Monday, 10 August 2020

Helioss - Devenir Le Soleil



Labels: Mourning Light Records/Satanath Records

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 23 Apr 2020


Tracklist:


1. ...Et Dieu Se Tut

2. A Wall Of Certainty

3. The End Of The Empire

4. Let The World Forget Me

5. Singularity

6. An Endless Stream

7. La Lepre Des Hommes

8. Devenir Le Soleil

9. Now...Shine!


One thing I'm really fascinated with is how bands and labels strike up relationships that lead them to collaborating on releases. Helioss are a case in point. The French symphonic black/death metal band released their fourth full-length Devenir Le Soleil via Russian label Satanath Records and UK label Mourning Light Records in April. I heard about this releasee through my contact with Satanath Records, hence this review. The CD has been limited to 500 copies worldwide and the album is also available digitally. 


There are so many images that could be conjured up when staring at the artwork that adorns Devenir Le Soleil. Musically, you might think this album is made up of progressive/shoegaze-like black metal or doom but you’d be a bit wide of the mark if you did. Helioss delivers a rabidly infectious take on symphonic black/death metal with album opener ‘…Et Dieu Se Tut’, which is made more engrossing by the French lyrics and the relentless drumming, which has been programmed excellently. 


Not all of their songs are delivered on French, as ‘A Wall Of Certainty’ demonstrates. It’s filled to the brim with industrial tempos and technical guitar work that fights with the bursts of melodic synths to keep you guessing as to exactly what genre or sub-genre this duo fits into. Thankfully there are plenty well-placed tempo changes that don’t allow you to pigeonhole Helioss. Each one of their full-length’s have been getting longer but that’s fine given the quality of their instrumentation. ’The End Of The Empire’ seems to pick up where ‘A Wall Of Certainty’ left off with cracking lead-work and lower than low vocal growls. When they slow things down, those growls are replaced by higher-pitched screams/shrieks and plenty of atmosphere, even if in short bursts. The pace is so frenetic that it’s hard to keep up.


The melancholic ‘Let The World Forget Me’ is the song that bridges the gap towards both doom and more accessible metal, oddly. That’s not to say that this is accessible. It just has something about it that seems strangely comforting and familiar for some reason. Following on is the somewhat brief number ’Singularity’. It only seems brief because it just about breaches the three-minute mark. It makes up for that though with musical influences that range from industrial music (once again), to traditional strings and virtuoso guitar work. I could name bands that follow those three parts but that would be cheating.


Helioss returns to more familiar pastures on ‘An Endless Stream’ and it’s artistically driven piano seems to lord over the music, at least during the opening two-and-a-half minutes anyway. What follows it is another extremely engaging tome of melody and up-tempo black/death metal that’s hard to ignore. ‘La Lepre Des Hommes’ is very much a more avant-garde proposition with an intro of organ melodies and choral chanting before Helioss launches into a mid-paced progressive beast of a song. It regains it’s trademark pace towards the end to help keep the heart racing.


It’s only right that the penultimate song should be a twenty-four minute mammoth and it just so happens to be the title-track ‘Devenir Le Soleil’. If you were thinking it would be slow to build then you were wrong, as it continues the albums wild trajectory. It’s the first song on the album that contains melodic vocals. At least, they’re the first I’ve heard here and I could be wrong. It’s so easy to become mesmerised by it all. The term ‘progressive’ does get thrown around a lot but this song epitomises the term in my opinion. 


It almost seems pointless following that title-track but Helioss decides to do it anyway with album closer ‘Now…Shine!’. From the ridiculous comes the sublime with an instrumental post-metal/doom/death song that rounds things out perfectly. I was in no way expecting Devenir Le Soleil to be this good but I guess should stop expecting the unexpected. This is phenomenal from beginning to end. Chances are this will have passed you by so far this year but now is the time to remedy that.


You can stream and purchase Devenir Le Soleil on CD or digitally below:-



Helioss - https://www.facebook.com/Heliossband/


It's also available for purchase via the below links:-


Mourning Light Records - https://mourninglightrecords.bandcamp.com/merch

Satanath Records - http://satanath.com/shop.html


Mourning Light Records - https://www.facebook.com/MourningLightRecords/

Satanath Records - https://www.facebook.com/satanath666/

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Mental Health In Music: My Perspective

I was going to write a review this evening but then I decided to take a slightly different approach. Last year I curated (in a loose sense) an interview series that focused on mental health in music. In the series, I was able to get perspectives from friends and those who would later become friends, that are involved in heavy music of one form or another. With the blog approaching a major milestone this year, I've been reflecting on what that series of interviews meant to me and also on how the last 6-12 months have affected me as an individual.


At this point I want to caveat this post by saying that what I've experienced over the last twelve months pale's in comparison to what my interviewees experienced, so I'm not trying to jump on any bandwagon. I've not been as active in terms of writing, on a regular basis especially, over the first half of this year and I've attributed that to stress I've felt in my day-job. The last few months of 2019 and the first half of 2020 were pretty tough, especially given the changes brought about by the current global pandemic.


It's taken me until now to recognise the stress that I felt and thankfully, now that I have a much clearer head, I feel that I can talk about it and in doing so, can push forward with the blog with renewed energy. I've got some ideas that I hope will start to come to fruition over the remainder of 2020 and I certainly feel more inspired. Looking back, I'm also extremely proud of the amount of traction the 'Mental Health In Music' series gained last year. 


I've never really seen myself as a proper music "journalist" (mainly because I'm not that self-absorbed) but that doesn't mean that I can't feel a sense of ambition. I'm not content with writing clickbait articles or stirring up muck through sensationalist stories (I'll leave that to the bigger sites), instead I want to write about more positive things and about the success stories of underground punk and heavy music. Here's to a renewed sense of self and self-believe. 

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Living Gate - Deathlust



Labels: Relapse Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 12 Jun 2020


Tracklist:


1. The Delusion Of Consciousness

2. Roped

3. Deathlust

4. Heaven Ablaze

5. Living Gate


Here's an exciting release from a band that's rooted in both Europe (Belgium to be exact) and the United States. Sharing members with some of the modern greats of extreme metal and hardcore, Living Gate released their debut EP in June via Relapse Records. The detailed cover art that adorns this record dragged me in and hopefully, I'll get spat out at the other end!.


I get asked all the time about why I hammer my keyboard so hard at work. It’s because I imagine that I’m writing about music like this! Given the other bands in which these guys call home, their death metal is totally nasty. It’s definitely more on the old-school side. Opener ‘The Delusion Of Consciousness’ mixes doom/death with grind and thrash. That’s a heavy list of sub-genres and while not inaccurate, Living Gate surpasses mere pigeonholing through sheer skill.


The technicality is real without being overpowering and ‘Roped” is a song that straddles time-signatures and tempos, becoming a beast with many legs in the process. The multi-vocal approach is truly devastating, while the riffs are both melodic and razor-sharp when they meed to be. The percussion and bass offer plenty of rhythmic battery that’s perfect for the music.


There’s no rest in between songs and the title-track ‘Deathlust’ is filled to the brim with brutal urgency thanks to some manic blasting. It’s shorter in length but there’s still plenty of gloomy death metal to keep you interested, as well as a sick guitar solo towards the end. Breathtaking!


‘Heaven Ablaze’ comes out of nowhere with the sole aim of flattening you and leaving no trace. Again, it’s fast and heavy but there’s also a nod to bands like Cynic and Atheist within Living Gate’s technical musicianship and occasional jazz/blues-like guitar work. Before you know it, you’re heading face first into the final song on a release that goes by all too quickly.


The final song is question is the band’s namesake ‘Living Gate’ and it embodies exactly what they’re about. A heady mix of everything that makes extreme metal great rolled into one sub five-minute song. It’s the final blow on what is a superb debut record. There’s no messing around here. Living Gate are in it for the long-haul (hopefully).


You can stream Deathlust and buy it on all formats below:-



Living Gate - https://www.facebook.com/LivingGate666/

Relapse Records - https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords/

Friday, 31 July 2020

Nous Etions - La Manière Noire



Labels: Ancient Injury Records/Desordre Ordonne/Don't Live Like Me Records/Through Love Records/Zegema Beach Records/Beaver Club Records/Blind Eye Records

Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 14 Apr 2014


Tracklist:


1. Ste-Lucie

2. Leviathan

3. Les Algorithmes Du Malheur

4. Juste

5. Le Journal De Ricardo Lopez

6. Les Vertiges Du Perche

7. Bleu Et Violet


I'm making up for a less-than-productive day by trying to be more so this evening. Here's a new Zegema Beach Records roster review, where I talk about music the label has release from earliest to latest. This review features the last recording by French-Canadian post-hardcore/screamo band Nous Etions, which was originally self-release in early 2014 before being picked up by a whole host of labels for vinyl and tape pressings later in the year. The band no longer exists in an active form, but there music lives on.


Nous Etions were based in Montreal, Quebec and their instrumental build-up on opening song ‘Ste-Lucie’ definitely contains more than a hint of the French sound. I’ve said before that most countries have a unique take on the genre and I think that’s where it comes from here (France). The tempo is on the slower side, as opposed to being too close to emoviolence. The vocals are harsh but their delivery is restrained, while the guitars provide melody that soothes in a strange way.


‘Leviathan’ is loverly and rhythmic, which negates the off-kilter edge to the song. There’s definitely something darker about it that brings the post-hardcore to the front. Words aren’t coming so easily to me tonight as I’m tired, but that’s all the more reason to just sit back and take this release in. 


The sound of Nous Etions definitely leans more heavily towards hardcore and that’s not a bad thing at all. ‘Les Algorithmes Du Malheur’ is a glorious take on the angrier and more caustic end of post-hardcore and is brilliant. The percussive vibrancy, the low-end heft and the melody of the guitars more than match up to the multi-vocal delivery here, especially during the song’s closing bars.


‘Juste’ signals the half-way point of the album with another menacing tome that’s buzzing with great musicianship and an urgency not felt so far. The band tells a story on ‘Le Journal De Ricardo Lopez’ and as my French is poor at best, I’m not going to try and translate the lyrics for you. The drama of the song as a whole should be enough to draw you in. 


The ferocity is tempered back ever-so slightly on penultimate song ‘Les Vertiges Du Perche’ but only just. Again, it’s a shorter song that brings out the up-tempo song-writing of Nous Etions. It does contain some great bouncy punk rhythms though! Closing song ‘Bleu Et Violet’ goes by too quickly, especially on this balmy summer evening. Even though Nous Etions no longer exists, this is a fine full-length to get lost in. 


Bands and genre fads come and go, but thankfully there’s plenty of reason to still enjoy music created  by those short-lived. Nous Etions still deserve open ears. 


You can stream and download La Maniere Noire for free below:-



Nous Etions - https://www.facebook.com/nousetions/


You can buy physical copies from the labels below:-


Zegema Beach Records - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/zegema-beach-releases/nous-tions-la-manire-noire-12


Ancient Injury Records - https://www.facebook.com/AncientInjuryRecords/

Don't Live Like Me Records - https://www.facebook.com/dontlivelikeme/

Through Love Records - https://www.facebook.com/ThroughLoveRec/

Zegema Beach Records - https://www.facebook.com/zegemabeachrecords/

Beaver Club Records - https://www.facebook.com/Beaver-Club-Records

Blind Eye Records - https://www.facebook.com/BlindEyeRecords/

Monday, 27 July 2020

Arcana 13 - Black Death 7"



Labels: Aural Music

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 17 Jan 2020


Tracklist:


1. Black Death

2. Wrathchild


Fitting in a quick review this evening. Tow lengthier ones will be up tomorrow and Wednesday all being well. I hope everybody's doing well! Despite the increasingly sunny backdrop out of my lounge window, it's about to get a lot gloomier inside thanks to this 7" release from Italian horror-inspired doom metal outfit Arcana 13. It was released back in January via Aural Music (who have worked with the likes of Amesoeurs, Manes and Negura Bunget, to name but a few). Arcana 13 released their debut album Danza Macabra over four years ago, also via Aural Music along with Metal Defiance Productions.


Arcana 13’s love of horror movie scores and the occult shines through on opening title-track ‘Black Death’, which is an expertly played dose of doom with traditional heavy metal leanings. It’s remarkably clean in sound and the melodic vocals nod towards the operatic history of Italian classical music without taking over or becoming cheesy. The percussion is delivered in a simple yet professional way, while the guitars and the mellotron bring a mix of both dread and comfort respectively.


Following on from ‘Black Death’, ‘Wrathchild’ walks the line created by 70s prog rock and psych, which adds an extra element to the band’s sound and give you plenty to enjoy. It shows that there’s more to Arcana 13 than just nightmarish horror-worship. Italian bands have always been unique to me and while often being more theatrical, they’ve always thrived with creativity. Here’s hoping that this quartet comes back with more new music soon. This little EP is stonking!


Stream and purchase vinyl/digital copies below:-



Arcana 13 - https://www.facebook.com/arcanatredici/

Aural Music - https://www.facebook.com/auralmusicgroup/

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Blessed Black - Beyond The Crimson Throne



Labels: Self-Released

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 17 Jan 2020


Tracklist:


1. The White Wolf

2. The Black Gate

3. Heavy Is The Crown

4. The Shadows

5. Arioch's Bargain

6. Finding The Limits

7. Stormbringer


This year isn't going to be anywhere near normal so you might as well embrace the music that's been released already. Cincinnati, Ohio (USA) stoner/doom/heavy metal band Blessed Black self-released their debut album back in January and it's been on my review list for a little while. I'm just sorry it's taken me so long to write about it. The album cover screams Black Sabbath, Graveyard and Haunt vibes amongst other influences, so here's hoping it comes close.


It’s been ages since I’ve featured this brand of stoner/doom, but I’m glad I’ve gravitated to it this evening. The initial riffs of album opener ‘The White Wolf’ sound strangely familiar (they sound a little bit like a post-hardcore/rock song I like. Can't remember the song title or band name though!). This is a really solid instrumental song with huge riffs and percussion, as well as those melodic tones that fill me with nostalgia.


‘The Black Gate’ is equally as big in the riff department and you’d be forgiven for thinking that Blessed Black are an instrumental band, but they’re not. Around the sixty-second mark the vocals kick in with a soaring melodic tone that might be a little filtered, but that fits the music perfectly. This album reminds me of how much I’ve been neglecting the stoner metal sub-genre of late. There’s something about Blessed Black’s sound on ‘Heavy Is The Crown’ that brings back memories of the heyday of bands like Saliva (before nu-metal became a dirty word) and before slick melody was shunned. Either way, this is great and I’m gonna champion it for sure.


The mid-point of Beyond The Crimson Throne brings you ‘The Shadows’ and this is where the band’s traditional heavy metal chops show though, thanks to some great twin-guitar melodies amongst other things. Yes it’s more rooted in modern times but you can’t argue with those hooks! Things get a little more progressive on ‘Arioch’s Bargain’ but don’t worry, as Blessed Black don’t abandon their groove or catchiness one bit. As they’ve already proven, longer songs don’t mean noodling or loss of momentum and that is made all the more clear here. 


Penultimate song ‘Finding The Limits’ is a slower, more contemplative number in parts. It’s grittier and definitely the most balled-like song, if that’s the right description (I presume not, but I’m rolling with it anyway). Musically it’s extremely well delivered, as is the whole album. Album closer ‘Stormbringer’ builds like the earlier songs on Beyond The Crimson Throne and it’s a joyous way to end the record. Heavy and alternative music is always evolving and/or revolving back to where it began and both are right when talking about Blessed Black. They’re bringing a modern touch to a sound that’s familiar and comforting, especially to those who grew up with melodic rock as a gateway to darker/heavier things.


You can stream 'Beyond The Crimson Throne' and buy it on CD or digitally below:-



Blessed Black - https://www.facebook.com/blessedblackdoom/

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Oxalate/Perpetuated/Blood Spore/Vivisect - 4-Way Split



Labels: Blood Harvest Records

Formats: CD/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 04 Sep 2020


Tracklist:


1. Oxalate - Necrotic Descent

2. Perpetuated - God's Assassins

3. Blood Spore - Dreading The Mycelial Mask

4. Vivisect - Extraterrestrial Proliferations


Do you prefer it when I'm productive and writing four/five reviews a week or are you okay with me posting less frequently, like I seem to be doing at the moment? That's the (rather lengthy) question I've been asking myself recently. Maybe nearly 10 years of writing is beginning to catch up with me. Any advice or comments would be greatly received.


I've been lucky enough to get a pre-listen to this new 4-way split release from Blood Harvest Records, showcasing some of the best new US death metal bands currently working their way up from the fetid earth below. Blood Spore, Oxalate, Perpetuated and Vivisect all come from different parts of the US and have been releasing demos and EPs for the last few years. They each contribute one song to this split, which will appear on CD, tape and digital platforms in early September.


You know you’re in for something disgusting and down-tuned as soon as you set eyes on that cover art! Oxalate open the split with ‘Necrotic Descent’ and what you get is instantly hellish death metal with deep growls, old-school tempos and slams as well. There’s thrashing percussion throughout and excellent lead work too. Oxalate set’s the bar high already with a fine display.


Ringing feedback can only mean one thing and Perpetuated’s ‘God’s Assassins’ flashes by in a wave of bass-heavy riffing and snare hits that become mesmerising. Like Oxalate, they also employ screaming leads, but there’s some hardcore-like musicianship hidden within the murky depths of their sound too. Somehow it’s grimmer but that works in it’s favour for sure. Repeat listens are a must!


Following on from those two shorter songs, Blood Spore kicks off the second half with doom/death on ‘Dreading The Mycelial Mask’. It’s of the melodic variety, but only in the riffs and the sound is more European to these ears. Blood Spore nails that gut-wrenching vibe really well and provides the quality to back it up.


Last but not least and also coming from the doomier end of the spectrum in Vivisect with ‘Extraterrestrial Proliferations’. I say this is doomier but actually that’s just down to the atmosphere Vivisect gives off, as they are actually quite technical and more uptempo. After a long instrumental opening, their intensity hits full stride and doesn’t let up. All of the usual trappings are present but are delivered really well. Nasty but quality death metal.


Seemingly 2020 is destined to be know as “The Year of Death” in more ways than one, but mainly for the sheer amount of death metal releases hitting digital/physical shelves. I implore you to snag this split when it’s released in September and to take the time to check out the other releases from all four bands here. If you’re any kind of extreme metal fan, this can’t be ignored.


Nothing is streaming yet but you can pre-order the split directly from Blood Harvest Records here - 

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/oxalate-perpetuated-blood-spore-vivisect.


Oxalate - https://www.facebook.com/Oxalateband/

Perpetuated - https://www.facebook.com/perpetuated.death/

Blood Spore - https://www.facebook.com/BloodSporeFungalDeath/

Vivisect - https://www.facebook.com/VivisectNJ/

Blood Harvest Records - https://www.facebook.com/BloodHarvestRecords/

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Bible Basher - Loud Wailing



Labels: Sludgelord Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 26 Jun 2020


Tracklist:


1. So Samson Sang

2. Plagued

3. Burning And Blackened

4. Sodom & Gomorrah


I like heavy music and I really dislike religion, which probably doesn't come as a big surprise. Sheffield's Bible Basher is not a religious band but it's members do put bible verses alongside a mixture of doom and death metal. Loud Wailing is the band's very first release, seeing the light of day digitally and on tape via fellow Sheffield blog turned sludge/doom/metal label extraordinaire Sludgelord Records. 


You can’t get more stark than the closing line of the spoken-word sample delivered by an American preacher that states “Hell Is Real”. Of course, neither heaven nor hell are real and all we have is now. EP opener ‘So Samson Sang’ is heavy, slow and it’s death metal tones are very much real, especially in the vocals. The mix of shrieked growls and super deep bellows make for uncomfortable listening when pitched against the groove of the instrumentation.


‘Plagued’ is uptempo and it’s bass-heavy sound rumbles on like an earth-shattering disaster before the full band breaks loose and provides a hymn for the end times. This is definitely where the slamming death comes into play and it’s glorious because of it. 


The sludge is king on ‘Burning And Blackened’. The percussive power here is joined by some great feedback-laden riffs of the low variety, as well as a proper feeling of dread and claustrophobia. If they played this to a truly evangelical congregation, there’d be more than just people speaking in tongues. Like when Moses parted the sea, the ground would open up and this time it would swallow the lot of em.


One of the things that devout Christians fear the most is ‘Sodom & Gomorrah” , It’s sinful and disgusting, and while they believe that other people partake in the acts regularly, they are just as bad. Ending with a song of the same name, Loud Wailing is delightfully uncompromising. It’s hands down the heaviest song on the EP.


If you fear god then you’ve not felt real fear. Don’t put your trust in a false deity that’s only here to gain from the vulnerable and the gullible. Be yourself, form your own thoughts and use this EP to help you do that. There is no god…long live the death of religion.


You can stream and purchase Lous Wailing on both formats below:-



Sludgelord Records - https://www.facebook.com/SludgelordRecords/

Monday, 13 July 2020

Universal Disorder - Act II - Existential Glimpses Of Chaos In A Cosmic Womb EP



Labels: Burning Skull Records/Self-Released

Formats: Vinyl (Burning Skull Records)/Tape & Digital (Self-Released)

Release Date - 08 May 2020


Tracklist:


1. In The Great Circle Of Time

2. As The Eternal Secrets Of The Cosmos Unfold


I did my usual trick of sitting down to write a review last night, only to get writer's block before I even started this intro paragraph. I was going to say that Universal Disorder's logo reminded me of that old social media page that asked people to guess the most unreadable logo of the week. That's not a criticism though, because the cover art for this Swedish/Finnish black metal duo's second EP is pretty stunning. 


Act II - Existential Glimpses Of Chaos In A Cosmic Womb was self-released in May on digital and tape formats via Universal Disorder before being released as a split vinyl release via Burning Skull Records with fellow Swedish black metal band Svarteld. The band's debut EP Act I: A Pilgrimage In The Chaotic Streams Of Creation And Uncreation was self-released in 2019 on tape and digitally.


Musically this is a very atmospheric release. ‘In The Great Circle Of Time’ begins with guitar melodies that really set the mood before Universal Disorder’s full approach kicks in with blasting percussion and vocals that range from wolf-like cries, to icy growls and singing that would be at home on any Akercocke album. At times it’s fast and at others it’s mid-paced, with subtle symphonic elements showing through. It sounds more than just Scandinavian too, like the band has picked up greater influences along the way.


‘As The Eternal Secrets Of The Cosmos Unfold’ begins, you get the feeling that this EP is oddly accessible, in black metal terms anyway. That’s no bad thing at all, when you consider how hard it is for bands in the genre to achieve that. Even at over nine minutes in length, there’s something special about this song that keeps you frozen to the spot while it winds it’s way through both harsh and softer passages. 


There are no synths/electronic effects employed to take the place of real instruments and it’s creative, and at times avant-garde without being obtuse. Universal Disorder have produced an EP that will appeal to more than just black metal fans in my opinion, but don’t take my word for it. Listen for yourselves. 


You can stream Act II and buys it on all formats from Universal Disorder below:-



You can also buy vinyl copies from Burning Skull Records here - https://voodoo-music.myshopify.com/


Universal Disorder - https://www.facebook.com/UniversalDisorder/

Burning Skull Records - https://www.facebook.com/BurningSkullRecords/

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Voices Of Ruin - Path To Immortality



Labels: M-Theory Audio
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 15 May 2020

Tracklist: 

 1. Other Side
2. Carved Out
3. Path To Immortality
4. Suffering Silence
5. Reach Toward The Sky
6. I Am God
7. Into The Aether
8. Whispers
9. The Undoing
10. Everlong (Foo Fighters Cover)

Energy is amazing, whether it's physical or mental. Energy is exactly what I'm hoping for from the new record by Californian melodic death metallers Voices Of Ruin. Having formed in 2006 under the name Oblivion, they released two full-lengths and a split cd with fellow Californian's Darkale, before joining US label M-Theory Audio and unleashing their third full-length Path To Immortality in May of this year. The album was produced by Logan Mader of Machine Head/Soulfly, while that awesome cover art was designed by Par Olofsson, who has provided art for the likes off Exodus and Revocation amongst others. 

I’ve been eager to sit and get lost in some heavy music all day. Voices Of Ruin caught my eye thanks to the striking sci-fi inspired artwork on Path To Immortality and after the instrumental intro of ‘Other Side’, the quintet’s death metal rages forth on ‘Carved Out’. This is modern melodic death metal with a heap of thrash and really strong musicianship. The production/mixing/mastering is clear and it really draws out the melody here. This is perfect for those who love guitar harmonies and epic solos.

There are elements of the melodIc Swe-death of bands like Dark Tranquility and (earlier) In Flames on title-track ‘Path To Immortality’ but the low growls that sit on top are menacing to say the least. They’re not br00tal though, so don’t worry about any pig-squeals or anything, they’re perfectly delivered and compliment the instrumentation. This is so infectious and it’s only made more so by the opening bars of the thrashing beast ‘Suffering Silence’ . The modern twin-guitars that fill the space left by the blasting drums make it such an enjoyable listen and if you’re not head-banging to it by the two minute mark, then there’s something wrong with you.

This is a pretty fast-paced album and before you know it ‘Reach Toward The Sky’ is closing out the first half with yet more intense musicianship. It strikes me that there’s more than a hint of Unearth flowing through this, which is no bad thing. I say that because Path To Immortality contains the same kind of chops that attracted me to the whole New Wave Of American Heavy Metal scene back in the day. It’s really well put together and while it’s nothing new, it doesn’t need to be. Voices Of Ruin absolutely nails it with incredible melodic death metal and that’s all that matters. 

‘I Am God’ was the only single the band released prior to the album launch and it’s certainly a decent stand-alone song. It’s got all of the elements that make up a single if a band is looking to promote a new release and it’s strong, but it’s perhaps not the strongest song on the record, which may have been a deliberate ploy. Either way, that’s my opinion and you know what they say about those!

Voices Of Ruin throw in something less blasting and more mid-paced on ‘Into The Aether’, which is a brilliantly placed instrumental with differing tempos and plenty of dramatic guitar work. It’s so good. Following it is ‘Whispers’, which could be considered progressive at nearly eight minutes in length but is actually just an extended thrashing beast. If you’ve been yearning for some proper metal then this will fill even the biggest hole.

As penultimate songs go, ‘The Undoing’ keeps the fire burning thanks to a real mix of straight-forward death metal and generous lead work that pushes the record to higher echelons while retaining it’s core strengths and makes them greater. The album’s closer is a cover of ‘Everlong’ by Foo Fighters. Hearing it in a death metal setting is bizarre but it actually works pretty damn well, even if it is a bit gimmicky. It does show that Voices Of Ruin don’t take themselves too seriously and that they’re very adept at making songs their own, as this is the only extreme metal version of it that I’ve ever heard. 

Overall this is an extremely impressive album and Voices Of Ruin deserve so much credit. The heavy music scene occasionally needs a shot in the arm because it gets a bit clogged up with bands that crossover too many genres or are too experimental. It needs bands that just play proper metal and Voices Of Ruin do that. Get your ears around this.

You can stream and buy physical copies of Path To Immortality here:-