Sunday, 20 January 2019

Tytus - Rain After Drought

Labels: Fighter Records
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 08 Jan 2019


1. Disobey
2. The Invisible
3. The Storm That Kill Us All
4. Our Time Is Now
5. The Dark Wave
6. Death Throes
7. Rain After Drought - Pt.1
8. Rain After Drought - Pt.2
9. Move On Over
10. A Desolate Shell Of A Man

The likes of Khemmis and Haunt have been taking metal in a more traditional direction over the last twelve months; however, they're not the only ones. Europe has it's fair share of traditional heavy metal bands too and one label that's doing their bit to bring these bands to the forefront of people's attention is Spanish label Fighter Records. An imprint of Xtreme Music, Fighter has been working tirelessly since 2017 to do unearth stellar heavy metal bands from their homeland and from further afield, like Italy's Tytus. Tytus are now in their fifth year and having already released a 7" and an album (debut "Rises, released in 2016 via Sliptrick Records), they've now returned with their second album and first for their new label. The press blurb talks about the band being influenced by heavy metal greats including Iron Maiden, Metallica and early-Megadeth. Let's see...

Tytus certainly have been paying attention to their heavy metal forefathers on “Rain After Drought”. Opener Disobey is melodic, majestic and clean sounding. There’s a lot of thrash-like percussive tempos and guitar work that go alongside the twin-melodies and solos. the vocals are also clean, though not too the point of being power metal in style. At times their music brings to mind Death Angel, which is no bad thing. They continue with the up-tempo gallop of The Invisible, which is an outstanding all-round metal song. It certainly seems more focused than the album opener, but not all bands hit their stride straight away. This bodes well for the rest of the record. 

Tytus’s song-writing is more off-kilter on The Storm That Kill Us All, especially in the verses though these make the chorus sections even better. It’s classic in every direction and not too overweight in the playing-time department either, which seems to be a characteristic of their music. It’s over before you know it and is followed immediately by Our Time Is Now. The band’s full-scale attack keeps on coming and with it, more awesome solos and sing-along opportunities. The Dark Wave blurs the lines between heavy metal and punk in subtle ways. The tempos are there and so is the melody (I feel like I’ve been banging on about both of these too much already here). I guess there’s more of a hard rock slant to it. It’s still brilliant.

Old-school thrash elements are the bedrock of Death Throes, which is a meaty song filled with yet more classy riffs. I don’t really know what else to say. By the time you reach this point on the record, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting with Tytus and will no doubt be hooked. If not, you’ve got no soul. Next up is the two-parter, starting with Rain After Drought - pt.1, which is the band’s longest song here and what you get is an instrumental piece that shows a different side to Tytus. There’s an obvious not to the progressive nature of many of their countrymen and women, as Italy is known for it’s theatrical and experimental bands. This is a bit a journey but in a good way.

Rain After Drought - pt.2 is an altogether more bluesy number with superb clean singing. There’s a classic rock/ballad feel to it, which is definitely nostalgic. It’s followed immediately by the furious and urgent Move On Over, that gets the heart racing a bit more. As does album closer A Desolate Shell Of A Man. Tytus has shown that there’s still room for good old heavy metal in 2019 and the genre that was built stronger by Metallica, Megadeth and Iron Maiden is well and truly in safe hands.

You can stream and grab "Rain After Drought" for super cheap digitally below:-

Physical CD copies are available here -

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Noctambulist - Atmospheres Of Desolation

Labels: Blood Harvest Records/Helter Skelter Productions
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 21 Jan 2019


1. Dimming Lights Illuminate
2. Abnegation
3. Atmospheres Of Desolation
4. Jubilant Cataclisym
5. Denial Of Autonomy
6. Habitual Falsehood

The underground is bristling with bands that seemingly out of nowhere are becoming coveted by not just fans of extreme metal but also by labels. Look at the rise of bands like Outer Heaven (USA), Outre Tomb (Canada), Tomb Mold (Canada) et al over the past twelve months and you'll notice a theme; death metal. US/CAN DM to be more precise is laying many ears to waste and there's no sign of it slowing down. Blood Harvest Records has long been synonymous with the metal of death and now they're bringing you Denver (Colorado, US) band Noctambulist and their debut album, "Atmospheres Of Desolation". Coming from a band with only one prior recorded song, this epitomises how quickly things are moving below the surface. Let's see how Noctambulist fare. 

The first song of an album should grab the listener and pull them in. It should show them exactly what they’re getting into and why they should stay listening to a record. Attention grabbing in this day and age is good and it’s exactly what Noctambulist does with Dimming Lights Illuminate. It’s filled with sewer-like atmosphere and a ridiculous amount of feedback/ambient noise that envelopes the percussion and guitars, and which sticks around as the sickening growls bring this short piece to a close. What follows is blasting, technical and metallic death metal that spares nobody. Abnegation is an absolute riff-monster, which shows Noctambulist at their vicious best. It’s unlike a lot of current DM in that it’s not gore-obsessed nor just another take on Swe-death. There’s an air of originality to it. 

The raging noise that was eluded to in the record’s opener is more than present on Atmospheres Of Desolation and it’s here that you get a true sense of the mastery that exudes from the band. The song-writing is such that Noctambulist doesn’t come across as being too highbrow, meaning fans dipping their toes into underground death metal will get as much from this as those who call themselves veteran listeners. The introspective moments especially point to that and despite the venomous delivery, there’s also real musicality here. Chugging isn’t something you’d associate with the more forward thinking bands in the genre, but it’s present during Jubilant Cataclisym (in very small proportions). It adds a modern slant to Noctambulist’s death metal and it does add something to their sound, breaking up the technicality. Extra atmospheric guitar work towards the end gives it a feeling of real grandeur as well.

These songs are about average length but the sheer amount of music that fits into them is something else altogether. Penultimate song Denial Of Autonomy is probably the fastest song of all and that description doesn’t even do it justice. This is the stark realisation that all of your hopes and dreams are crashing around you and all chances of rescuing them are futile. It’s like waking up with sleep paralysis and not being able to move, ever. The final deathly hymn on “Atmospheres Of Desolation” is also the longest. Habitual Falsehood starts with a build-up that’s in place to create anticipation and following it is some of the darkest and dankest mid-paced death metal you’ll hear, interspersed with grinding ferocity that Noctambulist does so well. The angular riffs and metallic nature of it maintains listener interest really well and helps to round out an album that’s pretty much perfectly proportioned to these ears. Noctambulist doesn’t mess about with an overtly lengthy record. They’re too-the-point and because of that they have much more impact.

You can stream the title-track and pre-order the record below:-

News - 13-Jan-2019

Here's some news that you might not have seen over the last week. These press releases have dropped into my mailbox and I wanted to take the time to write some words and condense them into smaller portions for you. This will hopefully be a regular thing now.

Indian mathcore band Orchid released their latest full-length on January 10th. "Miasma" was mixed by Mumbai-based Apurv Agrawal (Shepherd, Death by Fungi, False Flag) and was mastered by Colin Marston (Gorguts, Atheist, Origin, Krallice, Dysrhythmia). It contains eight songs and you can hear third track Master Supreme here  FFO: Botch, Atheist, Behold...The Arctopus!

February 22nd will see the release of "Aberrant Calamity" from Argentinian death metal band Prion. It'll be the band's fourth full-length and will be released via Comatose Music. It will be available on CD and digitally and pre-orders can be placed here. The official lyric video for Observed Reality is live on Youtube now.

Texas heavy rock trio Crypt Trip will be heading over to Europe to support the release of their new album "Haze Country", which is due out on March 8th via Heavy Psych Sounds Records. In preparation for the album's release, the band have put up song Wordshot for streaming here. The tour flyer are posted below:-

Death industrialists Xiphoid Dementia and harsh noise legends Bastard Noise have announced a new split record called "Human Extinction Machine", which will be released on March 1st. It will be available both on LP and also digitally with help from Scry Recordings, Existence Establishment and Phage Tapes. To give you a taste of what to expect, there is a video teaser available here.

Pre-order and social media links are below:-

US punks Such Gold will be touring the UK next week alongside Brooklyn-based musician Koji. Support on the tour will come from UK punks Ducking Punches. You can order tickets for the shows via See Tickets here. Check the poster below for tour dates and venues.

Horror Pain Gore Death Productions has recently announced the signing of Virginia death/doom band Night Hag and the label will be releasing their new EP "Insemination Rites If The Succubus" on February 8th, on CD and digitally. You can stream the EP's opening song Buried In Gore here. Pre-orders for the limited CD version are available here and digital pre-orders can be placed here.

Legendary US hardcore/metal band Integrity has released an exclusive song via Adult Swim, as part of their 2019 singles series. The song called All Death Is Mine and can be streamed here. The band has announced two April dates alongside Toxic Holocaust, All Out War and Funeral Chic. Check out the flyer below.

US melodic death metal band Light This City will be playing their first ever shows in Mexico, starting at the end of January. The tour dates and the flyer are below. Light This City are still touring in support of their incredible 2018 album "Terminal Bloom", which was released via Creator-Destructor Records and can streamed and purchased here.

Legendary US metal band Usurper has recently released a lyric video for the title-track, which will appear on their new album "Lords of The Permafrost". The album will be the first album from the band in 14 years and will be released in March via Soulseller Records. The video is available here

UK metal band Venom Prison has just annoucned a Eruo/UK tour alongside Fit For An Autopsy, Vulvodynia and Justice For The Damned. The has announced that they will be releasing an as-yet-untitled album later this year via Prosthetic Records.

17.05.19 Germany Karlsruhe @ Weiße Rose  
18.05.19 Germany Leipzig @ Naumanns  
19.05.19 Germany Berlin @ Musik & Frieden  
20.05.19 Austria Vienna @ Viper Room  
21.05.19 Germany Munich @ Backstage  
22.05.19 Italy Milano @ Circolo Svolta  
23.05.19 Switzerland Aarau @ Kiff  
24.05.19 Germany Bochum @ Matrix  
25.05.19 Germany Hamburg @ Hafenklang  
26.05.19 Netherlands Den Bosch @ Willem 2  
27.05.19 Belgium Antwerp @ Kavka   
28.05.19 France Paris @ Gibus   
29.05.19 UK Birmingham @ Mama Roux  
30.05.19 UK Bristol @ Exchange  
31.05.19 UK London @ Underworld  
01.06.19 UK Leeds @ Key Club  
02.06.19 UK Manchester @ Rebellion

Friday, 11 January 2019

Neonderthal Death - Neonderthal (Nightmare begins) 7"

Labels: Ektro Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 04 Jan 2019


1. Neonderthal (Nightmare Begins)
2. Skeletal Remains

The latter half of 2018 was the first time I had heard of a genre called synthwave. I'd always considered synths to be the preserve of ambient black metal and symphonic metal, but when a promo dropped into my inbox for Swedish death metal/synth duo Neonderthal Death, I was a little intrigued. The duo features mysterious characters that go by the monikers Morbid and Angel (that\s probably where the death metal comes in) and they've combined the two styles on this, their debut 7", which was released by Finnish label Ektro Record on 4th January. What horrors lie within!

I’ll be honest with you, I’ve not caught the synthwave bug yet and while I’ve featured the 100% synth-based Master Boot Record recently (who are brilliant), I’m not fully sold on it. Maybe the added death metal element will help. The title-track Neonderthal (Nightmare Begins) is a strange beast with its synthesised drums and effects sitting alongside the harsh growls. I was expecting the guitar riffs to be higher in the mix but I guess that’s not the point with this. 

Second song Skeletal Brain is a bizarre beast with a sound akin to the original Game Boy game soundtracks. The mix of both harsh and whispered vocals make it more palatable for those not comfortable with death metal but it all feels a bit sterile to me. Neonderthal Death is definitely doing something new in terms extreme metal terms and I guess being more extreme and less synth isn’t going to be the duo’s MO. 

I suppose the metal and indeed extreme metal is always going to limited when it comes to progression and variation, given the confines on the traditional drum/guitar/bass/vocal formula. Neonderthal Death will not be for everyone, but the duo is pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable within  extreme metal while also bringing it to the eats of a whew new fan base, which has to be applauded.

You can stream the title-track via Ektro's soundcloud page below:-

As I write this there is no obvious online presence from the duo themselves.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Hollow Leg - Civilizations

Labels: Argonauta Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 25 Jan 2019


1. Litmus
2. Dirt Womb
3. Mountains Of Stone
4. Black Moon
5. Hunter And The Hunted
6. Intro
7. Chimera
8. Akasha
9. Exodus

Floridian sludge/doom band Hollow Leg has been around for over a decade now and will be releasing their fourth full-length "Civilizations" via Argonauta Records on January 25th. They're not newbies anymore and are currently pumping an album every two years, which is more than many pop stars and so called "stadium" rock bands. They've learnt a fair bit along the road too, having shared stages with the likes of Black Tusk and Mastodon amongst many others. This new album should prove to be their most complete to date.

If your anticipation is getting the better of you it’ll only get worse as album opener Litmus builds, slowly. It’s wall of drums, feedback and riffs is certainly a sight for sore ears. The groove and stoner elements are all too obvious (in a good way) and the semi-clean vocals are perfectly set against the backdrop of heaviness. Hollow Leg goes from lumbering sludge to driving and heavy noise-rock on Dirt Womb. The grooves are still their and it is somewhat mid-pace but it does the job bloody well. There’s a crossover point for bands like this where they’re either too heavy for the majority or not heavy enough. Thankfully, Hollow legs sits slap back in the middle (in my opinion).

After those two initial heavyweights, Hollow Leg reverts to a more urgent stance on the fantastically titled Mountains Of Stone. Other layers are added to the band’s sound here with some full-on raging screams as well as subtle atmosphere thanks some great post-metal riffs. Black Moon is a more laid-back song, with no crunching guitar, cleaner singing and more of that atmosphere I was talking about before. Clearly, there’s plenty of room for variation and proper song-writing in this band’s repertoire.

I read somewhere that Hollow Leg’s influences include the likes of Faith No More and hearing Hunter And The Hunted, I’m not surprised. The grunge/rock flowing through it is great and once again it’s a sound that really compliments the album. Bizarrely, track six on “Civlizations” is called Intro and at first I thought it might have been a mistake in the press kit i received, but after checking a couple of other sources, it seems it wasn’t. That can only mean one thing, that Hollow Leg obviously has a bit of sense of humour and is quite happy to fool the music press. I’m okay with this because the song’s pretty damn good.

Chimera takes things back in a striding direction thanks to driving tempos and a huge amount of forward momentum. There’s forceful nature to the song that paints it out as an album standout.  Following Chimera is difficult but with penultimate song Akasha, Hollow Legs pulls out another barrage of heaviness that made the beginning of the album so impactful. Closing “Civilizations” out with one final mammoth-like blow, Exodus takes you back to where you started and continually smashes you abut the face with thunderous riffs of sludge/doom, which make it even harder to believe that this band is really from Florida!

You can stream the single Hunter And The Hunted via the Argonauta Records soundcloud page below:

Keep an eye out for vinyl/CD pre-orders at Argonauta Records here -

Monday, 7 January 2019

2018 End-Of-Year-List - Brandon Kellum (American Standards)

2019 may be underway and the holidays are by now a distant memory, so hears a 2018 EOY list from my good friends Brandon Kellum. Brandon is the vocalist of the chaotic hardcore/noise punk band American Standards from Phoenix, Arizona. He picks his favourite new albums released in 2018 below. If you’re a fan of chaotic, mathy and dissonant noise, these are bands you’ll want to keep on your radar.

TOP 25 FULL LENGTH LPs (in no particular order)

1. Greyhaven - Empty Black
Label: Equal Vision
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 16 Mar 2018

2. Birds In Row - We Already Lost The World
Label: Deathwish inc
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 13 Jul 2018

3. Fucked Up - Dose Your Dreams
Labels: Merge Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 05 Oct 2018

4. Limbs - Father's Son
Labels: UNFD
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 27 Apr 2018

5. Vein - Errorzone
Labels: Closed Casket Activities
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 22 Jun 2018

6. Daughters - You Won’t Get What You Want
Labels: Ipecac Recordings
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 26 Oct 2018

7. Rolo Tomassi - Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
Labels: Holy Roar Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 02 Mar 2018

8. The Armed - Only Love
Labels: No Rest Until Ruin/Throatruiner Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 27 Apr 2018

9. Ken Mode - Loved
Labels: New Damage Records/Season Of Mist
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 31 Aug 2018

10. Turnstile - Time And Space
Labels: Roadrunner Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 24 Feb 2018

11. Black Matter Device - Modern Frenetics 
Labels: Self-Released
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 06 Apr 2018

12. Palm Reader - Braille
Labels: Silent Cult Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 06 Apr 2018

13. MouthBreather - Dollmeat
Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 06 Jul 2018

14. Kaonashi - Why Did You Do It
Labels: Get This Right Records/Self-Released
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 23 Nov 2018

15. Coilguns - Millennials
Labels: Hummus Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 23 Mar 2018

16. 156/Silence - Undercover Scumbag
Labels: Innerstrength Records
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 14 Sep 2018

17. Cult Leader - A Patient Man
Labels: Daymare Recordings/Deathwish Inc
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 09 Nov 2018

18. Cancer Bats - The Spark That Moves
Labels: Bat Skull Records/New Damage Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 20 Apr 2018

19. Lower Automation - Shoebox Companion
Labels: Self-Released
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 27 Jul 2018

20. Faus - Apestate
Labels: Blackhouse Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 04 May 2018

21. Frontierer - Unloved
Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release: 27 Jul 2018

22. Snakehound - Imitation Crown
Labels: Self-Released
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 01 Jun 2018

23. Zapruder - S/T
Labels: Apathia Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 23 Nov 2018

24. NoiSays - Self Titled
Labels: Dark Trail Records/Self-Released
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 17 Oct 2018

25. Old Wounds - Glow
Labels: Good Fight Music
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 09 Nov 2018

5 Notable EPs/Splits

1. The Threats - Saboteur
Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Vinyl(Pre-Order)/Digital
Release Date: 12 Oct 2018

2. Converge - Beautiful Ruin
Labels: Deathwish Inc/Self-Released
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 29 Jun 2018

3. Fero Lux - Cheap Funeral For Me
Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Tape/Digital
Release Date: 01 Oct 2018

4. Arms/Seizures - Split
Labels: Dark Trial Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 02 May 2018

5. Pressure Cracks - S/T EP
Labels: War Against Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 25 May 2018

American Standards’ recent release “Weep” is available on iTunesBandcamp, and Spotify. The band will be premiering a new single titled “Phantom Limb” in January 2019 with a US tour to follow.

Thanks go to Brandon for taking the time to put this list together. I'll have another two lists up by the end of January.