Hutch checks out the latest horror filled offering from US Blackened Metallers, The Day Of The Beast, here’s what he thinks…
Newly signed to Prosthetic Records, Virginia Beach blackened death metallers The Day of the Beast’s fourth full-length is not one for summer evenings in the garden whilst drinking a crisp white vintage. This is nasty, snarling and designed to summon darkness.
It’s their first release since 2017’s The Ultimate Cremation Pyre, and if you haven’t grasped what they sound like after these two album titles, you need your head cleaned out. This is 45 minutes of grotesque claws raking your back, filthy guttural roaring voices, searingly hot guitars and powerful drumming that could summon up old Nick himself.
It’s an album that should give you nightmares. Each track revolves around its own specific tale or theme, with inspiration coming from the likes of Clive Barker, Bram Stoker, and Lovecraft. The album name is taken from the Graham Masterson novel The Wells of Hell, and the title track is primarily based on that book.
About as subtle as two elephants humping, Corruptor Infestor kicks things off at breakneck speed, and the accelerator is not lifted until On Wyverns Wings of Oblivion has come to a final stop. In between, you get some of the gnarliest, blackest and fiercest death thrash that has been released this year. There’s an underlying groove that is reminiscent of latter-day Carcass, with the throaty rasp of Steve Harris at times reminiscent of Jeff Walker. That’s no bad thing in my book.
The lyrics are as gruesome as the music is black. Enter The Witch House for example, echoes with the chilling refrain: ‘Light up the oven, a feast for the coven, their parents search high and low The first ones to cry are the first ones to die, the rest are locked up in the basement below The ones who survive are then roasted alive, until the meat falls off the bone The gristle and fat will be fed to the rats, and the organs are fed to the crows’.
The subject matter may leave the bones chilled but the music is brutal but excellently executed. The dual guitars of Steve Redmond and Bobby Phippins are solidly supported by the blistering drumming of Jeremy Bradley and bassist Justin Shaw. An aural assault that shows no mercy, this album is another addition to the continuing list of blackened thrash outfits who are rising from the graves once more.
THE DAY OF THE BEAST – INDISPUTABLY CARNIVOROUS is out Friday the 18th via Prosthetic Records and the bands BandCamp
No stranger to a dirty thrash riff…Chris Cleo checks out the debut EP by Goat Sanctuary, here’s what he thinks…
Newcomers to the US thrash scene Goat Sanctuary debut with an 11 and a half minute 5 track EP with the sole aim of removing your head from your body. Like most debut EPs, ‘Chthonic’ embodies the most raw, most easily identifiable elements of the Goat Sanctuary signature sound, where despite only newly unleashed upon the metal world, the crunchy tremolo picked riffs and hauling D-beats make for an immediate representation of this style. While there are many bands that rely solely on this simplified hardcore riffing style, Goat Sanctuary prove to stand a level above other members of the pack by adding some different elements, and flat out annihilating the competition in a matchup of certain features…
Firstly, the attention to melody and its incorporation amongst the hardcore riff is what really separates Goat Sanctuary from the rest of the herd. Hearing actual guitar melodies accompanying extreme vocals and a raw, dirty production is a rarity, where the first two tracks ‘Cthulhu’ and ‘Hail to the Goat’ really present these melodies in a way that creates an eerie atmosphere. The focus on diminished intervals show the proficiency of song and riff writing, where the second of these two songs furthers this use of melody in the solo over the crushing breakdown. Being the only solo on this EP makes ‘Hail to the Goat’ a standout track, alongside it’s showcase of a Machine Head like half-melodic half-raspy vocal in the verses.
Secondly, the vocal performance and production are absolutely the most notable elements of this release. The insanely powerful raspy growl is perfectly executed, pushing the brutality level through the roof. Balancing a massive-sounding roar with clear pronounciation of lyrics that makes the chorus lines easily repeatable is definitely something that would contribute massively to live shows. The production also matches this raw intensity, presenting crunchy mid-centric guitars on a background of booming un-fucked-with drums (a welcome break from 25+ years of clicky kick drums) and a thick distorted bass that just makes the whole mix sound massive. The intro to ‘Shark Teeth’ perfectly shows off these two highlights, as the bass in the intro section builds to a mouth-wateringly heavy breakdown of a chorus. All tracks are comprised of a memorable structure, be it based on the riff, vocal line or tempo, and all feature a near-even mix of D-beat sections and old-school death metal breakdowns. Where all tracks have somewhat of a unique flavour, penultimate track ‘Drain the Blood’ is definitely my favourite simply because it’s the fastest and climaxes to the heaviest breakdown on the record.
While the simple riffs and drum patterns allow for the departure from the more modern production, which is definitely a preference for many listeners, the trade-off is definitely noticeable. The riffing style does seemingly pushing the boundaries of how simple riffs can get, where pedalling on one note or chord for however long doesn’t add the variation that comes with a more intricate rhythm pattern or meander across a scale. This would be a huge problem, but luckily the short running time for each song saves this simplicity from becoming too much of a problem. Yes, not too much is being sacrificed by having over-simplified riffs on a 10 minute EP, but something may need to be built upon musically to make a full length effort that pays more attention to replay value.
Overall Chthonic is a bitesize serving of the Goat Sanctuary sound, nothing less, but also nothing too much more. Take a solid 10 minutes and sink your teeth into grimy, unpolished noise with a whipcrack of a snare pounding D-beats and breakdowns exclusively. Make no mistake however, this is far from a complete work, which is the case with most EPs, and is just the bait that’ll hook you and keep you waiting for whatever Goat Sanctuary have coming up next. There are definitely other bands you’ll want to go to for more in terms of a riffing approach, but this release will definitely supply a healthy dose towards the daily aggression levels necessary for any thrasher to function properly.
Goat Sanctuary – Chthonic is out today (Friday the 4th June) via BANDCAMP
Retching itself from the feted underbelly of the UK Death Metal scene comes three bands that will rip your guts out and leave you for dead… Asa journeys into the darkness and reviews this split album for us…
From the deepest, darkest depths of the UK comes 11 slabs of brutal, haunting and horrifying Death/Doom. Each band offers us up their own unique take on the Death Metal genre so, with so much to cover, I’m going to split this review up into 3 sections. Each section will contain a short bio, a run down of the tracks, some thoughts on the songs and production and then after I’ll do a short overview of my thoughts and feelings. So, let’s dive into the riffs and see what deathly delights these 3 acts have offered us!
First up is Seven Doors. I’ve covered these guys (well, guy) before when they released their cracking debut E.P, ‘The Gates Of Hell’, so naturally I was very excited to hear more material so soon. Seven Doors is a Death Metal project by Deadwood Lake guitar maestro, Ryan Wills. The project blends old and new Death influences and has already given us 4 pulverizing tracks of extreme Metal supremacy. The split starts in spectacular fashion, with a short film sample (taken from The Night Of The Creeps for those interested) before going into a barrage of tremolo picked riffs, blast beats and guttural bellows for ‘They’re Dead’. The riffs reek of Old School Death Metal savagery, with twisted harmonies, mid paced neckwreckers and doomy melodies. There’s some flashy guitar work during a brief solo halfway through that shows Ryan’s incredible shredding chops. It all ends with another sample that always make me chuckle. The song features a little something for everyone and is an excellent way to start things off. ‘Anthropophagus’ slows things down with gargantuan riffs, sprinkled with a little Doom for good measure. Things speed up in the mid-point to a mid-paced stomp fest that’ll get you windmilling in no time. There are a few short solos to whet the appetites of you guitar nerds out there and it’s another solo song that shows Ryan’s ability to write in different tempos but still make everything crushingly heavy. The final track from Seven Doors is ‘They Came From the Deep’, which is the exact opposite of what just came before. Instead of slow, low and heavy, we have fast, pounding and relentless. Things do eventually slow down in the middle, with hefty slamming riffs and atmospheric single note harmonies before launching back into the visceral assault and chaotic lead playing. It’s another solid piece of disgusting Death Metal that is bound to get one-man bedroom pits started. Overall, these are 3 solid tracks from Seven Doors that are just as solid as what came before. The production is of the same level, being both clean enough to hear everything but still maintaining all the dirt and grit that gives it an OSDM vibe throughout. The riffs are all killer, and the tracks don’t linger around long enough to feel tiresome. They’re just in and out, delivering us no-holds-barred Death Metal that stands tall with the greats.
Next up is Goat Witch, bringing us 4 slices of Death/Doom excellence. Goat Witch is the project of just one person, who refers to themselves as Nachtghul. The person is actually Thomas Collings who you may all know from Devastator, but I like the pseudonym so I’m going to use that instead. ‘Funeral In Your Mind’ kicks things off, with a Death ‘n’ Roll vibe and dirty production that feels very suitable for the type of music being played. The tempo shifts throughout the track, with riffs ranging from straight up Death Metal fare to Motörhead-meets-Entombed, to slower, doom-ladened riffs that are drenched in atmosphere. You even get some clean guitars about 2/3rds of the way through, in case it wasn’t already atmospheric enough. There’s some brilliant use of haunting melodies and Nachtghul’s reverb smothered roars compliment the music well. It’s another strong opening and showcases a different approach to Death Metal from the previous artist. ‘Rabid’ continues things with ferocious riffing and pummeling drums, as Nachtghul barks their ferocious roars over the top. There are some dissonant harmonies thrown in and the song slows down at the mid-section to bring us some brilliant lead work that is both impressive as it is unnerving. ‘Morningside Cemetary’ is a slower affair compared to ‘Rabid’, but the contrast does wonders for the flow of the split. There’s more ghostly melodies and a sense of dread permeates throughout the slow, sludgy riffs. We’re treated to another Horror film sample midway (taken from Phantasm) that makes the Tall Man seem more terrifying than the film does. The slow riff that follows is more upbeat in nature but has an incredible feeling of sorrow, accompanied by a slow solo that is perfect with the atmosphere. We go back to the darkness once again, paired with a repetitive lead that is both hypnotic and delightfully tense. The final offering from Goat Witch is a 10-minute opus entitled ‘Let Her Die’, a suitably unpleasant name considering the previous proceedings. It’s slow, low and despairing riffs are joined by an array of dark melodies that stir a number of uncomfortable emotions within the listener. At around the 4-minute mark, sorrowful, soaring melodies take center stage, altering the direction of the song and bringing a welcome change from the doom and despair the previous 4 minutes delivered us. Though don’t worry, those atmospheres do return after a couple of minutes to bring back those dark feelings once more. Overall, Goat Witch bring us an exercise in despair, with a variety of different influences making an appearance throughout this section of the split. There’s plenty of speed throughout the first half before the last two tracks slow things down and showcases us the power of Death/Doom. Nachtghul’s offerings bring out a vast array of emotions with hypnotic riffs and dark melodies reigning supreme. It’s punishing, but in a different way. The production is disgusting, murky stuff that highlights the atmosphere of the 4 tracks presented, bringing it to the forefront in a splendidly doomy manner. The songwriting is solid and warrants repeated listens, it’ll be great to hear more from Goat Witch in the future.
Finally, we’ve reached the last artist on the split. Born Undead are a Brutal Death Metal band that aim to deliver short bursts of unending ferocity. Freudstein (instruments) and Sadist (vocals) get the party started with ‘Feral For Blood’, sampling Dog Soldiers before raining down crushing riffs after crushing riff. There are frantic blast beats, destructive slams and crushing chugs, with Sadist providing a guttural assault on the senses. The drums bring the artillery, heightening the brutality to chaotic results. It’s short, relentless and, most importantly, heavy as balls. ‘The Butcher’ continues things with another Horror sample (this time from Motel Hell) and an explosion of manic riffing that will leave you feeling battered and bruised. The song is only 2 minutes in length but the effect it will have on your body will make you feel like you’ve just endured a marathon. ‘Stench Of Death’ carries on the trend of Horror film sample (taken from The Fog) and crushing riff work much to the same effect as the previous tracks. The mix of slow, heavy chugs and fast paced tremolo picking is as potent as ever, making you need a neck brace from the whiplash that comes with the constant back and forth of sudden tempo changes. It’s another short track but 2 and a half minutes is apparently all these guys need to leave a trail of savagery in their wake. The final track from Born Undead is ‘Devoured Alive’, a cover of the Mortician track from the Zombie Apocalypse album. It’s a great way to honour the band that clearly inspires this project and they do it well. If you know Mortician, you probably know how this one goes but if you don’t it’s pretty simple. Half of the song is a Horror film sample (this time taken from Eaten Alive) and the other half is disgusting riffs that vary from insane tremolo picked riffs to groove-ladened chug fests. It’s an easy formula to follow but it’s obviously an incredibly effective one. Born Undead do the song justice and it fits perfectly into the rest of their work. Overall, this is the shortest section of the split with 4 shots of hefty Brutal Death Metal. The songs are well written, with the same production value as the Seven Doors making everything hit hard but still maintain the grit of the genre. It’s also another great contrast to the two previous artists and showcases just how vast the Death Metal landscape is. It’s excellent fun and if you’re a fan of the style then you won’t be disappointed.
To conclude this review, I think all 3 artists have done a spectacular job on this release. All 3 offer something completely different to the rest but they also fit firmly into the Death Metal genre. The production across the board suits the music well, not sounding super clean and polished to maintain the unique atmosphere that Death Metal has. All of the tracks are strong, and each part of this release requires repeated listens to fully enjoy everything that it has to offer. I can’t pick out a favourite section because there’s something here for every mood. Seven Doors offers us solid Old School Death Metal that rivals anything other bands of that style are doing. Goat Witch brings us melancholy and despair, tapping into our darkest emotions, leaving us confronting the endless void of existence. And Born Undead bring the party, with fun riffs that will leave you smiling gleefully as you feed your annoying neighbour to the local alligator. The way everything flows is brilliant and makes for easy listening, despite the overall length of the split. If you’re a fan of Death Metal, then I urge you to pick this up. Not only will it help support these incredibly talented people, but you’ll also find something to fit every mood. There’s something for everyone on display, so go give it a listen and pick up a copy. You won’t regret it.
Out Tomorrow the 4th June 2021 via BandCamp
Frank checks out the new album from the legendary Flots… here’s what he thinks
I am sure most readers have heard of Flotsam and Jetsam. The band from Phoenix Arizona burst onto the metal scene in 1986 with arguably the best thrash metal debut ever with Doomsday for the Deceiver.
Six more releases followed in the intervening years bringing a mixed bag giving you the feeling of a band trying to find an identity. The first decade of the 2000’s saw the inevitable fall off the radar with only two records.
2010 saw a re-emergence of the band following a different path and honing a sound that really came together on 2016’s self-titled offering and the follow-up “End of Chaos” from 2019. Following the two aforementioned records would be a daunting task for anyone.
Only two years on the band are back with Blood In The Water, an album that on first listen you could be fooled into thinking is just a carbon copy of the previous two releases. But you would be wrong. Blood in the Water just hits you full-on with a sound that can only be described as immense. The first thing you notice is the impressive production and mixing overseen by Grammy nominated master knob-twiddler Jacob Hanson, who has managed to give each musician an equal footing. Each transition from verse to bridge to the chorus is almost seamless. With the dual guitar attack of Steve Conley and band ever-present Michael GIlbert it is reminiscent of early Iron Maiden coming at you relentlessly from one speaker to the other.
Opening up with the title track to the record, this modern take on thrash metal is noticeable from minute one, fast and powerful but with controlled aggression, perhaps the song that resembles the previous offerings the most. With such an impressive start you wonder if the momentum can keep going? And believe me, you will not be disappointed.
The heavy and fast-delivered riffs keep coming at a pace with “Burn The Sky” and track three “Brace for Impact” which is a ready-made mosh pit anthem transitioning between a frenetic guitar attack with slower moments where you can draw a breath waiting for the next onslaught.
“A Place To Die” is next up, perhaps the heaviest track on the album, relying on the dark brooding guitars fighting each other rather than all-out speed which takes us to “The Walls” a much slower paced almost traditional heavy metal track that works well adding a different perspective on the record without being out of place.
Next up is “Cry for the Dead ” with its melodic start and atmospheric feel throughout with an almost European power metal feel. It lets Eric A.K. show off his vocal range as the song changes direction as it progresses, it’s a song that conveys the mature nature of the band more than any other on the record
Then it’s straight back to the thrash on “Too Many Lives” the track more than any other that showcases the drumming of Ken Mary, the Fifth Angel drummer who is on double band duties, on his second outing with Flotsam after debuting on “End of Chaos”. Eric A.K. is almost Halford-esque at times in his vocal delivery. With “Grey Dragon” the relentless thrash juggernaut just gains momentum, and It’s a track that would grace any of the new wave bands releases and matches them for speed and aggression then it’s on to “Regression” just as fast and ferocious without being the same. It’s a theme I love with this record, each track stands out on its own. Things slow down a bit with track number eleven “Undone” which has a granite-hard riff that leaves me thinking of a John Bush era Anthrax number, its catchy and groove laden, which is more radio-friendly than the rest of the album. Last up is “7-Seconds” another power metal sounding track, I’m almost singing “Dr. Stein” in my head at certain points.
Overall this is a brilliant record, in the few days I have been listening to it for this review it’s been nearly nonstop in my headphones. The worry with a band finding a winning formula is that it becomes stale a few records in. Being the third record on this cycle, they have clearly kept the same formula but tweaked it enough to still be fresh and relevant. Eric A.K. has never sounded so good. The guitar sound works brilliantly and the drumming is in the top bracket for modern metal, the lyrics are mature and the music is insane and very heavy.
Although I haven’t picked him out specifically on any track I have to mention the new recruit in bass player “Bill Bodily” for not only admirably pounding out an impressive bassline throughout but in places really showing off his melodic death technique that he has brought over from his previous band Contrarian.
The album cover artwork has once again taken care of by Andy Pilkington of Very Metal Art and as usual, has excelled.
Currently, three singles have been released from the record which you can catch upon on Youtube
Michael Gilbert recently quoted
“ Its angry, its aggressive and our emotions pour out all over this album ”
I have to agree..
“Blood In The Water” is released on all formats through AFM record on June 4th
Logo looks familiar? As does the name… Asa checks out the latest OSDM from Inhuman Condition!
Inhuman Condition are a Death/Thrash band from Florida with some serious pedigree behind it. Featuring ex-Massacre members Terry Butler (Bass), Jeramie Kling (Drums/Vocals) and Taylor Nordberg (Guitars), the band got together to use all their previous material written for Massacre that unfortunately never saw the light of (day due to their departure). The band name is taken from the 1992 Massacre demo of the same name and the logo is exactly the same style so there’s no beating around the bush: This IS Massacre 2.0. And with a line-up consisting of such incredible firepower, you’d be forgiven if you’re expecting something brilliant. So, let’s go take a peek and see what the trio has to offer.
‘Crown Of Mediocrity’ kicks things off with some classic old school Death/Thrash riffing. Jeramie’s guttural roars sound like classic Death Metal, the drumming is likened to a constant barrage of artillery and the bass rumbles with such low end that it could cause earthquakes. However, the riffs are king here, sounding like something you’d expect to hear on a classic OSDM album. You have a short solo that is atonal and chaotic. The song is a perfect representation of what the band are trying to achieve and is a great starter that leaves you wanting more. ‘Euphoriphobia’ sucker punches you with Thrash beats, tremolo picked riffage and another short solo before slowing things down for a mid-paced neckwrecker that brings the heavy Thrash influence to the fore. You get an extended solo that is filled with whammy bar excellence before a final sprint to the finish line. It’s a short track but packs a heavy punch. ‘Fait Accompli’ has an atmospheric opening that brings some Slayer-esque vibes before things turn up a notch with foreboding chords and a menacing lead. The song switches between faster tempos that are pure Death Metal and slower sections that reek of Thrash. This song also provides two insane solos, with one being pure shred and the other having some darker melodic textures to it.
‘Gravebound’ starts things slow before picking up pace with some ferocious Death/Thrash riff work and a catchy chorus. There are some real Leprosy era Death moments thrown in for good measure, and a particularly tasty riff that changes the tempo about halfway through. It’s so far the catchiest song on the album but it doesn’t sacrifice any of its heaviness. The fifth track, ‘Killing Pace’ rips straight from the start having a stronger focus on the Thrash influences with mid-tempo stomps that will get pits thrashing and necks spinning. It’s another short track but one that is made to get crowds moving with its infectious riffs and catchy chorus. ‘Planetary Paroxysm’ changes the focus back to more straight-up Death Metal territory with its savage, unhinged riffs, pulverizing drums, feral roars and earth-shattering bass. The tempo switches add to the chaos, as do the manic solos. If the Death Metal side is more for you, then this song will not disappoint.
The title track, ‘Rat God’, starts with choirs, pianos and distorted chords before erupting into crushing Death/Thrash insanity. The riffs have a fun quality to them, with their simple but effective nature making them earwormy content. The solo is, of course, brilliant, as is the rhythm underneath it. The penultimate track of the album, ‘The Neck Step’ begins with a slow, punishing riff that will leave you in need of a neck brace before upping the ante, and the tempo, for furious Death/Thrash riffage that will get one-man pits started the world over. The excellent first riff makes a return as the chorus before the middle section brings us much of what we expect from the band. Frantic riffs, slow riffs and a mind-bending solo wreak havoc and it’s as glorious as you’d expect it to be. The final track is entitled ‘Tryantula’ and it’s a stormer. The intro is layered with different percussive layers, accompanied by atmospheric chants and throat singing. The track proceeds to reign fire with a left-right hook that sees mid-paced brutality paired with intense speed. It’s a destructive concoction that makes these simple riffs so incredibly effective. We’re treated to two solos once more that add to the madness before the song ends with a short shot of adrenaline and one final bellow of “TRYANTULA!”. It’s a suitably abrupt and brutal ending to an album that is kind of like an abrupt, brutal kick to the nuts.
Overall, Rat God is a brilliant, short burst of Death/Thrash excellence. It’s simplistic, it’s heavy as all hell but it’s catchy and a great amount of fun to listen to. The added little flourishes here and there heighten the experience further and repeated listens only bring more enjoyment. This is an album steeped in old school sensibilities and I have no doubt that if it were released back in 1992, it would be a bonafide classic. The performances on the album are top notch. Everyone is on fire and give it their all. The bass is thunderous and provides the much-needed meat. The drums are an explosive assault on the senses that do what they must during each section, providing the bands backbone. The guitars are tight and deliver crushing riffs with almost surgical precision. And the vocals are aggressive and guttural, providing the old school vibes that suit this type of music. I would maybe like to hear some more high shrieks on occasion but that’s just a personal thing. The mixing is overall solid, but I do think the bass is a bit too loud as it can occasionally drown things out and sound a little too thunderous, and the guitar tones can also be a little muddy at times, but these are small complaints that don’t affect the overall experience. The mix is still good, and everything is still easy to hear, even if things can get a touch muddy at times. The album doesn’t have much originality to it, but I think that’s it’s biggest strength. It knows what it wants to be and delivers it to a high standard. It’s catchy, savage, heavy and, more importantly, a damn good time. If you’re after a Death/Thrash album that sounds like a mixture between Death, Slayer, Obituary and Exodus, then this is the record for you. It’s great from front to back with never having a dull moment. It’s not trying to be something new but with riffs this good, who cares? Gather some friends, grab a few cases of beers, get a barbie started and throw this on. It’s guaranteed to be a brilliant time for all.
Rat God is out on 04/06/2021 pre order via BandCamp
Robbie journeys into the black with one man uk black metal project – Sombre
A forboding unease eerily ushers in the lonely wiry, harshness of the guitars as ‘A COMMON CONFLICT AND THE RESPITE WE DESERVE’ meanders it’s dark yet vibrant energy onwards. The opening track to ‘AFrom Womb To An Unsightly Shallow Grave’ from UK one man black metal band Sombre has a stark bleakness emanating from the repetitive guitar notes. This threatens to descend into murkier black metal waters until salvation arrives in the relative lightness of a subtle blackgaze accompaniment to the sound. Whilst not overly prominent the prescence of the shimmer allows the songs space when needed adding texture to the rampant ferocity being dealt with such tenacity.
The marauding march of ‘Endeavour not to Dream of Death and his Hand’ pulsates with such fervour it’s a joy to hear black metal with such hypnotic rhythmic appeal. A jarring, scratchy riff spars with a joyously uplifting solo highlighting the mix of dark and light yet the ability for them to fuse effortlessly.
Such are the devastating lows that when the highs come, all be it few and far between they still have enough impetus to create such a contrast. That middle ground is where Sombre excel in and it is here where this EP really shines its light. Whilst there is an overriding and at times oppressive melancholy the rumbling bassline and wall of layered guitar ensures variety is afforded to the listener.
A strangely percussive feel from the distorted vocals graces ‘Dancing Static’. A solitary guitar heightens the nervous edgy feel to this interlude of sorts. Disturbingly alluring in it’s dark simplicity the anticipation for what is to follow has been ramped up.
Closing track the lengthy ‘Tiresome Be, The Plight of Life’ drips in post rock calmness yet soon gives way to the barrage and all out attack of visceral black metal that is never far away. The scathing raspy vocals seem to take on a loftier more impacting role whilst the venomous assault from the drums continues to push the levels of extremity.
Peeling back the layers built up within the songs ,songs which flow and weave with a ease and vibrancy not usually afforded to the harsh, darkened realms of black metal, a densely rich and emotive set of songs reveal themselves. A collection of songs which will have you yearning for more such is the impact that Sombre drive. With a restrained aggression to the music, it feels controlled and never forced in a bid to propel the sonic enhancement.
The importance of character and feeling is apparent. At the very core there is a strong raw black metal aesthetic yet mixed with the post rock artistry and blackgaze escapism Sombre have created something that offers an immersive yet rewarding listening experience.
A Common Conflict And The Respite We Deserve is out now via BandCamp
John delves into the latest offering from the legendary Metal Massacre Series –
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….
Well, 1982 and Los Angeles to be precise, metal mogul Brian Slagel gathered together some tracks from the best unsigned acts on the L.A. metal scene and so Metal Massacre was born. Here we are 39 years later with the latest and 15th Metal Massacre offering.
Masked and Deadly- Midnight.
A dirty old school thrash vibe, great riffs, love the whole feel of this track. If Venom and Motorhead is your thing then Midnight have you covered.
Demon Wind-Poison Ruin
When you have a 4 minute slot on a showcase compilation it takes balls to use a track with a 1.5 minute intro, so you better be able to back it up. Poison Ruin back it up with gusto. Black metal production of N.W.O.B.H.M. Brilliant track.
Master of Extremity-Fuming Mouth
Fuming Mouth kick off with a brutal DM opening then let the beat drop and proceed to batter the listener into submission.
All the subtlety of a brick in a sock. Face smashing music at its best.
The Trees Die Standing-Many Suffer
Black Metal is not my cup of tea but this beautifully melodic and atmospheric track is an amazing piece of work.
Leave The Light Behind-Temple of Void
I can’t and probably shouldn’t categorise Temple of Void, they deserve their own little genre Beautifully weird metal.
I LOVE THIS TRACK.
Bone Ritual-Ripped to Shreds
Hell of an intro then a moment of calm to gather yourself before Ripped to Shreds unleash a head banging, head stomping barrage of riffs and blast beats at you.
Well crafted progressive death metal riffs with modern touches.
For lovers of old school Heavy Metal with a new twist.
THIS IS A FUCKING AMAZING TRACK
Warrior Witch of Hel-Smoulder
Superbly structured riffs, almost bluesy at times. A solid slab of Doom Metal
In Somber Dreams-Mother of Graves
To end, some slow tempo Melodic Death to tug at the heart strings. Gorgeous tempo shift on the outro.
Over the years Metal Massacre has showcased Slayer,Overkill,Armored Saint,Ratt, Amon Amarth and not forgetting Metallica, and now, with MM XV, Metal Blade are highlighting some of the new generation of metal bands.
This album is a great listening journey though some of the contrasting and differing genres in Metal music today. A great album and definitely worth spending your pennies on.
Metal Massacre XV was released last Friday 21st May on Metal Blade
Frank takes a delve into UK thrash history and reviews the new album by Holosade
A brief history lesson on Holosade would just about sum up the UK thrash metal scene in the 1980s. Being Darlington based they joined the burgeoning north east thrashers all hanging on the coattails of the mighty Venom. Taking a slightly different approach to the usual white high top trainers and denim cut off look, they took to the stage wearing masks or face paint.
A promising band with plenty of energy and aggression with the music to more than show they were to be taken seriously. The formative years saw “Holosade” release four well made demos with various members before having a settled line that then shared a split E.P. release with three other bands.
This was soon followed up by the 1988 full length debut “Hell House” a true UK thrash metal gem that was sadly discarded by the record company who had no idea what to do with a thrash band other than steal the drummer for a more lucrative band on the label. The next few years were busy with touring mainly as a support act culminating with a night at the marquee which resulted in a release of a full length live album in 1990.
The resulting years saw the usual decline in interest in the thrash metal scene with UK based bands being badly hit, and the band went their separate ways.
After sporadic reunion shows, July 2019 saw original vocalist Philip de Sade reboot the name and bring his band Amortura along for the ride, where they set about writing “Anastasis” an old school UK thrash record interwoven with modern guitar work reminiscent of “Havok” throughout but with a nod towards “Megadeth” most notably at the beginning of Chaos takes control, being a true Dave Mustaine inspired riff and vocal track.
Each member recorded their respective parts over the second half of 2020 on home studios due to the pandemic and sent them to Adam Ironside for production. He pieced it together making an amazing job to deliver a polished, well-presented record that still keeps enough of a raw edge.
Each instrument comes over clear with the double guitar attack of Paul Trotter and Adam Ironside. a key to the overall sound, with a definitive crossover between rhythm and lead. Taking up the impressive bass duties is ex “Blitzkrieg” four string maestro Huw Holding showcasing his experience with a flawless display of how to play bass as a stand alone instrument and not just plod along mimicking the rhythm guitar. With Hugo Riberio from “Moonspell” guesting on the recording to make an impressive rhythm section with his tight drum work.
The album opens up with “7 Seconds” which sets the tone for the whole record, with its lyrical content firmly based in the horror genre perfectly laid over fast technical thrash guitar work but with more than enough groove to keep any metal head happy. The other tracks follow in a similar light with dark, thought provoking lyrics dealing with typical thrash subjects such as war, mental illness and the macabre.
“Rise” is my favourite track on the album. It is easy to see why it was chosen to be a single that was released last year with an accompanying lyric video.
Detonation to Oblivion provides a near 11 minute epic chosen to close the record which switches effortlessly between slow-brooding to fast-screaming riff work, with a hint of keyboards that add to the atmospherics of the track. This is a definite showcase for the musicians to show off their talent.
The vocal delivery of Philip De Sade is a text book thrash metal growl throughout, but I for one would of liked to of heard a scream or two throughout the record.
Currently waiting for the pandemic to be over so they can get back to rehearsing, or as Paul put it “learn to play the songs again”, so they can get out on the gig scene while also looking for a full time drummer, I for one will be keeping an eye out for a show near me.
“Anastasis” is not ground breaking but its a solid thrash metal offering from a returning UK thrash act. But is must a have record for the discerning thrasher..
Due for release through Cherry Red records on 28th May 2021
Check out our Interview with Phill & Paul HERE
Hutch reviews the latest Teutonic offering from Vulture…
Contemporary thrash with a deep coating of the old school. That’s the immediate thoughts as the quintet from Dortmund kick start their third album Dealin’ Death, the follow up to 2019’s Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves.
The brief intro quickly segues into the ferocious razor-sharp assault of Malicious Souls. It’s fast and furious with vocalist Leo Steeler making an immediate impact with his range, hitting the high levels of Blitz, Eric ‘AK’ and John Cyriis, whilst able to drop several octaves to get to the gravelled tones of Chuck Billy and Mille Petrozza. Count Your Blessings steps briefly towards black metal in parts, although there is a Flotsam & Jetsam vibe circa Doomsday kicking its way out for most of the song. The speed style of Raven, Razor and Exciter also spring to mind.
It’s hard not to draw comparisons with those bands who paved the way over three decades ago, such is Vulture’s style. They are comfortable with twin guitar harmonies, chanting choruses and a thumping pace which keeps the band powering along. It is both raw and polished, with the band much happier with this record than its predecessor. The structures of the tracks sound simple but underneath it lies a steely determination to keep the thrash vibe running. And they do it with ease. Steeler’s vocals may push a few people away, but that’s an issue for those who cannot cope with the high-pitched singer’s rather schizophrenic style.
According to former drummer and now guitarist Stefan Castevet, the album was written and recorded with little pressure and a relaxed approach. “For the first time since our debut EP we didn’t feel any pressure at all. The whole song writing process felt very natural from start to finish. There were little to no doubts”.
It’s virtually all proto-speed and thrash, enhanced with some rich melodies underpinning the tracks and an overall feel which definitively leans towards the US metal movement of the 1980s. it’s frantic and highly charged, with the tempo changes between chugging riff heavy middle sections and the all-out thrash attack of high paced explosive tracks.
Lyrically Vulture focus on their love of classic horror stories, movies and art. Vulture draw from Edgar Allen Poe’s classic The The Pit And The Pendulum on the title track, Gorgon draws from the Greek mythos Medusa and penultimate blast Multitudes of Terror ventures inside the mind of someone suffering from paranoia.
At times Dealin’ Death steps of the thrash path but in general it’s a meaty, tasty treat. There are a few ropey tracks, the worst being the final song The Court of Caligula but overall, Vulture are another band from the bubbling German thrash pool that is well worth checking out.
Vulture – Dealin’ Death is out this Friday via Metal Blade Records
We’re back with another jam packed episode, this time we catch up with returning North East Thrashers Holosade a couple of weeks before their new album Anastasis hits the streets We play music from from…
Novichok – Vengeance Rising
Killonova – Straight To Hell
Holosade – Madame Guillotine (1989 Holosade)
Holosade – Weight Of The World (2021 Holosade)
Scarred By Truth – Sociomedia