30 Jan 2017

Malichor: "The Serum"

Lovecraftian metal that presents the author's more visceral side
We come to find ourselves once again in the company of Australia's Malichor, brandishing the proud tradition of blackened thrash metal with wild fervour as per usual. From previous experience with the band I have come to expect nothing but the best in ruthlessness and riffing that takes to straight to Lovecraft's most tenebrous nightmares. Inspired by equal measures Re-Animator and From Beyond - Two absolute classics of Lovecraftian horror cinema, both starring Jeffrey Combs - we're being spoiled with a take on the classic mythos, but without the by now standardised Cthulhu/Azathoth shtick.

27 Jan 2017

Journey to Ixtlan: "Journey to Ixtlan"

An organic sound blanket that falls gracefully on the ground, covering everything in its mesa colours
Clay Ruby is undoubtedly most well known for Burial Hex (or one of the countless other groups he has been involved with over the years), and given his involvement in such a staggering amount of groups, bands and projects, most are bound to overlook the massively leviathan album that is Journey to Ixtlan.

23 Jan 2017

Menschheitsdämmerung: "Cleaver of Skies and Tenets"

With an instinct for majestic riffs and compelling material, the Belgian one-man army conquers most rivals
In an attempt to achieve unparalleled atmosphere in the name of depression and deep, dark forests, many modern black metal groups have taken to ridiculous amounts of distortion in what seems to be an almost deliberate attempt to obscure their own inability to write compelling material. Classics like Burzum's Filosofem had clear production with every instrument standing out, the compositions themselves easily holding their own regardless of sound. Xasthur's Telepathic with the Deceased may well be the album that for many people has incited this infatuation with thick shrouds of noise and an abundance of effects on vocals as well as strings, but even this modern classic has its obvious hooks and captivating passages.

20 Jan 2017

Stromptha: "Necronirisme"

Embers burning beneath heaps of snow
There is undoubtedly some interest to be garnered just from being from a place as unusual as Greenland, and true, that was the very reason I sought them out. But Greenland with its vast vistas of nothing but ice, snow and barren rock should be as likely a place for cold hearted metal as any! Even so, the question remains if the compositions and execution stands on its own.

16 Jan 2017

Armagedon: "Thanatology"

Chugs and tremolos at the artist's discretion
Go digging around in Poland's heavy metal history and you'll come up with quite a few gems. Some, like Armagedon from Kwidzyn, have been hanging on since the 80s, during which time they released a few demos before their true debut Invisible Circle in 1993. The original crew broke up in 1994, only to re-emerge in 2006 for another hard hitting bout in the ring.

13 Jan 2017

Stormbringer: "Stealer of Souls"

An 80s metal tour-de-force just a decade too late
Not to be confused with the Deep Purple album of the same name from 1974, Stormbringer brought their Americanised brand of power metal from the state of Illinois in the early 90s. With only two releases - according to Metal Archives - behind them, the band has remained in relative obscurity for years with only a very small coven of cult followers still active today.

9 Jan 2017

Lord Impaler: "Babylon Whore"

Many repeat offenses which would have, ironically, been more enjoyable in a more brief format.
Since 1998 the Greek group known as Lord Impaler have unleashed grueling black metal through several demos, finally culminating with severe force in 2011 in the form of the album Admire the Cosmos Black. 2013 saw them continue in the vein of smaller releases with the Babylon Whore EP; With a mere two songs to show, they make up for the short play time with immediate and unrelenting explosions of blast beats and tremolo riffs going the speed of a circular saw.

6 Jan 2017

Top 5 Missed Albums from 2016

Well it would seem I've already botched the top lists from 2016. In retrospect there are always releases you forgot about or simply didn't know of before long after the year is over. Here are a few examples which are sure to stick around for a while!

This was supposed to be a Top 5, but I couldn't/didn't want to stop there!

4 Jan 2017

TONEwood Around the World!

The map above is something of a testament to music's border-crossing and international power.
The blue territories represent the countries from which I have reviewed one of more bands, artists, groups or musicians. Still quite a few landmasses yet to cover, especially the far East and Africa!

This is just a small, fun passtime, but it serves as a nice visual element to the blog. Perhaps I'll update it some time in the future - And perhaps I should be looking for interesting music in more unusual places!

So please, if you know of any good music (of ANY kind) from the areas that are as of yet still grey, post them in the comments below ASAP!

2 Jan 2017

Deus Otiosus: "Rise"

Unadventurous, yes, but highly addicting
Deus Otiosus from Denmark showcase just how important real songwriting chops are in metal. Death metal truly isn't just death metal - It takes riffs, devotion and skill. From the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Murderer in 2010, the seasoned group have toured extensively before signing with Deepsend Records. For those unfamiliar with the band, their prime objective has always been returning to the roots of thrashy death metal with a modern sound and approach. The individual members' involvement in various other prolific Danish metal bands has yet ensured a tormentingly high quality of ruthless content.