Author: garethpugh71

Evil In – An Ethereal Force Beyond

Evil In – An Ethereal Force Beyond

Gareth checks out the new two track EP from USA thrasher, Evil In, lets see what this guy deliver on the first outing…

If you fancy a quick death/thrash fix, you could do much worse than giving the debut from one man band Evil In, the 2-track single/EP ‘An Ethereal Force Beyond’ a try. 

Starting with the brutal ‘Macabre Deadly Friend’ this is raw and gritty old school extreme metal, there’s nothing polished about this, and the production is suitably dirty and murky, which is just what the music demands, and there’s something pleasingly familiar with this opening track, and it’s obvious where the influences come from.

Second track ‘Ravager’ is a bit more varied, adding some doom-like dynamics into the mix while retaining the aggression. Whether this is a precursor to a full-length album I’m not sure, as the information I have about the band is fairly limited, but I do hope that more material is on the way. A good solid start, and something to build from.

Evil In- AN ETHEREAL FORCE BEYOND is available via BandCamp and was released on July 1st

Crawling Manifest – Radical Absolution

Crawling Manifest – Radical Absolution

Gareth takes an audio trip to the USA to check out the new album from Crawling Manifest

‘Radical Absolution’ is the sophomore album by Maryland metallers Crawling Manifest, now reduced to two members Trevor Layton (Guitars), and Andrew Gladu (everything else: Vocals, Bass, Drums, producer, mixer etc.). Originally intended to be a 4 track EP, but because of the shit show that has been Covid 19, this plan was revised, and the band decided to expand it to become a complete album.

Starting with the gorgeous 2½ min instrumental ‘Land of the Free’ which has some beautiful lead guitar and an almost ‘grunge’ like feel to it, fear not second track ‘World War III’ soon disperses any thoughts of that 90’s music genre, with its pummelling intro riff , the song soon builds into a bouncy fast thrasher, with a slower chunky chorus. ‘Nothing to Lose’ has a bit more bounce and groove to it at the start, yet in no way lets up on the aggression, and then it’s off like a boy racer at a set of traffic lights, before returning to that groove for the bridge. ‘Right to Refrain Silence’ is gritty, with an almost crossover flavour to the heavy riffs, with a real mosh pit feel to it, and a heavy breakdown. The title-track is the longest and most experimental of the tracks here, even having some clean vocals and an acoustic in the intro, this soon develops into a multi-section epic, with a bit more melody in the riffing than some of the other songs, with a spiralling main motif and a cool middle section. ‘Blood Born’ and ‘Revolution’ continue the brutal offensive with taut riffs and explosive drums while album closer ‘Onslaught’ finishes the album on a real optimistic heavy high, and acts as a final rallying call to arms. 

This is a cracking thrash/death album, with many different influences ranging from classic thrash, crossover, melodic death metal and many more. Produced by the band themselves it has a modern contemporary sound, yet still sounds and feels like it was made by two guys in a studio, rather than on a laptop. The only thing I see as being a bit of a problem is Andrew Gladu’s vocals might be a stumbling point to some, as they are edging on the death metal side rather than the thrash side. Still that will be up to the listener to decide.

The new album is out Today Friday 14th May via the bands BandCamp Here or on the normal streaming sites

Exmortem – ‘Berzerker Legions’ re-issue

Exmortem – ‘Berzerker Legions’ re-issue

Gareth checks out the re-issue from Exmortem, in case you missed the release first time around…

‘Berzerker Legions’ is a re-release of the 3rd album from extreme brutal Death Metal band Exmortem, who hailed from Denmark. I’m not sure if this is part of a series of re-releases, or if this is a one off.

Suffice to say the music is complex and very heavy, down tuned guitars and blast beats are very prevalent, as are the guttural vocals that are absolutely mandatory. This is one for fans of the likes of Morbid AngelHate Eternal etc. Interestingly enough, for a third release, the line-up contains none of the original members.

This is a very competent Brutal Death metal album, it does no less, yet no more than it says on the tin. Standout tracks are difficult to pick out as there’s not a huge amount of variation across the whole album.

This appears to be a straight up re-issue to vinyl, there are no bonus tracks, no remastering or remixing, but it is on 3 different colours and the run is limited to 300. So, if you missed out the first time around, you better be quick and pick up your  copy now.

Exmortem – Berzerker Legions is 28/05/21 on Emanzipation Order HERE

Enforced – Kill Grid

Enforced – Kill Grid

Gareth grabs one of our most anticipated releases of the year so far and gets a pummelling from the new Enforced Album, lets see if he enjoyed the bruises –

Some albums are designed for one thing, and one thing only; and that’s to rip your face off, beat you to within an inch of your life and punish you senseless.

Ok that’s three things, but you get my drift. ‘Kill Grid’ is one of those albums. Taking the blueprint from 2019s ‘At the Walls’ album, which was a combination of their remastered 2017 untitled demo, the ‘Retaliation’ demo of the same year, plus two new tracks, Richmond based Enforced, have come up with an even heavier release this time round. Calling themselves “Pure Crossover Death”, it’s pretty easy to see why, combining the chunky riffing of hardcore and thrash, the energy of punk, and the brutality of Death metal, they’ve come up with their own sound which is both familiar and also unique at the same time. The first thing that hits you, full on in the face, is the guitar sound, it’s both bludgeoning and yet razor sharp at the same time, bringing to mind the thickset riffing of Anthrax and SOD with the tone of Slayer, watch out guys, if the LA legends ever come out of retirement, they are going to want their guitar sound back! Engineered by Bob Quirk and mixed by Arthur Rizk, the production all round is nothing less than superb. 

So onto the songs, starting with ‘The Doctrine’ which builds from a soft beginning with power chords and rolling toms, before settling into a palm muted groove, the riffs laid down by 6 string duo Will Wagstaff and Zach Monahan, before the deathly vocals of Knox Colby cut in. ‘UXO’ is up next, the band gathering momentum like an out of control tank, its thrash breakdown particularly grinding. ‘Malignance’ is short, sharp and to the point, riffs spewing out like bullets from an M16, before that Slayer like harmony section, and crushingly heavy outro. The title-track is the standout, the centerpiece of the album, it adds a different set of dynamics into the mix, it’s a bit slower, with a very powerful and classy intro, before a pounding mix of pulverising riffs and relentless bass and drums take over. ‘Curtain Fire’, is another one of my favourites, damn it, they’re all pretty good, those Slayer influences really coming to the fore again, with those intro melodies and lead tone. ‘Hemorrhage’ and ‘Blood Ribbon’ are both heavy as lead, the later with it’s slow gallop, metaphorically trampling you into the ground, it picks up speed and at the end is fast as a runaway train. Last up and rounding off this brilliant album is the equally chunky and fast ‘The Trespasser’, using multiple time changes and sections, it’s an exceptional end to a very fine metal album.

If you like your metal heavier than the entire contents of a scrapyard, get yourself a copy, you won’t be disappointed.

Enforced – Kill Grid is out This Friday March 12th On Century Media Records

Night Fighter – High Speed Hell

Night Fighter – High Speed Hell

Gareth straps himself onto a ticking speed metal bomb and checks out he new Night Fighter EP

Scottish one man blackened thrash phenomenon “Night Fighter” is back with a four track EP to usher in February with a bang.

After the brief spoken intro (I won’t spoil it for you) the title-track literally bursts out of your speakers like a post apocalyptic wrecking machine, riffs and vocals almost tripping over themselves, they’re that quick, I love the solo in this one, there’s definitely a hint of early Maiden in the melody, yet it still has a slightly unhinged quality about it. ‘Feel the Force’ is next up, if anything it’s even faster, those Motörhead inspired licks barely under control and you feel like it’s all going to fly apart like some contraption out of Scrapheap Challenge, yet somehow, by adrenalin and sheer willpower alone, it just about holds together!

‘Altars of Iron’ comes out of the blocks before you’ve had chance to draw breath! So you better hold on and hope you don’t fall off, because at the speed this is going, the survival chances are none and slim, and slim has just left town! If you survived that, then EP closer ‘In the Black of Night’ does give you the chance to change your grip for a moment, as it bounces along on a bit of a groove for a few minutes rather than going at the 100 mph of the 8 minutes previous. The respite isn’t long lived mind, as the song builds nicely until its rattling along, although not at quite the pace of the previous three tracks, no this one takes the approach of bludgeoning you to unconscious a bit more than those ones. 

This is an absolute blinder of an EP, don’t expect any refined, polished nonsense here, it does what it says on the tin! Job done 

High Speed Hell is out Today on BandCamp Get It HERE or die a poser!

Memoriam – Onwards into Battle

Memoriam – Onwards into Battle

It’s a good day when you hear that one of your favourite bands announces that they’ve got a new album coming out, Memoriam (formed in 2017 as both a tribute and a form of catharsis, and also celebrating the life, of Bolt Thrower drummer Martin ‘Kiddie’ Kearns, who tragically passed away, far too early, back in 2015), the forthcoming ‘To the End’ will be the fourth album by the band in as many years, the fantastic debut ‘For the Fallen’ having been released March 2017, expect the new release to drop in late March, but as a sampler of what’s to come, here is the lead single ‘Onwards into Battle’. 

Starting with the sound of men on the frontline and a plane flying overhead, you’re suddenly hit by a devastating power-chord, and a majestic, yet sombre guitar line by Scott (Fairfax – Guitar), then the familiar roar of Karl (Willets – Vocals) cuts in, the song builds up from there, with rolling bass drums, provided by newbie Spike (T Smith – Drums) and the rumbling 4 strings of Frank (Healy – Bass), that underpin the huge chords. The war machine slowly picks up momentum and it’s once more unto the breach, at about the 2 minute mark the song is grinding along like an unstoppable tank, the guitars, bass and drums merging into one, crushing everything in their path, you can almost smell the cordite and feel the shells exploding around you as the battlefield unfolds around you, and the oppressive feel of battle almost overwhelms you.

This is a cracking return, it’s heavy, old school death metal, nothing more, nothing less, and it’s great to have them back, if you like the aforementioned Bolt Thrower, Benediction, et al, and you haven’t heard them before, it’s definitely well worth checking them out, and what better place to start.

Trapped In Purgatory – Demonicide

Trapped In Purgatory – Demonicide

We’ve had this ready to go for a few days, but been waiting the official artwork reveal for the single! Gareth takes a listen to a new band with a heritage in Bristol Thrash back in the late 80’s.

For some, this single is a long, long time in coming, 30 or so years to be a bit more precise. See, where as Trapped in Purgatory are a relatively new band, in reality their origins lie in a band called Purgatory, and ‘Trapped In Purgatory’ are (re)born from the ashes.

Comprising of the ‘front end’ of Purgatory, with Chris on vocals, Jason and Jock (Andy) on guitars, they are joined by ex FourWayKill (Chris was also a former member) drummer Marc and completing the new line-up is bassist Jon (ex-Mercury Rain). ‘Demonicide’ is the first single from the highly anticipated new full length ‘Damned Nation’, due Jan 2021.

Now personally I wasn’t aware of Purgatory until very recently, brought to my attention by UK Thrashers guvnor, Neil, and so I checked out their remastered demos on the 2014 release ‘Demo(n) Days’, which is well worth hunting down.

Anyway back to Trapped in Purgatory and ‘Demonicide’, I’m lucky enough to have heard the whole album and believe me it’s going to be an early New Year treat, and this track is a great representation of the whole album. Driven by Marc’s relentless double bass drums, the guitars at first with a simple chord progression, then Chris’ unique, melodic yet with a gruff edge, vocals cut in, the chorus sees the guitar step up a notch with a cool bludgeoning palm-muted crunch.

The band add some nice dynamics, slowing down a bit and Chris really shows his melodic side. Then there’s a really nice catchy riff with some tasty downpicking mayhem. To round it off there’s a lovely melodic solo before the final verse/chorus. The production is also superb, clear yes with bite, and you can hear every instrument its a very well balanced mix.

If you were a fan of ‘Purgatory’ you’re going to be in heaven, (haha, that’s a contradiction) or if like me were unfamiliar with them, but love a bit of UK thrash, I really suggest that you check Trapped in Purgatory out, you won’t be disappointed. This is truly splendid stuff.

Demonicide is available digitally from Christmas Day 2020 on all the normal streaming services, pre save HERE

Underking – Embrace the Arcane single

Underking – Embrace the Arcane single

Gareth took a listen to the new single from Underking

2020 has already been prolific year for Nottingham’s Underking, the one-man project and brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Maxwell Jeffries, already releasing not one, but two mini-albums: ‘Ghosts of the Past’ and ‘Amongst the Dead’ back in April this year. Both were quite different from each other, the first being more melodic and saw Maxwell take on the majority of the singing, while the later saw him join forces with Dustin Burmeister, who took on the majority of the vocals and lyrics, and was altogether a bit heavier, Dustin’s vocals being much harsher than Maxwell’s (reminding me of Matt Heafy when he’s doing his screaming vocals) giving the overall sound a more ‘blackened’ feel. The music on both is quite varied, having parts from all sorts of genres, thrash, speed, classic heavy metal, doom, and even some groove, Maxwell proving he is a very versatile composer. 

Max Underking courtesy of http://frankiethephotographer7.wordpress.com/

That brings us nicely to latest release, the new single, and a taster for their, as yet, untitled third album. First thing I noticed, was the slightly beefier production this time, courtesy of Stephan Waltl of SAW Audio, not that the other releases were bad by any means, but there is a noticeable difference. The improved sound gives the riffs a bit more of a prominent role than before and there’s an almost symphonic feel to the track, enhanced by Maxwell’s uniquely melodic vocals. It’s a song that is very well crafted, and although this certainly isn’t thrash, there is undoubtedly enough here for thrashers to enjoy, especially if you prefer the more melodic end of the genre. Overall, I think it’s a song you’ll have to make your own minds up about, but I do very much urge you check it out. Another very promising up and coming UK metal act.

Embrace The Arcane is out on the 11th December

War Agenda – Propaganda

War Agenda – Propaganda

Gareth takes a listen to the latest release by German Thrashers War Agenda,

War Agenda – Propaganda Propaganda is the second album by German thrashers ‘War Agenda’, and those familiar with their debut ‘Night of Disaster’, might well be in for a few surprises, the band have made a few major changes this time around, not least a new vocalist and a new guitarist, not to mention, a few stylistic changes as well. Whereas the debut was a massive homage to the classic bay area sound, ‘Propaganda’ has a more of a Teutonic edge to it, whilst still retaining that bay area crunch. 

Propoganda Lyric Video

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first, because within 10 seconds of the title-track starting, new singer Moustafa Troll’s vocals will probably be a make or break for a lot of people. His voice is definitely unusual, and a strong part of the band standing out from others in the genre. I’m struggling to describe his singing, it’s got a touch of Tom Angelripper, but like he’s coming down from breathing in a helium balloon. It might take you a while to appreciate them, but I urge you to persevere, because they certainly add a unique flavour to this band.

War Agenda 2020

Musically, the band aren’t breaking any real new ground, the music is very much based on the classic 80’s bay area crunch, with some typical German inspired riffing. The guys are all competent musicians and the songs are tight and chock full of great riffs and solos. To mix things up a bit the band do include the odd acoustic intro, and some more off the wall arrangements here and there as well as some bold vocal melodies. On the whole though, apart from the vocals they’re a fairly safe bet, if you enjoy well written and well performed thrash, with a modern, yet classically inspired production. This is definitely worth checking out.

War Agenda is out now on Great Dane Records

Steel Mage – Mandatory Detention

Steel Mage – Mandatory Detention

You nice folk who listen to the podcast will remember some of the most commented on guests from earlier this year, mainly because I struggled to get a word in edgeways! Well Steel Mage are back with a new single, Gareth takes a listen to see what the lads have produced this time –

Anyone who has heard Steel Mage’s first EP ‘The Uprising of Hatred’ are going to be amazed at how much this young super talented group of teenagers have progressed in such a relatively short amount of time, ‘Hatred’ for those who haven’t heard it is, a 4 track affair, sounding mostly inspired by classic thrash but with some other influences, the instrumental title-track even had a bit of a Pink Floyd inspiration to me, while the other 3 were more standard thrashers, which laid a solid foundation to build from.

Steel Mage – Are stuck in detention

And build from it, they certainly have, ‘Mandatory Detention’ takes the tight riffing and melodic leads from the EP and expands from there, the whole track has a much grander and more complex scope than any of their previous tracks, there’s just a load more riffs, time changes, different tempo parts, and loads more dynamics than before. Musicianship wise the guys are so impressive, every single one of them has come on in their level of competency, drummer (and youngest member I believe) Jack is just a complete monster, a really solid performance, loads of double bass and little fills here and there, there’s even blast-beats aplenty as well.

Thomas’ bass is also impressively noticeable, something that can be lacking in a lot of thrash, it gives the sound a bit of a ‘Havok’ like edge. Tommy and Louis’ guitars are also really striking, the riffs and leads are excellent, and definitely a notch up from previously. Louis’ vocals have also come on leaps and bounds, he seems a bit more confident behind the mike and his performance seems more natural this time round.

More Merch than you can shake a stick at!

The lyrics, if you hadn’t realised, are inspired from the UK Lockdown, which this track was recorded in (I haven’t mentioned the surprise intro), and although I haven’t got the lyric sheet, I think the guys are tackling a very serious and relevant topic, about mental health. I highly recommend you check out (I mean buy it) this single from this Manchester quartet, and while you’re at it go get the EP as well, it’s really exciting stuff and I’m really looking forward to hearing more material in the future.

Mandatory Detention is on Pre-order now and releases via streaming sites on January 1st 2021