Friday, 29 August 2014

Vampillia - Alchemic Heart (CD review)


Velladon (Vocals/Guitar)
Possession mongoloid (Vocals)
The Piano (Piano)
Micci The Mistake (Bass)
Rei Miyato (Violin)
Joshua Lozano (Guitar)
Talow The Tornado
Tatsuya Yoshida
Slash Japan
Shuichi Detox Mabe


First released in january 2011 in the usa, Alchemic Heart is about to become available for the first time as a physical release throughout Europe via a worldwide deal with Temple of Torturous.

Vampillia have created an album comprised of two parts - Land and Sea. Both together create a primitive soundscape of layered strings, piano, bass, noise and vocals.  Contributions come courtesy of musical luminaries Jarboe and Merzbow.

Vampillia describe themselves as a "brutal orchestra", which barely does justice to the intricacies and complexities of their composition. Counting an ex-Boredoms member among their founders, Vampillia, much like the Boredoms, absorb rock, noise, modern composition, experimental music & pop and explode it out as hardcore spirit music.

In the last few years, Vampillia have played, recorded and toured with artists as influential and varied as Attila Csihar (Sunn O))), Mayhem), Vincent Gallo, Thee Oh Sees, Nadja, Atlas Sound, Alcest, Jarboe (ex-Swans), Boris, Melt Banana and Merzbow among many others.

“We hope the music gives a strong impression of overwhelming speciality and mysteriously universal sounds,” the band says.

When you get a record like this it becomes near impossible to review, this is what i like to call "Anti-Music", where sounds are layered forwards and backwards to create a soundscape, a type of un-nerving ambience.This first piece 'Land' runs for 22 minutes, full of clever recording tricks, backwards masking and strange use of traditional instruments, this is held together by a lone violin.
Half way through guitar chords appear and start to create some basic musical structure, this is then disturbed by heavilly distored f/x and operatic vocals.

The next 22 minutes are taken up by 'Sea', a very quite, atmospheric start with Jarboe speaking the lyrics, remaining a solem piece throughout with simple guitar chords over symphonic violin and piano.

Rating 10/10
For fans of: Merzbow, Jarboe, Zweitstein, White Noise, Exorium, Residents, Boredoms

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Dysphorian Breed - The Longing For The Tides Of Metamorphosis (CD Review)

01.The Tides
02.The Longing
03.The Metamorphosis

David Fredriksson (Vocals/Guitar/Bass/Programming)

Dysphorian Breed is a one man metal project from Sweden started only a few months ago by former black metal vocalist and multi instrumentalist David Fredriksson.
Influences range from funeral, sludge to gothic doom metal.

'The Tides' opens with some nice choral keyboard sounds over a simple down tempo guitar/bass/drum rhythm, it then slows slightly as the vocals come in, fairly typical gruff/demonic vocals.
The song does however throw some intresting timing changes into the mix, at one point we get to near break neck speed, then a funeral doom riff over more keyboard.

Though it could be said that 'The Longing' is simply more of the same, there is more keyboard work on offer here which helps to create a slightly symphonic feel, also some great double pedal drum work and a few fancy riffs go to make a bigger sounding song.

A very "Kraftwerk" sounding synth throughout 'The Metamorphosis' and i love it!
When the synth stops it turns into a dark and evil sounding black metal inspired doom workout.
Around the 4 minute mark the drums really pick up and for a minute i'm thinking this could explode into some full on black metal, however David resists and gets that awesome synth into play and the song soon sadly ends.

This is a brilliant debut and that it is a solo recording makes this even more impressive.

Rating 9/10
For fans of: Reverend Bizarre, Thergothon, Triptykon, My Dying Bride, Shadow Of The Torturer

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Dying Out Flame - Shiva Rudrastakam (CD Review)

01.Praise Of The Omnipresent One
02.Shiva Rudrastakam
03.Eternal Mother Of Great Time
05.Maisasura Maridini
06.Trinetra Dhari (Three Eyed One)

Aabeg Gautam (vocals/Bass)
Prachanda Amatya (Drums)
Saujanya Pahadi (Guitar)
Bikalpa Choudhary (Guitar)
Nakchu Gurung (Female Vocals)

With as assorted landscape and topography as the tiny nation of Nepal holds it was just a matter of time span that something as ghastly astonishing as ‘Dying Out Flame’ would come into the way of life in this holy land of varied religions. It was in the year 2011 when Aabeg Gautam along with Prachanda Amatya decided to shape a union that later, after few scholar carvings, would structured into something unbearably influencing form of Death Metal called Vedic Death Metal. This very sound undoubtedly would represent Nepal in the already chaotic, callous and repetitive sound of the genre in the world-wide perspective of Extreme Metal.

The band is known to create a variant feature of fierce and gruesome perimeter of Death Metal radiantly mixed with the ancient Hindus Mythologies, raags and chants with great dexterity and agility that strikes the brain cells with very less compassion and care.
Starting their ritualistic live journey with ‘Beginning of the End’ show in Kathmandu to Brutal Lunch Box and then the much coveted Nepal Deathfest in the early month of 2014 the band has always grew in terms of performers and has be able to gather a much devoted hordes of cult followers where ever (Kathmandu, Pokhara, Hetauda) they have played. With such colossal mass following, it was just inevitable that the sect of DOF heat will be felt world over and finally on the propitious occasion of ‘Shiva Ratri’ the band released their first official single ‘Shiva Rudrastakam’ via Metal Underground webzine to the worldwide audience and an interview with USA based Metal magazine ‘DECIBEL’ what followed then was a whirlpool of DOF veneration that catapulted the band to a upright new height of fame and acknowledgments.

On July 12 2014, amid the gathering of colossal mass the band put forward their righteous offering of vedic devastation in the form of 6 track independently released album ‘Shiva Rudrastakam’ to the local allies and it was soon recognized by the mighty Xtreem Records (Spain), who have now released the album to a worldwide audience.

With echoes of the 1960's psych/folk band "Quintessence" the opening song 'Praise Of The Omnipresent One' mixes traditional Indian music with a modern heavy metal drum pattern.

'Shiva Rudrastakam' begins with tabla and acoustic instruments, then suddenly explodes into a full on death metal song, blast beats and powerchords and gruff vocals.
Half way through the song turns to sitar and chanting and then ends on tabla once again.

Borderline black metal riffs and drum patterns on 'Eternal Mother Of Great Time' later gives way to more traditional Indian music over some pretty extreme drumming, the next song 'Vayuputra' follows the same route.

'Maisasura Maridini' seems to mix more chanting over a simple bassline until the music kicks in and again its a full on death metal onslaught, the pace does not relent for one second and instead of a guitar solo towards the end we have a sitar solo instead.

Finally 'Trinetra Dhari (Three Eyed One)' starts as death metal, then turns almost prog rock with some jazzy rhythms and odd tunings on the lead guitar, more chanting and ethnic instrumentation is thrown in, at times reminiscent of Serj Tankians Serat project.

India influence in rock music has been around ever since the mid 1960's when Jim Sullivan did the Lord Sitar album, the mantle was taken up by Brian Jones and Jimmy Page and much later with Clark-Hutchinson, im not sure any of them could have forseen any mixture of the heaviest forms of rock blending so well in the future.

Rating 9/10
For fans of: Rudra, Kartikeya, Nile, Hate Eternal

7H.Target - 0.00 Apocalypse (CD Review)

01.Mutants That Live for One Day
02.Gun-handed Iron Killer
03.Regeneration of Steel Organs
05.Cyborg Kombat
06.Meatball Machine Story

Mikhail Panfilov (Drums)
Aleksey Menshov (Guitars)
Konstantin Korolev (Bass)
Mirus (Vocals)

Essentially a project for Korolev and Panfilov created intheir home town Nizhny Novgorod in Russia back in 2011.
Described as the "new generation" of Death Metal. Earth-drilling mechanisms emanate from the scientific outpost in Russia. This is out to change the landscape of the genre. 'Wormed' tried to do that in the last decade but this is just on a different level altogether. Touted as the biggest release in the Russian underground, this album has three artists painting the elaborate futuristic concept of this band and the album '0.00 Apocalypse' has the original vocalist, Mirus, of the established band Katalepsy and Aleksey from 'Cremated Lives on guitar.

Yeh okay really? THIS is the "new generation" of Death Metal?
If seven hyper slabs of techno metal with a tin sounding snare drum and pig squeals for vocals is the future then i will stick to the past.

Does not have the industrial edge that would make futuristic death metal "new", like say taking Fear Factory and Meshuggah to the next level

So okay this is not a total disaster, much of the music (if you can get past the awful snare drum sound) is pretty good and the ideas have some weight, the pig squeal vocals can work in some trypes of extreme metal, but here they sound wrong.

Rating 4/10
For fans of: The Berzerker, Cattle Decapitation, Repulsion

Friday, 22 August 2014

Dioramic - Supra (CD Review)

02.Carpets On The Walls
03.The Calm Before
04.The Storm
06.Big Pump
09.Vortex Reflex

Arkadi Zaslavski (Guitar/Vocals)
Max Nicklas (Bass)
Alex Mauch (Guitar)
Paul Seidel (Drums)

German alternative/hardcore/screamo band formed in 2002, Recording for Supra started in 2011, but a line up change halted progress for a while. The band’s original drummer, Anton, found success with his alter ego ZEDD and recently picked up a Grammy award. This increased activity elsewhere left little time for the band so they drafted in Paul Seidel (War From A Harlot's Mouth, The Ocean).

The music's not bad but the screamo vocals are awful on 'Xibalba', the melodic vocals work, but it just becomes a noize.
Thats pretty much the same for the next few tracks until the more melodic and well structured 'Worth' this one really has that Muse vibe and is pretty good.

After another noize we get the haunting 'Melancholia' another one that fits the Muse influence, even the keyboard sound is the same.

'Logbook' even though its that horrid screamo vocal in places, really works, it has a huge backing chorus and layered keyboards.

Not sure about 'Vortex Reflex' the song was silent? dunno if this is a mistake from the record company or some clever statement?

Rating: 6/10
For fans of: Muse, Mars Volta, Deftones

Avulsed - Carnivoracity 2014 Expanded Reissue (CD Review)

02.Cradle Of Bones
03.Demonic Possession

Live Bonus Tracks:
04.Morgue Defilement
05.Bodily Ransack
06.As I Behold I Despise
07.Gangrened Divine Stigma
08.Cradle Of Bones
09.Deformed Beyond Belief
11.Matando Gueros
12.Outro MCED

Dave Rotten (Vocals)
Cabra (Guitar)
Juancar (Guitar)
Tana (Bass)
Erik (Drums)

AVULSED is without any doubt the most veteran and constant band in the Spanish extreme Metal scene since its inception in August '91 formed in madrid. Being the most active band in terms of releases (despite of not being a very prolific band) and live performances around the world and never even taking a small break ever since always being loyal to their Death Metal style.

Released way back in 1994, this caused quite a sensation and was much sought after. The vocals were legendary and the raw grinding heaviness was almost unparalleled in the region. The band put Spain on the map and we knew this band from the tape trading circles when there was no internet and everything was exaggerated. This one lived up to the hype because the music is your favourite old school Death Metal, only authentic, and it has that extra element of sickness largely due to the sound and Dave Rotten's unprocessed vocals.

Also this EP comes with live bonus tracks, replete with remastered music and new packaging with liner notes to celebrate the release's 20th anniversary.

At just over 8 minutes the track 'Carnivoracity' is still quite something to behold, not the fastest or even the most complex song i have heard in the genre, but it just drives along at a solid pace, never changes and it works.The vocals (if you can call them vocals) are just a series of death grunts and growls!

'Cradle Of Bones' reminds of those early black metal bands, just a wall of guitars over the drum beats and more of the same vocally.

'Demonic Possession' is  a cover of the chilean band 'Pentagram'.

The live recordings are a great bonus, very raw and a lot faster than the studio recordings, there is also a cover of 'Matando Gueros' by Brujeria.

Rating 7/10
For Fans Of: Brujeria, Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Entombed

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Evergrey - Hymns For The Broken (CD Review)

01.The Awakening
02.King Of Errors
03.A New Dawn
04.Wake A Change
05.Archaic Rage
07.Black Undertow
08.The Fire
09.Hymns For The Broken
10.Missing You
11.The Grand Collapse
12.The Aftermath

Tom S. Englund (Vocals/Guitars)
Rikard Zander (keyboards)
Johan Nieman (Bass)
Henrik Danhage (Guitars)
Jonas Ekdahl (Drums)

One of the most original metal bands to come out of Sweden almost called it quits. It wasn't a decision vocalist/guitarist Tom S. Englund had spent hours or weeks brooding over, but as time passed following the band's ‘Glorious Collision’ album from 2011 he felt less and less inspired to continue. Perhaps it was the splintering of the band line-up in 2010 - which saw Henrik Danhage (guitars), Jonas Ekdahl (drums), and Jari Kainulainen (bass) leave on friendly terms - or maybe it was the business side of the music that had worn him down, but Englund had seriously considered throwing in the towel. Fate had other plans, however, and he found himself working alongside his former bandmates due to circumstances beyond his control. The end result of that unplanned collaboration, which was meant to be temporary, resulted in a re-energized Evergrey creating ‘Hymns For The Broken’, arguably the strongest album in the band's 16 year career.

"We needed a stand-in drummer for a few shows that had already been booked," Englund explains, "because Hannes (Van Dahl) had been offered the chance to join Sabaton, so I naturally called Jonas to see if he was available. We also needed a second guitarist, so I asked Henrik and he was fine with it. While we were doing those shows we realized that we were having a lot of fun with the music again."

Oh bloody hell another intro!
Eventually the music starts (hooray!) and 'King Of Errors' really reminds me of Tony Martin era Black Sabbath, very drum driven with this huge dioesque vocal powering through the speakers.

'A New Dawn' is a fast paced, modern melodic heavy metal song, great keyboard sounds, awesome choral style background vocals and another solid performance from the drummer.

Ahh and here we go, so we have had a pointless intro and now here is the heart felt rock ballad with 'Wake A Change'.

'Archaic Rage' in one notch up from the ballad (Just!) at 6 and a half minutes it actually turns into quite a good neo-prog style piece.

'Barricades' has quite a symphonic sound, think its mainly due to the keyboard playing and the Nightwish style guitar work.

Moving between quite and melodic music to some full on metal 'Black Undertow' keeps you listening, waiting to see if it will get faster or if they will bring it down with a simple piano note or two.Very bluesy guitar solo thrown in to make this a brilliant stand out track.

Finally some full on metal (I knew it was gonna be in there somehwere), 'The Fire' delivers with speed, power and agression tempered with some quieter moments and then they even throw in some children singing backing vocals.

Very 80's "hair metal" song is up next and to be fair 'Hymns For The Broken' is a pretty good song, one of those radio friendly rockers that eventually gets into your head.

Piano and Vocal only? Oh dear please not another ballad.... damn it 'Missing You' is indeed a downbeat ballad, great vocal but just not my thing at all.

Now next is the first of two seven minute songs, 'The Grand Collapse' ay have a slow symphoic metal beginning but soon turns into some serious heavy metal, solid drums and nice piano, harmoinic vocals and some fancy guitarwork.

But 'The Aftermath' is an epic rock ballad style again, sure this one has a bit more to it with some great slide guitar, but still a ballad.

Rating 8/10
For Fans Of: Helloween, Dio, Queensryche, Blind Guardian, EdGuy

Lurking Evil - The Almighty Hoards Of The Undead (CD Review)

01.The Fog
02.Twins Of Evil
04.Blood Is Life
06.Pustulous Horde
07.Return Of The Blind Dead
09.The Dark Paths Of The Other Side
10.Rites Of The Deepest Horror
11.Witches Sabbath
12.Winds Of Solitude

Guldur (Drums)
Orlok (Vocals/Guitars/Bass)

Lurking Evil from Spain is naturally creating music that seems inspired by the bands that were instrumental in forming the Black Metal style. It's still essentially Thrash Metal, derived from classic bands like Venom, Hellhammer and Sodom.
It has that rare spite and underground appeal, without seeming contrived. It reeks of attitude and the music is relentless in delivering top-notch riffs and has a great tempo to boot. As the band puts it succinctly, "Take a beer and bang your head now fucker!"

And as there is fuck all information about the band from the record company pr people (aside from the above statement) who sent me this i have no idea who the duo are, cant even find a facebook page, so its old school black metal from a spanish duo, so should be fun.....?

Melodic intro? ahh but 'Twins Of Evil' gets things going with that classic sound from way back at the birth of Black Metal, fast with growling vocals and thats the pace until we come to 'Nightmare' a slower and darker song, blending near doom chords with proto thrash rhythms.

'The Dark Paths Of The Other Side' had an almost Iron Maiden guitar sound to open with, before it launches into some frantic guitar and drumming.

Sludge bass riff greets 'Rites Of The Deepest Horror' then launches into a dark and agressive piece very much Hellhammer inspired here.

Quite a mainstream heavy metal sound on 'Witches Sabbath' to start with then really gets that early speeed/thrash vibe going at 100mph!

We end with an slow, moody and atmospheric instrumental.

Really like this album, first half is straight forward in your face short blasts while the second half has a lot more to offer in terms of styles and music ability.

Rating 9/10
For fans of: Venom, Mayhem, Hellhammer, Warfare, Discharge, Sodom

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Narrow House - Thanathonaut (CD Review)

02.The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life
03.Furious Thoughts Of Tranquility
04.The Midwife To Sorrows
06.A Sad Scream Of Silver
07.Crushing The Old Empire
08.The Last Retreat
09.Doom Over Valiria

Yegor "Bewitched" (Vocals/Guitar)
Atya (Synth)
Artiom (Drums)
Kso (Saxophone/Keyboards)

Narrow House are a Ukrainian metal band which was started in 2009 as an atmospheric funeral doom project. The first album of the band titled “A Key to Panngrieb” was published in 2012 by Solitude Productions. After completing the debut album, band took a new musical direction, combining various doom metal subgenres (traditional, stoner, funeral etc).

'Crossraods' is a clever mix of symphonic melody into traditional doom powerchords, this is overlayed from samples from television programmes and keyboards.

Keeping with traditional funeral doom for 'The First Day' in terms of vocals and music, the only difference here is the addition of saxophone, which although not totally out of place (Think bands like Sigh and The Shining for example) does throw you a bit from the downbeat vibe.

A great Cello/Double Bass intro into some more sax playing that fits better for 'Furious Thoughts', the song has more voice samples and a simple guitar and drum backing.

Distorted vocals and doomy powerchords for the symphonic metal of 'The Midwife To Sorrows', some pretty epic guitarwork on this one as well.

'Thanathonaut' has a military style snare drum pattern and there is even a marching feet sample mixed in, the song soon starts to build with more sax and then keyboards, gives this quite a jazzy feel.
Half way through the song stops and we get a delicate piano solo, then a few vocals and then some full on drumming with a blistering sax crashing over the top.

Moody and atmospheric acoustic guitar and another symphonic backing help to make 'A Sad Scream' an nice little instrumental.

More television news samples about nuclear war lead 'Crushing The Old Empire' into a strange doom laden song with an almost oriental sound attempted on the keyboards.

Evil chorus sounds greet 'The Last Retreat' then one helluva riff kicks in, but instead of exploding into full on metal the sax comes in, reminiscent of Laura Logic's (X Ray Spex) style, more samples then start to appear with another more harmonious choral backing.

Now i was expecting 'Doom Over Valiria' to be well, err..Doom, but this is another delicate piano driven instrumental.

The last track is the longest on the album at 7 minutes, starts with more sax and more samples and just moves along at a happy pace, that is until the music stops and we get a whispered vocal in their native language over some piano playing, this then builds slowly with each instrument joining the mix note by note, adding more agression with the drums then some inspired guitar playing, then it stops and changes pace for some sax lead (almost) black metal to end.

Okay this is a weird album, more in keeping with slightly avant-garde/symphonic black metal that Doom, but thats a good thing, this is what i like to hear, original ideas and intresting music.

Rating 10/10
For fans of: Sigh, The Shining, Merzbow, Boris, Ulver, Therion, Nik Turners Sphynx

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Majestic Downfall & The Slow Death - Split Album (CD review)

Majestic Downfall
01.The Dark Lullaby

Jacobo Córdova (All instruments)

The Slow Death
04.Criticality Incident I
05.Criticality Incident II
06.People Like Me

Stuart Prickett (Guitar/keyboards/Vocals)
Mandy Andresen (Vocals/keyboards)
Gregg Williamson (Vocals)
Yonn McLaughlin (Drums)
Brett Campbell (Guitar)
Dan Garcia (Bass)

So split album means i have to mess with my usual layout for reviews, here goes..
Majestic Downfall

After playing for more than 10 years in Mexico´s ANTIQUA, a Death/Doom band that toured

all over the country. Jacobo decided to part ways with the band in august 2006 and form a new Doom Metal project that would be a One Man journey to recapture the feeling of the 90s European Doom Metal scene, while mixing it with some more modern Doom Metal overtones.

'The Dark Lullaby' mixes death metal vocal with doom/stoner guitar to create a 13 minute song laden with melodic riffs and doomy powerchords, the pace is quite upbeat for a doom song, the same applies to 'Renata'.

'Obsidian' at times is more full on death metal with frantic drumming and riffs over screaming vocals, the song has some nice breakdowns in the mix over some sludge chords.

Rating 8/10
For Fans Of: Wolvserpent, Serpetine Path, Dread Sovereign

The Slow Death

Australian band formed in 2007 by Stuart Prickett, Mandy Andresen (Ex Murkrat)and Gregg Williamson as a doom/death recording project. The first self titled cd was recorded and released in 2008 to good reviews. In 2010 Yonn Mclaughlin joined as drummer and the second album recordings began. 'II' was again, self released in April 2012. In November 2012 Dan Garcia and Brett Campbell joined the band, and writing of the 3rd album was completed.

Opening like an old Pink Floyd track 'Criticality Incident I' is a melodic prog epic, stunning and haunting vocals from Mandy, the drums keep the slow doom pace, matched by the solemn guitars, then this dark evil male vocal kicks in, after which the pace suddenly picks up to create some awesome prog metal sounds.

'Criticality Incident II' opts for a more traditional doom sound, but with some symphonic keyboards mixed in, again it is the vocals which really stand out.

'People Like Me' has a dark psychedelic/doom vibe, beautiful sounds come through the speakers, real quality from this band!

Rating 10/10
For Fans Of: Blood Ceremony, Purson, Coven, Cathedral, Bloody Hammers

Kissin Dynamite - Megalomania (CD Review)

02.Maniac Ball
03.VIP In Hell
06.God In You
07.Running Free
08.Legion Of The Legendary
09.The Final Dance
10.Ticket To Paradise

Hannes Braun (Vocals)
Jim Müller (Guitar)
Ande Braun (Guitar)
Steffen Haile (Bass)
Andreas Schnitzer (Drums)

German glam rock band formed back in 2006, since then, quite a bit has happened: With “Steel of Swabia” (2008), “Addicted to Metal” (2010) and “Money, Sex & Power” (2012), they have released 3 albums worldwide, celebrated chart success, played over 500 live shows all over Europe and Asia and has had numerous TV-appearances. At the time of their debut “Steel of Swabia”, the band members were no more than 15-16 years old.

Nothing wrong with the post Motley Crue sounds (with a euro dance beat twist of course) but some epic cheese with the lyrics, oh dear guys come on you aint 16 year olds anymore or Steel Panther.

A heavier feel to 'Maniac Ball' and a great vocal from Hannes, the lyrics are a bit better as well, an anthemic radio hit.

This one 'VIP In Hell' keeps that heavy anthemic sound going, great shout it out chorus and some frantic drumming and epic guitar solo all go together to make a great song.

Blimey this one 'Fireflies' sounds like some euro pop ballad, has a really horrible keyboard sound and to be honest im not one for rock ballads anyway and this doesn't really grab me.

Now 'Deadly' is more like it, has a sleazy sound the way good modern glam rock should, but it has an overall feel of a desmond child penned song, which may or may not be a good thing.Is it bad that i can imagine Ricky Martin singing this?

Really not getting the techo styled keyboard sound that keeps appearing in 'God In You' this one would be fine without it.

This is another poppy song, problem with 'Running Free' is that bloody disco beat drumming and funky bass, yep songs okay but these songs seem to be getting away from the 'Glam' tag.

That said 'Legion Of the Legendary' with its techno sounds mixed with anthemic rock does make a good song and that punch of the drum pedal does make up for that awful synth pulse.

So next song is 'The Final Dance' which is either going to be another dance song or ballad, kinda hope for neither but, ahh fuck it a bloody ballad!

Please let 'Ticket To Paradise' be a heavy glam song.... Well its got a good beat, more anthemic in sound again but still a bit radio friendly pop rock.

No this one did not live up to the hype, its a good solid pop rock album that would no doubt get tons of radio play in america, but it lacks any real Glam Rock credentials.

Rating 5/10
For Fans Of: Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Steel Panther, Europe

Death Vomit - Gutted By Horrors (CD Review)

01.Intro - Grave Gate to Horrors
02.Indestructible Abominations
03.Thorns Damnations
05.Swallowed By Transphormutation
06.Devoured By Carcass
07.Deeds Of Pestilence
08.Ashes Of Necromancy
09.Painful Prayer
10.Demoniac Hunger
11.Corpse Immolation
12.Resurrection Grotesque

Tom Hill (Bass)
Sebastian Salce (Guitar)
Evil Ezcorzized (Drums)
Azazzel (Vocals/Guitar)

Death Vomit from chile featuring former Doom bassist Morrow (Tom Hill) formed in 2011 in the city of Curico (Chile) by Azazzel (guitar/ vocals) and Evil Escorzized (drums) influenced by ancient beasts with a grotesque, putrid and devastating sound in the vein of classic bands like Megaslaughter, Purtenance, Cancer, Merciless, Carbonized... recording their debut demo "Infestation" in 2012, released only on cassette format. Later on, bass player Tom "evil" Hill, who already played on the demo, joined the band as permanent member, followed by Sebastián Salce (guitar) as well, completing the line up and starting to create new tunes of the most violent and perverse Death/ Thrash for their debut album.

Yep 12 tracks of well produced death metal with grindcore and thrash influences thown in, not much to choose here in terms of variety or outstanding tracks, its full on wall of sound makes each song blend straight into the next one, so if endless riffs and powerhouse drumming are your thing and lets not forget the brutal vocal assault as well, then this is one to add to your collection.

Rating 6/10
For fans of: Cannibal Corpse, Carcass, Morbid Angel, Deicide

Cenotaph - Riding Our Black Oceans (CD Review)

01.The Solitudes
03.Grief To Obscuro
04.Macabre Locust Celesta
05.Among The Abrupt
06.Infinitum Valet
07.The Silence Of Our Black Oceans
08.Soul Profundis
09.Ectasia Tenebrae

Edgardo González (Vocals)
Julio Viterbo (Guitar)
Fernando Garcilazo (Bass)
Oscar Clorio (Drums)
Cesar Sanchez (Guitar)

Originally released way back in 1994 and now reissued by Chaos Records.
Cenotaph was one of the first and widely acknowledged to be the best Mexican Death Metal band in the '90s. The band released a powerful debut but it was on this album that it started taking the sound forward. This album is melodic and technical, but not in the way you'd assume. This is reminiscent of At The Gates circa 'The Red in the Sky is Ours', Sentenced's 'North from Here', Dissection, Unanimated and Necrophobic, all Swedish bands indeed but the Mexican band uses the influences in a unique way - the song structures are complicated and hard to decipher. Even after a couple of decades, the music remains interesting and challenging.

It was probably this album that influenced the country mates like Under Moonlight Sadness, The Chasm, The Forensic, Sol Negro (originally), Majestic Downfall and others where it came to infusing melodies into Death Metal particularly.
They disbanded in 2002 though i suspect that a new line up of the band may appear at some point.

While the album seems to start in a traditional manner with 'The Solitudes' the six minute 'Severance' starts to throw in a lot more, melodic guitars played at hyper speed, clever timings and some nice spken parts alongside the growls.

Next stand out song is 'Among The Abrupt' with its near Black Metal sound then for a complete change comes the acoustic/ambient title track with its simple heavy metal ending.
Acoustic elements are then used in 'Soul Profundis' breaking up the general brutal onslaught, finally 'Ectasia Tenebrae' could these days be described as 'progressive death metal' with some excellent guitar playing throughout.

I can see why this album was considered so 'Important' 20 years ago and it has aged well, sounding fresh and exciting as it did back then.

Rating 9/10
For fans Of: At The Gates, Dissection, Death, Cynic, Opeth

Monday, 11 August 2014

Gravecrusher - Morbid Black Oath (CD Review)

01.Triumph Of The Undead
02.Necromantic Perversion
03.Morbid Black Oath
04.Worship The Impaler
05.Mutaliation Ritual
06.Deranged Massacre
07.Cryptic Butchery

Revenger (Vocals)
Disemboweler (Guitar)
Disguster (Guitar)
Chaosprayer (Bass)
Mutilator (Drums)

Having just reviewed Coffinborn's ep here comes the other Death metal band from Hungary featuring 'Disguster' on guitar.

The almost jazzy start to 'Triumph Of the Undead' soon gives way to traditional death metal sounds with a little 'grind' thrown in for good measure.

Think i detected the opening riff to 'Reign In Blood' on 'Necromantic Perversion', in fact some of the timing changes and drum patterns were also very Slayer inspired.

Some doom meets slow pounding thrash on 'Morbid Black Oath' a real stand out track, while Slayer riffs return for 'Worship The Imapler'.

'Mutaliation Ritual' at under 2 minutes harkens back to the glory days of 'Grindcore' and that power remains on 'Deranged Massacre'.

Lastly 'Cryptic Butchery' is a real drum driven spped monster, love the chunky riff that comes in half way through and the way they change the songs tempo a really good song to end on.

Rating 8/10
For fans of: Slayer, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Coffinborn

Coffinborn - Beneath The Cemetery EP (CD Review)

01.Enter The Nightmares Of Horror
02.Beneath The Cemetery
03.Putrid Stench Of Death
04.Corpse Collector

Blasphemy (Drums/Vocals)
Churchburner (Bass)
Disguster (Guitars/Vocals)

Recently formed Death metal band from Hungary that features Gravecrusher guitarist 'Disguster'.

Starting off with the brutal 'Enter The Nightmares Of Horror' full on death metal with evil vocals, screaming guitar solo's and even a few thrash elements to make one helluva noise.

Even more Thrash influence noticable on the slayer like 'Beneath The Cemetery'.

Slow, pounding start to 'Putrid Stench' soon gives way to unbelieveable speed, stunning and powerfull stuff.

Finally this little EP ends with 'Corpse Collector', a combination of grind and thrash again and another great song.

Rating 7/10
For fans of: Morbid Angel, Venom, Cannibal Corpse, Death, Slayer

Friday, 8 August 2014

Winter Gate - Dis Illumination EP (CD Review)

01.Beyond The Light
02.A Wreath Of Mist
03.Death's Embrace

Devashish Dutt (Guitar/Vocals)
Krishanu Bora (Guitar)
Mandeep Yadav (Bass)
Sudeep Saxena (Drums)

Formed in 2008, Winter Gate, from the tourist city of Jaipur, India struggled with its music but overcame all odds to create classic Death Metal with soul and meaning. Finally in 2013, the band got signed to Transcending Obscurity India which gave Winter Gate shows around the country and much needed exposure.
In 2014, the band's only release was finally pressed on CD and distributed worldwide via the same label's network. The humble band from small-city origins is hopeful of leaving a mark around the world with its music that transcends boundaries and trends. Death Metal is capable of being expressed by one and all, each narrating a wistful tale of the turmoils of life.

Arghh, again with these bloody instrumental intros, okay not this bands fault as such, but bands come on stop it, get to the fucking music, tag your cute "intro" to the beginning of your first song and stop wasting Track 1 !

Right so we get to 'A Wreath Of Mist', this is not what i'd call death metal, this is at 11 minutes, a near progressive, melodic, thrash inspired song with gruff almost black metal style vocals full of sweeping guitar solos, over solid rhythmic drum patterns.
Towards the end the pace slows for a very laid back riff and some nice clean vocals.

'Deaths Embrace' at 12 minutes, is even more thrash in style, this one throws in more timing changes and different melodies.

Rating 8/10
For Fans Of: Obituary, Opeth, Emperor, Cephalic Carnage

Shadow Of The Torturer - Dronestown (CD Review)

01.Indianapolis - Ukiah
02.We Are A Righteous People - Guyana
03.Afterlife - Cities Of The Damned

Mikey (Guitar/Vocals)
VB (Guitar)
B Drone (Bass)
Timmy (Drums/Synth)

Seattle band began life in 2006 as a side project for Aldebaran vocalist Mikey Brown, when he later left the band he decided to carry this one on full time.
They have released a couple of albums/ep's with various different musicians backing Mikey all original music except for a couple of covers of songs by Black Sabbath and Pagan Alter.

First 18 minute slab is 'Indianapolis' the dark distorted sounds and low growl of the vocals give this a much more gothic/doom feel.
The synth and chorus effect of the keyboards definatley keep a dark ambience running throughout, later the pace picks up wwhen the guitar and drums comes crashing in.

Another different style is prevalant with the 21 minute monster that is 'We Are Righteous People', the majority of this piece seems to be made up of samples from radio broadcasts and movie soundtracks, this is layered over a slow and pounding, endless doom laden riff with each chord backed by a crash from the drums.

The final piece, a mere 16 minutes is called 'Afterlife' this is the slow sludge drone style that i was expecting from the whole album, full of gutteral screams and downtuned power chords, its thumps it way second by second like a wrecking ball through a solid wall of steel.

Rating 9/10
For fans Of: Sunn O))), Earth, Boris, Triptykon

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Exordium Mors - The Apotheosis Of Death (CD Review)

02.As The Vultures Descend
03.Ascension Through Vanquished Flesh
04.The Corpse Of Your Divinity Now Burns
05.The Purging Storm Of Chaos Unfurls
06.Unto Lightning Swords Of Conquest
07.Fire & Triumph
08.Abandon All Hope
09.Blade Of Brutus

Scourge Witchfucker (Vocals)
Santi (Guitar)
Black Mortum (Guitar)
Assailant (Bass)
Hades (Drums)

Formed in Aukland, NZ in 2004 they have been described as "Merciless", "Inexorable" and "Barbaric" but according to the press release: "are all but words that attempt to describe the unholy force which is Exordium Mors."
The album it is noted is already set to become "Legend" and the band themselves, well they say: "We are Exordium Mors and we will see your body condemned to the flames; your shade forever hailing our name along the pathway towards eternal chaos and battle."

I, err, cant help think that these guys have a sense of humor and are probably all called nigel or something, but hey lets click play and see what all the hype is really about.

Well its an intresting first track, 'Axiom' (Not a cover of the classic Akercocke song) definatley has that chaotic early black metal feel, demonic vocals, endless riffs and fast drums, add to that plenty of timing changes and we are off to a good start.

Crashing straight into 'As The Vultures Descend' we get more of the same, this may sound odd to you but its almost like they are throwing too much into the mix, the sounds and paces all seem to blend into one, and it sounds a bit messy.

'Ascension Through Vanquished Flesh' is better defined and while it still presents a relentless wall of pure power it does have a cleaner sound overall, also has some of the fastest drumming i have heard in a while.

Definatley a nod to Slayer with 'The Corpse Of Your Divinity Now Burns' reminds me of 'Silent Scream', good use of backing vocals lurking in the mix.

A slower start to 'The Purging Storm Of Chaos Unfurls' and some sound F/X thrown in, when it gets going it has a good thrash metal vibe, and then gets quiet towards the end and makes for a great instrumental, the song seems to lead well into 'Unto Lightning Swords Of Conquest' that thrash sounds remains before going into speed overkill.

Keeping with a more thrash inspired sound comes 'Fire & Triumph' and 'Abandon All Hope', both of which blend their black metal twist perfectly.

The extreme black metal madness returns for 'Blade Of Brutus', laden with more demonic vocals and finger bleeding solos.

And then another instrumental with 'Outro', complete with a bit of creepy piano right at the very end.

Rating 8/10
For Fans Of: Darkthrone, Satyricon, Destroyer 666, Bathory, Cephalic Carnage, Deicide

Azooma - A Hymn Of The Vicious Monster EP (CD Review)

02.Self Inflicted
03.Eridanus Supervoid
04.Encapsulated Delusion

Shahin Vaqfipour (Vocals)
Ahmad Tokallou (Guitar)
Farid Shariat (Bass)
Saeed Shariat (Drums)

In May 2004, Iranian guitarist Ahmad Tokallou and bassist Farid Shariat decided to form a band with their interest in the Rock and Metal genres but in a new way, which was influenced by their own familiar Persian culture. Farid's brother, Saeed Shariat - drummer, joined them in July 2004, and completed the band.

The band began practicing, covering songs from bands such as Death, Iced Earth, Iron Maiden, Metallica and Kreator, while developing their own sound. Soon after, they began to compose original songs which sent them to the underground metal scene of Mashhad, The Holy City. In 2005 they played their first show in their home town and then they decided to focus more on the Progressive and Death Metal genres.

This led them to invite vocalist and lyricist Shahin Vaqfipour to the band. They created their first demo in 2006, by 2009, Ahmad and Saeed joined another Iranian death metal band temporarily because of Farid's service in the Army until spring 2012. They played several shows and festivals in countries such as India, Dubai and Armenia, but as Ahmad and Saeed couldn't see any future for themselves in that band, they left and built their own rehearsal room.

They spent most of 2012 and 2013 writing and recording new material for their debut EP, "A Hymn Of The Vicious Monster", which sounds heavy, brutal and fast. They mixed old school death metal elements with some Persian ones.
In 2014, they contacted the Iranian heavy metal Journalist and Chief Editor of Metal Shock Finland, Mohsen Fayyazi, for help to reach a suitable record label for releasing this EP. Mohsen accepted their request and they inked a deal.

This is basically an EP, yet track one is an acoustic intro!
However 'Self Inflicted' comes as something of a surprise as we get some excellent death metal complete with cookie monster vocals, furious druuming and endless riffs!

'Eridanus Supervoid' runs for just over 8 minutes, after some more death metal the song breaks down to a funky little drum and guitar passage, then turns into an almost progressive piece full of harmonic vocals and sweeping guitarwork, really good twist.

The 'Encapsulated Delusion' is another drum heavy song this one does not get slow or clever in fact this one gets faster and faster!

The 'Gyrocompass' starts with some great melodic vocal and music before turning into a brutal 10 minute onslaught on the senses, There is a great breakdown again, this one has what sounds like ethnic instruments, really good.

And, oh dear, we get an outro BUT hooray, this one actually works as a mini song, nice vocals and acoustic instruments.

Rating 7/10
For fans Of:Nile, Morbid Angel, Six Feet Under, Kreator

Monday, 4 August 2014

Warlord (UK) - We Die As One (CD Review)

01.When Worlds Collide
02.Human Inner Core
03.Masses Gather In Masses
04.Insurgents Breed
05.Strength Defeats Decay
06.Last Of Our Legacy
07.Age Of Extreme
08.Knights Of The Godless
09.We Die As One
10.Remember Them

Mark Warlord White (Bass/Vocals)
Lee Foley (Guitar)
Brooksie (Guitar)
Kevin Bartlett (Drums)

Warlord UK, a Death/Thrash Metal band, were formed in Kings Norton, Birmingham in 1993 with original members Mark Warlord White, Mick Gorst and Andrew Stone.

This potent threesome, very early on in their career, managed to grab the attention of a national musical management company during a session in a local recording studio. Their ground shaking performance resulted in them being signed up before their 3 hour stint was over.

Neil Hutton joined the band on drums before taking up the sticks for Benediction, and was replaced by a huge personality in Neil Farrington. The band then enjoyed much success, supporting the likes of Napalm Death and At The Gates, not to mention numerous headlining slots at UK venues.

Their first album, Maximum Carnage, was released in 1996 and a European tour followed with Benediction, but due to the stresses and strains of full time employment and the lack of appetite for the Metal scene in the UK at the time Warlord decided to call it a day in 1998.

Ten years later, Mark and Neil felt ready to resume their Metal crusade, resulting in the resurrection of the Warlord UK name. Support slots with Napalm Death, Obituary and Evile ensued and headlining spots at Inferno Fest in Norway and Terrorizer Grindhouse have seen the Kings Norton war machine back at its best.

Neil left the band in August 2009, but alas in December 2010, Neil chose to leave this world, leaving many friends, loved ones and fans lamenting his loss. Warlord UK marked his passing with a set dedicated to him whilst supporting Napalm Death, a month later.

The present day Warlord UK's 4 piece line up with Mark Warlord White on bass, Daniel Brookes on guitar & Lee Foley on guitars. Kevin Bartlett is Warlords session drummer while Warlord seek a full time drummer.

Oh bloody hell another intro as a seperate track to start with, oh well here comes the first proper song 'Human Inner Core', slow n sludgey start, then when that drum kicks in at full speed this explodes, full on riff fest and deep growl vocal.

Doom meets Grindcore in a 7 minute epic called 'Masses Gather In Masses' great guitar riff again, really pounding, lots of layers in this one and some well placed samples, soon turns into a headbanging wall of sound.
Some pretty outstanding bass playing in the mix, great track.

Running at two different speeds 'Insurgents Breed' is dark and doom laden then bursts into life with some full on thrash.

Agressive hyper death metal follows with 'Strength Defeats Decay', its a relentless onslaught of power that just does not let up for a single second.

'Last Of Our Legacy' has a very quiet and melodic start which doesnt last very long before turning into another wall of sound, this continues with 'Age Of Extreme', more solid drum driven monsters.

That Doom/Sludge element returns to the opening of 'Knights Of The Godless' before once again going at full speed, this one reminds me of Venom's Welcome To Hell but twice as fast.

'we Die As One' has a punky guitar sound, the song itself has a 'bouncy' feel the simple chorus is one destined to be shouted out by everyone in the crowd when this is played live.
The final track 'Remember Them' is a strange little 2 minute instrumental with ghostly female vocal samples and some spoken passages.

Rating 9/10
For Fans Of: Venom, Warfare, Naplam Death, Benediction, Iron Monkey, Raging Speedhorn

Saturn - Ascending Live In Space (CD Review)

01.So, You Have Chosen Death
03.Over The Influence
06.Tower Of Terror
07.Last Man In Space

Oscar Bo Valentine Pehrson (Bass/Vocals/Organ)
Robin Tidebrink (Guitar/Vocals)
Linkan Lindgren (Guitar/Vocals)
Ted Carlsen (Drums)

Swedish prog rock band formed in 2012, intrestingly this album was originally available for free download when first released back in november 2013, within 7 months they had been signed by Lee Dorians Rise Above Records and now a full proper release.
Quite a rise from nowhere in a very short space of time, all i can say is this must be one helluva album!

Right from the start its obvious that these guys love 1970's hard rock, 'So You Have Chosen Death', elements of early Diamond Head mix with a blues/heavy sound.

'Rokkori' is like a homage to brit rockers UFO, the backing vocals and subtle use of keyboards really bring this one to life, some pretty awesome vocals here as well.

Up next is an 8 minute song called 'Over The Influence', very bluesy and the harmony between the guitar riff and vocal is perfectly balanced.Have to say the led zepp vibe on this one is obvious but far from a mere copy.

Pounding little riff and the vocal style makes 'Leadersheep' sound like something off of Judas Priests debut album, really has that sound and vocally a definate young Halford can be heard coming through the speakers, the same applies to 'Peasant' as well.

'Tower Of Terror' returns to that blues sound, which they do really well, love the way the song builds but then holds back, then at the end a short guitar solo, the song is clever in that it remains understated as opposed to going where you think it might.

Space rock intro followed by some outstanding bass riffs then 'Last Man In Space' bursts into a heavy beat for a while, then slows down, another brilliant solo and the vocals just cut right through the soul.

Ahh acoustic guitar, was waiting for that to appear, well 'Moonstone' has a folk influence and what sounds like a bagpipe in the background, an unusual way to end an otherwise outstanding album.

This is quite a clever album, i can see why Lee Dorain has picked this one up.
A well thought out nod to early Priest, Zeppelin and UFO, my only question is why do they call themselves "Prog" when they are clearly Hard Rock?

Rating 10/10
For Fans Of: (Early) Judas Priest, UFO, Led Zeppelin, Witchcraft

Friday, 1 August 2014

Mark Lanegan Band - No Bells On Sunday EP (CD Review)

01.Dry Iced
02.No Bells On Sunday
03.Sad Lover
04.Jonas Pap
05.Smokestack Magic

As he approaches his 50th birthday Mark Lanegan has assembled one of the most extraordinary bodies of work in modern music. Phantom Radio will be the ninth bearing his own name and third with his band, but combine it with the collaborative albums he’s made, be it with Isobel Campbell, or Duke Garwood, or as 50 per cent of the Gutter Twins, or his legendary first band the Screaming Trees, then the total is nearer 20. Then there’s his guest spots with Queens Of The Stone Age and his many collaborations as the singer on records by the varied likes of UNKLE, Martina-Topley Bird, Moby, Soulsavers and Melissa Auf der Maur. In total, Mark Lanegan has made close to 50 records.

Lanegan's solo debut was 'The Winding Sheet' in 1990 but it would be the masterful follow-up, 'Whiskey For The Holy Ghost' that confirmed his credentials as a truly unique artist. 'Bubblegum' in 2004 saw Lanegan emerge from the wreckage of the Screaming Trees to create a new version of the blues: part-acoustic, part-electro-rooted contexts mostly produced by Alain Johannes, with a floating cast of helpers, some illustrious (Josh Homme; PJ Harvey) others not. Seven years of collaboration followed before Mark Lanegan Band  delivered the towering 'Blues Funeral', its Krautrock curlicues adding new textures to his molasses-thick doom canvas.

And now 'Phantom Radio' builds on the same foundations: produced by Alain Johannes, and that voice intoning deep truths hewn from the bleakest realm. “I saw the feet of pilgrims bleeding,” Mark sings on Judgement Time. “I saw whole cities drowning, I saw whole armies dying.” You believe every word; no other living singer’s voice feels so charged with Biblical portent.

Which is all part of the craft, because Mark Lanegan is not as black as he’s been painted. His chief compositional tool on 'Phantom Radio' was his phone – specifically an app called Funk Box. “I didn’t bother to hook up my 909 and 808 this time,” he says, “because the app had ’em. I’d write drum parts with it then add music with the synthesizer or the guitar.”

'Phantom Radio' grew organically from these synthetic roots, taking in Mark’s ongoing love of Krautrock and also an ’80s new wave show on Sirius satellite radio, his favoured aural companion as he drives around Los Angeles. “They have a few good shows but the ‘80s one in particular I like,” he says. “That’s the music that was happening when I started making music. And although the Trees drew on Nuggets psychedelia, 13th Floor Elevators and Love, we were actually listening to Echo And The Bunnymen, Rain Parade, the Gun Club. A lot of British post-punk. We loved that stuff. I just waited until I was in my late forties before I started ripping it off.”

The album title stems from a lyric in Smokestack Magic, which features on the EP, No Bells On Sunday, that will precede the album’s release – five songs written during the same period but which were, in Mark’s judgment “too goofy” to fit with the rest. “I’m less apt to throw away a song that might be a little weird nowadays. I can make it work with whatever I’ve got going.”

First 2 songs have a dark electronic undertone, blended with Lanegan's deep vocals, reminiscent of Leonard Cohen's 'Im Your Man' album.

'Sad Lover' is more of an upbeat elctro pop tune, then 'Jonas Pap' returns to a more traditional acoustic ballad, again wonderfully downbeat and delivered perfectly.

This EP's outstanding track is 'Smokestack Magic' an 8 minute electronic masterpiece.
As the song progresses the vocal remains at the same level, whilst the keyboards build layer by layer, towards the end they create a chaotic background for a heart felt song.

So okay kinda not said much, im waiting for the album, as im sure are you?

Rating 9/10
For fans Of: Moby, Leonard Cohen, Screaming Trees, Tom Waits