Wednesday, 15 April 2015

ReVamp: Wild Card (2013) Album Review

While ReVamp's eponymous debut did have a couple of indisputably killer tracks (especially 'Kill Me With Silence', damn!), Wild Card sees Floor Jansen's er, after After Forever project really coming into its own as a band. The concept is strong, the mood is dark and the edgy, groovy instrumentation far more cohesive than on the jumpy debut.

Adversarial/ Paroxsihzem: Warpit of Coiling Atrocities (2014) Split Review

I'd been waiting for the evocatively titled Warpit of Coiling Atrocities for about two years by the time it finally became available, though I had no idea what it was going to be called. Nor had I seen the engrossing cover art. I just couldn't wait to hear what Adversarial would do next after the stunning split with Antediluvian, Initiated in Impiety as Mysteries. I'd even ordered a copy of the shirt that was supposed to tie in with this way back in 2012! The music itself got delayed and the other band was changed from the brutal Italian squad Imposer to fellow Canadians Paroxsihzem. Finally it's out, and although it isn't as good as the 2012 material it's certainly worth hearing.

Archgoat: The Apocalyptic Triumphator (2015) Album Review

After bristling through the first few years of their reunion with ferocious energy, putting out one release after another and quickly marking themselves out as standing apart from the vast majority of old '80s and '90s acts trying to get back in the public eye, Archgoat let their release schedule cool a bit. They spent years of gigging all over the planet - with a much anticipated return to Asia commemorated by a split with Surrender of Divinity, which would ultimately prove to be the last release before Avaejee's murder. The Apocalyptic Triumphator is literally their triumphant and apocalyptic return as a recording band, and it satisfies absolutely every expectation their devoted fanbase could possibly have had.

Embrace of Thorns/ Maveth: A Plague Through the Heavens (2014) Split Review

I love splits. I'm always on the lookout for more new splits that might match up to the likes of Circumambulations of the Solar Inferno and Initiated in Impiety as Mysteries, and since Embrace of Thorns are bloody great and this split also features one of Dark Descent's above average death metal acts I thought it might be worth a punt. In the end I mostly head for the Greeks' side, but if you enjoy old school death metal with a subterranean vibe to it as well as the Hellenic blasphemers then this is a good use of nearly forty minutes.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Gloaming: Keep Close the Watchfires (2015) Album Review

Gloaming are an elusive international band currently operating out of South Korea, recording in the vein of Asphyx and, among others, my favourite death/ doom band of all time Runemagick. Breaking out of the endless Lovecraft obsession of most bands in this and adjacent styles Gloaming latches onto Mid-Atlantic folklore and storytelling for what might be a more relatable horror setting. These aren't my own legends, but I like a good bit of rural American horror as much as the next person, and this is a fine format to get it in.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Blood Division: Traitors to the Gallows (2015) Album Review

Singapore's metal output has been nothing short of brilliant, especially considering the country's small size. Not only is it the place where I found the most happening, welcoming and inclusive scene of anywhere I've lived (which isn't necessarily saying a lot but you know), a lot of the bands from there are on another level when it comes to creativity and sheer impact. This is the return of Blood Division, who easily stand toe to toe with all these bands like Abigail, Barbatos and what have you, and in fact surpass the likes of Midnight, Toxic Holocaust or recent Impaled Nazarene. I remember being obsessed with the riff from 'Hellhounds' for literally days when I first heard it.

Despot: Pictures of the Void (2015) EP Review

Despot's 2013 full-length Satan in the Death Row, with its bizarre front cover and title, was actually a weirdly great record. Among the best things I've heard from Brazil for sure. The band just goes beyond the repetitive black/death/war/goat/cult thing, and the brutal technical death metal gore stuff that Brazil is so prolific with. The entity returns in 2015 as a two-piece, with more psychedelic artwork, cool logos and addictive black metal.

Akhlys: The Dreaming I (2015) Album Review

"Nor would he recognize hope if it came to him. Too much a stranger, too long a ghost."

Akhlys is a side project of Nightbringer's Naas al Alcameth, Nightbringer being the band that produced their career apex and my second favourite record of the year in 2014. The Dreaming I is a departure from the more strictly dark ambient nature of Akhlys' debut LP Supplication, although deep and sinister atmospheres are still woven into the menacing black metal instrumentation found here. I wouldn't have a second's hesitation recommending this to fans of Nightbringer's work, and if you like that band as much as I do then I'd go so far as to say this is mandatory.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Nefandus: Reality Cleaver (2014) Album Review

The less talked about band of Ofermod's frontman (and Serpent Noir's drummer) Belfagor is called Nefandus, an entity I only found out about last year when pottering around on Daemon Worship Prod's Bandcamp looking for new music. Having released one (apparently brilliant) album in '96 and eventually followed it up in 2009, Nefandus are now crafting music of a noticeably more thoughtful and esoteric fashion.

Barshasketh/ Void Ritual: Barshasketh/ Void Ritual (2015) Split Review

Barshasketh have been toiling and simmering in the underground for some time now, and I've been sort of aware that they're doing my kind of thing but never made a move to confirm it. Their new split with Void Ritual seems as good an opportunity as any, adorned as it is in some pretty irresistible artwork. The two bands have put together a half hour split comprising fresh and exclusive music, in other words the sort of thing that's definitely worth your while if you're already into them as opposed to checking them out for the first time like me. No rehearsal nonsense and what have you.