strongly rooted in death metal their style also absorbs the rich nutrients from progressive metal.

4 Mar 2016

Moondog: "The Viking of 6th Avenue" by Robert Scotto

An interesting image of a great man
There are musicians, and then there are iconic legends. Lemmy was one, Johnny Cash was one, and to a less known extent, Moondog was one. Some people transcend mere musicianship - They live and breathe music and culture, and so their legacy far outlives the person itself. Claiming Moondog was larger than life seems both a gross understatement and a huge exaggeration after having read Robert Scotto's, formerly a professor at Baruch College, biography of the patron saint of counter-culture.

3 Mar 2016

Endometritis: "Dehiscent Purulent Abdominal Viscera"

Accomplished high-performance death metal engine
There's something stirring in Germany. The deep rumblings, almost like an earthquake, are the uranium-heavy chugging slams and pounding double kick drums of Endometritis, the epicentre of German brutal death metal. All over the world talented slamming brutal death metal bands have been turning up at a steady pace, and together with Encephalopathy, Endometritis are at the forefront of the German brigade.

2 Mar 2016

Putrified: "Neurotic Necrotic"

When everyone has access to instruments and recording equipment, mankind will reap as it has sown
There will always be bands and musicians that seek to push forward, perpetually experimenting and breaking new ground. Opposite those, there will likewise be those who delve into the sounds of the past - Traditional revivalists hellbent on perfecting an older blueprint. Some branches of music have so much influence and power that they never quite go out of style. Old school Swedish death metal like Grave, Dismember and Entombed continues to strike a chord with fans both new and old, their influential reaching far across the span of time.

1 Mar 2016

Wendess: "Nuée Noire"

Immersing themselves in the shadows cast by their predecessors the band emerges victorious
The branch of black metal that usually deals in plus ten minutes tracks, long stretches of highly distorted tremolo riffs, reverbed vocals and monotonous drumming is in some circles frowned upon as an "easy" modus operandi in terms of songwriting. Some bands make it work, and some don't.